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  1. #151
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horacekenneth View Post
    I'd be interested if you could suggest to me a single great artist who didn't learn from those that came before him.
    Here are three that seem to me to have come to there art/inspiration before there schooling in art.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandma_Moses

    http://www.vivianmaier.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Maier

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansel_Adams
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  2. #152
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    OK. That's a nice clarification. It reminds me how back in the sixties all the hippies tried so hard to look different and individual, that they all ended up looking the same! Or now, everyone want a tatoo,
    with the same result. Lemming mentality. But it takes some track record before one realizes what they
    really want. And sometimes one does need an outside catalyst to get things to gel.
    That's because human beings are tribal. Very few people have the desire or ability to work outside of the tribe.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Here are three that seem to me to have come to there art/inspiration before there schooling in art.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandma_Moses

    http://www.vivianmaier.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Maier

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansel_Adams

    Ansel Adams was already discussed. I don't know much about Grandma Moses or Vivian Maier (except that her photographs are wonderful). I think the point was already made extremely clearly however that you can't plan on doing "something new" unless you know what is currently and what came before.
    You certainly don't need a formal education to be a good artist but I bet you that all three artists you mentioned were aware of the traditions in their art. The point is that traditions are not so much a limiting factor as trying to be different for the sake of being different (or following tradition for the sake of following tradition).

  4. #154

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    (Lots of good stuff, trimmed for space.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    You have people today doing a lot of things to imitate things done in the past, and while they may be arriving at the same destination via a different route, they're claiming superiority and innovation when in fact it is equivalence and mimicry. (...)

    All very fine and good - you know what you're doing and why you're doing it. But trying to imitate that with some other technique for the sake of doing it with the other technique be it chemical or digital does become a case of making a violin sound like a tuba because you can. You're not doing it to make a statement - you're just trying to latch on to a trend.
    I pretty much agree with you, but that's easy for me to say as a middle-aged dilettant with an interest in tradition and no real involvement in the social-media dialectic. The thing is, I kind of think what you're describing is a productive set of "mistakes" for people to make when they're young; it's one stage of artistic development, not an entire lifetime's arc. The kids who don't eventually break out of the inet-driven trends will stagnate, or wander off to other interests, and the ones who stay around and get serious about the making of images will eventually start listening to the people saying "you should look at Kertesz" or whatever. I think that's all more or less as it should be.

    Sorry to go back to musical analogies again, but perhaps it's like the circa-1960 era when every kid who could scrape up an acoustic guitar had a band that tried to sound like a clone of the Kingston Trio. It was unquestionably a trend, and one with no great artistic depth driving it---who listens to the Kingston Trio now except as a nostalgia trip?---but we've ended up with plenty of serious, interesting music over the ensuing half-century that can trace its pedigree to the Great Folk Scare.

    So I don't want to go to the wall for the artistic superiority of every uneducated punk with an iPhone, or anything; but I do think it's possible, even likely, that whoever is going to be to photography in 2020 what Bob Dylan was to music in 1967, right now they look like an uneducated punk with an iPhone.

    I think it's very hard to establish what "breaking the rules" with digital media consists of right now because they're still in their infancy and the rules are not yet established. So we're seeing a lot of folks doing things that break the old rules but don't have a good explanation for why they're breaking the old rule, and why the old rule should be broken. That's certainly true for things like print presentation - the old rule is still "bring me 20+ matted prints in pristine mats with well-cut windows, large margins, properly exposed/printed, etc". No reason why I can think of that that rule should be thrown out yet. But you can certainly try to make a case for an individual rejection of it - "my work is mounted on driftwood because I want to make a comment on the transient and impermanent nature of existence" or "I'm rejecting the clinical aesthetic of presenting work in mats and frames because they serve to erect an elitist barrier between the audience and the artwork". But don't just show up with a box of loose prints that says you don't give a shit about your own presentation.
    Agreed, if we're talking about showing up to the gallery owner and saying "represent me". From the original post I'm not sure if that's what the young "wannabes" in question are doing, or if their approach is more in the vein of talking shop and getting feedback. The young people I know who think of themselves as somewhat serious about photography mostly, I think, don't really see the "pristine matted print on a gallery wall" model as being relevant to them, and I think we're partly seeing some mutual misunderstanding between different generations who are playing different games without fully realizing it.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  5. #155

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Here are three that seem to me to have come to there art/inspiration before there schooling in art.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandma_Moses

    http://www.vivianmaier.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Maier

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansel_Adams
    Their just Wannabes
    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

  6. #156
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I know that I, as a middle-aged fart, if I owned a gallery, would have no problem showing work that was non-traditionally presented, IF the artist could justify it and would be bothered to make the case. What I worry about is that there is a new generation of artists coming up who, as you put it, don't see the traditional model as relevant, but haven't articulated a vision for what should replace it - perhaps it's my inner old fart talking but I don't see hanging a bunch of monitors on a wall or posting images on a website as a viable alternative to a gallery. I know I can't make money off of that model as a gallerist, and neither can I as an artist. Democratic tendencies aside, if I'm going to make art for a living, I want to be able to live on making my art, and while working commercially can certainly pay bills while making art, it's hard to balance client work and personal work.

  7. #157
    cliveh's Avatar
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    No artist works in a vacuum. All are influenced by others.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #158
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidkachel View Post
    They never heard of Stieglitz or Weston either.
    All the great artist have studied other artist that have proceeded them. Art and other human endeavors require practitioners to stand on shoulders of giants. It's the basic foundation. Without it, we build on shifting sands and indulge in solipsism.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  9. #159
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    Very interesting question. Possibly one does not need history to produce great work, after all someone using an Iphone is light years from a bloke with an 8x10 camera and a tray of pyro developer, the methods are just not the same.
    Having said that, we can all learn and be inspired by those from history, all good art classes have a large part dedicated to the greats of art, same should be for photographic lessons. When I taught photography at night school I began with the pupils making and using pinhole cameras, and excellent grounding on the fundamentals.
    I have to agree that it is a bit disturbing that they haven't heard of Weston, you would think that a very keen photographer would seek to look at this sort of work, even if their images in no way reflect that style.

  10. #160
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horacekenneth View Post
    The point is that traditions are not so much a limiting factor as trying to be different for the sake of being different (or following tradition for the sake of following tradition).
    I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. IMO traditions simply promote the status quo.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin



 

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