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Thread: Philosophies

  1. #11
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUNdog
    Iím not sure if Art or even Great Art can escape itís context, the world of appearances, to some other place where beauty and some immutable truth merge. Would not this some other place where beauty equals truth be beyond the world of appearances? How can a photograph which is rooted in the world by itís very scientific nature - lens-camera-film-chemistry - point beyond the world of appearances? ďBeauty is truth, truth beautyĒ are these five words enough or are they perhaps five words too many?
    "Some other place..." I would suggest that there *IS* such a place - it is called "self, soul, psyche, .... spirit." And to pre-answer - no, I can't be sure - I can't prove that any of these exist - although I am confident that they do.

    Those "five words" ... are we falling into a "black and white - with no shades of gray - and nothing outside of the boundaries" trap here? I think they are immensely important ... but not absolute, or absolutely complete.

    Beauty is truth and truth beauty - certainly. It is also possible, on some level, to have beautiful lies. Picasso once said, "The moment you lie for the sake of beauty - you become an artist."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  2. #12
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Possibly it will be of some use here to define and expand on a few "code words" here -- "To me" and its corollary, "In my book" (many others exist).

    I would say they mean, "In my opinion (hopefully *well* thought out opinion) - realizing that I am an individual and not the keeper of the absolute truth - although I am always searching for the same .... my individual view, right or wrong is that ..."

    Let us recognize that OPINIONS are fair game... they can be discussed, argued about ... all in the name of the "search for truth". Our PRINCIPLES are NOT "fair game" - they are sacred - part of our being - and we should protect each others' - even BEYOND the point of absurdity.

    That is what this thread is intended to be about ... Our *individual* pre-conditioning - our mindsets and views of the world - how they affect, and are the "building blocks" of our work - and the works of other photographers and artists.

    My (our?) goal is the understanding of how this engine called "art" works ... I don't think we'll ever make it ... (damn near certain of that) but the SEARCH is everything.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  3. #13
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    Talking about pre-conditioning - my mother is a painter. Over Thanksgiving I was looking at some of her landscapes, and some of her teacher's paintings of structures, and I saw paintings painted from the same angles that I would have used to photograph the same scene. I was surprised. Am I pre-condtioned by growing up with these paintings?

    Are we all pre-conditioned by what we have been taught is art?
    juan

  4. #14
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan
    Are we all pre-conditioned by what we have been taught is art?
    juan
    Yes, of course we are. That and more, much more. We are complex beings, and everything in our lives has *some* effect on the way we "see" and react to, our own individual "worlds".

    We do posess free will, and we can choose our own individual paths through, and with, that pre-conditioning.

    Possibly one definition of art (among many) is "A narrative of our experiences along those paths".
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  5. #15
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Two more quotes:

    "A photographer's main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it seems, many choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind."

    Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Mexico City, 1986


    and:

    "I believe the function of the artist in all media is a creation of affirmations; the search for, and the realization of, beauty. The function of art includes an establishment of communication, at the imaginative and constructive level, and placing the emphasis of thought and emotion in relation to an ideal world. The glorification of decay, filth, disease, despair and evil succeeds only in blunting our necessary awareness of these negative qualities ...

    I believe that the artist can accomplish most on the agenda for survival by creating beauty, by setting examples of beauty in order, by embracing the concept of the essential dignity of the human mind and spirit."

    - Ansel Adams
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  6. #16
    blansky's Avatar
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    Juan:

    A photography teacher I once had used to say " photograph the most common thing in the most uncommon manner and you will achieve interest and impact".

    Anyone who has "an eye" or has been trained in composition can look at a landscape whether they are an artist or photographer, they will probably choose perhaps close to the same angle or perspective. I believe the above quote can help us to look around, look closer, and maybe see an angle that hasn't been done before.

    As to the other question being asked: I believe almost all artists search for and try to portray beauty. Of course there are those that search for anti- beauty, but usually merely to shock.


