Barely two centuries old, photography has nonetheless found time enough to shake off the conceptual shackles that constrain any new media format, with the first of these being the need to earn the recognition of being artistic. In order to overcome this hurdle, a false dilemma was created, which still drags on to this day, between photography as art and photography as a document. Yet behind this, lies another hidden one, of even greater historical import, which has weighed heavily upon art since the very beginning, namely, the fact that its nature as a craft, ranging from the traditional practice of depicting an object through to being a paid professional metier, hampers its conceptual dimension and, therefore, its creative freedom. In the specific case of photography – a relatively recent technical invention – such dilemmas have given rise to even greater perplexity as, considering its very nature, this quandary has proven to be of an infuriating nature. How, indeed, was one to ignore as appropriate the inevitable part played by a machine in the development of the image?
Likewise, how was one to draw a line between its documentary and artistic nature? How, therefore, was one to detach the photographic image from its inevitable contamination by reality? Adrian Tyler has so far seamlessly combined his professional duties as a photographer with the work he has pursued at his own behest and on his own account, and he has done so in such a way that we cannot affirm that the latter has in any way been more or less artistic than the former. Nonetheless, a personal and intimate vision is always revealing a particularly essential quality for a technique based until only recently, if I may be permitted the pun, on developing. In either case, technique or aesthetics, I like the term developing because of its ambiguity, as it can indistinctly refer to “reveal”, its more common use, and also the one that fueled Heidegger’s development of his argument on art, but also, taken literally, the “unveiling” of a mystery with greater brilliance to accentuate in this manner its magnetic power, its fascinating potential.
Francisco Calvo Serraller