"[Photography] is the easiest medium in which to be competent. Anybody can be a marginally capable photographer, but it takes a lot of work to learn to become even a competent painter. Now, having said that, I think while photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent, it is probably the hardest one in which to develop an idiosyncratic personal vision. It’s the hardest medium in which to separate yourself from all those other people who are doing reasonably good stuff and to find a personal voice, your own vision, and to make something that is truly, memorably yours and not someone else’s. A recognized signature style of photography is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve." ~ Chuck Close
My husband has stated that "there is a low threshold for entry into photography" for years (trust me, we have seen a lot of less-than-marginal photography, so this is not snarkiness as much as observation), so when I came across the Chuck Close quote above, I giggled because it is, essentially, the same idea wrapped within a more eloquent concept.
I am a marginal photographer. But, that is no great feat because I have had enough dark room experience, made more than my share of pinhole cameras and have probably taken about 800 rolls of 35 mm film (oh, it is true, and I still have the negatives in shoe boxes in my studio closet!). At some point, after all of that, the process of making a decent picture sort of sinks in. And, needless to say, the age of digital photography has lowered the threshold for entry into photography even more than the accessability of the Polaroid or 35mm ever did (take a gander through flickr - there are a lot of really good, interesting, and inventive photographs out there). Now I even have the luxury of taking about 10 photos of something that I like and picking the decent photo out of the lot (and deleting the rest) which is far better than the old days of waiting for a roll of film to develop only to see that the one precious shot I was anticipating is out of focus or has the blurry dark line of the camera strap across the lens. Okay, I do love the beautiful surface of an analog photograph, but the digital is just so darn handy.
And really, the art teacher in me thinks that it is quite a good thing that the ability to compose an image, capture and idea, or document a scene is so easily attainable for everyone. Art is long, processes can be frustrating, and sometimes you just want to make something fast.
Truthfully, I do not have a passion for the photograph as a medium as much as I see it as a utilitarian way for gathering references for my drawings (which are often composed, or at least formatted in photoshop - the final composing takes place on a full size sheet of tracing paper). But, I love, love, love taking photos of the little things in the world with the macro setting of my point and shoot. There is something about getting eye-level to the ground or right up to a bug and putting the camera an inch away...finding and capturing the image of something so tiny and transient.
So, my macro fun in the garden continues with mushrooms, butterflies, and that fabulous leafy green swiss chard...
I have another Moleskine finished and it will be posted at the end of the week, plus I will write about my official curatorial debut next week!