Why photography? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that, for most things, I’m technologically daft. I’m intrigued by the technology of the image and the relation that both have with each other and with the larger reality that contains both. Part of my interest here also has to do with the relationship, or, rather, the nature of this peculiar relationship. Does Photography reproduce reality while painting and drawing, as well as writing, presupposes? Or is it the other way around? Or am I simply fudging a distinction, so I can say photography is different from painting, drawing, or writing?

Photography, and by extension Cinema, enjoys the distinction of being, at least in appearance, more accurate on a scientific level than her aesthetic siblings. The photographic image seems less mediated or “subjectivized” by the brush stroke, pencil, or word. Chemicals are chemicals, right, and light, well, is light. Cinema sees more independently than the canvas, the notebook, or the page. Or so the story goes. But they’re all odd bedfellows too in that all four mediums presuppose there is a ‘something’ already there, something prior, to a click, brush stroke, or lettering. But then feeling gets in the way, at least it seems that way when it comes to painting, drawing, and literature. And this seems the principal difference from my point of view. Photography needs feeling as much as its expressive siblings, perhaps more so since its tangibles are fewer. So what brings photography back inside from the cold? It shares this need with its siblings, or rather, they all intersect on the plane of feeling, which seems to me to be the first necessity of any artistic endeavor. To be artistic is to feel, but then what does this do to truth? It seems to cut truth down right at the knees, like a gangster. Science was once a gangster. It’s not any longer. It has lost its ability to feel. Equally, any art that tries to be truthful in a conscious forced manner is itself nothing more than a police agent. More like a police informant, actually. With it, you call the cops, and they come with their police ordnance enforcing the ordinances of truth and beauty. If art is about truth and beauty, it’s purely an accident. But you can always fall in love with an accident. Deeply in love. And you love the ruin that will come. It is concerned only with you, and you with it. Let me quote a dead man, Roberto Bolańo, who once said (I paraphrase with some license) that robbing a bank was more honest work than writing a story, and that the best poets are those who aren’t afraid to knock over a bank. He explains below how literature (e.g., any of the arts) often does serve as our best patron:

I never had a patron. No one ever hooked me up with anyone so I could get a grant. No government or institution ever offered me money, no elegant gentleman ever pulled out his checkbook for me, no tremulous lady (quivering with a passion for literature) ever invited me to tea and committed herself to providing me with a meal a day. But over the years I’ve come across many patrons, in person or in books.

The only patron I’ve ever had was a painter–a good painter, in fact–himself in need of a patron.