civilized ku # 5005 ~ wherein I dance on the head of a pin

morning window light ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (click to embiggen)

Over the past few days I have come upon 2 seemingly contradictory statements, re: photography ...

Photography is not the goal; it is the tool we use to reach the goal — some form of artistic expression that uses photography, but not about photography. ~ Brooks Jensen

and ...

For this exhibition I am most likely to select photographs that: .... show a sophisticated understanding of what photography has been and is. ~ one of a Juror's guidelines for juried exhibition submissions.

I came upon the first quote while following an online link and the second quote is from an invitation I received to submit pictures for considertion in a juried exhibition. And, I must admit that, when I came upon the Jensen statement, I had been pondering the juror's statement, re: what the hell it meant, what pictures I might submit relative to that guideline and frankly, did I want to submit any pictures at all considering that the idea of "what photography has been and is" has been the subject of endless speculation and opinions since the medium's inception right up to the current moment.

Given that the juror gives no hint at all, re: her idea of what photography has been and is and the fact the exhibition has no theme, trying to pick pictures to submit is, iMo, akin to buying a pig in a poke.

In light of my juror's statement picture selection dilemna, Jensen's statement gave me pause and cause to consider the idea that, if using the medium and its apparatus to create art is not "about photography", then what the hell is it about?

Sure, sure. As has been expressed over and over, it's all about the picture - but of course, the picture is a photograph. Or, on the other hand, it's all about the referent (that which is pictured) - but of course, using the medium of photography with the intent of creating art, the referent is often "just an excuse" or a "stand-in" employed in order to reference something else entirely.

Consider the picture in this entry. At face value it is obviously "about" a random assortment of items on one of my kitchen counters - referents with which I have no particular attachment other than their utility as - once pictured and presented on the 2D surface of a print - shapes, forms and colors to be arranged in a visually pleasing manner. Consequently, to those aware of such things, the picture can also be "about" an exercise in the visual arrangement of shapes, forms and colors (often called "composition" or my preferred nomenclature, "design").

However, neither of the aforementioned "abouts" were my primary interest in making the picture. First and foremost, it was my intent to picture the light - the thing which had prick my eye and sensibililities and, ultimately, its ability to transform common things into objects of uncommon beauty.

So, here's the thing. If picturing the primary ingredient in the making of a picture - the light - is not "about photography" AND about "what photography has been and is", I'll eat my shorts.