One of the responses to the question, “what makes a Contemporary Landscape Photography?”, was the need for it to be viewed as ‘objective’. I think that objectivity is what we want from a judge, to be detached from the proceedings and ensure no bias. Which is a good thing for the courts, but I am not so sure about photography. So this idea has been something that I have been wrestling with more so for the last couple of days.
I suppose the corollary to being objective is to have a photograph which is suggestive, such as an advertisement or a propaganda piece or highly editorial with a very strong option or message. But have not these same suggestive photographs become over time become to be seen as contemporary photographs, such as Louis Hines, perhaps not at the time that they were published?
Maybe what is meant, is that today, a Contemporary (Landsape) Photograph should appear objective. Perhaps that’s what the photographic buyers have been told by the gallery owners as what is a good buy today. Look for detachment, that would imply that the photographer had figured out a way to appear objective, thus they are creative and smart. Hopefully that does not appear toooo sarcaustic;- )
Oddly, for one of my series that I was working on in China prior to this discussion, was called “I’m Just Looking” (Wo Zhi Kankan) for which it was my intent to photography just what I was looking at. And I had a stamp of the Mandarin charaters for this series made for me while I was in Shanghai one weekend to use inconjunction with the series that I expeced to produce. I guess for me, to say that I am just looking is about as objective as I think I can get.
Because I bring with me all that is me. I can only see and look with my eyes and all of my cultural, educational, experience influenced background and just see those things that are occuring with that perception. Why I photograph what I photograph is because what I see at that moment interests me. For what ever that reason may be, simple or terribly complex. So I stop and make the photograph.
Okay, probably a lot more about this whole thing latter.