Thursday, February 15

Simulated Love

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Silk flower love.

It's like those forums where so many think a critique of photography has to do with whether the horizon is un-tilted. Have you noticed how often commentors confuse technique with meaning? With value? Process for worth? With what an image is of, as opposed to what it means?

Sure, craft is the reason catalogue photo studios exist. Ditto the bulk of wedding photographers. Ain't nothing wrong with craft, but its presence in an image does not alone justify that image's value. Yeah, I understand newbies wondering why they are taking snapshots while all the images they see are something else... and in most cases... something better. Craft is an important condition for excellence, but not a sufficient condition to art. Writers must know a language, but grammatical mastery is only a milepost along the way toward poetry.

I understand all of us wishing that some new lens will be the switch which turns every image capture into.. into... Hey, how many golfers dream that a new putter will morph them into Tiger Woods? But the great photographic images aren't the result of pool-table aligned horizons. Or spot color gimmicks on a monochrome rectangle. Neither putters, nor lenses make images important. It's not the bow, it's the archer.

Technique from the mastery of gear, color, and composition can create high craft. But the gap between high craft and art? It's the distance between simulating and feeling love. Doing and understanding.

It's the gap between the silken rose and the mind's. Or between an image which faithfully reproduces a silken rose, and one which reveals how the tailor’s rose differs from nature’s product.

3 comments:

mcmurma said...

Your writing is like fine wine, a nice red. Something not too snooty but nothing cheap either. In a word, I find it highly accesible. Like a good Merlot or a nice Cab, containing all the delicate fruity, earthy undertones that abound in any good vintage.

But you go one better. You serve up not only the drink, but a nice moody confection (dark chocolate comes immediately to mind) in images that blend together with your prose in such a way as to establish some sort of mortal divinity in association with their offering.

And there is nothing I like better with a good red than a bit of dark chocolate.

Please, keep it up!

-Michael

advman said...

Hmm ... a book about wine I recently read, called chocolate the #1 enemy of wine, but I like it as well :)

Ted, this particular image does not do anything to me, but of course you're dead right on the text. Oh how I can't wait for my Nikon 85/1.4 :)

Ted Byrne said...

This is an interesting image. When I posted it on some forums, every man who commented expressed either disinterest in it,or downright hostility. Yet the thing attracted only positive reactions from female posters. Any thoughts?

Ted