..throughout the history of art it has been art itself – in all its forms – that has inspired art… today’s photographs are so geared to life that one can learn more from them than from life itself.
That abstract photographs have an expressive quality is not denied. But the use of forms which have a superficial relationship to those used by painters does not result in favorable comparisons between the youngest of the graphic arts, photography, and the more traditional image makers. The found accident, the eroded wall, and the torn billboard are the raw material of much of abstract photography, which repeatedly echoes painted forms seen often in the paintings associated with the abstract expressionist school. The photographer must recognize that there is an essential difference between the additive process of painting with a liquid, coloured, and plastic material on a large blank surface, with its subsequent handmade identification, and making a mechanical, subtractive recording of a selected aspect of the visual world. The magical quality of sharpness, multiplicity of detail, and subtle tonal range must be used by photographers to create formal statements, divorced from those identified with painting. By isolating fragments of reality and lifting these records out of an original context, the photographer can rarely give enough life and validity to the same order of forms as those seen in the more prestigeous medium of oil painting. The attempts are only too often a faint voice, without conviction or aesthetic contribution.