Photography is such a diverse form of art. I have realised that sometime ago, but did not think too much about it. But of late, I have been pouring through a couple of books found in the university library, articles and galleries online, magazines..... and its broaden my perspective tremendously, but with mixed emotions.
The more common form of photography to beginners, amateurs and professionals in modern times, is clearly related to aesthetics. (I will discount the equipment chase as a form of photography, as much as probably half of the photography world thinks its photography). To put it simply, just a capture of plain beauty, be it nature of what have you. Well, I must say, as an amateur, I am captivated by beauty as well and I have a tendency to place aesthetics as the top priority when composing a photograph. This is not wrong, but just shallow, just skimming the definition of photography.
I have learn that photography is so much more profound, and diverse, possibly even so different, that the term photography might not be able to encompass its entire scope. I was reading a biography of Henri Cartier Bresson, and I see his pictures. Lots of portraits, very classic composition, like fine wine... its never easy to drink, and takes skill to appreciate. To be honest with you, that far exceeds my simple mind. I know those are classics, but I would enjoy "Through The Lens" by National Geographic alot more. And then I read a Biography Of Ansel Adams, who has a much more familiar style to me than Henri. Lots of Landscapes, and while he has put much thought into his pictures, sometimes even taking years to get the processing right (moon lit night", some shots look plainly boring to me. But, read on... and he'll explain the depth of it, it starts to make sense.
And then I moved on to the queer, unconforming, angst world of moderm contemporary photography. Shots of colours, shots of gashed wounds, wierd looking self portraiture. My simple mind, yet again, making sense out of the pictures. The aesthetics are pleasing to me, merely because of the harsh shocking colours, but otherwise.... composition are simply beyond my comprehension. Studying Ansel's and Henri's works before jumping modern photography is nothing short of shocking. While Henri and Ansel attempts to portrait realism at its best, modern art/photography brings u through a world that is so foreign, surreal in a cold and abstract manner. If Ansel defined photography, I find hard to link modern photography to photography. Sometimes, I find modern photography a little artificial. Different for the sake of attention, not self-will. Colours to distract. COnfusion for the sake of confusion. But of course, that's ME.
There are also more familiar types of photography, photojournalism, portraiture, sport, etc etc... which I shall not dwell too much on. But spending 3 hours on these 3 very different books has made me think. My style of photography is so simple, its almost embarassing. The clear focus on aesthetics has uncover my shallowness. And while I look for inspirations to move on, I get confuse..... as I discover the profoundness of the art.
As u can see.... this thread has gone quite out of focus sometimes, as my thoughts pour out in a confusing spiral.
Yours Thoughts ?