Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/12/08

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

Subject: [Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge'
From: lists at (Harrison McClary)
Date: Sat Dec 8 11:08:36 2007
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


First of all I was not commenting on any of the photo links posted in 
this thread.  I have been very busy this past week and have not really 
looked at any of them.  Sorry.

My take on the "new" photography comes from our camera club.  Our 
president has a Masters of Photography each month, one legacy (meaning 
dead) and one current.  Many of the current photographers I look at 
their work and think "what garbage"  I am sorry I do not recall any 
names, IMHO it is not worth remembering.  Their work is so "trendy" as 
to be lacking in all merit, is simply different for the sake of being 

Also I think with the advent of digital photography there has risen a 
new art form, one that combines photography, and graphic imaging.  I 
personally do not call this photography, it is a new art form that 
deserves its own category.  Some of it is excellent, much of it is 
crap.  I started college as an art major and my art professors were 
quite good at abstract arts, however, they all said that before you 
could go into the abstract you must be able to handle traditional 
methods of art.  They said too often the abstract was a cheap cop out 
for those who had no talent.  In many ways I think this is carrying into 
the modern age of photography.  People who have no concept of 
composition, exposure, colors of light or other tenets of photography 
are doing things in a way that is not right, then saying "but it is 
art".  Did they understand the process that got them there?  If not I do 
not consider it art.  Like the idiot who dropped his little Nikon PS in 
the lake then made photos and called them art a few years ago...that was 
not art, that was being clumsy with a happy result. 

When I was in college a friend of mine came up to me before our color 
slide class and was very worried. He had forgotten about our assignment 
until 1am the night before.  He rode around in the rain trying to make 
photos from his car.  Needless to say they sucked, out of focus, shaky 
and many were poorly exposed.  He was asking me what to do, knowing the 
teacher was going to rip him.  I told him "Say you wanted to show what 
it is like to drive drunk on a rainy night" He did this and made an A on 
the assignment.  Our teacher was an "art" photographer...he cared more 
about the BS lines you told about your photos than he did good 
photography.  And believe me Sam's photos were crap...he thought I was 
crazy with my suggestion, then was floored when it worked.  I did get 
free beer out of it though. :)  In that same class the teacher used to 
toss my photos in the trash ripping them for how bad they were even 
though they had been on the front pages of the Nashville BANNER, a paper 
that won a lot of awards back then for its photography.  I started going 
out and making photos of rocks on the side of the interstate and he was 
so excited about how "great" these were I thought he was going to wet 
his pants.  Talked about how I spent so much time discovering the 
details and patterns in the rocks...hell I shot the photos after several 
beers in about 5 minutes. LOL

I guess I have seen one too many bad photos being defended with the "It 
is Art" tag for me to accept that as any kind of excuse.  Good art 
communicates, a feeling, a mood, or is not an excuse for 
something that is simply bad.  Now what I think is bad and what you 
think is bad may be very different and neither of us is wrong...that is 
simply the nature of being human.

You ask if I am a traditionalist...I guess so.  When it comes to 
journalism the answer is a resounding yes.  What I wrote earlier about 
not being an artist went back to my days in the news business.  In that 
business it was not about the art, but about telling the story.  IMHO 
tilted horizons, funny colors, and deliberately out of focus images have 
no place.  Now I guess what I do could be called art in some way as I do 
add a lot of effect with the way I light images, using colors and spots 
and all sorts of things....but now I am paid to create an "image" for a 
client, not to tell a nonobjective story.

Anyway I hope you can sort of understand where I am coming from, I do 
not know if I was clear or not...discussions like this are hard via e-mail.



Philippe Orlent wrote:
> So no MoMA, SFMOMA, Guggenheim Bilboa, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, 
> SMAK, Hirshhorn, Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum f?r Gegenwart Berlin, 
> Kassel, Venice Bienale, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Kr?ller-M?ller, 
> Witte de With etc for you?
> Are you a traditionalist, Harrison?
> Philippe

Harrison McClary
Harrison McClary Photography
ImageStockSouth - Stock Photography
Tobacco Road: Personal Blog:

Replies: Reply from imagist3 at (Lottermoser George) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Reply from ricc at (Ric Carter) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
In reply to: Message from philippe.orlent at (Philippe Orlent) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from imagist3 at (Lottermoser George) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from imagist3 at (Lottermoser George) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from images at (Tina Manley) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from s.dimitrov at (Slobodan Dimitrov) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from sonc.hegr at (Sonny Carter) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from lists at (Harrison McClary) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')
Message from philippe.orlent at (Philippe Orlent) ([Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge')