Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to My Old Rant

When I look at stock photography and look at "art" photography the stock photography is always  "better"--meaning more carefully composed and sharper and with better colour and contrast and with carefully chosen subject matter , but it sucks. Stock is meant to sell something and looks like it. Stock photography does not have pimples on its ass.

In general, advanced amateur works also looks better than pro work of 30 years ago.  Perfect, sharp, and wonderfully--well-- wonderful.  But it sucks too.  We don't need thousands of advanced amateurs wandering around the desert trying to be Ansel Adams in digital colour.  (Not that I have any love for the visual work of that old faker; he was a master technician and teacher and that is all.)

I think I only care about photography that moves me emotionally and leaves me changed. And I don't mean photography that is solely "socially relevant" or depressing. It could be funny or ironic.  It must say something about the human condition, and, yes, it could even be a landscape in colour. Instead of posting a photo today, I will post the Nobel Prize acceptance speech of William Faulkner.

I feel that this award was not made to me as a
man, but to my work--a life's work in the
agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for
glory and least of all for profit, but to create
out of the materials of the human spirit
something which did not exist before. So this
award is only mine in trust. It will not be
difficult to find a dedication for the money part
of it commensurate with the purpose and
significance of its origin. But I would like to do
the same with the acclaim too, by using this
moment as a pinnacle from which I might be
listened to by the young men and women
already dedicated to the same anguish and
travail, among whom is already that one who
will some day stand where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and
universal physical fear so long sustained by
now that we can even bear it. There are no
longer problems of the spirit. There is only one
question: When will I be blown up? Because of
this, the young man or woman writing today
has forgotten the problems of the human heart
in conflict with itself which alone can make
good writing because only that is worth writing
about, worth the agony and the sweat. He
must learn them again. He must teach himself
that the basest of all things is to be afraid:
and, teaching himself that, forget it forever,
leaving no room in his workshop for anything
but the old verities and truths of the heart, the
universal truths lacking which any story is
ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and
pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.
Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He
writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in
which nobody loses anything of value, and
victories without hope and worst of all, without
pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no
universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes
not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he learns these things, he will write
as though he stood among and watched the
end of man. I decline to accept the end of
man. It is easy enough to say that man is
immortal because he will endure: that when
the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and
faded from the last worthless rock hanging
tideless in the last red and dying evening, that
even then there will still be one more sound:
that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still
talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that
man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He
is immortal, not because he alone among
creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but
because he has a soul, a spirit capable of
compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The
poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about
these things. It is his privilege to help man
endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of
the courage and honor and hope and pride and
compassion and pity and sacrifice which have
been the glory of his past. The poet's voice
need not merely be the record of man, it can
be one of the props, the pillars to help him
endure and prevail.

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