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The Repetitiveness of Being

There is something amusing about photography. You can see it mostly in “fine art” ( why is it called “fine”, BTW?.. as opposed to what “brute” art ?). It goes something like this. Take a seat and read on.

If you shoot something ( it can really be anything) either over a long period of time or at different location, or both, then people are marveled. As long as it is the same exact thing.

Let’s use an example. A long time ago,when I was a kid, my dad brought me to a photo exhibit at the Kodak Gallery. You have to remember that in those days, Kodak was like the Mount Olympus ( like the Greeks, not the camera maker) of photography. If they decided to showcase a photographer, then he must have be blessed with a natural talent gift from the Gods themselves. Little did we know.

The pictures were a series of images of a big old red sofa that the photographer had transported at multiple places in the USA. You could see it in the Grand Canyon, in New York, in potato fields..I don’t really remember. Along with the images was a lengthy explanation of how the photographer had traveled all through America iconic places, with his giant red sofa and had taken pictures of it. I am sure there was also an explanation of the deeper sense of it all. I remember thinking that it must have been such a pain to drag that sofa around and it made me think of how much time some people have. That old red sofa. Needless to say my love of photography was badly shambled and my trust in Kodak’s taste heavily questioned. One could say I lost my religion, that day.

( sorry, couldn’t find the work on Google)

Ever since this life changing experience, I have seen many, many equivalent type of works. Whether of a tree during the seasons and the course of many years, people faces as they age, or an object traveled around in different location and at different times. For some reason, this always works. People always respond favorably.

People are fascinated when they see a series. Just look at how many furniture stores will sell you these series of 3 framed pictures to hang above you wall. Not sure why that is ? Is it the need of consistency, the need for comfort, the  reassurance of a repeated item? or does that remind them of their own repetitive lives. Either way, it always works. try it, and you will see. The most boring images ( individually) become masterpieces when linked together by the same subject.

All this to say that if you fail as a photographer, you always have the opportunity to try a few well used gimmicks to get noticed, let alone appreciated. Guess this is why they call it Fine. Or not.

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