Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Photography is Easy

John Camp made a very simple but ultimately wise remark, elsewhere. He said, this may not be an exact quote, "Photography is easy".

It is. You don't have to muck about learning to weld, or how clay works, or how to use a chisel. You don't need to learn how to mix colors, or what the difference between painting wet on wet and wet on dry are, and all this technique so many of the other arts demand. You walk around a bit, you point the damn thing, and you press a button. It's just not that hard.

The trouble here, though, is that you cannot baffle people with your technique. You're gonna have to scrape up an idea, someplace, or at least something pretty to look at. An idea is probably better, in the long run.

It's just you and your muse, and you're buck naked. Go.

Of course, you can try to baffle people with your technique. You can rattle on about resolution and color this and Zeiss Otus that and ergonomics the other thing. But it's all just bullshit, and if you're doing it, you probably have a little nagging voice somewhere in the back of your head saying "you suck, better distract your audience with some bullshit about microcontrast or the ineffable look of medium format."

Ultimately, if you're paying attention, that microconstrast and the ineffable look of medium format don't mean a goddamned thing. Yeah, they're real effects, to some extent. You have to be a bit careful, and people do tend to fall headfirst into a sort of audiophile world of 1% science and 99% crap that's not real but still is very very expensive indeed. But what do they accomplish, in terms of the idea? Not one thing. Most people can't even see this stuff, not even the parts of it that are actually real, visible, effects. Most people will see your idea, if you deliver it with a blunt enough stick.

Our internets are awash in people who want to buy expensive shit, and fool around trying to wring the last erg of technical cocksucking out of their expensive shit. Then, because they know in their heart of hearts that they're barking up the wrong tree, they attempt to justify it in terms of the Art They Want To Make. "My vision", they will say, "my vision cannot be realized without the incredibly wide color gamut of the Phase One DICKSUCKER 1200" and then they show us pictures of Antarctica which is, let us review, pretty much white. With occasional penguins (black).

These people are trying to complexify a simple task, and they are doing it because they are laboring under a 100-year-dead idea that Art has something to do with Hard To Do. Suffering under this idea from the Victorian Stone Age, they feel the need to show that photography too has tons of hard technique in it, just like carving in marble, or ballet, and that therefore their work is Art.

Wake up and smell the Duchamp, sheeple!

Art doesn't have to be technically hard. Photography is easy. Ideas are hard.

Go scrape up an idea, point your camera (whatever it is) and press the button. You may whisper "click" as you do so. It's ok.

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