At the Art Gallery: A Self-portrait

At the Art Gallery: A Self-portrait

We went to a photography show at an art gallery recently. It was a solo show by a nationally known photographer. Some of the images I thought were quite good, most suffered from mediocrity, and a few I just didn’t get. Since this is a traveling exhibition of mostly published work by a critically acclaimed photographer, it is now clear to me that I know nothing about art, not to mention photography. Clearly, I can’t tell good art from bad. What am I to do? Just give up and maybe take up fishing? I don’t think so. I love photography. I am passionate about it. So I will keep shooting what I see that interests me and remain in my blissful state of ignorance. 

Which brings me to my self portrait. Looking through the plate glass windows from the sidewalk after the show I was rather intrigued by the play of the reflected street scene outside against the inside of the gallery with the patrons milling around. Hey, maybe I can become an “arteest” after all. Thankfully, that is not going to happen.

“Self portrait,” you ask? Indeed. That is me, the silhouette just to the left of center. The silhouette of my son is leaning against the post a little further to the left talking to the silhouette of my wife.

For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.

___Henri Cartier-Bresson



Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hi Ron,
    I love the Cartier Bresson quote; also your description of your self portrait. Forgive me if I’m being dense, but did you mean to include a photo, or is the gist that your description is your sketchbook?

    1. Hi Angeline, the photo is there. You will have to click on the post title to go to my blog and the actual post. Thanks

      1. Thanks. Im using my phone and that must be the issue. Ill check back on my laptop.

        1. Yup, it comes up on my laptop, but not my phone. I’m glad I was persistent, it’s a great photo, that your arteest’s eye saw. I think the important part is photographing what we see as interesting; that is always the recipe for a good photo.

  2. I think that Henri put it in a nutshell, Ron. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You make magic with your pics. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sylvia. You are so kind and so right. I have no desire to try to become something I am not.

  3. Hi Ron!
    Sometimes art is prisoner of other interests like fashion, economics… Of course, I also believe that other times is just a question of being at the right place at the right moment!
    So…Being considered an artist can be a question of luck or of snobbery…What can we do? To persist in our passion with the whole heart!

    1. Wise words Ilargia, and so true. Much of life is being at the right place at the right time isn’t it? Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  4. Ron, thanks for including the quote. I’d not read it before. And I like your self-portrait. As for what’s “art” or “good” photography, you have only to look at some of what’s out there to realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 🙂 We went to a local art walk last weekend and there was much there I wouldn’t take if it were given to me. But others like and buy it. It’s the same with modern art, much of which I don’t get, don’t care for and don’t see as art. Be true to yourself. From what I can see, you have a photographer’s eye and I know from what you just said that you have the heart to go with it.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Indeed, we all know what we like when we see it.

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