Monday, October 27, 2008

One hit wonder, The Best of, or Stay tuned...

Photographers must withstand, with the help of their families and friends, the psychic battering that comes from what they see. In order to make pictures that no one has made before, they have to be attentive and imaginative, qualities partly assigned and partly chosen, but in any case ones that leave them vulnerable. When Robert Frank put down his camera after photographing The Americans he could not so readily escape the sadness of the world he recorded as could we when we closed the book.

Paradoxically, photographers must also face the threat that their vision may one day be denied them. Their capacity to find their way to art, which is their consolation-to see things whole-may fail for an hour or a month or forever because of fatigue or misjudgment or some shift in spirit that cannot be predicted or understood or even recognized until it has happened past correction. For every Atget, Stieglitz, Weston, or Brandt who remains visionary to the end, there is an Ansel Adams who, after a period of extraordinary creativity, lapses into formula. excerpt from THE EDUCATION of a PHOTOGRAPHER, edited by Charles H. Traub, Steven Heller, and Adam B. Bell.

I often think about this potential fate of some artists. You see it often with musicians, they produce a great body of work for a period of time and then reach a plateau in their career. The work becomes average instead of ground breaking or innovative. I try to push my photography out of my comfort zone as often as I can to avoid this fate. Will I succeed? Only time will tell. A one hit wonder or a visionary to the end.

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