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  1. #21
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Interesting read and thanks for the site link. Conservatism - couldn't agree more. Nostalgia - absolutely. The two extremes as a result of a universal lack of ideas - nobody doubts that. You could say exactly the same about popular music. The stasis in the arts in general is, I think, a direct result of social and cultural stagnation. This is where ideas come from and this is where we should be looking, not specifically within the medium itself. Photography requires first looking outward, then inward. Unfortunately, my reaction to what's going on within and without the arts has been to look inward - dissociation.
    Don't agree obviously, as per my post, but just for the hell of it brainstorm and list a few things/places where photography could go.

    I think the reason photography hasn't really changed at all in the last 100-150 years is simply we like it as it is. Sure people go off and do something a little differently, but really not much changes. The tools changed, but the subject matter is pretty much the same. I'd argue the reason is, is because it fits us, it suits us, it does what we want it to, and we like it.

    Take a tool like a car. Invented 1800s, but it does exactly what it did when we first invented it. It moved us from one point to another. It got fancy but didn't really change.

    A camera is much the same thing. It was invented to capture and record our lives, and events in our lives. No one has really been successful using it as a maker of art like a painter/canvas does. We obviously have arty photographs but that's mainly because it follows the same rules/guidelines of composition that we've come to accept as tickling our fancy, from the painting world.

    I think the reason for that is, photography is pretty happily in the nitch it was created for and nobody has found a new use for it.

    I don't see that as stagnation. A piano has 88 keys. Been that way for a lot of years. Lots of different ways to play it, untold combinations and styles, but in the end, it still sounds like a piano, no matter how you play it. Has it stagnated? Has it become boring? Does placing tacks on the hammers and making it sound like something else advance it in any way. Not to me.

    I find photography the same way. Incredible tool. The results can still move people to joy, tears, and every emotion in between.

    I think it's kind of perfect.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #22
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    ^^^ That's about right.


    Steve.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    It was invented to capture and record our lives, and events in our lives.
    Agreed... phew, that was hard!

    But like I said, I think people are uninspired by 'events' and their lives and perhaps, other people. We're collectively sick of ourselves. We're all narcissists now (social media, celebrity culture) and maybe that photography facilitates our narcissism in the most direct way (see Flickr and the 'artful' self-portrait fad) we resent the camera and how stupid and ugly it makes us look? It killed Francesca Woodman and it's killing us.

    If you've seen the British Journal of Photography all the work featured is deeply objective quasi-photojournalistic straight photography, usually unposed posed portraits. The people you see staring down the lens without emotion are consistently screaming "I hate myself and the world I live in" It's so empty, so devoid of life, but definitely journalistic in style. Postmodern irony... again?

    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    ...photography is pretty happily in the nitch it was created for and nobody has found a new use for it.
    Nobody has found a new use, i.e. doing anything other than making pictures, I agree, and same goes for the paint brush. Though some enlightened indiviuals use the camera and paint brush in new ways. Occasionally.

  4. #24

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    To see where the future of photography is heading, I suggest perusing some of the images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope. These are images which have never been done before and are exquisitely beautiful to behold. Our science has created a new genre of art, call it "spacescapes" if you will. Not only are we viewing distant objects in deep space, we are also seeing the remote past. These images are literally out of this world. For those who feel that the art is going nowhere, maybe it is because they are looking in the wrong places.

  5. #25
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Stat View Post
    To see where the future of photography is heading, I suggest perusing some of the images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope. These are images which have never been done before and are exquisitely beautiful to behold. Our science has created a new genre of art, call it "spacescapes" if you will. Not only are we viewing distant objects in deep space, we are also seeing the remote past. These images are literally out of this world. For those who feel that the art is going nowhere, maybe it is because they are looking in the wrong places.
    It's my understanding that the vast majority of this space photography is stitched together and heavily "enhanced" particularly the colors. Pretty but what's reality? Does it matter?

    "Hubble images are made, not born. Images must be woven together from the incoming data from the cameras, cleaned up and given colors that bring out features that eyes would otherwise miss. Taking color pictures with the Hubble Space Telescope is much more complex than taking color pictures with a traditional camera. For one thing, Hubble doesn't use color film — in fact, it doesn't use film at all. Rather, its cameras record light from the universe with special electronic detectors. These detectors produce images of the cosmos not in color, but in shades of black and white. Finished color images are actually combinations of two or more black-and-white exposures to which color has been added during image processing. The colors in Hubble images, which are assigned for various reasons, aren't always what we'd see if we were able to visit the imaged objects in a spacecraft. We often use color as a tool, whether it is to enhance an object's detail or to visualize what ordinarily could never be seen by the human eye."

    http://hubblesite.org/gallery/behind_the_pictures/
    Last edited by Richard Sintchak (rich815); 06-26-2012 at 10:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  6. #26
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Stat View Post
    To see where the future of photography is heading, I suggest perusing some of the images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope. These are images which have never been done before and are exquisitely beautiful to behold. Our science has created a new genre of art, call it "spacescapes" if you will. Not only are we viewing distant objects in deep space, we are also seeing the remote past. These images are literally out of this world. For those who feel that the art is going nowhere, maybe it is because they are looking in the wrong places.
    I agree it's interesting but it has been done for years and it's not real accessible to most photographers.

