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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Watching decisive moments unfold and not recording them.

    I would like to share an experience I had some time ago, which others may also recognise. I spent a day wondering around a very interesting location to do street photography or other shots that may yield interesting compositions. Because I was there all day, at one point I took a break to go into a little park, sit down on a bench and relax. The view in front of me was quite boring and held no interesting compositional possibilities. After about half an hour a woman and two children, boy and girl appeared. The children started to pick dandelions and bits of grass from steps just in front of me, throwing their arms around and having fun. For a fraction of a second, a beautiful composition appeared in front of me. I did not photograph this out of respect for the individuals and the fact that these days if you photograph children you’re thought of as a pervert. However, what I found interesting is the fact that although I photographed nothing of interest that day, the most interesting composition that appeared, was in a very uninteresting area and when I was totally relaxed. Can others relate a similar experience?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2
    John Austin's Avatar
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    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

    I have seen that quoted somewhere on APUG, I wonder where?

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbaphoto View Post
    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

    I have seen that quoted somewhere on APUG, I wonder where?
    Let me enlighten you. At HCB's last exhibition in London before his death, in an interview with the BBC, he produced a piece of paper and read this out. What better epitaph can a photographer of his stature leave to the world. This is why I thought it worthy of perpetuating the message.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4
    John Austin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Let me enlighten you. At HCB's last exhibition in London before his death, in an interview with the BBC, he produced a piece of paper and read this out. What better epitaph can a photographer of his stature leave to the world. This is why I thought it worthy of perpetuating the message.
    Yes, I know the quote and totally agree with it and am grateful for your reminding us of it - The point I was trying to make is that your question is answered by the Bacon quote - One of the factors influencing my early photography in 1970 was a poem by Kenneth White about Sesshu Toyo


    "After years in China
    Emptyness achieved
    He painted with the fewest of strokes
    The hardness of rocks
    The twistedness of roots"


    I do not do street photography, but understand the problems children being present in street photographs these days - It is not enough to make the picture, if one wishes to show or use it, and there is no point doing it unless one does, one needs to get permission from the parent before exhibition - I don't suppose HCB could work in his way these days and I remember Rob't Doisneau (I can't remember the spelling) being sued for an image he made just after WWII of a couple kissing on a Paris railway station


    Even working formally with my 10x8" Naked Portrait series I am having difficulty with people unable to separate porn and portraiture in their minds

  5. #5
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I did not photograph this out of respect for the individuals and the fact that these days if you photograph children...
    When they're your children it's OK. Really. The actual point I'm making is that each of us has a close circle of friends and acquaintances that make our life special. It is worthwhile to catch photos of the people you are privileged to know, the places you are privileged to be.

  6. #6
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    I was walking to the downtown area of my home town one bright October day. I was using a very ordinary route along a main street to downtown and did not expect anything unusual. Then I heard a commotion to my right and looked up. There were several police motorcycles and an open convertible coming my way. In it was JFK!! Yes. Himself. There was no one on the street so I was the sole pedestrian and I waved. He looked over and waved back. I knew he was visiting Pittsburgh, but didn't know the route. No camera, nothing!

    I continued my walk only to catch up with the motorcade at city hall. I listened to the speech for a few minutes.... Boring! Then I went shopping. The city was deserted as everyone was at the speech. I didn't even bother to go home to get my camera. Too long of a walk.

    But, in retrospect, what an opportunity. A statue stands in that place in front of my hometown city hall. I have no photos but one memory of JFK on a deserted street into town waving at me.

    PE

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    By definition, the vast majority of beautiful/interesting things happen without anyone recording them, it's inevitable. The most valuable thing -for me- is to have been there and seen it. If I'm able to take a decent photo and keep a graphic memory that can be shared with others, all the best. But I will not agonize over it, otherwise I could not get out of my bedroom by fear of photographically missing unique moments...


    joan

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    Oh just how much I regret not photographing something beuatiful because I felt bad about doing it...

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    hi cliveh

    sometimes magical things happen and we are just witnesses ...
    we see and hear things we think we see and hear things
    or se don't see or hear anything at all ...

    every day i see things appear infront of me, or in the sky, or around me
    things that will never repeat, never be recorded ... like white steam exiting
    a smokestack ... its like a movie that disappears.

    life is like that .. i enjoy the moments when it happens and hopefully will be observant enough
    in my life that it won't stop happening, even in the bleakest of times.

    john



 

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