“The photography-integrated-into-life method is decidedly unfashionable. The huge majority of photographers I saw at Photolucida were more project oriented. The prevailing model is to develop a concept of something that has photographic potential —often of personal interest but not always— and then methodically take photographs of that project until a body of work is created, with the ultimate goal of showing the work at Photolucida or similar venue.
I think photographs should come first. Arrange them in projects later if you must or else leave them as is in a big loose stack. Either way, photography that is integral to life seems to me to be the strongest because it comes from purest motivation: the very simple need to translate the world into photographs. Of course I am biased because this how I approach my own work, but it’s what I like to see in others too.” - Blake Andrews
This is one of the more salient observations I’ve come across in awhile (thanks Blake!), but perhaps that’s because it articulates a feeling that’s been with me for sometime. And really, if there were ever to be an LPV type statement of principles, this idea would have to be in there somewhere. What I sense brewing, and has been brewing for a few years now (maybe more?) is some tension between the fine art photography establishment and the new wave vernacular movement that has grown in communities on Flickr and other parts of the web.
Put simply, I don’t think the fine art photography establishment has much respect for this photographic philosophy or method (look at the general derision toward street photography and family photography for example). I know plenty of studious, intelligent photographers out there who treat photography as a way of life and don’t have any sort of fine art ambition.
Maybe that’s what it comes down to: ambition. I have this feeling, one I certainly can’t prove scientifically, but somehow I think having an ambition to make it in the fine art world interferes with your photographic intuition to some degree. There’s a danger that the conceptual part of your brain and eye will smother the intuitive part. Is there a way to find a balance? Of course. Do I have any idea how? Nope, but I do think mixing the vernacular, “integrated-into-life method” with the project method can lead to some very exciting photography. But will the fine art world pay attention?