The genius is not in technique; it is in being present

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One year our elderly sports writer was driving home from a basketball game when he stumbled upon a peculiar automobile accident. Using his Kodak Instamatic, he snapped a picture of a car suspended in a tree. Though he didn’t know the first thing about F-stops and art history, the old guy managed to win the newspaper associations’s coveted award for spot news. The “real” photographers were sick with envy.  That was when I leaned that most great pictures are not about artistry. If I’d been the one to photograph the car in the tree, I’d have won the award. The genius is not in technique; it is in being present.

via Nine stories about my man in Rapidan « Little Brown Mushroom.

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. What’s that old saying about how to shoot good photos?? Is it “Camera set on Program and Be There.” ??

  2. Over 35 years ago as stringer for the Associated Press, my mentor gave me this advice -”f8 and Be There”

  3. Uh, no. Being present is good fortune. Genius is in composition and the beauty of the final piece. If being present was all it took there would be no such thing as professional photographers.

  4. This statement taken in a different context could be revolutionary but after reading the actual story behind the quote i couldn’t disagree more. Well, let’s start with what i agree with: technique is meaningless beyond providing you with the knowledge what is possible to achieve with the technology available to you. There are so many (commercially successful) photographers out there who are technically perfect in every way, yet their images are tearfully boring. (This blog showcases many of them, unfortunately) The real school of photography is LIFE which can teach an aesthetic point of view where a technically flawed photograph can be a genius work of art. Simple ACCESS, as described here, is not the embodiment of genius. It’s simply a function of tenacity or, as in this case, luck.

  5. Who ever said fact-gathering news photography has much to do with art photography in the first place? They’re two different disciplines that happen to both use the same tools. Both have their place and purpose, and maybe have some overlap, but mixing them up is a little naive, if not disingenuous.

  6. I find it hilarious that some in the comments think that art somehow doesn’t require the artist (in this case, the photographer) to be present.

    Being present is where all good art lives.