Vincent Pucciarelli - Photography
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Central and Riverside Parks
Pretty pictures of anything, nature, whatever, are fine. It is actually what most people want to look at, and BUY to put on their walls at home. They just aren't significant. They aren't part of a dialog in the art world. The format was born, and died long ago.
I used to think, and to some degree still do think, that a lot of the rhetoric (in the true meaning of the word as "persuasive argument") in art critique is formulaic hot air that has its origins in the sophomoric world of the University, and that hot air serves the twin purpose of deepening a divide between "regular folks" and the art cognoscenti, while also showing how smart the writer is.
But I think the art world is also involved in maintaining a valuable criticism of our culture, our world. So the dialog takes place on the playing fields of the intellectual, emotional, and physical planes. This point of view means that photography should SAY something. The view of the photographer, what he includes in the frame and what he excludes, should have meaning. Meaning beyond the view that "nice warm light in the evening makes the mountains pretty". While that IS true, and that photo might elicit an emotional resonance in the viewer, to the ongoing dialog of art criticism it is sort of meaningless. The world has a lot of issues: poverty, illiteracy, inequality, inhumanity, environmental devastation, climate change, and so on. Photography should be engaged as an artistic vehicle to comment on our world, to have SOCIAL significance. To say something new.
This has been a long running discussion within the art community. I mean, Susan Sontag made her views on this subject, what, 45 years ago? For me, as well as images with "significance, I LIKE pretty pictures. I like that a viewer might have an emotional response to an image I made. Might see what I saw and be awestruck by the beauty we can sometimes find in this world. But my growth has been to try to see the landscape as more than form and light, but also a place that exists WITHIN culture. We cannot deny the impact of the human presence on it and it is transformed by our cultural values. It is important in photography to represent that aspect as well.