Photographers have a big outdoor culture. Most people interested in photography are usually also interested in outdoor activities, which they combine with photography, such as travelling, hiking, sports, nature, architecture, street photography and so on. No wonder that most photographers, and so most photographs we see around, are about registering experiences especially now with the social media self exposure.
Because of the fact photographs register the appearance of physical objects in the real world it was popularised by people wanting to register the tangibility of others they feel attached to and places to keep as memory, and so experiences that are related to such memories. But photography didn't influences people on such tangibility registration alone. The publicity industry took a huge opportunity offered by photography to use the image tangibility feeling and image experiences to induce people to feel, and so desire such objects, and experiences they see on images. Since publicity images are everywhere we go, including in our homes through screens. We are all very much influenced and have the vision adapted to the tangible publicity language.
Such publicity visual language is so influencing that most people, including most photographers, use such language as reference of photography quality, with a lot of people trying to learn and copy the publicity image technique, to copy such language, and present it as skilled photographers.
The lockdown and social distancing caused by Coronavirus brought many photographers to share their innovative, creative and tutorials on how to practice photography without leaving home, as if photography indoor is something unusual. After all, most photographers are after new places out there in the world and new experiences in such places, expecting to obtain the new, the unusual or simply the experience. The good photo are often associated on "how good" a place is or how good the experience suggests the object's appearance, its tangibility.
I feel the photography [visual] culture lost a lot along its materialist and technician path. Despite the artistic feeling of the activity it seems most photographers lost (or are lacking) the most artistic thing one can have: the abstract vision.
"What the greatest minds have ultimately sought from art is knowledge, a true and metaphysical knowledge, capable of reaching beyond the external appearance of phenomena in order to lead us to their intimate essence". - 'Seeing the Invisible on Kandinsky' by Michel Henry.
Many of the greatest photographers from the past didn't have to go beyond their yards to find endless inspiration. Helmut Newton said once he could always find the perfect location and inspirations just around the corner. Georgio Morandi spent years painting nothing but bottles on plain background. But how can one find so many inspirations and be so prolific in a single place or even with a single kind of object and subject? The answer is Abstract vision. While most people only could see endless bottles in Morandi paintings, he could see his hometown's rich landscapes.
When we look beyond object appearance and tangibility we discover a new and wide world. With my still photographs I photographed the human feelings and vices using only bottles, food, candles and masks; pretty much the very same objects for hundreds of photographs, working only with light and composition to create new scenes, narratives and feelings. The same with self portrait works I did in a single corner in my apartment, using the same few objects and my body composition to create hundreds of expressions in photographs.
It seems the photography culture needs to rediscover still art photographs and turn back to the abstraction vision so photographers can discover they don't need to go far in order to find inspiration, to be prolific and to enjoy the most of the activity. It starts by enjoying one's own vision first, before looking into the viewfinder to find out how things look like from the cameras' mechanical point of view.
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