Does this describe you?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by PhotoPete, Mar 13, 2007.

How accurately does this quote describe you?

  1. Very accurately

    4 vote(s)
    4.3%
  2. Somewhat accurately

    12 vote(s)
    13.0%
  3. Not very accurately

    23 vote(s)
    25.0%
  4. Completely inaccurately

    53 vote(s)
    57.6%
  1. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    How accurately would you say this quote describes you as a photographer?

    If they look through the camera out into the world, this is not because the world interests them, but because they are pursuing new possibilities of producing information and evaluating the photographic program. Their interest is concentrated on the camera; for them, the world is purely a pretext for the realization of camera possibilities.

    --Vilem Flusser, Toward a Philosophy of Photography
     
  2. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Whoever this idiot is - he is diametrically opposed to everything I think is the "reason for photography"!

    Perhaps this "Villem Flusser" is actually "Whositwhatsis Perez" the clown who's ruining Kodak? :confused:
     
  3. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Most of us look through a dark little box because we love everything outside that box too. The camera is a substitute for taking the entire world home with us. It's an act of creation -- because we are so interested in the world that we wished we could have made it ourselves.
     
  4. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    YIKES!!!!

    Riiiiiight...I have absolutely no interest in the things I choose to photograph. I just carry my LF gear through the forest all day as a form of excersize and periodically set it up in order to put some information on film, so I can evaluate it later. The camera is EVERYTHING, and the Universe in all its complexity pales in comparison!

    What a schmuck :rolleyes:

    Murray
     
  5. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Does not describe me in the least. If I'm pointing my camera at it, it interests me.

    Chuck


    You just hijacked the thread
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    This guy sounds like he buys into all the marketing hype of each and every 'Latest and Greatest!'. What's the context of this quote by the way? Is he talking about people in general today who use cameras, or photographers as a whole over time?

    - Randy
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I do tend to "filter" the outside world through a photographic "lens" - but the quotation is far too absolute. My enjoyment of and interest in photography has a big influence on what I observe, and what interests me, and there are probably a few instances where my first reaction to a situation is too much concerned with its photographic potential, but I expect that is the same for all people who enjoy creating things.

    Matt
     
  8. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    It depends on how you interpret the statement, either as a gearhead or as Gary Winogrand: "I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs."

    There is a world of differences.
     
  9. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    This guy is obviously not a photographer and does not know any photographers yet decides to define a photographer. Bull hockey!!!
     
  10. artonic

    artonic Member

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    I think this does describe the photographer, otherwise he/she would not photograph, and instead, draw or paint, or maybe just experience the world directly.
     
  11. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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  12. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If they look through the camera out into the world, this is not because the world interests them, but because they are pursuing new possibilities of producing information and evaluating the photographic program. Their interest is concentrated on the camera; for them, the world is purely a pretext for the realization of camera possibilities.

    --Vilem Flusser, Toward a Philosophy of Photography

    I can't say whether or not this is true for me in photography -- I tend to think it is only marginally true and that the camera's ability to nearly, literally capture reality makes it less so --, but, for me, the statement would be almost entirely true for painting or sculpture. In these mediums the object that is being described is often an excuse for the purposes of creating with the medium.
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I actually think this describes a very large proportion of the amateurs out there, relates more to colour shooters (and esp d1g1tal) and readers of certain mas circulation magazines. Their interest often goes only so far as 'the shot' , owning it, claiming it to show others as theirs, rather than relating to a desire to have an involved relationship with the elements of the world/humankind etc' that they are interested in or connect with. This is a gross generalisation of course but I think does mark out a particular developmental phase where some start beyond this line and others behind it. Some behind it pass through it as their activity evolves into an art, or a personal/spiritual/philosophical voyage which may last months or decades. Some never do and it usually shows in their photography which maintains an adherence to rules and stock images with no obvious imperfections but little merit either. It becomes a competitive pursuit linked to self worth and to be compared with others.

    This does not describe me (I hope), but if my images still resemble souless stock images typical of the gear fixated 'picture getter' then I ascribe this to a different deficiency! In fact I think it is not really an apug thing at all. more Practical Photography and Jessops Camera Club.
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This does not sound like either a photographer or a real person. It sounds like a philosophy major with a serious case of brain disfunction ...

