Who Says it’s Good?

Frank Brangwyn,  Preparatory study for the Skinners' Hall Murals, c.1905.

Frank Brangwyn, Preparatory study for the Skinners’ Hall Murals, c.1905.

In photography we have no or few shared standards. The camera club virtues (perfection in the craft skills of photography at the expense of any or every notion of expressiveness) are not by any means to be mapped to the virtues aimed at by the members of World Press Photo, artists working in photography, or professional wedding photographers.

It is not, in general, a very controversial thing to say that “we have standards”. It is not awkward to expect that some jobs are better finished than others.

Try to get a little more specific than that, though, and standards are fiercely difficult to apply. Continue reading

The New Pictorialism


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[Way back in the nineteenth century a rift split photography.  On one side were those who self-consciously wanted to make art out of it, and who pursued effects of various kinds. Ranged against them were the Moderns, who believed that the camera’s technology made an aesthetic of its own, and who admired only plain photography.  By and large, the Moderns won, and the other camp – let’s call them Pictorialists – have had to retreat, but they have never disappeared.]

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