hang on Donald
it may be you who doesn't want to discuss these issues
as i wrote above, your images do not mean the same to me as they do to you, that is not a failing in me or in you, it is because of our differences in culture/experience/history/background/beliefs/values and a 'failing' in any art
don't tell me, and others, i don't understand sybolism, you don't know me, nor do you know what i respond to
as an aside, i was previously interested in why a talented photographer would not show his final/best work, what is the sybolism in that? you wouldn't discuss that issue either
Originally Posted by Ray Heath
Considering what you have said in this last statement, let me extend to you the courtesy of beginning this discussion. You may begin at any place that you choose. If you would be so kind, please begin with a discussion of your experience of how creativity enters into your photography. What your photography is conveying to you, and what you hope to find out through your personal photography. Please share with us the things, forms, shapes, patterns and textures that intrigue you. What understanding you have come to in your preferences and how they apply to you. Please share with us how you use various means to arrive at compositions that speak to you and what those means are for you.
You should feel favored to begin this discussion and I am sure that others will chime in with their questions for you and by sharing their own experiences and thoughts on the matter. I assure you that I will enter the discussion...but I don't want to be interperted as being holier then thou by preaching to the choir.
Whenever you are ready, you may begin...and thank you for sharing with us.
Andy, we have been here before, and on occasion we have not seen eye to eye, and if there's one rule in art today, it's the rule that says there are no rules, BUT ...
Originally Posted by Andy K
... if you want to hear my personal definition of artistic expression, formulated for my own benefit, it is this:
Art for me has the quality of exploration, of wanting to experience things in a new way, of asking questions, of not necessarily providing answers, of engaging the viewer in a dialog and encouraging/stimulating interpretation and active participation in the artistic experience by the viewer.
On the other hand, there is another approach, where the main interest is in process, in the mechanism of making objects and the technicalities of this, and in a desire above all to achieve high skill levels in these areas. Followers of this approach may say that they do "what they like," but this is likely to be close iterations of what they and others have done before. I have no right and no desire to criticize these people in any way, but I do believe that what they practise is craft - and not art.
Yep, that about sums it up Murray.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Donald, I think there are quite a few who "fail to grasp it". Can you enlighten us with real examples from your portfolio, with sufficient explanation but you know, dumbed down a bit. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
David makes a good point regarding craft vs art. Picking up on that point, there has been an analogy drawn in performance music.[font=Garamond][size=3]
When a musician is practicing scales they are a craftsperson. When they perform in concert they are an artist.[/size][/font]
I like this analogy. It allows exploration of whatever technique the photographer desires to achieve their personal expression in their images. Of course[font=Tahoma] there are some who have Van Gogh's ear for music, no matter how hard they practice .[/font]
Originally Posted by mhv
Last edited by John McCallum; 05-23-2006 at 06:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Good technique liberates creativity. I don't think anyone would disagree with this? The problem is the liberation part. It's scary. How many of us really take risks with our lives not to mention our photography? At my most self-critical moments I look at my photos and say, "yeah, that's the kind of photo a f@#%ing accountant would take!!". Let's face it, I am unlikey to ever be a renowned artist but I love and am drawn to this medium as part of my search for truth and beauty in the world. Yet I play it too safe. I am unliberated. This will inevitably come through in my photos. I don't think you can learn or describe creativity. You ARE creative by virtue of the way you live and conduct yourself. i.e... if I could explain in words what I felt I wouldn't have taken the photo...
I recently read a Cartier-Bresson biography and was interested to find out about his great family wealth and his apparent disdain for it. And also about his year after leaving school in Africa wandering through the jungle at night shooting things (with a gun) and almost dying from a tropical disease. And his time in a concentration camp, escapes and work for the reisistance. These unconventional "liberating" experiences undoubtedly drove the creative process in his photography.