    Probably walks around asking himself every day "Why there is air?"
     
  16. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I read the original passage totally the opposite.

    He is not talking about gear geeks but rather artists who express themselves via the medium of photography. Conversely, the people you describe (those behind the line, etc.) generally are concerned with the object and a descriptive rather than expressive use of the medium. They are "shooting" the "real" world "out there" rather than engaging the richer and symbolic inner landscape of their imagination.
     
  17. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I picked up photography as an effort to connect more with the outside world, especially human beings which I always had a problematic relationship with. Photography helps balance my extraversion-introversion which has been quite messed up after years of feeling lonely and depressed. It helps me look more closely at things and often more deeply. Photography for me is a good excuse to uncover the hidden secrets of the world, travel more profoundly and be more in touch with other humans.
    All other art I do, sculpture, drawing, painting, has been deeply introverted, drawing from the inside and rarely needing to use my eyes even when looking for outside inspiration.
    So, in other words, the world might be a pretext for photographic creation but more often, the photographic creation is a pretext to connect more with the world.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I read it like Smieglitz. The author is discussing the exploration of the medium over the object. Oddly, for me photography, because it is so literal, may be more about the object -- I'm still mulling it over. I sure don't see it as some thoughtless statement made by a guy who has no idea of what it is to be a photographer.
     
  19. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    Sure, photographers can get caught up in the technical and aesthetic possibilities of "the photograph" as separate from thinking of representing the object of the photograph. But so what? Wouldn't this be true to some extent of artists working in any art form? I don't see that he's saying anything here that isn't basically obvious, or new.
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is largely my point. I'm not sure the author is trying to be grandiose. He may simply be trying to set a foundation or a point from which to discuss or understand what drives a photographer. Maybe someone who has studied this guy could step in and add some light.
     
  21. bruce terry

    bruce terry Member

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    If they look through the camera out into the world, this is not because the world interests them, but because they are pursuing new possibilities of producing information and evaluating the photographic program. Their interest is concentrated on the camera; for them, the world is purely a pretext for the realization of camera possibilities. --Vilem Flusser, Toward a Philosophy of Photography

    World-class thinker - way ahead of us Earthlings. I googled for context and came up empty. His other writings suggest we are becoming dangerously more means-oriented, scarily less ends-oriented, pushing more buttons and doing less thinking, heading toward - according to his there-lies-a-desk analogy, Blade Runner or worse.

    This is good stuff for us analogers. Save our world. Insert "digital-imager" wherever the word "camera" appears, then throw away your scanner and proudly check the box marked "Completely Inaccurately".

    I have no scanner but do too-often fondle my small inventory of two cameras and two lenses ... so I now check: "Somewhat Inaccurately".

    Bruce
     
  22. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Nobody seems to have picked on the Winogrand quote that we all love (yeah, nobody listens to me anyway...), but it agrees with what John and Joe are saying: the idea that medium has an instrumental role in art, that its resistance to our actions contribute to both the nature and the value of what we create.

    Heck, that's probably the most fundamental principle of APUG: that the nature of medium in photography is integral to its nature and value. If we did not agree with this idea, we would not be here discussing film.
     
  23. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    M
    I listen...
     
  24. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Me too...:smile: :wink: It's great seeing what things look like in b+W.
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I have been reading the responses with interest as I watch the parsing going on.

    Sorry, I take the author at face value to his statement. If the equipment if paramount as a means of producing information for its own sake - then it does not describe my personal philosphy of photography.

    I'm not versed on Susan Sontag's contemporaneous (i.e. late 1960's early 1970's) essay in this realm. Perhaps someone here who is can comment on whether she is in agreement with Flusser?

    I'd be curious to know since her essay is considered "seminal" for that era's thinking on photography.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree with what was said.
    the cameras, lenses &C are all tools
    that we work with to make things. sometimes
    it is not being a gear-freak, but learning how to
    use the camera, lens, film, chemistry to one's advantage.
    that is learning how to let the machinery speak and show what is in you head ...
    not just show what is in the outside world, but merge that with
    the "thing" inside you ...

    i too listen michel

    john