Sing it Johnny

I read an article on another photographer's site regarding her feelings on age and art.  She is a young adult who has enjoyed the lavish praise of being so gifted at a young age.  The article outlines her disappointment over some comments regarding her age felt, by her, to be of negative nature.  I'm hearing her and sorta nodding until she goes so far as to say  "I wholeheartedly believe that age has nothing to do with the art... Age means absolutely nothing. Whether I’m 24 or 64, 9 or 99, the art stands alone."

And I stop and everything within me screams that's not entirely true!  It's just my opinion of course but I'm blazing passionate about it.  I was the only commenter who seemed to bristle.   I check out this artist's work often because I am fascinated by her talent and success in such a competitive field.  She has earned her spot through and through.  But I admit there is something missing in her work, an emptiness of sorts.  My husband and I have discussed it at length (before reading the age article) and one speculation was the lack of life experience or age.  Talent is not in question here.  Those with the biggest creative wells to draw from have endured great valleys and peaks over years to get there and it shows.  Age can change art even if you can't quite place your finger on it.  Lucky for her she will most likely have more incredible work as she ages.  If only we were all so fortunate to have such a bright future!

A really great example of the age factor is the song Hurt written and sang by Nine Inch Nails by the young lead singer.  Seven months before Johnny Cash died he recorded a music video singing the same song.  He didn't even write the words but coming from someone at such an age changed the depth and meaning of it.  Listen below and see if you agree that age (young or old)  can affect how we judge art, music, dance, and storytelling.  I don't think that's a bad thing either.  Oh whippersnappers.

Photographically speaking another great example is Imogen Cunningham's photo series, After Ninety.  All portraits of folks over ninety.  I view them differently because the photographer herself is over ninety at the time. It's a beautiful thing.

"With long life is understanding"  The Book of Job

1 comment:

  1. I believe young people are capable of great art. But the older one gets and the more one cultivates their talent and craft, the better it gets. I agree with you that in youth, due to the lack of life experience, there is sometimes something missing. Even if that individual has gone through many experiences, they haven't had the time to gain perspective on those experiences in a way that will influence their art and their expression.

    On the other hand, its not cool to diss a young artist bc of her age. Which is what sparked this conversation to begin with right- some negative comments made about her age. Although I didn't read those comments. Perhaps they were intended to be constructive and she took them personally (art is personal!).

    Well, without knowing the whole story - I agree with you. Age makes us better.