Okay, Ed, if you want to cop out that is fine with me, but I really would like to know what photgraphers you were thinking of who were highly regarded who did not have a perfect, or at least a superior, understanding of their craft. Having a perfect understanding does not mean there is not more to learn. Who said there was nothing more to learn? As I see it, you are once again introducing something not germane to the discussion.
Ed wrote, '"and I won't endanger your crystal clear mastery of the craft, by voicing any kind of alternate OPINON."
Yes, for what I do, my understanding of the craft leaves nothing to be desired. I will add that there is certainly a lot more about the craft of photography that I don't know than I do know, but those things are not in the area I work in. How anything you could possibly say could endanger the deep, though not broad, knowledge I do have, I cannot understand.
Sorry you are hurt by my comments, but in this matter I do feel that you were off base and misleading Aurore. You are right about one thing: the depth of expression--the "life" can never be taught. In 1976 I wrote about this extensively. A thorough knowledge of both the craft of photography (for what you are trying to do) and the history of photography (and indeed all of the history of art) will always enable the already deep feelings and deep expression to be expressed more fully and more powerfully. Always. It will never kill the creative life impulse in any true artist. If it does, that person was not a true artist anyway.
Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
First, I'd like to draw attention to the remarkable way you discuss the question ... arguments directly pointed at simple concepts ... whether or not "human involvement" is, or is not, more important to the emerging photographer - and should/ should not be the the primary interest, and deserve their center of attention - or - if "mastering the media" is more important. I hold to the former.
Remarkable how you treat the issue of "personal worth" and whether or not either opinion has any merit, aside from sundry minutia surrounding the question. Clearly indicative of the level of intelligent conversation desired here.
Now ... you have -- or rather *are trying* to establish a "game" by forcing me into a defensive posture - "See, he is/has to defend himself - therefore he must be wrong."
Surprise!! I won't play that game. I have just as much right to set up the game the other way: You want the names of those who value "spirit" in photography MORE than the "mastery of technique?" Fine - simply re-print all the names you have listed - every one of them.
Now, I claim that to be true, and seeing that I am equal to you, YOU prove ME wrong... and do it by something other than "I say it is so".
Now --- "Cop out"?? MOST interesting! If choose NOT to continue this discussion, as it has sunk to borderline "kindergarten" level ... What? ... I "lose"? Again the "game". If you wish, I'll continue this as a test of tenacity and stamina. I could sit here and type "Techniques are poor seconds to Spirit" until hell freezes over. On second thought .. I won't - that would be playing YOUR game, when the time could be better spent behind the camera, or in the darkroom.
What shocks me -- and I don't use the term lightly - is your justification that you are merely protecting (boy this is tempting - but ..no...) someone from the "corrupting influence" of an "evil" Ed Sukach.
Oh ... come on!!! What really frightens me is that you could actually believe that!!
Bear one thing in mind - the slogan that all propagandists hate: "You have not converted a man (or woman) because you have merely silenced them!"
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I'm mystified, Ed. I never said, ever, that techinque and history were more important that vision and life. Why do you write as if that is what I said? I never thought such a thing and I would never say such a thing. Any highly regarded artist has both technique and vision. BOTH.
Anyone who does not have their technique down cold will never achieve the heights no matter how brilliant their vision nor how powerful their life force.
Weston, Stieglitz, Strand were technical masters of the highest order. Without it, their vision would hold no interest for us today.
A good teacher, and I consider myself to be a damn good teacher, looks for the weak spots and tries to help the photographer/student make them as strong as the other parts. Aurore has had some extremely difficult life experiences and I assume that she is quite capable of expressing what she feels--that she has the "life' in the work. From her original posting my guess is that she is weakest in having historical references upon which to build. One doesn't learn about historical work in order to copy it, one does so in order to more easily go beyond it. Only a true genius does not have need of that. Outside of Lartigue, I can't think of any photographer who did not have that need. Maybe Aurore is such a genius, but just playing the percentages, it is extremely unlikely.
To tell her that the historical and technical components are not important is to do her a disservice.
You, and Aurore, might want to read by 1976 article, ' On Teaching Photography." It deals with this point very specifically. You can find it at www.michaelandpaula.com under "Writings."
You *STILL* haven't read what I wrote ... I never said that the technical end was to be ignored . Go back and read what I have written. The key words are "Primary" and "Secondary".
Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
Have you ever seen Edward Weston's prints? - The originals? I did at, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' Weston Show, last year. If you consider those to be the work of someone who has "mastered" printing, I don't know how to respond. Don't misconstrue this - I am a great fan of Edward Weston's - a true Bright Light in the field, if there ever was one - but some of his printing - I would have re-done, ... without question! Just *not* "good" printing ... but that had NOTHING to do - or at least VERY little to do with the "art" he exhibited.
You are repeating: You say everyone must have a "command" (or am I being too "fuzzy") of the media before they can be "good" ... why? - because, as near I can figure it out ...YOU say so!.
So ... You are somehow "above" me because you teach? I teach too... so what? One thing I do know, our teaching styles are quite different from each other's.
Who is "misleading" who? *I* say *I* have the "right" path... and from the reactions I see in my students ... I will continue in the way I have chosen.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I don't get it. who said or even implied that I was a better teacher than you? There you go again.
Edward Weston prints: As it happens, I have seen Edward Weston prints--well over a thousand different ones and most in more than one print. And in all different lighting situations. Since Paula and I are publishing a Edward Weston book, we have spent in some cases 15 to 20 minutes looking at each print of the 100 in the exhibition. Chances are you saw the prints you saw in an exhibition that was displayed under light that was too dim. Edward evaluated his prints directly under the skylight. He wanted them to be seen that way--in very bright light. We all have to pick our ideal viewiwng light when we make our prints. Some of his do look too gray under dim light, but I assure you they are not. Take some of those prints under a bright light and they sing.
If you really think that the print quality of the prints you saw "had NOTHING to do - or at least VERY little to do with the "art" he exhibited," then this conversation is senseless. It all goes together--you cannot separate the vision from the print. Or, you can, but then you are not looking at his photographs as works of art, but simply as illustrations. Works of art are complete, or should be.
But in any case, why do you bring up the technical issue. In her first post Aurore was addressing the useful of studying the history of the medium. She said that museums and looking at older work bored her. So let's stick to that, okay?
You wrote, " You say everyone must have a "command" (or am I being too "fuzzy") of the media before they can be "good" ... why? - because, as near I can figure it out ...YOU say so!."
Yes, I said that or something similar. A bad print of a great vision can be okay, but it will never be good and certainly it will never join the great pantheon of art that has persisted down through the ages. And yes, I most certainly do say so--me and who are friends or acquantances all think so, too. It is possible I haven't met the right ones by your standards.
My purpose in writing in this thread is to help Aurore see that by not studying the history of the medium (she did say she looked at technical books) she is shortchanging herself. That is indeed my considered opinion.
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Ed, this thread has flipped upside down, so I've started another one here called "The Eye and the Hand - Photography and Technique" http://www.apug.org/site/main/viewto...?p=25947#25947 to discuss whether great photograhers need to be technically astute.
As Michael said, this thread was just the opposite -- Aurore stating the she studied technique but avoided studying photographs.
OK, I like this thread - I draw analogies between the practice needed to master the skills of visual and audible art...practice (repeat three times).
I read somewhere in a music magazine that anyone who claims to have developed their own sound without listening to others is, uh, fooling themselves. Kind of analogous to not being able to learn certain things only by reading about them. You don't know everything from just experimenting blindly, you do not simply give birth to magnificent works of art without the discipline of mastering the techniques and theory first, then the artistry comes from being unencumbered by the mechanics.
What is a masterpiece is all relative, but it implies mastery of something (at least I am implying it anyway).
I've read opinions about 'Ugh, one more tree photo', or 'What to you see in rust and decomposing wood ?" Sometimes, studying and mimicking someone else's work (etude or study is a frequently used term in music and art) gives you a model to master, and in the process you acquire fluency in a relevant similar style.
I do not believe it is common to come up with something significant working in a vacuum so to speak. On the other hand, a certain degree of primitivism must result if one wants to be totally detached from the history of an artform that precedes one's own work.
Someone, Thelonius Monk, possibly, said, paraphrased "You have to learn the rules before you can break them."
I'd just like to point something out here.
Much of Weston's work is in need of conservation. DESPERATE need. When the CCP did a Weston/Mather exhibit (which was sort of funny because it danced around the issue of their affair in very vague terms like "A passionate collaboration." Come on...we all know what they were doing...), it spent something like $25,000 to restore something like 5 prints and have all of his negs scanned. They showed some restored and not restored prints.
The difference was shocking. Archivability on the available materials wasn't that great back then. Plus, many of these prints are 70-80 years old. Storage before they hit the museum circuit was not that great. Some that the CCP has were even kept on walls where the sun hit them everyday.
Just something to consider.
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[FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]