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Replace the word “painting” with “photograph” in the following excerpt from Tom Hoffman’s excellent painting book, and I think it becomes even more relevant in todays world of image saturation.

”A painting is a conversation. Both parties—the artist and the viewer—have roles to play. When one does all the talking, it leaves the other with nothing to do. Part of the pleasure of a conversation is the mutual acknowledgement of common understanding. A well-chosen word refers to ideas and experiences that both participants appreciate, whereas describing everything implies that the other person has nothing to offer. Paintings that tell me too much always feel vaguely insulting, as if all that is wanted from me is to be impressed and say, “Wow!””

RR Jr

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