I was wondering that. To be pedantic, I think it should be "Scots" or "Scotch" whisky.
Originally Posted by Struan Gray
I think you have helped me to understand something about myself. I make photographs because I have to, and I show them to others because I have to. It's as if you have something pent up inside you that you have to get out, and you have to show it to the world, even if the world just ignores it. It's an existencial statement: I am, therefore I photograph; and therefore I show my photographs to prove to others that I am alive. I have learned from this experience that few will understand or appreciate my work. But every now and then, somebody will see something in one of my photographs and they will say, "wow, I never saw this thing that way before."
Originally Posted by Ian Leake
And that makes it all worthwhile.
Interesting thread!! ... Nearly enough to overload a soul-searching introvert!
I do not think that the boundaries described here are anything like clean-cut.
Sometimes, I will be motivated by an addiction-like inner "force"; I HAVE to take that photograph - at others, it will be a less intense desire to capture something beautiful. Very rarely will there be the element of, "This wll gain critical acclaim when exhibited."
Without exception, there will ALWAYS be the search for those who "see things they way I do" - share something of MY vision. Not many do, really, but that is to be expected.
That leads me to another question... How often do those who paticipate here FIND those who share the same emotional reaction (or greater) to their work?
In being exposed - experiencing other's works - and my own... visiting Galleries and Exhibiting, I have concluded that all work can be categorized
(remember: diffuse boundaries) in one of three areas:"
1. The work that I don't understand... where I can't decode the "message." Not a value judgement - more of an indication that my limits of appreciation are not sufficiently "wide" enough to "receive" the artist's energy.
2. "Masterful", well crafted work - Following all the general rules and conventions of composition, contrast, lighting - whatever; the work that wins Camera Club competitions. Usually somewhat unemotional. Examples are the photographs found on the walls of the local Bank - or on Living Room Walls.
3. That which "Enraptures". MOST important to me. The photograph that seizes your attention. The one that you find yourself returning to, again and again, at an exhibition... the one that you continue to see after you close your eyes... that has a profund emotional effect.
That Enrapturement has happened to me when experiencing the works of others; more rarely when I see some of my own work, either for the first time or when re-visiting. When it happens to others seeing my work - hard to describe - a sheer moment of BLISS, as far as I am concerned - a mini-success in finding a "Kindred Soul."
So that is my question - what do you think about this "enrapturement" - Has it happed to you, or those viewing you work - and if so, how often?
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Yes, it has happened to me on several occasions, and every one was memorable. In photography, it happened when I saw this photograph by Manuel Alvarez Bravo in an exhibition at the MOMA:
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I was absolutely frozen in my tracks, and literally could not move from in front of the picture. I returned to it twice before we had to leave the museum.
In music, it happened to me once when I was shooting a dance performance, and heard a young woman singing an aria so powerful that it moved me so much I actually put down my camera and stopped shooting; the first time in my life I have ever done that. I later got to know her and have done portraits of her. It was always difficult to concentrate on my work, because both she and her voice are so beautiful.
But such moments are rare. I don't know if anyone ever felt one while looking at one of my photos.
THE VERY FIRST THING that got me started thinking about photography was seeing heirlooms of my ancestors, I didn't no why at the time(5-10yrs old), but there was something about the pictures that brought out the best of people who I knew, and in the spirit of sharing/passing on/the retelling who came before, I became extremely interested in doing that same thing.
In terms of being enraptured/stuck in my tracks, that's happened to me several times, I saw an Andre Kertez shot of dancers frozen in mid-air, and I was dumbfounded, same thing looking at Weston's 'Summer Sunshine', and Steichen's shot of dancer in white dress which simply filled me w/awe.
Avedon giving class and elegance to a naked women and a snake, W. Eugene Smith's brilliance, Alvin Langdon Coburn's shot of Ezra Pound, and many others, extends the imagination as to what was possible, and with work that I truly admire, work that truly inspires, and you begin to understand, you see yourself climbing up the mountain to within looking distance to where they are, damn if you ever get to where they are, they're giving you a hand to move up the mountain.
Everybody is right, you can stay where you are and enjoy the view, or you can start climbing to see just how far up you can go.
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Avedon's Girl in Bed on the Telephone in MoMA had that effect on me just last week. It wasn't that it was a beautiful photograph (although it is) or that it was particularly "better" than many others nearby (which it wasn't). It was because it mirrored a personal emotional connection for me, and said something to me that I couldn't have put into words before I saw it.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I've been told by someone that one of my photographs has a similar effect on them. The feeling that gives me is amazing. To think that I've created something which has such a positive effect on another person is so deeply rewarding.
This wasn't the reason I started to show people my photographs: I didn't even know this kind of reaction was possible. But it may well be a reason why I show more people more of my photographs nowadays.
