Today cameras are ubiquitous. Anyone and everyone can “take a picture” and post it on Instagram for instant consumption.

In photography, Alfred Stieglitz fought the battle for Photography as Art in the early 1900’s. He seems to have won in at least being able to separate Photography as Art when the intention is Art and not mere documentation.

Documentation can produce moving photographs: think of some of the great photo-journalism work over the past 150 years. But the core is not in the art of the photograph itself but rather in what it has managed to record that moves us. It is a product of being in the right place at the right time, not of molding something to your will. And that causes the serious photographer to strive for deeper expression of his or her personal self through their chosen medium.

I often turn to examples of Japanese calligraphy for inspiration. I find that the works of Japanese calligraphers often inspire me to look for new possibilities of expression in photography – possibilities that expand, and in some cases, distort the “found reality” inherent to the medium. The stretched characters, the free-flowing hand and the contrast of black ink on white paper often serve as a template in my personal works.

And this is where words start to fail me. The more immersed I become in the visual arts, the harder it becomes for me to express myself adequately in words. Ideally, my goal is to develop a photographic vocabulary to the point that I would no longer have to write or talk: that I should be able to express myself clearly by showing people a series of photographs on my website.

Will this ever actually happen? I don’t know. But a person can dream.

Photo by Chana Fresco Rubin

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