third hand experience

Fenway Park 1975. I'm sitting on the first baseline, and the batter fouls off a pitch behind home plate. I aim my camera the other way and get the whole stadium virtually looking in my direction. This was a lucky break, but also a damn good picture, even for a photography student -which I was.

Cut forward a couple of years and I'm taking my "portfolio" around to galleries, where this one old crankpot Dealer running a well known space in downtown Boston, tells me my work is "nothing special". And the kid in me asks him to elaborate on what he obviously doesn't like.

His response was to pick out this photograph as an example, and told me "the problem with this image is that you're photographing a THIRD HAND EXPERIENCE". As he so smugly explained it - the batter was the first hand experience, the foul ball was the second hand experience, and the crowd watching it was the third hand experience - that's what's wrong with your photograph."

Which left me stunned - the guy was obviously too confused for his own good - and my only response was to turn his fools' logic around and tell the him that he had it ass backwards - my picture was the first hand experience, the ball was the second hand experience and the batter was the third hand experience.

And then he kicked my butt out of there.

You see, good photography has it's own logic.