Why Even Take Photos?

I often come across people who want to take the best photo of this thing or that thing. Often it’s to take a photo of something that’s been photographed to death.

Many years ago, I gave up trying to compete with photographers who get paid large sums of money to shoot photos that are used in glossy magazine spreads.

That isn’t my style of photography. My style of photography is to make a photo my own. That is to say to have it reflect the way that I see the world.

Abstract Street Photography in NYC
Tell Me Something Good, New York City, August 2019

It is of course a common method when you first start shooting to imitate photos that you like. It’s really no different than learning to play a favorite song on guitar and wanting to play it “perfectly”.

But at some point it’s time to leave the imitation behind and find your own style. To create that which makes your work unique. If I wasn’t able to create photos in my own style, why would I even want to?

A Backwards Painter

When I was about 12 years old, I took art classes from a well known art school. We were required to draw from a human skeleton in many different mediums.

It was a style of learning that was alien to me. I was completely uninspired and didn’t complete the classes. I thought that I must not have any artistic talent as a result.

It took me many years to realize that I just didn’t fit in to more traditional styles of art and that photography is one of my mediums of creative expression.

Multiple exposure photography in New York City
Cuddling, New York City, June 2014

So I call myself a backward painter. I rely on that which physically exists in front of me and my camera. It is always a combination of how I feel and see things on a given day.

It isn’t so much about thinking or having a preconceived notion about what I will create. Rather it is about observing that which is taking place around me.

This is true of both my abstract and street photography. They are a reflection of how and what I see in the world around of me.

The Act of Writing About Art

I am both a writer and an artist. I struggle with the idea of writing about that which I create. They are two different and mutually exclusive activities.

Writing about what I create would be an attempt to justify or place into a context something which was not created with a preconceived notion. It is looking backwards and attempting to create meaning that didn’t exist at the time. Hence I do not write about my work in any detail about what it means or doesn’t mean.

July, New York City, 2019

At least for me, the creative act is something that just happens. It operates on an intuitive level. I do not create that which I can imagine in a finished state. I wouldn’t know how or why it would be of interest.

It was with great pleasure that I read a quote by Gerhard Richter on the same subject. He said “to talk about painting is not only difficult, but perhaps pointless too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate.”

He also stated at one point that if he could write about painting that there would be no reason to paint. I write about photography and art in general terms and some of the effects that it has on myself and perhaps on society. I write about my experience of it all.

I invite your comments on what you think about these things. Curious Frame was created to engage in dialogue about the state of visual images in the world today.

Photography Need Not Be Realistic

Photography is a very young medium in the world of art. Early art was used as both a form of documenting and story telling. In painting there has been a long tradition of creating realistic representations of life. Perhaps they were hoping to represent the present and to preserve the past. To flirt with immortality.

Photography disrupted that tradition by being a more realistic representation of reality. Many artists accused photographers of being too lazy to go to art school! It is clear that artists felt threatened by this new medium.

At about the same point in time artists stopped trying to be so realistic in their representations of life. It opened the doors for more abstract art. Even so, not all photography strives to represent reality in a realistic fashion.

Standing, New York City, June 2019

I also do abstract photography and it is something that gives me great pleasure to create as well as to view the abstract photography of others.

Why limit your vision or feel a need to color in the lines? There are so many different methods to shoot and process your photos and so many possible subjects to focus on. Try something new! You might even like it!