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Kino
08-03-2006, 10:39 AM
Cate,

I still do not like it. The woman herself might be interesting. Generally, for full length figure work of people, I personally prefer verticals since people tend to be vertical. Additionally, you may like the rickety fence. I find it distracting and 3 rungs appears to "grow" out of the top and sides of the woman's head. Additionally, as I stated, I find the woman running down the center for almost the width of the image unappealing to me.

No it is not orderly, I just am of the opinion that the image could have been taken to make the whole more interesting.

Rich

Not being confrontational, but I do think that was the intent, to make you dislike it and be uncomfortable. Not all art is about enjoyment and comfort.

Frank

naturephoto1
08-03-2006, 10:46 AM
Not being confrontational, but I do think that was the intent, to make you dislike it and be uncomfortable. Not all art is about enjoyment and comfort.

Frank

Frank,

No problem, I do not take this as being confrontational. I am quite aware that not all art is supposed to be enjoyable and comfortable. You may be correct that Eggleston's intent was to compose the image so that at least some, including myself would dislike it and be uncomfortable.

Rich

Markok765
08-03-2006, 10:48 AM
Frank,

No problem, I do not take this as being confrontational. I am quite aware that not all art is supposed to be enjoyable and comfortable. You may be correct that Eggleston's intent was to compose the image so that at least some, including myself would dislike it and be uncomfortable.

Rich
I also find it boring and everyday.

reellis67
08-03-2006, 10:48 AM
Michael brought up an interesting point - at the time, presenting this type of image would have been quite something. It is important to understand the setting at the time the artwork was created. Understanding how 'things were' - for lack of a better term - when a piece was created has a lot to do with helping to interpret it. Interpreting something using todays standards but that was created at a time when it was revolutionary or controversial does not allow for proper understanding of the work. Thanks for mentioning that.

- Randy

SuzanneR
08-03-2006, 10:49 AM
Randy,

Interesting post. At one time I did dismiss work like his as to simple and banal (the snapshot ethic as you so aptly put it). But maybe as I get older or just more interested in color work I find it more and more interesting. I guess maybe for this particular image it is more about the textures and variations as Suzanne pointed out.


I would just add that all that texture, to me, is a foundation for the "fiction", a la Faulkner, one can create around the woman in the photograph. Also, her body language, the cigarette, her glasses and expression. What is the texture of her life? This is a provacative photograph despite it's snapshot banality.

Lee Shively
08-03-2006, 10:51 AM
"I would consider this to be a flaw as I stated above: 3 rungs of the fence appear to "grow" out of the top and sides of the woman's head."

Of course, considering Eggleston's statement about the design of the Confederate flag, that is another subtle confirmation. Lines emanating from a central source mimics that design.

df cardwell
08-03-2006, 10:53 AM
The thing about Eggleston, for me, is that you take the picture in one gulp, swallowing it whole.

The notion of 'intuition', vs analysis, depends on this. Intuition is the process of reading a scene in one chunk, rather than bit by bit, analytically.

Intuitively, one proceeds from the general to the specific,
Analytically, one goes from the details to the general.

Partly, this is a matter of personal temperament, how one is wired.
Partly, it is determined by the job at hand.

An all star short stop does not pull out a pencil to determine the calculus of a ground ball. He reacts, based upon the the humidity, density of the grass, the velocity of the pitch, and so on. This is INTUITION.

Eggs' picture doesn't read easily if one tries to add it up. But if it's grokked (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok), you see it as a musician plays by ear, and it comes alive. (Gestalt is the same thing)

I was troubled by his work when I first encountered his pictures in the '70s. In time, I managed to shed the 'predjudice of analysis' and found that I responded to his pictures emotionally, rather than intellectually. It was a big deal. In the same way my B&W work changed when I began to seek out LIGHT rather than IDEAS or COMPOSITIONS, my color work changed when I sought out COLOR to photograph.

Haas, Kane, Porter were interesting to me at the start. This was the late '60s, early '70s, and there was a still a thrill to get color in an image. Pure white was still hard to do, and brilliant color was a remarkable thing. "If you can't make it good, make it red" was the editor's mantra.

Eggleston blew that all out of the water for me, and I realized that nearly every color image up till then that I liked would have been a good B&W picture. Eggs was the first photographer to make images that depended upon the color. There have been precious few color shooters to manage to actually SHOOT COLOR: commonly, it is simply a black and white picture made on color film. Eggleston is still disturbing, because there have been so few GOOD color photographs, and Eggleston still succeeds.

