Thursday, October 21, 2010


Yesterday I was in Toronto with two cameras, a tripod, studio lights and 7 lenses.  A crisp clear autumn day, as pretty as it gets.  I did my job in the morning and was free for the afternoon.

Wandering around the heart of downtown Toronto, I was treated to a visual feast. I was thrilled several times a minute by new visuals.  I saw hundreds of remarkable images--some purely architectural, some architectural with natural elements juxtaposed, and some architecture with people and some just people shots.  I could have produced hundreds or maybe just a single hundred startling images, ranging in scope from pure design studies to poignant, ironic and feelingful photos of people within those designs.  I did not take any photos.  I did not even take a camera with me for my wander in this visual wonderland, because I could not answer the question: "Why should I?"

Photos on a computer have no value, I have no room to store large prints and no money to frame them.  No one is begging me to buy them.  No one is begging me to publish them.  No one is begging me to exhibit them.  In a year or two or three of hard and canny marketing on the internet and by phone, fax, and in person, I might begin to make inroads in the art or publishing market. And then again maybe not.

There is no money in selling them as art or in publishing.  There is no fame or glory.  I have nothing left to prove to myself or to anyone who knows me that I can spend any afternoon anywhere and produce images that most people anywhere would obviously recognize as works of art.

I am not disheartened or bitter about this state of being.  It is what it is. It is a different world now with a different set of values for mechanically created visual art.  It is cheaper than ever before and approaching sheer worthlessness.  My photographic hero, Edward Weston in his Daybooks laments about how the world does not appreciate him or his chosen medium. This lament is nothing new.

Soon, in a post literate world, all the writers will be lamenting about how no one loves or respects them any more either.  Hell, classical music would have died a long time ago had it not been institutionalized as a field of study in Universities.  Nothing lasts forever in a culture.  We are in a post-photographic world not because photography has died but because of its ubiquity and its loss of the magic belief that it relates in any way to reality.

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