Friday, September 2, 2016

Compare and Contrast!

Here we have a profoundly wise essay by an experienced and successful man, about where photography is, where it's going, and what the point is. I'd like to think he's simply repeating things I say a lot, but in reality there is overlap but it is by no means complete. Go with Kirk, not me, where we differ.

Here we have the hapless Anthony Thurston, who works with or possibly for Chris Gampat, representing the modern up and coming enthusiastic youngster Kirk mentions. I'd like to forgive the inaccurate headline, which describes as a "Complete College-Level Education" what is clearly at most one college level course, but I am a pedantic jerk, and also spent 9 years taking approximately 72 courses all up in order to get my College-Level Education (admittedly, I stuck with it a little past the Bachelor's degree).

Anyways, Thurston, exemplifies the "photography is really mainly about mastering techniques and tools" philosophy. You can look at any number of several thousand web sites (at least) for this same theme. Thurston is just the victim who happened to stroll through my gunsights at the wrong time today. Sorry, Tony.

Honestly, the accompanying pictures pretty much summarize the situation. A beautiful, expressive, idiosyncratic portrait of Renée Zellweger versus a muddy picture of a camera and a tablet on.. I think someone's pants rumpled up on a bed. Technique aside, I am not sure what the hell Thurston was going for here. You can do this at home without even putting your pants on perhaps?

Interestingly, Milnor is going off on almost the same topic himself over on shifter. There's some sort of stellar alignment. I feel like I ought to take a run at it myself, by why accentuate my stupidity by going head to head with people smarter and wiser than I? I'm going to wait until the clever guys leave for the bar, and then start ranting, I think.


  1. There has been a related post on TOP, too (August 25, "Photography Isn't About Photography"). I'd say that photography is just a means to create a picture of what you saw on a piece of paper, and this has never been easier than today. But it is a means, not an end; the stuff shown in the picture has to be interesting in the first place. And this is where the person of the photographer matters - I think the more diverse your interests are, the more you've read, the more music you've listened to, the higher are the odds that you have something interesting to say. I hope that this doesn't come across as arrogant or condescending, since I'm struggling with my work myself.

    Best, Thomas

    1. Certainly not arrogant! In fact, an excellent summary of the point. Everyone seems able to say it better than I can this week!

      I think this speaks beautifully to why we see so much dead work out there from people who are really passionate. The problem is that they're passionate... about photography, and not much else. So the landscapes or macro photos or still lifes are dead. Maybe if they took photos relevant to their true passion?

      Now I'm going to keep my eyes open for the photographer who makes the beautiful and meaningful work about photography!

  2. Oh man, Kirk explained the photographic journey so well. I'll summarize it my way: Shit in, shit out.

  3. A side comment: I like milnor's blog very much, usually, but honestly a thing I cannot stand are audio recordings. If one don't think that his audience is worth spending his time sitting down, WRITING what he means to communicate, proof-read what he wrote, and publish it on his blog, I don't think the audiocast is worth spending my time listening... (I know, today I'm a little grumpy...).