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IN 1885, in an introduction to Leaves Of Grass, the legendary poet Walt Whitman wrote that the writer, "Says to his art, I will not be meddlesome, I wfll not have in my writing any elegance or effect or originality to hang in the way between me and the rest like curtains. I will have nothing hang in the way, not the richest curtains. What I tell I tell for precisely what it is."
He was writing about the phenomenon of style. Whitman argued that style was an ornamental 'curtain' which distracts the viewer or obscures meaning. In a sense there are many who argue something similar about photography today. They are concerned that the new techniques of post processing come between the meaning of an image and the viewer... that they are so much distraction. But as virtually every art critic living now agrees, there is no way to strip style from statement. They are as married as skin is to a body.
Soarr is a photographic image. Notice I do not write, 'Soar is a photograph.' Why? because it is more than the photo which underlies it. Better? Here's the virgin image from the Compact Card....
That's for you to judge from the virgin image below. But certainly we'll all agree that it's different as a result of my style.
Style is the manner in which an artist presents an idea or feeling. It can be critiqued - probably should be. But style itself cannot be dismissed as a curtain. Take it away and there is no message. Whitman was wrong.