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  1. #11

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    Let me come at this from a different angle. I am a photographer, not an art critic, so the state of "Art" is of little concern to me. I too have seen a decline in proper photographic technique. I work in Digital prepress, scanning and working photos digitally for advertising agencies, and have come to this conclusion: Adobe Photoshop is killing photography. It is an odd thing for me to say, since for the past seven years Photoshop has been my bread and butter, and paid for my my photography habit.

    The is a widely used studio photographer in my area, and I have scanned thousands of his 4x5's, and he has never had a balanced white in a single shot. There is another widely used location photographer here, and in three years I have never seen an in focus shot from him. Both of these men feel that it should be fixed in Photoshop, and could careless that the use of a single filer, or the use of a loupe could potentially save their client thousands of dollars a year in digital imaging costs.

    The other side of this is the customer that goes to print with images they shot with a 800asa disposable camera, and expect Hasselblad quality.

    I know this sounds like I'm trying to complain myself out of a job, but my feelings come out of respect for the craft of photography that I work to better for myself everyday. I see too many people trying to do the least the can for their buck, and pass their problem on to the next person. Personally, I could not sleep at night treating clients this way.

    I am doing something about it though. I'll be going to Appalachain State University this summer to earn a photography degree. This thread has been one to malign academic photography, but I am not going for an "Art" degree, I'll be after a Technical Photograhy degree offered through the Technology dept. I am 34 years old, a 20 year photographer, and seven year photoshop professional. My goals are to hone my LF proficency through some well respected, at least in this area, photographers and teachers; and in turn to work to promote quality photography and photographers through proper technique and eduction, both of the public and in a professional capasity.

    Any asshole can take a blurry, color casted, or grainy photo and call it art, or worse bill a client for it, and I see this is becoming the norm. I feel that due to my current profession, I feel I am partly to blame for this. I am going to fix it.

    I typically step on a few toes when I rant about it, and I appologize if that is the case here. I respect and admire the opinions and experience of all on this forum, and I am persuing my path through my love of photography.

    I'll get off my high horse now, and get back to work.

    Patrick
    "Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do!"-Bender Bending Rodriguez

  2. #12
    clogz's Avatar
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    Well, mediocrity rules the day. We all know that and it's OK. However when it aspires to grandeur it becomes a pain.

  3. #13

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    Robert, Like anything else school is a tool, a network for growing and learning the fundamentals also a way of discovering the path your most inclined towards for your future. What you do with this is your responsibility. My first go around in college was in business, once on my way this career choice though quite profitable left me absolutally empty. Already addicted to photography my wife and I decided to make a change in direction so at 24 it was back to school. Once their I to discovered how little these instructers really knew.So the next semester I only took classes that answered questions about my goal (mostly physics and art) and at the same time went to work in the industry. Starting part time in a custom print lab then assisting and so on. the great thing about doing this was while I was working I was learning what questions needed answers while I was in school. I did'nt hang around to get another degree but the learning has never stopped. Teachers are incapable of giving you your education, they're only a starting point from which you build your own career. Like any thing else colleges are financial institutions and their decisions are only partly in the best interest of the students so you have to take from them what is available and do the rest for yourself.

  4. #14

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    I typically step on a few toes when I rant about it, and I appologize if that is the case here. I respect and admire the opinions and experience of all on this forum, and I am persuing my path through my love of photography.
    I think that Patrick is my long-lost twin brother....
    Official Photo.net Villain
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    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

  5. #15
    ann
    ann is online now

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    Coming for both sides of the issue....
    I have been teaching since 1960 and am seriously over-educated. Graduate school was very painful, for I had this silly idea that people with expanded knowledge should be passing it on. This was true in several areas, including photography. Luckily I was fortunate to have an instructor mid way through one of my graduate degrees that was interested in technique and what it took to make fine prints (thank goodness!).
    So, I have had the mis- fortune of attending classes of "higher education" that didn't deliver what I had hoped.

    On the other side of the issue now I teach at an Art Center that is more a continuing education environment than academic. I cannot tell you how many people walk into my class indicating pass experience with darkroom experience (in college) who don't have a clue; and who leave saying so after working in a different environment. I would also hope that in a more tradition educational environment this effort to excellent did not lapse.

    Not to sound self serving but I have had students tell me they learn more in one evening than in year to, "I know you want me to make that print better, but it is fine for me....

    I do know that I have the credentials to teach at the college level but won't last long as I feel it is important to be in the trench with my students to help guide them with technique rather than sitting in an office or working on my own projects. My peers would not be happy.

    As Aggie has indicated (unfortunately) many of us have learned much more out side the "official education level", than in that area. Thank goodness, I had the fortune to happen on to someone who really turned around my world and I hope I have had and will continue to have that effect on my students.

    The reality is that all those initial behind my name are not important; however what is; all those experience have brought me to what I am today. Hopefully a decent instructor, who encourages, prods; pokes and encourages my students to do more than "it is just good enough”. (for what?)

    It is encouraging that many people are finding other areas of opportunities to learn the basics and continue to struggle to really find their way.

