Sunday, July 07, 2013
A couple of nights ago my friend Elizabeth Daley, the powerhouse dean of the film school at USC, said that she had particularly liked last week’s photographs of the grain silos. That was, in more or less her words, “because I like the ones that are designed.” Now truth told every image I share has been designed or at least I think it has, which is to say consciously composed. But there must be a difference in the ones that seem obviously designed and all the rest. Equally true is that I don’t know for sure which ones pass the design test.
It seems to me that the abstract work is more likely to be seen as designed. But then, the corrugated bin landscape last week is representational, tells the whole story yet is “designed” in Elizabeth’s view. Is that because silos are inherently aesthetic forms or that the composition works? Or both?
Early on in my digital transition my images were entirely about composition and I worried that they lacked emotion. Still do. Even now, left to my own inclinations, I could easily design clever little vignettes in the viewfinder and call it a day. Presumably though when design and evocative content intersect you've produced a winner. “Am I right or am I right?” as John Goodman's Walter Sobchak character asked in The Big Lebowski.
How many of you click on the email that you receive so that you go to the actual blog? Please do so when you’re moved to comment. You'll see the images and copy in a more finished form and can click on the handy Comment link below each post to leave your pithy reaction to it. It has been suggested that one of the reasons that there are relatively comments on the blog is that a lot of folks don’t actually get to the blog and can’t comment there. I get about three times as many email comments as ones that get published and I’d sure like to see that ratio improve.