A Milestone, of Sorts
Dylan assured us that "the times they are a-changin'." Alternatively, we are all going to hell in a hand basket.
I had a conversation with a young photographer last week — a recent MFA photography graduate who shall remain nameless. Hopefully forever. I suggested that his work would be seen, compared, and judged in the context of those who had done similar work before him, for example Edward Weston. To which he responded, "Who?" I was nonplussed. How is it possible to have earned an MFA in photography and never heard of Edward Weston? Are they not teaching photographic history anymore? Curious, I asked him. He explained, "It was an elective, but I didn't take it."
I know I must have visibly winced. He looked at me quizzically. I looked back and had visions of the thought bubble floating above his head: "Why teach history when there are so many Photoshop plug-ins to master? History, after all, is about old, unimportant, obsolete, insignificant, inconsequential dead guys." Never in my life have I so desperately wanted an EM pulse gun to aim at a snot-nosed kid's hard drive.
Thank goodness I didn't have an 8x10 view camera on me or I would have bonked him on the head with it. Probably wouldn't have done any harm anyway — there was nothing in there to damage.
QUESTION: Why bother yourself about the archaic world of long-forgotten photographers when there is so much happening that is now? Why concern yourself with images that are so passé when there's a new aesthetic that supplants those banal images of the chemical days? Why study outdated ideas when the world has moved on and left them in the fossil bin next to the dinosaur teeth?
ANSWER: So you are not a stupid, vapid photographic twit.
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