Monday, October 25, 2010

Which has more magic, a pencil or camera?

Reading a book about pilgrimages and vision, art critic Robert Hughes said that back in the 19th century every educated person drew on a regular bases. He said: "Drawing was an ordinary form of speech used as a pastime or aide-memoire (something I find I need more and more), without the pretensions to 'high' art." His contention was that drawing was gradually abolished by the mass camera market and implied that now we see less.

While working on my Masters degree in drawing and painting, often we would strengthen our ability to see by closing our eyes and drawing while touching the subject, or drawing models without looking down at our paper. With practice and trust, amazing results happened.

Now, after some 30 years as a pro photog, I find myself doing two different kinds of photography: 1) documenting the subject 2) looking for the magic in the subject. There's a world of difference. Zillions of photographs cluter our planet. Only a small percentage have magic.

What do you think? Would you see more with a pencil than a camera?

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