The text I am writing about was written by Paul Graham for the graduation book titled 'Yale MFA Photography 2009: We Belong Together'.
In the extract, Graham speaks about the different opinions on photography, and whether the practice is easy or difficult. There are some incredibly meaningful quotes that I have picked out that I would like to discuss. The first thing that stood out to me was in the first line where he states, "After all, it's just looking at things". This particularly resinates with me, due to the fact that photography is an incredibly simple concept, which becomes much more complicated as you further explore the possibilities. He then says, "It's so difficult because it's everywhere, every place, all the time, even right now". I believe that he is saying there is inspiration everywhere, even the most simple things could lead to the creation of a fantastic image. He follows this up by providing examples, such as holding your pen in your hand or looking across the room and seeing something. He then follows this up by saying, "You didn't photograph it, because you didn't think it was worth it. And now it's too late, that moment has evaporated". I think the message he is trying to convey is, don't take photo opportunities for granted, capture things in the moment otherwise you will miss out on what could have been an amazing image. They are the kind of things that you may never be able to replicate, and will never get back. Once you read these things, you realise that throughout the whole piece, he is being very contradictory. This is because he gives reasons that each show the levels of difficulty in the field, changing from how easy it is to how difficult it is within just four lines.
In the next section, Graham begins to question elements of photography, saying "But if it's everywhere and all the time, and so easy to make, then what's of value?". He elaborates on this by comparing photographs that were unplanned and images that have been long thought out and planned before taking them. He claims that both of these can turn out successful or unsuccessful, it is the execution of the shot that matters, not what came before it. A quote in the text also adds to this, it says "'life's single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can admit to in a lifetime, and stay sane' - Thomas Pynchon, V". After speaking of a number of styles you may end up enjoying in photography, he questions which of these you should do. His response to this is, "Yes yes and yes. That's the choice you are spoiled for, but just don't let it stop you". What I take from this is that you don't have to limit yourself to one genre of photography, or let anything prevent you from experimenting during your photographic journey.
Finally, I would like to end on this specific quote from Paul Graham, "The work often says more than the artist knows". Obviously you sometimes have to think about what your images are conveying to the viewer, however you shouldn't get too caught up in this. You should let your photography surprise you, the viewers will often interpret it in their own way.
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