...There remains a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography. They get artists who use photography to illustrate their ideas, installations, performances and concepts, who 'deploy' the medium as one of a range of artistic strategies to complete their work. But photography for and of itself—photographs taken from the world as it is—are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory 'documentary' tag.
This is tremendously sad, for if we look back, the simple truth is that the majority of the great photographic works of art in the 20th century operate in precisely this territory: from Walker Evans to Robert Frank, Diane Arbus to Garry Winogrand, from Stephen Shore traveling across America in Uncommon Places; Robert Adams navigating the freshly minted suburbs of Denver in The New West, or William Eggleston spiraling towards Jimmy Carter’s hometown in Election Eve, nobody would seriously propose that these sincere photographic artists were merely "snapping their surroundings."
—Paul Graham, "The Unreasonable Apple"
From a lovely little blog-post-sized essay in the Paul Graham Archive (which contains all of two short essays(!)). I'd love to republish the whole thing, but it's looking like it would be a challenge to get permission ("Contact via galleries only," admonishes Paul's Contact page). The paragraph just following the ones quoted is particularly good.
I've always wished certain photographers would write more. (But then I suppose they wouldn't be photographers, they'd be writers.)
(Thanks to Dave)
[ALERT: You might have problems with commenting today, off and on. Yes, TypePad is experiencing problems again. Sincere apologies for the aggravation. I will have a preliminary announcement about some planned changes soon. —Mike]
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
No featured comments yet—please check back soon!