Humanist Photography

December 22, 2014

BW photograph of a gas station early on a foggy morning.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The December 2014 issue of Harper’s magazine (a subscription is required to view the article online) contains an article written by Stuart Franklin and is entitled “Crooked Timber”.  The article is a discussion and definition of the genre known as “humanist photography”.  The main thesis Mr. Franklin posits is whether or not humanist photography requires human subjects.  The article is a wonderful read from both historical and philosophical perspectives.

BW photograph of an abandoned tricycle.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Within the realm of psychology, the Humanist perspective developed in response to Freud’s psychoanalytic emphasis on the unconscious and innate drives as being the determining factor in human behaviour.  The Humanists, in contrast, believed in the concept of free will-that humans have the ability to make conscious choices and actually strive to be “good” or to become “self-actualized”.  Adherents to this viewpoint readily acknowledge that social and other forces can, and do, interfere with achieving that goal. In some cases, to be human means to suffer.  In others, it would mean to be joyfully exuberant.  Are people required to demonstrate that range of emotion in photographs?

Since that first trip to New Orleans in 2008, the majority of my photography has focused on the environmental impact of the human condition. The photographs posted in this blog very, very rarely contain people, but the human presence is unmistakable.

Take care.

 

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