Last night's digital photography as fine art discussion held at the Boytnon Beach City Library was an interactive journey through a meaty can of artistic worms.
But if someone were to take a photo of that metaphorical can of meaty worms, would it be fine art?
And the discussion begins...
Lona O' Conner of the Palm Beach Post, veteran journalist, and the first woman photographer at the Detroit Free Press was also the first to put her elbows up on the discussion table last night. This gave us all, panelists and event attendees, the go-ahead to drop formalities.
Photo: Daniel Millay
Is the person in the front row yawning? I hope not.
I was invited to participate on the panel by curator and ActivistArtistA Gallery owner Rolando Chang Barrero. If you read this article you'd know why the event was organized in the first place.
"Kali Goes Shopping" Painting by Lisa Rockford
Artist and curator Lisa Rockford says she organizes shows that are "mostly contemporary" at 1310 Gallery.
Walking into this event I notice I'm a little nervous. A photographer friend of mine jokes that he's going to ask me all the technical questions that he knows I don't know the answers to.
Ugh. Technical questions. Not funny.
When I first saw a particular technical question (I admit, we got a sneak peek at a few of them a couple days ago) my 10th grade anti-calculus attitude kicked in. I thought, "How does this translate to the real world of photography anyway?" Not that this 35mm film to digital conversion question is any less valid than any others asked, but seriously, I just want to get paid to take pretty pictures.
I'm not saying I cringe about all technical conversations, but I admit that I asked Jeeves on this one. And why not? As was pointed out by O'Conner, the internet can be an expansive wealth of information, just as the night's forum mimicked a renaissance salon-like sharing of knowledge.
So the question in question came up and I decided the best way to approach it was to say what I had to say early. This way I could add my thoughts about film grain as it relates to film speed and lens quality hoping that one of the five other panelists would jump in before I ended my diatribe with a Seinfeldian "yadda, yadda, yadda" for good measure.
Luckily, the discussion continued to flow until local commercial photographer Michael Herb's Photo365 Project was introduced. He explained the dedication it took to make images consistently for a year, but just viewing the projected images allowed for vast appreciation. These colorful, often graphically humorous images take hours to complete, but instantly grab your attention with their Blockbuster cinematographic appeal.
Michael Herb Photography
"Traditional Family Portrait, FAIL."
With an on and off flick of the room's lights promptly at 8 p.m. by the library employee, we all knew our time had drawn to a close. Barrero thanked everyone in attendance, noting that "we" are creating something together.
Then, with emphasis repeated simply, "We."
Personal Bias: Apparently it was my New Times press credentials and not my good looks and charming personality that got me a seat on the discussion panel as I had (mistakenly) thought. Hmpf.
Photo: Monica McGivern
Barrero said he organized the event to, "...generate dialogue between patrons and artists. Something that's been missing in Boynton Beach."
The Crowd: Familiar faces and names from the Broward and Palm Beach County art world. From photo editors to board members, artists, and those simply interested in the arts.
Overheard in the Crowd: "After tonight, I'm not so sure..." In response to curator, Rolando Chang Barrero's question as to whether the audience member (artist, Tony Arruza) considered himself a photographer.
Random Detail: According to an attendee's T-shirt, "Good art does not match a couch."
Following the rule that good art doesn't match a couch, and the fact that I have a blue couch, one can only derive that this is good art.