Flawed Logic

Cynic: No point in photographing the landscape in Iceland. It's all been done before. Optimist: Maybe, but not by me. Love the challenge to bring something fresh to the table.

From Finnur's Trip, Iceland 2013

Cynic: Why would you assume interest in a whole series of the same thing, shot over and over, from different angles, distances and perspectives when even one is boring? Optimist: I can convey depth, sequence, tell a story or a narrative, take the viewer farther and share an emotion far better with work in series.

From Portland, ME 1996

From Arizona Castle Dome Museum,  2012

Cynic: It's all been done and to death. Photography is over as a fine art, at least landscape photography. No one wants to see pretty pictures of our planet. Art is about seeing things in new ways and there is no new way in photography anymore. Optimist: It is better to work to innovate, to approach the conventional with fresh eyes, to contribute to the overall canon of art in the world. The glass is half full, always.

From Iceland Landscape 2017

Okay, this game of the cynic versus the optimist can only go so far. As photography improves, as little knowledge is necessary to make superior pictures technically, as resolution increases, as there are more and more photographers, there is a seismic shift in the definition of the medium taking place. We are approaching the end of "craft" in our medium, the requirement to become masters of all aspects of the medium, from its history, to exposure, to optics, to developing and printing. Group shows of contemporary photography are increasingly weighted towards work that uses photography as part of its result but isn't beholden to "straight photography" at all. Blended in are a wide variety of alternative processes, including antique and older analog systems, imagery based in the use of software and even efforts to take the flat 2 dimensional paper print of tradition off the wall and into 3 dimensions. What did you expect? For the medium to stand still? This is a maturing of a revolution that started in the 90's when digital fist appeared. I find it exciting, although increasingly it puts me into the"old boy" category. It's what I am, after all. This makes my present day imagery irrelevant? This isn't really for me to decide as I will do what I do regardless, it just becomes an issue when I seek to get exposure for my work. Plus, I do have an extensive library of my own archivally processed and printed vintage works, for instance, that I have stored well, and that are filed and sorted for all to see.

From Bermuda Portfolio 1982

On the gallery page of the site, everything from the late 70's to about 2000 are shot on film and made in the darkroom by me.  Just email me to take a look.

Flawed logic? To interpret that because it's all been done, to not photograph because it's useless to do so? Watch out for the tendency to be influenced by what else is out there. We see something, we think how it either does or does not relate to our own sensibilities and then what: adapt to conform? I don't think so. I don't think a real artist would ever be capable of adaptation.We can only be true to ourselves in making art.  This cynical outlook on making art using photography? That seems like flawed logic to me. 

Topics: Commentary

Permalink | Posted April 3, 2019