The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Recently I heard someone say that photography and, art in general, needs to provoke.  I think when most people hear that or say it they think it with a negative connotation.  But -- think about it -- "provoke" can be negative and positive.

When I think about those who wish for art to provoke and be in your face -- I wonder what they have on their walls in their home.  If they have the kind of art that really ticks your off -- makes you angry -- makes you want to do something -- how can you relax?  I have also heard people say there is more to photography than butterflies and rainbows.  Sure it is -- but when I like to relax, sit in a room, chill -- I want pretty pictures.  There are those who would dismiss most of what I do as just pretty pictures and not show much of an interest.  That is fine -- if we all liked the same thing, Baskin-Robbins would only be called "1 Flavor."

Thinking about what we like, personally.  What we want hanging in our homes, our private spaces.  It makes me think of the movie That Thing You Do.  When they finally get in the studio, Mr. White (Tom Hanks) tells Jimmy he wants something happy, peppy, and none of his usual lover's lament stuff.  Jimmy takes offense, as an artist, and quits.  But Mr. White has a point.  He wants something that will sell, be commercially successful -- but also something that is good.  People can think an artist who is very commercially successful is a sellout and only cranking out work for the masses.  But if it is what people want...and it is good work...

Oh I know -- fine line and all that -- we don't all want to turn into little Kinkades.  But doing what makes you happy and what people want to hang in there homes is a good thing, right?   I think I am going to stick to doing things that provoke -- provoke good feelings.  And yeah -- I like that sappy movie.

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