A most telling statement in the note on "Amy with Ribbon" 1962;
"as much of a smile as I allow"
Mr. Balcomb seems to me to be a pompous sourpuss. And his photos had already told me that before I read it in his statements.
It takes all types of folks to make up the world. Reading through many different photographers bio's and writings I say to myself, I would get along great with this person..........or not. I doubt if Mr. Balcomb and me would hit it off.
I do believe that "art" that ineffable un-defineable whatever-it-is comes from a spark of creativity given more to some by the Creator than others. There are a lot of technicians.......few artists.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
With this I agree and holds true for all types of artist endeavor.
Originally Posted by jimgalli
One of my favorite quotes...
"The word 'art' is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to
one's work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything
else is a matter for the critics." -Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Another good quote?
"Maybe the judgment of whether something is art or not should come from the viewer and not the doer" - Alan Babbitt
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You raise some very interesting thoughts and questions. My own thoughts are that we are in some ways, in the Western world, trained to think within limits...thus the Western style or view of Art (not as in old west). It is not a bad thing, because we should learn from some starting point, most of us are not gifted to the point we can just start with a medium and produce work that is off the beaten path. I have commented before that I find today's architecture dull and uninspired compared to the work at in the US at the turn of the last century. These are the same buildings we find a need to photograph, perhaps not because we think they make beautiful photographs or works of art, but because we feel the need to preserve them somehow, before they are torn down and replaced with less inspired work. The same thing with automobiles, many have become dull and boring. Mass produced work, art or otherwise has become the norm and I do see why you feel left empty by what you see. It is my opinion that the digital age will only add to that mass of work.
It is my own hope that by learning to produce the very best work, while still not as inspired as I hope, that I can develope the knowledge to forget about the technical part of photography and pull what is inside out and produce work that is indeed art. Spent some time this weekend playing with some ortho film, contact printed a negative and then exposed paper with the sandwich...results are interesting, but nothing worth showing. More work to do before I think I will have anything and may end up with nothing..but an attempt to take the ordinary and make it new...
Where does that leave us...honestly I don't have a clue. I do think we should move forward, accept the fact that most of us will never produce anything near the potential we have to produce, we will not set the world on it's ear...yet I am so happy that there are those that will....and very happy to hang the work of others on my own walls that while maybe not new and to some not art, but their work speaks to me and in the end that is all that really matters. There isn't a critic around that can change my mind about what I like, this is what really matters. So with that thought the original post - if the individual is please with their work, then that is all the justification that is needed. Only, do not place blame or lament about how someone held you back..the only person that can keep you from doing the work the way you want is you.
Originally Posted by photomc
Thank you for your thoughts which were well expressed. I think that if I would have been able to first learn the principles of depth of field, exposure, and the characteristics of the materials that I use and second have forgotten or unlearned every other thing that I thought that I knew about this life that I would have been a phenomenal photographer...Unfortunately I have accomplished the first and failed miserably at the second.