Photography as artistic expression
Before I begin let me say that anything that I am about to say is as applicable to me a photographer, working in traditional photography, as it is of any of us. My thoughts, that follow, have been well considered and are the true and honest expression of one who struggles with artistic expression as a condition of my passion with photography.
Perhaps it is a condition of my thirty years involvement in photography...perhaps is is a condition of my advancing years...perhaps it is the ruminations of an overactive mind...I will own all of those as being true of me and my station in life.
What about photography for that matter is it truly artistic? Is most of what I produce and observe in photography simply illustration? Is the illustrative output of any value to either myself or to a prospective viewer? What defines artistic output?
Before we get into another "what is art" discussion...which quite honestly have risen to the level of gross and flagrant over intellectualization of a subject that most are ill prepared to discuss, let us agree that artistic expression has certain qualities that have held true since the beginning. The first of these is that it is an original creation of something heretofore unknown and heretofore unproduced and second that it engages both the senses and the emotions of the artist and a portion of those who may view the original work.
Taken those conditions into consideration, what then is artistic about that which we (you and I) produce? Since most of us are human beings at the very core of our condition...that furthermore our work is not singular in point of address, what conditions of human experience are we addressing in the production of our photographs? Does the record of the existence of a tree, a stream, clouds in a sky, the interior of a temple, address anything about the conditions that human beings experience? How does illustration of these "known objects" lead to any universal acceptance by others and how does the illustration of these "known objects" speak to the matters of hope, fear, despair, lonliness, joy, sorrow, hunger, plenty, peace, or unrest within the soul of man?
I have no answers for these questions. I have only questions...but they are damned important questions to me as a human being first and foremost and subsequently of one who aspires to artistic expression.
Your thoughts are appreciated. I would hope that this fosters a constructive dialogue...I have no interest in contentions that seek only to fortify the constructs of our egos.