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Behind Creative Collision




Bobby Shen

Marie Shannon's "Love Note" Series (2005), moments of someone else's intimacy dispersed through an urban avenue.

There's a big hype around my peers at the moment with dSLR cameras, you know, the big chunky ones. There's all this about "quality", to catch those "moments". I'd like to try my hand on one of those dSLRs, but I need to see the meaningfulness of it. Price of the activity, and the clique like nature of artful photography appears exclusive. But where does photography sit in realms of this world?

Sure, photography has been used for just about anything, can a tourist snapping every banal detail compare with the minimalist artsy professional? In some cases, the aim of the game is to capture a moment as you see it, just realistic-as-it-gets images - however, even this process of creating a photo abstracts reality to some extent. A space or place filled with the wonders of the world - smell, sound, tactility - is flattened to tones on a page.

The final result is a manufactured thing and some will see it as a world of artificiality. Missing is the point when it is merely an object of art. What I do admire in "high photography" (drunken haze shots especially excluded) is the process that is mired in the midst of the work. Once I heard about a landscape photographer who sat in the middle of nowhere, with his fancy expensive telephoto lens, of course, waiting under the sun for that split second that would make his career. Or whatever.

It's not that I don't hold photography as art in a high regard. Perhaps I don't get the purpose of it, or that I don't appreciate the "effort" that goes into such stuff. Challenge me if you see a greater picture (I can argue, and bite). In terms of art, self expression seems restrained in photography, as if one has to bend over backwards to find that moment then once that instant is seized, then the stuff in that person is not released. Is art via the camera not about emancipating that which is within?

This gig photo is a product of artificiality, but the wires turn into streaming channels of light, three heads turn and several hands race on the fingerboard as Decortica's bassist plays. The dynamic qualities are stressed as sound retires in a camera's eye.

In a way, I can appreciate the pains of a journalist photographer, or even a tourist amateur more than those that make a living from taking artificial nature from nature or conjuring elaborate scenes to be preserved in a high gloss finish. With journalism, the rawness of situations - be it the scandal of a broken star or the shrieking poignancy of a mass disaster - is collected. Like vultures, they descend upon the story and it is not that I approve of that, but I approve of the thing that can be perceived as passion, to take that whole situation and like the eyes of the world, share it in the name of free expression.

With tourists, it might seem like they are taking one (or many and more) of everything. Documenting the journey, the very deeply personal associations and the vibrancy of holiday. That is something. It is something I would love to see more of in photography exhibitions. How they may turn it into "high art", I haven't a clue. Or they could be brave and change the system that high photography has gotten itself into, make flexible the steel rod of tradition.

Be the eyes of the world.
Take more than mere pixels.
Seek the area outside of a camera's frame.

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