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Thread: Cutting Edge

  1. #21
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laz
    ... SNIP.. sometimes I guess it's good thing that so called traditionalists are so dismissive of those who push the boundaries, I suspect it helps inspire them to prove them wrong. They often do and we look back and say they were on the cutting edge.

    Bob
    The object ofTraditional Photography is to make a picture with fresh eyes and emotion, every time.

    That pushes the boundaries every day.

    The only way to do that is to look, and see, and not make any picture refer to a standard or trend or school.

    Conventional Photography, on the other hand, is ALL ABOUT doing what is right, expected, and marketable.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #22
    Will S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    Good answer.


    Michael
    I agree. Labels are for critics and art historians, not artists. I think that Ralph Eugene Meatyard had some good ideas on the subject of originality. I don't have the book in front of me, but I believe he said something along the lines of "try to do something new because anything else is boring and untrue to yourself" but I'm paraphrasing.... And this from a photographer who clearly demonstrates that you can find opportunities to make photographic art just about anywhere.

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

  3. #23

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    IMO "cutting edge" is that which is designed to either shock you or instantly command your attention, even if after careful examination the viewer decides it is crap. We have to distinguish between "cutting edge" and a fad. For example, back in the 70's and early 80's we had Helmut Newton and Mapplethorpe as examples of cutting edge photography, the early 90's gave us Witkin and at the opposite end of the scale people like David Fokos and Michael Kenna. At the same time we had the fads: selective focusing, negative manipulation, Holga/Diana toned prints, etc, etc.

    Some cutting edge photography became fads, a good example is the long exposure night photography done by Kenna (specially of bodies of water) which then was imitated by a myriad of photographers.

    With digital we now have the confusion between cutting edge and a fad. IMO big huge ink jet prints are a fad, but some consider them cutting edge because it has not been done before.

    Sadly many times cutting edge is confused with sloppy technique and lack of command of the printing medium where the supposed "content" of the print is the main consideration.

    I have two personal considerations. Cutting edge for me is the photography done where the photographer has a fresh new insight and particular style specific to them (something very hard to achieve and which I believe we are all looking for) and the fad which is about 99% of the crap we see in galleries and museums......

  4. #24
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    A cutting edge, having seen them in action, is a very uncomfortable place to be.

    But the OTHER problem with the concept of 'cutting edge' is as Heisenberg put it:
    "The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa."
    More or less, you can't plot the path and the velocity of a particle, or art form, at the same moment. You can't see where art is going, and where it is, at the same time. Observation becomes critical, for "The "path" comes into existence only when we observe it".

    It is, therefore, the observation that determines the 'cutting edge', not the artists. And observation of 'art' is seldom pure, rather observers look to satisfy their own taste, theories, and need. Trend spotters usually need to find the 'next big thing' to bring it first to market.

    So the 'cutting edge' can't exist beyond marketing hyperbole.

    We can only track a trend by looking backward. Picking up on trends, like wearing black and having 2 day stubble, is simply recognizing a budding conventionality.
    .
    I do like the way you got Heisenberg into the equation. I feel a need to print your post for further reference, being a socalled contemporary artist myself (although not in photography unfortunately).

    I have a strong feeling alt processes will soon (in 5 years or so) be cutting edge, meaning picked up by the trendsetting gallery/museum crowd. And in general my intuition has not failed me over the last 10 years, I can proudly say. Stay put, the time is getting ripe for what is common knowledge here. Have patience & mercy with the poor people in the art world on whose shoulders rests the ungrateful task of foretelling what is avant garde and what not. But beware, once a trend, the lifetime of the interest of the gen. public is limited to the duration of the trend! And that interest can be over in a couple of years.

  5. #25

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    Most of all the "cutting-edge" people (mostly filmmakers, famous or not) I've met are not really cutting-edge themselves. But they are undoubtly sharp thinkers, and their work reflects their intelligence and personalities that others can see and relate to. They are so focused on what they've been doing and don't care about anything else, and I think that's what matters the most. And that's not something you can label.

  6. #26
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker
    They are so focused on what they've been doing and don't care about anything else, and I think that's what matters the most. And that's not something you can label.
    Great point. Although, you might be able to label it, there isn't a need. In my mind it is the quality of the invention that is important. I think artists throughout the last 150 years (or always) may have thought of themselves as cutting edge, breaking new ground or whatever the term of the day was. Part of it may be the excitement of seeing new horizons and feeling connection to the new process, view point, etc. I suspect that it is/was more or less ancillary to the work they were doing. It is the fashionistas that live for the identification of the work's placement.

    Don, hit it again for me when he said:

    The object of Traditional Photography is to make a picture with fresh eyes and emotion, every time.

    That pushes the boundaries every day.

    I would remove the label Traditional or replace it with creative or good. Or I don’t know. It seems that there is room in this world to see things new or tell an old story with a fresh voice and that in and of itself puts it at the edge

    *

  7. #27
    laz
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    The object ofTraditional Photography is to make a picture with fresh eyes and emotion, every time.

    That pushes the boundaries every day.

    The only way to do that is to look, and see, and not make any picture refer to a standard or trend or school.

    Conventional Photography, on the other hand, is ALL ABOUT doing what is right, expected, and marketable.

    .
    I think you're arguing semantics now. Traditional is exactly what the word means:

    traditional. adjective:
    Conforming to established practice or standards.

    Traditional is not a pejorative word, neither is the phrase cutting edge I will agree that conventional in this context is pejorative

    -Bob
    [SIZE=1]I want everything Galli has![/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1]I want to make images like Gandolfi![/SIZE]
    rlazell@optonline.net

  8. #28
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    I agree, the denotative definition for traditional and conventional are the same.

    Perhaps the connotative has taken one to mean one thing and not the other but to me they are the same.

    I think cutting edge is a marketing term.
    So is "important" and "inspirational" and "new" and "creative" and "timely" and .........


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  9. #29
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Wow, such intelligent well thought out responses.

    I have never cared for conventions or lables. I personally shoot what emotionally strikes me. I want to record many things before they are gobbled up in mass urbanization. Cutting edge is not a concious thought when I go shooting. After the fact how I print I might do some really wild things. I shot a series of staircases on one negative (multi image) and for the presentation in a class I printed many of the same image, only cut out parts and then folded them to look like the actual stair case. They were 3 D extentions of a flat image. I was praised for being cutting edge and thinking outside of the box. I did it because the teacher hated photos that to him were the same flat boring things. Maybe it pushed me to consider different presentations? I don't know. Did I keep it? No it made it to the nearest round file after the class.

    I feel there is too much emphasis by some to distinguish good photography with only what they feel is cutting edge. It is a very personal thing the relationship of the viewer to the photograph in front of them. It is how the viewer internalizes that image that to me is most important. Some will like it, some won't it is what makes us all different. We all like various things, and they are not all the same.

    I want to thank you all for responding. It has helped me immensely.
    Non Digital Diva

  10. #30
    jd callow's Avatar
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    When I shoot for myself (art?) I shoot for myself and wonder if others will see it similarly. I never shoot thinking "I'll bet people will think this is..." I do shoot with who 'we' are or what 'we' think we are in mind. I also use the viewership as a measure of how my message comes across, and at times a validation of success and or failure.

    I would like to think that the people Dave, Don, Firecracker and the 1% Jorge are refereing to are people who have a similar perception or approach.

    *

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