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  1. #51
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveH
    All,
    After reading through a couple of Ansel's writings last night, it struck me like a freight train. While I admit that Im among the largest gear-heads and techies on this board; we've been missing something. Just look at all the forums - LF gear, Film/Paper/Development, Metering, etc....Its all on the scientific and technical aspect side of photography (again, not like Im complaining...). We are missing out on the artistic side of things - discussions on composure, creative posing, etc.
    Im not suggesting that ANOTHER forum be created for composition, Im just looking to fire up a discussion. Sure, we all know about the rule of 1/3rds, leading lines, ad nauseum. But what about some tricks ? What thought process goes through your head when you're photographing something that you feel is of great interest; but none of the above rules apply ?
    Creating new forums for photographic genres has been on the agenda for a while (e.g., landscape, portrait, still life, street, photojournalism, etc., as needed/as interest motivates), and this sort of discussion would certainly be at home in these new forums. I think Sean has just been too busy keeping the server stable and working on the software upgrade to set these up, but once the new software is in place, I think that would be a good time to add these sorts of enhancements the forum structure.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  2. #52
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab
    True, but if that is the only reason you are doing this, it won't get you far. For me, any pleasure derived by the viewer of my work is bonus. However, it is not made for them.
    Yes, I hear this quite a lot.

    Well, I can talk, and it may give me pleasure to hear my own voice.

    I can talk, and you can listen, and it may give me more pleasure to know you hear me.

    I can talk, you can listen, and then you can tell me that you agree or approve of what I have said, and that may give me the most pleasure of all.

    I can make a photo. I can hide it away from the world - I didn't make it for you. And that may give me pleasure...etc.

    How? I don't get this at all.
    I stated it awkwardly, please forgive me. Let me restate. I find that I tend to appreciate photographs that the photographer apparently made with the express intent of communicating something to me (or any viewer) as opposed to photographs that a photographer appears to have made expressly to please themselves without regard to how it affects me.

    I certainly hope so! If not, I am guessing it isn't going to be a story I want to hear.
    Again, I gain more satisfaction from speaking to an audience than from speaking to myself. I listen to understand, and I speak to be understood. I gain no satisfaction from sitting alone in my house quoting my own prose to myself.

    I understand your point of obtaining pleasure from simply making others happy with your work, but can't that also lead to pretty homogenous and potentially uninteresting stuff?
    I can't deny it. I propose that extended bouts of self-gratifiction can lead to the same result.

    I also agree that studying another's technique and style can be beneficial, but one is never going to get anywhere until all of these things become second nature and the mind is no longer polluted by them during the process of creation. There comes a time when you simply have to stop looking to others for the way.
    I agree. If I wanted to learn to ride a horse, I might first examine how others do it. After I had mastered the basics, I might seek my own level of expression in the equestrian arts. Reinventing the wheel for the sake of rejecting everyone else's style seems a wasteful exercise to me.

    Technique, gadgetry, rules and science are all quantifiable things. IMO it is the nature of many people that are drawn to photography to be done so because of one or more of these things. Trying to apply this to art and aesthetics is crazy however as there truly are no rules there. There can be accepted and acceptable guidelines to be sure, but not going beyond them as with technique and gadgetry is a disservice to yourself as an "artist". This is fine for photo clubs and anyone simply satisfied with making pretty pictures. Who can be faulted for that? This is why there are so many different types of photo enthusiasts.
    As well as different interpretations of what one might call an 'artist'. I like pretty pictures, myself. I like avant garde. I do not demand that my art all be the latter. If I like the former, it's art to me, too.

    As far as teaching "style" or how to inject "meaning" into your work. I doubt that it can be done.
    When one insists that art must break boundaries, not be derivative, and be pleasurable only to oneself, I can well understand that.

    I think I understand you, but statements like this are, IMHO, what often lead the hoi polloi to declare artists 'narcissists'.

    "'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'" I would take the view that the Honorable Mister Dumpty is wrong. The word means what it is understood to mean by those who perceive it.

    My sure-to-be controversial and slanted opinion: Art is too much concerned with what the artist wants and not enough with what the arted want.

