24 Oct 2011

Question #9

Question 9. Are the issues surrounding truth and beauty still relevant to photographers of the twenty-first century?

During the past 25 years, issues of gender, identity, race, and sexuality have been predominant because they had been previously neglected. In terms of practice, the artistic ramifications of digital imaging have been an overriding concern. But whether an imagemaker uses analog silver-based methods to record reality or pixels to transform it, the two greatest issues that have concerned imagemakers for thousands of years - truth and beauty - have been conspicuously absent from the discussion. In the postmodern era irony has been the major form of artistic expression.

Although elusive, there are certain patterns that can be observed that define a personal truth. When we recognize an individual truth it may grab hold and bring us to a complete stop - a total mental and physical halt from what we were doing - while simultaneously experiencing a sense of clarity and certainty that eliminates the need for future questioning.

Beauty is the satisfaction of knowing the imprimatur of this moment. Although truth and beauty are based in time and may exist only for an instant, photographers can capture a trace of this interaction for viewers to contemplate. Such photographs can authenticate the experience and allow us to reflect on it and gain deeper meaning. Our passionate pursuit of beauty has been observed for centuries. The history of ideas can be represented in terms of visual pleasure. In pre-Christian times Plato stated: "The three wishes of every man: to be healthy, to be rich by honest means, and to be beautiful." More recently American philosopher George Santayana postulated that there must be "in our very nature a very radical and widespread tendency to observe beauty, and to value it."

R. Hirsch & J. Valentino (2001)


小丽、小明和小华。2006。Sony P71。


回顾过去,我的照片文字从简单的生活叙事,演化成了今天的讽刺、现实和议论。最近整理中国台湾游学的帖子,发现间隔3年,思考模式变化甚多。我是不是无意间加入了 Hirsch & Valentino 所提到的 postmodern irony 行列,而忽略了 truth and beauty

最近不少年轻人加入婚宴摄影的行列,别人问起为什么我不赚点钱。我很快地回答说,美满幸福的夫妇不需要我的帮忙,如果我要找工我也要申请前线报道。灾难、政治纠纷、战争、环境问题、贫穷、饥饿……我告诉女友说这么 critical 的思考才能辨析人事,但是静下来反省后,发现自己忽略了一些生活态度。



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