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Thomas Bertilsson
02-19-2013, 04:11 PM
But we can have a conversation about whether it does something well or poorly which is where the analogy lies. There is a standard.

Michael, I firmly believe that there is a standard for these things. I don't think it exists within us or comes from us, but I think we are naturally aware of it. Both of these I think can, basically, be demonstrated. The first point, that it does not exist within us or by us is clear because we're not sure what the standard is, see discussions like the one we're having. The second, that it exists, I think is equally apparent, eyeless lobular deep-sea fish are not beautiful, song birds are beautiful. We automatically know this. Sometimes we're not sure why and so we question it and fight it, but it's a natural feeling.
These two points explain why we can look at a child's drawing and at Claude Monet (I'm stuck on Monet for some reason) and tell the difference but why we have such a hard time comparing Claude Monet and Edward Degas. We know there is a standard and it's obvious at extremes, but because we don't know the standard well there is a huge gray area. Will the gray area ever go away? We can study and improve our understanding, certainly, but the standard won't ever be fully knowable because its source is not fully knowable.

The fact is, though, that there is a standard. It's multi-faceted and complex, but Ansel Adams and Sebastio Salgado are not good artists because they randomly and subjectively triggered someone's gut feeling (though they may be popular for that reason), they are good artists because they make good art. Without a standard that doesn't make any sense.

I respectfully disagree with you.

I don't agree that there is a standard. If a work of art becomes successful it means that 'enough' people had a strong enough reaction to it that it became famous. The reasons they react favorably could be political, cultural, sheer beauty, emotional, etc etc etc. That still doesn't mean that everybody agrees.

Only that a large proportion agrees they appreciate the work. Kind of like democracy.

In the same breath, we must mention that less successful art is simply liked by fewer people.
This brings us back to the single piece of art we observe, whichever piece it happens to be. Unless you are investing in art, or looking for bragging rights, the only thing that's important in appreciating a work of art is how you react to it, what you feel, how it aesthetically pleases you - to your standard.

How a universal type of standard can come out of individual appreciation I do not understand. You will have to be very specific.

Again, please don't take this as criticism. I'm only trying to argue my opinion based on my experience with the world, as respectfully as I can.

Michael R 1974
02-19-2013, 04:26 PM
Horace - interesting discussion - I'll have to respond more fully later (don't have time right now).


Michael, I firmly believe that there is a standard for these things. I don't think it exists within us or comes from us, but I think we are naturally aware of it. Both of these I think can, basically, be demonstrated. The first point, that it does not exist within us or by us is clear because we're not sure what the standard is, see discussions like the one we're having. The second, that it exists, I think is equally apparent, eyeless lobular deep-sea fish are not beautiful, song birds are beautiful. We automatically know this. Sometimes we're not sure why and so we question it and fight it, but it's a natural feeling.
These two points explain why we can look at a child's drawing and at Claude Monet (I'm stuck on Monet for some reason) and tell the difference but why we have such a hard time comparing Claude Monet and Edward Degas. We know there is a standard and it's obvious at extremes, but because we don't know the standard well there is a huge gray area. Will the gray area ever go away? We can study and improve our understanding, certainly, but the standard won't ever be fully knowable because its source is not fully knowable.

eddie
02-19-2013, 04:56 PM
... eyeless lobular deep-sea fish are not beautiful, song birds are beautiful. We automatically know this.

To a marine biologist, the fish may be beautiful, the bird less so. We can't "automatically know this" because our perception/appreciation is based on personal experience, surroundings, and biases. There can be no standard for "good" art because there are no two humans who will view/perceive/react to visual stimuli the same exact way. Even when you find a group of people who love a particular piece of art, most likely they'll love it for different reasons.

Interesting discussion, BTW...

horacekenneth
02-19-2013, 05:40 PM
I respectfully disagree with you.

I don't agree that there is a standard. If a work of art becomes successful it means that 'enough' people had a strong enough reaction to it that it became famous. The reasons could be political, cultural, or just sheer beauty. That still doesn't mean that everybody agrees.

...

how it aesthetically pleases you - to your standard.

How a universal type of standard can come out of individual appreciation I do not understand. You will have to be very specific.

Again, please don't take this as criticism. I'm only trying to argue my opinion based on my experience with the world, as respectfully as I can.

