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  1. #21
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Donald ship the Deardorff to me first. I'll pay a month's heating bill (you live in AZ right?) and split the shipping.

    Otherwise you raise some excellent points.

    *

  2. #22
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    I have to agree that "breaking ground" has more to do with a personal vision than an attempt at "new and improved" style or vision. There are so many types of work to be done that a new vision is always possible. Granted, few of us are up to a challenge which will change the world, but an accomplishment made in personal growth is as good as it gets.

    I continue to hear that opportunity is now lost, nothing is new and there are no frontiers left. Rubbish! As an example in commerce, tell that to Bill Gates. If not for him, we wouldn't be in communication in this manner.
    Are we looking for personal growth or public approval?

    "The average man seeks agreement in the eyes of others and calls it perfection. The man of knowledge seeks impecability in acts and calls it humility." Juan Matus

    "Some times it makes me humble, when I think how great I am." Bob Curry

  3. #23
    Will S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noseoil
    I continue to hear that opportunity is now lost, nothing is new and there are no frontiers left. Rubbish! As an example in commerce, tell that to Bill Gates. If not for him, we wouldn't be in communication in this manner.
    Not really. The Internet, or internets as they are now called due to the cluelessness of our president, was initially developed for military purposes - specifically a network that could withstand the sudden molecular evaporation of some or most of its nodes. Congress, some other governmental agencies, and especially Al Gore (who recently received an award for his work), set out to expand that network to include educational institutions and eventually commercial entities. The http protocol (what drives the web) was invented by Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland.

    Even with regards to the windows platform, as someone who worked with the first person to write a windows-based web browser I can tell you that Bill Gates had nothing to do with it other than we were using Windows 3.1 as the OS.

    I don't know what APUG runs on, but if the hardware and operating system are what most web sites of this ilk use (Linux, PHP, and MySQL) then they definitely had nothing to do with Bill Gates and were specifically created in some instances as an alternative to Gates-owned technologies.

    Most if not all of the innovations in technology that now allow the web to work were created by students and scientists working at universities or at government sponsored entities. The private sector had very little to do with it. (With the exception of Xerox PARC maybe. I'm not sure how much government funding they had. And Bell Labs I guess. But they were working for the government a lot too.)

    Now you might argue that desktop computers wouldn't be ubiquitous without Windows/Gates but, again, there were plenty of desktop computers and operating systems before DOS. Something would have become the standard. Even now I use a Mac running a form of unix (BSD) and a browser that has nothing to do with Windows/Gates.

    What Bill Gates is an example of is how to create and control a monopoly - which is hardly a groundbreaking idea. Many did it before him, just not with personal computers.

    Sorry, couldn't let that go by uncorrected.

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth

    Personally there is nothing I recoil at more in art more than faddish attempts to do something 'new'...as if everything else is old and not to move on means being passe and irrelevant. As pretty well every corner of photography has been staked out long ago, perhaps this is the reason for the uprise in 'fine art' photography. Perhaps because it is so hard to do something new and 'worthy' (without being faddish) we have to do the same things using weird processes and give them some intrinsic value as a result of blood and sweat ....

    Amen, and Amen. Tom, you have articulated something I have thought about for years. Thanks.
    Robert Hunt

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    Tom,

    For myself, this impasse is the point of departure from the world external into the world internal. By that I mean that most photographers whether they want to admit it or not are involved in producing illustration as opposed to art.

    Illustration is the depiction of the external world...art departs from this and brings the internal experiences, understanding, and awareness into physical representation.

    How many more waterfalls, trees, darkened passageways, slot canyons and cathedral interiors do we need to photograph? No matter how technically proficiently those may be produced they are still purely and simply illustration.

    When I take a look at the work of Jerry Uelesmann or of Misha Gordin I see art being produced because their work is conceptual and sometimes deeply symbolic. It is about an idea or an ideal. It may not have anything to do with external reality but it does represent those individuals' view from their internal orientation.
    I agree with much of what Donald has said here. As Gordin says 'do you turn the camera out, to the world, or inward to the soul' (Not an exact quote). I think the problem is not so much one of people doing the same thing over and over, but a lack of emotional content or "idea" as Donald put it. David Vestal said in a really good article that I can't remember the title of, that photographers go through three stages:
    During the first stage, we have a shopping list of interesting ideas that we want to do. We don't have technique yet, but our honesty sort of redeems us.
    In the second stage, we become involved with advancing our technique, usually at the cost of those interesting ideas we once had. We can make technically acceptable photos, but often they are well-made nothings. Vestal says that most people become stuck in this phase.
    In the third stage, we start remembering why we were interested in photography in the first place, and now we have some of the skills required to do those interesting ideas.
    Many people do not come out the other end of stage two, and end up making lifeless imitations of what has been done before. Or perhaps they never find their "voice" to begin with, they just enjoy the technical aspects of making a photograph.

    To add to this, I believe that in regard to modern art, the pendulum has to swing both ways before it can come to the middle. Ansel Adams and the "old masters" had craft. Some contemporary artists have interesting ideas, but often they are gimmicky or overly academic. They take cheap-looking chromogenic prints and call this art photography. As I've said many times before, postmodernism is as good as dead, and it's only a matter of time before something new takes its place. So let's hope that something will be a marriage of interesting ideas and craftsmanship. We already have some excellent examples of contemporary photographers who are doing this, Misha Gordin, Gerald Slota, Joel-Peter Witkin, are all (relatively) famous artists. Ideally this type of photography will become a popular benchmark, but first we have to overcome peoples' love of all things tacky and commercial. The person who eats at McDonalds, shops at WalMart, and thinks movies like Dumb & Dumber are film at its best are not as likely to appreciate works of art that require reflection or analysis as they are an attractive picture of some nice looking place.

