PDA

View Full Version : Please yourself only?



Pages : 1 2 3 [4]

keithwms
03-17-2008, 11:38 AM
Nobody works in a vacuum. People are influenced and they do also influence others. So I just don't see how the ideal of working only to please onesself is even possible...? Indeed one can try, but... it's just not possible to isolate our own work in that way, in my opinion. Even if it were possible, would it be healthy?! Doesn't pleasing yourself too much make you go blind? ;)

Michael A. Smith
04-10-2008, 09:05 PM
There have been many wonderful responses here and I won't, in my own words, repeat them. I will try to deal with what I gather is the main problem you seem to have, which is that though you keep photographing you do not feel your emotional self in your photographs.

I will venture a guess here—a guess from reading between the lines only—because I have not seen your photographs, except for the one that accompanies your posts. My guess is that you are trying to make "good pictures." Even though you are photographing to please yourself, I will guess that your unconscious understanding is that good pictures will do that. But no growth is taking place. You are just making "good pictures." And you know what a "good picture" is and are photographing what you already know—something that does not lead to personal growth.

The point of making photographs, or making any art, is to grow. And in photography, one grows by photographing what one does not know. Ideally, every photograph you make should present a challenge—one that says, "I don't know if this will be any good." One's photographs, especially when looked at over the years, are a marker of one's personal growth, or lack thereof.

How to break out of the rut of photographing only what you already know, which is what most photographers do, even many of the great ones? (John Szarkowski wrote in Looking at Photographs that "the genuinely creative period of most photographers has rarely exceeded ten or fifteen years.") The answer is to use the camera as a tool for discovery rather than for confirmation. Easier said than done, perhaps, but I hope you understand what I mean.

Ed Sukach
04-10-2008, 10:46 PM
Obviously we are not all gifted,...

I disagree. I think we are ALL gifted and capable of unimaginably GREAT art!

Unfortunately, there are massive forces around us that try, and for the most part, succeed, in keeping those "gifts" locked within us. Think of all the voices we have heard along this way: "What? These aren't any good!", "You don't know what is good!!", "You NEED to be excoriated and HUMILIATED by sharp (read: sadistic) critique..." "Horses are not blue ...", all with the effect of keeping us down.

Julia Cameron in "The Artists Way":
Do not worry about the work being good. The real danger is that it will not BE.

Ed Sukach
04-10-2008, 10:59 PM
I produce work to satisfy my own idea/ls in photography.

That does NOT, nor is it mant to, infer any amount of exclusivity. I *love* to share my work with others, and if I find someone who shares, and is moved by a like "vision" I consider that a great discovery.

It should be noted that my MOTIVATION is not primarily ... or even secondarily ... or even ... in satisfying others. Let them produce their own images.

This, really has come about because of necessity. It is the only motivation I've found that allows me to produce my "best" work.

Ed Sukach
04-10-2008, 11:17 PM
I'd like to tell a story here, but it might be a little off topic (bear with me), and ... I'm lazy and my English's not that good ... besides, I don't know if it is of any help. so I'll try to make it short:
From the age of 15 onwards I've been writing. Every day. It was fun, it made me happy, it was my life. I was totally ignorant of the fact, that there were other people who wrote, and that they were people who wrote and whose work was published and people who wrote just to have it published.


Not "off topic".


But some (sad) day, I realized. And that was where it all started to go wrong ... I think ever since my creativity has been struggling with my lack of confidence.

You may know these thoughts: Why should I write when I don't ever show it to anyone? Why should I take a picture as long as I'm not the next Ansel Adams?

These questions sound really silly, ...

They are NOT "silly. This is, for the most part, the Black Beast we all face.


but when it comes to writing, there's still that thing in my head telling me I shouldn't dare to write anything as long as it isn't eligible for the Nobel prize for literature or something.

The time involved in the above statement: "You don't because when you do..." - but you cannot know that until AFTER you have written the work...

I'll ask you one question... Why are you so certain you KNOW that any of your work is a "failure"?

