As noted in an earlier post, we are in a light speed technological age that makes it quite easy to share images with those we love, those we like, and even those we recognize as quite a mule. Being inundated with such a vast amount of images we can easily become, probably have become, rather immune to the desired impact of the artist. We lose the patience required for thoughtful reflection, double-click to "like," and bounce. We've saved the time needed to carry on with our busy day, but with the time we have profited, we have lost the benefit of depth, in image. This is a metaphor, of course. By depth I mean profundity. The artist's possible intent of their composition and subject choice, or even the joy of studied speculation as to what's going on in the picture. We don't often ask, "What would it be like to have been there?" or "Is the photographer trying to say something to me?". There are other questions too, more technical in nature that we don't ask, like, "What do I like about this?" and "What could have made it better and why?" If I don't ask myself these questions, how much less am I asking my kids? A fortiori, zilch!
Kids are great storytellers, as some of us know all too well! Why not have them employ it in a properly creative and guided manner, rather than when we ask them who ate the last of the cookies?! So props to my wife for a rockin' idea, as we share our first official photo appreciation session here at the Dees household. To take holy words out of context, "Forbid them not."
So how does one go about such an endeavor? It's purdy easy: grab a book and get goin'. Preferably, one with images that intend a message or point of view, to be borne out of the collection. Thus, none other than Robert Frank shall grace our table, as we chew on two images from his epic work, The Americans. If you can, try to view the video and the image under discussion, at the same time so you can follow along.
* Please note: I cannot control, nor turn off, the ads at the end of the video. Sorry :'-(
If you watched the clips of our time together you may notice it was a bit short on analysis of composition and similar elements, but that'll come in later sessions. The main objective is to cultivate a higher regard for art, critical thinking, patience, and even a sense of proportion. You see? Pix are for kids, and they're for adults too...let's not forget that. I'm a dad four times over, but you don't need kids to do this. When you grab that precious book of images, grab a precious person too. I encourage you to meditate on one of the great many photographs out there, especially in print. To your benefit, and the discredit of the undemanding market, great books are darn cheap.
In the Introduction to The Americans, Kerouac wrote, "Anybody dont like these pitchers dont like potry, see? Anybody dont like potry go home see Television shots of big hatted cowboys being tolerated by kind horses. Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world. To Robert Frank I now give this message: You got eyes."
To you I now ask this question: Do you have eyes?