Maybe we should drag out Barthes' Camera Lucida and delve into the "studium" and "punctum"? Reading this thread I sense people can see the studium in Donald's work but there is no punctum for them. That's OK, after all it is about the individual's response to the image. The pointy bit can be different for different people in any single image based on their education, culture and experiences. But, I've always found French philosophy a bit dense. I prefer something attributed to Max Dupain, a famous Australian photographer: "I think we should be more concerned with depth of feeling than depth of field".
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Oh you guys are too cynical!
Originally Posted by John McCallum
O.K. it seems that Ray would prefer to attack rather then share his thoughts and experiences and the Bill and several others prefer the same. Regardless I do think that this is a vitally important subject for those who aspire to create and it is a vitally important subject for those of us who desire to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our place in life. So let me begin, if I may...
I will begin at what was for me the beginning.
Like many photographers, I think, I was impressed with the photography of Ansel Adams, Howard Bond, and others. I sought to emulate them and so I attended workshops and I made photographs much the same as those they made.
If you look at my website at the Landscape and Nature images, you will observe that many of those images are indicative of that genre. Lincoln Falls, Crystal River Morning Rain were both made in the late 1980s. These are pretty images. What I would consider today to be "calender art".
At about that same time, I was involved in beginning stages of recovery from alcoholism and beginning to incorporate a relationship to a higher power, or God if you will, into my daily life and my life considerations. That process had began in 1984 and continues today.
Also in the late 1980's because of that process, I began to make images that are to me, today, more meaningful because they were not seeking to emulate the pure landscape style of Adams, Burnbaum, or Bond. This is the time period that those images in my Transitions portfolio were made. I began to photograph totally different subject matter along with the landscape images. The Doorways and Doorway and Curtain image are both from that same period and of the different type. Doorways, Windows, Bridges, Paths, Light, are all things that can be defined as having dual meaning...They can be literal and they can be symbolic. They can be both or either depending on the individual.
The images in my Transition portfolio are photographs that speak to me symbollicaly and this is because of what was going on in my life at the time. This is the beginning of my belief that the camera does indeed point both ways, as Gordon described so very effectively in his response.
I believe that it is the nature of man to seek to define himself throughout his/her lifetime. It is in the act of photographing that we are afforded one means by which we accomplish this ongoing process. But how does this work?
Well returning to the "Granite Pool -Reflections" image in "Transitions" c.1989 What I saw much later is that the image conveyed a deeper understanding then what I recognized at the time of the exposure. The image today speaks to me symbolically in this way...The pool is symbolic of "mind". In examining the image, we can observe that there are stones below the surface of the water and a reflecton of a tree on the surface of the water. These two come very near but not completely touching each other. The reflection of the tree, being on the surface, represents conscious mind and the stones beneath the surface of the water represent the unconscious mind. The tension point created by there extreme proximity to each other is indicative of the tension within us at the juncture of conscious and unconscious mind. Examining the image still further, the lower right hand portion of the stone enclosure the shape is quite similar to a human leg and thigh. So the location of the pool could be observed and attributed as the place of birth because of the similarity of the female human form. Thus this image translates symbolically to "Mind is the place of birth"...which quite literally it is. Without human thought or creative motivation nothing of consequence occurs.
Other of my images carry symbolic meanins for me as well. They quite honestly may not carry the same meaning to someone else...but then again they may. Nor have all of my images been symbolic in meaning...or did I immediately cease making photographs of rocks, streams, or "known objects" because my understanding of how photographs reveal the photographer to himself/herself was incremental in development.
I think it is the nature of man to seek to make order from chaos. That is part of the creative process and it is the impetus behind some of our photographic efforts.
I have much more to discuss about this. I hope that others will now join this discussion without negativity, rancor, and personal attack. I think that we all have something to gain from exploring this. Thank you for allowing me to expound.
Art or craft? Since you ask, I'd have to say craft - a quite startling level of craft skill in a highly impractical medium - how on earth you make a sand painting permanent, I can't begin to imagine! The level of artistic expression for me - and I can only speak for myself - is at greetings card level, but the woman is obviously talented and I would like to have an opportunity to see more of her work in other media (if she has any) which has perhaps been produced in a slower and more considered way.