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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

'Thereness'

Get ready for issue 12 of 1000 Words, 'Thereness', out 1 October.

"[...] More often than not, a direct, 'simple' record of the subject in hand - the way of the 'quiet' photographer - produces a result that is more profoundly fresh than any attempt at visual novelty made by utilising the many tricks of the trade. If photography deals directly and honesty with life, it has every chance to be fresh and 'new', for the surface of life itself is infinitely variable, renewable and renewing. [...] The concreteness of photography, its awkward specificity, *must* surely be its glory, for can we ever tire of looking at a tree, the sky, a human face?

[...]'Thereness' is a sense of the subject's reality, a heightened sense of its physicality, etched sharply into the image. It is a sense that we are looking at the world directly, without mediation. Or rather, that something other than a mere photographer is mediating. [...] Such a feeling, such alertness, when present in the photograph, can of course conceal the greatest photographic art. 'Thereness' is seen at the opposite ends of the photographic spectra, in the humblest holiday enprint as much as the most serious art photograph, in the snapshot-inspired, dynamic small camera candid as much as the calm, meditative, large camera view. Those photographs which conjure up a compelling desire to touch the subject, to walk into the picture, to know the photographed person, display 'thereness'. Those photographs which tend towards impressionism, expressionism or abstraction can be in danger of losing it, or never finding it [...]. 'Thereness', in short, is a quality that has everything to do with reality and little to do with art, yet is, I would reiterate, the essence of the art of photography"

From The Art That Hides Itself - Notes on Photography's Quiet Genius by Gerry Badger