Thursday, August 30, 2007

Know Thyself

I finally finished my manuscript and sent it off at almost midnight so I'm pooped today. Instead of writing about my September plans, I want to share a few quotes from and a few photographs by Ralph Steiner, a photographer whom I'm just learning about. (The photo on the left is Typewriter Keys, 1921. The one below is Ham and Eggs, 1929.)

"Fledgling photographers in considerable numbers drift up into Vermont to show me their work, as if to ask a blessing from the patriarch or to seek a key to open the door to successful creativity (whatever "successful" means to them). I am far more able to tell them where the key does not lie--certainly not in technique nor in aesthetics nor in clever self-promotional ideas for photographs.

"If there is a key, it is of Greek manufacture: "Know thyself." Obviously no more valuable photographic ore can be mined from a man than is in residence, and it is helpful for a photographer to know where to dig or where not to dig.

"The painter Edward Hopper said: "The work's the man; you can't get something out of nothing."


marja said...

I like that. He's so right. You need to be authentic - to have yourself shine through your work - your personality and feelings.

I've been a member of a photo club for 38 years and every month we hold competitions with judges giving points and critiquing our work. Trouble is - some people try to make photos that are technically sound, have good composition, etc. with their main focus on getting good marks. They don't make photographs that truly express who they are.

I say let yourself shine through your work, in such a strong way that there is no mistaking who you are.

marja said...

By the way, congratulations on getting your manuscript all done. That must feel good.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Marja--on both accounts!