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  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    well - I got no problem with trying to keep the lingo as 'street' as possible. I think that would be a good exercise in forcing one to say what one means in as plain a way as possible...
    I've skimmed this thread a little, so could be getting it wrong here, but I'm not sure blansky's point is about keeping the language 'street', I think it's one of approach.

    I agree it's useful to know the context of photographs and the intention of the photographer, particularly the more conceptual the work is. Though you could argue that, even with highly conceptual work, the viewer should be able to 'get it' on at least some sort of level without explanation, otherwise it has failed, or failed outside a very narrow context and audience, who speak the same language. That is an area to at least consider vis-a-vis the relative 'success' of a photo or body of work.

    It's not always so important though (again, very much depending on the kind of work it is, and also whether it's part of a series or not). I agree that Dorothea Lange's migrant mother image can speak on it's own without full knowledge of the circumstances in which it was taken.

    In fact to know more may detract rather - the fact that Lange took five or six shots to get that one, moving closer and closer to the family until the final one. After I knew that I always wonder whether the expression on the woman' s face is more one of irritation with the photographer than anything else (and the children are turning away from her).

    So how much information, precisely, do we need, or is positive. As Avedon said, (not of any photograph in particular) perhaps Lange's image is 'accurate' rather than 'truthful'. And yet, if so, it manages to convey a wider, and more important truth. Just where does helpful information begin and end, and how selective is it.

    I think knowing whether you like or dislike something is important. Sometimes I don't know...and this is the case with Friedlander, and so I suspend judgement, because it's also important not to rush in, and to at least try to understand.....I agree that knowing more about the photographer and his or her intentions can be particularly useful in this kind of case.

    I suppose the point I'm trying to make is I think 'I like it' or 'I don't like it' are valuable responses - perhaps the most valuable and ultimately what it's all about - but the more conceptual the image-making the more we are drawn into the whys and wherefores, and we need to accept that that is a part of it.

    Even so, I think it's always acceptable to step back,when you think you understand as far as you can what someone is trying to do and still say 'but I don't like it'. In that case it hasn't 'worked' and that's a valid response.

    Yes we should try to understand and dig deeper if the work warrants it, but we should also trust and value our gut feelings. They are a valid place to start.

    It's also an important difference between offering critique for a fellow apuger, for example, and consideration of the work of an established photographer. For the first to say 'I don't like it' would be unconstructive and unhelpful. For the latter, I believe we are entitled to make such judgements (informed, of course )

    Cate
    Last edited by catem; 08-16-2006 at 06:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    .

    It's not always so important though (again, very much depending on the kind of work it is, and also whether it's part of a series or not). I agree that Dorothea Lange's migrant mother image can speak on it's own without full knowledge of the circumstances in which it was taken.

    In fact to know more may detract rather - the fact that Lange took five or six shots to get that one, moving closer and closer to the family until the final one. After I knew that I always wonder whether the expression on the woman' s face is more one of irritation with the photographer than anything else (and the children are turning away from her).
    Cate
    As someone who has spent many years photographing people, I fine this to be a very astute observation.

    We view a photograph and in many cases we think the photographer was invisible and recorded what was laid out before him. In reality, in most cases he injected himself into the situation and as you point out, migrant mother and the kids may be just sick of the damn photographer sticking his camera in their faces.

    The other thing that we know from watching some of the stuff in the middle east is that in a lot of cases the expressions are made expressly for the camera. They are not candid but are essentially "acting up" for the camera.

    We don't know if the WW2 sailor kissing nurse picture is in that genre or not, seeing the photographer, the sailor grabbed a nurse, planted a wet one and said, how that? put me in the paper.

    But we know the Iwo Jima was a "re-enactment" of the original occurance and therefore not as candid as we would have thought.

    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    But we know the Iwo Jima was a "re-enactment" of the original occurance and therefore not as candid as we would have thought.

    Michael
    well - I guess it depends on how you define a "re-enactment"

    It was the raising of a second, while fighting continued, but not re-done for the camera.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    As someone who has spent many years photographing people, I fine this to be a very astute observation.

    We view a photograph and in many cases we think the photographer was invisible and recorded what was laid out before him. In reality, in most cases he injected himself into the situation and as you point out, migrant mother and the kids may be just sick of the damn photographer sticking his camera in their faces.

    The other thing that we know from watching some of the stuff in the middle east is that in a lot of cases the expressions are made expressly for the camera. They are not candid but are essentially "acting up" for the camera.

    We don't know if the WW2 sailor kissing nurse picture is in that genre or not, seeing the photographer, the sailor grabbed a nurse, planted a wet one and said, how that? put me in the paper.

    But we know the Iwo Jima was a "re-enactment" of the original occurance and therefore not as candid as we would have thought.

