Email to a friend about meeting Roy DeCarava

< Back to Ruminations

The meeting with the photographer in New York was interesting because other than liking some of his images and knowing that he photographed a lot of the older jazz musicians I'm currently studying and listening to, I really had no idea of what I wanted to get out of that meeting.

Oddly enough, since that weekend (which was the same weekend JFK, Jr. and wife and sister in law crashed), I've found myself wondering about the meaning of life and why it is that we as humans have a consciousness that makes us aware of our existence and mortality. Anyway, my meeting with Roy DeCarava didn't answer that question, but he did help me come to a much clearer understanding of the importance of taking photos.

Mr. DeCarava asked me what I thought the purpose of art is. I responded that for me, photography is a way of helping me understand people I might not otherwise spend time with and consequently to grow in my understanding. If I’m successful in this process, viewers of my images learn something as well. He countered that his experiences have taught him that the purpose of all art is to uplift the human spirit and to show people the potential for a higher state of being. That resonated with me. His wife added that if one wants to understand the evolution of human thought since antiquity, one should study art history. That too made sense.

Aside from that, I'm as confused as ever.