Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What Would Elliott Erwitt (Not) Do?

Elliott Erwitt, in an NPR interview from Friday, March 7, 2003:

"I deplore what's happened to our craft, which has been undermined by people changing pictures electronically -- or digitally or whichever way they do it -- which undermines the entire good thing about photography, which is supposed to be a representation of what is, rather than what you can make up in the laboratory."

Right: because the real world is frozen in black and white with everything lined up just so, as it appears in Erwitt photographs....

Don't get me wrong, I love Erwitt's photography and his approach, and he seems like a wonderful guy. I think his reputation will only continue to grow, and he's one of my favorite artists. But I just don't think it matters -- outside of news photography -- if a photograph lies in some way. Of course it lies, it's a photograph -- it lies in many ways by its nature. Let it alone.

"But how is reality, or photography for that matter, threatened?"

(The Elliott Erwitt interview is available in RealMedia format and the quote is from about 5:45 into the piece.)

Above: an image from my street photography portfolio Waiting for the April Fool's Parade (copyright 2006 Ted Fisher).

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