And now, a bit of irony* ....
Yesterday, after going off on a stupid idea about the medium of photography and its apparatus (conventions and vernacular, not gear), I reflected upon a quote from Bruce Davidson ...
"I am not interested in showing my work to photographers any more, but to people outside the photo-clique."
I found that comtemplative act to be a very calming antidote for yet another attack of stupid-content trumps all-picture making advice agita. Davidson's quote pretty accurately reflects my position on with whom I most enjoy sharing my pictures.
It would be simple, but not accurate, to write that I don't like sharing my pictures with other picture makers. However, I don't discriminate against other picture makers, per se. Rather, I am sick unto death of those who view my pictures (or pictures made by others) and seem to only see the tools of the trade and their technical application.
That written, it is accurate to write that most of those viewers are, in fact, picture makers. And, conversely, those who view my work, first and foremost, simply as a picture are, for the most part, not dedicated / "serious" picture makers. Consciously or not, they tend to be people looking for an aesthetic experience.
That written, there is an interesting 2-sided division / distinction within the picture making ranks. The dividing line between the 2 camps defined by each camps' picture making intentions.
On one side of the dividing line are those whom I would label as "serious" picture makers. A moniker which I use to describe avid amateur picture makers who are somewhat enraptured with gear and technique. Picture makers who are capable of making nice photographs which are much admired by other "serious" picture makers, but, in fine art world, not so much.
On the other side of the line are picture makers who rarely give a rat's ass about gear and technique. Or, only as much as is needed to create what really matters to them. That is, the print as the final expression of their picture making vision. Picture makers, I would tend to label as artists as opposed to calling them photographers.
At exhibitions of my work those viewers in the first group are easily identified by the fact that, inevitably, they get their noses so close to my prints that, if I had expelled gas while making those prints, they would probably be able smell it. And, after the nose inspection, they approach me and, the first words uttered are, "What camera are you using?"
That behavior stands in direct contrast with that of those in the second group who view the work from a respectful distant-taking in its entirety. If they approach me, their comments tend to be along the lines of, "Nice work / good stuff" and the like ... comments which could be taken as lame platitudes but are often accompanied by extended conversions about an opinion / observation, re: aesthetics. Nary word is heard about gear or technique.
IN CONCLUSION let me borrow a quote from Susan Sontag who, in her essay Against Interpretation was imploring art critics (and by extention, the general art viewing public) to get beyond the obsession with content (meaning) and ...
"...learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more." in order to be " experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself, of things being what they are.
By extention, I would suggest that "serious" picture makers do the same in order to get beyond the obssession with gear / technique when viewing photographs.
*in case you you didn't get it ... I am displaying my pictures on a photo blog which is followed by picture makers.