So Why Don't We Ever Discuss Vision?
Anyone ever notice we can lament on and on about this developer or that paper...or how much we dislike this format or that, but we never really discuss the making of a photograph? Why is that?
This is not meant to start anything, or to say that what we do in the darkroom is not important...in fact the skills we have in the darkroom should help us when we trip the shutter. But still, on and on I (we) dron about enlargers, timers, meters,etc. We don't even have a Forum to discuss 'Vision', or least not one that I can find..otherwise this post would be there.
Just wondering how many other folks would like to have some discussions on the setup - why xxxx camera format, xxxx film, you know the stuff we should be writting down for notes before we trip the shutter.
And most important, Why are we making the photograph...what did we feel, why did we stop...I mean if it is a LF shoot, there is a bit of work that goes into the set-up before the darkslide is ever pulled. Why did we place the camera/tripod where we did?
I couldn't agree more, it would be nice to have some discussions about why we photograph rather than the mechanics. For many photogrpahers, the "why" is a difficult thing to verbalize, but I think it is worth the effort.
I agree with both statements above the why is equally or more important than the nuts and bolts.
OK, I'll start:
Why do i take pictures?
I'm not sure!
I just like to do it. Always have. There were always cameras in my house, and there are always cameras at family functions.
It was the same with music. Both parents and an older sister were amatuer musicians and everyone sings (or tries to ). But, I took it further and got a degree in music, taught for a while and made a little money at it. I went "professional".
And, I did the same thing with photography. I went "professional" and financed my college (music training) by shooting weddings. However, I didn't like weddings much, and so it backed off to a hobby after college and has ebbed and flowed until recently.
Now I have time and a little money to spend and I really want to make pictures! However, I have no illusions of myself as an artist. I am happy to be derivitive (sp?) or outright imitative. I would die happy if anyone ever looked at one of my prints and said: "That looks just like a Weston." Whether the speaker meant it as a compliment or a criticism, I'd still be happy.
It doesn't even matter which Weston ...
Now, why B&W and why analog? Why not? It is it's own medium and it is simply what I choose to do! Formats: 35mm because of the convenience, and all the toys (bodies and lenses) I can afford. Medium format, almost the same reason, much better negs, of course. Why not LF? Just haven't gone there yet. Who knows ...
Well… Let’s talk about it then. I find much of what I shoot by driving around, keeping an eye open for something intriguing. What is it that makes me stop? Why do I take the effort to setup?
For me it’s a pattern, or an isolated bit of real estate with out the touch of mans hand. Light plays less of a factor for me than composition.
I have pulled over at what on first glance looked interesting, but then upon closer examination turned out to not work for me compositionally. Perhaps the primary elements didn’t work together like I thought they did driving by at 60.
For me it’s a feeling, solitude, calm, at rest in nature. Much of what catches my eye falls into that emotion.
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I have moved this thread to ethics and philosophy. It is an excellent post that doesn't belong in the lounge.
For my part i have been trying to meld my desire to record/document our environment (man made) within the constraints of my format (usually square) with film that (usually the overheated colours of x-processed chromes) adds a pictorial or subjectiveness.
I have plans to add to my tools. 1) experimenting with reducing the bleach step. 2) to pull fast films 1.5 to 2 stops.
Within x-processed film I have a pretty full pallet (from kodalith like film to effects that are similar to "the matrix"). For me it is less important to depict it as it is but to depict it as my mind sees it or as I would like to see it.
I think it comes down to an appreciation of the world around me. Whether it's the fine detail in a flower or a spectacular landscape, I'm always thinking "isn't that amazing", I wonder if anyone else stopped and looked at it.
Why don't we talk about vision?--Because it's difficult.
For myself, I'd rather not think too much about the "why" of my own work. My day job is thinking about why other people create art (literature for the most part, but not exclusively) and what the work means. Most artists aren't terribly articulate when it comes to talking about their own work--even those who are articulate as critics--and that's probably a good thing. I think that people who can explain their work in very clear terms tend to produce work that is formulaic or programmatic. Not having a conscious formula or program is not necessarily a guarantee that what one does is original, and having a conscious formula or program doesn't necessarily mean that there's nothing unconscious going on, but on balance, I think a little uncertainty in this area is a good thing in the creative process.
I think I have no vision or many mini-visions. I really don't know. I think it is the bane of hobbyist like myself, especially when I see inspirational work and read the artist statement, I often say, "Wow, that was designed and not random."
Knowing how art is marketed these days, I say that much less often unless I know the artist.
I guess my vision is: "I take pictures I like." Why I like those pictures can be a whole host of reasons. Many diametrically opposite.
It is difficult to articulate what it is your after and often counter productive to hear what the artist has to say about their work.
What I have found for myself is that as I experiment with different subjects, tools, methods, etc.. I find some combinations that resonate. This leads to others and then as the process, matures so do the images and my ability to identify potential.