Thinking cameras reminded me of a conversation I had with Erynn at the Art Museum last week that I didn't recall as I was typing up my account of the show. As we were looking at Lievens's Still Life With Books, we got to talking about photography as an art, getting towards something like an idea of what distinguished those photographs that were art and those that were more simply "snapshots," or visual records or mementos. It got to be a question of whether black and white photography was often more artistic – not in the sense that black and white is more affected or "artsy-fartsy," but that black and white photography might lend itself to a greater intrinsic artistic capacity – because it is less realistic. In looking at the Still Life With Books, as we were, and trying to understand why it appealed to us so greatly, we were considering the sheer capturing of an image as art. In painting, there is an artistic task or interpretation in capturing and creating colour, even in trying to achieve a pure realism. In photography, with good colour photography, there is perhaps too much a capturing of the pure realism: so much so that only the capturing itself – the framing and the moment – is what is available for artistic creativity. With black and white photography, we wondered whether perhaps it was the that very lack of realism (in that reality is anything but colourless) that gave a greater potential for the artist to actually achieve something with photography.
I don't know that I'd take a bullet for all that, but it had me thinking. And still does.
Also worth noting from this weekend was my answering the phone yesterday and hearing nothing but sustained gabbling and gurgling on the other end: Nathaniel. Joe and I had been playing phone tag for a few days, since I had tried to catch him on the phone for his birthday, and now he was getting back to me successfully, but letting Nate have the first go because he was vocalizing so much. Too cute. Apparently the young titan is cutting more teeth and is drooling like crazy, but is still very chatty despite the discomfort. So we caught up on such news, as well as other details like Nate's continuing fascination with nibbling at his toes, which is a kind of flexibility I can only dream of.