Vehicle or Art Form
When I first began thinking about this post I thought I had a clear argument, but now as I write it – not so sure. In this year’s Toronto Contact Photography Festival catalogue it seems a lot of the publicized exhibitions are photography as a vehicle to express a concept rather than photography as an art form. I’ve never been a great fan of photography as a means to express a non-photographic concept, I prefer photography as a means to express a visual idea – like landscape, portraiture, abstraction etc.
But here’s where my argument breaks – and I’m guilty of doing this myself since all my abstract work is really at it’s heart the exploration of emotion – which is a concept not a visual idea, oops. Perhaps the prevalence of photography as vehicle has arisen due to the explosion of quality imagery expressing visual ideas – so now it’s a more popular avenue to explore. Perhaps we’re beating the visual idea thing to death and are merely refining and tweaking the long explored precepts – iterating with each new generation of photographers… or maybe I’m just jaded.
Either way I’m trying to think of some new idea to explore photography as an art form, but – I’m afraid all I’ll be doing is iterating and refining an already well defined idea.