righteous (as in bob marley def)….

(interview with Alec Soth , above, coming soon…..stuff you never knew)

I have had writers block for the last three weeks, yet I am not a writer. Which is no doubt  the whole of the problem. I can do ok with pictures on demand. Not so with  pen and paper. Surely it isn’t that I don’t  have much to tell you. I have too much to tell you, yet i need to be brief. I will get right to the point.

For those of you who have been readers here for awhile, you probably figured out a long time ago that this is a pretty humble operation here at Burn. While we are in popular terms a “wildly successful new brand” , we make no money and our staff is still an all voluntary army.  Now mind you we are not even trying to make money. Yea invest in us!  Smiling.  Seriously, all of us value independence and freedom more than money. So we are not looking for bosses. Yet we are looking for support. Sure, uh huh, right dude, who gets money without a boss?

In fact we are ninjalike action heroes because we have  generated some income from thoughtful donors to pay for our $15,000 Burn/Emerging Photographer Fund grant with funds donated through the not for profit Magnum Foundation. Subscription donations help to pay photographers for work published here. These are donors who simply believe in what we are doing.

Yet indeed, we are scrambling to make things work . There are two possible solutions. First , is to accept advertising. While I have zero aversion to advertising and have done ad photography, I think that for Burn right now we might just be able to survive without it and therefore have a really clean slate for just doing what we want to do and with a particular kind of unencumbered cred. This audience will basically make the decision for funding/donations  based on the steps we are making.

So you may ask, what steps?

We want to make more of what we did in the last two weeks. Financially and psychologically supporting an emerging photographer like Egyptian  Laura El Tantawy in Cairo and at the same time commissioning an exclusive for Burn essay by Paolo Pellegrin. Both photographers with unique styles and both looking at Cairo.

Both with equal pay, equal artistic control, and one time use only photo rights..

My stated initial goal of Burn was to combine the iconic with the emerging iconic. We have done it now with original photography from both and an exclusive here.

Next we go to firebrand Bruce Gilden who will be in Haiti during elections  and a soon to be assigned young  Haitian photographer to shoot a parallel story with Bruce.  Followed by Alec Soth (shown above during my interview this week)  and and an emerging photographer chosen by him. Our aesthetic interests will know no bounds and we will actively seek all individual styles of work.

Simultaneous with these projects sponsored by Burn and the readers of Burn will be a special corporate commission presented by BD who sponsored James Nachtwey with his TB essay published on Burn in 2010. BD will now sponsor in Russia both Nachtwey and emerging star of Russian descent,  Alisa Resnik. Frankly we would welcome this type of selected corporate sponsorship for any of the above projects as well. We feel we will get them , but I am willing to bet on it in the meantime with our readers support. BD was happy with Burn as a platform before, and have come back this time with additional support for a talented young photographer.  So this is a model. Again all of this original work both by Nachtwey and by Resnik will be featured first here on Burn with a proper drum roll preceding.

All of the above projects highlight four new emerging photographers as well as the established legends.

I think we have taken a large step forward today without losing any of our identity. We just want to do things here on Burn, and upcoming in print magazine  Burn 02,  that are simply cool.  Serious.  Fun. Imaginative,  and flat out informative as well. If it is  not rewarding to do and we are not giving you something unique, then we fold the tent and go have a beer. Already in our short history I think we have helped a few young photographers, respected a few icons, and made  a lot of new friends along the way.

Now one of the things I have noticed about creating space, funds, and a platform, is that while some receive , some feel left out. This is a conundrum with no real solution except  I can say that I will do my best to pass things around. I cannot support everyone. My honest hope here is only to set an example so that others better equipped to do this sort of thing than I , will take on the responsibility and the effort. I am as accessible as I can be to photographers with ideas. At the same time, I do have my own photography and books to do, so there are times when I disappear into my own shooting as I am about to do in Rio. So all patience is appreciated.

