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  1. #1

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    What Matters in Photography?

    This is the APUG sneek peek for the blog, discussion and the call for entries for the March show at Vermont Center for Photography.

    I'll post a link to the blog when it's ready to roll. Meanwhile, I think it is an interesting topic for discussion here as well.

    In March of 2011, the Vermont Center for Photography will present an exhibit titled, "What Matters About Photography" even though we are not really sure what that means or if anything does matter in photography. We hope that by exploring what matters with images and writings we will get to some kind of understanding of photography's place in the world of ideas and art.

    There are probably billions of photos taken every year. Why is photography so important to so many people? What is it about the image that makes it matter? What does photography mean now as it leaves the world of chemistry and joins into our virtual world?

    Now, anything that looks like a photograph based in our physical world could very well be made up, so should every photograph, whether digital or analog, be considered fake? Doesn't it feel as if photography has rejoined the world of painting?

    Even if it is an ersatz reality, how do we judge it?

    Perhaps on some, all, or none of the following: veracity, composition, personal expression, memories, intent, story telling, subject matter, or what?

    What matters in Photography?

  2. #2

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    One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from V for Vendetta: "Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use lies to cover the truth up."

    Photography is, by its very nature, a lie. It captures light from the physical world and stores it on a two-dimensional medium. Unlike painting, for instance, photography is generally a very descriptive, very real representation of the real world, which leads the viewer to believe that he is actually looking at the object photographed, not the photograph itself.

    For most people snapping away with their cell phones and digicams, this is all fine and dandy. They see something and want to capture it. They want to remember that moment; the grand landscape or their family on vacation. They want to look back at that photo and revisit that moment, which they do not through the photograph itself, but by connecting that photo to their memory of the particular event.

    For the art photographer, the challenge is different. When I see something that grabs me - that I respond to or feel something about, I have to try to capture that emotion that I feel on my film, not merely a representation of the object I'm looking at. If I were to capture just the object, I might be able to look back at the photo and feel the same thing I felt then, but another person will look at it and see a mountain, a river, a person, whatever is on the film. The emotion is devoid to the other observer because he was not there to react to what I was seeing.

    The challenge, for me, is to try to circumvent the descriptive nature of the photograph, and make it more ethereal in nature. A photograph is a lie, what you do with that lie is up to you. You can lie to the viewer to make them think they're looking at something, or you can lie to the viewer so as to (hopefully) make them uncover some emotional response within themselves.
    ~ Michelle

  3. #3

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    The only way to find out why photography is important to people is to conduct a survey. Asking questions on a forum is really not going to give you an answer. Nothing really matters in photography--ultimately, it is a subjective problem. You may find a few pithy quotes or cliches (example, "art make you think"), but nothing that is meaningful to any degree. It is a pity that you simply cannot have outstanding work without framing it in a rather weak concept like "What Matters About Photography." The work should be primary rather than used to support show type of philosophical concept. Unfortunately, many centers have taken their educational portion of their mission statement too literally. Putting great art in front of an audience is education enough.

    The only thing that matters about photography is that it is vital on an individual or social level.

  4. #4
    CGW
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    What matters in Photography?

    Composition. Background. Exposure.

    I sometimes write "CBE" on my left palm for navigational purposes.

  5. #5
    emraphoto's Avatar
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    for me... humanity
    www.johndensky.com
    www.mediumlondon.com

    "its a box, it captures light"

  6. #6
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Well... at least you didn't ask what matters most, that'd really heat the place up quickly

    What matters? Everything matters. All the ingredients matter. And when a photographer combines the ingredients effectively, then sometimes the result matters to people other than the photographer. That's a bonus.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  7. #7
    softshock's Avatar
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    That I enjoy it.

  8. #8

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    What matters in life?
    Jeff Glass

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  9. #9

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    Mostly lpmm.

  10. #10
    Rick A's Avatar
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    My sanity, and my happiness.
    Rick A
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