payback

sixpack

Photo © #1 Paprica Fotografia, #2, 3, 5 Candy Pilar Godoy, #4 Vinicius Matos, #6 Michelle Madden Smith
#1: subject from photo in book shows up for launch book signing in Rio, #2: magazines given away on soccer field in Cantagalo community in Rio, #3: young boy helps with a wall “pasting” of our book in Cantagalo, #4 and 5: neighborhood square in Tavares Bastos, #6: signing for Usain Bolt in Jamaica

 

PAYBACK

 

My schedule has been a bit crazy lately. Or maybe it always is. I have a really hard time saying “no” to stuff. Especially if it involves wide eyed youngsters who I can see are just craving some words of “wisdom”.

Of course this seems often strange to me, since I am craving words of wisdom myself!!

The recent marathon to Rio to giveaway a magazine version of (based on a true story) and then straight to Jamaica to work with Usain Bolt and 25 young photographers leaves me feeling like I just ran the 100 meter sprint and the mile on top of it. I was a long distance runner in my youth, so that mentality does come in handy for almost everything I do. You can always “kick it” just a little bit more even if you just can’t. Works.

My team of Eva-Maria Kunz, Roberta Tavares, Candy Pilar Godoy, Michelle Madden Smith, and Mike Courvoisier made it all work. Ever since I started Burn it has been the collaborative effort that rules. None of us can do much alone. Finding great collaborators will change your life if you have not already figured that out. I always tell my students, “find ONE person you trust” to help you with your work . To be a second set of eyes. To be an advisor. To kick you in the butt. Works.

Now I only do this post for one reason. As a story about inspiration. And inspiration is THE fuel for doing any damned thing. If you are not inspired, you might as well stay in bed. You need fire in the belly. Forget exotic places, the right camera. Without the “fire”, pasa nada.

Readers here know by now I come up with a lot of crazy ideas. Including the evolution of Burn in so many ways. Some (most) of my ideas do not work. Yet some do. Again, if you can complete one out of ten ideas you have, you are in the upper percentile of people who can FINISH something.

One of my crazy ideas was to giveaway half of the print run of (based on a true story) the magazine version. It was a crazy idea, it still is a crazy idea, and I did it and I “lost” financially and yet for me this was maybe the very coolest most successful thing I ever did. For sure the most rewarding. Sure I always “give” when I am shooting. Bringing back prints to people I have always done. Buying my subjects a cold beer or dinner or whatever I have always done.

Yet I have never been in a position to really really show the people where I was shooting exactly what I did. Most often they never knew. Never saw NatGeo or whatever magazine I was shooting for on a story. Yet this time I brought it back. As a thank you for allowing me to work in the Carioca community. Sure only a gesture or symbolic at best. Yet I could feel the vibe, the look in their eyes, the feeling of doing the right thing. After all (based on a true story) was not just a collaboration of my team but a collaboration with the subjects I photographed.

Segued right behind the Rio giveaway was a few days in Kingston, Jamaica with 25 young photographers aged 13-17 who belong to photo clubs around the island. The Usain Bolt Foundation and Samsung made this happen. These kids were amazing. Smart, focused, ready to learn, shooting well. We pulled an “all nighter” to get the prints made (thanks Mike, Michelle, Candy) for an on the spot exhibition of their work which was then viewed by Jamaica super hero Usain Bolt who also walked away with a signed free copy of (based on a true story)!!

Anyway, life is all one big circle. Yup, what goes around, comes around and a whole bunch of other cliches about paying back paying forward yada yada yada. Well all I can say, and I think my team would say, it is worth it, worth it, and worth it.

We are selling on Burn, and at Magnum, and at PhotoEye and possibly other venues the other half of the (based on a true story) print run…At the lowest price possible. The collector edition, now gone, was what it was and expensive by nature. Yet while I do like appealing to collectors my heart can never be elitist. The success of the collector edition paid for at least part of the giveaway and the sales of the second part of the print run should get us at break even point. Good biz? Nope. Yet the right thing all around.

And besides, “breaking even” if you are leading the life you love, and may help a few others to do so,  is a nice reward. What more to ask for?

So, I implore you to pick up your camera and do “your thing” and at the same time make it another person’s “thing” as well…Make it a two way street. Either with the pictures themselves. Or by passing on any knowledge you have to somebody else.

