Musings on Photography

Words to ponder

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul Butzi on November 6, 2006

From The Accidental Masterpiece – On the Art of Life and Vice Versa, by Michael Kimmelman:

…art provides us with clues about how to live our own lives more fully. Put differently, this is about how creating, collecting, and even just appreciating art can make living a daily masterpiece. I don’t mean that every day becomes perfect if we enjoy art. But having spent much of my own life looking at it, I have come to feel that everything, even the most ordinary daily affair, is enriched by the lessons that can be gleaned from art: that beauty is often where you don’t expect to find it; that it is something we may discover and also invent, then reinvent, for ourselves; that the most important things in the world are never as simple as they seem but that the world is also richers when it declines to abide by comforting formulas.

It’s a very interesting book, and an excellent read as well.

3 Responses

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  1. chantal stone said, on November 7, 2006 at 11:58 am

    It amazes me sometimes how there can be a certain idea, and everywhere you look, there is evidence of this specific idea. As though the idea itself is forcing itself to be noticed, by making its presence seen where ever one looks.

    Your post is that idea for me.
    On my photoblog today I wrote about how my children are beginning to ‘see’ things and notice the beauty of the world around them…and in one of the comments I received someone wrote that not only are they beginning to see, but they are beginning to ‘look’–something more adults need to do.

    In a response email I wrote that it is my hope that this ability to see the world differently will spill over to other areas of their lives. And I hope it’s something that stays with them, always.

    Art isn’t just about creating something, it can also be about how one’s life is led, with eyes wide open.

    I love that idea, thanks for the reminder today.

  2. Karl Zipser said, on November 10, 2006 at 1:11 am


    I complain when people make comments like “love this picture.” But I can’t help it, I love this photo.

    I’ll try and say something more, please forgive the lame comments of a painter…

    This is a haunting self-portrait. We discussed the idea of a photo being linked to a moment in time. This example is one that shows that link and uses it powerfully.

    A moment later the sun could go behind a cloud, you could walk away (that is you, right?), the camera could fall into the water (it is water, right?).

    This is about time past. It is beautiful and sad.

    I think the choice of black and white is a good one here. The lighting is interesting, no single strong form (only a strong shadow). Most interesting.

  3. Paul Butzi said, on November 10, 2006 at 7:20 am


    Yes, this is a self portrait. The exposure was made at “Weston” beach in Point Lobos, CA – the spot where Ed Weston made so many photographs.

    I was attending a week long workshop in Carmel, and one of the activities was a visit to that spot. We were only there for a brief time, so the pressure to find something interesting and make a photograph was pretty intense. Even worse, the workshop was a crowd, and I dislike crowds intensely – after four days, I just wanted a little alone time. If you accept the idea of authorial intent, it’s actually a photograph that’s more about feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and very much sick of being near people than about a moment in the past.

    It’s actually all rocks – there are differently colored layers of rock that are eroded into the most incredible patterns. It’s a place of inexhaustible photographic possiblities, but you have to be able to slow down and really look hard to be able to tease some sort of visual order out of the place.

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