Sort of "returning" to this quote, .... Bravo says something here that I believe in so deeply that I think it nearly the "core" of the way I work now.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
If we allow ourselves to be blinded by the attempt to "use the eyes" of another, we are imposing on ourselves a tremendous burden ... no less, in terms of style, than if we were trying to photograph completely without light.
This is, to me, an automatic indictment against the actions of *most* critics - with the exception of everyone here on APUG - ( ... uh ... whatever..).
Their goal in their criticism is to compare the vision of the victi .. uh, artist, with what they see through their own eyes, and if it not the SAME, to try to influence, coerce, force - whatever level of energy - to fit their own concepts.
Thereby, it is an act of blinding.
How often do we ever hear of a critique that goes ... "What a marvelously unique way of looking at things! What a unique way of presenting them!"
It is far more common to tear the work apart, by the mechanism of "The rules say that ... (fill in the blank here) and you have not done that (a.k.a., conformed)." And, they can always justify what they say by, "How else are they going to learn."
I suggest, that instead or trying to propagate conformity, it is a far more noble mission to establish NEW rules ... and a god start to discovering what those might be lies in the "unblinded" eyes of neophytes and the "Significant" photographers who have risen above the blinding seas of critics.
... I think there might be a reply or two to this message ...
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Agree with you Ed except on one point which I will get to later.
Reading that quote from Bravo, and similar ones from other Masters was a real turning point for me. All too of often budding photographers get caught up in trying to emulate (or is it copy) what one sees written as being great. By this I mean;
"But I'm using the same film/developer/paper as _______"
"But I'm using a camera and lens just like _______ used"
"This looks like something _________ did".
Critics are even more nortorious for imposing the dogma of the past on the works in front of them.
"Ahh-this is great because it harkens the style of ________"
"Not the way _______ would have done it"
Aside from the critics, there are many ways these traps get imposed. The photographic press is one of the main culprits. This is due primarily to marketing influences and product endorsements. Well, everyone has to make a living.
Another way is through the textbooks one reads. But after reading the books several times, one can deduce from between the lines that its not the gear nor the exact method that is important. Its the final outcome, the print that everyone sees, that is important.
And that brings me to my point of disagreement. That has to do with rules. I've come to believe that the only real rule is to make a good print. Everything that comes before that, except for composing and proper exposure, does not matter. What matters is what is seen on the print.
Good for you Aggie!! Those people haven't a clue as to what they are talking about (in my humble opinion of course).
Originally Posted by Aggie
Sounds good to me. What, in your view, is a "good" print?
Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
"Composing" and "proper exposure" are heavily dependent on aesthetic vision. I've seen examples where "proper exposure" was wholly determined by some to mean, "Maximum Dmax" (sorry for the redundancy) ... to the point where the subject itself was very nearly obliterated - and this was considered by a group of Camera Club judges to be a "perfect print". Another definiton states that a print *must* have a Zone I and a Zone X -- even if it is a photograph taken on a very foggy day, with neither present in the scene itself. Even more applicable to "seeing" is the choice of high or low key...
The rules of composition themselves are the results of many art scholars who have tried to determine the factors that are common to *most* works that have been accepted as "great" over the years. *Most*, but certainly not ALL. Some of the most treasured - most significant - works deviate from the "rules", big time.
Anyway ... those are *MY* "notes from the back of an envelope".
Again, what do YOU see as a "good" print?
Ed Sukach, FFP.
You got me there Ed. At this point, I really can't articulate an answer to that question. I have neither the exposure to really great work nor the experience at producing it to really say. Right now, if someone with an experienced eye looks at one of mine and says "This is good", I'll gladly take their word for it.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
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I’m not sure if I agree with Ed or not.
I think that from the time our umbilical cord is cut our eyes start to be blinded. This blindness is shaped by our parents, peers, school, culture, language, art, etc. and etc. We are blinded and blind ourselves in order to survive in the world of appearances and in the doing we forget or bury something essential, something unnamable in ourselves.
If by some hand of God or Entity we were suddenly struck totally “unblinded” would we not then be in some Heaven and not in this world?
I don’t think we need new rules, but to start stripping away the old rules, peeling off all the self mirrored masks we choose to wear one by one. Deconstructing and questioning all the positions, rooms of comfort in which we choose to stand in. Disentangling ourselves from the maze that language, rules, the world surround us in. If we need new rules then it would be just this one rule as Michael Smith said in another post “ Life is only once, now, and too soon, death is very final.” We should scrawl this across the mirror as we hold it up to the self. But could not the self seduce these words as it does all language?
The self becomes it’s own subject and object. “My Precious, My Precious!”
Where are the Wizards who choose not to enshrine themselves in stasis, towers of this and that, but choose instead a “becoming”. Yes, even a “becoming” evil as well as a “becoming” good, but always and ever a “becoming” over and beyond the self.
Now, as it was from the beginning, it is to “Battle and to War.”
I agree. To me the idea of "being blinded", either from external or internal sources, describes the process that the vastly greater number of people endure today; and as H.G. Wells proposed in "The Valley of the Blind", the sighted man is not necessarily, nor even usually, "KING". At times "sight", or as we tend to call it, "vision" of the truth can be a great burden.
Originally Posted by SUNdog
I tend to draw another simile: We begin, from birth, to be wrapped in mummifying bandages. Those wrappings obstruct our view ... a process called "socialization".
We are the ones who work against stasis? I think that they can, or at the very least, SHOULD be, found in the marvelous field we call "Art"... and one can experience a LOT of examples of mummy-bandage cutting here on APUG.
It's interesting to not who would be the "wrappers" - they, unlike those who have broken free, are MUCH more common, whether intentionally, as Art Critics and other moralists, or unintentionally - parents, friends, ...
It is NOT an easy thing to work one hand free from the bandages and to start cutting, with a palette knife, or a sculptor's chisel, or a camera. We are always in danger of cutting ourselves, but, considering the alternative - suffocation under layers of wrappings - I, for one, will continue to slash away.
I agree with your message, here. I'll only make one comment - *MY* approach to unwinding, or unblinding - is a trifle less morose. I find so many myriads of "bright sparks" along the way, that it is more of an intoxicating journey, than a "battle" of some sort.
To me, anyway.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I agree with your sentiments as stated. I observe that what most of mankind attempts to do is to "gain" throughout their lifetime. The things that are sought after are increased wealth, status, and knowledge. These are the basis of this "I" that separates me from my fellows and from life itself.
I have found that my journey has now become one of loosening the attachments that are found within the catagories that I mentioned. If only I could in one fell swoop bring myself back to the time that existed within the first hour of my physical life on this plane. Ahh but what images one could make if that were possible.
It is interesting to me that in the end of physical life on this plane that we ultimately are separated from those attachments that we have formed. Perhaps Gibran was correct when he said let the hour of giving be your choice.
This discussion has gotten a little too deep for me. But, as one who has managed to "throw off the bandages of socialization" (read maverick), I'll have to say it is just as hard for us "liberated" types to change as those in the opposite position. Certainly the Mate would like me to gain some socialization. It ain't gonna happen, I'm afraid. I owe my independence to the influence on Grandmother McLemore (daughter of one Arter Dale, a native American) and Grandpa McLemore, an archetypical Scotsman. independence of thought and action has cast me into trouble many times in the past. The future seems a little more mellow.
It makes me wonder: is it possible to change after a certain age, or are we doomed to the programming of our early youth?
dr. bob, how did you originally aquire the bandages of socialization in order to have them to throw off?