Give it away. Works.

 

~dah~

 

 

169 Responses to “payback”


  • a civilian-mass audience

    BRAVOOO ANDREWB…100 is yours, now it’s time for your payback

    Your REPORTTTTTTTTTTTT.Thank you!!!

  • CIVI,

    My only other report is that I have recently been taking many many snapshots and not many photographs. Not sure why that is, but it’s rather frustrating.

    Not that snapshots aren’t fun and good – I’m just trying for more and suddenly lacking badly.

    A.

  • Kathleen, you didn’t have any “bad” there. Photography should be an art confident enough in itself to allow for serious criticism like you find in other arts, particularly literature and film. Sometimes I think as is it’s too much of a circle jerk and is treated accordingly by the world at large. As far as letting the statement influence the critique (not just Ms. Prieto’s, but any statement), that is as much a part of the work as any photograph. If a photographer doesn’t want the statement to be a part of the work, he or she shouldn’t have a statement. In this case, my impression is that they are as intimately connected. Often, I get the impression that the artist just came up with a bullshit statement after the fact in order to get published or a show or a good grade or whatever, but with Ms. Prieto’s work, it feels real.

    So big picture I think criticism is great and that photography would benefit from a helluva lot more of it. But in this little world of burn, it seems more likely to hurt people’s feelings than to have much positive benefit and although the management tolerates it, they certainly don’t encourage it. And part of it is that most of us are working photographers rather than serious critics and bring our own baggage to it. Although I never do that consciously, I often suspect I’m guilty of it, at least a little. In this case, I was just having a conversation about M.F.A.’s the other night and brought that to it. And I’ve considered doing a similar project, even done some exploratory work on it, and that probably had some subconscious effect (the parks and beaches around here are also safe havens, for example). Of course at the top end of literary criticism, it’s not at all unusual for a prominent author with expertise in the subject to be assigned the review of a similar material. The danger of that is if we criticize based on how we would have done it rather than on how the author/artist actually did it. And there’s always a good likelihood we will be accused of it, regardless.

    As to speculating about Ms. Prieto’s economic status and how it affects her interaction with her subjects, that’s certainly a valid and interesting area to explore in a review of her work, but as we actually know so little about her, I think it’s kind of wrong to do so here. That said, I understand where you’re coming from. Most Americans have little idea of Mexico’s cultural diversity nor of its advanced arts. I remember that one of the things that really surprised me when I lived and studied in Latin America was how Mexico was perceived as such a cultural heavyweight. Then living in the southwest, reading a lot of history and traveling quite a bit in northern Mexico, I was equally surprised to get some sense of the deep social divisions based on the amount of Mesoamerican blood in one’s veins. Mexican law was always great. No slavery. No Indian reservations. But the customs are another story. Another story that’s not told in that essay, but then here we go again.

  • Mike R: “A vehicle for something; otherwise it’s just technique. You have to have something to say.”

    You know, I generally agree, but sometimes maybe it’s enough to just say “this is beautiful.” Or to grab a line from Wikipedia, the point of landscape art for many is “a kind of secular faith in the spiritual benefits to be gained from the contemplation of natural beauty.” Of course in my serious work I find it interesting how the ways we manage or interact with nature tell us things about our character, but a lot of days I just like to take a walk and look at the pretty trees and flowers. Yesterday proved to be a good day for it. In homage to Panos, it occurred to me to huff some helium and do a voiceover, but don’t really have that much to say.

  • Damn, just can’t figure out how to embed a vimeo. Link here.

  • I feel that the net has done an injustice to photography, it is a visually weak form of presentation giving exaggerated importance to the mundane. The net is ideal for facebook, twitter, email business etc type of communication and great for video/music etc but dies in the presentation of still images, photographic essays fare even worse.

  • IMANTS

    i think everyone feels as do you about the net…i don’t think anyone thinks that presenting work on the net is THE way to view any of the visual arts….yes it may falsely heighten the mundane or worse kill the truly terrific…more likely and more tragically the latter….

    the net is simply for information only….or a preview…lovers of photography must look at hard copy books or see an exhibition….if the internet leads to either of those two things, then it has done its job…its only job…however before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, you may want to remember the old daily newspaper and 99% of print magazines were just as bad if not worse in this regard…

    mass communication is what it is..use it but don’t confuse it…

    cheers, david

  • PATRICIO

    even after the first year of Burn, i was thinking the same thing…if you took all the best of the best comments, we would have quite a book…..

    i think it is just a matter of time..both kinds of time…the time it will take someone to to collect all the comments and just us doing it….a combo of the EPF and looking at books to publish and essays to run here is pretty much a full time job but at some point i think what you ask for will happen….

    so, write great stuff!!

    cheers, david

  • One hoped that the internet could have enhanced photography as it to video and music the single as I stated the image comes the closest.

