Three mid sixties guys hanging out together for a day. If you're 28 years old that may sound like watching grass grow but if you're older you might find something worthwhile here.
Mark Chester (Mark Chester Photography) and a friend of his visiting from California named Robert came over to Martha's Vineyard for the day last week. Mark lives in Woods Hole, where the ferry leaves from. Robert had never been to the island before so I picked them up at the ferry and drove them around, touring the island, stopping for lunch, visiting with an islander friend, going to a couple of beaches and so on. Mark the photographer comes more from a documentary and journalistic background, not so much art. Robert has expertise in books; as an editor, a bookstore owner and as a literary agent.
Our discussions ranged from topics like the collective slimeball nature of people such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and even Robert MacNamara, people who are or were smart, decisive, charismatic, convincing and about as dead wrong as it is possible to be with really disastrous results. To talking about the nature of photography today, how it is such an incredibly illusive target because it is in transition. To, where are books going? Amazon is now selling more e-books than paper books. Where do you think that trend is headed? And what is the new norm? What about the art gallery that shows photographs? What is that lifespan or future like? Is the gallery's future only in vintage prints? Are prints hanging on a wall that are by contemporary photographers still a viable commodity? Robert countered with: Hanging on everyone's wall is a 70 inch monster of a TV that dominates everyone's living room and that will show things in extremely high resolution. Why isn't that the primary vehicle for showing off our photographs in their best light? Maybe it should be. As digital photographers all of us bitch and complain about how no one pays proper attention to our prints and yet most of us are making the determination about our images from, yes, it's true, a computer screen. Prediction? That contemporary photography moves to a screen-based imaging system.
Not bad for three mid sixties guys, eh? What I found myself enjoying, besides hearing of past experiences from Mark and Robert, was the easiness with which we did so. No one-upmanship necessary, no need to know past positions or how well off we were (or weren't), no pressure to be other than what we simply are. That comes with age and probably is tied into retirement a little too. It was a nice time and I thank those two guys for providing it.