It's tempting to make an allegory - the woman blends into her landscape, kind of forlorn and tired. Her dress, neatly contained within the glider's cushion, stands out demurely - Eggs lets the colors contrast each other, but she is still framed within her setting. She is in her place, at ease with her cigarette.

Only her head and legs break out of her social frame. A vitality from a mature woman in an exhauseted society ? Who knows.

It'll be nice to let the subconscious work on this for a few days,
to listen to it.

Thanks, Jim

df cardwell
08-03-2006, 10:56 AM
Michael,

I would consider this to be a flaw as I stated above: 3 rungs of the fence appear to "grow" out of the top and sides of the woman's head.

Rich

No more of a flaw than the feathers being ruffled on a bird !

We have to GET PAST the camera-club-criticism that gives images demerits for breaking some 'rule'. Academic art was dead by 1830.
Photography HAS to catch up.

Instead, accept what the photographer did.
Assume that he knew what he was doing,
and let the picture work on you.

Judgementalism is a dead end,
for the viewer,
and the photographer.

A pristine composition is fine for something, chaos suitable for another.
But please let the Photographer make that decision.

.

reellis67
08-03-2006, 10:57 AM
I would just add that all that texture, to me, is a foundation for the "fiction", a la Faulkner, one can create around the woman in the photograph. Also, her body language, the cigarette, her glasses and expression. What is the texture of her life? This is a provacative photograph despite it's snapshot banality.

Point well made. This is why these threads are so addictive - they help me open my vision further. I did wonder about the woman, who is she, what lead to this point, etc., but it was not enough to 'grab me' like some other photos. Now that you have presented a somewhat different view than mine, I can see a bit more possibility that before. Thanks!

- Randy

tim atherton
08-03-2006, 11:05 AM
Michael,

I would consider this to be a flaw as I stated above: 3 rungs of the fence appear to "grow" out of the top and sides of the woman's head.

Rich


every photograph is about how things appear to be. Not how they really are.

tim atherton
08-03-2006, 11:11 AM
Eggleston blew that all out of the water for me, and I realized that nearly every color image up till then that I liked would have been a good B&W picture. Eggs was the first photographer to make images that depended upon the color. There have been precious few color shooters to manage to actually SHOOT COLOR: commonly, it is simply a black and white picture made on color film. Eggleston is still disturbing, because there have been so few GOOD color photographs, and Eggleston still succeeds.


Your whole post is spot on df (btw I think almost anyone from Cape Breton Island would "get" eggleston...!) - and the above is precisely what Weston seemed to think about colour photography (and also why he felt he couldn't do it).

imo, despite the initial excitement I too felt about Hass' work, he was actually a far better b&w photographer.

tim atherton
08-03-2006, 11:20 AM
I posted part of this quote recently in one of the other threads but it is, I think, another part of the key to understanding Eggleston, and fits perfectly with this wonderful photograph (along with the truth that he is still one of the few who photographs colour as colour):

"Eggleston's photographs look like they were taken by a Martian who lost the ticket for his flight home and ended up working at a gun shop in a small town near Memphis. On the weekends, he searches for that lost ticket …with a haphazard thoroughness that confounds established methods of investigation. It could be under a bed among a bunch of down-at-heel shoes; or in the Thanksgiving turkey… under the seat of a kid's looming tricycle, in the spiky ears of a mini-mouse cactuses, in a microscopic tangle of grass and weeds - in fact it could be anywhere. In the course of his search he interviews odd people - odd in the Arbus senses - who, though polite, look at him askance. He suspects some of them might once have been in a predicament similar to his own but have since put down roots...."

blansky
08-03-2006, 11:21 AM
A few points:

I grew up in the Rockies so any picture I've probably ever seen of mountains with snow on them is ho hum. Maybe the same for people who see pictures of what they consider "every day" stuff.

To me the picture represents a campy, sort of tacky existance but still with a dignity.

The crappy old mattress that looks like it came out of a holiday trailer stuck on an old couch/glider. The horrible dress but still the dignity.

As someone who photographs people, there is always something "growing out of people's heads". It's called the background. It's just that you choose to ignore it in real life, but somehow in a photograph it's "growing out of their head".

Do I like the picture. Yes probably. It doesn't have a snapshot quality to me because a snap shooter would not have been able to compose the perfect "cross" in the picture.

So to me, in 2006 it's kind of campy and interesting.


Michael

blansky
08-03-2006, 11:48 AM
I re-read some of the comments of people here again, and one thing that kind of struck me was the need to discuss the "composition elements" of the picture.

