Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"urban" ku # 8 and mini-commentary for your consideration


Early-ish this AM in the sleepy hamlet of Au Sable Forks.

Yesterday, in comments on Jerry Greer's photograph, the notion of "pretty pictures" reared its ugly head. On an online photo forum Jerry is well known for what many would label his "pretty pictures" of his beloved southern Appalachians, and, when the accusation of "pretty picture" is hurled in his direction, he responds with a vigorous defense. He and I have gone heatedly lens-cap-to-lens-cap a few times but have managed to pull back before putting out contracts on each other.

But, all in all, I'm glad to have him here.

That said, it is, past history and all, very interesting/intriguing to read Jerry's "confession" (using only the absolute loosest of definitions) here on The Landscapists that much of his photography was created to "keep the lights on" as they say. I didn't take this to mean that he was disavowing any of his work or that the photographs were not created out of "...passion and a deep love..." for his subject. He also noted that he now has "...the freedom to shoot as I would like to shoot and not be tied to a specific style..." and that he is pursuing "...projects (that) will be freer and more art driven than the moneymaker projects that we do in mass to keep the lights on."

I will be very intrigued to follow the "transition".

On to the mini-commentary which I believe is very related to Jerry's comments - Many landscape/nature photographers seem to be very focused on a notion of "beauty" which very often becomes little more than another trite example of "pretty picture". Without going into a lengthy explanation of why I think this happens, let me offer the following -

Not sure of my reference on this - "...photographic documents are not the creations of an idealizing imagination that responds to the imperfections of reality with a dream of beauty. Instead, they are the trophies of a hunter who looks for the unusual in the world of what actually exists and discovered something exceptionally good."

It seems to me that this notion of "trophy hunter" pretty clearly defines the difference in photographic MO between the pretty-picture-ists and those who create photographs that are considered to be more in the fine art realm.

1 Comments:

Blogger Paul Butzi said...

Many landscape/nature photographers seem to be very focused on a notion of "beauty" which very often becomes little more than another trite example of "pretty picture".

Sure. Many urban/street photographers seem to be very focused on a notion of 'art' which very often becomes little more than another trite example of 'ugly, gritty dystopia'.

The trap of falling into triteness lies waiting for us everywhere.

Do you have some reason to thing that 'pretty' is a bigger trap than 'ugly' or 'poverty' or 'social injustice'?

Judging from the work I've seen lately, the bigger trap is that often people are AFRAID to make photographs which show beauty.

11/30/2006 04:37:00 PM  

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