Trip to AIPAD

I went to New York yesterday; to the Armory and AIPAD. AIPAD is the Association of International Photography as Art Dealers. 70+ galleries with a wide range of photography in almost every genre. For me at times it’s like visiting old visual friends. There were several prints of “Moonrise over Hernandez, NM.” Each printed at different times by Ansel Adams. Each illustrated an evolution in how he viewed the image and how he orchestrated the final print. There were several Westons, Cunninghams, and Capanigros. Getting to see a number of Sebastião Salgado’s wonderful images from his Genesis series and so many of Bill Eppridge’s images was certainly a joy. As well as seeing both the fine and wonderfully imaginative and innovative work of, and running into, Jefferson Hayman and Stephen Wilkes and Jay Masiel.

Some of the work I see each year continues to challenge my concept of photography and sensibilities as an artist. I find that I’ve come to see Art as the way that we adorn our world, beautify our living space, and express ourselves as individuals. Certainly as a form of visual communication. It troubles me when I have to read some tome that explains the work. Shouldn’t the work, if it’s being truly communicative explain itself? There were many pieces that were simply vacuous, some have heard my rambling about the school of Nihilistic Post Modernism that I simply abhor. To me it denies Moment and Spirit and hangs it’s hat on some form of conceptual composition and may have some semblance of light. Perhaps I’m too old school. Perhaps I want to see more than contrived tableaus.

Then there is the rise of “Video Art.” What seems to be a combination of still and video photography. Much of which is conceptual and in many cases seemed to be overly worked to try to communicate some vacuous ethereal concept. And just as I was becoming frustrated with what I was seeing I turned the corner and there was a wonderful black and white image full of light, shape, moment and spirit. That made it all better.

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