Glen Goffin Photography

Monday, April 27, 2009

36 The scribe ... or the author?

If I take a flawless picture of a Cezanne still life, and the resulting image is exquisite ... is that art? Or is it just good craftsmanship? The image might be supreme! But it would be so because of the genius of Cezanne, not me. You might say - Glen, you goof, it takes a high level of artistry to capture and represent all that beauty as a photograph. Really!?! Does it?

I ask myself the same question from time time when I shoot flowers. Is it my artistry that makes the image beautiful or am I merely a technician recording the inherent beauty of the scene in the photographic medium? Am I the scribe or the author? These dogwood flowers, for example - they are exquisite all by themselves.

Of course, I know the answer. It's both. The subject may be inherently beautiful but the photographic artist does not just reveal the beauty but enhances the beauty. Or, many would argue, the photographic artist finds and reveals the beauty that is not evident to anyone and brings the viewers attention to it by framing and illuminating it in such a way that it can be seen anew ... fresh ... differently. And, in many cases, the photographic artist makes that which is NOT inherently beautiful to be beautiful by altering our perspective and even distorting the natural interpretation into a new, more beautiful interpretation. Are they then releasing it, creating it or revealing it?

Anyone who has attempted to make a beautiful photograph knows that there is no hard link between the natural beauty of the subject and the resulting beauty of the photograph. It takes a true artist to make that happen. Just as a painter brings canvas, brush and paint together in just the right way, a photographer brings subject, camera, light, perspective ... yes, even paintbrush ... together in just the right way. More on this later.

Wow, that was a long winded way of saying that these dogwoods didn't need any help. And I didn't really give them any. I'm just sharing what I see. Hope you like them. More to come.

Love and peace,

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