Re-Thinking The Museum ~

I am such an art commie. As a reformed Hasselblad and large-format shooter, I've come to embrace the democratizing effect of cameras in the smartphone, and digital photography in general. But there's more to it that just this, much more. Within this digital world is the virtual museum, and the accessibility of the works of the great (and not-so-great) masters, the famous works and neglected artists, the big and the small, are all encompassed in this lovely glass world at our fingertips. And yes, this is a good thing.

When I was a portrait photographer in northern California back in the '80s, I was a member of Friends of Photography, an Ansel Adams - based group of fine-art photographers based at that time in Carmel. I made monthly pilgrimages to see their exhibits, and was always blown away by the works on display. Sometimes they were images from the masters themselves -- Adams, Weston -- but more often by little known up-and-comers whose works both humbled and inspired. And that's precisely the point I'm struggling to make here: those incredible photographs were accessible through no other means than a couple hour's drive south to Carmel. There was no way to share my experience with anyone who hadn't likewise gone there to see them.

And yes, I know, I wrote here a couple years back about the tactile and visceral experience of seeing great art in person. I'm a gallery hound. But wander as much as I do, I'm still usually not in San Francisco, or New York, or London, or wherever the heck a great photography show is being hosted, but a quick google search will turn up exquisite exhibitions and challenging reviews, as well as websites fully dedicated to hosting a broad spectrum of contemporary photography, such as 500px. And for heavens sake, expand your horizons beyond photography: the world of contemporary art is limitless, and all of it will inspire. Well, most of it, anyway. The photo-marxist in me loves to be offended every now and then. There's no other way to know what you love.

Viva la revolución!