A Note

For some reason, for me, good doesn’t cut it. I yearn for great. I’m trying to figure out what this means to me. Part of it is about having a very strong sense of what you’re doing. Whether that’s sophisticated or emotional (articulate or visceral), that integrity has to be there totally, or I’m not interested. So much work I look at and think the composition is good, or the colours are nice, or something like that, but no more. The people I really rate – Parke, Norfolk, Graham, and so on – they all have this intense sense of intent.

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  1. #1 by simonfive on October 29, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. One of the problems seems to be a definition of great. Not even the people who we consider ‘great’ had a definition.
    I have met enough ‘great’ people to know that they do exactly what we do, they get up in the morning and do stuff. Very often without considering their own greatness in any way.
    This is what makes it difficult for people who want to be the best they can, and great if they can be, there is no definition of the thing they are striving for. Only the thing itself.
    I am sorry that this may not be any help except in so far as it expresses a sort of solidarity. Developing intent is even more ill defined and difficult to do than getting to be great photographer.

  2. #2 by st84photo on October 29, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    Auden once said a great thing about writing, that the worst thing a poet can do is to write an amazing poems and to know that it isn’t one of his. I think he was pointing at something there. I keep thinking on something Simon Norfolk said at a lecture recently, that we should focus on what we’re passionate about, and that we shouldn’t make the easy mistake of confusing “being interested” with “being passionate” for they are two very different things.

    I think that, the more strongly you feel about the subject/theme/topic of the work you’re doing,t he easier it becomes to figure out how that work must be done. If you don’t care, you can’t decide. You have no basis for a creative decision.

    But, beyond that, I’m drifting.

  3. #3 by simonfive on October 29, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    Unfortunately the very act of considering whether we are passionate or merely interested robs the actions we take of their spontaneity.
    Perhaps it is impossible to consider the act we are engaged in or the acts we consider for the future and it is only possible to look backwards and say, based on the evidence, ‘yes, I was passionate about that’.
    I agree about your point about not being able to decide if you don’t care. Perhaps this is a rule of thumb. Something along the lines of ‘I put this much effort in therefore I care this much’.

    None of this is very satisfactory. It appears that we cannot choose to be great, we can only struggle and hope.

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