Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Creating Meaning In A Memorable Way

"An artist is a choreographer of reality, constantly shifting boundaries, an individual who finds himself with a political investment and social duties, making meaning but also delivering it in a memorable way." --Piero Golia
On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
I came across the quote (at the top of this post) by artist Piero Golia and it brought to mind several things relating to urban exploration photography. There's a number of points to consider and apply to our art.

First, Golia says that an artist is a "choreographer of reality" which means that reality can be whatever the artist wants it to be--it's something that can be controlled. In other words, there are no rules.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one," said Albert Einstein. You have the freedom to create whatever you want with your photography. You have the freedom to move beyond merely capturing a scene. You can and should make the reality within your images whatever you want that reality to be.

Next, Golia talks about "constantly shifting boundaries" which is another way of saying pushing the envelope. This doesn't necessarily mean being controversial (although it might mean that), but instead it means pushing yourself to be more creative. You should always be striving to do better with your next image. You should never find yourself content with the quality of your work because there is always room for improvement. You should always be able to look back at your previous work and see your growth as an artist.
Broken Souls - Newberry Springs, California
Piero Golia then says that one should be "an individual who finds himself with a political investment and social duties" which means having something to say through your art. Photography is a form of nonverbal communication. If you don't have something interesting to say through your images then your images will certainly be boring.

Finally, Golia says that "making meaning but also delivering it in a memorable way" is an essential element to art. This is the meat and potatoes of his quote.

"Making meaning" is creating--not just creating for the sake of creating, but creating for a purpose. I don't want to glance past the creating part of this because it is an essential point to understand. Great photographs are not merely captured, but are created by the photographer. If you are not creating your images then you are a snapshooter and not an artist. Also, that created photograph must have meaning--there must be a point to it. If you cannot explain the point verbally then the image will never be able to explain itself nonverbally to the viewer.

What is meant by "delivering it in a memorable way" is that if the photograph isn't esthetic none of the other stuff even matters. The photograph must be composed in such a way that it will draw the viewer in and stick in the viewer's mind. It must be, well, memorable.

All of what Golia said is what's required for making great art. Put all of those points together in your photography and you're a true artist.