The vast majority of photographs that we produce do not merit the “Art” label (capital ‘A’). Not for any of us. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. More likely, the percentage of images we capture that might qualify as “Art” (depending on the viewer’s definition of that 3-letter enigma) is almost certainly in the single digits – the low single digits. As bloggers, we’d be hard-pressed to post more than once every couple of months or so if we decided we were only going to put up “photographic art”. Heck, some folks might never post. Just kidding…….
(By the way, I really don’t like that word. “Blog”, I mean. Or “blogger”. It’s ugly. Sounds like something dirty or smelly that just got pulled out of a landfill. Something that you do because you aren’t good enough to be an actual “writer”. Or a real photographer. It’s like second-class citizenship. A very small step up from Flickr. An “artistic” outlet with no entrance fee. Culture for the masses. Etc., etc.)
No, we usually only succeed in getting Photographic Art when we had no intention of doing so. In a word, we get lucky.
Most of what we shoot, I think, can be labeled as “memory aids”. We create images of things we want to remember. A lot of that “inner vision” that people like to talk about is simply a mind trick. We see something, we like it, and we want to remember it. So we photograph it. Or more precisely, we photograph it the way we want to remember it. I think that that’s part of the reason for the popularity of digital editing software. We can easily make the image “match” our memory.
Like when I revisited this picture of my wife standing on some slickrock. I remembered the day. Or more correctly, I remembered the evening. We were wandering around Balanced Rock in Arches NP, something we’ve always enjoyed doing when the sun’s going down. It’s an interesting spot that draws a lot of people at the end of the day. Most of them are setting up tripods, hoping for a “trophy” image of Balanced Rock at sunset (when it turns a beautiful orangey red). This particular evening was no different. Lots of people and lots of cameras. It’s fun to watch (since I got my “trophy” on my first visit a few years ago).
There was, however, one small problem. There were lots and lots of dark, threatening clouds. Well, two problems actually. The wind was blowing a gale. Now I don’t know about you but I tend to avoid attempting “trophy shots” when I can barely stand up. If I’m not stable, what makes me think my tripod mounted camera will be stable? The odds, in other words, weren’t looking good for these folks. Perhaps this was going to be their only chance at it; I don’t know. But whatever their reason, most of them stuck it out. Pretty much until the sun went down. Then they packed it up and left. Without their “trophy”.
The image of my wife is what I’ll remember, though. I’ll remember her standing up there in that wind, trying not to get blown over (she’s not exactly a big person). I’ll remember the clouds that looked like they were going to start dropping snow or rain any second, but never did. And I’ll remember getting back into the car, out of the wind, and driving back to the hotel in Moab for a cup of hot coffee and a cookie.
All that from a photograph.
Balanced Rock made a nice silhouette, though.