"...photos have always been the Model T of the arts. The man who wants to be buried with his five hundred-dollar Ford because it has pulled him out of every hole so far also wants a five-dollar photo of his wife so that when she passes, he can pull her out of her hole and place her firmly on the dresser."
(Richard Powers, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance)
At the end of grad school we all had to write a lengthy thesis paper. I was quite happy with mine, I thought it came out quite well. I talked about the functions of photography, memory, history, narrative and fictional landscapes, quoted Baudrillar, John Berger, Richard Powers, Wim Wenders, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sontag.
When I showed my first draft to my professor, he had hard time believing I wrote it. It's understandable, I was never very forthcoming or articulate at our regular critiques. Truth to be told, I never liked talking about my work. It made me feel like a giant phony. I'm also just not intellectual enough to get a handle on all the (post-)post-modernist art talk.
In grad school there were a few students who could talk the talk, and make the art. The majority though was just talking. However, it carried more weight with the faculty than their actual work.
I still don't know if going to grad school was a good thing or a big mistake. On one hand, not going would have been three years less of eating ramen soup and baked beens, and selling plasma to buy art supplies. On the other hand, I got to try my hand in print making, actually learned a number of things, and became more articulate, even if only in writing.
On the definitely positive side, it cured me from all my naive ideals of being an artist.
6 days ago