I. for one, would LOVE to read your "imperfect" work. Where can I get a copy?

eddym
04-11-2008, 05:33 AM
There have been many wonderful responses here and I won't, in my own words, repeat them. I will try to deal with what I gather is the main problem you seem to have, which is that though you keep photographing you do not feel your emotional self in your photographs.

I will venture a guess here—a guess from reading between the lines only—because I have not seen your photographs, except for the one that accompanies your posts. My guess is that you are trying to make "good pictures." Even though you are photographing to please yourself, I will guess that your unconscious understanding is that good pictures will do that. But no growth is taking place. You are just making "good pictures." And you know what a "good picture" is and are photographing what you already know—something that does not lead to personal growth.

The point of making photographs, or making any art, is to grow. And in photography, one grows by photographing what one does not know. Ideally, every photograph you make should present a challenge—one that says, "I don't know if this will be any good." One's photographs, especially when looked at over the years, are a marker of one's personal growth, or lack thereof.

How to break out of the rut of photographing only what you already know, which is what most photographers do, even many of the great ones? (John Szarkowski wrote in Looking at Photographs that "the genuinely creative period of most photographers has rarely exceeded ten or fifteen years.") The answer is to use the camera as a tool for discovery rather than for confirmation. Easier said than done, perhaps, but I hope you understand what I mean.

Michael, may I quote you? I'd like to put your inspiring words in our art guild's monthly newsletter.

Ed Sukach
04-11-2008, 06:33 AM
Once, a student of photography came to me with what she considered to be a daunting assignment: "Go ye forth. and make a photograph of something never sen before."

I immediately thought of exposing a piece of paper to ambient light and processing it to complete "black." She/ we could claim that it was a photograph of a "black hole" - never "seen before" and not seen now ... but being seen now was not a part of the assignment.

However ...
In reflecting, every image we make is "one never seen before". It is impossible to duplicate, perfectly, any image. Even if we use the same tripod holes, the cloud configuration, leaf patterns, lighting quantity and direction - infinite characteristics - will not be exactly the same.

Additionally, and even more significantly, WE change. To me, there is no question that our visions are influenced, to some degree, by our experiences. We see things differently today than we did yesterday ... and I'm having real difficulty in recalling any instance when that change was a "bad" thing.

I call that "growth". It is inevitable. Whether or not that growth satisfies someone else's timetable for advancement - or even if it should - or COULD - are additional cans of worms.

"Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. It will come. IT WILL!" - Stillman Clarke.

Michael A. Smith
04-11-2008, 09:07 PM
Eddym: Permission granted. I feel honored.

I could write much more about these things, and have on posts several years ago in the APUG forums.

A well-known curator asked me and my wife, Paula Chamlee, to write a book about photographic vision and how to keep one's genuinely creative period ongoing, but alas, we haven't the time. One of these days . . .

Michael

JosephineIsJosephine
04-12-2008, 04:59 AM
Thanks, Ed.

Well, this is really offtopic, but in writing, writing something down isn't enough, you need to reread it and rewrite it and "develop" it ... which is difficult if you don't even dare to have a second look after you've written it down. so, to answer your question, I think what I wrote is not as good as it could be, basically because I'm too afraid to revise it.

for me, the lucky thing about (analog) photography is that there is a pause between shooting and actually seeing what you shot. in the days between you've time to scale down your expectations :).


Julia Cameron in "The Artists Way":
Do not worry about the work being good. The real danger is that it will not BE.
A highly recommendable book, by the way.
I think I should work with it again - and everybody who thinks "we're not all gifted" and "I'm not worth being an artist" should get a copy.

abstraxion
07-19-2009, 03:04 AM
Because it's fun and it's something to do? Why does anyone do anything?

moouers
10-07-2010, 06:20 PM
If my work pleases me, then I have captured the emotion or feeling or idea I felt when I took the image, which basically means someone else out there will feel what I felt as well.

So yes, I please myself only. Keep in mind I do not run a photography business based upon customer satisfaction.

xxloverxx
10-09-2010, 10:59 AM
Have never been bothered about other people not liking my photos. I'm happy if I can please myself, and if I like it, I upload it.