August 6, 2011

Correspondence / 1

Long time, W. You're such a crazy mix of affection and thorns...

While I disagree that eating, drinking, reading, are not "life", the deeper
governing aesthetic of the way I deal with people is that the photographs are
essentially portraits and therefore often, though not always, solos. Beyond that,
I often see people as elements of composition. I talk about this in my post "Along the
dotted line." The beach, of course, is generally a place of repose. I'll do a boogie
boarding or volleyball or some other action shot once in a while, but it's very
easy to get into Chamber Of Commerce world that way, and that's not where I live.
Why am I explaining myself to you? Is it my job to minister to your
aimless discontent?

My fondness for bicycles, and a few other objects share this meaning for me as
well; they're appealing to me as compositional fodder apart from their use in
transportation, which I take as a given reference. Perhaps you've noticed that
several iconic objects, bicycles, umbrellas, beach gear, make regular
appearances in my stuff. There is no symbolism. I simply enjoy their object-
ness and find in them a rich vein of compositional possibility. To a great extent
all my photographs are abstract, which is to say compositions first - whatever
psychological implications arise do so on their own, and with a life of their
own. That, for me, is the aesthetic thrill, the alchemy, implicit in Classicism.
I suspect that my work in photojournalism, with its instinct to suggest narrative,
while recoiling from hype, has informed this outlook as well.

I understand your fondness for drama, the grander the better, the romantic
thing. But I'm a child not of Wagner, but of Ravel. Can a Romantic
understand a Classicist, and vice-versa? I think so, depending on your capacity
to find resonance outside your home turf. There is, certainly, a lot of crossover
beyond these signature habits of perception and expression. Of course
Romantics tend to find Classicism cold, while Classicists regard Romanticism
as overwrought. Chacun a son gout. Interesting that the classical aesthetic
arose in, and perhaps as a response to, a world immersed in passions.
Romanticism came about only after civilization had acquired sufficient order
and predictability to make it meaningful. Perhaps there is a corollary within
each of us - we seek out the expression that is precisely not the prevailing mode
of our souls... a longing.

Thanks for stopping by and getting me thinking. I may post some of this.