Excellent - thanks wolfnowl for pointing us to it. TED Talks are always so mind expanding; I always feel energized after watching.
bill t. - you make an excellent point and one I can subscribe to. Certainly Beethoven might be a better "Desert Island" choice than Mark Applebaum.
However, through his talk, Mark Applebaum leads us down a different path and sums it up at the end by changing the question from "Is it music?" to "Is it interesting?"
without worrying about whether it's music or not. Granted, interesting to some will not be interesting to all (as can be said for all art), but this mind space is a healthy place to be. In other words we need to worry less about fitting a defined paradigm, in our case, "photography" (however one might choose to define it). If we concentrated more on making what we do "interesting", we might just find ourselves in creative places we never thought we would be - and I'm speaking from a decidedly "straight photography" point of view, if you've ever seen my work.
In some respects, we can blame Ansel Adams for this adherence to straight photography. He was always critical of the "pictorialists" who chose not to use the inherent qualities of photography. Straight photography was AA's paradigm - we don't need to make it ours. In fact, if we do, we are, essentially, not artists but copy cats – a camp I find myself in far too frequently (but I like it!).
In the first few moments of Applebaum's talk he made the shift from "straight" Beethoven to an improvised "jazz" Beethoven - still musical and very interesting. What he then did was to stretch the concept still further until he is in another paradigm altogether, as a true artist does. Think of what Monet and Picasso did all those decades ago and others have done since to make painting more interesting. They stretched the paradigm of the day into something we now see as being part of the "acceptable" paradigm of visual art. Applebaum is the Picasso of today, in both an auditory and visual sense. What he's doing may not be as accepted today as "music" or even "art" by the general public (just as Picasso was not accepted at first) but give it time and we might just be surprised.
I went through a similar paradigm shift last summer when I occasionally sat in the back seat of the family car on our long drive from Ontario through the western provinces to BC. I wanted to photograph but wanted to make it interesting so came up with the idea of making motion landscapes. I know it's been done before, but, for me it was a revelation. Those of you who are part of the LensWork Online
community can view six of those images over in the Reader Spotlight section of the LensWork Community. I've attached a sample. It's the pattern of the landscape and the interplay of dynamic colour, contrasts and shapes that make it interesting for me - not whether on not it fits any definition of "photography".
Farmscape, Wellington County