Life Through A Lens

The latest “Renascent” project features photographers of myriad styles.

Renascent 3 cover

March 5, 2007 – The finest selection of artists grace this edition of The Renascent, which makes a strong case for the elevation of photography as a fine art. The editors wrote the following in the prelude to the works:

None of the arts aim to imitate life exactly. It could not be considered art without at least some alteration or emphasis added to the reality. Photography, therefore, being arguably the most realistic of the arts, cannot rely on technique to make its product artistic like painting or music might for instance. On the contrary, its proximity to reality is what many find interesting about photography—“that really happened!?”is the mark of a thoroughly engaged audience.

Markus Hartel, Kids and Hydrant
Markus Hartel, Kids and Hydrant

What one sees in a photograph actually didhappen, more or less, so it brings the audience to that exact slice of life instantly. As such, photography has become our medium of choice for capturing memories whether on vacation or at a special event. It also plays a significant role in securing evidence for journalistic or legal efforts, useful in all efforts even when the technique is limited and the aesthetic value of the picture is compromised.

Indeed, aesthetic value, which is often seen as artificial and excessive, gets in the way when the goal is recording the real. Plain, everyday things become interesting when caught with a camera, for example the curve of a leaf or a rooftopat sunset. Taking the real subject out of its context emphasizes its natural form or color, which is otherwise overlooked. Consequently, we sit mesmerized when looking at a picture of even the most banal things: waste paper drifting along an alley, a cluttered bulletin board, an old person’s wrinkled face. These things are a part of life as well and can indicate the truth like any other natural thing can.

In addition to photography’severyday qualities, it is also tied inextricably with technology. Of all arts, photography is most dependent on machinery and, as such, the medium shifts when advances are made. While this allows for an ever-evolving art form as new techniques are practically handed to the artists by the technicians, it is also the case that, like all technical affairs, photography becomes easier with each advance and thus available to more people. We have gotten to a point in this day and age where anyone can snap a picture.

These two facts—that pictures of everyday things can be interesting and that anyone can capture a photograph—may seem to devalue the art form. Perhaps photography cannot maintain the kind of dignity that painting and music do as arts that require at least some training and inventive subject matter. Any lucky person, after all, can accidentally press a button and capture a magnificent ballet of life in front of his lens. But, as any talented photographer can tell you, accidental brilliance is far from the norm. The focus in creative photography has thus shifted from a technical skill to much more of a creative endeavor. Photographers use placement, perspective, organiza tion, and timing to convey their ideas, skills that demand respect from all admirers of art.

Tricia Zigmund , Exudation Poisoning
Tricia Zigmund , Exudation Poisoning

No photographer will deny that he also depends on a little luck to capture that perfect instance in time and space. A photographer’s subject has a life of its own and that can surprise as much as it does cooperate. In essence, that is what makes the art so power ful and it is our belief that you will see that energizing kind of the unexpected in every one of the pictures presented here.

The most rewarding aspect of photography’s ubiquitous technology, and therefore dem ocratic nature, is the outlet it provides for creative minds who would otherwise go unfulfilled. Everyone’s vision can now be portrayed successfully. When the vision is unique and beautiful, it can become art. This is what we offer in the third volume of The Renascent. The images within these pages offer a world of creative vision depicting youth and age; nature and the city; and every other amazing thing that life has to offer. Please enjoy.

– The Editors

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Comments

  1. I have several copies of this book. I am featured for me figurenude photography. I believe the writer above tried to be overly analytical and perhaps thought too hard. Anyone who buys a camera spends more money than needed when beginning to paint, draw, or do basic pottery. Technology and realism are able to be recorded by photography but most art photography manipulates the perception of reality transmitted. The kids and hydrant above does not show the firefighters across the street. Framing manipulates reality. A photo is worth thousands of words but sometimes hearing one word is worth thousands of photos.
    I have sued ‘Gruegel’ for violating copyrights to my photography. Stay tuned.