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roteague
06-29-2007, 07:09 PM
Their formats may all be different but all of their approaches is formulaic.

Polished but formulaic. Their compositions repeatedly rely on similar constructs. My 2 cents.

No worries, we are all entitled to our opinions. I probably see it different because my passion is color landscape photography; I study it, practice it, and see it in my sleep. Probably the reason I can see a difference.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
06-29-2007, 07:54 PM
Really, then try Joe Cornish, Jack Dykinga and Ken Duncan for example. They don't look anywhere near the same.

I'll respectfully chime with the others and argue as well that despite their different styles, and personalities, those photographs have all pretty much the same approach.

That said, I have an equally monotonous feeling when I watch too much Alec Soth, Stephen Shore, Eggleston, together, or Gursky, Burtynsky, and Candida Höffer together.

What that means for me is that like any other art form at any other period in time, color photography is traversed by genres, modes, and fashions. So I'm not overly preoccupied by my occasional bouts of boredom.

But to suffer real boredom, hey, look a the Egyptians, for instance! Talk about a bunch of sub-artistic copycat losers! You can smell their style a mile away. It's always the same thing: little guys, big gods with animal heads, profile heads and facing shoulders. Damn them, can't be original for a moment, and I'm sick of all these reeds, scribes, snakes, and boats they put everywhere. BO-RING! ;)

timparkin
04-24-2008, 04:43 PM
I'll respectfully chime with the others and argue as well that despite their different styles, and personalities, those photographs have all pretty much the same approach.


And I'll have to respectfully disagree with yourself.. The range of Joe Cornish's work covers a large range of visual styles although there is a lot of use of S shapes an near/far compositions. The light is typically of the 'transcendent' sort but rarely 'obvious' in a Galen Rowell fashion.

Jack Dykinga has a more common use of extreme wide angles (Joe rarely uses lenses wider than 90mm) and extreme close foregrounds. Compositions are typically less flowing and rely on plants/flowers to provide texture. Strong, late desert light seems popular and he uses long lenses oftern (something Joe definitely doesn't).

Ken Duncan I don't know as well but the compsotions are classically panoramic which precludes many of the techniques used by Joe (whose use of vertical space in leading the eye is paramount).

I'd be happy to be enlightened by having the similarities pointed out. Obviously there are some similarities - a desire to represent the beauty of nature, use of Velvia/Provia in rare light.

Here are a few images that are typical of each artist that I personally don't think have much resemblance to each other..

1) Joe Cornish - http://www.joecornish.com/global/images/uploads/20060420182429.jpg

2) Jack Dykinga - http://home.worldcom.ch/mschneid/p-ouest-americain3.jpg

3) Ken Duncan - http://www.kenduncan.com/images/depImages/bldfrm.php?m=/images/depImages/127.gif&f=/images/depImages/224.gif&i=NTX406

bjorke
04-24-2008, 05:16 PM
Why do you think this is limited to color?

I have been spending evenings in the last week editing "New Black and White" on flickr http://www.flickr.com/groups/newblackandwhite/pool/ down from 56,000 photos to maybe 2 or 3 thousand by the time I'm done. I am so sick of silhouetted bare trees, wide angle barren moors usually with road leading away), lonely figures walking away from the camera in the big city, farm life shot with holgas, hard-lit nudes on black, and sooooooo many other dumbass B&W cliche images.* It is so EASY to just delete 90-95% of what gets posted as dull derivative derivative crap.

When activities are difficult, only people who have a strong personal stake will participate. When it's easy to throw huge numbers of lame pictures at people, the median and mean both drop. This is true both for the ephemeral self-congratulatory flickr and even for the rapid expansion of ever-larger prints in art galleries. They are easier to make, and oddly easier to sell.

The good thing is, however -- the more samples you might have, the better the chance that the outliers will be ever more extreme. If there are a hundred photographers in the world, there might be five best ones. If there are 100,000,000 photographers, there might still be five best ones -- and they are really, REALLY good.

--

* those on APUG who think such things are "fine art" really need a reality check

--

@tim: Those three all look the same to me, and their work seems straight outta 1973

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38431789@N00/tags/chongqing/ rethinks LF landscape and see the land as a lightbursting hatching egg. And made by an old guy :P

Michel Hardy-Vallée
04-24-2008, 05:43 PM
Tim ;

There is the possibility that the subtleties escape me. I have the same problem with punk music sometimes, I can't spot hardcore from West Coast, from Oi!

But the three photographs you have showed me display the style that is found everywhere else in calendar photography: contrasty mountains shots taken at the "golden hour", cottony rivers, saturated colours, blinding light.

