But so far the blog is about… well…itself. It’s a meta-blog.
It all started with the (mistaken) assumption that: a) I have something to say and b) someone wants to read what I have to say. Now I’ve clearly moved on to c) someone wants to hear me philosophize about saying it. I promise to get on with the art references soon because I’m starting to bore myself.
A new blog is created every 5.8 seconds. I confess this depresses the heck out of me. Who wants to be that trendy? But it also intrigues me and made me go digging for my copy of Susan Sontag's essay on photography -- one of my favorite philosophical essays ever written. Here’s what she said about photography in 1973:
Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power. . .
It seems positively unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along. Photographs will offer indisputable evidence that the trip was made, that the program was carried out, that fun was had.
A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it – by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs…
Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture. This gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move on.
I think of Sontag’s theories every time I get out the camera on trips or on holidays or at soccer games.
Holding a camera to my face both limits what I see and gives it value. The act of recording an event shapes it and makes it seem worthy of recording but also in the process keeps me from experiencing it fully.
I remember standing in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and watching a group of tourists walk up to the painting, pose for each other in front of it, snap lots of pictures and then walk away. They hardly even glanced at the painting itself. It’s the Mona Lisa. It’s a masterpiece. Nope, it's a photo op.
Aha. So this blog is about art after all.
Thus I’m beginning to wonder if the bloggers I read – mostly mothers amused by the antics of their own children – are so busy writing blogs and reading other people’s blogs that their lives are becoming shaped by the process. Is the value of an event measured by its blogability? I must admit when my 4 year old decided yesterday that the best way to make his own batch of Krispy Kreme doughnuts involved lining up bagels on the floor and dumping sugar over them, I did not respond with the usual “Aaarrrgggghhh!” Instead I thought, “Aha! Maybe I can write about this in my blog….”
And now I have.
Tags: parenting, art, photography, blog