Truth and beauty. Beauty and truth. Keats said they're pretty much one in the same, but sometimes I wonder. At least, when it comes to photography. When it comes to the essays on art that I stumble upon past midnight, the complimentarity of truth and beauty seems to be breezily assumed, but when the writer turns his or her attention to modern photography, all bets are off. And this bugs the hell out of me. I'm in no mood to ponder deep thoughts so early in the morning, so I'm left to figure out why the stark, post-modern landscapes of, say, Robert Adams somehow expose us to the hard light of truth, but his contemporary Robert Glenn Ketchum reveals to us the beauty in the same world. I mean, how is this even possible? I haven't even had my coffee yet.
Truth and beauty probably are just two sides of a coin, neither existing without the other: complimentary, wave and particle. I can't imagine either one canceling out the other, and I've never seen that happen in any of the countless photographs I have seen in my lifetime. The argument may keep critics and philosophers in business, but it doesn't do us photographers any favors. What I want to know is this: how does it inform my own photography? Does it affect the way I see the world I inhabit right here, right now?
I can't possibly see the world in rule of thirds, or golden ratios, or perfect fibonacci spirals. I see images and moments; they're around me all the time, I see them everywhere, even my dreams. Maybe only in my dreams, who knows. Like I said, it's 2 in the morning and I need coffee. But that's what informs my work, and I've given up all control over it. Everywhere I look I see beauty.
And that's the truth.