    Michael
    Not trying to be nasty or insensitive toward subject here - but - does it even matter? A good photograph is a good photograph. Does it matter how it was made? Since you've labored previously (in the same thread - that WAS you wasn't it?) how the intent of the artist shouldn't really be important - and the photograph should stand on it's own merits... why be concerned at all? (btw - I'm not trying to be facetious here or elicit a response - it's just that in THIS situation - I don't think the intent actually DOES matter).

  5. #85
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    I wasn't thinking so much of technical goings-on of a shoot, so much as the artist's intention in making an image - lest that intention be somewhat hard to read. If it really helps the image be successful - then why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    I've skimmed this thread a little, so could be getting it wrong here, but I'm not sure blansky's point is about keeping the language 'street', I think it's one of approach.

    I agree it's useful to know the context of photographs and the intention of the photographer, particularly the more conceptual the work is. Though you could argue that, even with highly conceptual work, the viewer should be able to 'get it' on at least some sort of level without explanation, otherwise it has failed, or failed outside a very narrow context and audience, who speak the same language. That is an area to at least consider vis-a-vis the relative 'success' of a photo or body of work.

    It's not always so important though (again, very much depending on the kind of work it is, and also whether it's part of a series or not). I agree that Dorothea Lange's migrant mother image can speak on it's own without full knowledge of the circumstances in which it was taken.

    In fact to know more may detract rather - the fact that Lange took five or six shots to get that one, moving closer and closer to the family until the final one. After I knew that I always wonder whether the expression on the woman' s face is more one of irritation with the photographer than anything else (and the children are turning away from her).

    So how much information, precisely, do we need, or is positive. As Avedon said, (not of any photograph in particular) perhaps Lange's image is 'accurate' rather than 'truthful'. And yet, if so, it manages to convey a wider, and more important truth. Just where does helpful information begin and end, and how selective is it.

    I think knowing whether you like or dislike something is important. Sometimes I don't know...and this is the case with Friedlander, and so I suspend judgement, because it's also important not to rush in, and to at least try to understand.....I agree that knowing more about the photographer and his or her intentions can be particularly useful in this kind of case.

    I suppose the point I'm trying to make is I think 'I like it' or 'I don't like it' are valuable responses - perhaps the most valuable and ultimately what it's all about - but the more conceptual the image-making the more we are drawn into the whys and wherefores, and we need to accept that that is a part of it.

    Even so, I think it's always acceptable to step back,when you think you understand as far as you can what someone is trying to do and still say 'but I don't like it'. In that case it hasn't 'worked' and that's a valid response.

    Yes we should try to understand and dig deeper if the work warrants it, but we should also trust and value our gut feelings. They are a valid place to start.

    It's also an important difference between offering critique for a fellow apuger, for example, and consideration of the work of an established photographer. For the first to say 'I don't like it' would be unconstructive and unhelpful. For the latter, I believe we are entitled to make such judgements (informed, of course )

    Cate

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    Not trying to be nasty or insensitive toward subject here - but - does it even matter? A good photograph is a good photograph. Does it matter how it was made? Since you've labored previously (in the same thread - that WAS you wasn't it?) how the intent of the artist shouldn't really be important - and the photograph should stand on it's own merits... why be concerned at all? (btw - I'm not trying to be facetious here or elicit a response - it's just that in THIS situation - I don't think the intent actually DOES matter).
    I agree. It does not matter. It is merely anecdotal.

    BUT. In emotional photographs, we want to have "honestly". We hate to be duped.

    As for the migrant mother that we were discussing, she could indeed have been tired of this photographer in her face. Still a great picture.

    I would bet you that you could hire actors to play roles in these types of situations and it could be pulled off as being authentic.

    But it would still be a good picture.

    We pay people to cheat us every day. And pay them millions to do it.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim atherton
    well - I guess it depends on how you define a "re-enactment"

    It was the raising of a second, while fighting continued, but not re-done for the camera.
    Oh. I thought it was done FOR the camera. I'm taking that picture OFF my wall, now! Thanks!!

  8. #88
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    Another funny little anecdote I remember reading... Arthur Koestler in one of his books (sorry - forget which) mentions a friend of his, who had a quaint little etching hidden away somewhere in the apartment. As soon as it was found out that it was a picasso, suddenly it was hurried to an esteemed place above the mantle.

    People are funny.

  9. #89

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    There's also the other side of the coin.

    The example of Arnold Newman's well known portrait Krup the German industrialist. The image had widely understood connotations that were accurate and 'truthful' from most viewers perspectives. But Krup had no idea he was being portrayed that way, with nearly serious repercussions for the photographer later.

    Isn't this what goes with people photography. Accurate and truthful are just like life. All a matter of perspective.

    The good photographers understand and use it for themselves as well as their subjects. Sometimes it works for you sometimes it doesn't.

    We hate to be duped unless we like the result.
    Last edited by John McCallum; 08-17-2006 at 10:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #90
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    I like Sticks and Stones most of the time. Some really terrific shots though it sometimes feels like LF has so gotten his signature down that he's just generating as many images of it as possible to give people what they expect.

    For me this earlier one kicks hard ass:

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

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