glimpse: Photography? Art? Or both?

It wasn't until after college that I became very interested in photography. Up until then I considered myself a fine artist. I studied painting, drawing, sculpture, but never had an interest in photography. After graduation that all changed with the purchase of my first camera and I haven't been able to put it down since. It was very exciting and overwhelming with how much there was to learn, and how much there still is to learn. It will take a lifetime to become mastered, and it often does. So, I began reading every photography book I could get my hands on. Spent hour’s online researching equipment, techniques, and history. I wanted to learn as much as I could, and still do! Well after a few years, of what seemed like obsessive research and practice, I started to feel that there was this over powering demand for perfection in photography. The pursuit for the perfect exposures, sharp focus, brilliant dynamic range, and the list goes on and on. I almost felt like I was a prisoner to my photography! Now… don’t get me wrong these are all extremely important factors in beautiful photography, but something was missing. I was spending too much time stuck in that vast bog of technicalities that I forgot everything I had learned studying Fine Arts. I realized there may be a big difference in photography and photography as fine art. In college I was taught to see things as shapes, colors, and lines. I was taught to create a balance or imbalance in my composition to pull or push the viewer’s eyes through the piece. I was taught that good art should have intention and value behind it no matter how minimal or complicated the piece is. I would ask myself, “Why did I make this?” “Was it the color, or shapes, or pattern, the material, the story or subject matter?” What do I like about it and why? Once I realize what the art is all about I can elaborate and emphasize on its meaning. This process is what I enjoy about art, and what has been on the back burner in my photography. As Ansel Adams once said “there is nothing more useless than a sharp photograph of a fuzzy concept”. So, this afternoon I decided to take a few shots of some plain old leaves I found in my yard. I can say that they are not the most impressive, technical or interesting photographs I ever took, but for me remembering that simple lines, and shapes can create a beautiful images was very refreshing.