Think about it. How much of your life is spent admiring and pursuing 'idealized forms' - the perfect mate, the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the perfect car, the perfect clothes, the perfect vacation, the perfect camera, the perfect lens .... ? If I might be so bold as to suggest, what a perfect waste of time and creative energy.
Pictures of 'idealized forms' have always driven me batty. They get up under my skin and irritate the living hell out of me. I have frequently explained this agita in terms related to the pictures themselves - acting as an 'art critic'. The pictures were/are 'trite', 'cliched', 'sentimental', 'pretty', 'pandering to the lowest common denominator', etc. All of which, as far it went, was/is true.
But, I have come to understand consciously what I have always understood intuitively - that what really gnawed at my craw was/is the fact that most of the pictures which pissed me off had nothing to do with 'real' life. Most of the pictures, in fact, stood/stand in direct contrast to 'real' life.
In wallowing in the fields of "idealized forms', they refute and devalue the realities of everyday life.
You know the life I mean. The one which you live each and every day. The one with the dust balls under the bed with the sagging mattress. The one with toil and trouble. But, it is also the one with joy and happiness which comes from 'some things money can't buy' - things that can be experienced only by looking life square in the eye and, for lack of a better term, embracing and dealing with it.
Now, when it comes to picture making and picture viewing, many seem to think that pictures which depict 'real' life are somehow 'ugly' and 'depressing'. They fail to make even the slightest effort to find the beauty in truth. Better to escape into the realm and easily grasped false hope of 'idealized forms' than to 'work' at finding true hope in all which surrounds one's self.
Beauty in pictures is more than just what lies on the surface of the media.
That said, I have given the keys to the Guest Photographers Forum to many but it remains an under utilized asset here on The Landscapist. Where are the beautiful pictures, gang? Don't let Aaron's pictures intimidate you. Come on, get on board. If you have not been invited to post in the GPF but would like to participate, just send me an email.
BTW, today's picture is made with 4×5 Polaroid Type 59 film.
Featured Comment: Paul Maxim wrote; "Jeez, Mark, evertime I think you might be returning to some semblance of rationality, you go and post something like this. Can you hear yourself? What in heavens name does "reality" (whatever that term means to you personally) have to do with how I or anyone else makes photographs? If I don't choose to photograph small trees with the bark falling off, does that mean that I can't see the beauty in everday life? If "beauty" for me is found in the red cliffs of Zion National Park, does that in some way diminish my efforts? Am I refuting the reality of everday life if I choose to photograph there? Does such an image have absolutely no "meaning" because someone else shrugs it off as simply a pretty picture? What kind of arrogant nonsense is that?
I have no problem with those who wish to photograph "real life", just as I have no problem with authors who claim to write about "real life". But it's their version of reality, not mine. I don't go to Barnes and Noble to buy books about the grisly details of everday existence - I can see that on my own whenever I walk out the door. True, there is much in our daily lives that is joyful and priceless. And it's often worth capturing photographically. But it's not, in general, what inspires me and I certainly don't expect it to inspire anyone else."