sjones wrote in post #18229229
Oh god, more “art” and “Eggleston” bashing. Folks, photography is a visual medium, and the best of it incorporates artistic elements, even if absolutely no pretense exists that the work is ‘art’ itself.
Yes, professed ‘art’ can frequently be pretentious, fraudulent, arrogant, an inveigling superficial product of cynical marketing, elitist, the emperor’s new clothes, and so on…we understand this. But this does not negate the overall historical and cultural value of art, in its broadest term, throughout the course of humanity.
OK, so it’s all subjective. Fine. Then ask yourself, how does one go about improving his or her own photos (should one want to of course)? What factors are you going to consider based on your own subjective demands?
And this is where a basic appreciation of art can benefit one, because art addresses aesthetic, and the aesthetic, depending on the type of photography pursued, can be a crucial component of such photography. Note how I said “can be.”
It’s easy to dismiss art, to be iconoclastic, but the reductionist vilification of art promotes its own set of problems, with boorishness and formulaic mediocrity marking just a couple of the drawbacks. And these days in particular, I have had it up to my arse in the deification of anti-intellectualism.
Aspiring for something more does not have to be an ostentatious or duplicitous endeavor.
On Eggleston specifically, easily one of my favorite photographers, and I actually don’t care much for the tricycle shot (I think it has something to do with my dislike of children). And if nothing else, his control of color is shared by extremely few photographers; I won’t even entertain a debate on that.
I’ve seen folks on this very site post similar shots to mock Eggleston, an exercise that only proved them foolishly lacking, really, embarrassing.
On the issue of needing text for appreciation. If any artistic medium benefits from external explanation, it’s photography. Photographs don’t tell a story; they only make suggestions through an extremely narrow narrative and a lot of assumed context.
Here’s a photo of an old man. Who cares, typical portrait shot from the 1930s. Wait, there’s some accompanying text; it’s a photograph of your great grandfather. Whole new perspective on the photo’s relevancy.
Yes, I agree in general that text should not be needed to ‘force’ one to visually like a particular photo; that comes down to more subjective aesthetic appreciation. But understanding why something might—-even if debatable—-be influential, whether one likes the photo(s)/photographer or not, can at least broaden one’s understanding of the medium in general; that is, should one be so curious, which they might not be, and that’s fair.
Happy New Year!