Larry Barsh is a retired dentist whose interest in photography has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In 1975, he took the Grand Prize in the Boston Globe Photography Contest for hs photograph "Of Countries and Generations.
He is a semi-professional photographer who has had photographs published in People, Variety, Star and Rolling Stone Magazines as well as several newspapers. Larry has worked as a stringer for the Boston Globe, on-set photographer for the Catherine Crier Show on Court TV and the Jane Pauley Show on NBC. He also hosted a radio call-in "Ask the Doctor" show in Boston in the late 1990s on WBZ Radio.
Larry now works exclusively with digital cameras and, recently, more and more with the iPhone but has, in the past, used 35 mm, 4x5 view and 2 1/4 square formats developing and processing both color and black and white images. He is a strong believer that for photography to be truly an art form both capture and construction of the image has to be accomplished by the artist. Images at the site have been processed personally so that it represents his true vision.
In addition to so-called "straight" photography, Larry believes that there is more to photography than replicating what is seen into a faithful reproduction as it was with film photography. Digital photography has opened a new realm of interpretive images combining both photographic reproduction with artistic imagination. Interpretive images are as much "real" photography as pointillism, surrealism, cubism, da-da and the like are real art.
In Larry's own words:
I have been in love with photography for more than 65 of my 80+ years and have, for all of those 65 years, been trying to capture THE image. I have used almost every style of camera from view camera to iPhone, I've processed film in my own darkroom and processed digital images in Lightroom and Photoshop. Technology has both simplified and made processing more complex.
Photography is art and art is personal - it either affects the viewer emotionally or it does not. Art should not be dependent on a curator's or critic's opinion of what constitutes excellence. It should be, rather, dependent on the how the viewer reacts to a particular image. The goal of every artist/photographer should be to have the viewer be able to really SEE your image rather than to just LOOK at your image.
As I have progressed on this photographic journey, I've come to believe that the story one is trying to convey to the viewer is more important than technical perfection. The pursuit of pure technical excellence alone often obscures the emotions a photographer/artist is trying to capture and portray. Yes, one needs technical proficiency to capture the image and to post-process it, but only enough proficiency to convey meaning of the particular image to the observer. In many cases a simple snapshot conveys more meaning to a viewer than the most technically perfect image.
Camera club judging has become about the technical - rule-of-thirds, golden spiral, tack-sharp - and has seemingly lost the story, the emotion that the photographer felt at the moment he/she was taking the picture. The same is true for those of us who work with composite images and abstracts. What the camera club judge should be asking is "What did you feel when you captured/ developed/ processed/ constructed that image? What were you trying to get the viewer to feel? What story were you trying to tell?" and then score the value of the image on how well the goal was accomplished. This rather than "The image is or is not tack sharp or the rule-of-thirds is obeyed or neglected."
For many, the goal of a photograph is to capture reality which it can never do. Dan Burkholder has said "It's called photography, it's not called reality." What an image can do is to elicit the emotion/reaction that the photographer/artist felt when capturing or constructing the image. Sometimes it can be done with a single image, sometimes it can be done with a composited image, and sometimes only with a series of images. When an image goes from a simple technically perfect image to one that conveys an emotion/story it becomes art.