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Thread: Philosophies

  1. #41
    blansky's Avatar
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    When I was first studying photography I was in a discussion with a very learned photographer who stated that in his native Germany as well as most of Europe, photography was very structured. It was essentially an apprecticeship program and if you wanted to do it professionally and get a license you had to study under a pro. The results were that the work was often technically excellent but rarely very creative.

    He went on to say that in North America, anyone could hang out a shingle, so to speak, and were judged on the merits of their work. They could be as creative as they wished with no structure at all. Technically he said, we often were not as good as the Europeans but the creative impact was far more impressive.

    I think the fact of our so called "Stepford" system of education etc where we turn out little robots, is not wholly correct. We must have some guideline and rules to teach children and adolescence, but we still turn out a lot of very creative and gifted people. I'm not sure how it could be done differently. Some people like and thrive under a lot of structure and some people are rebels. In this country there a lot of very successful of each.

    Michael McBlane

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan
    dr. bob, how did you originally aquire the bandages of socialization in order to have them to throw off?
    juan
    Quite right Juan, I never really had them. You have recognized that, right?

    Truly, dr bob.

  3. #43
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    Well, I was trying to make a comparison between the treatment of our collective *spirit* and what is a necessary function of socialization, or on a somewhat broader scale, civilization.
    We all are "bandaged" to some extent... and the only noble, obtainable state we can hope to be in is one of balance. To enjoy a great deal of freedom - while managing our own "dues" in this club we call society.

    I would suggest one area where we can be (can be?? MUST BE!!) extraordinarily FREE, to let ourselves run *wild* -- and that is our own ART.

    When I first started out - SO many moons ago, I was , as all are, insecure, unsure ... I hid behind a screen of "Well, what did anyone expect - I'm just not good." The next natural step was to try to copy the .. styles of others - somehow, I thought I could "cheat" my way in. I *listened* - boy, did I listen - to the sometimes domineering advice of others - and slavishly tried to follow their exact words.

    There was NO sharp epiphany. I did not suddenly "break through into the hallowed ranks of the experts".
    I merely came to the point where I realized that NO ONE could take that photograph for me. Good, bad, or indifferent, *I* had to do the deed myself. *I* was responsible for all of my images.
    All the advice and criticism had one ultimate effect; not the "improvement" of my work, but the dilution and clouding ... and repression - of my style (signature??).

    That realization was the point, reached softly, where this entire experience became pleasurable .. more than that ... addictive, ... I don't know ...I guess when I produce an image that WORKS ... it is damn close to an orgasm, for me. Well - maybe not "damn" close ... but somewhere around there.

    Let us dance lightly on this blue and green ball we all share. Let us nurture each other - in doing so, we nurture ourselves. We are all different - with individual styles - let us rejoice in our differences!

    P.S. ... Deep"? Uh ... It is only taking three or four days of thought ....
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #44

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    Let us dance lightly on this blue and green ball we all share. Let us nurture each other - in doing so, we nurture ourselves. We are all different - with individual styles - let us rejoice in our differences!
    Well THAT will never do!

    For me the most rewwarding experinces have been when I have used the adviuce of others to achieve my goals, AND used my own knowledge. I asked a fellow student about some Liquid Light problems I was having. He suggested some things, Aggie and others here suggested some things and all of a sudden I got EXACTLY what I wanted. Not by being a slave, but by using bits and pieces of everything.
    Official Photo.net Villain
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    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

  5. #45
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kennedy
    Well THAT will never do!
    For me the most rewwarding experinces have been when I have used the adviuce of others to achieve my goals, AND used my own knowledge. I asked a fellow student about some Liquid Light problems I was having. He suggested some things, Aggie and others here suggested some things and all of a sudden I got EXACTLY what I wanted. Not by being a slave, but by using bits and pieces of everything.
    We certainly *CAN* learn techniques - the HOW to do something... and apply those techniques in expressing our *vision*. I never meant to imply otherwise.

    The vision itself - I'm not at all sure that CAN be taught. We may draw attention to certain characteristics and relationships ... but we simply cannot induce, or force - or some intermediate degree of that - the creation of a photograph that "resonates" - that "entrances" the one who creates it.
    There is really only one way to attempt to do force that, and that is to try to make the "student" "see" through the eyes of another (NOT good!!).

    Helen VanWyk said it... clearly: "The DOING is not hard. One can learn that. The "WHAT TO DO" - that is the hard part."

    I just read something by Ralph Gibson - weren't we just talking about him? - A photographer I respect - a lot:

    "You see, I'm not interested in mediocrity in photography. I'm not interested in selling cat shit to dogs. I just want to do my own thing. If people like my work, all the better. If they don't, too bad."

    - Ralph Gibson - New York, 1992
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  6. #46
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    Some Memories (Most Painful) -- Subtitled: "Why I Don't Have a Leica"...

