What I have learnt today … from John Szarkowski and some bloggers.
Quiz: I am a small picture, smaller than a palm, and I exist on a surface of highly polished silver. What am I?
Am I an Instagram picture on a Silver iPhone? Nope! I am a 1839 daguerreotype.
The only slight difference between them is that the latter is infinitely detailed. And the question is: Why on earth every new successful app diminishes the resolution and the quality of photographs? Have a look on your smartphone pictures with a magnifying loupe. The pixels won't increase in numbers.
As soon as we got used to look at our digital work on a big LCD, it came the laptop, the pad, the phone and we are now looking at images exclusively at thumbnail size, betraying any aesthetics acquired with pain and suffering and becoming addicts of simple geometry, high contrasts and over-saturated colours.
"The picture should be looked at with its case not fully opened, preferably in private and by lamplight, as one would approach a secret." JS
This is how I am looking at Gabi's picture, with some envy I admit, because my continuous efforts to photograph Paris were hijacked by Atget, Brassai, Kertesz and HCB and not for a moment I thought that I could drop B&W and see Paris in colours. Guy le Guiff was the first to remind me that I have mistaken, Gabi is the second one to confirm my mistake.
In the picture presented here I can smell the Rive Gauche, and funnily I can smell even the noises as I can hear the silence between the young individuals in their identical dress code and gestures.
But most of all, I am captivated by the flatness, and the colours of an ancient wall tapestry. No context is revealed and at the same time the stairs and the wall patterns cannot get more Parisian than that.
This is a picture that stayed a long time in a drawer and with time it gained its deserved nostalgia, its temporal surrealism, one of the greatest virtues of the photographic medium.
"Il faut donner du temps au temps" was saying another famous French man.
After contributing in the several mill bucks business of photo contests, after the multiple sharing and the social media reach frenzy, after all that, do you still have time to do photography?
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