(L)earned Appreciation.

Art history was a subject that I hated in school. It was required, however, and by some divine intervention I passed my classes. The thing that school can’t teach is appreciation.

The image above is from my project, The ______ War. I created realistic war scenes with toy soldiers, utilizing lens tricks to blur the line between fantasy and reality. My statement was that war themed toys are given to children to make war acceptable later on in life.

The picture above was taken by Eddie Adams and captures General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. This is one of the most important photographs in the history of photography. Not only did it prove how powerful photography is, but it continues to be the centerpiece for the argument regarding involvement and boundaries for photographers.

Whether I liked it or not, these historical photographs were burned into my memory. Photographers like  Robert Capa and W. Eugene Smith laid the foundation.

The two above are Capa’s while the one below is mine.

And then there’s David Levinthal, who’s been photographing toys since the 70’s.

Suddenly, art history isn’t so bad. In fact, without it I’d have no point of reference. The more I know and understand, the richer my work becomes.

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