Photography by Frank R. Gorga

Rule #47 –

This image was found in a semi-abandoned elementary school classroom. (The school is being slowly renovated to serve other purposes and this classroom sits vacant waiting for its turn.) I felt compelled to record this image because of the thousand things which raced through my mind as I contemplated the scene.

The first, and perhaps the most alarming, of these thoughts was “Why is such a rule needed in an elementary school classroom?” Continuing along this line, my next thought was “Well, I haven’t been in an elementary school classroom in a long time. I guess that things have changed… and not for the better.” I truly hope that this is not true!

My third idea was more photographic. I thought… “Ah, rules are like Edward Weston’s peppers but harder.” It took Weston only thirty attempts to get one he was satisfied with; who ever worked on these rules got to forty-seven before they stopped. This raises the question did they stop because they were satisfied that they got it right… or did they stop because they were simply exhausted? Of course, maybe there were once more than forty-seven rules; we have no way of knowing from the evidence at hand.

This led me to contemplate editing. Photographers (and artists of all types, I suppose) learn that creating, difficult as it is, is not the hardest part of the process; that distinction belongs to the editing and winnowing that allows one to separate the best of one's work from the merely average.

Maybe this explains “Rule #47”.

                        --- Frank Gorga
                            January 2009



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