Recently on Alec Soth's blog, a famous photographer was quoted as saying
"where are all the good photographs...on flickr?"
This of course caused an uproar on flickr, with the usual glib one-liners and endless rants, that so characterise the web and online forums in general. Alec's blog had its fair share of comments too.[Along with a follow up] The most comments/replies I'd seen in a long time, on ANY blog and they pretty much followed the same patterns as the flickr discussion, except perhaps that, the voice of reason was more noticeable.
I've been mulling over this for a day or two, and have been wondering how to respond. The problem is firstly, you can't fight fire with fire, and secondly, a million monkeys with a million typewriters a good novel does not make, thirdly, who are the arbiters of 'taste' in the world of contemporary photography anyway?
These kinds of questions are difficult to answer at the best of times, a single blog entry is no place. Nor are forums like flickr central the place either. Factor in that digital photography by it's very spontaneous nature rarely encourage introspection of image or the image making process, or research into who, what, why or how an image is made or an image is even important, and you have a quagmire of outspoken views that may or may not enlighten the discussion. My experience is that people's bullshit meters require many years of fine tuning, and the bullshit in places like flickr central is so deep even chest high waders would not have most people.
My advice, is, if you are interested, ask yourself, who inspires you, then find out who inspired them, then ask yourself some questions, such as, what were their motivations, for doing what it is they did, and ask yourself, why you do what it is you do?
The Masters of Photography Website would be a good starting point, any text by John Szarkowski, is a definite plus, or maybe just peruse my book-list written some time ago.
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