Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Still Searching blog gets promiscuous

"window and mirrors"
 I mentioned in an earlier post, my ambivalent reaction to the Still Searching photo blog. On one hand, I appreciated the effort to build a serious photo blog, but on the other, I was annoyed at the unnecessarily pretentious academic tone. Well, a leap day miracle must have happened, because the Feb 29 post ("Photography: A Promiscuous Life, part 1") by Aveek Sen strikes the perfect balance between scholarship and readability with just the right amount of poetic self-indulgence. It came as no shock to learn that he has a degree in English Literature.

Aveek Sen's post is an invitation to promiscuous thinking:
"The word, promiscuous, combines the Latin pro or forward and miscere, to mix. So, the promiscuous moves forward through indiscriminate mixing – a tendency that had to wait for the Victorians to become a sin."
Sen takes inspiration from the god of all photo curators, John Szarkowski, whose 1962 lecture urges photography teachers to lead their students beyond the confines of one discipline (photography as "window" rather than a narcissistic "mirror"). Sen explains:
"To break out of its documentary cage, photography must risk a kind of intellectual and existential promiscuity, an all-absorbing hunger that is at once outwardly directed and inwardly trained. It must learn to look, as William Blake had put it (well before photography was invented), not only “with”, but also “through”, the eyes."
Based on the ads on late-night TV, I don't think the world needs more sexual promiscuity. But a little more intellectual promiscuity might be just the thing to improve your photography.
Read the whole post at "Still Searching" for more inspiration.


Adam said...

This was an excellent review/follow-up to your previous post (which I also enjoyed, by the way). Your blog has a good flavor, Marc; keep it going.