Sunday, December 5, 2010

This image is courtesy of MM, whose link is at the right.

I think the thrust of my thinking about what use photography might have in the world and its value as an art form have led me to the general conclusion (with Art Kunstler's guidance), that portraiture is certainly one  important use of this mechanical and electronic art form. But I think there are additional useful and valid reasons to value the photograph--and we are talking subjective value here--my subjective value, to be precise. Simply stated, as though I ever state things simply, photographs are valuable only if they are documentary in nature--if they are true expressions of the artist who has been able to bring a point of view to a moment in time.  Wow, I like that phrase--"a point of view to a moment in time".

In service of my argument, I will offer over the next few posts a selection of MM's photographs that do exactly that--"offer a point of view to a moment in time". MM a master of this ability.  She can paint a picture of the inside of her mind by selecting a slice of her visual reality carved by her lens and her shutter. I am not being poetic, but literal, when I say "selecting a slice of her visual reality carved by her lens and shutter. The lens allows her to select the "what"--the angle of view and what will be encompassed. The shutter allows her to select the time she wishes to see that angle of view.

What has MM selected above?:  Repeating vertical stripes like a picket fence. The contrast between oranges and blues. The contrast between a real human and a statue of a human. The contrast between what is seen directly and what is seen in reflections. A man who is staring at us staring at him. The man is only half a man and is starting at us through his own personal glass barrier. The image is a waking dream fraught with universal symbolism and also with MM's personal symbology. 

We, in our daily lives would walk by this same scene and never see it, even if we saw it. We are as unaware of the magic in the outer world as we are of the magic in our inner world. It takes an artist of the stature of MM to remind us to be mindful of both the outer world and the inner world. MM shows us that integration at the interface of these two worlds is how and where art is created.  

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