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Art and Fear - David Bayles and Ted Orland

Thu 30-Aug-01 06:16 AM
LAST EDITED ON Aug-30-01 AT 03:19 PM (GMT)

An 'old salt' photographer asked me once how serious I was about photography. He was pleased with my answer. With a gleam in his eye, he told me to go out and pick up a copy of 'Art and Fear'. He said that it was a good, short book that would put your 'art making' into perspective. I was a little skeptical but I figured it was less than $15 and he must know something (I've seen some of his work).

Wow! Was I enlightened! This book really breaks it down for you in what it means to be an artist. I'm talking about really taking your time, discovering your niche and to keep working at it. It talks about Ansel Adams as an example. People look at his work and say, "I could never do that. He had a natural talent." Sure, he might have had a natural talent but he also worked at his craft until he got it right. Give him credit for the hard work he did; don't just chalk it up to "natural talent". Also, why would you want to run around producing works that emulate his? Go and find your own work to be proud of. If you try to emulate his work and it doesn't live up to the goal you set for yourself, you get discouraged. Too many people give up too soon (as the authors cite). It talks about overcoming fear in yourself and fear in how you are perceived. It talks about art forms in general (drawing, painting, pottery, dance, etc.) and it mentions photography in a few specific examples. I had to almost beat my friend over the head to read it and now, he too, is converted.

Folks, if you are serious in what you are doing (and I would assume so, if you're a member of Nikonians), get this book. I guarantee you will be enlightened.

From Barnes and Noble's online:
Art and Fear
David Bayles and Ted Orland
Format: Paperback, 122pp.
ISBN: 0961454733
Publisher: Image Continuum Press
Pub. Date: April 2001