The Ark, Window, Mirror
From The Fifty Project
When I was starting out in photography (many years ago) a complimentary description was that one had “a good eye.” Some claim a “good eye” is a quality that is inborn. I think there is something to be said for genetics, but I think that “good eye” we all strive for is developed, through studying good examples of photographs. I really don’t think there is a substitute for learning by seeing. After you see great photographs, you know what a great photograph looks like and you learn how to incorporate the elements of great photographs in your work.
This is the heart of my struggle with the current photographic aesthetic. New photographers are not being exposed to the best in photographic art in their learning process. There are two areas of confusion. One is to interpret current trends and fashionable art as “instant classics” and worthy of emulation. The second area confuses illustrations of photoshop skills with photographic aesthetics. Such samples are necessary to illustrate the specific function of a software program, but should not be thought of as aesthetic examples to emulate. I think the villain is the great speed with which technology progresses.
We have people with more than forty years of experience with black and white silver gelatin processing and the aesthetics that go with that technology. Both the technology and aesthetics have been developed and refined through experience. No one has forty years of experience with Photoshop CS5.
It is quicker to develop training than it is to develop a good aesthetic using the newest tools. We should try not to confuse training in technique for development of an aesthetic and should remember classics have passed the test of time.
I published a new project on my website, "The Shoshone Building" right on the home page. Stop by and take a look at the newest photographs on the site.