The validity of reviewing art

Last night, on my way home from my Harris workshop, I had to drive through Skye and then through Glencoe. In an attempt to reduce the strain of the journey in my car, I listened to an hours debate about cinema, music and arts on BBC Radio 2. I found the review in many ways rather interesting, and in other ways, I couldn't wait to find the reviewers and hit them over their heads for being.... reviewers.

The reason for this was the review of Kate Bush's new album 50 words for snow, due for release on Monday, but for some reason, Amazon have delivered to my home this Friday. Last night, after the rather cack review of 50 words for snow, where the reviewers found the album dull and not as precent as some of Kate's earlier work, I found myself listening to her new album and from the first song, being entirely drawn in, to a world of snow, snowflakes, and a landscape in my mind filled with deep tones of piano and mature vocals ushered by Kate. Yep, you can tell I love Kate's new album.

I bring this up as a topic for discussion, because I find most of Kate Bush's work takes a lot of time to appreciate. I find that her albums, particularly Ariel and the new one, seem to get better with every listen, and certainly, they become part of my life over several years, and seem to accompany me on many of my photographic journeys.

I don't normally listen to reviews, or critics on TV or Radio. Often they lack objectivity. They should consider where the artist has been, where they're going, and inform the public of how they feel their new work relates to what they've done in the past. Anything else is of little consequence, because art in general, needs time to be appreciated, understood, and find its place in our culture.

Surely this is the same as any art?

In the case of making photographs, some of my own have had to 'earn' their place in my own heart. Some were considered throw away efforts at the time, only to become ones that I now feel were pivotal in the direction I took in what I was doing, or maybe I feel they showed me a new door in my efforts. Some are appreciated over time, more for what they became through familiarity, rather than what I thought they should be (and failed to be) at the time of exposure.

Surely, if we are to be objective about what we do, we must give our art space to be what it is. Let it live, even as a failure? There have been plenty of pieces of art created that were considered uninteresting, average, or plain failures at the time they were created, but have, over time, become classics. Maybe this is more to do with era, and the change in tastes that happen over time. Some things fit 'now' and are instant hits, and will, as time progresses, become very dated, other art objects gain a slow appreciation, and others are discovered much later when the time is right for them to be appreciated.

If it were me, I wouldn't have been so hasty with the review of Kate's new album. I would give it a chance to show us just what it truly is.

Maybe we should all do that with our photographic efforts too?