    This has to do with "prestige" ... Leicas are *wonderful* cameras ... and of all the 35mm's they probably come equipped with the most prestige of all. NOT a 'good thing', at times.

    Once upon a time, there was a young photographer, entranced by the Art, who longed for recognition - to be seen with admiring eyes. He joined a fairly well-thought-of Camera Club, and soon learned that the way to "admiration" would be SOCIALLY determined ... and one thing that would work as a short-cut was to have a Prestigious Camera hanging from his neck ... as a Magic Amulet. It was a financial struggle... but overcome -- he had the marvelous Leica IIIF - and envious glances from those who did not.

    This was during the height of the Cold War. A family moved in next door. An Naval Officer, his wife, and their Eleven - Twelve year old daughter. This girl had more than her share of "displacements".. there had been no real chance to "settle" and make friends.
    I'm not sure how it happened, but she also became interested in photography. She had an incredibly "cheap" camera - one of those three-dollar "127" specials (*Negative "Prestige" value)...
    One day she approached this Leica-bearer with a print ... of something *very* dear to her - her cat. She loved that animal - it was the one stable thing in her life - it had been brought with them all over the country. She was "ENRAPTURED" with that photograph .. amazed that she could have produced something SO beautiful.

    Well, this would never do, as far as the Leica-bearer was concerned. Status, prestige, - the ART itself - HAD to be preserved!
    There followed - what might be expected - "This is not a good photograph - the lighting is terrible, the composition is off - Haven't you learned about the "rule of thirds" ... the processing is "dull" -- so many more negatives ... finally followed with the "ultimate" - "You really should get a better camera."

    Later, I learned how devastating those comments were ... I was so taken with myself that I had hypnotized myself into a state of numbness - I hadn't been reading the "feedback" from what I was doing... each of those "negatives" was extremely painful to that girl - I found that out later, talking to others.

    Two days later, I went to visit her - thinking, hoping that I could somehow "fix" things ... apologize or ...
    They were gone. I heard that her father had received a new assignment - and they had moved to Bremerton, Washington ...that is all I could find out.

    I quickly realized that I had become a Classic "bully". I was attacking someone much weaker than I ... a "safe" opponent. An Eleven year old girl.

    Was that a "good" photograph? To that girl, IT WAS!! Who the @#$ did I think I was to pass judgement? In retrospect, it was probably BETTER than the insensitive ham-handed, cold, lifeless, work that I was doing with that Leica. Mine was work made to impress ... to cheat my way into the inner circle of Camera Club hierarchy; hers was, simply, a work from her heart.

    I've never regretted anything more.

    I sold the Leica. It was a FINE camera ... but its effect on ME was something I did not want.
    I gave up photography for a few years after that ... I guess as an act of penance...

    Over the years, I finally returned. Now, however, I've overcome the pre-conditioning of trying to find fault with others' work and using the old lies to justify bullying: "It's for their own good", "No photograph is perfect ... so I'm going to tell him how to fix it"... ad infinitum.

    It really was not a complicated process - this attention shift. I just look for the "goodness" in the work ... and it is true ... when you look for the good things - that IS what you will find.

    Now, photography is a field of rocks and flowers ... The "flowers" and far more numerous than I had realized before - and there are some unique, different - and no less beautiful - "rocks" out there as well.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #47
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    here here. I hope the gal recovered and kept up her photographic efforts.
    www.ericrose.com
    yourbaddog.com

    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  8. #48
    clogz's Avatar
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    Ed,

    You're right. Wise words. Too often we kill to dissect (Wm.Wordsworth). And yes, camera clubs...let's not stray to that subject.
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  9. #49
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    Ed,

    Your story has stuck with me all day - kinda like a boil on the butt! Thank you for reliving what is obviously a painful and perfectly humbling memory and sharing it here for others to learn from.

    Someone sent you a little angel to teach you a most valuable lesson, and it's great to see that the lesson has taken hold and that you can offer it up for those open and ready for it. I'm fairly new here at APUG, but I have already found that even when I don't completely agree with things you have posted you nevertheless give me much to think about. Thanks!

    Mark Twain wrote: "Forgiveness is the scent that the violet leaves upon the heel that has crushed it." I'll bet that little girl forgave you long ago, and it seems like, more importantly, you have forgiven yourself. At least I hope you have. The best lessons in life are usually the ones that cause the most discomfort. This is probably so we can never forget them - no matter how hard we try!

    Regards, The Beast

  10. #50

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    Teachers' nightmares are probably filled with the 'if only I had handled that student differently'. In order to not quell enthusiasm, do we praise mediocrity? If so, when & how do we challenge the student to better realize their vision thru improved techniques? Too many people achieve a certain level of mediocrity in their artisitc endeavors & never improve. Maybe too much praise thru camera clubs, etc. was heaped upon them that it stifled their growth. It takes a strong willed artist to grow despite either excessive praise or criticism.

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