Saturday, February 16, 2013

It had to be a labor of love

I took these photographs yesterday. It was a clouded day, and so it has been for quite a long time. I'm missing sun, that strange object on the sky. Where are the bright and blue winter days? And the weather forecast promises clouds for the next five days...

Today I learned about a book on photography which I didn't know of before, even though I should have, The Pencil of Nature, of which Wikipedia tells us:

The Pencil of Nature, published in six installments between 1844 and 1846, was the "first photographically illustrated book to be commercially published" or "the first commercially published book illustrated with photographs". It was wholly executed by the new art of Photogenic Drawing, without any aid whatever from the artist's pencil and regarded as an important and influential work in the history of photography.

Talbot is of course well know in the history of photography, but I didn't know much about his writings, which are available for reading. What is interesting is the importance to point out that the role of the artist who draws a picture is missing from photographs: "It is needless, therefore, to say that they differ in all respects, and as widely as possible, in their origin, from plates of the ordinary kind, which owe their existence to the united skill of the Artist and the Engraver."

But why the title of this book caught my interest was the feeling which I often have when taking photographs, that it is not the camera which makes the photograph, it is the landscape itself which draws the photograph, coming together in a moment of existence, making a photograph right now, and then continuing on its way of changing from moment to moment.

(Posting title is from the poem The World Is in Pencil by Todd Boss.)

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