Def: 1. An inborn pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific environmental stimuli:
Def: 2. A misappropriated word that excuses an inability to understand or explain the motivations behind decision-making.
There is an immediate emotional reaction to events that can only be evaluated in hindsight. Photography, especially that which explores reality, is a record of that unique but universal response to the moment, it is la petite mort. That which is selected to be shown, is an insight into the personality of the observer and has always been my primary interest. To unravel the forces that motivate instinct is key to progress; these elements are the undercurrent, the third dimension that exists beyond the conventional narratives and aesthetics.
Photography exposes the level of personal progress of both the protagonist and the critic, this is possible to read but is limited to our own unique understanding. Grayson Perry recently mused at the Reith Lectures, (I’m paraphrasing) “I don’t get certain great artists now but I know I will one day, but I am not there yet.” This is an acknowledgement that any understanding of the world is imbued with the experience of the observer.
The only real barrier to progress is cynicism. The element of doubt over the authentic motives behind art is inevitable in such a broad church. Genuineness however is the antidote; no matter how insane it cannot be faked and for me is the arbiter for identifying work of value. It is defined by a relentless passion and belief for a concept so immersing that it defeats the conventional ambition to succeed; it doesn’t even have to be ‘good’. In fact, it’s quite important (relative to the established rules of aesthetics), that it isn’t.
"There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it." - William James (1842-1910)
To make progress, one must actually ‘become’ more; progress must be made on a fundamental level. As experience and knowledge expand, the perspective on the shared universal space alters and there is a greater chance of developing a unique signature in responding to the moment. It is inevitable and hugely rewarding, but it is a ‘Pandora’s Box’. The alternative though is to be exposed to the lowest possible common denominators that define society.
|Image_3599, Woman with Grandmother's Curtains @ Richard Ansett 2014|