    We can go microscopic and we can go telescopic but the abstract looking images are still not going to change photography much more than that they are an interesting novelty.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #27
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    I think the reason for that is, photography is pretty happily in the nitch it was created for and nobody has found a new use for it.

    I don't see that as stagnation. A piano has 88 keys. Been that way for a lot of years. Lots of different ways to play it, untold combinations and styles, but in the end, it still sounds like a piano, no matter how you play it. Has it stagnated? Has it become boring? Does placing tacks on the hammers and making it sound like something else advance it in any way. Not to me.

    I find photography the same way. Incredible tool. The results can still move people to joy, tears, and every emotion in between.

    I think it's kind of perfect.
    While a piano has 88 keys (and the Bösendorfer 290 Imperial being graced with 97), the piano is a tool of music, not music itself, and there are a great many tools. I compare this to saying a Leica camera perfectly defines the art of photography, and it need never leave its niche. Art is defined in the mind, not in the tool. A tool will allow a specific range of expression, from A to N, and another tool's range will be from G to T, while yet another tool's range is from O to Z. The most common photographic tool (fixed box camera) allows expressions from about J to O. The view camera allows expressions from F to W, and the pinhole goes from A to Z.

    From On Being a Photographer, by Bill Jay & David Hurn (p.31):
    This reminds me ... Ralph Steiner, the late, great photographer, would occasionally write me a funny, provocative letter after he had read one of my published articles. He would end with the words: "But you still have not told me in which direction to point the camera -- and this is what matters." And he is right.
    The main tool of photography, the small box camera, has unfortunately stunted the growth of photography. It has created a mindset that a camera is a few inches high, several inches wide, and the lens sits on the front and focuses on something. When I was out a few weekends ago with another LF photographer strolling on the streets of Seattle, we got a lot of "WTF??" questions, etc. Yes, aliens had landed, they look peculiar, but they're not especially threatening (and no, it's not a Hasselblad).

    So what does that mean? The mind becomes used to X tool, and that defines what is done with the art form. So to break out of X syndrome, a different tool is used, or it is played very differently.
    "They said, 'You have a blue guitar,
    You do not play things as they are.'

    The man replied, 'Things as they are
    Are changed upon the blue guitar.'"
    -- Wallace Stephens

    When a tool is used which changes things as they are, it's usually disparaged. Soft focus? Selective focus? A toy camera? Infrared film? Monster grain? Oh, such a horror! Painting with a different brush is oh so tres gauche! Witness the f/64 group. And also witness that their photographs have also survived the test of time.

    Maybe it is not the photographers, but it is the public who is directing photography. Why do William Wegner's dogs or Anne Gerdes' babies sell? People just like them. Why do Adams' expansive and majestic landscapes stand the test of time? People just like them. And on and on. And so the market drives the direction of art, because that's where the money is.

  8. #28
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post

    Maybe it is not the photographers, but it is the public who is directing photography. Why do William Wegner's dogs or Anne Gerdes' babies sell? People just like them. Why do Adams' expansive and majestic landscapes stand the test of time? People just like them. And on and on. And so the market drives the direction of art, because that's where the money is.
    I think it's the public AND the photographer. As I said, we like what we photograph and they obviously like what they buy.

    Wegman didn't photograph his dogs because the public demanded it, he did it because he wanted to. The public liked them and bought them. Same with those insipid babies.

    Adams didn't photograph Yosemite because the public wanted it, it was his passion.

    That doesn't seem to me to be market driven.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  9. #29
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Like so many of the "arts" marketing has a huge impact on whether a photographer is "successful" and consistently sells his images or not. Like so many things it's often not so much who the best but who sells and markets themselves the best.
    -----------------------

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  10. #30
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich815 View Post
    Like so many of the "arts" marketing has a huge impact on whether a photographer is "successful" and consistently sells his images or not. Like so many things it's often not so much who the best but who sells and markets themselves the best.
    That's true but we're not really talking about the best, or marketing, we're talking about someone doing something completely new and different as the OP article wrings his hands about. Some groundbreaking new direction in photography.

    Are you suggesting it's out there but nobody has discovered this person yet?
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

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