June 12, 2011

Time Stands Still

My friend recently sent me an e-mail titled "Whereby I Ruin Your Productivity For The Day" with a link to a Web site called RockPaperPhoto.com.  He achieved what he set out to do.

For aficionados of iconic fine art photography, RockPaperPhoto is heroin for the eyes and imagination - instantly addictive.  The site, the result of a partnership between Guy Oseary (Madonna's manager and former head of  Maverick Records) and Live Nation, contains an encyclopedic wealth of photographs of musicians, actors, dancers, and artists from the 1920s through present day.  Seeing a vast collection of such photographs is a visual feast, but it also forces one to lament the possiblility that in the TMZ era of paparazzi photography taken with the lens of a smartphone, perhaps artisitc photography and subjects worthy of such iconography are long past their heyday.  

The same friend also once asked why photography should be considered art.  It's not creating anything.  It's mechanically documenting a subject.  It's the work of a technician, not an artist.  

I disagree.

Fine art photography, unlike vacation photography or a drunken-night-out-with-my-friends photography, does more than simply document an occasion.  It captures and immortalizes a unique moment, an emotion, a perspective and elevates it to a thing of beauty - however one defines it.  The photographer - artist - has the ability to discern the currency and urgency of that particular moment, emotion, and perspective and capture it - art - at the instant it occurs, knowing that once it passes, it's gone forever.   

Photography captures the moment in time.  Fine art photography captures a timeless moment.

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