The Penny Drops Further

4th August 2011

Over the last several days I’ve been involved in a very enlightening discussion on the OCA forum, regarding  how photographic works of art are recognised as such, not by the artists themselves, but by the gallery directors, the critics, the media and the public, not necessarily in that order.  The artists have obviously come into the discussion as to why they took that image in the first place, but the question was, who influenced the decision to promote the image as a work of art.

Interestingly, to me anyway, there seems to be a consensus of opinion that whatever the work is it must engage the viewer.  Not only must it engage the viewer visually, more importantly it must engage the viewer cerebrally at different levels and with multiple narratives.  At first I couldn’t see this, but as more and more people became involved in the discussion and their various takes on the situation were aired, it became clear that where I’d posed the question how can a seemingly meritless image of the foot of a bed and an old television be a work of art compared to the apparent beauty of a bear in full charge or a very well-lit valley landscape, the answer was obvious.  The bear and the landscape did have narrative, but the seemingly meritless image of the bed et al, has several narrative levels, and it’s that which is at the heart of what makes a truly great work of art.

Having reached that point my next epiphany was that I could then see some of that narrative when looking for pictures to form my portfolio for Assignment 1 and the pleasure I’ve taken in re-looking at these images time and again with the awareness that I can see the narrative, not necessarily anyone else.  It now remains to see if this awareness and seeing can be developed into something that will bring out truly sophisticated photography from me, or more rubbish than I can handle.


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