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Friday, February 26, 2010

morals/ethics/not being an asshole

a friend, for whom I have a great deal of artistic respect, got me thinking recently, when she expressed an eloquent disdain for, what she referred to as 'party photography' being used in the context of fine art. She said she thought it was 'exploitative', and alluded that there was something 'wrong' with catching people unawares, not giving them a moment to compose themselves.
i stared at my coffee pot, nodded, and confessed that i had been pondering the morals involved in such a practice too.

"you dabble in that, i know", she said.

i do. guilty.
but i don't just dabble, i RELISH the candidness, the freedom, and the lack of pretension in people's moments of abandon and unawareness. these scant seconds are rare in this cauldron of narcissism we call a town! i hunt these moments like rare animals. can i be blamed? or should i be scolded for desiring to hang these explosions of endorphins on gallery walls to show that our generation does have 'myspace-free' moments? i don't know.

what do you think?


  1. art is anything you say it is and want it to be. Everything is exploitive. Did Warhol pay the the guy who designed the soup can? Did Duchamp pay the guy who designed the urinal? Hell no! Do it up.

  2. I think there's a fine line between what is respectable and disrespectful as far as "party" photography goes. I don't even want to call it "party" photography - let's go with documentary.

    I think there's something charming about catching someone in a cute moment that they don't think anyone else is paying attention to - those are for the most part my favorite photos. Would documentary photography exist if everyone had a moment to compose themselves before having their photo taken? Yeah people are going to get pissed off if you flash in their face but, they'll get over it and you'll have something beautiful (or terribly horrendous) forever.

    Life is too short to take so seriously all the time, get over it and don't stop what you do because it's magic.