LIKE LYE ON SKIN

Good photography demands good ideas. It can create consciousness by way of observation, a dialogue of consuming and universal questions. This implies that the ideas already exist and are simply observed by the photographer and this much is obvious, that therefore good ideas do not demand photography. However, the two together are very convincing. They are a spark and a flame or better a chemical reaction, like lye on skin. Edward Weston said, “anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph.” And certainly we should photograph anything and everything. William Eggleston has done so and so has Stephen Shore. But what comes first is recognition that something observed has articulated itself in the form of good idea and visual identity to which one can respond in kind. Good ideas are not pragmatic and photography, just like good ideas is idealistic. They do not demand usefulness. Usefulness suggests that to be practical is of highest regard and then, that the user of useful things is central to all that is good. The world is not ours to be had and good is not what we bring to conversation. We do not tamper an otherwise wrecked world. Rather we are to be ruined by way of headache and heartache and scratching our heads with disbelief and misunderstanding and the occasional observation of good and wholeness and aesthetic appeal. Photography and good ideas point to something else. They kindle observable mystery, indefinable and shifting truths, and a dialogue of unanswered questions. These are more important than both and this is the symbiotic relationship that is the photographic process.

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