I had three reasons to visit Siena cathedral yesterday:
Firstly, I’d been asked to photograph it for a client; secondly because an exhibition that I really wanted to see was located right next to it at the wonderful Santa Maria della Scala – apparently the oldest hospital in the world that has been converted into a beautiful museum (I’ll post a photograph from there another day to show just how stunning it is). And thirdly, well who wouldn’t want to see the incredible zebra-striped Duomo during a visit to Siena?
And if you’re wondering about the exhibition – it was only (drum roll) a curation of the works of my absolute hero of photography – Steve McCurry (or ‘Sir Steve McCurry’ if I had my way). The wonderful thing about seeing McCurry’s work is not only that it represents exactly the kind of photographs that I love, and inspire to take myself, but that it restores my faith regarding the future of photography.
I have read so many articles this year about the death of photography and how there is no future for professionals because of the rise of iphone pictures, which basically turns everyone into a photographer of sorts. that it makes depressing reading for someone like me whose life essentially revolves around what I consider to be this wonderful art form. And then I see McCurry’s pictures, in such a prominent position within Siena, and I reassure myself that professional photography isn’t dead. The technique may be evolving but it is still all about capturing beauty and humanity as a kind of pictorial tribute to this planet. People still want to see these images but not everyone has the eye, opportunity or inclination to take them themselves. So, high calibre photographs still have their place, and their market.
And, dear readers, the fact that so many of you go to the trouble of subscribing to my blog and/or commenting on my work, reassures me on a more personal level that there is still an appreciation of photography as a form of documentary art. Maybe it doesn’t quite cover the bills (as yet) for me, but I do appreciate the appreciation!