Contemporary Narratives - Photography: A Short Guide to History, Theory, and Practice: Online Course Starting April 27th 2022
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Monday, 12 May 2014
Photography, Fear and Failure
I really enjoyed interviewing Larry Fink and Greg Halpern for the BJP last week. They have two new books out; Larry Fink on Composition and Improvisation and The Photographer's Playbook. For this Halpern (and Jason Fulford) collected over 307 assignments designed to shake up would-be photographers into making interesting work.
This is one thing Halpern said that resonated; the making of defensive work, work that is made because it is the work that is expected, work that conforms to a norm of some form of good taste - work that lacks passion, that is a bit lukewarm, work that is made out of fear of rejection, humiliation and failure - or simply out of conformism and lack of imagination.
“I teach and it’s not always that light. I’m not sure why that is. I sometimes think it’s because we ask our students to produce work and then defend it verbally in critiques. So they make work defensively to meet the assignment. That makes it hard to make work through instinct because if you do that you run the risk of getting a bad critique.”
And that goes for photography, for writing, for blog posts too... So congratulations to Halpern for recognising it and addressing it head on with such honesty.