Formal composition plays an essential role in the analytic and synthetic process described in an earlier Note. A sense of composition, an attention to formal detail, can serve to reveal both the order and disorder inherent in the subject (in other words, the level of entropy). This is because the formal structure of an image suggests that there is an order here, an internal logic to the visual scene, but that this order is only part of the story. The order, because it is incomplete, calls attention to the disorder – often the most interesting part of the image. A suggestion of partial and incomplete symmetry in tension with an image’s asymmetrical elements can result in powerful clarity. In short, a photograph’s formal composition can tell what the visual scene is actually about, in the sense of how it works from a visual perspective (as opposed to the particular subject matter). In this sense, a photograph is always about the relationships of the visual elements depicted in the photograph.Read More
What is the relationship between a photographic image and time?
Often this question is reflexively answered by asserting that photography acts to “freeze” a moment of time. This assertion, however, is both inherently wrong and misleading in multiple respects.Read More
If a key factor in distinguishing a good photograph from a bad one – or at least an interesting one from one that is not – is whether the photograph tells us something new about the visual world and how we understand it, or at least something that we thought we knew before in a better or novel way, then is aesthetics (or any other similar measure for judging photographic art (and by extension, any other art form to the extent that the same test applies)) nothing more than a type of epistemology? Stated differently, is visual art essentially an epistemological process?Read More
Art – specifically, the creation of photographic prints – is a process by which I attempt to explain the visual world to myself. While photography is also how I explain myself – including how that understanding works and what I think is worth trying to comprehend – to the world, that explicatory aspect is secondary, almost incidental (at least to me) were it not unavoidable. Photography is solipsistic but without the courage of its own convictions.Read More