RE: Crappy/Krappy Rant

From: Charlie Goodwin ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 01/05/05-09:23:10 AM Z
Message-id: <>


I think I owe an apology for poetic overstatement in my last rant.

A distinction I should have thought of making is that an artwork or an artist can exist in two distinct ways; the first is in making the art, in which some sort of technique is intrinsic, cannot be avoided - sort of the to decide not to decide is regardless a decision - the technique of no technique is regardless a technique; a Holga or a Diana photo used as a point and shoot is it's own technique. In the making of artwork, technique is intrinsic, unavoidable and vitally important.

However, for any of us who are exhibiting or selling, our work has a second life away from us, where I feel it must exist independently and be it's own justification. It is in this second realm that I believe strongly that technique doesn't matter. On a gallery wall or on a printed page, my work will be viewed by strangers who don't know me or care about me. They won't usually care about my technique, nor should they have to. I make my work with the intention that it will work for someone who knows nothing of the technique of painting or photography. It is in this second existence that I believe that technique doesn't matter.

I have done product photography as a business, and the lessons are still with me. I can't see light without reinterpreting it in terms of how to move lights and reflectors... to generate that light in a studio. I can't look at color without mixing it in my head from a few pigments that are my basic palette. I have lots of the physical tools of control for photography and painting, and a lot of the mental tools, but something I learned maybe more from painting is that control can be a double edged sword, that sometimes - often - takes away as much as it gives, that the feeling of being in control is not art. It's intentions and goals and whatever it takes to execute them, that may make for successful art.

Sometimes I shoot with large format and great optics and hopefully flawless technique and intend for results that are a very literal window into the world. Other times I engage in less literal images. Regardless of how the work happened, my first criteria of artistic success is, " Might it be enduringly interesting to a stranger?" It is at that point that technique is unimportant.

I really don't know or care if John Corigliano composed on paper or used Sebelius software to write the score of "Red Violin"; I just listen to the music. I'm indifferent to whether Avedon shot with a Deardorff or Tri-X or whatever. I don't really care about the means. It's ends that matter in the end.

I don't know if I have made myself clearer or muddier, but thanks for slogging through this.

Received on Wed Jan 5 09:25:04 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : 02/01/05-09:28:07 AM Z CST