Artisinally Speaking

I was reading A Brief Message, as I am wont to do, and last week’s post about lasting artistic products resonated with me quite a bit. Hugh Graham extols the virtue of art and manufactured items which last in durability and/or significance. This reinforced my own appreciation for skillful craftsmanship – be it a traditional barber shop, a local butcher, or architecture. Even crafts where the end result is fleeting (especially when it comes to food) hold the capacity for great artistry.

Maybe it’s just my need for all things authentic, but I much prefer the handmade to the machine milled. I like to see the individual character added to a piece of furniture or a house or a photograph or wrought metal. I’m saddened that such things as bespoke clothing and shoes are now luxury items rather then necessarily commonplace. I’m sad, more so, that the affordable mass-produced goods we have today reach obsolescence or disrepair within a few years of production.

Anyway, enough of this dolorous tone. Here’s something obliquely related: Steve Harwood has an awesome photo set of his camera collection on Flickr. There are nice descriptions to go with them, and it’s worth noting that many of his cameras still function, even though some are around 100 years old! How’s THAT for lasting craftsmanship? I wonder how many digital cameras will still be useful 30 years from now, let alone 100.

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