We are simply fellow travelers with these people. Who share the passion for photograph. And who each do our own par to carry photograph forward through the ages with our passion and with our work. And it is in the context of that much larger view of something like photograph that helps us, inspires us, to do our very best. ...that is the very best way that we can say 'thank you' to those that have gone before us.
When we're looking at an image - particular one in a publication or one from history - how we would choose to print it is non-sequitur precisely because, in fact, we aren't going to print it. What we have in front of us is the finished piece of work. Therefore, the only important comments that we can make, the only useful comments that we can make, are about the work as it exists now. There is a great deal we can bring to the discussion - our reactions to it, our interpretation of it, the context, the background - all of this is fair game. But, how we would change it in order to improve it seems to me to be fundamentally unimportant, at best, and a silly distraction, at worst.
We never see a photograph all at once. Our vision doesn't work that way. ... We have to look at all the parts of the photograph and then assemble it in our minds eye. This is the one of the fascinating things about good art work. It always brings forth that element of imagination and requires you to use your mind to really see it, because your eye can't possible see it all.
When somehow the atmosphere becomes alive with fog, or clouds, or rain, or lightening, or dust blown in the air, or high puffy clouds in the sky...that's the time that great photographs can be made outdoors. Isn't it interesting what an important component of photographs is the simple atmosphere in which we live. That's supposedly transparent but becomes alive in a photograph in when it's not.
Photography is not about what we see; photography is about [what] we make. A person who sees, but can't paint, is not a painter; a painter is someone who creates a painting. A person who hears, but can't write music, is not a composer; a composer is one who creates music. Even so, painting is not about the manipulation of paint; composing is not about the manipulation of notes. In all arts - including photography - what counts is what a person makes, and - most importantly - what a person expresses. It's not seeing, it's expressing that makes photography art.
That's one of the problems of photography, it tends to be a surface sort of thing if we are not careful. Because it's just snap a picture and move on; take a picture and move on. Make a picture of what something looks like, but that's not at all what photography is. We have to learn to photograph not what it is but what else it is.
What is the single most important factor of making a connection with a viewer? ... It is, quote honestly, not your photograph. It is the state of mind of the viewer. ... One of the greatest challenges we have as photographers is putting our work in front of people at at time when their mind is receptive to photographic artwork. When their mind is receptive to seeing what it is that we are presenting.
So, it is necessary to understand this image in it's time, or it gets completely mis-understood in our time. So maybe, we photographers need to think about this and know that our images are going to have to be explained 50, 100, 200, or 500 years from now. Just like Shakespeare or Renaissance paintings need to be explained to us today.
All of these images, all these computer files, all these negatives that I keep all these years are a sort of cholesterol that clog up the arteries and get in the way of being to focusing on the really good images and really good negatives that I made. So I'm starting to throw out more and more. And as I do so, it's starting to feel really terrific.
I had learned a valuable lesson: Show your work to a hundred different people and you will get a hundred different opinions, none of them correct and all of them valid. All their opinions are valid because when someone tells you whether or not they like your work, there is no way to argue with that - to do so would only question their taste, not tell you about your work.
The essence of creative photography is in us - not in the camera, not in the subject, not in the technology, not in the photographic artifact. And, by extension, because each one of us is a different and unique person, our response to a place - i.e., a photographic subject - is (or can be) unique, too.