The development of an indigenous photographic aesthetic

Authors: Rutherford

Conference: Chester Centre for Research in Arts & Media (CCRAM)

Dates: 18 February 2014


Some have suggested (and I am one of them), that an essential characteristic of a ‘successful’ image in any medium is that its power to engage and affect us depends on the irreducible contribution of the process or medium in which it was created.

In other words, a ‘successful’ photograph is as much ‘about’ photography as it is ‘about’ the artist’s intention or The Things in Front of the Lens as made special by the photographer’s attention or application of technique.

Picture your favourite photograph in your mind’s eye. Now imagine the same image rendered as a sketch or a watercolour. I submit that, regardless of whether we may still ‘like’ the image, if the loss of its photo-mechanical ‘truth’ has in any way reduced or lessened its power to affect us, it is not a successful photograph.

I submit therefore that a ‘successful’ photograph is one whose beauty and/or power to affect us is, to some extent, the direct result of the operation or application of these ‘rules’ and is therefore dependent on the active (act of) contribution by the photo-mechanical modus operandi in rendering what I have called The Things in Front of the Lens.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Rutherford