Here are some landscape photographs I consider a tad different:

David Maisel: http://www.davidmaisel.com/works/photo/lak_m_01.jpg
Edward Burtynsky: http://edwardburtynsky.com/WORKS/Breaking_Ground/Tailings/Nickel_Tailings_36.jpg
Joel Sternfeld: http://www.luhringaugustine.com/files/b88cbbe1.jpg

c6h6o3
04-25-2008, 10:17 AM
Here are some landscape photographs I consider a tad different:

David Maisel: http://www.davidmaisel.com/works/photo/lak_m_01.jpg
Edward Burtynsky: http://edwardburtynsky.com/WORKS/Breaking_Ground/Tailings/Nickel_Tailings_36.jpg
Joel Sternfeld: http://www.luhringaugustine.com/files/b88cbbe1.jpg

The single best color print I saw at AIPAD this year was a Sternfeld. I saw nothing by Burtynsky. If he is represented by any of the galleries there he certainly wasn't being actively promoted. Most of the color work was the stuff Richard is talking about.

There was an enormous digital blowup of a William Christenberry picture from an 8x10 that he made years ago. So I guess even some of the iconic old timers are jumping onto the "whatever you do make it big" bandwagon. It's a shame too, in my opinion, because such a print can never compare to the original 8x10 contact prints.

The composer Charles Ives made a fortune in the insurance business after graduating from the music conservatory at Yale. When asked near the end of his life why he didn't pursue a career in music he said: "...because I would never have known if the music wasn't going 'ta-ta!' for the money". (I'm paraphrasing, but I'm close.) I think there is great wisdom there.

Ed Sukach
04-25-2008, 01:36 PM
--

* those on APUG who think such things are "fine art" really need a reality check:P

Why do my hackles rise every time some one beats down anothers' OPINION without any reference to a logical argument? In this case the beating has bled to a wide field without specifics.

Without prejudice - I will NOT say whether or not I think such things are "Fine Art" (whatever THAT is)... I need a "reality check"?

Isn't a great deal of the essence of "Fine Art" (whatever that is) defined by a departure - or as an ESCAPE from "reality" (whatever that is)???

el wacho
04-25-2008, 10:26 PM
i love bjorke's certificate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjorke/2409242893/in/pool-newblackandwhite) (no cynicism, really!). sounds like in a culture that celebrates freedom ( freedom to choose whatever the hell i want to do ) , any sort of consensus and moderation will inevitably be frowned upon ( " who the hell are you to tell me what i can photograph?" ). that's why i'm excited about some of the new guys that are photo'ing new subject matter in b/w. bjorke's summary(*) is quite functional in terms of informing a photographer as to what are the well trodden paths ( canonic subject matter ) and if you are going down that road, you can be conscious of the tradition that you find yourself in. an interesting essay by richard garrod (http://www.imagemakers.org/members/richardgarrod/article.html), for me, eloquently puts words to the dilemma some photographers may be facing. personally, i'm always excited about the next contribution made by landscape photographers, colour or b/w. christopher burkett comes to mind and in b/w, charles phillips ( shame i can't see in the flesh! ), bruce barnbaum, john wimberley etc. oops! this is way off topic!

bjorke
04-26-2008, 11:48 AM
Having edited many thousands of photos I could make my list of dull subjects which are almost universally approached in dull formulaic ways much, MUCH longer than what I wrote there, wacho. But I edited myself, too.

I don't tell anyone what to photograph. For the record, I happen to like being around kittens, blustery scottish moors, beautiful naked women, and going for foggy walks in the woods. I even like to take pictures at those times. Some of the photos I've made of those subjects are hugely valuable to me. What I don't do, however, is make the absurd assertion, without some careful consideration up front, that seeing those photos will automatically be worth the time for someone else to see.

And that's really true in a context where I may desire that people look at my photos in the company of (and perhaps to the exclusion of) other really good photographs.

In the specific case of the "NBW" pool, I want people who come to see the collection feel that the photos they are seeing within the moderated collection are really first-rate. It is a source of pleasure to me not unlike keeping my living room free from trash for the comfort of as-yet-unannounced guests.

KB

(btw, the reason I put quotes around "fine art" is because I believe that if art needs to have an adjective telling you how good it is in advance, there's a stronger chance than ever that it just plain sucks. My experience has shown that in general nothing labeled "fine art" ever aims higher than about the middle brow)

timparkin
04-27-2008, 08:31 PM
Tim ;

There is the possibility that the subtleties escape me. I have the same problem with punk music sometimes, I can't spot hardcore from West Coast, from Oi!

But the three photographs you have showed me display the style that is found everywhere else in calendar photography: contrasty mountains shots taken at the "golden hour", cottony rivers, saturated colours, blinding light.


It is perhaps a little sad that people can't see beyond the subject choice to the photograph. I'm not the biggest fan of Ken Duncan or Jack Dykinga (I prefer Jack to Ken though). I am a big fan of Joe Cornish however and I think you do a little injustice to pigeonhole him as a calendar photographer.

I'd be interested to know if you think it possible to take vista pictures of natures without being accused of calendarmongery?




