OK, I'm going to get into trouble here, but then I'll walk away. I think it's safe to say Rob that you will never be accused of practicing Zen...accepted, which helps define the territory. You have and understand the feeling of silk moved between thumb and fingers and know and can operate from that experience when it is a matter of the sense expressed of that silk...but somewhere in the past you readily admitted to a cemented belief that photography is just a poor copy of the vista. We deserve more at this stage in life...the willingness, openess, readiness to evolve in our vision - understanding is not a commodity doled...it is a practiced discipline to allow the flow to carry us. Stamp our feet, put down concrete roots and the river will find its way around us...which is fine, but the experiences of your lives offer us the opportunity to do so much more than look, from one frozen focal length.
I suspect often that you take on this disguise intentionally, but young eyes are watching, and want to understand. (and may not sense the grin and wink behind some of what you say) You look out and consciously or not edit all the time , you read and edit all the time, one paints and edits ones thoughts, and that vista? Camera in hand one can return with all the technique and tools available with a profoundly detailed map/picture of that vista. However we go about it , unless it was the detail/record we were instructed to bring back, it is a life filling journey to find the ways to describe what is right before our eyes- to paint for others the place within that vista our own subconscious editing found message/spirit/life/story... the tools, the semantics hardly matter...it is so much more than fitting the pretty picture in the frame...it is in this sense that I believe Tim offers the suggestion of passion, discipline...it's not for everyone, I understand that...but for some the seeking is life itself.
with love and respect,
I find it difficult to answer your post. I come across it fresh from a mediocre luncheon and an exhausting walk along the two piers that constitute my enforced constitutional ŗ la doctorís orders, each and every day.
I read you, and find myself wondering if I understand you at all, then I realise that I do, but only a little on each of several levels and never completely on any single one.
What does come out to me, loudly and clearly, is your desire for self-expression and, consequently, I realise that what you want to express is a thing far better done, verbally as here, than via any photograph or other form of Ďartí. Your words convey emotional attitudes that no picture can; you express feelings and concepts that are way beyond those pictorial, and so I reiterate my earlier thoughts: words are far better than images.
To me (and I pretty much always stress, or assume, that posts or written sentiments - call Ďem what you might Ė are ever personal opinion unless mere repetition of other posts, which happens a lot, but is instantly recognized for the shallow thing that it is), the seeking after exalted status for photography is a mistake. It seems to reflect a desire to make the photographer feel better about himself, to share space within some largely imaginary group of artists, pretty much all of whom seem to share the same need for recognition as being a chosen few, out of the ordinary.
Perhaps it is because I spent my life in photography as a professional, that I see through the veils, the manufactured myths that have been constructed around a basically very simple set of operations. This myth has never been shared by any other working pro that I have ever met. Not a single one has stood before me and pronounced himself artist. I have seen fantastic professional work, stuff that sometimes made me think that I was in the wrong business, that I simply hadnít the eyes to see nor the skills to create that which some of my heroes (my greatest is a heroine Ė Sarah Moon Ė I shall never think of her as a hero) appeared to do as a matter of course.
Though none called himself artist, each and every one was a creative person par excellence, something borne out by the fact that they were heros to me well before the advent of the day of group therapy (sorry Ė teamwork shoots) that currently constitutes the reported norm.
So, summing it all up, I feel perfectly happy to accept that there are great photographers, mediocre ones and some truly rotten ones usually found to be singing the most loudly. But itís all just the making of snaps, technically good ones or otherwise. Content, however, comes from a different part of the mind, and few have the abilty to discover more than whatís immediately obvious by dint of being there. Hence, why I believe that artists are born and not made, and why within photography isnít usually a glood place to look for them.
There seems to me to be little credit in spreading the myths of photographer as artist to a younger, probably/possibly(?) impressionable generation some steps behind me.
The honest story I can offer them, if they care in the slightest, is that photography can be many things: it can be a great career if you are in the right place, at the right time and know the right people whilst still young enough to profit from the experience, and it can also be a fascinating hobby just as long as you keep it in proportion and donít blow all your pennies on it. But, donít imagine it makes you special, an artist or even a better person than the guy who loves messing about in his garden. Letís face it: artist is an elastic term that can be stretched to cover all the bases from da Vinci thru Warhol and that Frenchman dancing around in the kitchen of your favourite 5* Michelin. Itís a bankrupt word today.