“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”—The ‘Busy’ Trap - NYTimes.com
We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who…
Someone needs to explain to me some day (hopefully) why this kind of vapid self-help “advice” is so popular in the US.
I posted that because of the idea of particularity which i think is very relevant for photographers. So many young photographers try to appeal to everyone rather than focusing on what’s unique to their experience.
In general though, David Brooks is a moron and nobody should take any advice from him. But this is the internet, so we can parse little nuggets of insight from even the most vocal, vapid windbags.
We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes. Millions of people around the world are ferociously attached to Tupac Shakur’s version of Compton or J.K. Rowling’s version of a British boarding school or Downton Abbey’s or Brideshead Revisited’s version of an Edwardian estate.
Millions of people know the contours of these remote landscapes, their typical characters, story lines, corruptions and challenges. If you build a passionate and highly localized moral landscape, people will come.
Brooks roots these story landscapes to place but it’s easily expanded to any individual differentiator. Take tech companies. Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft…they all embody the particularity of their founders and have found success because of it.
“I think there is an anxiety about the status of the photograph amongst the new practitioners coming in. I have certain anxieties, too, of course, but, I think because I’ve had such an arc of existing work that I continue to build on as an artist, that I don’t feel as much anxiety about using the real world as my palette or as my template, to draw from. I don’t feel compelled to start staging my imagery or moving away from recording “reality” on some level in order to achieve a deeper subjective experience, and I think it’s because I came out of an analogue, more traditional way of approaching photography. Photography was a way to put a window onto the world and to enter into the world. For me, photography is a way to mine ideas that are things.”—Edward Burtynsky
“We are living in a time of unprecedented visuality,” says Martin Hand, a sociologist at Queen’s University, and the author of the new book, Ubiquitous Photography. “The irony is that having a photo doesn’t mean you are going to remember. It feels like you have a vast repository of memories. But the number of photographs prompts a certain kind of forgetting.”—Photo-overload: Everyone’s taking pics, but is anyone really looking? - The Globe and Mail
“It’s the reason why photography was easier in the beginning. It’s like a dart game: at the beginning, you can toss them anywhere, they will always be well placed. Wherever you hit is the right place ( in English in the original). But once you start building something, you realize that certain pieces are missing.”—Joseph Koudelka
“There is so much drama worth capturing on film; you don’t have the time or resources to turn all of your many thousands of negatives into prints. Anyway, prints aren’t the point of these adventures. It’s enough to delight in your own ingenuity over and over again, with each click of the shutter. You’ll leave the distribution of your art to someone else.”—Self-Portrait in a Sheet Mirror: On Vivian Maier | The Nation
“We can’t know the full story behind this self-portrait, or behind the many thousands of images left in a storage locker in Chicago. But we can look at the range of Maier’s work and see the tantalizing evidence of artistry and ambition, and we can look at the expression of the woman reflected in the sheet mirror and see her indisputable pleasure. This is no frumpy old bird woman looking at her own pathetic destiny. This is a woman who knows what she wants, who has chosen to do her work free of judgment and commerce, and who is in charge of the scene.”—Self-Portrait in a Sheet Mirror: On Vivian Maier | The Nation
“No period of time and no artistic medium is all at once static or all at once an eruption of brilliance. It’s both all the time. And that’s why we make art and that’s why we keep opening the books of the artists we appreciate and that’s why we value risk and expansiveness, because we realize how rare it is. But rarity is not the same as absence.”—The Alphabet of Light by Kirsten Rian | Daylight