Thanks, I appreciate your response. First off, I have to point out that your judging art based on success. You don't believe there is a standard, just personal opinion, so the only thing you have left to judge the goodness/greatness of an art in any way that reaches beyond yourself, is success.
So conversations like this really shouldn't happen if you're correct that the only thing that should matter to me is what pleases me. Claude Monet is no greater than what I'm scribbling in front of me as I write, neither is Picasso, they are just more successful. On top of that there is no discussion if I think the box I scribbled onto my pad of paper is better art than your or Ansel Adam's photographs. And you can't say it isn't until you take a look at it for yourself.
A lot of people agree with you, no doubt about that. I think this clearly goes against the way we talk about and the way we see the beauty and art around us. For instance, the deep-sea creature - eddie pointed out that a marine biologist might think it more beautiful than a songbird, but this is only because he's studied the creature and sees and understands facets that most people don't. It isn't a toss-up whether or not most people think a vampire squid or an eastern bluebird is prettier, if there was no standard, it should be.

I don't exactly understand what you are saying about a universal standard coming out of individual appreciation. What I was saying is that there is a universal standard that exists outside of ourselves. That makes sense of that fact that we have conversations like this, and some people like stuff and some people don't, but also of the fact that we talk and act like there is a standard naturally. If there was no standard it would be odd to see so many cooking & photography & writing contests.

Dali
02-19-2013, 06:27 PM
What I was saying is that there is a universal standard that exists outside of ourselves. That makes sense of that fact that we have conversations like this, and some people like stuff and some people don't, but also of the fact that we talk and act like there is a standard naturally. If there was no standard it would be odd to see so many cooking & photography & writing contests.

I don't see how an universal standard can exist outside of ourselves... On top of that, this discussion is the clear demontration that there is no standard, just personal appreciation of different manifestation of art which closely depend on our experience.

Thomas Bertilsson
02-19-2013, 09:44 PM
For the record, I used the illustration of successful art simply as a way to depict collective appreciation for arts. Success = recognition, right? Well, it has to start with one person recognizing it, and more and more, and they're all individuals, like you and I. Some work is more recognized than others, for various reasons. Why all those individuals were drawn to that particular work of art is what is of interest, not some type of commercial success.

I think we're at the point where it's best to agree to disagree and move on. There are other things that need my energy.


Thanks, I appreciate your response. First off, I have to point out that your judging art based on success. You don't believe there is a standard, just personal opinion, so the only thing you have left to judge the goodness/greatness of an art in any way that reaches beyond yourself, is success.
So conversations like this really shouldn't happen if you're correct that the only thing that should matter to me is what pleases me. Claude Monet is no greater than what I'm scribbling in front of me as I write, neither is Picasso, they are just more successful. On top of that there is no discussion if I think the box I scribbled onto my pad of paper is better art than your or Ansel Adam's photographs. And you can't say it isn't until you take a look at it for yourself.
A lot of people agree with you, no doubt about that. I think this clearly goes against the way we talk about and the way we see the beauty and art around us. For instance, the deep-sea creature - eddie pointed out that a marine biologist might think it more beautiful than a songbird, but this is only because he's studied the creature and sees and understands facets that most people don't. It isn't a toss-up whether or not most people think a vampire squid or an eastern bluebird is prettier, if there was no standard, it should be.

I don't exactly understand what you are saying about a universal standard coming out of individual appreciation. What I was saying is that there is a universal standard that exists outside of ourselves. That makes sense of that fact that we have conversations like this, and some people like stuff and some people don't, but also of the fact that we talk and act like there is a standard naturally. If there was no standard it would be odd to see so many cooking & photography & writing contests.

zsas
02-19-2013, 10:58 PM
A trend as of late where all artistic styles are indicted, tried and forever left to rebuild....

The lith'r
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum50/104589-traditionalists-nostalgia.html

The Traditionalist
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum50/104589-traditionalists-nostalgia.html

The Paper Negative Tricker
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum50/108547-trickery-fake.html

I guess this thread is the grain'r-blur'r

Who's next? Someone going to take down the RVP-50-saturate'r, Polaroid'r, toy-camera'r, meniscus-lens'r, Minox'r, wet-plate'r, box-camera'r, shallow-DOF'r.....

These kinds of threads, in my humble opinion, do more to stifle creative thinking and sharing of art than promote it.

