I've recently been considering what allows a photographer, artist, or critic to appear somewhat restrictive or even absolutist in discussing photography and/or art. It seems to me a lot of artists and critics, because of a certain commitment and passion, might focus intently on what they're doing or what their approach is or what qualities they're emphasizing that they would more often than we would think come off as dogmatic or exclusionary. Very often, in creating and discovering a new kind of vision, there's a resounding rejecting of the visions of the past. I often feel I understand and can relate to such strong rejections made by artists even while I, myself, maintain an appreciation for some of those older schools and ways of seeing. "It is high time that the stupidity and sham in pictorial photography be struck a solarplexus blow... Claims of art won't do. Let the photographer make a perfect photograph. And if he happens to be a lover of perfection and a seer, the resulting photograph will be straight and beautiful - a true photograph." —Alfred Stieglitz “Any work of art that can be understood is the product of journalism. The rest, called literature, is a dossier of human imbecility for the guidance of future professors.” ―Tristan TzaraPart of me actually likes it when an artist, critic, or philosopher is as firm and sure of himself as Stieglitz and Tzara are, even if I recognize there's so much more to it than what they're saying. I may well go on to broaden it beyond what they're saying, but I can appreciate such a strong statement, as if nothing else matters but how these individuals are seeing and what they are each striving for at the time. "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." —Friedrich NietzscheNietzsche is very single-minded here. There are so many other qualities to art besides gratitude, yet I find it worthwhile spending some time with the more restrictive notion that it all boils down to gratitude, or as John Schaefer says in talking about Ansel Adams, art boils down to substance and eloquence, or for Plato it's all representation. "No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition." —Claude MonetI'm sure other painters would disagree with this, ones who allow the picture to develop without first seeing it and I'm sure many critics could talk about a lot of other ways to paint and many would fault a statement like Monet's for claiming to know what would exclude others as artists. Why not just speak for himself? But I'm kind of glad that Monet says it the way he does. It leads me to believe he's right there, sort of at one with his method of doing things. So, please, without getting into a tired debate of the merits of Pictorialism or manipulated photos over more straight photography (that was just an important example!), I'd like to hear things you yourself are dogmatic about regarding your own likes and dislikes, regarding different schools of art and photography, and regarding how you approach your own photography. Also would like to hear some dogmatic yet insightful things you've read about photography and art. Do you ever feel blinded to alternatives (or at least heavily resistant to them) because you're so involved and passionate in a particular way of doing something at the time? How focused is your passion?