I have been sick during the Christmas days and seriously had no time to come up with a look back at the year 2013. No list with my favorite photographs, no list with best read blog posts. No, none of that. Not even a list of photographic resolutions for 2014.
You see, I have no clear expectations with my photography. I prefer to get in a flow. Less is really more, it is all I can say. I don’t work with projects in mind and when I read descriptions of art I might do it all wrong. Thank God that there are no rules to obey in art. Maybe art isn’t or shouldn’t be self-expressive, but I think that without not understanding and able to express your own personal feelings how can you be able to add subtense to an ongoing conversation?
Just search the web for ‘is art self-expressive’ and ‘is art not self-expressive’ and you get tons of opinions. I really wonder how much an image maker should be worried about these artistic discussions. Did Vincent van Gogh really care about the on-going conversation that art supposed to be when he cut off his ear and made his well known self-portrait? When I get the feeling that this painting was really a cry for help. And remember that Van Gogh likely sold one piece during his life and became acknowledged after his death as an artist. I think it is perfectly fine that the artistic intentions of the maker may be completely different from the observer point of view.
I absolutely believe that pretty much everything is evolutionary. And studying and understanding the past and what previous masters did can help with that. It sure makes a lot more sense to read books, visit museums than keep buying new gear in the hope that it improves your photography. But when we keep copying the copied it looses the original intent and it becomes just a hollow shell. A conversation won’t be everlasting and sometimes you have to start new conversations with different companions. I think this is where personal knowledge, experience and intuition can make a difference.
I might have it all wrong though. It may be a big “No” for others, but the number one reason I make photographs is because I do it for myself. I do what I like to do. My work is based on my own knowledge and personal feelings. There are my photographic sketches, trying to leave room for interpretation. Light, outlines and dark spaces.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma