“I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just ain’t that good” – unknown .. (even worse – in most “conceptual art”, where the explanation IS the art)
It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extaordinary photographs. – David Young
The lakes are ice-free and its time to get in the canoe and paddle out there on a foggy morning – before sunrise. The magic time of the day. The leaves are not out yet and everything is still simple – remnants of last year. And its the light that does the job:
“Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing; light is everything.” – Leonard Misonne.
I couldn’t say it better than that. Most people look for grandiose or important objects, look for ‘what’ it is. The object is meaningless – we should look for ‘how’ it is.
That’s when no story, no explanation is necessary. No concept, no message – the light IS the message – and lines, shapes, textures. In visual art, as in music, words are mostly an inferior way of communicating and distracting (not to confuse lyrics with singing, which is playing your ‘built-in’ instrument and is about notes/music!).
It’s the difference between, e.g. the typical and overused, mostly mediocre snapshot of a homeless person in a city scene, justified only by its sociopolitical message – and, on the other hand, images that stand on their own…on pure visual qualities – no explanation, no story needed. It’s the difference between visual art and various forms of activism or journalism. Social and environmental activism has its place … a very important place, but I like to distinguish between them and art for the art’s sake. Sometimes they are successfully combined, but the pure visual power of the image must make us speechless – first and foremost.
Visual art and music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends, where languages divide. It expresses what cannot be said – at levels the spoken or written word could never reach. The piece, musical or visual, has to be able, first and foremost, to stand on its own, make the viewer/listener stand in awe, jaws dropped…by the pure impact of it’s original qualities…
… without a story … without a word … no explanation”
“When was the last time you went outside for the sole purpose of looking at the way the light falls on the land?” – Anonymous
Klaus Rossler © copyright
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