In a comment to the "Push the Button" post, Robert Roaldi (who has contributed a great deal to this site with his comments over time, as have a number of others) wrote:
As someone else wrote above, just say what it is. One picture may be the result of one person's actions. Another photo may be something else. Isn't that all you need to know? The rest of the debate seems to be about categorization.
That's kinda what I was sayin'. But it deserves further underlining: I don't really care about categories except insofar as they matter to me. It doesn't matter to me if some collector pays a zillion dollars for a picture at an auction; I'll still try to judge the picture as a picture, and like it or not based on my own response. Same with pictures in museums: I might be convinced by them, but not on account of their sanctification by the great fortified castle of the institution (in fact I'm more often annoyed by the converse, when museums waste my time showing me with exquisitely lucid presentation an empty conceit that isn't even good to look at).
It has always been my faith (I mean "faith" here) that an occasional amateur in some nondescript corner of the world, completely unheralded, completely unknown, can take a photograph that is greater as a photograph than, say, the art-world unobtanium of Stieglitz's "The Steerage." It might not be as great a talisman or totem of agreed-upon art-historical numinosity, but that doesn't happen to be what nourishes my soul.
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A book of interest today:
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Featured Comments from:
Jim Hughes: "My favorite W. Eugene Smith quote: 'Hardening of the categories causes art disease.' I found it scribbled, clearly in Gene's hand, on a 3x5 notecard among his mammoth trove of papers at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson in the early 1980s while researching my biography of Smith, W. Eugene Smith: Shadow and Substance."