Is the Writing on The Wall?

3 thoughts on “Is the Writing on The Wall?”

  1. Someone once said, and I don’t remember who it was, that photography is art, not sport; and because of that there are no rules.

    I first took an interest in photography long before the advent of digital technology. I worked in a studio and that gave me access to a variety of camera formats: from 35mm to 2 1/4 square, right up to 10×8 plate cameras. I had my own darkroom at home and tried to control as much of the image-making process as I could. And I experimented a lot, with the cameras and in the darkroom.

    Much later, at a time in my life when photography was no longer a priority for me, I gave all my darkroom equipment to a young colleague who had become interested in the art form. Then, when my interest in photography returned, I realised that I had boxes of negatives and transparencies at home and no longer had any way to print any of them. So I bought a film scanner and a copy of Photoshop, and I found that I could do all the things I used to do, but without the mess and without the need to darken the room.

    Subsequently, I bought a digital camera, then another. I started to take photographs again; and I continued to experiment.

    From the beginning, I believed fervently, and still do, that the content of an image is what drives the form; and the technology used is simply a means of delivering that form. First you decide what it is you want to say; then you decide on the most effective way to say it; or in this case, portray it. And a photographer needs to master the technology in order to use it to best effect. That is why we experiment; to discover the possibilities of the technology, to broaden our expressive vocabulary; to give ourselves creative options; control; to put the broadest possible means at our disposal to make our statements about the content. And sometimes it does you good to venture out of your comfort zone. For example:

    Different cameras, different lenses, different formats, film or digital; these things only matter in so far as they enable the photographer to realise his or her artistic vision. The vision comes first. The technology just makes it happen. That’s the theory. But out in the field, when you see something that begs to be shot on 10×8 and all you have with you is your iPhone, what do you do? In my opinion, you take it; because the content is still more important than the form. It might not be the best image you have ever created, artistically speaking; but if the story is important enough to be told, I believe that you should tell it anyway.

    1. I am with you Xpat!

      I find it kind of interesting though that everyone is so freaked out by all the people carrying cameras that will basically never get a paying job unless they push the envelop with their images. I mean as much as there are more and more carpet baggers out there wanting us all to work for free, at the end of the day of course it still comes down to content and aesthetics. But what I find really amusing is the fact that it is often the newer entrants to the industry that are liable to scream their heads off about the POYi’s shocking lack of purism…hehehe… maybe just the older and grumpier I get I just care less…

      Having said that (and I still haven’t checked out the WPP winners yet) there is such a refreshing sensitivity with the work that is coming from the New York Times at the moment that I think the judges at POYi definitely need to be congratulated as I really really love what Damon Winters did with this series on a very basic level. They would still be really great shots without the Hipstamatic! (Which I reckon derives its name from the Eighties and from when cross-processed and cooked negs were just de rigueur!)

      Ha… now I have your blog address Xpat… Watch Out!

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