Depth Charge by Carol McCusker

For the past few months I have been thinking and writing about why I photograph and what I am attempting to accomplish through my work. I wont attempt to go into that now, but mentioning it seems appropriate because, as I was going through some magazines this morning, I came across this article by Carol McCusker in the Communication Arts 2006 Photography Annual. Below is an excerpt that helped start my thinking about the big questions, WHAT and WHY. You can read the full article here.

Depth Charge
Carol McCusker

Originally published in Communication Arts August Photography Annual 2006

Photography is art’s most democratic medium. It would seem that anyone can be labeled a good if not great photographer worthy of a show and publication once they master the mechanics of the camera, take enough trips to exotic places or attend a reputable photography graduate program. The fact is, by virtue of seeming to be a democratic, accessible art form, photography is deluged with mediocrity, imitation and instant art stars with no track record. Before embracing these art stars, I want to know, as curator of a photography museum, what else they’ve done or are capable of doing, and if they have staying power. They usually hail from university graduate programs, and open their first show in a highly visible New York gallery complete with a publication and a $12,000 price tag on each image. As with music and sports, the market hypes their imagery, furthering what I see as photography’s trend toward the big, the colorful and the disaffected. This may appropriately (and sadly) reflect our culture’s state-of-mind, but given the current state of the world, I need something more.

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About Richard Boutwell

I am an emerging photographer originally from the Hi-Desert of Southern California, and relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 2002 for an intensive apprenticeship with the photographers Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. I now live in Philadelphia, and concentrate on my own projects and writing.
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