We are struggling in the good old fashioned way. Times when real things happen for the right reasons. Feels like such a time.


592 Responses to “righteous (as in bob marley def)….”

  • Is the hipstamatic valid? As valid as loading a film camera with black and white film I’d say. The film does all the original “manipulation” work for you. Sure you may want to print etc, but the basic “conversion” is done in-camera.

    And of course it is a false view of the world, cos I’ve never seen a black and white world… And; every discussion about using new technology is never black and white either!

    Oh; and I do have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek! :-)

  • Justin; That was a pretty damn classy offer from Kurt! Awesome stuff :-)

  • I guess reasonable people can disagree, but I’m like David Bowen. I took those pictures yesterday, thought they were really cool at the time, put them on my screensaver and then got sick of them and that style in next to no time………………..sounds more like sick of self or in a rut

  • after all of this discussion on apps , manipulations etc, i have decided that my old Kodachromes have a new value…no way to “manipulate” Kodachrome…you either had it or you didn’t….the tonal range and saturation were milk and honey….and best of all, it is now extinct!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    i just want to second ALL of you…!!!

  • “no way to “manipulate” Kodachrome…” except of course there is.

    Certainly no way to ‘repair’ a chrome that was shot badly..but once you have the scan…in this day and age you can make it into anything you want…..and nobody out there cares because pretty much of everything they see or hear is a facsimilie already.

  • Thanks Imants, can always count on you to come up with something derogatory regarding just about anything. Projecting a bit, are we?

    Anyway, no worries. I’m out of that one hour toy camera rut and back to my customarily high self-regard.

  • Not derogatory about what I stated you just keep on stating you want something new, seen that been there next new thing attitude…………If you feel that using the app was a negative why did you bother.

  • PANOS :))

    ok, brother, just bought KΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤ :))

    GOTTA fly…healing…can’t wait to get it…will get peace frog beginning of march when med bills are paid for :)))…

    hugs brother


    you are describing a derivative, not a Kodachrome John….there is no way to manipulate a Kodachrome….a Kodachrome IS a final image ..a final photographic positive image..done deal…one of a kind….of course you can manipulate the derivatives of anything that is scanned…but an original Kodachrome is an original Kodachrome…the reason for the development of transparency film was for projection..THE viewing system for transparencies , so from a pure viewing standpoint , nothing else happens after the photographer presses the shutter button….

  • cibachromes?
    the web?
    99.9% of kodachrome that most people will have seen will have been in these formats and not slideshows.

    …and who projects nowadays anyway? :)

  • If you feel that using the app was a negative why did you bother.

    I didn’t know what I felt about something I had no experience with, so I got experience with it. You really see a problem with that?

  • And no cropping either, or you get it or you don’t.. talk about skills..

  • So what are you saying John? That the only way to view a Kodachrome is with a loupe? Probably true, but not relevant to the real world.

  • .. referring to transparencies..

  • BTW, feel I should mention in case I came off otherwise, but I respect Michael, Ross, Paul, David’s and anyone else who’s commented’s opinion on this. I suspect we can all agree that there’s no one single answer that covers every possibility. We’re just arguing general principles and how they apply around the edges. What’s the real difference between hipstamatic “film” and Kodachrome? Maybe there is none in an absolute sense, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that if you give ten tourists a roll of Kodachrome and a Leica and have them walk around lower Manhattan for awhile, the end result will look a whole helluva lot worse than if you gave them the same assignment with iphones and hipstamatic. But if you gave ten Magnum photographers the same assignment…

  • Eva, not sure what your cropping reference refers to? Personally, I’m not against cropping, but perhaps the most important insight I’ve gained from my association with burn and David is that cropping is far more likely to negate the quality of a photo than enhance it. Again and again I find that the way I framed it when I took the shot, clutter and all, is far superior to the way I’m inclined to crop it when editing. It’s been a serious eye opener.

