This sort of springs from both my art school rant and my morality debate..... In the last few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that art-world, and by that I mean the university crowd, the gallery crowd, et al, is at what is possibly an all-time low. Why I think this - 1) A hell of a lot of art put out there seems to be nothing more than some form of gloomy mental masturbation. Everyone seems to focus on such things as "artist statements" and "the deep meaning". Screw the art. The statement is what counts. Even when it is an incoherent load of babble. Usually identified by the use of the word "post-modern" every six lines. It seems even the thought of a piece being done "just because I like the way it looks" is enough to send many people into an apoleptic fit. Seriously, I could take a picture of a flower and present it two ways to the same profs. One way would be "simply as nice, pleasing picture of a flower". This would get an immeditate "F". But if I take the SAME picture and write a statement about how the flower "represents the post-modern fate of our vegetable brothers" and title it "Cream Cheese and a Bagel", I would get an "A". Whatever happened to art that people simply WANT to make? No meaning, no big messages, just pictures that people think look interesting or nice? 2) There is no focus on technique anymore. At least it seems so in photo. The UofA doesn't even offer a class on alternative processes! What the hell is THAT about? I have met grad-students who have no idea what I mean when I say "I work in 4x5". They literally ask ME questions. I mean besides the obvious TECHNICAL issue here, there is also the HISTORICAL issue here. I mean how much of our photographic history was done in LF? Well, MOST OF IT! Yet people have no idea what was used to make all these very historic photos. Sorry, but that sequence of the Hindenberg becomes more amazing when you realize the guy was shooting LF! And it explains things like the doubts about certain famous images (since LF is not the easiest to use). But why bother with that? We can just do what we want. It is all about the "statement" now. I mean seriously....they put some student work up recently, and I have NEVER seen such bad printing in my life. I mean, GOOD LORD! People, it is called SPOTTONE! USE IT! $12.00 will get you a 200 year supply. And a bad neg makes a bad print! We have one print now that someone made up in the student gallery that 100% pure mud! Everything falls between zones 3 and 5. No highlights, no shadows, just this muddy mess. Tons of dust too. I think the neg was stored in a sock drawer at some point.... And guess what... The thing is like 30x20!!!! What a waste of good paper! Look, nobody has to be Ansel Adams in the darkroom, but you MUST be able to make a good print in my mind if you are the college level. But then I guess I am just crazy.... It's late....I'm going to bed.... Your thoughts?