Café Littéraire, Elegance Magazine, July 1992
In art scenes, one often boasts about things concerning photography that are very common, or even not worth mentioning in the eyes of a professional. Things like ‘fill-in-flash’ or ‘post exposure’. Once in a while it occurs to me that this might have to do with a lack of technical knowledge.
You can assume that when one can clearly see that a photographer has thought about a picture in advance, as if he has ‘designed’ the image, or when one can discuss the used, preferably ‘authentic’, technique, or when a picture is made under – for a non professional – seemingly difficult circumstances, a judgment will usually turn out positive.
A special leaflet will tell you what’s so unique about the photograph you’re looking at, and you’ll probably find an explanation about the technical skills that are used. It might turn out the photographer has used a special camera, lens or computer program or exposed his pictures in moonlight. This doesn’t impress a professional. In my opinion the true art is to ignore technique, not letting it count in a value judgment.
A picture often looks contrived, artificial, made-up, and fictitious when technique, direction, or manipulation are noticeable. It takes a lot of skill and professional know-how to make these determining factors invisible, and make a picture look like a simple snapshot, a registration of reality. ‘Le Naturel’, as a Frenchman would say.
Technique does not equal vision, and work as mentioned above is in fact part of a research of the technical possibilities of the medium regarding form, instead of using these possibilities regarding content, and consequently belongs in a classroom of an art school or academy and not in an exposition in a museum or gallery.