Almost every day I visit the day’s catch for landscapes at http://flickr.com/groups/landcape/pool/ and seem to find a few keepers to mark “favorites.” Like one’s daily bread, there is a hunger to satisfy with one’s eyes. Something about well made images (Ansel Adams’ quote: nothing worse than a sharply focused picture of a fuzzy idea), many of which involve a great deal of planning to get on site at the right part of the day and in the right weather or season. [click picture for full size]
But beyond the quest for scenes and subjects that ring of truth or delight, what more can be communicated by the person who first spotted the shot and then captured it well? What more does the collector/viewer hope to gain by repeatedly acknowledging greatness in this way. In a parallel way, great music and literature or film can speak to the viewer. The effect is to elevate one’s spirit and sometimes to create a larger frame to fit oneself into, thereby giving context, and by extension, meaning or perspective to one’s past; one’s present, and one’s aspirations. Other times it is a spark of recognition; a deja vu feeling of seeing in another’s work some memory or related experience with light and location in one’s own road of life. Perhaps the zest of recognizing and capturing great beauty to share with others, of inspiring viewers, and of producing a bigger frame to fit a viewer into is quite enough for photography to do. And yet, year by year collecting these trophy “favorites” leads to what: sharper distinctions and more well developed taste, and the ability to sense as well as express finer and finer points. As such it is less about answering a question, and more about quenching a thirst; an urge for beauty and wonder of the frozen moment, but also suggested to be part of time’s ceaseless flow, too.