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  1. #21
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Colley
    If you had to like a photograph of an eggplant on a plate, that being the only type of photograph existing in the fantasy world applicable to this question: How would it need to be photographed in order to be good and not worthy of the garbage can?
    Say what? No speaky convolootayenglay!

    Can you tell me how many exhibitions our dear old Edward included this photograph in? Not a one I'd hazard a guess. Why? Because it looks to me to be a test, nothing more, nothing less.

    Now, if he'd been interested enough to keep working on this subject matter until he'd taken Eggplant #30...

    Murray
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    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  2. #22
    Doug Thomson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
    Is this a good photo?

    No.

    Of course not.

    Murray
    Now, brother Murray ... so harsh!

    This question feels something like a test item in Art Appreciation 101 (I hate tests). Oh well, here goes!

    I differ from a couple of the perspectives presented in this thread. First of all, I think it does matter "who" and second I think it matters "when" the image was taken. Of course we all "gut react" to an image, poem, novel, whatever art form, but to judge without context leaves us in the "the poem means whatever I want it to mean" camp.

    Weston took this photograph in 1929 and while today it seems cliche, in 1929 it was not. Weston was a pioneer of the art form and was very much challenging the accepted tenants of the day - in fact in 1929 he was challenging the "style" that made him famous. In 1930, he said, "I want the stark beauty that the lens can so exactly render, presented without interference of "artistic effect." Now all reactions on every plane must come directly from the original seeing of the thing...only the rhythm, form and perfect detail to consider." In this light I don't think it matters if the print was a Weston original or one printed by Cole, it was a print that reflected the simple, detailed images, utilizing commonplace objects.

    Now the question is, "Is this a good photograph", not "Do you like this photograph." I would postulate that the "goodness" of this photograph is very much related to the "period" in which the image was taken, and the intention of the photographer. To do other is to partake in a kind of artistic revisionism. So, while I don't particularly "like" the photograph, I think it is a "good" photograph.

    Finally, it seems to me this question is ideal for a philosophical discussion.
    Cheers,

    Doug

    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    - Ansel Adams

  3. #23
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Colley
    If you had to like a photograph of an eggplant on a plate, that being the only type of photograph existing in the fantasy world applicable to this question: How would it need to be photographed in order to be good and not worthy of the garbage can? Or in this fantasy land would you prefer no photographs at all (seeing as photos of eggplants on plates were all that existed) seeing as you could not improve on this one?
    I think the most relevant answer to this is revealed by the date of the picture, which puts in a period in which Weston was in transition from the studio portraits and "pictorial" (i.e. painting-like) work of his early career to the mature abstract images. In the later phase, he set himself the target of producing abstract images which revealed "the thing itself and also more than the thing" (quote from memory). By this, Weston's own ultimate benchmark, the image of the eggplant, although a valid exercise in itself in tone and texture, falls short of Weston's best by the simple virtue of being too literal and showing ONLY "the thing itself."

  4. #24
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Hi Doug!

    (Weird...I could probably run over to your house faster than it'll take me to type this).

    I might be carrying a bit-o-baggage from this thread;
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum50/30126-good-photo.html

    Your right that we should always keep our weather eye on when a photograph was taken, and how that photograph may have opened unforeseen possibilities...but the photograph presented in this post appears to be an exposure / development test.

    It's a good test shot.

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

  5. #25
    jovo's Avatar
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    Like the Steven Shore 'graph on the other thread, this one is literal and direct. But for me, the Minor White notion of not trying to see only what somethnig is, but what else it is applies. I really tried to ignore the banality of Shore's subject to see if I could just squint and get a sense of elegant composition, or interesting use of color or anything at all that would lift it above the LCD, but I couldn't manage it. In this case, though, there is deliberate and beautiful placement of values, palpable texture is illuminated, and contrast and balance are carefully designed. Weston made a simple, elegant still life that is greater than the sum of its minimal parts. So...yup, I like it. I think it sings.
    Last edited by jovo; 07-29-2006 at 07:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    John Voss

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  6. #26
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Is this a "good" photograph? It exists - therefore it IS. Does it have an equal amount of significance for all? - Or are we all caught up by its emotional content? I seriously doubt either - but that can be said about every photograph or work of art from the beginning of homo sapiens (or maybe even before).

    Is it really so important to know whether any or each of us consider it to be good or bad?

    In any effort to evaluate any work of art, we necessarily define ourselves - far more than determining the goodness - or lack of it - in any photograph.
    - See "Rorshach Ink Blot Tests".
    .
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin

    Your right that we should always keep our weather eye on when a photograph was taken, and how that photograph may have opened unforeseen possibilities...but the photograph presented in this post appears to be an exposure / development test.

    It's a good test shot.

    Murray

    While I like Weston, this particular image seems to be more a step in experimentation then anything else. Either a prelude to something better or maybe simply playing out a thread that had become worn and tired. From a purely visual standpoint it makes a good advertisment for the Eggplant Growers of America.

    [IMG]winogrand[/IMG]
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #28
    juan's Avatar
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    I find the relationships of the curves in this photograph to be fascinating. I suspect tone and texture in the original print would be equally interesting, although you can't really tell from the on line image. Look beyond it being a photoraph of an eggplant on a plate.
    juan

  9. #29

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    "A couple of days ago someone mentioned that it seemed that we were only interested in discussing the technical aspects of photography here."

    Yeah, whatever happened to that?

    I would post something profound but I just got a brand new EOS 1n and I need to go play.

    (But I actually think these threads going on right now are the most enjoyable I've read in months.)

  10. #30
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I'm reminded of the enterprising character who purchased Picasso's wastebasket contents from the landlord who had rented a studio to the Maestro. Every day the contents; doodles, rough sketches, scribbles, unconnected ideas - would be collected. Some were unwrinkled, smoothed out, matted, framed - and eventually found their way to a commercial gallery, with LARGE price tags, and without Picasso's knowledge.

    One can only imagine Picasso's FURY when he found them there.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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