Last week, I visited the Cleveland Museum of Art. I didn’t look at any photographs there, but I’ve always been inspired by all types of artists—not just photographers. There was one artist in particular who’s work I really enjoyed: Frederic Edwin Church, who painted American landscapes in the 1800s.
There was one painting of his that really moved me: Twilight In the Wilderness. The painting depicts a sunset over wilderness near Mount Katahdin in Maine, and was painted in 1860. The painting itself is beautiful. I love grand vistas that look down into a wilderness—they help remind me of how insignificant we all are (in a good way!), one of my favorite things about nature. But, I was moved by more than just the painting itself. After reading the description, I learned that Church debuted the painting by itself at a prestigious art gallery, instead of exhibiting it with paintings by other artists (which was the custom).
I really liked that he did this because it makes the painting more powerful. When it’s the only painting in a gallery next to a bunch of empty walls, it makes it seem more special and it makes viewers spend more time observing it. Instead of having a bunch of paintings in a gallery, that people would just casually walk by and observe for a few seconds, he had this single painting that would attract all the attention. It was like the painter said, “Here, this is the painting that matters. This is the most important work I created this year. Please take a look, and don’t hurry.” [Read more…] about Fewer Photos, More Meaning