The Johnson Cottage, Cary, North Carolina
The book or the exhibit? (I’ll bet you thought I was going with the old “chicken or egg” riddle, didn’t you?) Are the photographs on the wall the work of art, or are they pages from a book hanging on the wall? Does the book exist as a souvenir of the exhibit, or is the exhibit a grand marketing event to promote sales of the book? Or do both exhibit and book exist because the internet version of the art was so compelling people wanted to be able to hold in their hands the images they viewed on their mobile device or their computer? We produce work in interesting times, don’t we? (Woo hoo - an entire paragraph without a single declarative sentence!)
The ability to produce work and distribute the same images in many different formats seems to be a fairly modern thing. Paintings have always been paintings. With the advent of printing, we could see reproductions of paintings. They were books, but it was clear the original work of art was the painting. With photography, printing, the internet and other forms of electronic publishing, we have a choice of what is our primary means of distributing our art. Deciding on the primary means of distribution is a major decision for today’s photographer.