Hell’s Bells! I’m not sure if what I’m about to try to articulate is a dichotomy or not but here goes …
Here I was last night, taking a few snaps of the very tall & beautiful Alyson above when I thought to myself: actually I’ve very little to do with this image, here’s the girl and her makeup artist, she’s doing her thing, they’re doing their thing and I’m just an observer, recording the event. Now the quality of that recording might be interpreted as artistic endeavour, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just good at working the camera and positioning it the right place at the right time with the right amount of light, maybe it’s because the clumsy schtick I babble to cover my nerves mollycoddles them into a sense of avuncular comfort and therefore a decent performance. Or maybe I have something indefinable called an Eye and know how and when to press the buttons to get a good looking picture? So many questions, so few answers. Why do I resort to Yiddish and me a Goy?
So is photography art or a science or both? Are they overlapping qualities?
I think there’s no distinct answer. A bit of both in reality. Although I have no particular training in photography other than my sister lending me her camera when I was about 15, teaching me what shutter speed meant and trusting me with it to the extent that I went off to some festival or other in England and took a load of photos. The camera returned intact. I figured out aperture myself. The technical side comes easy to me, I have that sort of brain for the most part, but also I have the confidence now to convince people I know what I’m doing. This amuses me (and others) no end.
The development of Eye comes with time, it’s not something you can book learn. There are guidelines I suppose but if you stick to them all the time your stuff becomes sterile and dull. I’m still searching for the Eye, maybe I have part of it but it’s an evolving thing, an evolution mirrored in the zeitgeist except I’m probably twenty years after the fact. So far after the fact that it has probably come back into fashion again. Lucky me!