    I certainly continue to get more gray hair and grind my teeth about folks who are “teaching” ,who are don’t know flat from contrast; but what I try to remember is just to do what I can do with each individual students to be sure they know and are making the best print they can at this moment.
    Which reminds me of a situation years ago when one of my high school students told me that an insturctor at a "year book" camp told them Iwas crazy" ( I was teaching my students to print to dmax). My comment was "how did your prints hold up against the others". response "we won first place" ...... So, what else can one do but continue on swimming up stream.
    ONe of my favorite sayings is " you can lead a horse to water; you can't make it swim on it's back".

    Which brings me back to degrees and offical education. Some times I wonder ..... Sad !

  6. #16

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    I believe I wrote about this extensively here some time ago and relatively recently at that.

    Graduate schools in photography will kill photography for you if you go along with standard agenda. If you do not, as you do not, there will be constant war. You are naive to expect otherwise.

    Ann mentioned that her students learned more in one evening than they did in a year of school elsewhere. I do not doubt it.

    Forget wanting to learn anything in graduate school about photography--except on your own. Why anyone would pay those steep tuition bills for nothing is a mystery to me, but as P.T. Barnum said, "There is a sucker born every minute."

    I, as well as a number of others--none of us teaching graduate programs--can teach you more about photography in a week than you will learn in any graduate program in the country--and what any of us cannot fit into that week, we can point you in the right direction to find on your own.

    By this time, you know well what graduate school is all about. Why not drop out and get on with your life, instead of wasting valuable time? Life is only once, now, and too soon, death is very final.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kennedy
    But then I guess I am just crazy....
    No Robert, I think you are entirely sane, judging by the conclusions you have reached. However, I think you are a little off in your premise; the community you speak of is not at an all-time low. Its been there for a long, long time and you've just discovered it.

    My observation is that most current and past masters did NOT study photography at the graduate level. Most that I have noted didn't study it in college at all. They learned on their own or with the help of a few short workshops.

    If you want to run around doing art-school type stuff, you might do very well in the point-counts on photo.net or photoSig. I don't think you want to do that though.

    Strike out on your own and blaze your own path. Don't just follow like art school wants you to. Through your own self effort, try to get into the lead; you will quickly pass a lot of followers and be well ahead of them. Good Luck!!

  8. #18

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    Rants are good! "Is the art world at an all time low...", who knows for sure. You have to remember this is an era of PC - we are suppose to be nice to everyone. The academic world is feeding us their own ideas, the business world requires that we come from one of the 'centers of education', the military has to be nice to everyone - you have nice little short, shirts and shoes just for PT now. Forget about all of that, there are many that will share what they know about photography. Be happy that these people have the income to purchase photographs to hang on the walls of their office and homes - it creates new markets for all of us and keeps the films, papers, etc that we love still available. While in college I took a photography class and had to wait 25+ years before I stepped back into a darkroom - just in time to have the digital revolution tell me what I love the most is dead - Hah!

    If you love what you do, do it..there are more people working pt/pl, gum, and all the other alt. process than there were 25 years ago - and they all seem to want to share. Get the degree, if that is what you really want, then find a nice small college and start showing the students what real art is.

    I for one feel would love to find someone close by to help me improve my work...in the mean time, this is where I turn for assistance..not a bad place at all....
    Mike C

    Rambles

  9. #19
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  10. #20

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    While I appreciate the support, I think we have drifted a bit off topic. This is just a rant about the art world in general! I mean seriously there is some hard-core CRAP out there and if you say "The emperor has no clothes or artistic vision and is a joke!" you get ignored.

    Let me hear about what you guys have seen to support or deny my premis here.

    Example. I had to go to the "Seniors" exhibit at school (and don't get me started on that....my conclusion...Oddly enough sculpture seems to be doing o.k....), and I wandered over to an opening at the UofA Art Museum. This is where they stick "The good stuff."

    Right.

    Now some of it was great. But some just boggled the mind.

    This was my favorite to illustrate that the art world is at a new low.

    One piece called "Ultra Geek".

    Was it a painting?

    No.

    Was it a photo?

    No.

    Sculpture?

    Not really....

    Someone had gone out and bought about $500.00 worth of Star Wars figurines and simply placed them on two wooden platforms.

    The best part?

    This was the "pro" work. This guy (his name I forget...it wasn't worth remembering), simply placed pre-bought items on some boards and then SOLD IT to someone else for what I am sure is a fortune. It was "on loan" from a private collection you know....

    Now, if I whad excess cash, I MIGHT buy this if it had some rare figurine that the Ubergeeks on E-Bay (and I say that with all kindness) might pay a fortune for in five years, on it, but only as a physical investment. That Star Wars stuff sells after all.

    But to buy it as art? And to sell it off as YOUR art (the artist to me is the team who created these things for the company that sold them, not the guy who epoxied them to some plywood)?

    I mean come on?

    So what are your stories? Let me hear about the "Dog Crap on Plate #5" that sold for $23,000 while they scoffed at the work of Weston.
    Official Photo.net Villain
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    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

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