With all the hubbub about Instagram, Facebook, and a new app by Flickr, I have a few thoughts of my own about the art of photography that I think some people don’t yet understand about the medium. With the array of platforms a photograph can be made nowadays, the industry is seeing first timers who fundamentally enjoy creating photos and are doing very well with their camera phones, point and shoots, hip-new-“Polaroid” by The Impossible Project… but, I think we should take the time to reflect on the art of photography and discuss the granular nature of the beast inside of us that incites our interest in picture making. The inherent nature that stirs our minds and our souls when we look at pictures. Here is what I, and a couple of others, have to say about it:
There’s no app that will read a scene and tell you how you should feel or when to feel. There’s no camera you can buy that will make you a better photographer. There’s no photographer with all the right answers. Our images, the ones we make, are ours. There are multiple layers of complexity that make up the fabric which we weave into the images we create. We create and we share. Perhaps, we share too often. But, we should create always. Create first, analyze later, process ideas and deliver a cohesive thought in the form of photography.
“There are too many images,” he said. “Too many cameras now. We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn’t an art anymore. Maybe it never was.” – Robert Frank
Maybe Mr. Frank, you are right. And, maybe it is art when we believe it is. A photograph that moves you to think beyond what is being told on the surface of the print could be called art. There’s no photographer that can explain the way you should feel when you look at images. There’s no camera that will deliver better pictures for you to see. There’s no app that will delete the feeling you had the moment you were inclined to take a photograph. The art lives inside of you and speaks when spoken to and sometimes surprises you.
Allow yourself to be surprised. –John Goodman
Photography is a two way street. You only get out what you put in.
**UPDATE** - Check out the great work being done to recreate Polaroid's greatest achievement, Type 55 film, right here in Massachusetts: http://new55project.blogspot.com/