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  1. #71
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    A rule is just like religion. It tries to impose conformity.
    "Every knee shall bend." -Isaiah 45.23

    Yeah, I guess that's conformity. I'd rather bend my knees voluntarily, but bend them we will.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  2. #72
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flotsam
    Like McDonald's did with food or TV producers did to entertainment or corporate music conglomerates did to music.
    Giving "most people" what they want doesn't ensure creating something better.
    Nothing 'ensures' it; but talent and appreciation go hand in hand. Neither exists without the other.

    I regret that an artist who wishes to produce artwork that he or she believes people will like must needs be a 'sellout' for that very reason. I believe it to be a humbug generally perpetrated by the unappreciated, but that's just my opinion.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  3. #73
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    I agree that it is not a good idea to base your valuation of your own work on the opinions of others.

    I think, however, that the interraction between the photographer, the photograph and the viewer can itself be a source of value.

    It is difficult to draw parallels with the performing arts, but I always find it very interesting when the successful recording artists or film stars talk about the extra satisfaction they get when they perform live, in concert, or in a play.

    IMHO the photograph can be a focal point of the communication between the artist and the "arted" (good phrase that) and the entire process can be rewarding.

    My wife and I just got back from a weekend on Galiano Island in BC. On the Saturday, we went to the Saturday market and came upon a photographer selling some of her work, and some work of her friends. There was a lot of interesting stuff. I bought a nice photograph taken a few years ago by one of her friends in Toronto - an interesting colour shot (Hassleblad with a 40mm lens I would guess) of a small motel office, at night.

    My wife was immediately attracted to a photograph that the photographer had taken in Spain - three middle-aged to elderly woman standing close to each other and conversing intently, in the midst of a fairly barren and quite empty brick courtyard. The image is strong, and I like it, but it has particular resonance for my wife, because it reminded her strongly of her mother and two aunts (all of whom have now passed away). We had a wonderful conversation with the photographer - my wife's reaction to some of the elements in the photograph was similar to some (but not all) of the thoughts of the photographer.

    I bring this example up, because the dialogue between ourselves, the photographer and, dare I say it, the photograph, had a value all its own, which I think enhanced the value of the art itself.

    Matt

  4. #74
    DBP
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    Wow, y'all were busy today on this thread. I couldn't get through all of it frankly, but do have a few thoughts.

    A few years ago I attended a lecture by a well known nature photographer. The lecture consisted of a color slide show with accompanying comments. As each slide was displayed on the screen, he would explain what the location meant to him personally and how he felt when he was there. At no point did he discuss composition, lens choice, lighting, timing, or anything else that might help one take a better photo. It was one of the most staggering displays of narcissism I have ever seen, and I live within sight of the U. S. Capitol. So if that is what is being missed by APUG, then hallelujah.

    On the other hand, while I have occasionally seen discussions of lighting or how to obtain a particular look, I have yet to see one on composition. And I am sure there are members who have tricks to share on how to visualize the photo. I have one simple one that I would like to pass on, but one thing that I noticed in looking at the forum structure is that it is unclear where one would even post a comment or question about composition.

  5. #75
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    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.
    I think the hard thing with free verse vs. traditional prose is that the more recent form has not been visible enough yet so that people can discern patterns in it. Surprisingly, if you are a lit student (like me) and you spent too much of your time at poetry readings, you become sick of it because they all have the same leitmotifs (disjointed syntax, images of emptiness), the same words (bones, dust, articulations), and the same prosody (meant to be read in a neurotic tone).

    Classical poetics surely didn't spring exclusively out of the mind of a master designer. People try stuff, it works for some reason, and then they rationalize it, and pass it on to the next kid, etc. But after millenias of evolution, it stabilizes into specific, and recognizable patterns. It would be an essentialist fallacy to claim that prose (or poetry) is by definition more structured than poetry (or prose).


    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    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.
    I agree here, but I would add a nuance: despite all the implicit decisions that are taken by the photographer before picture-taking, there is a moment at which the whole picture is set into place in terms of composition. Tones, contrast, I agree, are a matter of further, slower work. But composition in particular, the relative placement of visual elements to each other, that is frozen very quickly. What I mean is thus that the composition of a realistic picture can be left to chance in photography, if one wishes so. With painting, unless you are working from a photo, you never have the same relationship to chance, in a realistic context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    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
    Oh I wasn't pouncing on you; rather rambling in general. But reading back the thread, I would say that many people are distrustful of design. You said yourself that rules are meant to be broken. What I want to clarify is that you can't get away from these rules, even if you must break them.

    To apply proper composition to a photography, I think one should look to sports as a better practice than analytical geometry. If you are an athlete, you have embodied in yourself patterns of behaviour, reflexes, the geometry of a jump, or the hydrodynamics of water. All of these are principles, explainable and perfectable by science. But when you are in a swimming competition, you don't analyze the water like a scientist. You act in guidance with the principles your body has learned, yet stay alert to any disruption that would require you to break the rules.

