|RED ON GRAY, FERNBRIDGE, APRIL, 2012|
I am pondering the notion of Limitations as it applies to photography. My thesis goes something like this: Why is it considered "bad taste", or "gimmicky" for photographers to make "over-saturated" images? I just recently heard that a photographer, whose work I very much admire, was criticized for using too much saturation in his prints. I get it that if the criticism was because of the personal taste of the critic - that it could be a valid critique. But I ask "would the same critic have felt that way with an oil painter's interpenetration of a similar subject matter"?
I think that there are several types of photography, and they have completely different intended purposes. The documentary style of photography that one would see in journalism is a valid style, and it is one that I feel should be accurate in how it conveys its message. A journalistic photograph is supposed to represent the truth of the subject in an objective manner. I think it is downright dishonest to present something as being factual that has been altered.
Here is my point about photography as art. I assert that photography that is presented as art, and is intended to be presented as such, should be free of the biases that so often are applied to photographic works. Just because the title card has the word "photograph" written on it does not mean that the piece "has to meet certain arbitrary aesthetic standards". A work that is an interpretation of a subject regardless of the medium, should be judged as it is, - an image hanging on a wall. I think viewers and critics should let go of first establishing how an image was created, and focus their attention on the piece. I do not think that there is a standard for water color painters that penalizes for "over saturation" so why are photographer's slammed for using strong or unnatural colors?
I of course, acknowledge that a bold pallet in and of itself, will not make a strong image. But I do feel that the artist no matter what medium they use, should feel unrestricted by the rules they learned. Art is about freedom of expression. Art is about discovery. Art is on the leading edge of human creativity. Great artists know the rules, but are not bound by them. There art may lead us to new discoveries, and open our eyes to new possibilities.