Photography is the humblest of all the art forms Ė abject, even Ė because the process of creation, which in other forms is mystical, in photography is mechanical. The most expert photographer in the world does not create. He might set up the shot, pick the perfect settings to get what he wants, he might labor over the processing, he might even build the camera, but the creation happens on a light-sensitive surface in that brief time the shutter is open, and nowhere else. There is no magic, no muscle, in this creation. No flexing of the wrist causes a paintbrush to move. There are none of the countless decisions or epiphanies a composer uses to create a melody.
I look forward to not being recognized.
The only thing I did to this photo was a slight bump in contrast. The effect is created mostly with foreground bokeh, not to mention intense backlighting from the sun.
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This is a quite brilliant, incandescent essay on the nature of photography and the photograph.
You ask questions that everyone who professes to be a photographer ought to be absorbed by, obsessed by, animated by, driven by, haunted by.
Alas, very few will care about your cerebration of photography at all, and those who might have profited most will care the least of all.
Two of your observations I call out for special applause:
ē Photography celebrates the Ďaccidentí of art.
At its best, photography is a transformative process, and the photographer does well to keep the loosest possible control, ideally bordering on the negligent, over that alchemy.
ē ĎIsnít it thrilling not to know what a photograph is?í Yes, because it inspires curiosity. Curiosity is the most important thing in art.
This is my choice for best essay. Itís the best short essay on photography that Iíve seen anywhere.
I made comments on every essay because these exercises are the most interesting thing here so far.
Left yours the last because it involves more talk, and we don't.
It never crossed my mind to ask myself what is photography (or what art is). Oh boy, I am not that smart. I just do what I do, I cannot use both words and images. Either / or.
I could never say that "the art comes from the person looking at it" - no, no - the thing is there and people take something from it should they choose to look at it.
I could never formulate that" Photography reminds me that itís a game, a joke, a lucky strike. Photography is full of joy."
Not because I disagree with what you wrote but I never asked myself these question. What if I find the answer? I don't want to break the spell!
I do what I do because I have this necessity and life allowed me to do it and even make a living by holding the pencil, a brush, a camera, a piece of paper, glue, charcoal, a ruler and mostly an eraser.
I save and print your essay and show it proudly to people who have interest in this thing that we do. I liked everything you wrote and all the accompanying images. And of course your initiatives. Chapeau!
I really enjoyed reading through your thoughts on photography. My approach is very similar to yours but your processing is a little more adventurous than mine. The PDF format worked fine but I think you need to post this on a website. Agree or not, I feel it's a valuable read. Thanks for your contribution.