  • You really see a problem with that?….please explain how you came to that conclusion. How you know that to be so? How did you manage to come up with that conclusion from the following statement “If you feel that using the app was a negative why did you bother.”
    Maybe if I am lucky I will get a constructive reply…………

  • …which could be as constructive as ahmmmn lets pick a real hard camera for a novice to use(leica) and compare it with the easiest and bet on the results

  • BOBUS….humbled!
    thank you … check your email!

  • Maybe if I am lucky I will get a constructive reply…………

    true, so true.

  • Michael W

    But if you gave ten Magnum photographers the same assignment…

    I would say, that you would see the difference, even with the hipstamatic. Maybe this leads to the question, what is more important in a picture? The content, the layout, the emotions, the colors, the moment – how are the priorities?

  • Thomas, my point was that the Magnum photographers would produce infinitely superior images with the Leica and their own processing aesthetic than they would with the ipod and the software. Not saying they wouldn’t produce fantastic stuff with whatever camera. But many of those with significantly less skill would produce better photos with everything but the arrangements of objects in the frame being decided for them. In that sense, I’m very impressed with the programming skills of the hipstamatic folk. You’ve got ta be pretty good to beat them. It takes a lot of work.

    As for what’s most important — content, layout, emotions, colors, the moment? Don’t know that I’m the right person to ask, but I’d say yes.

  • ……..Thomas as you are aware personal photos for many have direct meaning and sentiment no matter what it looks like, layout ,colours even focus take a back seat. Tourists have their own ways as well…….


    you keep talking about derivatives …what you say is absolutely 100% true, but has nothing to do with what i said..i am not talking about how many people may have seen a picture..why is that a reference? .i am talking about two things (!) the fact that the original positive of Kodachrome (the first and orig way you see it) cannot be manipulated (2) the value of Kodachrome originals, because they are one of a kind, and because the film is now extinct , will now pick up a value perhaps way beyond the derivatives..

  • “Maybe there is none in an absolute sense, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that if you give ten tourists a roll of Kodachrome and a Leica and have them walk around lower Manhattan for awhile, the end result will look a whole helluva lot worse than if you gave them the same assignment with iphones and hipstamatic. But if you gave ten Magnum photographers the same assignment…”

    The end result in both cases would be the same: a message from Dwayne’s saying, didnt you people get the memo? We dont do this anymore. And so, like this discussion, we would be arguing metaphysics instead of physics, which is great if you enjoy this sort of thing.

  • I’m with Lance somewhere in Austin right now!

  • MW..

    I was referring to DAH’s comment about Kodachromes being IT, you have one chance to take the picture, as is, no altering afterwards looking at them projected.. no cropping either, no manipulating.. one of a kind.. that is when you really see the skills of a photographer.

    I have no problems what other people do with their pictures, cropping, postproduction with whatever program, dodging and burning in wet darkroom, or manipulating them otherwise, it is the picture that counts.

    That said, personally I don’t crop, never had that habit, either I print the whole negative or the picture is out. Simple, fast, saves me the hassle with playing around, trying to save crap.. got enough of that anyway.

    It is the picture that counts.. Paul above writes that it would be the same, if for example Sally Mann’s pictures would come out of an iphone. That might be so.. but the way she works shows not only the eye she has, but also the skills as a photographer.. plus she produces one of a kind pieces. I guess it boils down to what you want..

  • a civilian-mass audience

    IMO,the chicken or the egg…?
    let’s see what the new generation will bring…
    millions of my kids and my grandkids have no idea…what roll film means…:)))

    Happy Birthday ANNIE…!

