I've seen some historic bromoils, and the process seems to be capable of producing quite a wide range of effects. Whether it becomes kitsch or not depends on the vision of the printer, as with any process.
I agree whit every word you wrote except art as a matter of taste. We should be able to say this is good art and this is a fake. Maybe my rules for this "classification" are different yours, that absolutely OK, but we cant pretened that we are without these rules.
Originally Posted by GaussianNoise
The problem is that one should be consistent with his own rules. Of course one should be able to change them / it is natural to do it as one is developing/, but at least it not harm to think about them.
Les, I can't to think about image without thinking about process. When I wanted to say what I want, it limits the tools I can use. And when I do something, the tools I use are cruical for the result.
Maybe there is an answer - if bromoil process fit to what I want to say, then it is suitable to use it. Hm, maybe sometimes my prejudices dimed my view a bit.
As the old saying goes, if you can't stand the bleat, stay out of kitschin'.
While bromoil holds virtually no artistic appeal for me personally, I wouldn't venture to call any application of the technique as kitsch, let alone include the obligatory raised eyebrow or derogatory upward glance while doing so.
To each his/her own, I'd suggest. Whether the public responds positively or negatively to the effort matters only within the context of the practitioner's motivation for creating the work.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
Originally Posted by rbarker
Juraj, we are all prisioners of our prejudices, each in his own way.
As for the ability/goal to make a print with the least amount of manipulation, I can understand it perfectly. But you must not carry that over to a different medium, for the rules change as the setting changes. If you had started photography with bromoils, and been a purist of that medium, silver printing might seem like cheating as well (after all, contrast and print tonality can be changed with mere changes in developing time). But if manipulation is to be avoided, them you must ask what is the "standard" that you are manipulating. Should all your prints be made at grade 5, 20 seconds at f/22? Or is it grade 2, 8 seconds at f/8? How do we arrive at such values?
We must remember that the act of photography is "fake" in and of itself. We limit the colors of the things we shoot (be it color or B&W, for color film imposes limitations as well), we impose boundaries by the edges of the frames (where in reality one may turn his head), we impose limits on time, by freezing a moment or compressing several minutes into one single instant, to be repeated forever. (It must be said that this paragraph has been heavily influenced my Albert Camus' The Rebel, particularly by the chapter Rebellion and Art)
What is the standard by which manipulation is held? Is the purity of the negative, and it's record of the scene, the goal for which to strive in printing? If so, is manipulation before the printing acceptable (such as gradient filters, film developing and developer choice, and for that matter, film choice)? It must only be acceptable if it's printing counterparts are acceptable as well, after all the end result is the same, and acts themselves are for the most part directly interchangeable. The main difference is that darkroom manipulation is safer, for the limitations on space and time have been imposed, and several tries may be attempted without the risk of losing the shot. That is, if in camera manipulation is acceptable, darkroom manipulation must be acceptable as well, unless the standard by which we stand is the photographers talent and luck (for achieving a perfectly exposed negative, in relation to his printing process) when he presses the shutter (which becomes luck for the most part for documentary or other fast paced photographers).
And if it is acceptable for silver printers to chose papers, films, and developers (not to mention toners), it is acceptable for bromoil, and pt/pd for that matter, to make the corrensponding choices for their mediums. And given the manipulatory nature of such mediums, it follows that further manipulations may follow (or we must ask where the line is drawn). And to be honest, we must remember that silver printing was once hand mixed and coated as well. Industrialization may have led to the standardization of the coating process, but has not done away with the nature of the medium (not completely anyway, unless we go into digital and what it all means).
I hope I made some sense here,
p.s. I don't want to sound as if i'm giving an absolute answer, just my attempt at solving this problem.
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You have made a lot of sense here, Andre. Maybe the most important question is not how he/she is doing his/her pictures but why he/she is doing them. What are he/she looking for, what is his/her work about, what does he/she want to say. And only through answers these question we can distinguish art and fake.
the problem I face is that once these questions are answered, how do we go about classifying the answers and the work?
Let's take my Sertão series as an example:
I made the photographs for a variety of reasons, which include my desire to learn more about the world and the people I photograph (and the use of photography as an excuse to explore), my passion for photography (and above all, MY photography), and the good feeling I have everytime I print a new frame and see how well it works (which has become an addiction, and I feel very bad when I can't print, or have run out of work to print).
I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but part of it is understanding of life (in general). There's a lot I don't undertand and would like to sometime before I die. Actually, the sooner the better. I think that that's the reason I regard Philosophy and Photography much in the same way. Both are means to the same end, and each has its own rewards.
As for what I want to say, you got me there. I think that some of my work is meant to be a slap in the face of its viewers, and some may be a cry for equality and understanding. But I can't say for sure, since I haven't shot a single frame with those goals in mind. Most of the time, there's a feeling of compassion and comradeship to those I photograph. Sometimes I feel guilt.
But what do those answers mean? How do we classify them into art or fake? What are the standards by which we judge?
I ask not to be stubborn, but because I have struggled with the word "art" for quite some time, and have given up on it. I don't use it, and tend to dismiss statements that do. I see that as a flaw on my part.
It is very interesting to read about the background of your photography a I believe you - it is in the line with your best works. And that is why your work is not a fake.
Maybe we'd open one day a new thread with title what is the idea behind your pictures?
Thank Andre, for your participation, thanks all for your opinions, comments or suggestions. It was very helpful, from my point of view.
I think, it is better to try to discuss things then to cut your ear, isn't it?
Juraj, first of all, thanks!
Secondly, I'm glad I made some sense...
I think you should give your bromoils more time. You are very good with your silver prints, and perhaps it's unfair to compare them to your bromoils, which you are still learning. Give your self some more time, and maybe start shooting negatives exclusively for bromoil (different compositions, maybe different developing, I don't know).
By the way, I'm sorry if I started to go out of topic on my last post... but I think if you stop and think about why you are making your prints, you will find plenty of good reasons to keep on doing it. I hope you do, anyway.
Take care, man.
If I understand correctly from your post, you like modernist work and want to continue working in that vein. My understanding of modernist art is that it is in part about using a medium to stress what unique to it - a purist approach. If so, as long as you are exploring what makes a bromoil a bromoil, you don't have any problems. If you start doing faux 19th century images, that would be different.
Since most antiquarian techniques like bromoil lost popularity before modernist photography got big, I would think that there's lots of area for innovative modernist art using old techniques.