Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Point of view from the subject matter's perspective: an exercise in creative thinking. Is art a product of new ideas or something very different?

I converted this photograph within the camera to a sketch version.
. No pencil work involved.
Does this mechanical picture making communicate well and if so
is it any less 'art' than a hand produced image would be?
Vermeer used a photo-mechanical method to make his paintings, but
 does the art in his work reside in the method
 or the sensibility of the artist?

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
                                                       Ulysses . Tennyson

We put a lot of emphasis on the photographer: he makes choices of subject matter, chooses camera settings, depth of field, camera angle and so on. We hold the camera to our eyes and snap the shutter. The 'I' figures into the process a lot.

What then if we put the emphasis on the subject choosing us: turn things around and see what happens. Maybe it is below the consciousness horizon, but have you ever had the feeling of being drawn into taking a photograph by something officially outside yourself? Why do we snap yet another sunset or turn and catch something on the wing when we are supposed to be concentrating on something else? How is it that these images so often communicate well, beyond what our plodding brain can come up with?

I think that brain is the grey matter at the top of our spinal column but that mind ranges far and wide and is part of the larger picture. We are 'part of all that we have met' - we are inextricably in relationship with it. That out there is really that in here. Permitting the mind to roam like this, the idea that the subject controls the photographer for instance, is an exercise in creative thinking. If one slides into an alternate way of thinking there is a vision available that was closed before. New ways of conceiving and then creating are only possible if the mind can go there first.

We make art to challenge and awaken our own and the mind of the viewer - that is our function. If we produce what has already been 'said' there is no challenge, just confirmation of the already expressed. What is on the gallery wall may be comfortable, accessible, even pretty, but not pushy, not strange, and not challenging us to go beyond the already thought and made. What then of the 'new for new's sake' that seems feeble at best, or conversely, the reworking of 'old' ideas that really wakes us up?

 It seems that the 'art' part of the vast quantity of 'art' production is a very ephemeral quality and is not directly tied to the new and novel or to the familiar or traditional.

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