civilized ku # 5326 ~ hitting the pause button

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As the result of a comment from Martin Fine on yesterday's entry...

You are not full of BS but as TOP so correctly asks: Where and what are the new "classics"? Will there even be such a thing as "classics" given changing nature of photos and photography?

.... I have hit the pause button-be assured there is more to come-on my tizzy state of mind in order to address Martin's reiteration of Mike Johnston's question.

First, a definition: classic: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. synonyms definitive, authoritative; outstanding, of the highest quality....

I have always thought that the word "classic" was bandied about in a somewhat reckless and ill-defined manner. And, like so many other likes and dislikes, one person's classic is another person's piece of trash in history's dust bin. Like, say, the Szarkowski book mentioned on TOP which some considered a classic and others considered it to be outdated and uninspiring. Go figure.

And, for what it's worth, calling out and naming "classics is, iMo, a practice that is, for me, perilously akin to idol worship. A popularity contest, if you will.

Those quibbles aside, back to the question at hand ... Where and what are the new "classics"?

Re: where are the new classics?. Inasmuch as the classics under consideration are photobooks and most photobooks are picture oriented, virtually all of the pictures, which would be fodder for future photobooks, are swirling around in the vast cauldron of the picture making milieu waiting to be noticed by the gatekeepers who hold the keys to printing presses. Same as it ever was albeit that the cauldron is arguably-maybe, maybe not-larger than it ever was.

Another same-as-it-ever-was factor in pricking the eye and sensibilities of the printing press gatekeepers is that a picture maker must first prick the eye and senibilities of the gatekeepers who hold the keys to the walls of galleries / institutions on which the work of "notables" is hung. And getting noticed by those gatekeepers is essentially the same as it ever was. I.E., get a portfolio together and schlep it around like a hot pretzel vendor on the streets of New York.

In other words, get a name brand gallery show and one's chances of getting a book of your work printed rise significantly. At that point, a book has at least a chance of becoming a classic.

Re: what are the new classics? Same as it ever was. They will be the books that win the popularity contest.

If Mike Johnston meant where are the new classics? to be taken literally, as in where does one find and buy them?, to a certain extent it's, once again, the same as it ever was inasmuch as books will be found in all the usual outlets and more. More, in that the internet is one gigantic store, books included. And, if you keep your eyes and ears attuned what's blowing in the wind, what's happening now photobook wise, you'll find photobooks aplenty.

However, that written, here's my advice. Don't go looking for "classics". Go looking for what interests you with an open mind so that, when you come across something that you didn't know would be interesting until it caught your interest, you'll buy it. And, who knows, maybe some of the photobooks that interest you may even become "classics". Or not. But really, who cares?

BTW, you may have noticed that I did not mention socalled photobooks which deal primarily with photo theory (to include photo criticism). Nothing wrong with those type of books but they are photo theory books, not photobooks.

As for photo how-to books, a pox on all of them. If you have to read about, as an example, How to Master Landscape Photography, iMo, you'll never master landscape photography.