  • Quite aware of the mass communication aspect at best newspapers taught me to skip most of the pages

  • …….so it is easy to do the same with the results created due to structures imposed upon us by the ciscos, googles, microsofts, apples yahoos, governments etc

  • ahh I forgot the telcos

  • the net is simply for information only….or a preview… sure but imposes a dominance on what follows

  • The worst, or one of the worst things about shooting for web presentation is facturing in thumbnail curb appeal.

  • Michael:

    I read and read again your comment above. There´s so much there i would love (LOVE) to talk about. So much that i also think about. And so much that i have thought of little else but since Ruth´s essay was published. Photo essays on the whole promise great insight but are merely a finite series of focused or random thoughts that attempt to articulate a point of view. The statement accompanying the essay is redundant. A title is all that is necessary, perhaps a brief caption or two if context is required. Otherwise, unless one is truly poetic, why gild the lily with text? The photographer cannot hope to persuade the viewer to his viewpoint with words if the photographs fail in their primary function. And that is by some weird alchemy to convert mute observations into a specific energy that causes them to rise from their flat surface and fill the very air around the viewer informing, revealing, suggesting, emphatically stating, whispering the photographer´s message.

    This is hard. REALLY hard. And it is why photographers (as other artists) work their whole lives and maybe achieve this incredible spiritual connection with the viewer sometimes. The best do so consistently. The rest, not so much, mainly never. Ever.

    That some find Ms. Prieto´s essay amazing while i was horribly disappointed makes me wonder, was it me? What part of my yearning failed to identify with her women? Worse. It was worse than failed to identify. I cannot answer this. Right now i know i want to be free of those pictures, free of those faces. Some photographers deliberately hold back, leave the viewer wanting, insist that the viewer work for the insight, some teasingly suggest substance where there is none. I cannot say which is at work here. But i am very grateful to Ms. Prieto for making me work to peel back yet another of photography´s fascinating layers. I am the better for having seen her work, albeit that the experience has not been entirely pleasant.

    Regarding criticism under essays, no matter Burn management´s encouragement or the lack of it, i never learned so much about photography and photographic thought as what i have learned from your (collectively) writings under the essays. Does it hurt feelings? I am sure sometimes it does. But so does rejection and heaven knows when you put your work out there rejection and/or indifference is a huge part of the experience. Published essays here are already winners. I envy these photographers their hurt feelings, their disappointed, amazed, pissed off interested and invested viewers!!! Good God, it sure beats the dead air and silence that ensures a photograph will never live, never experience that incredible alchemy that lifts it from its page and wafts it into the air like the ghost of moments passed.

    So please, do not stop writing under essays. Burn would just stop burning and hiss a fleeting spark or two into a silent void like a campfire after all have crawled off into their tents for the night.

    Best
    Kathleen

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ANDREWB…keep shooting.I am waiting for your book.

    and to ALL MY BURNIANS…I am waiting for your books,I have received “promises” that the first copy will be mine…hmmm,ok,let’s aee,
    I CAN wait…almost 5 years in BURNLAND,you know me by know

    I CAN WAIT !!! because I believe in you,ALL OF YOU.

    P.S…KATIEE,wow,you are definitely an academian…but my above comment applies to you too.
    (same for AKAKY,BOBBYB,SIDNEY…oime,and the other Academians)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    and EVA,VIVA…I know you are working hard (BURNING CREW) but can you please,send me a weather report…

    I LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLL !!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    MW…don’t you dare stop BURNING…you have been warned…

  • Civilian…

    don´t stop burning, you have been warned…

  • Civi.. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use the word shit here.. so I won’t use it, but it would describe the weather perfectly.. Northbound tomorrow, so it will be white, no doubt! It’s been a persecution.. get the chicken snorkles and a fire!

