Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Trip to the Guggenheim Museum, New York

The wife and I, on one trip to New York, went to the Guggenheim Museum. There is an exhibit with a photography theme (runs up to September 6, 2010) and this adds to the motivation, for me, to visit the museum. The exhibition was very nice and, as the title of the theme goes, really haunting.

After viewing the exhibit, we also looked at the other works of art in display. It is always nice to see works of Cézanne, Chagall, Degas, Manet and other great artists.

Then, we took a stroll inside the museum store. Inside, the wife saw a book by E. H. Gombrich. She knew about him and his book from something she has read previously so she decided to buy the book. Now, I have also started reading the book. It is, in itself, a great masterpiece. It is an art history book and the discussions can be read on the first half of the book (or I should say first two-fifths - the pictures of the masterpieces are printed on thicker, glossy paper) while the reproduction of the art pieces are on the second half of the book. I decided to read this book and take what it has to offer to heart.

Now, you may ask, why is this book being discussed in a blog dedicated to Tech and Photography?


There are many ways to skin a cat - so the saying goes. My motivation from reading this book is to learn from the masters. If Manet's style could be considered an Obra Maestra, then perhaps learning from him may not be such a bad thing! There is nothing wrong for a photographer to learn about the way the masters did their work. At worst, I will be learning about the different masterpieces and the motivation that went into their making.

Let me finish this post by quoting a passage from the book:
(But) to look at a picture with fresh eyes and to venture on a voyage of discovery into it is a far more difficult but also a much more rewarding task. -The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich

Update (September 4, 2010):

It turns out that I am not alone in this, of learning from the masters. The photographer Scott Bourne said, in a blog post, "to pay homage to the masters who came before you". I know there are others who have thought of it also, but it is nice to put a name to an idea.

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