Featured Post

Pinned Post, A Policy Note:

I have made a decision to keep this blog virus free from this point forward, at least until the smoke clears. This is not a judgement about ...

Friday, August 5, 2016

"Soul, redux" - my reply

Ming has a new post up, continuing his investigation. This one is just wrong.

He is falling in to the "well it's all just subjective" trap, and is either saying outright or implying broadly that one cannot after all have universal reach. His little graphic strongly suggests that you can only have so much reach, which you can spread thinly to lightly connect with a broad audience, or concentrate to strongly reach a small one.

This is a cop-out, an excuse. It is manifestly clear that one can intensely reach a large audience, there is lots and lots of Art of various media that does just that. Not, perhaps, universal, there still remain cultural differences that matter. But broad and intense.

It is possibly to connect broadly and intensely. It is very difficult, but that is the star you should steer by, not some half-assed "it's all subjective" streetlight.

Paradoxically, this is accomplished by looking inward. I believe, I think, that the most powerful work is executed when the Artist brings the world within, and then in that tiny inward, but somehow complete, universe, works selfishly and alone.

This is why the Artist so often consumes art voraciously and lives widely, it is to bring that world inwards, so that the selfish, narcissistic process of Art-Making can then connect with the wide world.


  1. i think part of the difficulty I'm having with 'soul'/'emotionality' in these discussions is whether the 'emotion' is assumed to be experienced by the photographer or by the viewer or both, and if both, do we assume a shared emotion? I think Andrew has a minimum requirement that the photographer experience emotion. I think the use of the word 'soul' implies a quality imputed to the photographer's work by the viewer - it would be odd to say of one's own work that it has 'soul'.

    1. Yes. I think you have to feel it, in some sense, and then put it in to the work before you can reasonably home that someone will get anything out of the work.

  2. Reading Ming makes me want to fall into a deep sleep. Everything he writes is so overwrought, like he's trying to convince himself of something. The photos of people, things and places are perfect for paying clients. And when he does photograph for himself, it still seems like he's shooting for a client, or perhaps his perceived audience. Same thing really.

    It seems that maybe his images are a very accurate reflection of who he really is. There are many people that when you look beneath the surface, you only find more surface. Not everyone gets to be deep, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they are.