Here are some landscape photographs I consider a tad different:

David Maisel: http://www.davidmaisel.com/works/photo/lak_m_01.jpg
Edward Burtynsky: http://edwardburtynsky.com/WORKS/Breaking_Ground/Tailings/Nickel_Tailings_36.jpg
Joel Sternfeld: http://www.luhringaugustine.com/files/b88cbbe1.jpg

I really like Edward Burtynsky and I think he brings the same Aesthetic that Joe has to a novel subject matter. David Maisel is just another 'Earth from the air' pundit (I'm sorry I'm being equally dismissive but I think of this sort of photography as a scientific curiosity mostly - like microsopic pictures or astronomy pictures). Joel Sternfield doesn't seem to have an aesthetic, at least one I can see. I don't think I undertsand the message he's trying to portray.

Just as an aside. I give you three Joe Cornish Pictures that don't sit with your 'calendar' moniker...

http://www.joecornish.com/global/images/uploads/20060420170519.jpg
http://www.joecornish.com/global/images/uploads/20060420163606.jpg
http://www.joecornish.com/global/images/uploads/20060420153025.jpg

In rerturn could someone suggest a colour photographer that celebrates the landscape at large that we don't instantly dismiss as 'calendary'? Maybe it's me, but I don't personally feel the need to avoid the subject matter and to pick something not photogenic in order to prove an artistic point.

Finally, should we also classify Elliot Porter, Peter Dombrovskis, Jan Tove, Christopher Burkett, Charles Cramer, etc as calendary?

I don't want to sound defensive or reactionary, I just wonder if it's a subject reaction not an art reaction...
Tim

el wacho
04-27-2008, 09:42 PM
regarding earth from the sky, william garnett and steve mulligan certainly elevate it from being merely a 'scientific curiosity'. the subject selection nd the method are part of the expression.


back to colour foto - anyone like shinzo maeda ? amazing stuff.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
04-27-2008, 10:14 PM
Tim, I won't argue against the fact that many people are tokens of a larger type. Maisel is one, Burtynsky as well, and so on, like the calendars.

In a separate thread, people were discussing originality v. quality. I, like others, bemoan the fact that artists too often look for the novelty in order to fulfill an artificially created need for originality. And it's true, a lot of the stuff you see in art magazines will be gone in two months once the novelty wears off. It would be an occasional and refreshing event to see an artist that is not trying to outdo his peers, and instead strive for simple quality, and good execution.

But the opposite problem is of people who simply produce "correct" pictures, that respect the rules of spatial composition, colour harmony, exposure, and development.

I'm not dismissing the pictures you showed for lack of quality in execution, but I ask myself: Why do these pictures matter over all the other ones? They're slick, well exposed and pleasing to the taste of many, but they don't have the vague sense of a theme, nor a particular outlook on life, nor an effort to see pictorially beyond the canons of received beauty. They don't articulate a statement, thematic or pictorial, they don't say something.

Of all the three Cornish pictures, the last one is perhaps the only one that comes close to articulating something, because of the parallel between the cirrus clouds and the beach patterns. But I can't see anything similar applying to the sun-through-clouds one or the cliff.

Perhaps if I knew a little bit more about Cornish, saw a few more of his pictures, I could read him better, just like you confessed your inability to see what Sternfeld is articulating.

So to come back to the question of being token-of-a-type, I don't think it matters if someone is "calendary" because of the way their photos look. They're calendary only when they don't make an effort to articulate anything. It's not about being original v. cliché, but about saying something worth hearing.

bill schwab
04-28-2008, 10:03 AM
I have been spending evenings in the last week editing "New Black and White" on flickr... down from 56,000 photos to maybe 2 or 3 thousand by the time I'm done.I wish I had that kind of time on my hands.

:)

bjorke
04-29-2008, 01:31 AM
I wish I had that kind of time on my hands.

:)Heh -- it only took two years for me to get a clear window for it (about one hour per night was all I could stand).

Ray Heath
04-29-2008, 02:05 AM
Heh -- it only took two years for me to get a clear window for it (about one hour per night was all I could stand).

g'day all

bjorke, could you possibly expand on how/why/and who would care that you are the arbiter of all things "fine art"

Ray

bjorke
04-29-2008, 03:28 PM
I'm confused, as I never made such a claim. All I was talking about was this link (http://www.flickr.com/groups/newblackandwhite/pool/show/) which is full of pictures that I like.

I said that the term "fine art" is inherently highly suspect, in fact.

jd callow
04-30-2008, 01:08 AM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38431789@N00/tags/chongqing/ rethinks LF landscape and see the land as a lightbursting hatching egg. And made by an old guy :P

This is some very good work.

Ray Heath
05-01-2008, 07:43 PM
I'm confused, as I never made such a claim. All I was talking about was this link (http://www.flickr.com/groups/newblackandwhite/pool/show/) which is full of pictures that I like.

I said that the term "fine art" is inherently highly suspect, in fact.


g'day bjorke

didn't you post that you are editing the images on a website?

you also made some strong statements about "fine art" and how it is perceived on this site

i just wanted you to expand on your opinions

Ray