Photography seems to be all the rage. Shows are rampant. New and better cameras keep being made. Lenses grow bigger and smaller at the same time. Cameras are becoming more intelligent with face tracking and stability controls to deal with focus and shaky hands. Everyone seems to carry a camera in one pocket or another. Even the ancient technology of film is still popular. Everything gets photographed, dogs, cars, red light runners, cats. Pictures are taken of everything, evidence is gathered.
Why do we do this? What needs to be photographed or is important enough to be recorded? What is actually taken. Is there time to see these pictures after they are made, does anyone see them. Mostly not I must report. Maybe it’s the act of taking a picture that people enjoy. It seems to be a defense against time, against confusion and the suddeness of change. The world is forever falling over a waterfall into a past we cannot accurately recreate or remember. There is sense of heightened participation in taking a picture of some event or maybe an important person. As if to say – I don’t know what I am seeing but maybe, if I take a picture of it, I will be able to understand it later.
What does this kind of activity have to do with art? Does the proliferating of photography undermine its artistic possibilities? What role does BAPC play in rescuing photography from this excess of picture taking?
BAPC as an organization has no particular philosophic view on the matter – certainly nothing all members would agree with – but it does have a methodology that promotes the generation of art rather than just more imagery. First we focus on the print. That eliminates 99% of the generated images, just the way a short hike in the national parks leaves 99 percent of your fellow visitors behind. Making a print is physical and requires making difficult choices, which paper to use, how big should it be, how should it be cropped. Next BAPC encourages editing and grouping as a natural consequence of peer reviews.