How many photographic magazines does it take to make you a better photographer? None. That was a trick question. Sorry about that.

But what’s the reasoning? Because either you are a good photographer or you aren’t? NO! How do you define a good photographer? You can’t! Good is a description of something that is ultimately an opinion. Now, I’m not talking about Good. Perhaps there’s one Universal Good. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about good. The word we use to describe Chicken Quesedillas and driving ability. Are you a good photographer? Maybe. Who are you asking? Yourself? Others?

The reason I ask is because tonight I bought about 50 lbs of magazines at Barnes and Noble. I’ll leaf through them all over the next few days. And maybe I’ll learn something that I didn’t know before. Maybe I’ll be inspired. But are these the actions of an impulsive eater or gambler? Am I just purchasing these items in order to feel better about my life? Who knows. All I know is, there’s art, and then there’s life. And they have a strange relationship. You can make art to the point where YOU like it. Maybe other people will like it to and they will describe you as a “good” artist. Maybe they will give you money and a show. Or maybe they will dedicate a wing of a hospital to you. Or maybe they will start a religion in your name and love and hate and save and kill for that description of good.

So are good and Good that different afterall? Is there a Universal Truth and Universal Good? How does any of this relate to photography?
1 Comment
  1. crysOakleee March 14, 2007

    hm, good question. I’ve always wished I understood Art better so as to apreciate it more. Maybe I should take an art class. What does good photography mean anyway? If you have an affinity for a particular photographer, would you be more likely to think her photos “good”?

    On another note, Crystal notices that you have obviously still not picked up Plato’s Republic yet (not that she ever would if she hadn’t been forced to in the course of her education, but that is not something Crystal, of all people, would ever admit). Good is the Form to which all the little goods (quesedillas, beautiful flowers and photographs thereof) aspire. They are different, but they have a relationship. The little goods reflect, in whatever small or distantly removed way, the Good. So, in that sense, anything could be good because one can always find something about it that reflects the Good, eh? So now we’re back at relativism again, dang!

    N.B. Plato was B.C. and therefore Pre-Christian – a very sensible man who saught knowledge from the natural world without dependence on Revelation.


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