Beatrice and I are in the planning stage of our photography business. This is probably akin to throwing a stone into a quarry and trying to make a difference. There are so many photographers now, and technology (especially software) has made the majority of people feel as though they, too, can capture a work of art. But, it’s the same problem that has always plagued the art world—the merely new is mistaken for the new good. Alas, such frauds are always found out, and leave their marks in social mockery and thrift stores.
But what is art, and am I trying to become an artist? Art, I think, is a creation from nothing, that exists solely in the human mind, and yet that, sometimes, is given form via wood, stone, paint, graphite, ash, or whatever medium, and which, due to a transformational idea, recreates the world (in whole or in part) so that the person(s) sharing in that art have a broadened or deepened view upon the world encountered. Thus, most often, portraits fail to meet this definition (and most of what we do mistake for art should more appropriately be called wall decor), and beautiful though they may be, must be considered a lesser category of creation—the memento, perhaps, or the keepsake. Does this mean that such cannot share certain characteristics with art? I would say no. Photographic mementos should share characteristics such as beauty, form, composition, symmetry, because such are appealing to our senses, and give our creations a sense of life, context, and value. Portraits can be art-like, without having to suffer the harsh scrutiny that we apply to the work of the true artist.
So, am I trying to become an artist this second and last half of my ever shortening life? If possible, I would. But, in the short term, I am simply looking for a means to feed my girls, and love my wife. Until then, there is no time for art or philosophy.