    SPACECOWBOY……..and ALL of you…

    P.S …fox came close tonight…I see fear in my chicken’s eyes…hmmm…
    maybe it’s me…

  • Imant´s has got it as far as I´m concerned,
    “personal photos for many have direct meaning and sentiment no matter what it looks like, layout ,colours even focus take a back seat. Tourists have their own ways as well”.
    The worries we have as photographers about sensor sizes, digital noise, lenses and everything else are problems only we photographers have. The general public and those who follow photography without practising it could not give a damn if it was a difficult shot or not. In fact they don´t care if it was taken with a Leica m6 or a D40. They are interested in the final image and not if you went cross eyed to get that incredible photo or if you sat in the rain 5 hours for the other shot.
    BTW MW, I never doubted your respect for all the personal views on this site. Of course I have the same respect for your comments and always enjoy your insight.:)

  • What I realllly like in film is that. like David said, this is final product. Even b&w film is much more invariable than digital photography. Well, I have to menton that this is my very personal opinion, because my problem with digital photography is diversity. I just cand decide HOW my digital images should looks like. Especially with positive film I have final efect and nothing more aside.
    Last time I was delighted in plug-in silverefexpro. Now I am still looking for digital view of my pictures. and it quite opsessive. Mostly I dont like all final results.
    In film the all answers are very easy B&W- 400tx, positive- kodak e100vs, g and gx. I always knew what I could expect from.
    happy, who has found the final effect, even with hipstamatic Iphone

  • David. You are right, obviously, on both your points, and I dont think I was disputing that.

    But what you are talking about are ‘objects’ that for the most part have lived in a cupboard or filing cabinet for decades, and are destined to spend the rest of their very finite lives in a similar place.
    They are no more or less special than any color neg or b/w negative/positive of the same ‘pictorial quality’ or vintage.. And Very few care about the amount of ability needed to realise a ‘perfect’ chrome, and why should they? Everymans point and shoot can now make perfect exposures pretty much every click, craft has become automated, chimping and adjusting the norm…anyone can do it…billions do.
    They will say “shit dude, you should have borrowed my kids sony” .. And to a certain extent they will be right. Sad but true.
    In fact most champions of chromes actually shoot digital now themselves, and take full advantage of the technological advances available.
    Now I am willing to bet that you can walk into pretty much any situation and ‘call it’ pretty much instantly. “F2.8 at 1/60″ etc.. Takes a huge amount of skill and experience to do that, a knowledge that was once invaluable. re-calculate for a different shutter or film speed change?, pull out the shadows or protect the highlights?, piece of cake. A mastery of craft that was once a pre-requisite is nowadays seen as an anachronism. An affectation almost. Again, sad but true.
    Same with kodachromes.
    Should we to raise them to the status of old masters then because of their uniqueness? And have them languish in bank vaults instead of filing cabinets? Available to view in the original unsullied form only for a select few? Commanding higher and higher prices, and therefore becoming even more elite, even less available to all but the rich?
    I cannot believe that this was the spirit that they would have been made in.
    Photography is sharing…and in the case of chromes sharing means deriviatives…no other way.(unless we travel back in time to the fifties, and who wants that?)
    Protecting the integrity of those derivatives is a whole other story, but derivatives there must be…and once there are derivatives, they will be, by their very nature, derivative, and subject to manipulation.

    I am looking at a print on my wall made by a seventeen year old kid on a point and shoot, with no knowledge whatsoever of camera function past full auto press the button, chimp, repeat.. potatoshopped to hell and back.
    Above it is a print made by a celebrated art photographer on 5×4 polaroid neg, hand printed and toned. They are BOTH utterly gorgeous.

  • john gladdy…
    Great comment! I don’t go much into Flickr these days only when you send us a link :) and yes everyone with a digital camera on Flickr has ONE brilliant shot but THREE or FOUR? Very few and that is the diference in my opinion between a master and the probably all the others.

