A number of posts on Twitter this week have set me thinking. There are many ways in which we as landscape photographers may choose to describe our work.
We may seek to produce entirely representational ‘forensic records’ of a scene we witness. We might give the viewer an amended version that seeks to relate what we saw and perhaps more importantly felt at that moment. We might create a piece of art by manipulating the forms that were present by combining multiple exposures or using Intentional Camera Movement. We may engage in entirely conceptual or abstract responses delivered via the medium of photography. If we pursue the clasifications we may eliminate or embrace the use of filters in camera, we may adopt or abhore the use of processing with software and we may chose to make our images digitally or with film. We may choose a high technology photography instrument or a pinhole camera or even no camera at all.
These and all manner of alternatives seem entirely laudable and in their own measure satisfying or mystifying. What is however abhorrent and the most fruitless waste of time and endeavour is when photographers or critcs seek to create a hierarchy out of the above and to arrange them into some nebulous set of stepping stones across which any aspirant photographer must pass and will inevitably be judged based on how many steps have been completed.
To suggest to any artist that the only way in which they can achive work of quality is by leaping from one of these stepping stones to the next is not only arrogant but a complete failure to understand the essential personal nature of any artistic process. Denigrating the work and efforts of others is a very poor alternative to gaining satisfaction from your own work.
Enjoy what you do, respond to rather than judge the work of others and encourage all to enjoy and achieve fulfillment from what they do. Of all these, simply showing kindness instead of point scoring is not a bad place to start.