  • I finally made it to the William Eggleston show at the Met today. As it was late in the show’s run and pretty much an off time, I mostly had the place to myself and was able to spend some quality time with his work. Eggleston falls outside the interests of typical burn conversation. At a glance, or even a long look, his photographs appear commonplace. His work is not a vehicle for anything. He didn’t really have anything to say. He wasn’t a documentary photographer (although his photography serves to document important things about a place and time). He didn’t take pictures of things (although things are in his pictures). He took pictures of lines and shapes and colors that explored the relationships, the flow, between and among them. The best way to grasp the work is to let your eyes drift out of focus. When the details of the things blur, the movement, the flow of the elements become apparent. But that’s all there is. No cry for social justice in these images. No visual whizz bang pop. A little humor, possibly. Not much. Perhaps some kind of art statement about the value of color photography back when it went largely unrecognized. Can’t say for sure though. Aside from a few quotes on the wall that don’t relate directly to the work, apparently Eggleston wasn’t talking. The books they had for sale contained no words of his. The photos no descriptions. A nice forward by a very good writer, which is imo the way it should be.

    Nice experience that it was, it paled compared to what it would be if I had some quality digital files and could watch it on the computer at home. I was only able to come away with whatever insights I gained because no one was there. Normally a trip to see a show like that at the Met would mean slowly shuffling past the pictures in a long line. Any stop for contemplation causes problems for others. There’s no way to survey a whole wall or corner. On the computer, however, I could watch the work go round and round for hours and would no doubt see much more of what there is to be seen. Could buy a book, I know, but that would be a lesser experience as well. The images on the screen are much larger and vibrant. And just think what it’s no doubt gonna be like. Today you can buy a 60″ wide 4k television for $7000. In ten years it will likely be $400 at Costco with a retina display. You won’t need a warehouse to store 100′s of 40×60 prints. And you can study them as long as you want. That, hopefully, is the future of photography. Time to pry it from the cold, greedy hands of the wealthy. Soon, anyway. Soon.

  • all one ever has to fucking say, in those 4 pics above….btw, the child is WE’s son, not that it matters…..

    though its always mattered to me….

    will chime in later in the weekend on the most recent essay…some of the commentary left me heartbroke, not because the ‘criticism’ was interesting, but that because the failings attributed to the photographer and the project seem much more about the critics than the work itself…

    will try to hammer out all that later….

    overwhelmed at the moment with my own shapeshifting life….

  • check that 5 pics above…then again, i could post pics from WE all night and never end….he may have nothing to say, but his pics sure broke open, for me, all that was say-less (beautifully, mysteriously, insanely) about the world….just as looking in a class of gold whiskey through smoke as the music plays on….

  • Bob; If I’d have been shown Eggleston’s work 4 or 5 years ago I probably would have said something like “and that’s photography?”. Now; because of the influences of the Burn essays and many of your (and others) links; I’ve had my eyes opened to so many new styles of work. One of my next “must haves” is Eggleston’s “Stranded in Canton”…. :-)

  • I didn’t mean that Eggleston not taking pictures of things and not having anything to say is a bad thing. I like his work. I see the dynamism in his compositions that appear to most people as static. I like abstract art and appreciate the challenge it is to photograph things without photographing things or sadly mimicking abstract paintings. Of course not saying anything through one’s images is impossible, but the challenge and necessary effort are usually interesting and Eggleston manages it quite well in a unique way. And of course one can’t control what things other people see be it banality or some powerful statement about The Gothic South. And, thankfully, he doesn’t explain it much. Probably because there’s not much of anything to explain in words, being as it is, you know, abstract. If it were just a well-defined concept stuffed in some rectangular frames I doubt anyone would be talking much about it.

  • Stranded in Canton is the only work by WE I can’t stand, maybe because it’s a movie.
    When it comes down to colour photographers Pinhassov, Dah, Eggleston and sometimes Alex Webb are my gods of inspiration. For some WE is an acquired taste, I found his images easy to fall in love with.
    My humble tribute to WE…http://instagram.com/p/Z-zFpvq2GM/

  • Here’s an example of one important thing that’s going on with Eggleston. More or less works with all of them.

  • MW…

    maybe because I’m on the street taking photos but I just don’t your previous post.

  • MW…

    maybe because I’m on the street taking photos but I just don’t your previous post. It’s got something to do with the golden rule?

