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The father of fine art photography, Alfred Stieglitz, once wrote a letter of rejection to a woman hoping for a show in his famous Little Gallery, "(This gallery) is devoted to ideas. And I feel that your work, good as it is, is primarily picture making. That is not adding to the idea of photography, nor to the idea of expression. And for that reason it would be out of place in the Little Gallery." Stieglitz felt that his greatest work was "teaching the value of seeing. And teaching the meaning of seeing."
Ike Johnson is decent. Once, when the word had meaning, he'd have been called a gentleman. Now, instead of calling him any of those things... I wanted to distill them out in today's posting. But... but... but...
The problem with photography is that it is too easy. Cheap representationalism - is what critics have called it. As photographers first grow serious, they go off in search of the Holy Gear. They want a mystical machine which will spin their straw into gold. Following the gear-head stage, photographers bury themselves in the mechanics of composition, palette, and form. They master a litmus test which focuses on the picture to the almost total exclusion of its content.
It's the Stieglitz Stage which follows for those few who burst through to an understanding that nature has its rules, and so to does photography - and it's the photographic rules which image makers must impose upon nature. How they do it... and what they convey to viewers - how they manipulate meaning to communicate an idea - that's ultimately what differentiates photographic craft from art.
Problem is, the bulk of viewers want to stay at stage two. They're not sensitive to ideas as much as they are to form. I am seduced by the idea. But like everyone else, I'd like visitors to like me. So... how to combine form with idea? At least enough so that people may still murmur, "Wow!", even as they go, "Hmmm....".
GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6), 1/8 at f/5.6, ISO:800, Exposure Bias Value -1, Focal length: 72mm, Time 7:28 pm, flash: off, Metering Mode: Average, Camera Raw.