Thanks for sharing your views, Russ."But on the other hand his (Albert Bierstadt) painting gives you the sensation of the mountains in a way no photograph ever will."
Interesting. I feel absolutely no emotional connection to Bierstadt's work. Perhaps that's because I have
been in the mountains; nowadays, this sort of imagery has been taken over by CGI and Disney. For me, a photograph such as Adams' The Tetons and the Snake River
, or some of Mehmet Ozgur's
landscapes (to name a contemporary photographer) far better give me a sensation of the mountains. And not
because they are simply a record of the scene, or more "real" than a painting. Mitch Dobrowner
and Camille Seaman have put me with them at the edge of storms. Some of Wynn Bullock's landscape images are the equal of (well, not just the equal of, more evocative than) any landscape painting I've ever seen. My opinion, of course."The camera is a recording instrument. It's not the kind of tool that lets you express your own ideas about what reality should look like."
is not the right word (unless one is in the business of advertising or propaganda)? But I believe that photography most definitely allows one to connect, evoke, and provoke, no less than any other art."But it's very difficult to make it (the camera) give you an image that'll grab you and shake you with a transcendent, spiritual experience -- that sudden flash that goes beyond anyone's ability to describe or explain. And that's really what art is about."
I'm afraid I can't agree. First, because NO piece of art that I have ever viewed in any medium has affected me in the way you describe (and I've stood in front of many original masterpieces in galleries, museums and cathedrals). Yes, I've been impressed by mastery, and emotionally moved by images (feelings of happiness, sadness, compassion, surprise, anger, etc.) But no less so with photographic images than any other medium.
You mention street photography and photo essays I would agree with some of your evaluation and examples. W. Eugene Smith has been an inspiration
of mine since I first saw his Minimata essay, even though I've never pursued that type of photography. But I think you've missed out on so many other genres in which photographers have produced images that connect with me, and with others, on a visceral level."A photograph is a recording. That's all it is. It's an image of a small piece of the world -- a very small piece. It doesn't allow the recorder to change things in that little piece. In post-processing you can change colors, remove things, move things around, and introduce other recorded pieces of the world that weren't in the picture to begin with. But in the end, you can't force into a photograph the emotion you can force into a painting."
I would wholeheartedly disagree, and I think Smith's photo of Tomoko Uemura is an example of why I do. Smith made
that image, he didn't just record it. Nick Brandt made this image
, and then this one
But, then, images do connect with different people differently. I love some abstract impressionist paintings every bit as much as some Dutch Masters. Most people I know hate
abstract art. I think Ralph Gibson's photo Leda (NSFW)
is more provocative (and beautiful) than any of the many painted and sculptural renditions of Leda and the Swan
throughout history. But, hey, that's just my