    I care about what the artist has to say. But if the artist believes that their art was not made to be appreciated by me, or if my appreciation is merely tangential to their own and purely by accident, then I haven't much interest. I feel like I'm intruding on the artist's self-gratification in mid stroke.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  3. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    Po-mo schpo-mo! Postmodernism depends on the existence of preexisting methods/conventions/rules/law/blah of writing. You can't have Pynchon without a lot of leg work before him, so it's not like he's working without rules. Au contraire, he goes against the flow of the river, so that the river is still there!
    Of course - you have the "rules", "conventions", and then you choose to ignore them - or, to give them different (less) emphasis. I didn't say more recent literary practice was built on air - of course it's firmly rooted in it's past. I was merely pointing out (not too seriously, I thought) the limits of Wigwam's literary analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    I disagree about your comparison between photo and poetry. People always think of poems as beautiful heartfelt meaninglessness, especially in the West since the late 19th-early 20th Century, but a large portion of western poetry is narrative to a large extent. The Illiad? Paradise Lost? Elegy written in a country churchyard? Beowulf? Granted, you can point to Donne's poetry as more symbolic, but it is nevertheless highly structured. Rhyme, versification, prosody, sound effects, all that we call poetics is what structures poetry. Shakespeare didn't write poetry like Jackson Pollock paints. Rimbaud was one of the first to tear down the edifice of classical poetics, but he also was a master of it at seventeenth. Yet he came with his own principles: vision, hallucination, impressions. All of which you could call "technique."

    You might argue in return that eastern poetry is different, but here I must retreat into my ignorance, and point to the fact that the most ethereal form (for westerners), the Japanese Haiku, still has a codified number of syllables.
    Ah - point of disagreement there, see thread on Haikus

    All fair points on poetry, you point to a solid tradition. I had 'free verse' more in mind, i.e. modern poetry since the twentieth century. Of course you can analyze it, and of course it is built on structures - even when supposedly without structure. I didn't say otherwise, I was comparing it to prose story-telling, and finding it less rooted in literary conventions. It is also, often, to do with "the moment" in the way a photograph is.
    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    Back to Wigwam Jones's original comment, he rightly pointed out that there are elements to a photo. Those elements are contignent, the product of a practice, but they exist nevertheless. I'm not a Positivist-type of codifier, but I don't think we can work on intuition alone in working/appreciating a photo, or any work of art for that matter. I'm also sick of people discrediting all sort of structure/technique because they are historically contingent. By the same reasoning, every person is historically contingent, therefore worthy of elimination.

    The final point I'd like to raise is the fact that creating a photo can be a matter of seconds, so that by chance one can subscribe to a very elaborate but beautiful composition. Or not. People who paint "realist" painting take pains to decide which line goes where, and by doing so they force a compositional structure. Photo is a rare art in that composition can be left to chance. Not so with literature, music, sculpture or painting.
    The initial creation of a photograph IS a matter of seconds - that is, if you wish to ignore the hours of setting up that can be involved. However, in my experience anyway, producing the final print you are happy with can take endless amounts of time. My comparison of photography and poetry-writing is based on personal experience, and I can say, that I find the two very comparable, both in terms of conceit, of 'capturing' the moment or moments, and of darfting and re-drafting. I have also written short stories, and I find that very different. However, I'm not altogether sure of the value of going too deeply into comparing writing and photography.
    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    Cartier-Bresson was saying that the rules of composition help us understand why a picture is good, but also that we don't need to engrave the golden square on our ground glass. A trained eye will perceive a harmonious balance faster than it can be explicitely identified. All successful "intuitionists" are probably more aware of form than they'd care to admit...
    As far as I know, no-one on this thread has denied the value of "rules" or conventions. I certainly haven't. If I am an "intuitionist" (I don't mind being called one) I have my feet firmly on the ground.

