Sociable

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12.16.2009

Creating your art

" Recent photo history offers a textbook example of the perils that success itself can lay in the path of continued artistic growth. In the first third of this century, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and a few fellow travellers turned the then-prevailing world of soft-focus photographic art upside down. They did so by developing a visual philosophy that justified sharply-focused images, and introduced the natural landscape as a subject for photographic art. It took decades for their viewpoint to filter into public consciousness, but it sure has now: pictures appearing in anything from cigarette ads to Sierra Club books owe their current acceptance to those once-controversial images. Indeed, that vision has so pervasively become ours that people photographing vacation scenery today often do so with the hope that if everything turns out just right, the result will not simply look like a landscape, it will look like an Ansel Adams photograph of the landscape. Separated by two or three generations from the forces that spawned the vision they championed, they were left making images of experiences they never quite had. If you find yourself caught in similar circumstances, we modestly offer this bit of cowboy wisdom: when your horse dies, get off."

-Art & Fear