Should we know about the Masters?

I heard about an old French movies critic who was wondering about the fact that many cinema enthusiasts where like stuck in their time, knowing nothing about the Masters of the past.

That’s a good question, right?

It’s the same for other Arts. You can be a good photographer without knowing much about big photographers or movements in the 70s, or in the 50s, the 20s, whatever.

I do ask myself though. Who are the masters? What did they bring? What can we learn from them?

I do think it’s not really a problem, though. In Cinema, you can enjoy Nolan without knowing Kubrick, you can watch The Sopranos without knowing anything about Coppola’s The Godfather.

It’s a “me” thing, I beg.

It’s because I think that the main string in Art’s harp is this question :

“What newness is brought, here?”

Novelty is pulsing along the long course of human creativity. This is what I seek. As Zola says before Manet : “What I seek before all else in a painting is a man, not a painting.”

For example I love Stephen Shore‘s photographies, but I also love he’s a thinker, that he says that a photography has to be “solved”. I love to know what were his… concerns, and how he tried to find solutions, etc…

I’d say this is a trait. Thinkers. They like to do things with passion, but they also like to think about it, about the links with other arts, other eras, other times. Links. Links. Links. What grows. What dies. What moved, or rotated. Links. Links. Links. Words and analysis…

I like to know who are the Masters of the past, and who they were, how they were working, what they discovered and shared. Not necessarily to try to be better, my, oh no.

Just to have a map of the ground I’m walking on.

Thanks for reading!




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