Monday, May 06, 2013

Are there too many images?

The weekend was packed with events and seeing friends and family.  Lucia went to her first real nighttime party where she danced with her cousins and my mother and crazy aunts (I have a lot of them).  We got home after 11pm and we were all exhausted the next day but I've never seen that kid have more fun.  Plus it was nothing a long Sunday afternoon nap couldn't fix.  I took some photos this weekend and noticed that lately I'm only sharing a small fraction of what I shoot when I shoot.  I'm going through a combination of lack of inspiration and a desire to exist in a moment not necessarily behind the lens.  The other day I came across this quote by one of my favorite photographers on the Flak Photo Facebook page (I'm a huge fan of Flak Photo and if you're a photography enthusiast you should definitely check it out).

“There are too many images...Too many cameras now. We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn’t an art anymore. Maybe it never was.” - Robert Frank, 2008

I was so disappointed when I read that.  I  love Robert Frank and his work informs so much of what I do and how I see.  Life is special and deserves to be recorded and saved.  Moments that are meaningful to me might mean nothing to another person but memories fade and the photos of those moments remain and serve as reminders of so many things.  When I look at certain photographs from my archives I can recall details that would never live on had I not taken the picture.  It's a subjective way of thinking about art but isn't that what art is all about?  It's a personal reaction.  Not all photos are art and these days it seems like everyone with a camera thinks they are an artist or photographer (they're not).  

I think part of the issue might lie with the concept of over-sharing, not just over-capturing.  Over-sharing little private moments is what I believe sometimes spoils a memory.  In that sense, yes, not everything is really "all that special."  I wonder if I'm guilty of it myself and think that sometimes I am.  Still, I'm trying to figure out the balance of living and simply recording life.  How do you live in a moment and have the experience if you're too busy behind your camera lens trying to capture it?  I struggle with this and the result is often that I don't take my camera out or I rely on my iPhone to record these fleeting instances.  I'm still trying to figure out the balance and my thoughts on it are constantly evolving.  For right now I'm learning to separate the idea of my work from how I record my family and personal memories and there's a definite difference.  Still, this doesn't change that life is special and meaningful.  Not everything is art but living, experiencing and in some ways recording life, is not a science.

What do you think?

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