Achieving lift off…
At our beginning, the first steps, we fall. Lacking in ability and direction, we may crawl for a long time. Too long, maybe.
Artists expand in more direction than one. Not everyone will, so they will suffer from some time of deficiency, some deficit. Generally, we grow in staircase, or spiral, never in a direct path from lower to upper, as sketched in the following:
From the Technical to the Visual. Novice to Proficient is one scale; naive to sophisticated is another way of understanding the progression.
if you start at (T), the technical side, perhaps because your art is bound to complex process, achieving the (V) of your own value and judgement is slowed. The journey to proficient, sophisticated artist may never be completed. Most weekend enthusiasts never move beyond the (T) – the endless: “how do I?”
How to get past that? It will be easy, if you have the drive. That drive to make your own meaning; enough drive to ignore your defective skill, to seek the reward and satisfaction of expression. You need creative drive. You need an internal motivation. That doesn’t come from the world of tedious checklists and corrections of studio assignments.
Photography removed the tedium of many painting studios upon its arrival, digital imaging has done the same thing for many photographers today. Skills will always grow to fill, to satisfy the esthetic need of the artist. Let the creative drive pull you up the slope from novice, away from the tedious technicians.
Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.
But What About?
Where do I place/ isn’t Ansel Perfect In Every Way? Ansel is known for devising and spreading the Zone System. He also photographed the found land. His extension wasn’t in the image, nor in the narrative capacity of photography. Instead he perfected the light meter and time + temperature work of Hurter and Driffield Ansel’s work was influential, but not even an innovation. His perception of objects is easy enough, his technique engaging enough to occupy swarms of weekend tri-ploders. He is the anchor of the proficient tech’er. He made money selling sweetie pie visions, appropriately from a concession stand in Yosemite, the cornerstone of tourist campgrounds. Parking lots surrounded by park.
Ansel is also called upon by the techno-kid as evidence that their use of new camera methods would be approved. Who cares? The approval of dead poets isn’t life giving, nor affirming. Bones on the path don’t bless your journey.
Let us now avoid Dead Poets Society and the dear Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.
Understanding by visual condenses much, emphasizing notions. If the notes don’t work for you, don’t swallow them. These are schema not geometry; directions, not a map. Idea generator, not prescription.
On the other side dwells Sarah Moon. Driven by visual worlds; her followers ask about her technique, after all that is where most togs begin – ‘how’ can I do that.
What do you adapt, what do you adopt? Is your work an acceptance, adoption of 18th century light/shade solution to portraits? Do you hold that working with light and film curves are the actions of creativity; that these satisfy your impulse to make – in that case, you are on the T side, and probably don’t understand why.