Getting worse before getting better.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by markbarendt, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Listening to the BBC program this morning "the life scientific" with the guest "Annette Karmiloff-Smith" mostly about childhood development.

    One of the interesting bits was that kids around 5 would react to observed results appropriately when for example trying to stack/balance things, slightly older children 7 or so would struggle with the same task when an item with an inherently off center center of gravity item like a butter knife was the subject.

    Turns out that as the youngun's learn about geometric relationships they apply what they are learning and try to force their new knowledge of geometric concepts to balance; it doesn't work, they actually get worse at balancing things for a while.

    It seems to me that our seemingly normal human expectation that we should consistently get better results in some linear and uninterrupted manner as we learn is unfounded.

    I'm not a big golf fan but a real example of this concept is Tiger Woods. Over his career he has several times changed his stroke. Each time he has done this his game suffers and the world wonders what the heck he's doing.

    It occurred to me that very much the same thing seems to happen in photography. Looking at my photographic history it is littered with similar WTF valleys as I learn new things that only go away as I reconcile the new info with the real world.

    My point here is simply given the frustration with artistic blocks and goofy results we all get as we learn this craft, that we need to be patient with ourselves as we learn.

    Keep shooting, keep printing, keep experimenting, keep learning, keep thinking.
     
  2. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    Different situations require different approaches. Some go through an entire life time without realizing this.
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    So called "success" can be measured in a lot of ways. Just an example, some people could say that Norman Rockwell was a great success and it also could be argued that he was stuck in a rut and produced the same stuff for years with no obvious growth.

    Maybe he was happy with what he created, and the money that poured in, or maybe he got bored, but due to his success stayed in his "rut". We don't know, and it's really none of our business.

    In any artistic pursuit, and the nature of the "artist" we are seldom happy with what we create. At first maybe we are thrilled but we soon find it boring and want to venture out into other areas. But perhaps financial success begins to govern our judgement.

    In Ricky Nelson's Garden Party he writes about he moved on to different songs than his audience wanted to hear, because they loved his old stuff. He was booed by the audience and lost commercial success due to this. Same with Bobby Darrin.

    So while to the outside world you may look like you went off the rails, in fact you may be just experimenting to move forwards in your artistic pursuits and the rest of the world doesn't get it. You may be perfectly happy with less financial success but more artistic "success" and may never reach the same level of financial success again. But that does not make you a failure.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Great points.

    I've always had an issue with trying to judge artistic merit by commercial success. Business for me is a separate "art".

    I have also wondered about Ansel, Karsh, Hurrell and the like if they felt pigeon holed.
     
  5. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    Burt Bacharach has a story about going to a rolling stones concert and watching the fans head for the bar when the Stones started playing their new releases. He tells that at his concerts just before he plays his new stuff. I think art, aspart of it's definition should include a response in the person who appreciates art. The response often fixes a group of memories about a specific time and space: for me "Dire Straits" Sultans of Swing is London '78-'79. Ansel Adams Moonrise was printed in Amateur Photographer about the time I bought my first good camera. The first time I got to be up close and personal with an original Adams portfolio was working in a fun but bad paid job in Philadelphia in '81. New work, substantially different from an established body of work takes time to sink into the soul. But it can and that is one definition of art.
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Not sure what that means.

    Are you suggesting that an artist has an obligation to people who look at his art.

    I kind of get the musician/concert thing because the "customer" has paid money to attend and there "may" be a certain obligation to deliver what the customer expects, but most art is not paid for by the public and as such an Ansel Adams has no obligation to just photograph mountains.