“by my standards”


General Photography

I used to read quite a bit of philosophy when I was younger. The one thing that I noted about philosophy is that regardless of who you read, at some stage you’re bound to stumble upon the philosopher’s definition of what good philosophy really is and/or which human activity is most preferable, and quite inevitably, you’ll “discover” (assuming that even running into this repeatedly does not turn you into a cynic, who’ll actually expect something like this) that of course each philosopher thought that his (needless to say, the canon is all male) philosophy is by far the best and only valid one, and the crown of all human activity is… wanna guess?

Years have passed since I spent all that reading, but just the other day, I was reminded of this again - much to my dismay I have to add - when I read an interview with Philip Jones Griffiths, some of whose work I had been a big admirer of (now I’m not so sure any longer). Some of the his assertions in that interview I found incredibly narrow-minded and outright disappointing (apart from intellectually lacking), such as, for example: “Therefore, by my standards, photojournalists can be great artists, whereas those referred to as ‘art photographers’ cannot.” (my emphasis) Well, it’s just like with those philosophers, isn’t it? It’s very close to saying “I define what great art is, and of course, by my own definition what I do is great art, whereas what other people do isn’t (except if they do exactly what I do).”