Dear Photography bloggers

Dear Photography bloggers,
Why do all of you open a blog posts about photographers with the year they were born and their education credentials?  Do you introduce film makers with similar information, or novelists? Do all of the photographers you blog about have a minimum education of a masters degree to qualify for your time in blogging?  Do you ever run up on and write about an awesome photographer that has an less than impressive educational profile? (Vivien excluded, please.) Does it mater if the photographer is just plain AWESOME? Does the education justify work if it's not really technically sound or compositionally interesting?

I've seen some photographers featured lately that are really underwhelming, but the photographers education seems to make up for it. I saw one yesterday that prompted me to reply to the blogger with some buttered up version of "What the hell is this crap? I'd never pass muster turning in work that looked like that!" but the photographers credentials are I didn't :-/  This week the blogs I regularly read have featured work that I can hardly believe is considered exceptional. I'm not seeing it. Now, I like low tech, I like challenging cameras, I like unpredictable film and I like quirky observations oh so much more than spit/polished editorial photography. What I've seen this week lacks depth or technical skill or access or special insight... the work stands out to me because it's shitty! Is it the photographers education that is giving them the pass?

Of course not all of the photo-bloggers I read are doing this, but most; as if it were in the photoblog style guide. Of course everything I've seen this week hasn't been all "crap", but it has ruffled my budding art snob feathers making me wonder what the H I'm missing.  I'd love to know what I'm missing. I'd love to discuss the work presented. More often than naught I'm internally concerned that a comment on the work the bloggers are posting will reflect on their personal tastes, and in some weird round about passive aggressive way I'd be busting the bloggers chops.  I want to appreciate the magic they are seeing.

The practice of listing the photographers age and education sends a message to emerging photographers and photography students that we're not worth a shit and not worthy of the authors attention without a masters degree. On the other hand the practice given this photo student an awareness of schools with respected photo departments. Again I wonder how important it is to know where the photographer earned their degree if their work is stellar, it's stellar and less a reflection on their department heads and professors. Meh? The influence this practice has impressed upon me is that I must go to SVA or Yale or some such school, wonderful schools no doubt. The trouble in my mind comes from fears of inadequacy. I'll be honest. What if I get to the magical school I've read so much about and I hate it? Maybe I'll feel as if I must like it and struggle, butt heads with my advisor. AH! Tut tut tut, I know what your going to say 'selecting and applying to a suitable masters program is an entirely personal process' yeah, yeah. That is not the take away message I am getting from the practice of mentioning where a photographer achieved their masters of fine art.

So dear photobloggers, please also include in your introductions, what you find interesting about the work you are presenting. Just presenting photographer credentials isn't cutting it for me. Are you interested in having discussions about the photographers you are presenting... or are you just broadcasting and not really looking for open discourse?

Thank you for your consideration.

Qathi Gallaher Hart, 1968, USA, is a performing arts administrator, who has recently studied photography, art history and animation at a Seattle community college and will very soon transfer to Pacific Northwest College of Art where she will eventually receive her BFA in Photography. She is a portrait photographer, using the through the viewfinder method for most of her work. All of her photography equipment is second hand or home made, and she uses her tiny bedroom as a studio, producing colorful and claustrophobic work that puts the viewer into intimate space with the sitter. She also shoots urban environmental landscapes with inexpensive point and shoot cameras which give her discrete access to environments which may be otherwise inaccessible. She works in series with many ongoing projects spanning years of close observation of patterns. When working outside of the studio, her work expresses reality, with limited editing and correction, actual, observable, accessible, scenarios are honest and approachable.


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