    Cate

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flotsam
    I agree with Wiggy on this. All my life I have heard people tell me that the Artist must create only to please himself as if to say that to consider how others might relate to a work somehow soils its artistic purity.
    I'm not sure I've ever heard this (only theoretically as a romantic idea about artists in the past). That an artist or photographer has to be true to themselves, yes. But I would have thought most artists and particularly photographers surely see communication with others as of the utmost importance - isn't it what it's all about? Otherwise why would we show our work to anyone else

    Being true to yourself is not the same as ONLY being true to yourself, to the exclusion of everything else.

    Cate

  5. #55

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    Let me restate. I find that I tend to appreciate photographs that the photographer apparently made with the express intent of communicating something to me (or any viewer) as opposed to photographs that a photographer appears to have made expressly to please themselves without regard to how it affects me.

    How do you know that? (and related to it, how do you know that what you perceive or experiences is what the photographer intend to communicate...?)

  6. #56
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
    I can make a photo. I can hide it away from the world - I didn't make it for you. And that may give me pleasure...etc.
    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy putting my work out there and do derive pleasure from the fact that people find pleasure in it. In fact, my life depends upon this and I am forever grateful. However, if I was doing it simply for that fact, it would be an empty existence and the photos just wouldn't be much good to me OR the viewer. I am still doing it for myself. Without that there is no point.
    I find that I tend to appreciate photographs that the photographer apparently made with the express intent of communicating something to me (or any viewer) as opposed to photographs that a photographer appears to have made expressly to please themselves without regard to how it affects me.
    Hey, if you want it to be all about you, that is your choice. Much is open to interpretation and you can take it any way you want.

    Again, I gain more satisfaction from speaking to an audience than from speaking to myself. I listen to understand, and I speak to be understood. I gain no satisfaction from sitting alone in my house quoting my own prose to myself.
    I'm happy for you Wiggy. You know what you want and are honest about that fact. Your love of what you do shows. Damn good thing there is an Internet, eh?
    I propose that extended bouts of self-gratifiction can lead to the same result.
    You can say that again!
    My sure-to-be controversial and slanted opinion: Art is too much concerned with what the artist wants and not enough with what the arted want.
    Then maybe the "arted" (good one) should get off their arses and make some art!

    B.

  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Williams
    Maybe rules is the wrong word. Perhaps technique is better. I like the second definition from Merriam Webster (sorry - can't afford the online OED):
    Agreed. In hindsight, I didn't mean rules as ridged...
    To me, I see the rules of photography as being glasses of water. When they are contained, they are predictable, and perhaps most of the time boring....Yet at the same time still fluid. The interesting things happen when you spill the glasses, and let the water flow. Its still glasses and water, but the predictability is gone. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

  8. #58
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim atherton
    Let me restate. I find that I tend to appreciate photographs that the photographer apparently made with the express intent of communicating something to me (or any viewer) as opposed to photographs that a photographer appears to have made expressly to please themselves without regard to how it affects me.

    How do you know that? (and related to it, how do you know that what you perceive or experiences is what the photographer intend to communicate...?)
    Part the first:

    I don't "know" it. I refer to my use of the phrase 'appears to have made'. I can only rely on my own judgment.

    Part the second:

    The art that a photographer makes and the art that a viewer perceives may indeed be different, as Barthes discusses in his book, "Camera Lucida." It is indeed a rewarding experience when what the artist intended is what the viewer apprehends. One might say that the very perception of the synergistic effect of the two working as one is 'how one knows'.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H
    One resource that I found very helpful was the book "Creative Elements" by Eddie Ephraums.
    Thanks Mark, I'll look into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    Creating new forums for photographic genres has been on the agenda for a while (e.g., landscape, portrait, still life, street, photojournalism, etc., as needed/as interest motivates), and this sort of discussion would certainly be at home in these new forums. I think Sean has just been too busy keeping the server stable and working on the software upgrade to set these up, but once the new software is in place, I think that would be a good time to add these sorts of enhancements the forum structure.
    I see David. One of my fears is that we get into so many subdivisions, that we classify classifications. That is why I put the disclaimer into my origional post.

  10. #60
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab
    Then maybe the "arted" (good one) should get off their arses and make some art!
    We arted pay artists good money to entertain us. Get busy. (grin).
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote



 

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