RON EDEN'S PHOTO-ICONOGRAPHY

Extracts from a paper prepared by John A'Beckett for
The Centre of Culture and Technology - University of Toronto, Canada:
Something was always destined to happen to the photograph. As a recording medium, it
has come closer and closer to real life. Its
reproductive power has been spoken of. Doesn't it change anything
to give it to the general public?

Henry Ford did it with the motor car; George Eastman did it with the photograph.



Mass production isn't all. Someone will always want to go further. With the motor car he took the slice out of our Sunday afternoon, he drove it for its own sake or faster, faster, faster.

With the photograph he made a profession out of it, doing what was the painter's dirty work: portraits, posters, instant visions, books for the drawing-room table and wedding albums - celluloid sandwiches for the sentimental-hungry mind. A direction was prematurely forced upon it. It was thrown away.

The photograph became the first throw-away product.
Its only other alternative was to rot, to fade with the transient events that it recorded.
For a while the news photograph was celebrated in the gallery, through its ability to capture the momentous event. A daring photographer dashes out during
a great fire and snaps a picture of it at its grand peak.

The potency of these pictures is the theatre of life they
record. Their aesthetic is a revival of the baroque.


But because the art is in the event and not the photograph, the photographer, disqualified as an artist, is assigned the role of mere Catcher of Experience's Butterfly. The still camera has too much become a second hand instrument in the creative process. The eye first, the still camera second. Perhaps it is too glib in its seeming proposition to serve reality up on a celluloid plate; we want our dish to be more exclusive; we always, mistakenly, pose for the photograph, thinking that if we're Mona Lisa the photographer can't help but be Leonardo.
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