Is THIS a good photo??

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by StephenS, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. StephenS

    StephenS Member

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    [​IMG]

    I am curious to see what people think of this photo. There is no right or wrong answer. Interested in seeing why some people like this photo and why some do not. People may have seen this photo before, probably some haven't. I won't tell as I want honest answers!
     
  2. catem

    catem Member

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    Oh, please not again :tongue: :D :D

    Cate
     
  3. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    There is a Critique Gallery for this sort of stuff. Surly it does not belong in Ethics and Philosophy.
     
  4. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Again: sure it is. See why in the other thread.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    what, not another one.

    on the other hand i love this photo and wish i could afford to own it.

    makes my heart sing
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Personally, I find this stuff fascinating.

    It does belong, I think, in "philosophy" because it directly makes us confront and judge exactly what our craft produces and who better than us, should make determinations what is "good" or not.

    On almost every picture some people will be moved by, some will love it, some will find it a technical masterpiece, some will find it derivative and others will find it boring or hate it.

    That says a lot about us. And our craft.

    Michael
     
  7. Jose A Martinez

    Jose A Martinez Member

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    What thread?
     
  8. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If you want to play guessing games, change the file name to something that does NOT say "Eggplant (1929) by Edward Weston"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I bow to no one in my admiration of EW, but this pic does very little for me - it is simply too literal and fails the vital criterion of avoiding the obvious.

    Regards,

    David
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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  10. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    A couple of days ago someone mentioned that it seemed that we were only interested in discussing the technical aspects of photography here.
    Judging by a number of very popular threads recently, it seems that there is a lot of interest and opinions on the creative side too.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is one of those photographs that demonstrates why the online galleries are and should be a marginal part of APUG. There is just no comparison between the prints of this photographer and the reproductions of them in books (well, I've read that one book gets it right, but I haven't had a chance to hold that one in my hand yet), and certainly not on a computer monitor.

    I would say that this is not an interesting image (the thing that gets reproduced), but it is an interesting photograph (the original print). The print is all about visual texture and tone, and these are precisely what get lost in reproduction.
     
  12. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Rather a sweeping conclusion! Of course a screen display does not have the quality of a fine print, but how else are we going to find out what kind of work each of us is doing?

    Regards.

    David
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Print exchanges, postcard exchange, traveling portfolio, APUG gatherings.

    I didn't say we should eliminate the galleries. They do have a function, but we should view them with considerable skepticism.
     
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  15. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I hardly ever go to the galleries. Photographs are photographs, not non-tactile screen candy.
     
  16. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    You know, Michael, some will find it boring and derivative which is exactly why they like it.
     
  17. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I actually find the whole exercise interesting. But instead of evaluating an image without revealing the artist post an image by an artist (well known or not so well known) and discuss why we like it or don't like it. I personally find discussing work in such a manner pretty interesting.

    I think it was maybe about a year ago that bjorke posted some images from a gallery show which produced some good discussions (or maybe not so good?).
    I think it was a show of prints by Gursky but I am probably way off base.
     
  18. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    so who actually bothered to make a comment re the original question??

    this image is quite boring and literal, regardless of who made it and what qualities the print may have
     
  19. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I like it. And in saying that I do not mean I want it on my wall.

    It isnt trying to be anything it is not. No grand vista of a mountain scene extolling the awe of nature. No babbling brook exposed at 15seconds giving a sense of sound. No tears or blood. I.E. whether it was made 50 years ago or yesterday it is not any of the things a "great" photo as I understand it is supposed to be. It is just a clear picture of something that grew that is now sitting on a plate.. And in that it is good. I cannot think of much that would have made this thing sitting on a plate any better. Not having photographed or presenting it all surely wouldnt have made this a better photo in my mind. I would rather look at this than at nothing. If this was the only photograph on earth I would prefer to have this than to not have it. So yes, it is good and I like it.
     
  20. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Is this a good photo?

    No.

    Of course not.

    This is why we have garbage cans in our darkrooms. Money grubbing gallery owners or money hungry relatives may get their hands on our exposure / development tests and pawn the crap off as ART after we die...rip all your tests in half just in case you get famous!!

    Murray
     
  21. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    If you had to like a photograph of an eggplant on a plate, that being the only type of photograph existing in the fantasy world applicable to this question: How would it need to be photographed in order to be good and not worthy of the garbage can? Or in this fantasy land would you prefer no photographs at all (seeing as photos of eggplants on plates were all that existed) seeing as you could not improve on this one?
     
  22. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Say what? No speaky convolootayenglay!

    Can you tell me how many exhibitions our dear old Edward included this photograph in? Not a one I'd hazard a guess. Why? Because it looks to me to be a test, nothing more, nothing less.

    Now, if he'd been interested enough to keep working on this subject matter until he'd taken Eggplant #30...

    Murray
     
  23. Doug Thomson

    Doug Thomson Member

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    Now, brother Murray ... so harsh!

    This question feels something like a test item in Art Appreciation 101 (I hate tests). Oh well, here goes!

    I differ from a couple of the perspectives presented in this thread. First of all, I think it does matter "who" and second I think it matters "when" the image was taken. Of course we all "gut react" to an image, poem, novel, whatever art form, but to judge without context leaves us in the "the poem means whatever I want it to mean" camp.

    Weston took this photograph in 1929 and while today it seems cliche, in 1929 it was not. Weston was a pioneer of the art form and was very much challenging the accepted tenants of the day - in fact in 1929 he was challenging the "style" that made him famous. In 1930, he said, "I want the stark beauty that the lens can so exactly render, presented without interference of "artistic effect." Now all reactions on every plane must come directly from the original seeing of the thing...only the rhythm, form and perfect detail to consider." In this light I don't think it matters if the print was a Weston original or one printed by Cole, it was a print that reflected the simple, detailed images, utilizing commonplace objects.

    Now the question is, "Is this a good photograph", not "Do you like this photograph." I would postulate that the "goodness" of this photograph is very much related to the "period" in which the image was taken, and the intention of the photographer. To do other is to partake in a kind of artistic revisionism. So, while I don't particularly "like" the photograph, I think it is a "good" photograph.

    Finally, it seems to me this question is ideal for a philosophical discussion.
     
  24. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I think the most relevant answer to this is revealed by the date of the picture, which puts in a period in which Weston was in transition from the studio portraits and "pictorial" (i.e. painting-like) work of his early career to the mature abstract images. In the later phase, he set himself the target of producing abstract images which revealed "the thing itself and also more than the thing" (quote from memory). By this, Weston's own ultimate benchmark, the image of the eggplant, although a valid exercise in itself in tone and texture, falls short of Weston's best by the simple virtue of being too literal and showing ONLY "the thing itself."
     
  25. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Doug!

    (Weird...I could probably run over to your house faster than it'll take me to type this).

    I might be carrying a bit-o-baggage from this thread;
    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=30126

    Your right that we should always keep our weather eye on when a photograph was taken, and how that photograph may have opened unforeseen possibilities...but the photograph presented in this post appears to be an exposure / development test.

    It's a good test shot.

    Murray
     
  26. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Like the Steven Shore 'graph on the other thread, this one is literal and direct. But for me, the Minor White notion of not trying to see only what somethnig is, but what else it is applies. I really tried to ignore the banality of Shore's subject to see if I could just squint and get a sense of elegant composition, or interesting use of color or anything at all that would lift it above the LCD, but I couldn't manage it. In this case, though, there is deliberate and beautiful placement of values, palpable texture is illuminated, and contrast and balance are carefully designed. Weston made a simple, elegant still life that is greater than the sum of its minimal parts. So...yup, I like it. I think it sings.
     
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