The importance of artistic individuality

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Cheryl Jacobs, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    A good friend of mine is away for a month photographing orphanages in Tanzania. While she's gone, she's asked several photographer friends to guest blog to keep her site humming along. I took a turn a few days ago and thought I'd share the link here. Her readers are primarily portrait photographers, which is a genre that, in my opinion, suffers tremendously from lack of artistry these days. The blog I wrote concerned the importance artistic individuality.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.debsphotographs.com/phot...um=rss&utm_campaign=inspiration-cheryl-jacobs
     
  2. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    Great blog post. Thanks for sharing. You've got some really nice work.
     
  3. segedi

    segedi Member

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    Thanks for that, exactly what I needed to read!
     
  4. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Thanks, Cheryl. I always enjoy your work and your writing.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Excellent blog post. I have the luxury of not being a professional photographer, so I automatically don't have to care what other people think of my photographs. To be a professional photographer, relying on your skill to put bread on the table, it takes real courage to work like you suggest, but in the same breath I must say I agree with you 100%. It's good to be challenged as an artist, and it is good to search within to find out how we want our photographs to look. It's what I've done for a long time now.
    I do make some 'friend' portraits, but will completely stop with it, because the expectations of almost being able to alter what they look like (according to their own unrealistic expectation of how beautiful they look) until they resemble a much glorified version of themselves is stifling to say the least.
    How do you deal with that as a portraitist?
     
  6. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Thomas, that's a good question. I have found that if my goal is to make the sitter look as beautiful / handsome as possible, I can almost always produce something that is both honest and appealing to the subject -- they're nearly always excited about the way they look in the portraits. However, there ARE occasionally people (who am I kidding -- they're always women) who cannot accept their appearance no matter what. I could photoshop them into oblivion and they would still hate the images because their self-image is so warped. Really, though, that's a rarity for me.

    Now, on the other hand, there are times when I'm not trying to create a flattering portrait. Sometimes it's about emphasizing character or age. The Regulars series that I did documenting the people at my local tavern is a good example of that. Those images, I generally don't even show the sitter. If they're not commissioned, I am really not under any obligation to share them.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks for your reply, Cheryl.
     
  8. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    This thread Cheryl and your essay on the blog have haunted me. Though I am nudged by my results and the satisfaction of seeing a print echoing the emotion of its creation, there is sometimes a reluctance to let go, call it selfishness or shyness, and see the work become depersonalised as it wanders the whim of the public gaze. Perhaps I should look at me and wonder why for there is a satisfaction to be gained in letting go too, not for emotional gain but the pleasure of sharing. Food for thought and I am grateful for that.