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  1. #31
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    As a side note, I think Flickr is largely made up of people who pick things up - concepts I mean - without knowing and there is a massive amount of creative naivety and general ignorance about the lineage and history of art photography. I've been scared away from it because it's a world unto itself and it influenced my 'visual vocabulary' in a way that made me uncomfortable, stunting my growth. Sitting down and really assessing my images one night, this was almost a grand awakening. But you do see hints at ideas and visual styles, unconsciously appropriated perhaps, from the 'real' world of contemporary photography and classical work. It does get filtered through, but very rapidly recycled into superficialities.
    I think you could substitute "flickr" for "modern photographers as a group".

    As hoffy says, there are more-interesting parts of flickr. Ignore the "post 1, comment N" circle-jerk groups and you can find moderated groups with very high standards and groups with very harsh and insightful criticism. There are much finer standards in certain corners of flickr than there are on APUG for example.

  2. #32

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    I just fundamentally disagree with galleries for unrealised work, full stop. If the bar is set at 'anything goes', personal insight and strong articulation of concepts rarely materialise. Those things depend on setting yourself a strict framework for image making and a considered approach. Perhaps engaging in the critical and community side could benefit you, in small doses. Critique is better in confidence though, with the most experienced established photographer you can find. But I really disagree with endlessly uploading images, without real consideration of the message, sentiment, visual articulation and relation to the rest of your photographs as a cohesive body of work. It also helps to have an awareness of the visual arts in general, letting ideas from other mediums get in your head, rather than thinking to be incestuously photographic about your influences results in some kind of purity of output. Not the case - think Stieglitz, Weston, Strand, Cartier-Bresson, Callahan, Kenna - all of whom had a close connection with painting and painters.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    That being said, (& time for the APUG controversial statement of the week), it really isn't any different with the galleries on this forum. There is not a lot of constructive criticism going on - either a photo gets hardly a comment or it gets a lot of "love the tones....". But, I still enjoy the gallery - call me weird, part of the joy of photography is looking at other peoples photos.
    EDIT: It's important to note that I am talking about 'the art world' here and not amateur communities, which we have to recognise are separate entities. If you enjoy looking at amateur photography, I'm certainly not going to suggest killing that part of your joy. Personally, I like looking at only the best work I can find, which doesn't happen to be on Flickr, but publications and very occasionally, in galleries.

    You'll notice I have pretty strong opinions on this! But I feel I need to let any other ambitious photographer know that as soon as I stopped uploading images online and getting my visual stimulation solely from books and galleries, the quality of my work and wider awareness of the arts shot up. I can only say Flickr is an artistically inhibiting addiction in my experience. Perhaps the occasional popularity of images there, through masses of favourites and comments, has warped the reality of what the website is.

    The two images in my gallery were made upon getting my Hasselblad a few years ago, when Flickr was a main source of influence - I dread to think about being locked into producing that standard of work.

    Sorry, I've really digressed here.
    Last edited by batwister; 06-23-2012 at 09:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #33
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    First, a lot of what is named as contemporary art is today made with using all kinds of photographic materials, both traditional and digital.
    This contemporary art is not, I suggest, necessarily the same as "contemporary art of photography" - whatever that is. As far as I can see, many of the contemporary artists that in various ways use photographic materials/equipment don't view themselves necessarily as photographers, just artists using cameras and various photographic materials (though not everyone of course); may even be the artists assistant(s) that release the shutter - some "photographers" more seems to be like film directors with competent technical people around them doing the professional work, leaving the artistic set up to the artist/director (see Charlotte Cotton, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, (London, Thames & Hudson, 2004)) – which of course is not a very new thing in the history of photography!

    Second, if you find nothing interesting to look at viewing Henry Cory Wright’s home site (se OP of this thread), sorry for you!
    We don't have to assume that something very extraordinary ("ultra dramatic..") has to be the output of such a ("pretentious"?) equipment as an 8x10 camera. Perhaps H C Wright, just like Edward Weston once did, enjoys looking at the world around him and point his 8x10 camera at things that interests him (take a look at Willard van Dyke's Edward Weston film on You Tube).

