On 'On Being a Photographer'

Reading On Being a Photographer (OBaP, for short). It’s a good, if probelmatic book. It’s stronly opinionated about what is and isn’t a good photograph, and how they are made. It’s helped greatly by the fact that the two authors are generally dead on. There’s a lot in there that is about half rhetorical trickery and half untrue. They completely miss the point of photography after, say, John Szarkowski’s tenure at MOMA, and of a lot of the legitimate criticisms of photography. The book oozes the subtext of two old men yelling at kids “Get off my Lawn!”

That said, the descriptions of working methods, how to do the work of being a photographer, are invaluable, and would have saved me about 5 years of learning if someone had put the book in my hand 10 (12?) years ago. It’s way more practical than the mind’s eye, but not as good as beauty in photography. I’m only halfway through, but I think I’ll finish it this time (last time I started it I couldn’t get over the old man tone of the thing). Totally worthwhile.

I’ve got about three weeks, wall clock time, until I can replace my camera. Call it a month, by the time it ships to me. This is the longest I’ve been without a camera since I started photographing seriously in 1998. Even when I got hit by the car, breaking my 5d, I had a loaner. It’s really weird. It doesn’t help that I was in the middle of discovering a new subject, the ‘signs’ project. One of the problems with OBaP: they think you can’t go out without a subject in mind and find one. It’s simply not true. It really seems absurd if you think about it, that you couldn’t dicsover something visual by working visually. It just requires a lot of patience.

Now I’ve finally found something new to shoot, and it’s really exciting. I can’t wait till I’ve got something to shoot it with again.

Posted by Matt on 2014-03-26 03:58:13 +0000