Friday, March 16, 2012



I took a class in ancient art history years ago. One of the requirements was that we students were to write a report on a piece of ancient art. I chose to write about a Greek amphora. I really got into studying the photographs of the work, and in my writing I interpreted by reactions to the work. I wrote about what I felt the artist was trying to express. I was slammed by the instructor. I was informed that I was to write about the facts of the art, focusing on technique, style, materials and function while ignoring my emotional responses to the work.

I get what the instructor was attempting to convey to me and the rest of the class, but I found very little joy in the subsequent works we studied that semester. Nowadays, when I view art, I react with my emotions first and foremost. Often, I do indulge in attempting to understand what techniques the artist used, and with photography I almost always consider the craft behind the print. I still assert that the viewer's emotional or spiritual response is the most important aspect of the process of viewing and understanding art.

I took the above photograph this morning. I made it because a self-portrait project is due for the camera club tomorrow. I sort of resisted the project until today. Now I am pleased that I took it on. The print I just made looks very nice. This photo was inspired by my former professor, Don Anton, and is dedicated to my friend Carol Jantz. Her soul now soars with the angels.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this Tom. My first response was that it was some kind of animal or animal skin/scales closeup. Now I see your image, but you're just a blur to me.

    No emotions to viewing art? How can one remove emotion to art. The formation of one's reaction, even rational and factual still is affected by emotion. Imagine if Sr. Anton was teaching that art history class...