That is so cool! Thanks for the link.
Originally Posted by roteague
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I don't think aesthetic and logical are antonyms, but rather in different but parallel universes.
They both relate to attempts to measure things of value, but their strengths are very different.
IMHO, if you try to make an argument that one is more important than the other, you will inevitably fail.
They can, and do, however complement each other very well at times.
In a past life, I spent meaningful amounts of time with some very accomplished mathematicians. At first blush, they appeared to be immersed in a world where logic was the only valuable commodity. The interesting thing, however, was that they tended to measure the success of a proof or a theory by how elegant it was - clearly a measure that was as much related to issues of aesthetics as anything else.
The irony - the most impressive proofs were the most subtle, with logic that was most pleasing in its aesthetic.
Maybe the best description for a subtle photograph, or subtle mathematical proof for that matter, is it tends to sneak up at you, and eventually smile with wild eyed wonder.
Eliot Porter subtle?
That's the work that comes to my mind.
I get tired of sunsets and cityscapes and tide pools and
I like to see the beauty in everything.
I think most subtle photographs are very complex in composition ..they have to be, I guess
They work the way abstracts work
balance of negative positive space/color/weight
Only when that relationship is mastered does a subtle photograph appear "easy"
Many would call a masterful photo/painting of this kind
"snapshot" or "child's play"
No main subject?
I start thinking about introverts and extroverts
A good photo can smack you in the face
A good photo can run away from you
There are plenty of both that never make it anywhere.
The ones that never make it are the ones I see as being nothing
Not the subtle
Subtle is more everything than nothing
Think of a Jackson Pollock
How would you describe it?
I'd be willing to bet that if you don't see greatness in his works
your "subtle" photography isn't any masterpiece
Well - there's the 'academically' accepted use of universal 'english' - and then, interestingly a 'shadow' or street language that many people seem to use - that, interestingly, based on an economy of meaning DIFFERENT from that of the 'neutral' or academic language. A language of the emotions, if you will, so commonly employed by politicians (see also george lakoff). Tell me you haven't noticed this...? (the way that, for example you can use the word 'exploit' and many people will take it as a so-called 'negative' act? So- anyway - I think for some - the concepts these two words denote, are maybe somewhat polar.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Okay - NOW we're on to something... I was following this thread a bit - but found most of the talk too vague to really respond to. But this, I guess I can sink my teeth into. That's actually a pretty great analogy, Matt! I've always thought of images, at the VERY least, to be 'embedded information' whose 'subject' needs to be found by interpolation of a sort. I think, maybe, it's got to do with using language efficiently at more than one level at the same time, whether that language be visual, mathematical, poetry, what-have-you. And I suspect that the ability to embed and decode at those sorts of levels probably has something to do with the 90-odd percent of the brain that we purportedly never use.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Richard, I like yor first example very much. The other 2 not so much. Hard to explain why.
Here is a recent example that i think would qualify as subtle yet is very powerful:
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Originally Posted by Richard Boutwell
I've been having trouble following this thread because the definition of "subtlety" seems to keep jumping around between subtlety of subject, subtlety of contrast, subtlety of composition, sublety of color saturation, etc. I like subtlety in everything, but in analyzing why I prefer Richard's first picture, the tire tracks, over the other two, I realized that subtle contrast is what I like most, along with subtle color, if the work is in color.
My favorite bodies of work tend to be rather subtle in contrast and occupy narrow tonal ranges : Joyce Tennyson's and Lilo Raymond's high-key images, Bll Jacobsen's low-key portraits. I thought I disliked Ansel Adams' work until someone introduced me to his earlier, subtler work, which is very nice. I consider subtlety more sophisticated and interesting than "punch" or "pow" which after all are cartoon notations for being socked in the face.
I would not call that subtle.
Certainly not in music composition, in which there are "logical" structures based on defined rhythm, harmony, temperment, etc. This goes for all kinds of music, including various popular kinds as well as kinds from elsewhere in the world. Aesthetic choices are based on an understanding of these structures. It may be very intuitive to composers (which I'm not), but if you listen closely, a lot of phrases in classical music deal in tension and resolution.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
Last edited by DrPablo; 06-10-2007 at 09:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Mea culpa ... or whatever.
I have a tendency to revert back to the original (~ two millenia ago) definition of "aesthetics" ... or "esthetics" ... or however one chooses to spell it: "Not subject to reason, but only there by the process of perception" ... and I welcome correction here. Later philosophers have changed that to something like "The science of ART, and a REASONABLE framework for determining what is, and what is NOT "art" - something I find diametrically opposite.
I will submit that we need another word, one the expresses the same thought as the original: "It WORKS, and I don't know WHY ... and from what I've been able to gather, no one else knows WHY, either."
I have been a student of "composition", for a long time now ... since when the earth cooled... and as far as I can tell, it is an "after the fact" analysis. In trying to determine common characteristics of art that is considered to be "great", there are certain weak correlations: the idea that points of interest will fall at the intersections of a grid based on "thirds"; that the same may apply to the "golden section"; that there is a "balance" between heavy and light; that the foregrounds - generally - are lighter than backgrounds. Renoir 's famous `warm and cold limbed' "X" ... the list is far more extensive.
I doubt ... make that DOUBT that any of the great art works were created to satisfy the "commonalites" ... they were found to "fit" after - many times long after - the intial studies of "composition".
It certainly is POSSIBLE to create a work that will accurately FIT the "commonalities" ... RULES ... of composition, and the result will be completely lifeless. One only has to consider the illustrations in the composition books, of cubes, pyramids, cones, and spheres placed in the "proper places" to see the lifelessness.
If we eliminate all the artwork that dies not conform, we will have eliminated much of the really GREAT art that now exists.
Music? I do not profess any level of knowledge about music, other than I have heard that there are mathematical "commonalities" that seem to be present in many of the great works. I would GUESS there are truly great works that do NOT follow the "rules" as well.
What about it, gang? A word - polished, esoteric, suitable for "artspeak" ... that expresses, "It WORKS".
Ed Sukach, FFP.