Rhys Exposed

Stories and stuff from the mind of Michael Rhys what exactly?

Photography has long been a mystery to me. My father loved photography and so we had a darkroom in the loft of our house. I well remember the smell of the chemicals and the eeriness of a world lit only in red. The almost religious ritual of opening the film cannisters in a light proof bag using only one's sense of touch. And the magic of an image appearing out of the liquid as the chemicals did their work.

But the one thing I was never able to formulate into a pattern that my young mind could process was the question of what made a good photograph. Where did the line between a good photo and a bad one exist? It wasn't a technical matter. A blurred photo can be beautiful. Of course, this question applies equally well to all creative endeavours, but photography felt different. Perhaps it was the ease by which a photo is taken. Perhaps it was in the idea that the captured moment, that fraction of a single second, defied our inherent understanding of time in a way that painting rarely did. My mistake was looking for an overarching definition that could be applied to all photography. like having a computer algorithm that would spit out a simple Yes/No answer to the question of worth of a constant stream of images. Recently, though, my thinking has been shaped and refined by being in a position to talk with and observe photographers I admire.

But my primary solution to the dilema, was to simply stop worrying about it.

An elegant solution to any number of questions. 

So, I am not a photographer.

But then, neither am I a writer, or a poet in anyway that I feel justifies the title. After all, we are all photographers now aren't we. Most of us carry camera's everywhere ( disguised as phones, no less) and it seems that taking photographs has become our new way of experiencing things. A process that takes us one step away from the experiences of previous generations. Perhaps the question of what makes for a good photograph is even more confused than ever. 

Hopefully,  we will one day reach a point when we are all writers and poets in addition to photographers. How fun that would be. Though, I secretly hope that being an actor will remain elusive to most. I still need to pay my mortgage.