"Just the subject isn't enough. Just the rigorous organization isn't enough. Both have to come together to make anything that's above the tourist picture level."
And that's the trouble with most of what anyone does.
Catching the climax is so rare in any photographic discipline that it becomes the measure of our personal successes. It's the problem that haunts our websites, our portfolios, any place where we attempt to show what we think we should be made of - and the closest we can come to describing it is 'we know it when we see it.' And what about the many times when it doesn't even happen, never mind allow itself to be captured?
It has often been suggested that just a couple of such lucky moments come to us in a year - maybe that should be written 'in a lifetime' instead.
It's the main reason for artists's block. How many failures can anyone take before losing heart; how many attempts at saying something before the spirit to continue just advises us that we should fold?
My recent experiences with musicians is an example of that, too: the atmosphere is okay in the event, but how much carries over into images? Very little, to be honest. Yes, the actual, physical venue is drab and off-white with little atmosphere; it doesn't come over as bland as it is, but what's happening? Some guys are standing around playing saxes or beating drums. Period.
Did any of you see Bert Stern's Jazz on a Summer's Day, his opus on the '58 Newport Jazz Festival on Rhode Island? I saw that about six times and the repeat attraction for me was the Chuck Berry slot. He shouldn't have been there, but apparently, due to some contractual arrangement they couldn't dump him. And the remarkable thing is this: of all the artists of repute that took the stand, his piece was the one that remains in my mind, other than Jimmy Giuffre and Train and the River. Why? Yep, I like r'n'r, but beyond that, something was happening. Be it Berry or maybe even the audience dancing in between shots, the excited faces spelled out life, marked a moment.
How many times does our photography really do that? I wish.