  • Paul. I dont go there that often myself, but I do keep a couple of accounts alive. And there are a lot of extremely talented photographers show their work there. it is snobbish to think otherwise.(handy for uploading instant slideshows also) The difference, i believe, is intent. many people that use platforms such as flickr shoot for the joy of shooting and sharing. Is that bad? Or less valid than ‘careering’?
    There are also groups such as HCSP, the street photography group, who, while I dont always agree with their aesthetic, are a major factor in the continuing battle to raise the profile of street photography. And have some very prominent and active members. Petty disagreements aside, that has to be a positive thing for photography right?
    Where else can you go if you shoot 120 plus x, on a box brownie devved in coffee and printed on bog roll to find other people that do also?…bet theres a group on flickr somewhere for that, and just about any other combination of cameras/films/papers/sensor modifications/cross proccessing/radical potatoshop…..the list is endless.
    And the picture on the wall counts…not who took it or on what. or where they choose to show it, or to whom.

  • talking of flickr and slideshows.
    These are some of my favourites from photographers who show their work there.

    if they never ever live outside that enviroment, millions of people will still be able to enjoy them.

  • John Gladdy…
    Yes, yes and yes in to agreement to everything you’ve said. Yes it is all down to intent and my search for rare air sometimes becomes my downfall as I miss out on the simple and just as rewarding photography you mention. Of course the photo counts and as you quite rightly stated who cares if it was in program mode, photography is all about self expression another way like some write and others sing.
    Any chance of posting a link to one of these photographers you follow round there?

  • PAUL

    you are correct of course in that the “general public” just does not care about how , which camera, which film, paper, or anything that we so called serious photographers obsess over…however, the assumption here i think that we are talking amongst fellow photographers and the practicing of the craft on the highest levels….while i do not care if a Shiraz is 1998 or 1999, there are some who would think i was an idiot for not knowing the difference…a photograph printed on fiber paper is the same photograph if printed on resin paper, but for the collector there is a big difference…when some refer to the “general public” and their acceptance or recognition of a particular picture, i honestly do not know who this “they” really is…

    who is the so called “general public” and what is it they are accepting exactly? in the days of large magazine readerships i suppose the “they” was the circulation of the magazine and became in the minds of the editors “our readers” and therefore what “they” thought of a picture was what the editors thought of a picture…and in that sense the “they” does not care whether a picture was cropped , printed on fish wrap, or whatever…

    on your other point, how difficult a picture was to take or how long it took to take it is not a factor with the photo obsessed nor the “general public”…

    but sure as hell is a factor in the minds of many who show me their work…on that point, i always tell someone who is showing me work that you have to be able to hike four days desert, get to the point you were going, get the picture of whatever is was you were after, and be prepared to easily throw the picture out if it just isn’t a fine photograph…a lot of photographers get lost right there..confusing effort with result…the fact that you ran out of water and almost died , has nothing to do with the photograph…sure makes a good story with your buddies at the pub however…

  • “technology will always be subservient to talent”
    from a speech on copyright by stephen fry


    now you are talking about collecting and elitism of collecting a one of a kind object and the morality thereof…a totally different topic, but one of great interest to all of us of course…

    yes , where is the line drawn between creation of a one of kind, limited edition, hand made object, that only the rich can afford and the distribution of this imagery out there for everyone to see?

    well, my original comment was quite simply referencing my own Kodachromes and was totally in the context of the discussion on manipulation…however, we have both digressed at this point, so let’s roll…..the commercial art value of these Kodachromes will not be determined by me, but in that vein i can imagine that if presented in a particular way, they indeed , like all “one of kinds”, will increase in value … yes either for the very rich or most likely for well endowed museums who add to their collections regularly…and for many reasons..i do not think a collector would buy just a Kodachrome…of course there are millions out there…but they might buy selected Kodachromes if presented in a particular way as they buy some TriX images but not all..