    Michael McBlane

  7. #17
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Michael,... I've found that peo ple who are passionate about a subject, or consider themselves experts in a given subject, often fall into the practice of speaking in absolutes, as if it adds weight to their argument, or validates their expertise, but I take it as a sign of desperation and insecurity, that attempts to silence dissenting opinion by sheer will. Perhaps in person you have such a commanding and authoritative persona that these pronouncements go unchallenged, but it doesn't translate into print.

    jdef,

    I am not moderating here, nor do I wish to.
    I. for one did NOT read anything into Michael's message other than the expression of an opinion.

    Lighten up a bit ... please?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #18

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    Interesting point, jdef, and I thought about it, but everything everyone writes is just their opinion, isn't it? So, my understanding is that it goes without saying that what I, and others write here is just their opinion. What else could it be?

    To my knowledge, I do not believe I ever tried to keep anyone from voicing their opinions. And, as should be obvious, I do not mind being challenged. In fact, I embrace it. Being challenged forces me to be more articulate, and I never shrink from it either on these forums or in person. It forces me to grow. If I did not welcome challenge, why would I even bother to participate in these forums the way I do.

    It does so happen that I have thought about many of the types of "philosophical" questions that come up here for many, many years. That does not make my answers any more "right" than anyone else's. But as a result, it does seem to have made me fairly articulate about what I believe and have found to be true. Sorry, truly, if it sounds to you as if I am pontificating, when I write things like "Great art is informed by intellegence, but is not about ideas." But the truth of that is something I realized to be true (for myself, of course). To say, "In my opinion great art is informed by intellegence, but is not about ideas," is really saying the same thing, just in a "nicer", a more politically correct, way. I'm not PC. Sorry. Can't help that. Never was. Never will be. That kind of thing always struck me as being somehow dishonest. Not a downright lie, but a way of "positioning" one's statements so they will be easier for others to take. Perhaps the right word is "manipulative" rather than dishonest. In any case, I don't trust it for a moment.

    I do have great respect for clearly articulated positions that are different than mine, even though I may strongly disagree with them. What is aggravating, and what I do not have respect for, is the one-liner answer or rsponse when something serious is being discussed. For those answering in that way, the discussions are not serious--just a chance to be a smart-ass.

    It really is something sometimes. If a discussion is about craft and someone (maybe even me) says that having your craft down perfectly is a crucial element if one is to produce meaningful art, someone is bound to answer something on the order of, "all the craft in the world never made anyone an artist," as if that was what the person who made the previous statement was saying. Having exemplary craft would be a necessary, but not sufficient condition for making meaningful art (hey, I never put it quite that way before--see I do this so that I will learn something). If, on the other hand the conversation is about the soul of an artist, someone will pipe up with a one-liner about how important craft is and that without it this soul stuff is just so much nonsense. Yes, it really is something sometimes.

    I participate in threads like this so that I can clarify my own thinking (tough for me to do that just writing to myself), and yes, to provoke thought in others so that they, in turn, will provoke thought in myself. And I also do it to teach others. I admit I have the temerity to think that, yes, I do know something, that they years of work and thought about these things, have not been for nothing. There are many who participate in these forums who know far more than I do about specific things, and there are a number of contributors who would make my head spin and leave me far behind in philosophical discussions. But, I have learned some things, and from all accounts am a fine teacher. Many have written to me that a phrase I used or a sentence I wrote (like the "ideas" sentence quoted earlier), helped make things clear for them. They have been most grateful. That, in turn is gratifying to me.

    "For it is still the truth about life that it is greater to give than to receive," wrote one of my favorite poets.

    Since you were addressing me, jdef, I tried to answer as best I could. Sorry I rambled on.

  9. #19
    Aggie's Avatar
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  10. #20
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    I believe almost all artists search for and try to portray beauty. Of course there are those that search for anti- beauty, but usually merely to shock.
    Well-stated Michael and that is essentially what Adams stated as quoted above.

    From my meager knowledge of art history, it is evident that art is something that is intrinsic with humans. All cultures from the earliest have produced art in one form or another. Generally, for the art that stands on its own, it portrays beauty or drama. I can't think of an example of the "trash art" that has stood the test of time. But, my knowledge in this is meager.

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