Sunrise, 17.07.09


All of these pictures are flawed, but they all have something that makes them worthwhile. The morning mist in the distant hills in the first; the yellow haze in the second; and the blue hues and sun rays in the third.

A problem in photography (et al.) criticism is that too often, we expect perfection. There was a recent exhibition here featuring field photography, and what I saw did not leave an impression on me. It has been mentioned elsewhere, but when you think of seeing pictures blown up and hung on a wall, you want them to be special, spectacular. An effect, perhaps, of looking at a Turner painting is the sudden realisation that this is something you could not create, it's beyond your reach and as such something to be truly admired. In photographic terms, we could use Gregory Crewdson, whose images are as expensive to create as they look.

These examples, however, are elaborate. What about photography that involves standing in the middle of a crowded plaza where you can't tell everyone to stop, the sun to peek behind that cloud just a little more, that dog to stand over there? Perfection here is much more difficult to attain. And perhaps perfection isn't the standard by which we should measure it.
Instead of judging the aforementioned exhibition by some unattainable standard, I should have looked at those pictures as the photographer looked at them, and maybe I would have seen what's so special about them. Something to remember.

(Of course, I'm not saying that these pictures also deserve to be in a gallery, because they certainly don't.)

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