I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jeff
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Re: I would like to discuss the aesthetics of photography...
In reply to ROC124, May 24, 2013

ROC124 wrote:

Have time only for a quick response right now. My original comments were about what I was hearing from actual buyers and potential buyers in a gallery. Other photographers had an opposite opinion.

I was interested in this issue of too much extraneous detail and too self-consciously photographic prints because local galleries have told me for years that photography generally doesn't sell well. I'm trying to understand why, so I always question potential buyers.

Easy to separate other photographers from potential buyers at the galleries: the photographers have their faces close to the prints looking at the details, and potential buyers are standing back looking at the whole image!

Thanks for starting this thread.

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Enjoying your intriguing observations.

As photographers we may find creative expression in the development of the medium, where detail and technique can carry a meaning distinct from the image itself.

I'm reminded of a question addressed to Susan Sontag that led to an essay in her book Regarding the Pain of Others. "Can photography stop war?" She was discussing a different type of photography, of course, but her response was about the overriding importance of narrative and context.  The unique aspect of photography is that it testifies to an underlying reality. The reality is established by the mere fact it is a photograph in the first place. Once the reality is established, everything else is about the response evoked in the person viewing the photograph.  In the context of photojournalism it's about narrative.  In the context of nature photography is may be more complex.

So I think you're spot on, photographers are likely to interpret photographs differently from others, just as an engineer is likely to view a bridge differently.

It's an important lesson to keep in mind.  And as you point out, a practical one, too, since it can make the difference in a sale.

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