In yesterday's entry (the entry following this one) I made mention of the ideaa of structure and form - i.e. the manner of arranging and coordinating parts for a pleasing or effective result - and their importance for my picture making and viewing. Read on to discover why I find them to be so necessary as a primary component of my pictures and those made by other that I appreciate.
iMo, photography is a ... duh ... visual art which is meant to be approached, first and foremost, as a visual experience which pricks a viewer's eye and, by extention, sensibilities (the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences). The prick of a viewer's eye can pleasant, as the result of a harmonious picture structure, or discordant, as the result of an non-harmonious picture structure (or some combination of both). In any case, if there is no prick, the picture becomes virtually invisible to a viewer's eye.
Quite obviously, the referent depicted can prick a viewer's eye and, for most, the referent is the most important thing about a picture. However, the printed picture is also a thing / physical object - a flat 2D object - in and of itself and that fact is rarely considered. One could even state that it is never seen / viewed (literally) as such.
iMo, the reason a printed picture is rarely viewed as an object independent of its depicted referent is the medium's intrinsic characteristic of depicting the world as an accurate representation of the real. Unlike paintings, which are more often viewed as an abstract representation of the world, photographs are most often viewed as literal representations of the world. Consequently, in viewing paintings, viewers tend to see them with much more attention to structure / form / technique than they do with photographs.
All of that written, here's the thing about art - structure / form in the visual arts has always been as important, if not more so than what is depicted. In other words, how a referent is depicted is what separates good art from pedestrian work. A good picture, iMo, one with interesting structure / form, can be a picture of anything because any referent can be represented in a fashion that creates a picture which more than what it depicts.