Friday, December 23, 2016

Blurred Visions


The photographers task is simple: be clear and sharp. The Decisive Moment is finite and must contain all that is necessary for the photograph to do its job. 

How unfortunate that this can never be achieved even if there is an element of truth in it, and I doubt that there is.

The photographers task is by no means simple and at no time will the photograph be clear and sharp. There are those that seek this end in futility, in which case they will always be disappointed. Even if they claim satisfaction, that satisfaction is most often left in the hands of others. Approval from others is paramount. A quick sale, a postcard to a friend, a 'like' on social media, a prize, received like a merit badge on completion of a poorly conceived and equally constructed camp fire by a Boy Scout. The fire is luke warm in both cases.

We are told to try harder, but with what and at what cost? Endless instruction and a continuous flow if technical prowess still leaves us wanting more. Following a rainbow is more fruitful. Praying for intervention has equal prospects. At the end of the day satisfaction will come from the value of the reward perceived or received from others. Judgement will always be based on the temperament of others. 

Mind you, some are quite content with this predicament. I have on many occasions heard this pursuit referred to as 'advancement' or 'improvement' or, heaven forbid, 'creativity'. 'Mimicry' is more accurate. More than once have I seen the eternal Sun set over another horizon and wonder how many times I need to see this particular one posted on Flickr or Facebook to remind me that someone with an iPhone was there as well. Living each moment as if it is your last was never meant to be taken literally, nor does it need to be recorded. Prosperity will have more important things to consider.

And what of the Selfy? How is it that we have moved from a society that once revered the portrait as a symbol of prosperity and social significance to a mode of self-indulgent narcissism. Not only do we find those that cannot pass a shiny surface without stopping to admire their own reflection but it is necessary to photograph it and reward themselves by posting said image on the scourge of intellectual companionship: the Internet, assuming their 'friends' need an update of appearances and an appalling lie that beauty beyond belief  has just graced their presence.

Ottoman in his investigation of the history of photography stated that the original meaning of 'photograph' has been diverted and somewhat lost in the new inclusion of digital enhancement. Be it that the image is projected onto the sensor and 'drawn' by light, the similarities to the original process has been lost in a flurry of photons and manipulation of pixels. The question we might ask, even if we are not purists, is: "is there a line and on which side will we stand when we say "this is a photograph"?

I don't yet have my own answer, or maybe my position shifts. 

What I would like to do right now is to do a bit of navel gazing 

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