I see a pattern where abstraction is frowned upon.

To the Nanian's, Eddie's, and all those who find a way for your artistic voice outside of the norm, keep it up! For those who shoot the norm, keep it up!

As an artistic pacifist, we all win when we share. Why line item a style, technique so strong? Critique can be done so much better than some recent trends illustrate....

Felinik
02-21-2013, 09:22 AM
After the perfection, the 'true" representation... Is it what attract you in a picture, being a "true" representation (assuming it can exist which I doubt. did you ever heard of a "false" representation?)?

Sorry but I am bit lost in what you mean...

Take care.


This article showed up yesterday, great timing for this discussion!

http://www.petapixel.com/2013/02/20/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/

jnanian
02-21-2013, 10:30 AM
This article showed up yesterday, great timing for this discussion!

http://www.petapixel.com/2013/02/20/darkrooms-are-irrelevant-and-the-truth-matters/



an image generated by a camera is never the truth.

i find it laughable that anyone would think a camera + lens shows the truth ...
if anything it shows someone's version of some imaginary truth.

cameras and people lie, all the time.

and people wonder why "analog photographers" are nasty and condescending towards people who use sensors or electronic workflow ???
i am wondering what the next non-straight photography style bashing thread will be all about and when it will be started.

Felinik
02-21-2013, 12:08 PM
an image generated by a camera is never the truth.

cameras and people lie, all the time.


With this reasoning one could draw the conclusion that according to you, there's no truth at all, ever.. ?

jnanian
02-21-2013, 01:43 PM
With this reasoning one could draw the conclusion that according to you, there's no truth at all, ever.. ?

not with a camera ...

depending on where you stand your camera sees a different truth

it all creates a reality dictated by the camera's operator ...

some are little white lies that no one cares about ( black and white instead of color )
some well ... they distort reality to be something completely different .. ( location, lens and other photographer's tools )

Bill Burk
02-21-2013, 01:57 PM
I think that picture of the year thread is being discussed elsewhere. Personally, I think the muted colors fit the mood better. I dislike modern dyed synthetic clothing splattered with brand names, they always ruin great pictures. So muting the soccer shirt helped.

I feel qualified to talk about standards. I worked for 15 years at Standard Register. For a while I held a patent for one of their first inventions (You can buy anything on e-bay. eventually I gave the document back to founder's family). Both statements are true but I am just kidding about any meaningful qualification. Following is my opinion, just an idea, valid or invalid as anyone else's. Take it at face value.

I think each of us works to our own "Standard". This might be related to measurable physical qualities of results. I might say "to be in my portfolio, a print must be sharp, fine-grain, blemish-free, full-scale".

But my Standard raises idea, emotion or thought, above technical.

Personally, I prefer portraits of someone the photographer took time to know (or grew to know over time). I believe photographs document relationships between subject and photographer. I prefer there to be something there.

I like discoveries and exploration. I mention adventure because I appreciate photographs of something new as well.

I envy non-straight photographers who show something that may not meet my Quality Standard, but exceeds my Idea Standard. I am especially envious of those who initiate ideas.

Dali
02-21-2013, 02:37 PM
not with a camera ...

depending on where you stand your camera sees a different truth

it all creates a reality dictated by the camera's operator ...

some are little white lies that no one cares about ( black and white instead of color )
some well ... they distort reality to be something completely different .. ( location, lens and other photographer's tools )

Regardless the technical espect (B&W, color, muted, toned, you name it), a picture make little sense to describe the real (or truth if you prefer). It is always a re-presentation which mean that the photographer is always betwen you and the real: the way the picture is framed, the choosen perspective, the exact moment the picture was taken are not at random. The photographer wants to share with you how he sees the scene which is a translation (the photographer's translation) of the real. So, different photographers means different "truths".

Aske 2 people to shoot a similar event, a family gathering fo instance and then compare the prints. Depending on how each photographer translates (filters) what he sees, I would not be surprized if results were pretty different. Who is right and who is wrong, where is the truth?

Thomas Bertilsson
02-21-2013, 03:12 PM
Aske 2 people to shoot a similar event, a family gathering fo instance and then compare the prints. Depending on how each photographer translates (filters) what he sees, I would not be surprized if results were pretty different. Who is right and who is wrong, where is the truth?

