Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Excuses, Excuses, EXCUSES!

Another bit I see quite often is to place the blame on the viewer for being "uneducated."

The standard conversation goes something like "wht do I (or someone else) get a million likes on some picture of a kitten, while my serious photographs only get 6?" with the response "well, people on instagram are not educated."

This is hilariously awful and wrong. "Educated" here seems to mean "has mastered the boring tropes of whatever forum or blog I read" and anyways it is to completely to miss the point.

The reasons kittens and pretty girls get all the likes hasn't got anything to do with photography. People like kittens and pretty girls. Literally. They click the like button. They probably like your serious photographs OK too, assuming they're not too awful, but those things are photographs not kittens. Only a madman likes a photograph more than a kitten.

Most serious photos we see on instagram or wherever are instantly recognizable as serious photos because they are first and foremost photographs. They are self-consciously a photograph first, and whatever the stuff in the frame happens to be second. That's a problem right there. A photograph is a basically pretty unlovable thing. A sheet of glossy paper, or a grid of tiny colored lights. What is there, really, to love here?

Yes, I see that you got the key light high enough, congratulations. Still not a lot to love here. My, the greens certainly are saturated in your landscape. No, that doesn't look a lot like Cartier-Bresson, but the blacks are certainly very rich.


People click Like on a photograph when the photograph disappears and what they see is the photographed and they love that. A likable photograph is a passage, not an object, and education hasn't got a thing to do with it. Incidentally, a good photograph is also a passage, not an object. And education still hasn't got anythng to do with it.

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