And if it was good enough for a little bald Spanish communist, why ever is it not good enough for you?
This is a train of thought that would allow us, as photographers, to cheerfully pass through any number of stages in our art without feeling that we were slackers or failures or flibbertigibbets. We can start our art with flower pictures until we can’t face another spring bus trip and then go on to shorelines, cliffs, and swirling water. You can do a great deal with swirling water if you have enough plug-in programs on your computer and no sense of shame. Then the white cockatoo on the ghost gum in the paddock with the rusted 1937 Ford truck. I have seen this theme so often that it has become a meme. I suspect it is the same ’37 Ford, but towed around the country as a target for camera clubs.
Go on to old Chinese people smoking, views up spiral balustrades, and then onto the heady reaches of gorges in the northwest…where you can find flowers. And the cycle of nature turns again…
The only real danger in having artistic phases is if you blow out a flux capacitor and cross the streams. Or look back critically on your earliest work. We’ve all had the experience of looking into a wardrobe and finding leftover clothing from the 70’s – and wondering what we could have been thinking. That’s nothing to the photographer who hauls out the negatives or Kodachromes of the period and admires their own art. They not only have to contend with bad taste but bad focussing, processing, and storage. In some cases the fungus growth elevates the picture of Mundaring Weir into the realm of high art and in some cases it doesn’t.
I have cautioned people to be kind to themselves and others when they review past lives. If they think back to some of the political opinions they espoused then, fashions they wore, and cars they drove, they will realise that we all have an adolescence that seeps into everything.
On that last note, I saw a 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit convertible on on of our local freeways today and it was one of the awfullest sights on the road. It was in perfect shape and tootling along as fast as anyone else, but every line of it suggested horrible, nasty, and cheap. I owned a 1975 Passat and I can sympathise with anyone who passed through the era. Quite why you would want to continue doing it is beyond me.
Heading image: Red Period