I'm an engineer by education too. By trade I'm a web developer. Analog photography gets me out from in front of the computer screen.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.
Good for you that you cringed, it shows that you have a soul.
Originally Posted by tron_
I've heard "artistic" types say similar things about the so-called "hard sciences" - hard meaning things are well quantified, and bullshit is not an ingredient.
It's funny because the math and physics majors I have met have in many cases been creative. I feel like they are special because I feel math and physics requires a level of abstract thinking that fuels creativity and on the other hand they have the hard science skills.
Yes engineering is all mathematics but I feel like since it is so application based, there is little room for creativity since many places in private industry do not pioneer products, but simply make widgets to supply to the next tier of company.
I think it's time I reconsider dropping this engineering Ph.D for a math Ph.D, I haven't had a conversation with this friend in quite some time now haha.
Vonnegut's quote resonates very heavily with how I view things. My main inspiration and motivation for practicing my art is simply this:
To be able to, if only for a while, shut out the world while I try to make one single thing perfect.
I often call my photography my 'insanity asylum', and that's exactly what it is. My every day life is filled with spread sheets, large building blueprints with bazillions of little details in them, computer screens, specifications, and on top of that I am a full time student. If I had no way to disconnect from that and do something completely different, something that's creative and soul satisfying, I would probably be mad. To have that passion and drive for something completely unrelated also helps me appreciate what I do for a living. It offers a balance in my life that would otherwise not be there. I don't care if I ever sell a print again, but it is very rewarding to see the reaction someone gets from a print I gifted them, a portrait of their child, or something along those lines. That level of sharing and affecting others is worth a lot to me.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I totally agree. And the fact that the quote came from a serious jester like Vonnegut makes it all the better!
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
There's definitely something in the idea of practicing art regularly. Making mistakes, fumbling onwards. (Just be ruthless with your editing before you show others ). I'm a firm believer in learning by doing, and often creative cock-ups contain the germ of an idea that can result in something better, and often far from where you started from. It's also a good way of overcoming 'artistic-block' when the well is dry too. (Am currently suffering that affliction, so have taken a sideways turn from my usual b + w landscape photography the last few months into learning to print polymer photogravures, and setting myself the challenge of completing a small thematic series of colour, impressionistic out-of-focus photographs).
Art, both making and being consumed by it, are as important for me as sleeping and food. Imagine a life without visual art, music or literature that doesn't change the way you think and feel?? Gulp.
For me, art is brain and soul food rolled into one...
Last edited by coigach; 07-13-2012 at 01:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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FWIW, I think that if you are analytic in nature (Degrees in Physics and Law here) but enjoy reading Kurt Vonnegut, you probably don't need the advice.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
[QUOTE=tron_;1366659]. . . engineering is all mathematics but I feel like since it is so application based, there is little room for creativity since many places in private industry do not pioneer products, but simply make widgets to supply to the next tier of company. . . . QUOTE]
A good school can make an engineer of a capable student. Such engineers are an essential cog in industry. There is also a need for a different type of engineer: one who is a born, not merely trained, engineer such as Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, John M. Browning, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, etc. We used to see this in small town mechanics. Before the days of factory trained specialists, these unsung geniuses tackled almost any repair job. Often they saw a need for something unavailable on the market, and engineered and built it. It may seem to an outsider that the repairman had a simpler task than the engineer. This is true to some extent. However, a born repairman had the ability to recognize what a perhaps unfamiliar device was intended to do, and to analyze what it failed to do, and to create a solution, and to fabricate repair parts. The modern mechanic relies more on computer diagnostics and a supply of factory replacement parts instead of that special intellect of a born repairman/engineer.
During a career in electronics repair, I had to work around the problems caused by a few inept engineers. I certainly couldn't have done their job, and they obviously didn't understand mine. A horrible example is the modern automobile. Engineers have made them safe, durable, and somewhat more efficient than the cars of many decades ago. Today's spark plugs may last 100,000 miles, but can require an engine to be partly removed for replacement. Regaping or replacing spark plugs was once a routine job that many drivers could easily do every 10,000 miles or so. Over the lifetime of an old car it required less effort and money than just one replacement in today's cars. Ah, progress!
Last edited by Jim Jones; 07-14-2012 at 09:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.