I don't show my work and I have no desire to. I think it all originates in the reason to take a photograph in the first place. We all have different motivations and reasons to pick up a camera, so it makes sense that we have different uses for the final product.
In my case I mainly take photos of railways and the purpose is to capture a slice of time. To document the way something was done at a particular point in time, in the midst of change. I also build models, so it’s useful to have a documentary record of the way something was at a particular point in time, so that it can be accurately modeled.
To me, my photography is purely a documentary record, and probably quite boring to look at for someone who doesn't have the same interests as me. Consequently, I'm not looking for external validation; the photograph validates itself just by its existence.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
A long response... from someone who doesn't share
If you happen to come to my house and if you happen to wander upstairs in the relatively unused part of the house and if you happen to look at a collection of mostly historical B&W photgraphs representing scenes of a generally anthropological nature, you will find 2 of my own prints from negatives I made 30 years ago working on as an artifact photographer working on a large archaelogical project in South America. In fact, the only other print I have ever had shown was from that same work, and it is on my Gallery here on APUG as well. I guess I qualify as someone who does not show his prints.
But let me be specific. I did photographic work for hire... I was contracted by archaeologists to record (draw and photograph) artifacts and to photograph work on field projects, photograph museum show artifacts, etc., all for use in publications and class instruction... but that was not my own work. When working in the field, I would carry my own personal equipment and shoot my own film for my own pictures.
But since I went back to graduate school and then got a "real job" I have photographed strictly as an amateur. I have thousands of negatives and slides, most of which have never been seen by anyone but me. My wife looks over my shoulder once in a while... my son, who is a much better printer than I, culls through my work occasionally to find "something old" to print, but beyond that, the one picture I had in a student show in a gallery in New York back in 1981 is the sole print that I have shown.
Why? A whole lot of reasons (I liked the list made a few pages back):
- I don't know how
- As I commented on another thread, it takes me a year to create 4 or 5 images I am pleased with
- I don't know how
I have just this past year become comfortable showing my pictures here in the gallery. I must say that I enjoy the feedback, but it is not a feeling I can sustain - - it passes quickly and it takes so much time to get to creating another picture that I can post. And I have not even posted all of what I consider my 4 or 5 best - - but some images that were part of the path of getting there.
But perhaps the biggest reason is that I'm scared. I am, probably, as George observed, my own harshest critic... I believe that to put your self out in the public eye, you need to look like you belong out there. I critique and cull my work to the point where I think that the 4 or 5 good ones from last year would look like they belong on the same wall (real or virtual) as those of others of you that I see posted here and on personal websites you all have. And every time I post a picture, I am scared that it will engender the "what was he thinking when he posted that?" response.
That feeling, that fear, I am certain, is a flaw in my own personality. It does not extend outside of photography. I was a subject matter expert in my work field for years... I loved the audience experience, either speaking or consulting. I was a musical performer (instrumental & vocal); the youngest member of the Baltimore Handel Choir. I am not stranger to opening myself and my work to scrutiny. But, for some reason, I cannot muster that confidence in my photography.
Finally, I was only half joking when I listed "I do not know how" twice. Knowing how to do something can make the unknown more manageable. And having time to do it, over and over when the first ones aren't successful makes it better, too. As someone else said, I start to work at 6:00 AM most days and I'm usually wrapping up around 7:00 PM... and there aren't a lot of small cafes & coffee shops near my work (I work from home, 35 miles west of Houston, or my clients' sites all over the world). If I can, in fact, get past the scared part, the time aspect will push this into a "when I retire" activity... only 6 more years.
So someone earlier up the thread said he wanted to hear from the people who do not share their images... I hope that, by being honest, I haven't engendered the "what was he thinking when he wrote that..." response.
It occurs to me that, in addition to having different outlooks on this issue , the respondents here may have different interpretations of the question - i.e. what is meant by the word "show".
I know I don't have any difficulty showing a friend a contact sheet or a machine proof or a quick work print, even if I am in the midst of trying to work out whether I am going to go farther with the photograph, or how. I consider that as "showing" my photographs.
I also consider sharing casually taken snaps from a social gathering as "showing" my photographs.
I assume some people only show final versions of carefully prepared work. Others are probably more like me. Are some of the respondents here only referring to their more "serious" work when they indicate that they show little or no work to others?
Originally Posted by MattKing
It's funny, I'm kind of in an opposite camp on this. I just posted three more photos to the Gallery here and welcome any comments etc.
At the same time I have a good friend (and a very casual photog) who keeps asking to see my pics - and I keep stalling from doing so. Perhaps it's because I'm too close to him and if he was anything less than laudatory I'd feel hurt? Yet, at the same time, if he was totally laudatory, I'd feel he was just being a "good friend"?
I guess this goes back to a much earlier post of mine about not wanting to be in the position of boring my house guests with my latest batch of slides!