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  1. #11

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    Well, I think that so long as we do derivative work then our work is simply another picture.

    When be learn how to see in ways that are uniquely ours (and I don't mean another tree or rock or waterfall even if it is a different rock, tree or waterfall) then perhaps we may produce something that may possibly aspire to be art.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  2. #12
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    Well, I think that so long as we do derivative work then our work is simply another picture.
    But, as Szarkowski suggests out in "Atget Pointing", the work isn't derivative if you look upon the world in a unique way, even if your chosen subject matter is considered...tired.

    http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/7101/szark1.html

    Murray
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    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
    But, as Szarkowski suggests out in "Atget Pointing", the work isn't derivative if you look upon the world in a unique way, even if your chosen subject matter is considered...tired.

    http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/7101/szark1.html

    Murray
    Murray, I think that I went on to express that...perhaps not as well as I might have.

    In order to see things in unique ways, I don't think that it means photographing and presenting the same thing from the same viewpoint. Usually this unique viewpoint does not involve simply positioning the camera in a slightly different spot, using a different focal length lens, or photographing at a different time of day.

    A case in point would be a typical derivative subject matter of a stream, rocks, and trees. No matter how one tries to rearrange these in relation to each other they still remain what they are...trees, rocks, and streams.

    Normally seeing things in unique ways involves exploring aspects of these known and readily identifiable objects. What I mean by "aspects of" are lines, patterns, shapes and textures. Most photographers, in my observation, are caught up in seeing things like everyone else does. That is why the Park Service has come almost to the point of erecting signs that direct one to the tripod holes where some images have been made.

    I think that we, as photographers, have been afforded both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that we see things pretty much as everyone else does. The blessing is that we have the opportunity to discover, for ourselves by discovering new ways of seeing, more about the readily known objects that I lump into a generic classification of "things".

    It has been my observation of my work and the work of those that I have encountered that very few aspire to this uniqueness.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  4. #14

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    I do like Per's approach. Smart to avoid discussing the meaning or substance (that may be there). To me when an artist explains their 'art' they fail, instantly. Better to talk about the peripheral stuff. The nuts and bolts of how/where/when or perhaps what they were thinking at the time.

    Robert Adams has said [paraphrased] "For photographers; words are proof that the vision they had is not fully there in the picture". As for that Szarkowski fella, sheesh what does he know? :P

    But for goodness sake say something. Or you may become the unfortunate subject of a discussion like this.
    Last edited by John McCallum; 06-15-2006 at 02:02 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCallum
    ... yes,[font=Verdana][size=2] windows, rockpools, doorways [/size][/font]... derivative, simply another picture.

    Aaaaanyway.
    I do like Per's approach. Smart to avoid discussing the meaning or substance (that may be there). To me when an artist explains their 'art' they fail, instantly. Better to talk about the peripheral stuff. The nuts and bolts of how/where/when or perhaps what they were thinking at the time.

    As Robert Adams has said [paraphrased] "For photographers; words are proof that the vision they had is not fully there in the picture".

    But for goodness sake say something. Or you may become the unfortunate subject of a discussion like this.
    John,

    Perhaps you might look to that portion of my work that is depicted in forms and function...or perhaps you might share some of your work with us.

    By the way the work that you addressed is over twenty years old. While the images in the Forms and Function portfolio is recent.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  6. #16

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    Already did - and?

    "perhaps you might share some of your work with us" ... I do, occasionally. I think there are a couple still in my gallery if you want to. They were taken within the last 1 year[size=2] [/size][size=2](important, apparently).[/size]

    Point is - as WarEagle put it - if you put yourself out there as an arteeest and you're asked directly "what makes your images art?" and you can't answer then it suddenly becomes difficult to be taken seriously as said arteeest.

  7. #17
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    A case in point would be a typical derivative subject matter of a stream, rocks, and trees. No matter how one tries to rearrange these in relation to each other they still remain what they are...trees, rocks, and streams.
    Hi Donald,

    This is why I dredged up the Szarkowski piece - because when a photographer of unique perception recognizes a significant coelescence of compositional elements be they stream, rocks, trees, or hermaphrodite lacrosse players, then the subject matter becomes secondary to the strength of the artists vision. Simply put, if not for the photographer pointing it out...nobody would have noticed.

    Why do we still bother composing music, or writing poetry? Why do novelists keep trotting out the old typical derivative subject matters of love, relationships, and conflict - the literary equivilants of streams, rocks and trees? Because, of all the untold billions of people who have walked the Earth, each persons voice is unique.

    The subject matter isn't the limiting factor, just the depth of the photographers way of seeing and the aquired skills to materialize them...and the perception of the viewer.

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    It has been my observation of my work and the work of those that I have encountered that very few aspire to this uniqueness.
    Donald...in my haste to respond I missed that significant statement. I'm looking forward to watching the manifistation of your words into photographs.

    Murray (continually aspiring to truth of vision)
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
    Donald...in my haste to respond I missed that significant statement. I'm looking forward to watching the manifistation of your words into photographs.

    Murray (continually aspiring to truth of vision)
    Murray,

    If you are seriously interested in physical evidence of this and if you wish you might want to look at the images that I have posted in the portfolio that I suggested to John. These images with one exception are visible proof of what I am speaking of.

    These are for the most part a departure from depicting readily identifiable known objects as I would have done at one time. This departure is toward the depiction of lines and forms as a separate and distinct aspect. In doing this the presentation is not of something that I or most people would normally see when we would view these objects.
    Last edited by Donald Miller; 06-15-2006 at 03:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  10. #20
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    I don’t know if this is relevant and muddies the water of the discussion but I was reading Ansel Adams (book 3 the Print) and he does discuss in chapter 5 ‘The fine print: Control of Values’ and opens with. ‘The differences between the various stages of work prints leading to the fine print are often quite subtle, and require meticulous craftsmanship. Even the best equipment and competent procedure, the control of print quality is sometimes very difficult. I know from experience that there are no shortcuts to excellence. Inadequate attention to procedure or to archival considerations will yield less-than-optimum results. However, the technical issues of printing must not be allowed to overwhelm the aesthetic purposes; the final statement should be logical and complete, and transcends the mechanics employed.’

    He then goes onto describe what the differences between a work print and a fine print are and also describes a number of procedures for subtle print control. In concluding he states that

    ‘the qualities that make one print “just right” and another only “almost right” are intangible, and impossible to express in words. Once you know what truly fine prints look, trust your initiative reactions to your own prints’

    ‘In evaluating the print some of the qualities to look for include:
    -Are the high values distinct and “open”, so they convey a sense of substance and texture without appearing drab or flat?
    - Are the shadow values luminous and not overly heavy?
    -Is the texture and substance in the dry print in all areas where you sought to reveal it
    Does the print overall convey an ‘impression of light’

    Although this is not of full explanation of what a fine art photograph should look or be like, I think Ansel Adams in this chapter of his book does go in some way to describe the subtle differences of your average run of the mill print to an excellent fine art photographic print.

    I personally have seen a fair number of what I believe to be excellent fine photographic art prints from masters of photography such as Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Kenro Izu etc.. The differences between good and excellent fine art prints are subtle but they are there to see the trained and knowledgeable eye and are very rewarding.

    I don’t know how good this artists prints were priced at $800 that the intial post on this thread mentions, but if they conform to what Ansel Adams describes as ‘just right’ as opposed to ‘almost right’ he should have a few valid responses to those people that think his work is not ‘Fine Art’

    Anyway just my 2c

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