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2007-09-17
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For the love of photography - Panoramas

My brother is a professional photographer... he just sent me an email from one of his photo professors...

Something to think about while you capture your personal Panorama moment in time.
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AJ Meek
The Art of Photography and the Amateur Ethic
From: LASM Quarterly
A Publication of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum
June/July/August 2005.

Students entering a beginning class in photography often warn me that "They're not very creative."  "If you can love, then you can photograph"[1],  said Alfred Stieglitz [1864-1946] who was often named the father of modern photography.  In addition to being in love with life, Stieglitz championed the amateur ethic by the use of snapshots as art.

     In recent times, the use of the word "amateur" has come to mean an uncommitted, hackneyed, immature, and unaware practitioners of a given hobby such as photography. The true meaning of the word "amateur", however, is doing something for the love of it.  It would seem that a such a gifted person making photographs for joy's sake would be the salvation of many dreary academic art projects by providing a fresh point of view and endearing spirit, benefiting humanity's quest for enlightenment. 

     The invention of roll film by George Eastman around 1888 made small cameras possible, freeing the creative eye of all photographers, especially the amateur, to capture fleeting moments in time.  Ever the experimenter, Stieglitz used such a camera in 1893 to photograph the horse-drawn mail coach from New Jersey racing down Fifth Avenue in a snowstorm to make a delivery.  The results amazed audiences around the world.  It was thought impossible to photograph in such inclement weather.  It became Stieglitz's highest prized photograph in many international amateur contests.  The medals it won for Stieglitz can still be viewed today at the prestigious New York Camera Club.

     On a bitter cold stormy night in 1898, Stieglitz once again ventured out in inclement weather to make photographs.  He reported:

"The gale blew from the Northwest . . . sheltering the camera from the wind, I focused.  There was a tree-ice covered, glistening-with the snow-covered sidewalk.  Nothing comparable had ever been photographed before, under such conditions.  My moustache was frozen stiff . . . The frosty air stung my nose, chin, and ears . . . The Savoy Hotel was not far away.  Before venturing back it seemed wise to have hot lemonade and a bit of warm toast.  Or it may have been a chocolate clair.  Or both."[2] 

     Love and passion for life seems to be the only explanation I can think of why a person would endure such unpleasant conditions to make photographs.

     It has been humorously said of writers, "When a writer is in a family, that family is finished."[3] Meaning, writers often embarrass their family members by using them as models for the stories they tell.  In the case of Jacques Henri Lartigue [1894-1986] you have a parallel situation, a curious, often mischievous, boy with a camera ready to record forever, the eccentric activities of his wealthy family.  Encouraged only by his father, th


/s/
Dave
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