I don't know if that is because we are a bunch of "art snob/critics" or what it is but I find it interesting that we do it. I'm wondering why we don't just inhale, experience or envelop ourselves with the picture and "feel" it.

It's sort of like after meeting someone, and after a while someone asks us what you think of them. Your answer is, "well, I kind of like her but her one eye is bigger than the other, her nose is a bit crooked and one or her teeth has yellow on it. Other than that she seems nice"

I guess the other version is: she's a real bitch, but compositionally, she's hot.



Michael

tim atherton
08-03-2006, 11:51 AM
It's sort of like after meeting someone, and after a while someone asks us what you think of them. Your answer is, "well, I kind of like her but her one eye is bigger than the other, her nose is a bit crooked and one or her teeth has yellow on it. Other than that she seems nice"
Michael

I think we probably all know at least one person who reacts like that don't we...?!

Lee L
08-03-2006, 12:13 PM
No more of a flaw than the feathers being ruffled on a bird !

We have to GET PAST the camera-club-criticism that gives images demerits for breaking some 'rule'. Academic art was dead by 1830.
Photography HAS to catch up.

Instead, accept what the photographer did.
Assume that he knew what he was doing,
and let the picture work on you.

Judgementalism is a dead end,
for the viewer,
and the photographer.

A pristine composition is fine for something, chaos suitable for another.
But please let the Photographer make that decision.

.
Not to be perjorative, nor to cast aspersions on anyone in particular or in general, but I've always thought there should be signs at gallery entrances that say "Please leave your baggage at the door."

As Don notes in this and an earlier post, it's best to receive art (or an attempt at art) as it is, not as what you want or expect it to be, or as something you would have tried to do. Try to meet it on its own terms. The other artist is not very likely to be trying to do what you do, or in your way. I always felt that if I only accepted like-minded work, I wasn't going to learn a lot. In other words, my preconceptions may not be germane to the work under consideration, and failing to consider it on its own terms might be my loss.

Eggleston is about color, but not about conventional "pretty".

Lee

Helen B
08-03-2006, 12:45 PM
...Personally I like Eggleston a lot. To me he is kind of the Harry Callahan of color photography...

I thought that Harry Callahan was the Harry Callahan of colour photography!

For me, this whole 'quiet magic of the apparently mundane' thing is what photography does so well.

Best,
Helen

df cardwell
08-03-2006, 12:49 PM
Let me confess two things:

First, I tried Blansky's breakfast. I never got to the cornflakes, just slurped up the wine with a spoon. Lots to learn.

Second. Pictures, I usually hate them first time I see 'em. Same with music. All on my own, I'm conservative to a fault, hidebound, and hate anything new.

But given time, I usually begin to assimilate the new picture. Usually, I come to like the ones most i resisted the most.

What has this done to my style ? STYLE ? HA. There is no style. Today, i pretty much just point the camera in the general direction of what's interesting and pull the trigger.

Should everybody be this way. I don't know. Doubt it. I just know that I'm better off when I don't argue with the surprises.

Lunchtime: where's the cornflakes ?

.

catem
08-03-2006, 12:50 PM
!

For me, this whole 'quiet magic of the apparently mundane' thing is what photography does so well.

Best,
Helen
After all, we ARE all pretty mundane, aren't we? Isn't that what life is, most of the time?
Which isn't to say 'mundane' is bad....it just - is -
Then, you look again beneath what you think is mundane, and you find the beauty of life...
Hmmm in fact you said it better than me, Helen.
Cate

tim atherton
08-03-2006, 01:28 PM
After all, we ARE all pretty mundane, aren't we? Isn't that what life is, most of the time?
Which isn't to say 'mundane' is bad....it just - is -
Then, you look again beneath what you think is mundane, and you find the beauty of life...
Hmmm in fact you said it better than me, Helen.
Cate




When I look, I see clear as a sunflower.
I'm always walking the roads
Looking right and left,
And sometimes looking behind . . .
And what I see every second
Is something I've never seen before,
And I know how to do this very well . . .
I know how to have the essential astonishment
That a child would have if it could really see
It was being born when it was being born . . .
I feel myself being born in each moment,
In the eternal newness of the world . . .
I believe in the world like I believe in a marigold,
Because I see it. But I don't think about it
Because to think is to not understand . . .
The world wasn't made for us to think about
(To think is to be sick in the eyes)
But for us to see and agree with . . .
I don't have a philosophy: I have senses . . .

The startling reality of things
Is my discovery every single day.
Every thing is what it is,
And it's hard to explain to anyone
how much this delights me
And suffices me....

pessoa