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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Photography (or any art form) is all about achieving your own personal style.
    Nothing more true than that. In my Photoshop class I see every year people trying to imitate the style they see on the ads. It's a great shock for them when later in the year they realize that ironed images and flawless smooth skin is not art on itself. From that point on they sort of "reboot" themselves to a new brain. Then they start to "destroy" and reconstruct their images to something new, until they realize that other people have done this and even better. Then they "reboot" to a new version of themselfs and so goes the circle on and on until they "mature" but several years after they have finished the class.
    My portfolio (film mostly):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsts/

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    Like so many things that are a combination of skills, you initially struggle with the technical aspect of the art form.
    ...
    I hope that I am about to make that next step in my effort to create photographs that I truly like...the step where I am able to concentrate on the end results and not my gear.
    Since art cannot exist in a vacuum I believe the proponent and even the mature artist should carefully consider the critique of peers and people he respects. I'm not talking about mentors here as I believe the OP started the discussion refering to a level beyond formal education, even though mature artists do consider other artists as mentors, too.
    Someone in this thread mentioned the "Equivalents" of Steiglitz. This series was Steiglitz's reaction to a critique that he was capable of producing strong "people" photos only. So for the next several years he was the first to introduce abastract art in the photography domain by means of photographing clouds. But, he did not just turn his camera to the sky and started clicking. He was worried that the orthochromatic emulsions he used didn't reproduce exactly his vision (that's the technical part) and also that he wanted the poetic nature of the pictures to come through so that Bloch would exclaim "This is music!" (that's the artistic part).

    So, I believe personal progress except tools mastery is also a product of the artist's reaction to sincere critique of his/her work. And by this I do not mean the comments below photos that show up on popular photo sites.
    One should pick his critics as carefully as his photographs.
    My portfolio (film mostly):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsts/

  3. #63
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Photography (or any art form) is all about achieving your own personal style.
    I'd say it's more about communicating with others, but your personal style is fundamental to this so I'm splitting hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    A rather wealthy photographer (heir to the family fortune, had never worked) showed an immaculate portfolio, the pints were fantastic quality & composition except there was nothing of him in the images. He'd done one Ansel Adams style, another Cartier Bresson and so on, he was torn to shteds.
    I think we're talking about slightly different things here. Robotically copying a style is not the same thing as learning through copying (at least in my mind it isn't). With the former you're consciously (or sub-consciously) trying to see through the eyes of a master (How would Ansel compose this picture?). With the latter you're using another picture as a starting point for exploration.

    As you explore, if you keep asking yourself what works for me and what doesn't (the "for me" is really important), and if you apply the results of that questioning to your next pictures, then you will find that the pictures you make will soon start to diverge from the master's and your style will emerge.

    We worship originality to such an extent that we sometimes seem to expect new artists to appear on the scene perfectly formed, already with sparkling originality. (IMO, this has led us directly to the shallow rubbish that the art schools churn out.) But this is an entirely unreasonable expectation.

    Take Edward Weston, for example. He didn't arrive like some revolutionary leader, already perfectly formed. Neither did he have an epiphany moment and transform himself overnight. He started out as a pictorialist - making pictures in the accepted style of the day. But he continually questioned what he was making and what he saw around him, and thus re-shaped his work into something new and revolutionary. In my opinion, his genius was in his continual questioning, his willingness to explore, and his obsession, rather than in his undoubted technical skills.

  4. #64
    sun of sand's Avatar
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    the gear should never factor into it if you truly care about creating photographs till youre already doing so

    lots of people say you should start out with the be

    phooey
    garbage
    nonsense

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanos View Post
    Since art cannot exist in a vacuum I believe the proponent and even the mature artist should carefully consider the critique of peers and people he respects.
    I've heard this over and over and over, and I don't buy it.

    I do many artistic things that are banal, transitory, and meant just for me.

    Some are as simple as dishing up dinner, taking a picture of my wife, or building a sand castle. Where "I" am the whole audience, no other opinions matter.

    I know some people might suggest that that dishing up dinner isn't art.

    I'd also bet that any great chef would give you an earful if you disparaged the art of meal presentation as simply throwing food on the plate.

    What can't happen in a vacuum is earning a living off art.

    It is only when we expect to profit from our art and fit into "the market" that external opinions begins to matter.

    It could be easily argued that personal art, made in a vacuum, is actually more pure, special, and important.

    If that personal work happens to find a market, that's just gravy.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    What can't happen in a vacuum is earning a living off art.
    Well, I like to relate art and the way of self expression with self improvement, not money. In that sense I always believed that a carefully selected critic(s) will improve and inspire an artist instead of make his/her product more marketable.
    Often I see an external critique from a person I trust as a yardstick for my personal improvement as an artist.
    If I ever add money to the equation then perhaps I'll choose a different critic.
    My portfolio (film mostly):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsts/

  7. #67
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanos View Post
    Often I see an external critique from a person I trust as a yardstick for my personal improvement as an artist.
    If I ever add money to the equation then perhaps I'll choose a different critic.
    Let me use an example to illustrate my point.

    Right now I have an idea that I'm working on for a series of themed painted works.

    The idea is fully formed, I know exactly what I want to end up with.

    I don't need help with my vision for the project, I am the audience.

    What I don't know is how to do it. I need to learn Impasto techniques. I need help and practice to learn how to mix oil paints and move the paint around to get what I want.

    The only criticism I need or want is on how I use the tools and materiels. I flat don't care if anybody else likes the style at this point. I want a teacher for the craft.

    If they turn out special I may ask some friends what they think. The only reasons I'd be asking is to either 1-get my ego stroked or 2-determine if they have any commercial possibilities. I just don't see any other reason to bother getting critiqued.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #68
    clayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I just don't see any other reason to bother getting critiqued.
    Seriously you can't see any beneficial reason to having someone of more experience critique your work? Work that you are effectively a novice in and may want to learn how to improve on?
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    Seriously you can't see any beneficial reason to having someone of more experience critique your work? Work that you are effectively a novice in and may want to learn how to improve on?
    Yes seriously.

    Why in the world would I (or you) want to modify my (or your) artistic vision?

    All I can think of is money or ego.

    Now the technique and craft I need to accomplish this sure I want help with, but I don't care one whit what about what my teachers think of the idea.

    I don't want to be an apprentice or mimic or be tainted by others artistic visions.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Yes seriously.
    Why in the world would I (or you) want to modify my (or your) artistic vision?
    All artists evolve over time as they discover new things, and as they absorb new influences.

    One way of allowing yourself to grow as an artist is to listen to constructive critique from people who've followed the path before you.

    Of course each artist's path is different, but constructive critique can help you clarify your choices - either by accepting or rejecting it.

    Critique starting with the word, "why," can also help you to understand your motives and your path.



 

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