Thanks for chiming in Ken,
I agree with you to a point.
If someone is going to critique my prints and especially my printing style it's quite important to know where they are coming from. I don't think it is elitist to say some people don't have the experience or skills to really critique some levels of work.
On the other hand. Art is like wine. You don't have to own a vineyard to enjoy wine.
Originally Posted by KenM
I'll agree with all the rest - this definition of Introversion- Extroversion seems to be at odds with the literature I've read recently. I'm trying to understand this alternative ... An Introvert "gives up" energy to a gathering of people ..? And if there is no "gathering"...?
Originally Posted by dnmilikan
A task for the immediate future: Investigate Introversion-Extroversion more thoroughly on the "web"...
Interesting -- and probably the root cause of why INFP's make lousy critics:
"INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even for the most unlovable the INFP is wont to have pity."
- From "Typelogic.com", by Joe Butt
P.S. Before anyone starts - I am not one to revel in making fun of anyone's name.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Hey Ed, et al, why don't you start up another thread on all the "type stuff" so those that want to contribute to the original post can do so with out having to wade thru all the babble.
One last entry - at least for the time being - to kind of tie all this into `Tastes and Biases'.... Something we might keep in mind...
"I do not, for the moment, at least, ask you to understand me. That will only come when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you."
Ed Sukach, FFP.
From Francesco: "Thanks for your insights Michael. I would like to understand what you mean by complex, figure-ground and all-over photographs. Are these related to just composition or a combination of composition/vision and technique? Can these concepts be separated from ones tastes and biases as to become objective to all who view the photograph or not?"
Ah, Francesco, everything is related to everything. But, no; it really has nothing to do with technique; it is about vision. It's all about vision.
"Complex" and "related to tastes and biases": Complex generally means more stuff going on in the picture. Now if there is more stuff in an unorganized way it is just chaotic. But if it is structured, then it can be quite beautiful. Things need to be simple in their complexity. (Or complex in their simplicity).
Many people cannot tolerate complexity in a photograph. Their eyes are not accustomed to doing the required work and so they tend to like simple, bold forms in their photographs. Think late 1920s Edward Weston. Later, as his eye became more and more able to tolerate more excitement, Weston made much more subtle and complex photographs. His late 20s photograhs appeal to far more people, mainly because their eyes cannot tolerate all of the energetic movement needed to comprehend the complexity of the late work. And that ability to tolerate complexity entails energetic movement, or energetic expansion, which is perhaps the major cause of our tastes and biases.
This is not unlike tastes and biases in music. Most people have a hard time listening to much of twentieth century classical music. I know that at first I did. (I know some people only like Rock and Roll or Rap or whatever they call it these days and have a hard time listenening to any classical music.) But over time, and acompanying personal growth, one is perhaps able to tolerate the complexity of the music, and eventually music that seemed horribly discordant is heard as if it were as melodic and sweet as Mozart. That takes time. It also takes serious effort--effort very few are willing to make. And that is true for looking at photographs as well. People expect the photographs to "hit them." If they do not, they are not interested. They are not willing to put out the effort to WORK at looking at a photograph. And they are not willing to do so because they cannot tolerate the energetic expansion such work entails.
Oh yes, there are many who will say, when faced with something beyond their understanding and toleration, "But I simply don't like it." Fair enough. Everyone, as I have said often, is entitled to their likes and dislikes, without having to give a reason. But unless they are willing to really work at seeing and understanding, and are willing to tolerate the anxiety that such effort entails, as far as I am concerned their tastes and biases don't amount to anything meaningful to anyone except themselves.
I hope this is clear. It is really the subject for a book.
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"Everyone, as I have said often, is entitled to their likes and dislikes, without having to give a reason. But unless they are willing to really work at seeing and understanding, and are willing to tolerate the anxiety that such effort entails, as far as I am concerned their tastes and biases don't amount to anything meaningful to anyone except themselves."
