Some quotes from the book of essays that I like. They went some way to helping me answer the question of why bother taking/making photographs.
“if the goal of art is beauty and if we assume that the goal is sometimes reached, even if always imperfectly, how do we judge art? Basically, I think, by whether it reveals to us important Form that we ourselves have experienced but to which we have not paid adequate attention. Successful art rediscovers beauty for us.
“Are all important pictures beautiful? For instance there is Robert Capa’s photograph of a Spanish loyalist, fatally wounded a moment earlier ], falling to the side of the 35-mm frame. It is as vivid a synopsis of violent death as has been produced in our century. But is it beautiful?
Adams goes on to say that trying to defend this photograph by saying it is beautiful would a mistake but then he points out:
“What Capa’s photograph shows is a truth – a common, terrible and therefore important truth. But again, does this mean the picture is beautiful? Is truth beauty beauty and vice versa? The answers, as Keats knew, depends on the truth about which we are talking. For a truth to be beautifulit must be complete, the full and final truth. And that in turnleads me to a definition of beauty linked unavoidably to belief. For me, the truth of Capa’s picture is limited; it deserves, therefore, some lesser adjective than “beautiful”.
“Why is form beautiful? Because, I think, it helps us meet our worst fear, the suspicion that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning.