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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    Why do you assume that all photography must be unique? Surely, there is room in this world for photography that lifts the soul, through traditional techniques, using familiar subjects.

    I find the works of the two photographers you mentioned, Jerry Uelsemannand and Misha Gordin, to be bland and boring, and their works does absolutely nothing for my inner being, because they lack a connection to the glory of this world. However, I can sit down with a copy of Jack Dykinga's "ARIZONA" or his book "Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley" and be satisfied for hours. Because, in his images I can see the interplay of light on the land, the natural patterns of flowers, the foreboding colors of the desert, something that only the master artist - God - can create.

    Photography is about art, art is about beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can find nothing more meaningful in my photography than the expression of the master artist, through my lens, through my own unique vision and way of looking at the world.
    At one time I shared your appreciation of the natural world. But after I have seen it done by so many, many times...there is very little more that can be done. I shot a lot of color 4X5 at one time...it became very, incredibly mundane. I mean one sunrise or sunset, one more mountain range or tree stand or waterfall, or cloud ridden sky is just one more about ad nauseum. No disrespect intended of your work.

    But how many photographers today have the recognition or the ability to express the inner being of their lives in a meaningful and original way that resonates with others? Not many I find.

    I understand your view of the work of anybody that disagrees with your method of photography. It is not unusual and to be expected. Not many are comfortable with what does not validate us.

    In my experience there are too many lemmings going over the cliff.

  2. #12
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    I understand your view of the work of anybody that disagrees with your method of photography. It is not unusual and to be expected. Not many are comfortable with what does not validate us.

    In my experience there are too many lemmings going over the cliff.
    I take no offense at what you say. It isn't a question of being uncomfortable with something that is different, or going along with the flow as a "lemming". As I stated, I find the work of Jerry Uelsemann and and Misha Gordin to be bland and boring, not because it challenges any world view I have of the medium, or art in general, but because I find their work to be chaotic, whose only merit seems to be to create images different than others.

    I find beauty in nature, because I find beauty in God - I'm sorry for taking this to a religious point of view, and I mean no offense, but my faith is the guiding point of my life, and it influences my art as well. I am very much a student of landscape photography, and have read and seen work by many artists in this field. In my mind the two greatest landscape photographers are Jack Dykinga and Joe Cornish. I can generally identify one of their images without seeing their names attached to the image; each of these two men has a unique view of landscape photography that is easily identifiable to me.

    I think that you have set for yourself an impossible task, and I wish you the best in trying to find what you seek. For me, I've long ago become comfortable with the art that I do.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #13
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    Photography is about art, art is about beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    These are bold statements. They sound nice in their sequence, but are extremely disputable in their content.

    When I read sentences like these, they make me wonder if the author really thought about what he said, or that these words are just skipping over the topics indicated so as to 'not' have to think about them for very long - and get the underlying akward questions over with fast.

  4. #14
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    The best definition I have heard about art in general (not specifically aimed at photography as a medium) was from a book about Zen. "Direct pointing to the soul of man" is as close as I have seen to a definition of art which I can accept. This bypasses language completely and pushes on toward an understanding of pointing, soul and man. Robert's reference to a deity is implicit in his understanding of art. Donald's query into a form of "language" as a means of expression is certainly a valid question, but I think it begs the issue by imposing a frame of reference with the spoken word. If I have misunderstood the "spoken" implicit language and thereby the whole point, I do apologize.

    A work which resonates at the level of the soul is certainly worthy of respect and consideration, but it brings with it a rather large burden of implied understanding which may or may not be available to the individual who "sees" it. Robert and Donald both see the same photograph, but where one is left cold and empty, the other is left full and refreshed.

    I have found the work of Edward Weston to be pure in terms of what it asks of the viewer. His "vision" was unique in that he was able to see a thing which was mudane and elevate it to a level of reality which transcends the mundane and allows us a view which is unique. This was done with shapes, things and the human form. Some of his portraits do seem to capture the essential being.

    This question of a common means of expression is a thorny issue. Since we do not all share the same experience, vision or internal dialog, the understanding of a photograph by means of "language" will be at best an expression of the self as it relates to a thing, hardly a universal form of expression. That the work can stand on its own merits and bypass language completely must, it seems, be one factor in the elevation to a status of art. tim

  5. #15

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    The greatest photographers are able to take their chosen subject matter and build their own language around it.

    Wynn Bullock. If you look at a portfolio or are lucky enough to see actual prints you can easily see that there is a certain "atmospheric" about his work. A great deal of symbolism underlies his work and I would go as far as saying his langauge is one of mysticism.

    Ralph Gibson sets up his images and uses found objects and compositions. He has spent decades defining a unique language with photography as his medium of expression.

    Brett Weston's language is about the supremacy of form and line.

    Eugene Smith had the ability to compose and design an image to bring forward several layers of meaning that go far beyond the orignal content the viewer first sees. Beyond the story the images force us to look inward at ourselves on some level.

    Edward Weston, Adams, Callahan, Frank, Kertesz, Strand, Siskind all developed a unique langauge with the camera.

    I think all of these photographers would have been great artists in any medium. All of them sought to present a far deeper meaning then simply recording something on film. Of course we all hope to do that, but the great artists of the medium see it, know it, and define it long before the shutter is released.

    The other thing they all have in common is they pretty mcuh had the stage to themselves, innovators in modern photography.

    I also believe that every found object or theme has been photographed at least 1000 times. But that doesn't keep me from doing some of it for the pleasure and challenge to find meaning in an object or composition. And I still see new work that does rise above the crowd.

    The other option is to go in the direction of a Gordin, Uelesmann, Duane Michaels, or Fredrick Sommer and build your own unique language from scratch. No different then sculpture or painting.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  6. #16
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo
    The pitch intervals are man made and deliberate and have been demonstrated to evoke universal meaning, and not just agreement as to what they are. Although perceptions of taste may be universal, I believe reactions to them may be influenced heavily by culture which is why I don't regard all cuisines, for instance, as desirable or even tolerable.
    Well then, I'd really, really like to have a bibliographical reference to what you are claiming. What researches are you referring to?

  7. #17
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noseoil
    The best definition I have heard about art in general (not specifically aimed at photography as a medium) was from a book about Zen. "Direct pointing to the soul of man" is as close as I have seen to a definition of art which I can accept. This bypasses language completely and pushes on toward an understanding of pointing, soul and man.
    For the side note, Kant had a similar view on art, considering it to be a harmonious interplay between the world and the subject, bypassing the adjudication of judgement. Eastern philosophy started to make inroads in Europe by the 18th century, so it's extremely likely that he has been inspired by that type of point of view.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    My intent was to indicate my recognition that photographs based totally on objective observation were missing a portion of what was possible. I believe that Jerry Uelsemann, Misha Gordin, and Wynn Bullock succeed where Ansel Adams and others did not.
    Edward Weston's Pepper #30 - a pepper, a tin funnel, light, and texture. About as minimalistic an objective observation you'll find in photography, yet incredibly powerful. You can't put walls around creativity.

    Murray

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller

    My intent was to indicate my recognition that photographs based totally on objective observation were missing a portion of what was possible. I believe that Jerry Uelsemann, Misha Gordin, and Wynn Bullock succeed where Ansel Adams and others did not. I am not distracting from Adams technical abilities. I am stating that from my perspective that beyond a "pretty image" the Adam's photographs carry very little if any impact upon my psyche. At least that is true in my experience and observation.
    Now, I would have to say that these three artists missed it. I admire the hell out of Gordin's work, don't get me wrong, but I am not moved in the slightest. I am much more moved by the sybolisim I find in those images you consider "pretty Pictures". I feel the others try too hard to create the symbols thus making their art worth much less in my eyes.

    To me, symbolism comes down to what a person brings to the image. Is Moby Dick the story of a whale and a whacko captain or is it a metaphore for the trials and obsessions of one's life that will ultimately bring ruin upon the individual and others. The answer depends on the reader.

    Is this a photo of a three people in a box or is it a metaphor of something much more. Personally I think he has tried too hard to force the viewer to see it as a metaphor. Almost slapping them in the face with it.

    What about this where i feel the symbol and metaphor is much more subtle. Is it just an excercise in sharpness in a pretty place or much more.



    N. Scott Momady Told me, when i was taking his folklore class, and we were talking about symbols in writing, that all writing is filled with symbols; Real and imagined. Some are intended and many many more are imagined by the reader. Because the author did not intend them does not mean they are not there. The worst thing a writer can do is work too hard to create a guide for the reader, by hitting thm in the face with the symbols. Doing this treats the reader like they are not smart. As long as the author writes what is in their heart then the symbols will place themselves. (this is paraphrased obviously since the conversation happened a long time ago during office hours)

    I feel the same can be said about photography.
    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

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    At one time I shared your appreciation of the natural world.
    This is really sad.


    I understand your view of the work of anybody that disagrees with your method of photography. It is not unusual and to be expected. Not many are comfortable with what does not validate us.

    In my experience there are too many lemmings going over the cliff.
    Wow this is not only presumptuous it is insulting. Of course not everyone can be as enlightened as you I suppose.
    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

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