    i would not feel the least bit guilty of selling Kodachromes or any work to a museum or collector since the masses of folks, who cannot buy such one of a kind objects nor have any interest in doing so, were the first to purvey these photographs…the photographs i took on Kodachrome were seen literally by millions of people who paid literally pennies to see them if anything….inexpensive reproductions in the form of posters, low cost books, exhibitions etc allowed for the viewing of imagery shot on say Kodachrome made this work accessible by the masses and was their original intent…still , the medium is a one of a kind object of maybe great value to a few…..AND the image therein might have been distributed to the “general public” basically for free….

    so the masters can be seen for free by millions and the non-masters can be seen for free by millions…ok great Flickr,Facebook folks are billionaires and now what?? it brings us right back to selection or inclusion or collecting or whatever it is that humans do to separate one thing from another..whether it be wine, rugs, glassware, or photography…

    IF the image shot on Kodachrome became a popular icon and for whatever reason was one that some wanted to hang on their wall, then they could surely have it there at either low cost or no cost…that very same Kodachrome original would however have great value to a collector or to a museum because of both the image made and the medium it was on…the museums of the world are built on this major premise…

    it is an assumption on your part that those who are “careering” as you say are not sharing the same personal joys of photographing as anyone else…i know of no group enjoying photography on every level more than what you are calling “careering”….they are the ones loving it the most …..you should not confuse commercial photography with photography taken very seriously by some who have gone way beyond the Flickr groups…it is not divided between amateurs and commercial photographers …there is another whole world out there…

    all of this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that anyone with a digi camera now can make pictures that look just as good as Kodachromes…of course they can…but they are NOT Kodachromes…the image just might look like a Kodachrome…the postcard of the Mona Lisa hanging on my wall is a perfect rendition of the Mona Lisa…but it is not the Mona Lisa….this is the whole point of the limited edition prints…..human nature will always dictate the rising above the mean level of whatever it is we are talking about…you can detest this aspect of human nature if you like, but it will be the part of human nature that creates the finest of ballets, the best movies, the greatest theatrical productions, operas, great art museum, and yes SOME photography…

    this of course does not take away from your very good point that the beauty of a five year old painting , drawing or photograph has perhaps an equal beauty to a master…i have gone into schools and seen child paintings and drawing that rivaled the masters..or did they honestly? well, actually not quite…almost..looked a lot like…could see the potential…and yes the innocence of the young and the natural creativity that gets pushed out can be seen in this work…but a real match for the masters? i do not think so..but it is a nice idea and i would be the first to promote the work of the very young, the unknown, and the aspiring…that is exactly the point of Burn in fact..were i just out there trying to hawk my wares to collectors, i would not be here believe me…and yes one of those school kids might just go from classroom wall to the Tate, but not all….

    there is no democratic judgment of art….has not happened through the ages and is unlikely to start now…curators curate….you did not want a democratic judgment of your own work just last week….you wrote the other day that it was a personal call on your part and perhaps with a collaborator..i think this is correct…

    so back to Kodachrome…some will sit in attic along with all of grandma’s negatives as you say…and some will rise above due to the one of a kind nature of image and medium….as does absolutely everything in our craft, our art, our passion, and sometimes our business…

    to be very clear, i do not think that “one of a kind” is the only celebration of photography..quite the contrary and referring again to what i said above about mass distribution …but at the same time those who do celebrate and cherish the “one of a kind” should not be chastised for their appreciation either…these two schools of thought are not mutually exclusive imo…

    cheers, david

  • Buy ”junk” and sell ”antiques”. :)

  • I think for all of us here, it’s not about what the general public likes. In photography, like pretty much everything else, the general public likes crap most of the time . Editors, art directors, gallery owners, curators, buyers, fellow professionals, a more discerning slice of the general public — those are the people that matter if we want to get paid or even if we want intelligent appreciation of our work and getting paid just goes with the territory. And by the same token, as photographers, the general public takes crappy photos most of the time. Editors, art directors, blah blah blah, will not pay for it.

