How do you stop mediocrity ? We all know that photography has changed as a creative medium, as far as how images are made, as well as what the world accepts. It is easier than ever to produce, play with, alter, or appropriate images. Is there more good art in the world as a result, or is more mediocre work being produced these days ? You can be the judge, and we can all argue over what we think good art really is (another discussion), but I see more mediocre work being produced faster than ever. I see more bad images than ever. Somehow, I feel our (?) standards have been lowered. Not our personal standards, but what the world is now accepting as art, newsworthy information, and personal expression. Some people would say that the world has been dumbed down, period.
Mediocrity is being hailed by some as the new genius. A sign of the times. The quick message, the instant news item, the paparazzi snap shot, a cell phone video. Just the image, no matter what, no matter how. Technique ? Naw, don’t worry about it. We’ll fix it, or do something with it, later. First, feed the frenzy, quench the thirst of the media and the part of the world that has nothing else to do and doesn’t know the difference.
I saw some of Hockney’s I-Phone art recently. Art made by Hockney’s fingers on a little electronic device. It was good. But then again, I think most people would agree that David Hockney is a pretty damn good artist. Basically, he put something good into an electronic device and it gave us art. Hockney uses electronic devices as a tool, another one of his paint brushes at the end of his fingers, to creatively express. How do you use electronic devices? Do you put good imagery in, help it a little bit, and spit out some art? Or do you put mediocre in and try to make it something more ? Mediocre in, mediocre out. And that is a polite twist on an old adage !
How do we stop mediocrity ? By not accepting it in the first place. Say no to mediocrity, by not allowing it to proliferate under the guise of ease of expression and the accelerated pace of our times. We must be more critical of ourselves as artists and much more critical of what art we do put out into this world. Mediocrity is not the new genius. Mediocrity is average. And who wants to be an average artist ?
“You can’t polish a turd.” Anonymous
“If you put a good image into your camera in the first place, you won’t be drowning later, grasping for an electronic life-saver.” Ken Merfeld
“An artist entering the world of photography today must be careful not to fall through the thin ice of technology and electronics that yields a ‘fix-it’ or ‘change it later’ mentality.” Ken Merfeld