You know, upon thinking things through and read and posting to a thread begun by our new brother, Jamusu, it occurs to oneself that I do not make photographs to please myself. I truly think I make them to discover and to experience myself. Let me explain. I sometimes get shoved down in the daily hustle, not only in my surroundings but also in my own existance. I lose myself to some extent. I become something that I am not. I conform. Emotionally, ideally, to some extent I try to fit in. But when I am creating, photographing et al., I am searching for an emotional self-connection that I have forgotten even exists, let alone how it feels. But when I see that one subject and know, and KNOW beyond knowing that I have truly witnessed something that is beyond me, exhiliration. Plain and pure, unadulterated ecsatasy. The emotion that I feel both thrills my core and slams a hole through my soul in the knowledge that my rapture will be but a fleeting moment that I may never regain for as long as I live. And I remember the emotion, though the circumstances of that emotion may fade, I remember how I felt. Not just the feeling I had but how it felt to be truly me.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Originally Posted by Alden
For me, your job as a photographer is to record the world as you see it in the time you're here. That's all you can do. Learning how to work the controls takes years but once you've learned, your job is to look and see. Contemporary ideas usually arise when people have forgotten their simple task. Whenever I get in a creative rut it's always because I've been sidetracked by advertising (cameras) or fashions (techniques).
When I create art, I please myself.
I only think of pleasing others during sex.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
Go and read Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland-a fantastic book about these and many related photographic issues. Then have a look at Beauty In Photography and Why People Photograph by Robert Adams. And enjoy what you have rather than worrying about what you don't have.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
It's so good to have you back, oh Prince of Pleasure
Originally Posted by arigram
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
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To expand on my point, creating art is like a weird case of masturbation where you actually get pregnant and have a baby yourself. How you are pleasing yourself and how the baby looks like, is all up to you.
So, others need not apply.
(I imagine now some people will immediately cease to create art after this metaphor)
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
To relate to two of the issues from those above.
1. Is the maker excluded from the pleasure and the meaning of his own creations?
I think that, in many aspects, yes he is excluded. First thing is, that even a success, same as a failure, should probably be a motive to move on. If you celebrate your successes or moan about failures, you lose time. It is one of the reasons why some of my photos I considered "good" some time ago do not make me satisfied/happy/proud anymore; not that I progressed so much that now I see what whas lacking, but I got my share of joy - and they are sort of exploited. Second, as the existence of the whole critical industry shows, there is always infinitely more in an "artwork" than an artist could have thought about - especially if enough critics, for one or another reason, get interested in him.
And there is the Romantic myth of an artist as divinely inspired superhuman individual, messiah of sorts, etc. etc. If you want to flatter yourself, you may think along these lines.
2. About being an artist, or being gifted.
Obviously we are not all gifted, although the very idea of "gift" is a bit suspicious. And it is very easy to understand, and could be hard to live with, in the modern world, where you can instanteously compare yourself to a practically infinite number of other "artists", by browsing the apug for example. What I would consider a gift (being aware of all the traps and cliches of the Romantism as above) is almost always a mania, connected with some kind of suffering (for example, an inability to convey one's fears, thoughts, ideas to others); and always a mixed blessing. Of course, if it is not a gift for producing postcards. But, nevermind how gifted or not one is, in his particular life artistic development (if it is driven by a real passion(?)) does have a place. It is not very important from what level does it start or where it would finally end, as long as it is a part of a project that could be called "personality", one of consciously shaping a person, not a nobody.
" no longer have aspirations for recognition, yet I wonder if I am being remiss if I do not adjust my imagery, somewhat at least, to the march of time. If my work is slated to hang on my walls only, you would think, please yourself only.
Yet I have my doubts. Postmodern works have progressed, whether we like them another matter, and I have to feel that I have fallen into a stodgy corner. I work easily and naturally and have relied on the belief that a deepening would occure in and of itself. But now I'm not so sure that it will. Where's the question here... I suppose it's this, Do we owe it to ourselves to stay up to date and take contempory ideas seriously? Or do we accept the challenge of mining our own territory, albeit influenced by others work of the past? Another good topic would be, how to make something really our own."
So this is my story:
Jack was chief of music band. He came one morning and said to the rest of his band: Willy left us, he want to work for himself only.
After a while, one member said: Mr. Jack I visited yesterday Willy. He compose himself, he is his own boss, he record all his songs himself, and he is the only one that listen it.
It is tempting to use the 'pleasing yourself' metric as the only necessary yardstick. But then you think about other aspects of life that involve pleasing yourself, and you realize that the satisfaction is fleeting and the fulfillment lacking.
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.
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 quesions sound really silly, 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.
For some years, every book I read made me feel bad. Either because I thought it was good I was sure I would never manage to write smth like this or because it was so bad that I was sure I could have done it better but I didn't.
I promised myself this won't happen with photography too ... (thanks for reminding me).
Every self-help book I've read says you shouldn't compare yourself or what you do with others und judge it in terms of some kind of "quality". It's difficult, but I know people who do it.
By the way, my "solution" was to switch to photography . It's a relief to be able to say: "I'm only a beginner".
But ... I guess you're problem is not very similar to mine. (ok ... so why did I post it? I don't know.)
Oh and, about being gifted: I don't think that something like that exists.
How about picking the best and the worst photo of every year you shot and posting them?
Is it possible that a deepening of your work has in fact occurred and you're too close to see it?
[wakaba mark:] dabbling in photography since december 2006, so bear with me ...
my camera: a Canon A-1.