A difficult notion to define…

‘The “quiet” photograph is a difficult notion to define…’ Badger announces, and then proceeds to offer definitions mainly in negative terms… ‘the photographer’s voice is not of the hectoring kind’… eschewing quirky tricks of technique or vision.. modest, self-effacing, understated. Hmmm. I think understand what Badger is getting at but I am not sure how useful this characterisation is, nor can I relate it to his chosen examples in that essay.

I understand the opposition to “the determinedly expressive auteur”, “determinedly grand subjects, to the “loudest most obvious voice”, to the reductive effects of style, the Mark Rothko tendency (e.g. Sugimoto). And I note the opposition to the “operatic”, heavily worked prints of Bill Brandt and W.Eugene Smith.

Just for the moment I want to think about some of these issues — with camera to hand. I want to meditate practically. What might the “quiet” photograph mean for practice?


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