Monday, March 20, 2006

We all talk about art the same way, I suppose

Woah! It's been a long time since I've posted! It's not like I was ever a particularly prolific writer, but anyway...

Has anyone read Single Exposures (2005 Lenswork Publishing) by Brooks Jensen? It's a fascinating collection of musings and commentary based around the art of black and white photography, but the topics are so broad! Nearly everything he writes has a remarkably pertinent parallel in our world. Please allow me to give you an example. Commentary is fair use, right? My years of copyright law in college only taught me paranoia, so I had to ask.

I feel really bad about spoiling the last entry of the book, but it's such a poignant example. Jensen is discussing a photography contest being thrown by some publication in which entries may be classified by one of several categories such as "nudes, body, dance, ...nature, landscape, seascape, ...abstract pattern, texture, etc., photojournalism, streets and portraits, advertising." He muses, "Is there anything that strikes you odd about those categories like it does me? Maybe it's just me...But I've never thought that photography was about the subjects that are photographed, but rather I tend to think that photographs are about the emotional content of the image and what it communicates about the photographer's ideas, or emotions, or statements, or reactions to the world."

Right on! I often ask people what kind of music they're into and get an answer like, "I dunno, jazz, rock, pop, classical...". Sometimes I'll interject and suggest, "You just like anything good, right?" "Yeah! That's it!" is always the enthusiastic response. I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that the reason for the concurrence is because those folks, myself included, are listening for the emotional impact, maybe catharsis, and can find it in a wide variety of compositions.

What a thought provoking book this is! I only came across it because it's required reading for one of Jenny's photography classes. Not that I'm an authority on the subject, but this is my idea of an art education!


Post a Comment

<< Home