It's the journey, not the destination Mel Curtis's thoughts on a life in the world of photography

Homogenous Pile of Sameness

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Thank you for the link to the Browness website. It is interesting. At first I was impressed by the thumbnails of the 2019 finalist. Looked like a nice collection of diverse work. But the more I dug in the individuals and their websites, the less impressed I became. Some didn’t even have a website, and those who did were most often academic artists, those who teach and routinely apply for grant work. It was nice to see some commercial shooters. One, a woman I think, did some very nice food photography. But for the most part the images on the website, the thumbnails, didn’t reflect the whole of their work. It was like, here’s the one cool image I made and it got me to the shortlist… And while all the work I have seen so far was strong, nothing took my breathe away. But then it has been awhile since that happened, frankly. I also stopped on a black and white image from Yosemite, a clear homage to Ansel Adams. The artist statement said he was inspired by the “captures” of Ansel. Captures? And odd word to me, especially describing Ansel’s work. It is a relatively new photo term, a way of distinguishing, I guess the difference between film and digital. We now said analog capture and digital capture. But when looking at someone’s work, I would never say, I love your captures. I would say I love your images. To say capture is too mechanical sounding. At least to me. He also didn’t have a website and so I tracked him down on Instagram. His work was all over the map and uninspiring to me. I know that sounds snarky, but I was hoping to see evidence that the photo world is not the homogenous pile of sameness it seem sot have become. More and more, I find myself drawn to older works, especially black and white. Work that has depth, both physically and emotionally speaking. And created with skill and true vision. I suppose that is why I have spent so much time working on my older works. I am not that inspired by much of what I see these days. But maybe it takes the test of time, to allow the cream to rise to the top.

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