I love the above statement of yours Michael. For me it simply means, there is GOOD taste and there is BAD taste. I agree that subjective taste is valid but it does not qualify as good or bad. To be willing to participate in a debate of good and bad taste one must be able to reason their statement "I do not like it" or "I like it". It is similar to the question of timeless elegance - such a thing exists because we can agree on good taste.
Sometimes though from chaos comes structure. In my line of work chaos theory and fractal geometry are regularly used to find patterns, structures and trends. Chaos can be beautiful too.
It certainly is. There are *schools* out there that *teach* the following *rule*: In order to be a good photograph, the subject MUST be isolated and ALL distractors eliminated.
Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
This is certainly a viable technique, but it should not be considered a rule. I have come to believe that those who subscribe to this as a *rule* are unwittingly biased against any other technique or vision. Hence, they automatically classify a complex photgraph as being "busy" or cluttered. Weston's work is comprised of the complex and the simple isolated subject. Landscapes, by their nature, are usually complex, save for the isolated tree which has been done to naseum. Adams' claim to fame is complex landscapes which violate the isolated subject rule. His isolated subject work that I've seen, I think, is lacking, not that good. O. Winston Link photographed the steam locomotives as they related to their surroundings, not as single isolated subjects.
Such is life, such is mature, such is photography. Please note I did not say "so must be photography".
"Oh yes, there are many who will say, when faced with something beyond their understanding and toleration, "But I simply don't like it." Fair enough. Everyone, as I have said often, is entitled to their likes and dislikes, without having to give a reason. But unless they are willing to really work at seeing and understanding, and are willing to tolerate the anxiety that such effort entails, as far as I am concerned their tastes and biases don't amount to anything meaningful to anyone except themselves."
I like this a lot, Michael, because it expresses in a limited number of words a tendency that I have experienced in my own right. I continually observe this in others as well. Interestingly enough many times it is what are supposed accomplished photographers who exhibit the greatest bias. It is almost as if one's vision becomes more tunneled rather then more open. I have heard the term "uninteresting" used in judgement of what to me are beautiful photographs that you and Paula record. By comparison I had a friend over to my house yesterday and showed them your images in the latest Black and White magazine. This is a person with no photographic training whatsoever. Yet they were absolutely fascinated with your images. It is difficult to understand...you would think the person with the most time in photographing would have the better vision. Such was not the case in this instance.
Yes, it is interesting to us, that our photographs seem to appeal to a broad spectrum of people, without being "pretty pictures" or having cheap appeal to sentiment. Our photographs are rigorous enough that they appeal to the most sophisticated curators, and yet they also appeal to many who know nothing about photography and havve no inherent interest in it. Why? Ultimately I do not know.
I have written about the necessity of any work of art to connect us to the world and to each other. What makes that happen? Care is an essentiial element. (I've written about this before, too, perhaps on this site.) Care implies love. And somehow that must come through in all work that touches people.
I further believe that if the any photograph, or any work of art, is structured in such a way so that its rhythms are in alignment, or coincide with, universal rhythms, it will touch people. It will touch them to the extent that they partake of the universal rhythms themsemlves. How to do that, as maker? You can't try. It just happens to the extent that the maker is unblocked and in touch with universal rhythms. I've written about this before, too, and in one response someone asked me to define "universal rhythms." I believe the world, the universe, is energetically based. Universal rhythms are those that are in accord with the way life energy moves. There are an infinite number of possibilities of how that can be accomplished, which is why there are no formulas, nor ever can be.
Need to make a press check. No time to proof. Excuse typos.
Wonderful post, Michael.
Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
I think this directly addresses a great deal of the mystery in art ... Somehow, we will never be able to reach a completely efficient method of producing art ... as we are not endowed with a workable sense for defining the "human-ness" included in, and so necessary to, art.
I wonder if another term might be applicable here as well as "rhythm" - "Harmony" in the empirical sense of "Aesthetically pleasing rhythm structures"...
Ed Sukach, FFP.