Sometimes photographer antics amuse me. In reading the blogs of other photographers, I’ve become aware that apparently there is a practice among some photographers of keeping their locations secret, and among other photographers of sleuthing those locations in order to “out” them. To me, this smacks of insecurity, as if the quality of an image depends on its subject, and images that otherwise are compelling somehow become lessened when their subjects are frequently photographed.
The quality of a photograph doesn’t depend on the subject, it depends on the photographer. Consider one wonderful subject, the Eiffel Tower. It’s been photographed to death, and the vast majority of those photographs are both incredibly banal and incredibly derivative of one another. But then consider Michael Kenna’s images of the Eiffel Tower, which are remarkable both for their excellence and for the fact that they were executed more than 100 years after the tower was built, well into the saturation overload period of Eiffel Tower photography.
In general, I don’t keep secrets about my work. The one “kind-of” exception I make is for abstract images like the triptych in this post, where I don’t publicly disclose the subject of the image. I say “kind of,” because really I don’t think of it as keeping a secret. If you want to know the subject, just email me, I’m happy to tell you (indeed, I take a bit of perverse pride in how mundane some of these subjects are). I only don’t make it public because I assume the abstracts have an element of suspended disbelief, and that some viewers would rather not dispel the illusion by knowing what the subject is. All photographs are basically illusions, after all, but abstracts even more so for not having a readily identifiable subject.