Monday, May 4, 2009
Copyright Bill Henson
So since Joerg doesn't allow comments over on Conscientious and I'd like to take issue with something he posted today, I'll have to do that here. I'm not sure if he even reads this but perhaps he's got me on his RSS since I'm on his blogroll. I do take comments here.
Joerg posted the following:
Photography at night might be technically challenging, but I'm always a bit of a loss as to what to make of it: This is what things look at night. But then the point is... what? Anyway, check out Levi Wedel's site for a lot of night photography.
Now, to just throw out a statement like that and not have any kind of follow up seems a bit silly (and borderline authoritarian - "What I say goes.) although I will give him credit for phrasing it as a question.
To simply discount night photography as technically challenging and a gimmick is illogical to me. Why not discount daytime photography (also technically challenging - in fact more so for me, as I've got the night thing pretty much down by now, though it did take quite a bit of work to get to where I am)?
Had Joerg said the following, we'd have all been thinking he's a bit loony:
"So this is what things look like in the daytime. But the point is ...what?"
Well, night is the yang to daylight's yin, the black to its white, so conversely the statement is equally silly. Certain things happen in the daytime, which has a specific mood or moods and others at night, which has it's own unique feel or mood. Why discount the exploration of roughly 1/3rd of our life on this planet?
Knowing that Joerg favors portraiture, I could turn his simplification to that genre:
"So this is what these people look like. But the point is...what?"
The answer, I think, to all of these parallel questions and for any type or genre of photography is that the point is what the photographer chooses to explore within the genre and show to the viewer. The deliberate selection by the photographer of subject matter and the way he chooses to portray it, in which order etc. is the point - the idea behind the work and its beauty -the voice given to it by the photographer and the feelings or ideas the work raises in the viewer.
It matters not whether one shoots in the daytime, at night or in caves - landscapes, portraiture etc. To simply discount an entire genre is a bit far-fetched. We should be asking, as Joerg did, "But the point is...what?" about every type of photography. Equally.
Posted by J. Wesley Brown at 1:35 PM