Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/08

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: [Leica] Suddenly Susan?
From: "Henning J. Wulff" <>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2000 13:37:07 -0700
References: <>

At 10:43 AM +0000 9/8/00, Donal Philby wrote:


>Elliot Erwitt summed up the key underlying message that almost all
>photographer espose, in the instant they frame and compose, select the
>decisive moment from the continuum of history, shading for political,
>psychological and social bias:
>"I like to take pictures, and I particularily like to take pictures of
>things I like to take pictures of."
>Sontag's book, as is most criticism, is written BY someone who will
>never be able to do the art FOR those who will never be able to do the
>art, but want to pretend they can imagine what it would be like if they
>could, without ever getting their hands (and souls) dirty, whereby you
>REALLY discover what it is like.

I think this gets to the crux of the matter. While EE's quote describes
quite accurately what might be happening at the conscious level, or the
highest subconscious level, there is always a lot of history, artistic
development and environmental assesments which get processed through the
photographer's personal baggage of the moment which will provide him with
the particular pictures he likes to take pictures of at that moment.

Critics try to delved into this background stuff from left field, often
knowing nothing much of the photographer. Considering these circumstances,
it is surprising that critics sometimes actually come up with something
that the photographer can relate to.

Sontag did not impress me a someone who would come close very often, but
then I know little on any meaningful level about the people she criticizes
as well, so she might have come close on occasion. She does strike me as
rather arrogant and self centered, but due to the same concerns expressed
above, I could well be wrong. I did find her book interesting, though, and
it provoked a lot of thought. The jury is still out on whether that is
good, bad or merely a matter of loose marbles rattling. I haven't noted
that it had much effect on my photography or the way I look at others'.

In a general vein, I would like to comment on my own view of other's
photos. I enjoy many photographer's works, and find much that is
outstanding. However, if I stood in the same place under the same
conditions with the same equipment, I still would not generally take that
picture. It just wouldn't be 'the sort of thing I like taking pictures of'.
It would be 'the sort of thing I like seeing other's pictures of'.

   *            Henning J. Wulff
  /|\      Wulff Photography & Design
 |[ ]|