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End of the line by Richard Keeling on 500px.com

I haven’t been sick for a long time so it’s been a bit of a trial this. Vomiting and all else. Not pleasant at all. That part might have passed but I still feel achy and cranky as all heck. Funny how quickly patience and consideration evaporate when you ache.

Not to mention things you want to do being passed by. The irritation of being house bound.

I know, things could be a lot worse.

One thing it does do, though, is to strip a lot away from your thinking. Irritation is a powerful abrasive. It rubs politeness away. I guess I’m getting somewhat close to all the loonies who relish conspiracy theories and live as internet trolls. Of course, those poor sods are at it twenty four hours a day and are nowhere near any sense of self-awareness that might break them out of their home-built purgatory.

Sad! – to use a regrettably overused epithet.

Anyway, all this crankiness is having the delightful effect of bringing to the fore the always-present but mostly suppressed notion that I believe I am as good a photographer as I need to be – right now. Amazingly, this has always been the case ever since I began. Even though, looking back, I do see plenty of evidence of misplaced confidence but it certainly wasn’t clear at the time.

Well, that’s the result of experience and practice. What I do realize now, and should have realized right from the beginning, is that I don’t need to copy or emulate anyone else and my general disgust with 99% of popular photography isn’t something to hide or somehow explain away.

The truth is that 99% of all photography, including all those over-processed color saturated grandiose landscapes or those tasteful, Photoshop-cleansed nudes or anything else that a whole class of photographers regard as the be all and end all of the art is utter and complete garbage. Mind rot. Empty of purpose (except to fool the unthinking) and bereft of artistry.

With such an attitude it’s a wonder that I pursue the art at all, but the reality is that the 1% that comprises the good photographs is constantly and swimmingly inspiring and, more importantly, reassuring that real art can come out of the medium. ‘

So every time I groan at the popular crap floating to the top in 500px or fstoppers or anywhere else, I can flip open my copy of Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled Film Stills’ and be brought right back into a state of bliss.

Curiously, when in this state of bliss, my own work takes on a value that makes me feel, once again, like a perfect photographer. Something I never feel in the presence of the 99%. When there I feel dirty, ashamed to be associated with such drivel through the shared label of ‘photography’.

Well, that’s what great art does. It brings out the humanity and the very best in you. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep that feeling permanently in place. Sadly, we live in a corrupted world and there’s no getting away from that. But I can try.

 

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