While performing my daily visit to the Boston Globe's artblog, The Exhibitionist, by Geoff Edgers, I found that his blog made it to the top 10 blogs submitted to the Walker Art Center by Tyler Green, who writes another blog, Modern Art Notes. In Green's list, he lists Alec Soth's blog as well as the Walker's own employee blog (a great idea). Poking around the Walker blog, I came across a great post sharing John Szarkowski's thoughts on what makes a "perfect photo." It's worth returning to look for more from Paul Schmelzer and re-quoting the quote:
In a bad photograph, a lot of the time, the frame isn't altogether understood -- there are big areas of unexplained chemicals. It's especially difficult as the picture gets bigger. If it's small, a little piece of black can look like a dark place, right? But as it gets bigger, eventually it just turns into a black shape. And you look at the surface of the picture and it reminds you of the chemical factories on Lake Erie, creating pollution problems by making synthetic materials out of soybeans and petroleum derivatives. And you don't want that. The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It's not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You're not supposed to look at the thing, you're supposed to look through it. It's a window. And everything behind it has got to be organized as a space full of stuff, even if it's only air.
Some photographers think the idea is enough. I told a good story in my Getty talk, a beautiful story, to the point: Ducasse says to his friend Mallarmé -- I think this is a true story -- he says, "You know, I've got a lot of good ideas for poems, but the poems are never very good." Mallarmé says, "Of course, you don't make poems out of ideas, you make poems out of words." Really good, huh? Really true. So, photographers who aren't so good think that you make photographs out of ideas. And they generally get only about halfway to the photograph and think that they're done. ....