This has happened to me many times. We are lucky here in Minnesota, in that there are many photographers that often get together to discuss, show prints, or maybe go photographing together; sometimes we even take trips together.
When we take trips together to photograph things, we are often in exactly the same location, yet the resulting pictures are often vastly different from one another, sometimes making you wonder whether we in fact visited the same place or not.

I love how Bill put it above, that "I believe photographs document relationships between subject and photographer". Those relationships are always colored by the photographer's personality, education, intelligence, perception, instinct, experience, ability, and many other traits of their personality. How we all see things, even as viewers of the same photograph is very interesting.
Do this exercise some time: Make two identical prints. Have two people sit in front of that same print and study it for a few minutes. Then ask them to close their eyes and describe what they saw. It is with quite a bit of certainty that what comes out of their brains are different things, colored by their own experience and frame of reference.

jnanian
02-21-2013, 03:19 PM
Regardless the technical espect (B&W, color, muted, toned, you name it), a picture make little sense to describe the real (or truth if you prefer). It is always a re-presentation which mean that the photographer is always betwen you and the real: the way the picture is framed, the choosen perspective, the exact moment the picture was taken are not at random. The photographer wants to share with you how he sees the scene which is a translation (the photographer's translation) of the real. So, different photographers means different "truths".

Aske 2 people to shoot a similar event, a family gathering fo instance and then compare the prints. Depending on how each photographer translates (filters) what he sees, I would not be surprized if results were pretty different. Who is right and who is wrong, where is the truth?

exactly ... the truth is whatever the photographer says it is,
and sometimes that truth isn't really based in reality ...

Sirius Glass
02-21-2013, 07:34 PM
Here I found an example:

http://images1.citybreak.com/image.aspx?ImageId=1403322

That style on the link does not work for me. I am hard put to think of any composition where it would work.

horacekenneth
02-21-2013, 11:08 PM
A photographer can lie easily, but I don't think it is correct to say that a photograph is always lying. A photograph offers a perspective. That perspective may add truth to the (historical) reality, or it may take away from it.
The suggestion that two different family photographs need to be reconciled treats reality like it is black and white. Reality is more like a color wheel. You may see primarily blue, me pink, but we're both seeing different aspects of the same truth.
Please understand this is very different than subjectivism, or the idea that the truth is individual and our own. This is what I was trying to get at before when talking about a standard of art. There is truth and beauty and good art but it is very complex and multi-faceted and none of us see all of it.
We tend to fall into two ditches, either truth and beauty is black and white or truth and beauty is in the eye of the beholder/unknowable. Truth is neither.

Bill Burk
02-23-2013, 12:24 AM
Back to the original topic.

In the final wash are prints from two adjacent frames (when you're hot, you're hot) of 35mm 100 TMAX.

One is a handheld shot of my daughter, her rat and my father (who introduced me to rats). Daughter is reasonably sharp but dad is closer than the plane of focus. Rat is blurry from movement. My wife loves this shot. I think it's got a lot going for it too. Has nothing to do with this thread (except for the fact that it's not critically sharp).

The second shot, is a good illustration for this thread (except it has no grain).

To preface, I have long had a phobia of (or moratorium against) taking photos from moving vehicle windows. I recall taking a couple of particularly bad shots on a single roll of film when I was in high school. I don't remember if I took the shot before signing up for photo class, or mid-course. You know how sometimes you can cheat by using pictures you've already taken to fulfill class assignments. Anyway this particular roll had a couple real disappointments. A sunset in black and white, and the shot out the moving car window. Other pictures on the roll were OK. But I felt such a strong revulsion to those two shots that (with few exceptions), I never take sunsets in black and white or photos from moving vehicle windows.

So this second shot is of a fern in Golden Gate Park (approximately 953 Martin Luther King Jr Dr San Francisco). Whenever we drive past this stretch of road I imagine the land of dinosaurs. Never had opportunity to stop and take a proper photograph, this time was no exception.

My wife doesn't like it, she says blurry shots do nothing for her.

Bill Burk
02-24-2013, 10:28 PM
For those without Gallery privileges, here is my contribution to the genre.

http://www.beefalobill.com/images/IMG_8142s.jpg

Felinik
02-25-2013, 12:53 PM
Interesting with your experimentation, and the rat?

:)