DATE: 8/25/2004 02:11:00 PM
Context is All
Today I got to do something fun with my job for a change: I drove first to Dracut and then to Somerville to take pictures of our company's installations at different jobsites for use on our website. I forgot how much I enjoy taking pictures--in college I used to take random pictures of different scenes all the time, and I have a few shots I'm still proud of, especially from Oxford. But I had a crappy 35 mm camera that has how officially bit the dust, and I'm not entirely sure why I've refused to join the digital age yet.
But working with this impossibly tiny, highly expensive little machine I purchased for work has really renewed my interest in photography. I'm suddenly remembering the book of photographs I have at home by Edward Weston, and remembering the time I saw an exhibit of his at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and how looking at his pictures makes me dizzy for the rest of the day sometimes.
For whatever reason, photography piques my interest the way no other visual art can. I think it's because I feel a greater respect for the challenges experienced by a photographer in relating an idea through an image; a painter can use their own context, their own landscape and universe for a visual idea (which presents its own challenges, of course), but a photographer is forced to use ours. I've always been impressed by realism, whether literary, artistic or musical; photography may be the world's most realist art.
A photograph is more than a snapshot. It can be an essay; it can be a short story; it can be a novel; it can be a poem. It all depends how you aim the lens. And in this, delightfully, form and function have the same meaning. Photography isn't so much the documentation of an object as it is a perspective--a way to see quite literally through someone else's eyes.
I'm thinking of getting myself one of them newfangled digitized cameras, then, and carrying it around to take pictures with. Now that I have Hello, I'm thinking of starting a photo blog to house the pictures I take. That's right, four blogs.
God help me and my incessant need to document.