    Third: yes, a little bit ridicules, but photographs entering the world of the contemporary art circus seems a lot to have to do with size! (see Michal Fried: Why Photograpy Matters as Art as Never Before, (New Haven/London, Yale UP, 2008 and later), who to a great extent is discussing Jeff Wall)
    /Bertil

  4. #34
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    You'll notice I have pretty strong opinions on this! But I feel I need to let any other ambitious photographer know that as soon as I stopped uploading images online and getting my visual stimulation solely from books and galleries, the quality of my work and wider awareness of the arts shot up. I can only say Flickr is an artistically inhibiting addiction in my experience. Perhaps the occasional popularity of images there, through masses of favourites and comments, has warped the reality of what the website is.

    The two images in my gallery were made upon getting my Hasselblad a few years ago, when Flickr was a main source of influence - I dread to think about being locked into producing that standard of work.

    Sorry, I've really digressed here.
    Strong opinions are good if you're going to actually state where specifically "the good stuff" is; you can't just point and say "that stuff over there is bad". While I'm still convinced you just haven't seen the good bits of Flickr, I am genuinely interested to find new sources of inspiration.

    I've had the opposite experience as you with books and local galleries. There are good books.. but which? Likewise gallery shows; most I've been to have been frankly depressingly bad.

  5. #35
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    Mr. Wright's site does have some interesting work, but that horticultural set does nothing for me other than spur the very interesting views in this thread and motivate me to fertilize my lawn, which i am now literally going to do. I question work that requires so much explanation. Especially when it initially presents itself in the guise of simplicity. Faeces facit crescere herbis. Latet anguis in herba.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  6. #36
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    So has anyone seen the prints?
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #37

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    Sent you a PM, polyglot.
    Last edited by batwister; 06-24-2012 at 05:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #38
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Got it; thanks. Sure you don't want to post it to the thread anyway? There are some good thoughts/references in there.

  9. #39
    Ian David's Avatar
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    When I was younger and wiser I also quickly developed very strong opinions on the merit of others' work, and what constituted good or 'proper' photography. I found I could develop these opinions without actually seeing the work in person, presented as intended, without speaking to its creator, and without even trying very hard to imagine a context in which an image which initially did not amaze me might nevertheless work very well. I now know a lot less, and find that I see quite a lot more.

    The reason that people can and will argue forever about what constitutes art, or the difference between good and bad art, is that everybody looks at art through their own eyes and feels their own personal response. (Some even have an overwhelming emotional investment in a certain set of tools that strangely warps their views on the question.) If a large high-resolution colour image of weeds generates some significant emotional response in me for some reason, or works to make me feel a particular way when presented in some particular context, why should I care what someone else thinks about the banality of its content, or the means of its creation?

    Similarly, images can work in many different ways: standing alone, in the context of a larger collection, against the background of the creator's prior work, as a nod to some historical school or trend, etc, etc. Why should an image need to fit into any particular one of these boxes?

    If art criticism pushes your buttons, then go for your life. But I personally find much of it (like literary criticism) to be pompous and sterile stuff, whether in academic publications or in APUG threads. If you are just a photographer who wants to take more meaningful photos, then inspiration or a new way of looking at things might be found anywhere (including the APUG galleries, or flickr, or the wall of the local Chinese restaurant). It might shock some to hear that it may sometimes even be found in a non-traditional guise!

    The main crime associated with some contemporary photography (and art generally) is the language that is used to describe it. Sometimes impenetrable artspeak is the creation of the galleries, sometimes the creation of an ambitious photographer who feels that the blurb is necessary in order to make his work appeal to those who might show or buy it. But ultimately I find that the best test of an image is how it makes me feel (or might make me feel in different circumstances). Sometimes that question, when honestly answered, makes my preconceptions seem petty and ignorant.

    Ian

  10. #40
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian David View Post
    The main crime associated with some contemporary photography (and art generally) is the language that is used to describe it. Sometimes impenetrable artspeak is the creation of the galleries, sometimes the creation of an ambitious photographer who feels that the blurb is necessary in order to make his work appeal to those who might show or buy it.
    My eyes glaze over and I'm nodding
    My eyes glaze over and I'm gone
    My eyes glaze over and I'm nodding
    Oh bring back good art for me to see
    Bring back, bring back
    Oh bring back good art for me to see, to see
    Bring back, bring back
    Oh bring back good art for me to see

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