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Thursday, April 20, 2017



I’m about to offend some readers, so let me start with an apology.  Not one of those lame semi-apologies most people give…you know,

“I’m very sorry IF I may have offended some people, it was never my intention blah, blah, blah.”

My real apology is,

“I am sorry for offending many talented people for my opinions which are the result of not truly understanding your medium.”

Here goes: 

I don’t consider photography to be true art.  I enjoy a good picture, but it does not impress me like an artist with paint, pen or another technique.  To me, photography is to art as podiatry is to medicine, or drumming is to music.  It has its place, but it does not impress me the same way as a brain surgeon impresses me, or a violinist mesmerizes me.

I guess it is because if I had a drum I could beat it and maybe even play in a group and maintain a beat (ok probably not, but I could come close).  I could inspect a foot, maybe even trim some nails, without losing a patient.  

If I had a good camera and took about a billion random pictures, some would be very good.  I could never play violin without getting booed.  I would not be able to even watch a brain surgeon in action.

It just seems to me that everyone can take a picture.  It wasn’t like that in my childhood.   

My pops had an old Kodak collapsible thing.
 Loading the film was tricky. 
Usually my mom loaded the camera when we were driving so dad could take pictures of the scenic country we explored.  This process generally ended up the same as mom reading a map.  Dad pulled over and said,

“Here, let me do that!”

The picture taking required a reading with a light meter,
 an aperture setting based on the meter reading and the film speed chosen.  I was impressed that pops knew all those formulas.  Inside, lighting was also important, and there were flashbulbs.  First, we had individual bulbs, then there was a cube thing that let you take several pictures without reloading.

The exciting thing about pictures in those days was waiting to see what you took.  Often pictures taken in summer were still on a roll dropped off for developing in the Fall.  There were always photos you forgot about; it was like finding treasure.

Picture taking today does not require film loading, light reading is automated, results are instant, and they can be edited and or altered after the fact.  Today anybody can snap a picture.  What is the big deal?  How is that art?  Why do my pictures always suck?

This post was going to be a nostalgia piece about my first camera, an old brownie with a flash and a plastic fake leather case. 
  I got sidetracked insulting photography enthusiasts (see above for apology.)


  1. "I got sidetracked insulting photography enthusiasts"

    ...and you handle it well.

  2. If your pictures always suck, try taking them at different angles and at different times of the day. I agree that today's cameras do practically everything for you, but as you've just said, they still can take sucky pictures. Getting better takes practice.
    And in my opinion, music would be nothing without the drum beat. Well, some music. I like drums.

  3. My photos aren't artistic in any way but they do create memories for retaining or showing to friends. As a child I played around with a box camera which led to me wanting to be a photographer.... whatever happened to that dream? As a photographer I am useless!

  4. I agree and I disagree. Most of my photos are taken on my phone and every now and then I get a great shot. It's a combination of luck (because I take so many) and, I like to think, a little skill because I will take the time to try and frame it and get the lighting just right. But real photography still exists. Miss Mac is taking photography at A'level and it's far more complex than I would have thought. They have to learn how to do it all the old fashioned way with proper film, timed exposure etc. Anyone can bang a drum or trim a toenail (well, except Val of course!) but some people take it to another level and that's when I believe it becomes real art.

    1. It's the effort that counts! We can't all be good at...something.

  5. I do sort of agree. Some people have a natural eye to see what would make the best shot based on lighting, angle, etc, and they've never taken a class.

  6. Not being an accomplished painter or photographer, I admire the exceptional work of others.

  7. Photography isn't easy. It takes knowing the hows. I'm terrible at taking photographs so I don't. It's an art as far as I'm concerned.

    I do get a kick out of your posts. You find a subject and then tear it down and sometimes you put it back together again.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

  8. I used a 35mm camera for years, our vacation trips required a suitcase just for the camera, then a point and shoot I could carry in my pocket, now Cindy snaps them with her phone, and we get much better pictures.....go figure

  9. I do consider photography an art form. Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams come to mind. I watched a documentary on Adams and watched a film where he waited hours to capture just the right lighting in his shot. It was amazing. I've never taken a photograph I considered artistic, but maybe one day I will.

  10. I guess I consider photography art. Give me a $10,000 camera, put me side by side with a talented photographer looking at the same subject and my results would come out looking like a grade-schooler with a Brownie camera. Theirs would take my breath away. The pros have the "eye" and time honed experience.

  11. I think it is all in the composition and the understanding of light and shadow. Sometimes I can take a good picture but mostly not. Still, photography is the intelligent capture of God's own art. It takes some thought and planning and creativity so I guess I think it is art.
    My first camera was a little Tower. It set me on a lifetime of snapping pictures.

  12. It is an art in that it takes skill to know how to do it well. Like so many things that are harder than they look. That doesn't mean it's as hard a skill as painting or violin playing. There are various levels to art.

  13. As an ex-professional photographer and teacher of Photography I understand where you're coming from, Crank. I bemoan that digital photography has just about eliminated the importance of understanding light and camera mechanics. But Photography is evolving. It's immediate feedback now. No waiting for results. Just about everyone can "take a pitcher" these days -- and that's wondrous. Using the medium creatively to consciously communicate and share ideas is still a challenge. -- The big thing that concerns me about digital photography is that photographs can be manipulated to the nth degree. That's fine for most purposes, but for journalism and documentary photography manipulating images is a line not to be crossed.

  14. I would agree with you, but then I see how bad my pictures turn out.

    My son Genius is the official second photographer for the university he attends, on the payroll and everything, and had a collection of cameras and lenses that he used just for fun, before he even made any money from it. I'm pretty sure he'd disagree. In fact, he usually disagrees with everything that's not his idea. Oh, and he orders smelly chemicals to develop his own pictures, and pours them down my sink. I disagree with that, too.

  15. I'm sure the likes of Ansel Adams would disagree with you. But he'd probably laugh, too, as I did.

  16. I was going to mention Ansel Adams, too, and how he sometimes waited for an entire year for the perfect light to "make his picture." Someone once replied to the comment "Nice must have a nice camera!" with the comment " Stephen King has a nice typewriter."