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Happy New Year…another chapter of discussions is finished, onward to the next!  That’s one way that I have measured passing time, but if you ask me what the last 4 Little Gallery discussions were about, I’d be hard-pressed to recall them all…the memory is not what it used to be. I forget data and many freshly learned facts have gone hiding, but I am at peace with that if I feel my wisdom has been enhanced by the essences of the many discussions we’ve had through the years.

I have a complete document of our monthly discussions going back 7 or 8 years (since I started keeping the list). I began doing them at Hofstra University, after Marty Hochberg left our fold. I always loved and looked forward to Marty’s discussion sessions, which were, like today, about a half hour long…the opening act for our critique sessions. Marty would post a quote from a celebrated person, usually a photographer, and often added large and handsomely printed reproductions of classic or contemporary photographs that related to the quote.  When I took over the facilitation of the discussions, I remember wearing a shirt like Marty’s (a black pin-striped number) in order to make for a smooth transition from Marty Hochberg to me…LOL. I don’t necessarily post the quotes pm the wall or hang up the large photo reproductions or wear the black pin-striped button-downs.  I do it my way now. The important thing to remember is that it is not a lecture with me at the helm, but a group dialogue, which I am there to facilitate. The topic is important. As a cartoonist does, I save random ideas about creativity and photography as they come to me. I try to list them in advance for the coming year, though I’m always ready to replace one on the list if something else, more timely or more stimulating, comes along.  I always do research, however I try not to let those facts impede, but rather to help guide the discussion. The best topics are ones that reveal the big question marks that hang over all our heads, and it is also important to select topics that help differentiate us from photography clubs. In so doing, our discussions, serve to identify the LICP and our objectives.  

What was the first discussion topic on my ledger?: “What are the factors that make your photos “good.” The discussion ended up with varied answers: “personal taste, cultural trends, universal aesthetics, the communicative power of the art.” The follow-up question was “If art critics from the 19th century were able to time-travel, how would they react to the “contemporary photography” of our time?”

The topic the next month (70 discussions ago)  was “ Will photography always be a lesser medium than painting?” It seems like we just had these discussions yesterday.

And that is how we have rolled over the last 7 1/2 years. Our evenings, after a full day of life, are always boosted at 7pm, when voices chime in over a stimulating volley of agreement and disagreement.

The next discussion will be February 13. The topic? “How does your mate feel about your photographic obsession?” We pause, first, in January for our annual general membership meeting. See you then!