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“Every word is an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness”— Samuel Beckett
“It is very tricky now to really, honestly call yourself a photographer because a lot of what I do doesn’t adhere to the rules of photography. For example, with the introduction of digital technology and the more frequent use of that in the creation of the image, you are really not following the rules of photography any more. A lot of what I do doesn’t always pass through a camera. I am certainly not upset about that. I find that photography seems to be going pretty much nowhere. I’m quite happy to see it’s demise – not out of any nastiness but out of a sense that the medium that’s arising from it, that’s becoming the new medium, is much more exciting than photography. I think photography has been wrestling with a burden of telling the truth, which I don’t think it was ever particularly good at.”
– Nick Knight
Mr. Knight, I actually believe that the truth is not a burden, and that some photographers have rendered their truths an honesty and courage that have brought lucidity into the lives of others on a personal and/or collective level. I believe too much in the power of documentary voices to agree that truth is a burden in Photography. Truth is truth, as experienced by individuals on a global (humanity) or local (self) level.
What I think Photography has wrestled with is the myriad of expectations surrounding the medium. The ubiquity of the medium makes it increasingly difficult to take the medium at face-value, without expectations based on what has been termed perfection, proper, or truth. Optically, the eye sees and the mind fills in the blanks. Perceptions and the obstacles planted by expectation are the burdens of any medium.
Truth is like nature. Nature is not something that happens outside, glowing in the sunshine or glossed with rain. Nature is a part of us as humanity, inside.
We are nature, although we each have our very own nature.
We are truth, and we each have our very own truths to tell.
To say that Truth is a burden to Photography, is like saying Nature is a burden to Humanity.
There are no burdens. Only perceptions.
“It’s your life; it therefore behooves you not to bollocks it up.”
Terence Sydney Doonan
“Artists have got to get back to studying art history and doing emotionally engaged art. Get over that tired postmodern cynical irony and hip posing, which is such an affliction in the downtown urban elite. We need an artistic and cultural revival. Back to basics!”
From an interview by Kerry Lauerman with Camile Paglia on Salon.com, about her new book at the time (2005). I don’t usually agree with Ms Paglia, but I’m with her 100% on that statement.