  6. #26
    Will S's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that I agree completely with noseoil that there is still a lot of opportunity for innovation and invention in photography (and everything else for that matter).

    Best,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    Illustration is the depiction of the external world...art departs from this and brings the internal experiences, understanding, and awareness into physical representation.

    How many more waterfalls, trees, darkened passageways, slot canyons and cathedral interiors do we need to photograph? No matter how technically proficiently those may be produced they are still purely and simply illustration.
    While I would agree in general with the first of these statements, it seems to indicate more of a widely held animosity towards landscape as photographic subject. I don't find manipulations of subject digitally or otherwise by the artists you mention either truthful or beautiful - and that is what I seek. But I wouldn't make judgements as to their validity as art. My observation of the landscape photography today is that it is overwrought with manipulations of toners and techniques supposed to "break new ground". It is like looking out a screen door, the purity of the light and the subject being veiled (or shielded) from raw emotional impact. ..escapism from Weston/Adams.

    As for myself, I in no way consider myself to be a photographer. It has taken me half a century to fully realize that I am an artist. Photography happens to be the realm in which I currently express MYSELF. The medium and equipment really don't play much of a part in the emotional quality of my work. Cameras are only important so much as I am familiar enough with them to capture the moment as I feel it. I use no heroic darkroom (or digital) methods to achieve MY VISION. I consider few if any of the photographs I print to be merely illustration, technically proficient or not.

    I think your characterizations of Adams vs. Weston as artists are purely personal judgements perhaps based on ignorance of the two men. When Adams finally succeeded in pulling Weston away from his studio into the high country of Yosemite, so enthralled was Weston that he used up nearly all the film he brought in the first day of a weeks' worth of shooting. After returning from the trip, he pestered Adams for weeks afterwards to take him back. And yet of all the film exposed we have little to remember Weston's work of those trips save a portrait study of Charis at Ediza Lake. Their work as artists was indeed expressed differently.

  8. #28
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    What I think, again for myself, is that photography very often is limited more by the photographer his/her self then any other factor.

    For myself, this impasse is the point of departure from the world external into the world internal.
    “The inward work, however, consists in his turning the man he is, and the self he feels himself and perpetually finds himself to be, into the raw material of a training and shaping whose end is mastery. In it, the artist and the human being meet in something higher. For mastery proves its validity as a form of life only when it dwells in the boundless Truth and, sustained by it, becomes the art of the origin. The Master no longer seeks, but finds. As an artist he is the hieratic man; as a man, the artist, into whose heart, in all his doing and not-doing, working and waiting, being and not-being, the Buddha gazes. The man, the art, the work-it is all one. The art of the inner work, which unlike the outer does not forsake the artist, which he does not ‘do’ and can only ‘be,’ springs from depths of which the day knows nothing.”

    Eugen Herrigel
    Zen in the Art of Archery

    Edward Weston was such a Master. That's why his work is timeless. As I read this thread I find myself asking, "Why in the world would I want to 'break new ground'?". My quest is for the eternal, not the new.

  9. #29
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Beak "New Ground"... It depends on the intensity of the evaluation of the Photographer. How closely are you looking at the work?

    Another "Landscape" ... the subject of "Landscapes" has been worked to death."

    BUT ...
    I wonder if you have ever tried to duplicate the photograph itself .. not copy from the print or negative, but return to the scene and try to take another photograph *exactly* the same as the first one? I have, and I have NEVER been successful. There is always something different; The sun will not be at the same position, the state of the leaves on the trees will be different, not only in a different season, but from week-to-week, and even day-to-day. The sky will *never* be the same.

    At another level, We, ourselves will not be the same. Our moods, our emotional state, our depth of experience - and closely linked to all that - our VISION will not be the same.

    "Break New Ground"? I don't know - I do know the crops we reap from the ground WILL certainly be different, whether they are Landscapes, Sunsets, Figure Studies, Weathered Barns, Slot Canyons .... a Dog Taking a dump in a Vacant Lot....
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    “The inward work, however, consists in his turning the man he is, and the self he feels himself and perpetually finds himself to be, into the raw material of a training and shaping whose end is mastery. In it, the artist and the human being meet in something higher. For mastery proves its validity as a form of life only when it dwells in the boundless Truth and, sustained by it, becomes the art of the origin. The Master no longer seeks, but finds. As an artist he is the hieratic man; as a man, the artist, into whose heart, in all his doing and not-doing, working and waiting, being and not-being, the Buddha gazes. The man, the art, the work-it is all one. The art of the inner work, which unlike the outer does not forsake the artist, which he does not ‘do’ and can only ‘be,’ springs from depths of which the day knows nothing.”

    Eugen Herrigel
    Zen in the Art of Archery
    Sounds like Yoda...

    Take pictures that are important to you or are important to those who are important to you, since 99% of what you take will never see the light of day, beyond your immediate circle of friends and family.

    Once I decided to stop worrying about creating "Art", I got a lot more relaxed and started enjoying photography a lot more.

    For those still intent on suffering in service to their inner Muse, ask yourself how many other people objectively think you hear the Muse. Maybe you have just convinced yourself you do.

    It's very rewarding just being a photographer, without laying all that art-angst all over it.

    Take care,
    Tom

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