    Ole was right to point that whenever he tried APPLYING the rules of composition his pictures dissatisfied him, whereas when he let himself work unburdened, they were better. Here goes the inevitable dictum: "Chance favors the prepared mind," and Moonlight, Hernandez. The rules one absorbs have to travel to a lower level of cognitive processing, closer to reflexes than the active mind to be effective. But they're still there, regardless of what they are.

    With science, I tend to believe that there should be a coherent, rather unified set of basic principles; with art my belief is that one strives towards coherent principles, but the domain as a whole is not unified around them.

    The pluralism of esthetic rules/principles/whatever should be something to be relished, and not a source of conflicts. I don't there one should find "The Rules" of photography, but I am always curious to hear what other guiding principles people follow, and learn a lot from it.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  6. #76
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    It appears to me that the notion of "rules" has been arbitrarily added to the general question of composition. If we look at typical writings on the subject they never advocate strong rules (except corporate style books, heh). When Henry Rankin Poore wrote Pictorial COmposition and the Critical Judgement of Pictures he deliberately left out any idea of enforceable rules. Recognizing patterns of composition that have been repeatedly used successfully is potentially useful. Using them to enforce is obviously brain-dead and authoritarian in a place where authoritarianism serves no purpose other than to keep art classrooms orderly.

    Cheryl, placing personal growth in front of artistic growth may be placing the cart before the horse. Art-making is a means to becoming a better and more comprehensive person, not a by-product opf the end result. Saying "become a better person" or a "stronger person" etc -- how to send them up that river? Using art to DRIVE the process of spiritual expansion, rather than to simply trail behind the boat, is preferable.

    Way back to the original question -- why is this not formalized on APUG as specific forums? Because these issues don't change in the slightest when addressed by scanners and phonecams. There's no APUG-specific content.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  7. #77

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    Hi Michel HV,

    In fact it's quite fun to talk literature. I speak as a former lit student myself (grad and post-grad) and a former writer, published in the '90's, in literary mags and in one collection of short stories. I gave it up to study photography, always a great love, and have written nothing since (I don't read that much, either, any more ).

    I've often tried to analayse why I made this life change, and I've given up. It happened, and that's enough, I don't need to fully understand it.

    Making analogies can be interesting and fun, but it can also lead down blind alleys - I know that different sorts of writing, and the pursuit of photography contain similarities but they are also very different, otherwise I wouldn't have made the choices I did.
    best wishes
    Cate
    Last edited by catem; 07-28-2006 at 05:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    Way back to the original question -- why is this not formalized on APUG as specific forums? Because these issues don't change in the slightest when addressed by scanners and phonecams. There's no APUG-specific content.
    Are we, as film users, to limit the scope of our discussion then?
    Not just non-digital (which I like) but also non-theoretical?

    Cate

  9. #79
    DBP
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    I will submit that using film does involve a difference in composition, especially for rangefinder users, because you have to have a better understanding of the difference between what you see and what is recorded. And of course as film size gets larger, there are more decisions to be made about where to focus and how to handle depth of field, which are often moot with the tiny sensors and short, slow lenses on digicams.

  10. #80
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    Cheryl, placing personal growth in front of artistic growth may be placing the cart before the horse. Art-making is a means to becoming a better and more comprehensive person, not a by-product opf the end result. Saying "become a better person" or a "stronger person" etc -- how to send them up that river? Using art to DRIVE the process of spiritual expansion, rather than to simply trail behind the boat, is preferable.
    You've assumed a hell of a hell in that statement, Bjorke. I didn't say "become a better person" or a "stronger person." I said develop as a person, which is quite a different thing. And I didn't say personal growth came before artistic growth. I simply said that when a person is searching for what they're trying to say in their work, starting with their own personal experiences and values is a logical and valuable place to start. I never said art can't or shouldn't drive the process of "spiritual expansion", nor did I suggest it should trail behind the boat.

    The reality is, personal growth and growth as an artist are a cycle. For some the cycle may begin with immersion into their art, and for some it begins with exploring their personality and experience. To say either is preferable is silly.

    To clarify, I generally point people in the direction of exploring their values and experiences first because they've generally come to me for a boost in a new direction, or for something they haven't hit upon on their own. Generally they've already been trying things from the artistic/photographic side, and have never thought to explore elsewhere. So what I am doing is to remind them that there is more to photography and art than photograph and art.

    And while art-making certainly can be a means to becoming a better and more comprehensive person, it ABSOLUTELY can be the result of becoming a "better" (although I think "deeper" is a better word) person. I've experienced that first-hand.

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