About Mattering

“I’ve often wondered about mattering. It’s an odd verb. It doesn’t conjugate at all regularly. It translates awkwardly. Yet that fugitive meaning it conveys is absolutely key to a certain conception of art. Fiddle about, play at your art, and you miss the point. But make art in the conviction that it matters, and everything else follows.”

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The Subjectivity of Photographic Criticism

This morning I read an interview with photographers Alex and Rebecca Webb (you can read it HERE). The first question the interviewer asked was what Alex and his wife look for in a photographer’s portfolio. The answer is fairly pat:

“Both Rebecca and I look for something unique, something that suggests that the photographer is discovering something different than that which we have seen many times.  It can be a different way of perceiving the world, it can be a different subject. In a world in which we are all assaulted by all kinds of images, we like to see photographs that are unique and different, that express that which is unique about that photographer.”

If you’ve ever heard someone who reviews work talk about what they look for, it probably sounded something like this. But the reason I took the time to write about this quote is that I think there is some insight here for photographers who have had, or are hoping to have, their work viewed and criticized by someone.

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The Photograph as Modern Mythology – Part I

The art and practice of story-telling has been one of mankind’s most prevailing practices. In an attempt to understand the world around us, to seek “an experience of being alive,” the human race has consistently invented stories. The many mythologies that have prevailed across time and geological boundaries are a testament to our need to tell stories in order to make sense of our world. But where we can look back at past cultures and find, essentially, the prevailing myths of specific peoples, in America, there does not seem to be a single, congruent story by which our society is unified. To quote Joseph Campbell, “life today is so complex, and it is changing so fast, that there is no time for anything to constellate itself before it’s thrown over again.” Continue reading

Telling a Great Story

At the heart of what I hope to create is the desire to tell a great story. Last year I read a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. He is one of my favorite contemporary authors. This book is about what it means to tell a great story with your own life. I was particularly struck by this comment:

“If you aren’t telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died.”
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