  • Four years ago, I pulled up to the drive-through window of a brand new coffee shop in Wasilla. Naturally, I took a few pictures. The coffee shop, the woman who runs it and her brilliant husband who designed and built it for her then became a regular part of my life. They made many appearances on my blog, along with their baristas, customers and young son, so some of you are familiar with them.

    Early this morning, I put up a post on the burial of this man who, thanks to coffee, became a good friend:

    http://www.logbookwasilla.com/logbookwasilla/2013/5/31/scots-funeral-the-sun-shone-warm-and-bright.html

    Next week, I plan to cover another funeral for a great Ahtna Athabascan woman, Katie John, sometimes called the Rosa Parks of Alaska because of the stand she took against the State after rangers forced her to take down her Copper River subsistence fishwheel. She fought all the way to the Supreme Court, won, and then had to fight again. I put up a short post this evening, right behind the one linked above, but will do a bigger retrospective early next week.

  • Paul, my point is that Eggleston’s photos are practically textbook examples of dynamic symmetry in composition. As I said, I spent some quality time at the Met exhibition, paid very close attention to the 14 Pictures, and saw that each image has an underlying pattern that makes it flow. For the most part, Eggleston was not making photographs of the objects in his pictures. He was not making some kind of documentary about the south. He was concocting interesting compositions from lines, shapes and colors he was able to divine from the world around him. He was making abstract art, much more akin to Jackson Pollock than Robert Frank. The apparent subject was secondary, if that.

    I know it’s really kewl to be all “fuck the rules, man,” but when it comes to composition I don’t think “rules” is the right word. There are principles of composition and color that humans are hard wired to appreciate. William Eggleston might as well be Exhibit 1a.

    You like quotes:

    “I’ve always assumed that the abstract qualities of [my] photographs are obvious. For instance, I can turn them upside down and they’re still interesting to me as pictures. If you turn a picture that’s not well organized upside down, it won’t work.”

    “I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify.” — WE

  • MW…

    I think it’s a bit of everything. I don’t honestly think it was all colour and symmetry, I’m sure he was inspired by his surroundings also. However he did study art at college. Have a look at his book on Paris, it’s pretty cheap compared to his other books and in that one I promise you will certainly only see colour, art and everything you’ve stated above.

  • ahhh..preaching to the choir:

    “Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other.”

    “A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.”

    WE-

  • “Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other.”

    I understand this philosophy and for many people and there photographs it is true, but it is not only the way to look at photography or to use photography. So often, people discover something that works for them and then decide that is the only it should be. No. I have stated this before, but to me, photography and words blend very well together when they intertwine to to bring multi-dimension to the same story. As I have stated before, kind of like a baroque fugue.

    There are many ways to tell a story. You can tell it with words. You can tell tell it with pantomine. You can tell it with paintings, sculpture and photographs. You can weave different media together and then they become one. With photos and words, it is not necessarily a matter of following up. It can be matter of bringing the two together to bring multiple dimension to one story.

  • Hi FrostFrog:

    How i feel about words is simply personal. Everyone has their own way of doing things. And i know you like to tell stories with words and pictures. I just happen to feel words are quite often overused, redundant and diminishing to a photograph. People expect text when they look at a photograph because they are used to captions, stories, articles and advertising copy. But with photography as art? Why trivialize the viewing experience with words? Imagine Robert Frank´s “The Americans” with text? eeks.

    Having said that, photographers have incorportated text into their art to great effect. Biographical narratives are extremely personal statements that have been utilized by Robert Frank and Larry Clark for example. Duane Michals used text on his photos quite often and even created a photograph using only text scrawled on a blank piece of photo paper. But text and photos are a challenge to use together to artistic benefit. And unless one knows well what one is about one can easily make a fine mess of things by walking and chewing gum at the same time.

    Best

    kath´

  • JEFF

    Loved your comment under Valentina´s essay and so am bringing my input here, lest i selfishly mar the beauty of your words and thoughts with my own blah where it least belongs.

