Friday, 14 March 2008
The Oppressive Image of Cultural Literacy
In celebration of Esko Mannikko winning the Deutsche Borse Prize (check out his memorable acceptance speech here), we go back to Pierre Bayard, author of How to talk about books you haven't Read.
He writes about the need to "free ourselves of the oppressive image of cultural literacy without gaps... for we can strive toward this image for a lifetime without ever managing to coincide with it. "
"Truth destined for others is less important than truthfulness to ourselves, something attainable only by those who free themselves from the obligation to seem cultivated, which tyrannizes us from within and prevents us from being ourselves."
In other words, we don't have to know everything, our pictures don't have to strive towards some technical pitch of photographic/non-photographic perfection, or some academic pitch of all-knowing cleverness, or some commercial pitch of saleabiltiy, don't photograph for the art market, the mag market or the ad market, don't try to be cool, don't try to hip, don't try to be someone else, don't try to make money, don't try to get published or show your work. Anything that does that will just be disposable. Just be yourself and let the work will come from that.
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