Runcible Blog

people and categories

I haven't done much photography lately. What is it with people who want to compare a picture to one by some other photographer? Why can't they resist the urge to compare? I used to think it was a compliment if someone said that a picture of mine reminded them of a Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Weegee, or some other photographer's picture. But I don't see it as much of a compliment anymore. What it says to me is that the person can't overcome their preconceptions. I'm not just speaking from my own experiences with such people. I see it on and elsewhere. People will say, "what a great picture! It is reminiscent of a Steiglitz...blah blah" What it amounts to is hero worship. So, instead of having a great picture stand for itself, you have a picture that is great because it emulates some dead photographer.... I also tend to think that many of those "arm-chair art critics" are trying to impress us with their knowledge of dead artists. It also makes me cringe when people really get into the spirit of hero worship when they say things like "Ansel Adams could take 1000% better pictures than mine if all he had to use was a pinhole camera, and his arms were tied behind his back!" I mean, give me a break. A salseman in a bike store once said that even if all he had was a tricycle with flat tires, Lance Armstrong could still kick everyone's ass. Hey, that's great. Maybe Lance Armstrong and Ansel Adams could be some kind of Superhero Duo that fights crime, wins bike races, and takes outstanding photographs. Maybe they could also round up all the art critics and hero worshippers, carry them up into space (riding a tricycle with flat tires), and hurl them into the sun.