John O'Flynn - Artist

John O'Flynn - Artist

Youthful exuberance!

This is a photograph taken on one of my school trips – further back than I care to admit! The subject in the photograph was a keen photographer, and as “serious” photographers frequently shot in 35mm  black & white – it was probably taken with his camera – but obviously not by him! I recently added the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower – to indicate where it is located (top of Notre Dame!). 
One definition of what makes “art” is that it makes the particular into something universal. Beyond being a holiday snapshot I think this photo celebrates the good-humoured bravura of male youth. By adding the Eiffel Tower  (and it being a black & white photo) it becomes associated with the fashionable genre of Parisian inter-war social photography – now itself almost an “archetypal” genre of our age.
While this holiday snap could be said to rise to the universal, I feel the reverse impulse should generally be followed for holiday snapshots! How many more pictures of the Eiffel Tower does the world need?! How likely are you the catch the unique view that will make an enduring image? Give up! Its unlikely! Instead try to make the universal particular – place your travelling companions in novel compositions with the Eiffel Tower – make something that may come to have enduring value among your  family/ community/ friends!


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