Above: A nailed-on cliched photo-image of the type under discussion in the text-block below. Credit: Bess-Hamiti.
What is wrong with making a cliche? That is a question some students ask these days. What they mean by the question is: if they love a photo of the ocean still-and-flat at dusk then why are they being told that it's not a good photo? (Or an image of a sunset seen through rows of tree-trunks in a forest. Or a dilapidated swimming pool all overgrown, etc.) Could it be that the students do have a point? And their point is this I think: you teachers have fetishized being different-and-original up to the point that ordinary beautiful things are not allowable in your aesthetic world; you have become too rigidly demanding in your injunction against the familiar and the well-worn. You are suffering from a phobia to cliche, meaning that you abhor and fear cliches, and when you are placed in close proximity to a cliche you go into panic and anxiety. You literally live in fear of cliche, when you see a cliche your eyes hurt and you feel sick. We are being taught by modernists who are ill people. You teachers are people who see a photo of something beautiful and get a headache, or want to throw up. It is you, the teachers who are unwell and weird, and we the students, who are making wonderful images of really beautiful things.
(6 October 2018)