    “I’m not a fan at all of the “fuzzy” photograph, as in most cases I find it to be a gratuitous cheat for rawness and visceral emotion”

    I have long had a tough time with this issue with my own work. Is it ok, isn´t it ok to embrace one´s blurry photos. I am far from resolved on the issue. Because actually, blur DOES express rawness and visceral emotion quite well. Some more than others. When does it work, when dosen´t it? Intent helps of course but what of the occasional incredible accident? hmmm…

    I have been too long enamored of the work of photographers such as Antoine D’ Ágata, Miroslav Tichy and Japanese street photographers to dismiss blurry photography offhand. Since i am near-sighted, blur is my visual reality if i don´t have glasses on. i am comfortable with it. I find the opposite (great depth of field, digitally sharpened images) to be unnatural because of the great amount of information hitting me all at once. So this issue, like all others has to be worked out on an individual basis.

    As you noted in Clementina´s essay, her use of blur effectively connotes the passing of time. Blur, like text (wink at FrostFrog) and Holga light leaks and…and…and…a host of other devices that are frowned upon by one group or another are all potentially valid. Why qualify your enjoyment of Clementina´s use of blur as an exception to your usual high standard? Why not just love it, that´s all?

    Best
    Kathleen

  • Kathleen…

    It took me a long time to decipher/understand Robert Frank’s “Americans” and it was thanks to many words and thoughts on the work. I agree the essay has no use for words added to the images but sometimes words help understand, especially whilst learning.

  • I certainly agree with Bill that all manner of combinations of words and pictures can work, and I agree with Paul that it’s interesting and sometimes helpful to read what other people think about particular works of photography. But I can’t help noting that none of the top photographers I’ve noticed write their own artist statements. Jack Keroac, for example, wrote the intro to “The Americans.” Here on burn we see the excellent example of Wim Wenders wrote an intro for James Nachtwey (hey, btw, April’s passed, where’s the Wenders work we were promised?). And consider David Alan Harvey’s artist statement for “Based on a True Story.”

    The self-written academic twaddle we read under so many essays not only serves to undermine their possible artistic value but is also a stark indicator that the work is most likely less than first rate. When there’s a wide discrepancy between what the academics say and what the professionals in the field do, I think its most often wise to err on the side of emulating the pros.

  • “I think its most often wise to err on the side of emulating the pros.”

    Mike, I respect your opinion, but I think it wise to err on the side of what the force and drive inside tells you to do.

  • Well Bill, hard to argue with that. Still, there is a lot of pressure to provide some kind of statement for published work. Very few can get away with providing nothing. Finding an insightful writer to provide his or her insights seems to be the way most top pros go. And I’m sure there are plenty of examples of photographers doing a good job of writing their own intros without spelling out exactly what the piece is about. Bob Black springs to mind. But I suspect it’s pretty rare that the force and drive inside of which you speak tells people to write preposterous academese. If it does, then I do think they’d be better off emulating the pros and let the viewer figure it out for themselves or with a hint or two from a good writer.

  • I agree with you there, Mike. What I have noticed, though, in so many top photographic publications, such as Aperture, is that even there, written by other people, the intros are so often mostly hyperbole.

  • Kathleen:

    D’Agata’s technique works perfectly for me, since his visual impairment matches his work style. The same holds for our Mr. Black. How democratic an art-form is photography that literal vision can play second-fiddle to intent?

    I think the fuzzy photo idea can be used when it mates to the “knowing oneself” approach to the art, too. That is, fuzzy, raw thinking can beget fuzzy, raw photos. That can apply to anyone, and is especially appropriate for those who place passion and emotion over reason.

    The third valid approach would be as shown by Quintano, whose essay if I read it right, uses the technique to marry the intent to the work.

    All of those approaches work for me; it’s the essays I see where the technique is used in a short-hand manner to introduce a mystery that would be otherwise non-existent I can’t respond to. For me there is a falseness present that doesn’t ring true, that doesn’t hold me.

    It’s interesting what you say about your nearsightedness, and how it affects your viewing of sharp, high information imagery. I have the opposite problem: my optometrist says my contrast acuity is off the charts. I wonder if how we literally view the world prejudices our responses to it? To answer your final comment – it goes hand-in-hand with the way in which you and I see things differently – my qualification was a way to note the realization that for the first time here, I was able to overcome what would normally have been a lukewarm – even negative – response and acceptance to an essay, and broke through personal aesthetic prejudices. This is the great lesson that is taught here on BURN. If the editors who decide which essays are published can appreciate the full spectrum of photography, then it is something worthwhile emulating.

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