A girl I knew was a dance student at the University of Utah, ballet, jazz, modern etc... was given an assignment to "push her emotional limits" through dance in a class presentation. She had an idea that would involve her dancing ballet nude for her classmates, she is rather conservative and self conscious and thought this would help her with some issues she had with worrying about how she felt other students saw her. Her instructor came up with a compromise for her to dance in a sheer body stocking but after the assignment was over she was still intrigued by the nude idea.
She choreographed three, three min. dances to classical music #1 in a leotard #2 only ballet shoes #3 in toe shoes and a short wrap skirt. She found a strip club that would let her dance three numbers after telling them about her project and invited some of her friends to watch and support her. I think she also wanted some protection as well as showing herself emotional and physical to friends is different than just being naked in front of strangers which was part of the original idea.
She did not strip, she danced in what she came out in and mixed her numbers in with the dancers that night. A strip club is not my kind of place and compared to her the other girls looked just sleazy even when in the toe shoes and wrap she had her legs spread as wide any of the stripers. Her dances were classic ballet in the nude and very beautiful but what struck me the most was as she danced the cat calls from the usual crowd stoped. They were mesmerized not by another naked body but by the grace and form of a trained dancer.
That night still influences my figure studies today. I often shoot average housewives in their mid 30's after a couple of kids without the tight bodies they had at 18 and make them look strong and sexy and desirable without looking cheesy or slutty. They just want something beautiful for themselves to remember even though they almost always say it is for their spouse. It makes me feel good when I can show the grace, form, power, beauty, sensuality Etc. that is in every woman and have them leave my studio feeling great about who they are. I can't make it up I just capture on film what is already there.
DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
But when it comers to 'what is already there' we all see different things. Some see beauty. Some are determined not to...
Originally Posted by raucousimages
Except of course, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. Whether that's taking the picture, or viewing it.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
Originally Posted by Stargazer
I'll certainly second that. Not having been at the strip club, nor having seen the pictures by raucousimages, I was commenting on general principles, not specifics.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
Yes, so was I.
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And the challenge of photography is to let others see what beauty that is in the photographer's eye.
Originally Posted by Stargazer
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
new york school painters;
architecture ( pre-ww2 );
dreams + memory;
growing up in an area where you can take a walk in the woods
and find ruins in the lanscape ... ( i guess that is related to dreams and memory);
and -----> wishing i could draw ...
Originally Posted by jovo
“I've never tried to fully articulate why the one would influence the other.”
Originally Posted by severian
Me, either, John. But, I think you are correct in the contrast between the re-creative vs. creative, and the temporal and public vs. the concrete and private.
I took up music in grade school via piano lessons, and band in 7th grade. I had owned a simple camera as long as I remember. I began photography seriously in high school and by college was a music major shooting weddings to finance both the photography hobby and music school.
I am primarily a percussionist. This probably offered me many more opportunities for the “creative”, i.e., improvisation in jazz and rock, than say, well, a cellist. But, I also had that piano background, although I was never good at it. Late in college, though, I discovered the organ, and the whole school of improvisation practiced by high liturgical organists. I would have given up all my drum chops to be able to do that, but alas, my fingers cannot keep up with what I’m thinking.
Now, in my “mid-life”, I rarely play the drums, but the organ gets turned on for at least a few minutes almost every day. But here’s the irony: I only play the organ in private. The few times I’ve had to play in public it has made me crazy! :o See, I can practice anything up to the limit of my technique (we all have those limits), but when the public time comes for performance, it doesn’t matter how many times I played perfectly in practice, I will find new and “creative’ ways to butcher the piece. This rarely happened as a percussionist, since I was much more sure of my abilities, and well, had better skills.
Following others, I’ve turned more to photography in later life. I can “practice”, and when the polish is achieved, there is the print, the concrete, as John said. I don’t have to worry about the temporal, I can show the print publicly and it won’t change. Plus, I can NOT SHOW all the creative mistakes.
I guess the bottom line is that I still see myself as a musician, but am more comfortable "publicly" as a photographer.
As to the original question of the thread: I’m not conscious of non-photographic influences, but I imagine my tastes in music, other arts, architecture, food, women, etc; all influence me to some degree.
As a youngster at school I was interested in all the arts but mainly the performing arts, hence the move to become a professional rock musician in the late 50's and 60's. However, I was very quickly influenced by jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson and Jim Hall, my absolute favourite guitarist, and began to play in jazz groups, mainly as a relaxation and to further express myself musically.
I remember my first visit to the National Gallery in London where I was captivated by the way Rembrandt saw and expressed light and so he became my first real influence in the visual arts. Turner and Monet also became inspirational to me but perhaps the most significant non photographic influence was, and still is Rothko. The complex simlicity of his big minimal canvases is with me every time I make an exposure and has influenced me to go back to my musical roots to take a lead from the previously mentioned Jim Hall.
I cannot explain why so many musicians have turned to photography other than to say in my own case, the arts in any form, have always been a major part of my life.