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May 3, 2016
Visual Truths

Photography has become ubiquitous in the digital age, giving everyone the tool for documenting everything from the moment one wakes up. Every look is captured, every event saved, every thought recorded. Although this power to record and disseminate expands the empowerment of each individual to affect history, the longevity of this visual narrative has yet to be determined.

Michael A. Smith, Chicago, 2008, 8 x 20 inches, gelatin silver chloride contact print.
Courtesy of the artist

As a medium for affecting a global audience, photography as an art form and journalistic tool indeed presents us with the groundwork for discussing the actual longevity of this exploding movement. In doing so, consider what elevates a photograph and touches the aesthetic of the public psyche.

The renowned photographer Robert Adams talked about the three truths of landscape photography. According to Adams, “Landscape pictures can offer us, I think, three verities – geography, autobiography, and metaphor. Geography is, if taken alone, sometimes boring, autobiography is frequently trivial, and metaphor can be dubious. But taken together, as in the best work of people like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, the three kinds of information strengthen each other and reinforce what we all work to keep intact – an affection for life.”

Paula Chamlee, Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 2004, 8 x 10 inches, Gelatin Silver Chloride Contact Print. Courtesy of the artist

The photographs of Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee currently on exhibition at The Art School of the Boca Raton Museum of Art exemplify these “truths” and give us, the public, an opportunity to determine how one can achieve a lasting visual comment. They have spent their lives finding those images, those moments, those interpretations of their visions. Much of their work is landscape in nature with a unique interpretation of the subject, motive and truth of the lens.

Considering the impact of the medium today in our everyday lives, from Facebook posts to digital scrapbooks, the individual interested in expanding their skill to document a personal history that will exist beyond the visual byte would be well served to consider these three truths (geography, autobiography and metaphor) when they click the shutter and send the image out into the universe.

Posted by: Inga Ford @ Monday, November 1, 2010 2:23:35 pm 
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