Tuesday, January 09, 2007

dis-ease # 2 and a comment

This is what's passing for an early January winter morning here in the Adirondack north country. Photographed comfortably in a t-shirt and shoes without socks, although I did find it necessary to tuck the Polaroid print in my armpit - Cold Weather Polaroid Development Technique # 1.

Comment on a tempest in a teapot - Much is being made on a number of blogs about a very minor difference of photography opinion between Alec Soth and Robert Polidori.

The point of contention, such as it is, revolves around the absence of people in Polidori's Katrina book, After the Flood - Soth wants people, Polidori does not. Soth did not actually state that he wanted people in Polidori's Katrina photographs. Basically, what he seems to want is Katrina photographs with more emphasis on Katrina's people-oriented tragedy - "If we are going to have images from events like Katrina in our galleries, museums and libraries (as I think we must), I hope they aren’t limited to stiff, large-format photography."

It seems that (amongst other things) Polidori took umbrage at the phrase "stiff, large-format photography" and posted a response on Soth's blog and the rest will be fast-disappearing history in the blogosphere.

What I find interesting about the whole deal is 2-fold:

#1 fold) The affair is unbelievably tame when judged by some of the Great Battles of the Literary Titans of the past century. If the blogosphere wants a battle (see # 2 fold), and it seems that it does, I want to see blog-batants get it on in the fashion of Gore Vidal v. Wm. F. Buckley circa 1968 wherein verbal and nearly physical combat were joined. In one exchange Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto Nazi", to which a visibly livid Buckley replied: "Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered." Now that's a difference of opinion. Ahh, the good old days.

#2 fold) One thing I've learned from my time spent on online forums/blogs is that, protestations to the contrary, everybody loves a fight/flame war. Consider this - In typical blog fashion, a very popular blog about photography - The Online Photographer goes about its daily business and generates a very modest number of comments, especially so when judged against its daily traffic - 6,000 page views a day. I can't tell you what the over all average number of comments per post is but, on the latest 15 posts in January, there 136 comments for an average of under 10 comments per post.

Leverage that average against the 31 comments on what turned out to be a controversial topic, T.O.P. Photographer of the Year 2006 post. Note also that commenting was "closed" at 31 comments and who knows how many comments weren't allowed (comments on T.O.P. are allowed only after moderator review). The bruhaha spead out across the blogospere in a manner similar to that of the Soth/Polidori thing.

Also consider this - On an online nature photography forum where I was known as an enfant terrible (because of my passionately held and expressed views on photography), my photography posts garnered a relative handful of comments unless they were accompanied by a passionate statement of one kind or another. Then, all hell would break loose. Out came the flame-throwers and comments and views soared.

It seems that most people love a fight. So much so that, if I wanted to increase the number of comments here on The Landscapist, it would seem wise to start a war of words with someone or about something. Even though the web, and blogs in particular, are a 2-way highway, it's a pity that more people don't respond to thoughtful ideas. I guess, as Thoreau opined, it's just part of human nature that most people live lives of quiet desperation, unless, of course, there is rage or anger at the fore.


Anonymous Kent Wiley said...

People definitely love an argument, a train crash, controversy, drama, conflict. And so true what you say: "...it's a pity that more people don't respond to thoughtful ideas." It requires thought, rather than an emotional response - which is what most of the Jill Greenberg comments at TOP consisted of. The discussion at Soth's site is far more sedate, and if you will, thoughtful.

But what the hell, Mark, you're probably about due for some fireworks here at the Landscapist. Why don't you see what you can stir up, and get those comment web stats up?

BTW - I thought it was Walker Percy who wrote of people living lives of "quiet desperation." Wait, no, it might have been Percy writing about Kierkegaard... Damn, am I going to have to go read a book to find out?

1/10/2007 03:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Jirka said...

I have just been enjoying your "polaroids".

They have that wonderful, thoughtful quality that shows in all your images.

I just soak in the nuances of light and that subtle composition they have. Just by viewing I learn a great deal. Just no need for words.

1/10/2007 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, your photos would be alot better if they included people.

The Wife

1/10/2007 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger gravitas et nugalis said...

thanks for the comment Alec...er...I mean...Dear

1/10/2007 07:08:00 PM  

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