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  1. #11
    keithwms's Avatar
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    So, Ulrich, if I understand correctly, you are referring to general appeal rather than general subject matter. Right? I think general subject matter is stock.

    I am a bit troubled by the idea of letting one's art become a function of how people will receive it, in a generalized way. I do realise that in the real world one has to sell prints that appeal to people, and there is some artistic compromise implied in that economy. But... one thing I definitely don't want polluting my thoughts when I am out shooting a landscape is whether people will get it. I am busy enough deciding whether I am getting it, when I take the picture. It's so easy to walk away from a scene with only a superficial impression as a photograph.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  2. #12
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Perhaps "universal" or "archetypal" fits better than "general." I understand what you're after and I'm on the same page. I have no interest, for example, in photographing a famous, recognizable landmark. That's specific in the extreme. I don't want to make even an excellent picture of Half Dome, the Grand Tetons, the Maroon Bells, etc.
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  3. #13
    sun of sand's Avatar
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    I don't think it even works that way. When looking at famous photographs ..or just photographs that I really like I always wish I could go and see that particular sight for myself. Does not matter how general the subject is. A tree Ansel Adams shot isn't really any more special than a tree I could find in my own neighborhood but it is the fact that someone actually took notice of such a thing and made it appear beautiful to me that makes me want to go and perhaps visit it some day. A photo of grasses can do the same thing ..or a neglected barn or fence or pile of rocks
    These are the photos that inspire us ..to go out and find/make our own beautiful and seemingly unique photographs
    There are millions of trees around me ..not all of which are trees I'd take a photo of -though- I am allowing the tree I do take a photo of to represent all the others.

    Dirt is general/universal. You want to build up a portfolio of dirt photographs? It could work but it has nothing to do with the dirt itself


    Why do you feel forced to talk about your photographs at all? Screw that bullsh*t. Tell people it is a picture of Earth.

  4. #14
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Well... I don't think it's bullsh*t to speak or write about photography. One does need to think about it, and being open to others' opinions is a good character quality to have.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #15
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    It could be interpreted as a rendition of man's seperation between his hopes of flight and his being grounded in reality.

    Doesn't matter. As long as you take something from it.

    But Ulrich, I see where you were going with this one. An apparently bland and base subject matter. More tonal variations or abstract shape made from recognizable, however unfamiliar, scenes.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  6. #16
    sun of sand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Well... I don't think it's bullsh*t to speak or write about photography. One does need to think about it, and being open to others' opinions is a good character quality to have.
    That's not what I'm saying, Keith.
    It's bullshi*t to feel forced into talking about your art if you don't feel like talking about it or if you'd rather not give specifics that you feel lessens the importance -OR whatever it is you feel is happening- when you do so

    This person obviously -seemingly- doesn't want to do either very much and would rather let the photo

    speak for itself

    He shouldn't -have- to shoot photos that don't elicit such responses
    "where was this photo taken its so pretty I want to go there as I, too, could be a good photographer with such beauty before me" ..or whatever




    That's how I'm seeing this thread

  7. #17
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulrich Drolshagen View Post
    @Struan: Only lately I discovered the uses of Google Earth for me.
    I can not say for sure but I think the tree is this one: 52°45'05.94"N/10°51'36.26"E
    Nice. It was the background pollards that interested me. I'm coming to Magdeburg in the autumn, I'll have to swing by on pilgrimage :-)

    I read your post as a desire to make photographs that do more than simply depict a known place. There are a number of classic and contemporary ways of doing that.

    Symbolism seems to be making a bit of a comeback in landscape photography, although it's heyday was a hundred years ago with the Pictorial movement. The big problem is finding a shared language with your audience: people are thoroughly ignorant about the countryside these days, and the market for sentimental cliché is unendingly vast.

    I am very taken by the 'quiet' landscapes of photographers like Jem Southam and Elgar Esser. Again, there is sometimes the problem of shared knowledge - or the lack of it - and you have to find some way to get your audience to take your photographs seriously and not dimiss them as mere snaps. For me, a book is a better way to publicise this kind of work than a gallery - a book seems to aid contemplation in a way that is hard in most stand-up-and-look venues.

    And then there are the conceptualists. I'll confess I find the concepts often very shallow, but there is a vast movement of photography dedicated to collecting seemingly trivial views that aquire force (or not :-) from the concept behind the project. Marcus Neis is someone who does this successfuly for me.

    There are not many people who take eye-grabbing images of mundane or anonymous landscapes, but it can be done. Eric Fredine and John Brownlow are two of my favourites. This kind of exciting the eye without dulling the mind is where I want my own photography to go.

    So much depends on context. Your hunting tower takes on a new resonance once you tell people it is near the old internal German border. The beach could be off Cuxhaven - a place of romance and suspense to most English readers - or it could be off Peenemünde, with its rather different associations. A lot depends on just how much you tell people, or include in the photo so they can work it out for themselves. There are lots of ways you could take things, and no rules or even roadmaps.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Struan Gray View Post
    There are not many people who take eye-grabbing images of mundane or anonymous landscapes, but it can be done. Eric Fredine
    Thank you very much for your reply and especially for this link. Fredine does very well articulate my point.

    The beach could be off Cuxhaven - a place of romance and suspense to most English readers
    May be even more if they knew it is the westmost point of Juist. Only about one or two nautical miles off Memmert.

    Ulrich

  9. #19
    jstraw's Avatar
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    There's this "Early Riser" fellow too....
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  10. #20
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulrich Drolshagen View Post
    May be even more if they knew it is the westmost point of Juist. Only about one or two nautical miles off Memmert.
    'Why not go to Memmert?' I said, in fun.

    'To Memmert?' said Davies, slowly; 'by Jove! that's an idea!'

    Lucky guess on my part.

    I have only flown over the top, but my sister-in-law took her first steps on those sands. The boat, an old Dutch sailing barge, was stranded by the tide (and my father-in-law's refusal to buy an up to date chart). So they had a picnic on the sand at low water, turned round to admire the scene to seaward, and when they turned back the baby had learned to walk and was heading for Cuxhaven.

    The decline of Baltic and Friesian beaches as holiday destinations would be an interesting project in itself. People still go there - when I lived in Berlin, every second car had a Sylt-shaped sticker on the back - but the general cultural significance of the north European beaches has been eclipsed by cheap charter flights to the Med.

    See: you can never completely escape the resonances of a specific place.

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