    And sure, a great photo does not necessarily require great knowledge nor skill nor hiking four days in the desert nor the finest equipment, but those who possess great knowledge and skill and are willing to make the greatest effort with the finest equipment will get a helluva lot more great photos than those lacking in any of those areas. And when it comes to getting paid, who is that editor or art director going to depend on? Who is that gallery owner or curator going to bet on? Well, duh.

    Here’s a personal anecdote that touches on several of these issues. I shot a small assignment a few weeks ago. It was as simple as simple gets. A picture of a building. The art director pulled a shot of it off Google street view and showed me the exact shot he wanted. He actually could have just used the google shot, but had some ethics about keeping creative people employed. Anyway, I went and took the shots he wanted but the conditions were radically different than when the google car passed — big piles of black snow and garbage bags in the shot. That’s where a little knowledge mattered. I realized that if I took the shot at night, the black snow and garbage bags could be lost in the shadow. And secondarily, saw that the colors would be interesting from a color theory perspective. Then in order to take the shot, I had to go to some effort, not quite four days hiking in the desert, but getting up very early and standing out in freezing rain and high wind. It also required me to have a camera with specs enough to get a night shot in the wind and the rain.

    So although in a certain condition, a dumb camera mounted on a car was able to get an adequate shot, doing it professionally on demand took a little knowledge, effort and quality gear. That little anecdote is representative of real life so much more than all these anybody-can-do-it-with-an-iphone stories. And at the higher levels, the necessary knowledge and skill and effort and (in some cases) gear are much greater.

    And funny how everyone talks about photoshop and automated gear but virtually all of the top professionals go to extraordinary lengths to get it right in camera and set their camera as they see fit. Better to pay more attention to what they do than whatever they may say.

  • It amazes me how lowly you treat the public mw…….. you are just a elitist mongrel dog.

  • DAH is filling in for BOB B 2DAY

  • What about style or a personal voice? Does style find you or is it something one must search for within? Certainly seems a very difficult part of photography to tame, so few posess a distinctive style.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative ART.”
    Ansel Adams

    and you are ALL gifted Artists…BUT…

    “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
    Emile Zola

    and here ,we are in BURNLAND and you are BURNIANS…so don’t get distructed by the masses…
    YOU focus and keep working… cause your vision is helping us, the civilians,the masses to

    Thank you
    a civilian- mass audience

  • Paul, a great question. I’d certainly be interested in reading what others think about the development of style and vision…

    For me it is now something I no longer worry about. I came to the realization some time ago that who the person is is the primary catalyst for their style. Reading the histories and biographies of artists give us a fairly accurate indication of the factors that created their approach; reading the thoughts of essayists here tells me as much about their work as their work itself. When my understanding of the person co-incides with my judgement of their work – when I see their personality in their photographs – the honesty re-assures me. But when what I know of their points-of-view clashes with the work, I’m unsettled. There is a certain straightforwardness and clarity that comes through and to me that is the style.

    What interests us in creative endeavours is another aspect. What turns your crank in terms of subject matter that you deal with? Landscapes, still life, portrait, street? Do you think in terms of stories, or one-off images that steals your attention? How does your understanding of the world around you dictate want you want to say?

    It is probably less about mastering technique than it is about understanding your nature, interests, and desires. Slightly off-topic, but just a few days ago I saw a news report about, of all things, men’s facial products. A sales rep was demonstrating certain products on himself (man-liner, rouge, etc.). Oddly, he was sporting two day’s worth of stubble, and I was amused at how on one hand he was so vain as to want to look better through make-up, while pretentious enough to look raw, worldly, and weary via the early beard. Sometimes the essays I see are the same; through repeated tricks of technique, the photographer sends off a vibe which only serves to hide a lack of content, message, and point of view.

    The person’s soul is his style, and when the soul comes through in the work then simultaneously so does the style. To me it is as simple as that.

  • Jeff..

    “The person’s soul is his style, and when the soul comes through in the work then simultaneously so does the style.”

    Now that is quite nice.. going to think about this for a bit..

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