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Monday, 7 April 2008

Paul Arden: On Photography

"I used to commission a lot of photography.

Consequently people were keen to show me their work.

99% of the portfolios I saw were of a very high standard.

98% of these cases contained pictures I had seen before.

Obviously not the same subject or composition, but I had a general feeling that I was not seeing anything new.

I was bored, they didn't have a point of view. If they did, it was that the viewer of the pictures (me) should like their work.

Very occasionally, I saw the work of someone who did have a point of view, whose work was like no one else's. These were often difficult people, almost unemployable because you couldn't tell them what to do.

Sometimes it went wrong.

Sometimes it didn't.

When it didn't go wrong, it more than made up for the times it did."

Paul Arden: 1940 - 2008


Anonymous said...

Colin - I like this quote; for the most part, I agree with it especially if the viewer is the decision maker of the commission.

Finding a point of view that sells in the ad world is what turns me on about commercial photographer because it's sooooooooooooo f'ing hard. Honestly, finding a "view point" as a fine are guy or even and editorial guy is simple by comparison.

colin pantall said...

Hi Bruce:
Paul Arden was full of great quotes, and I think they applied outside his work area.

I appreciate what you say about finding the view point in commercial photography. I think the pressures (and rewards let's not forget it)can go against having that point of view. But then I think that's the same with editorial or art photography too - but with those the pretence of artistic and journalistic integrity are more prevalent than the bottom-linism of the commercial world. Maybe? I don't know. I'm pissing in the wind here - I haven't got a clue. I think it all the photographic arenas have more in common than we sometimes make out.