In reading all this, there is little that I can add.
I certainly cannot *prove* there IS something that we call "aesthetics" ... I can't prove we have souls, or "being" or psyches, either. I am ... more than reasonably ... sure that they do exist and they are there.
I can't prove that there is something called electricity, or light, or music, or life, either - all I can do is extrapolate from their effects.
There are images - situations, that draw me in -, that "enrapture" me ... not always beautiful - although most seem to lean that way... others are thought provoking, or curious, or unique... or ...
I really don't understand "why" - not because I haven't wanted to - I just haven't been able to.
So feeling over intellect - most certainly. I would much rather - and do - "feel" a photograph rather that analyze (intellectualize) it. Takes less energy, less time, I don't have to justify anything to anyone.
I would make the world's worst critic - but I smile a lot.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Well, a personal æsthetic isn't something that one necessarily establishes consciously - I don't think one really can. That said, one can be quite conscious of it when something comes along that fits a preexisting æsthetic unique to one particular person (that person being you).
Ultimately no, maybe it shouldn't be defined by things, but that doesn't mean we can't be interested in the things in which we find that æsthetic manifested. It is a wholly personal thing that is in a permanent state of transistasis. It never stops changing, never stops evolving, devolving, or shifting in some way or another. Everything we experience in life, I believe, has a particular effect on it and every other part of our conscious or unconscious psychological state.
I'm just interested in what things different people have found that fit their particular set of preferences - what things fit them, within the context of the æsthetic in question. And, for that matter, how they've happened to come across these things. By sheer chance? In the normal course of work? How?
Can we ever really know the intricacies of that internalized set of æsthetic values that dictates our tastes, preferences, etc? In the sense that we can know the contents of a book or a room, I would say probably not. It doesn't operate on a logic that we can necessarily rationalize in everyday terms. But can we understand it within the context of how it manifests itself in our lives? Most certainly - and through that we can use a little inductive reasoning to make some broader judgements about what it is that we value most and why.
Personally, I keep a running list of things I've found that fit into that æsthetic of mine. It's constantly changing - things get added, things get removed - but ultimately it's slowly becoming a clearer picture of a particular aspect of my personal psychology. From an outside perspective, I'm sure a god number of the elements look incongruous next to one another, but I swear they fit.
Here's a taste of the list itself...
Clubbed to Death ~ Rob Dougan
The Bends ~ Radiohead
OK Computer ~ Radiohead
Mezzanine ~ Massive Attack
Ágætis Byrjun ~ Sigur Rós
Splinter ~ Sneaker Pimps
Peel Slowly and See ~ The Velvet Underground and Nico
The Fragile ~ NIN
Rhode Island ~ Pelican City
Progress ~ Ultraspank
Security ~ Peter Gabriel
John Rogers Cox
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Serial Experiments Lain
Ghost in the Shell
Snow Crash, Stephenson
...you get the idea. Or at least you can see an example of what I'm talking about...
Aggie wrote: [After you have it all figured out, you get older and your perspective changes. What I thought were wonderful things in my teens changed. Now that I can qualify for AARP (grumble grumble if anyone dares call me a senior citizen....) I find my tastes aesthetics and such have changed many times over the years.]
Welcome, fellow senior citizen! (I took your dare!) I couldn't agree more. I no longer have any desire to "rough it". I prefer all the creature comforts. I find beauty in all around me, especially if I don't have to walk very far to see it. there is beauty in new technology, nature, family, children, senior citizens, etc. I don't always try to take photos that capture this beauty, rather, I just enjoy it for myself as I usually feel that I cannot adequately express it. On the other hand I enjoy looking at my own photos for their sake and don't really try to share them very much.
I don't know if I have an "aesthetic" but I truly enjoy the things around me!
Aggie - my grandmother was 84-years old and still daring anyone to call her a senior citizen. "I'm old, dammit," she would say.
Fugazi Dave - Kerouac is who I thought about while reading the first paragraph of your first post above. He claimed to be writing blues - which sounded like foolishness, considering he was talking about a novel. Then I found, and gave a listen to, an mp3 of his appearance on The Tonight Show, in which he read an excerpt from "On The Road" and another, "Dharma Bums"? - I'm not sure. Well Jack read and Steve Allen and the band played a blues turnover, and guess what? Jack did write blues.
Donald - I anxiously await your posting of the new "landscapes."
The correct aesthetic is obvious - It's what I like.
Aarrrggghh!!!! I can't take it any more! The "Wise!!" reflex / condintioned response in me is just too strong ...
Originally Posted by Aggie
.... And just who else is on these "Mike's 1000 thread count sheets?"
... Sorry ... it just had to be said ... :P
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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My answer is Donald, your images already appeal to me and YES if you incorporated hookers, or for that matter any person into your photography I would like it better.
My idea is this. I am about to start a body of work on the hookers on south Broadway here in Wichita. I think that I know what you are going to say at this point. Yes, Michael, here in downtown Bible Belt we do have hookers. Not many and not very comely. But we make up for lack of numbers with a great deal of "daring do".
Now my question to you is this. Do you think that this subject matter will make my images more appealing to you? As I see it a bit of human interest would be involved. I foresee a fair amount of the "vibration and energy" that you addressed. What do you think, Michael? Irrespective of how you receive my efforts, I imagine that I will feel better.
Futhermore, for your efforts you would indeed feel better, whether or not they performed any "daring do" on your "you know who" or not. In fact you would probably not have a need to contemplate your naval ever again.
So please go back to the great spot( Dock 410 - standard gallery) where you shot the old building and now include an old hooker, and show us the results. We will both be so much better off for the experience.
my hubby, and 3 cats for that all important catus interuptus
As far as I can recall, Ansel Adams is the only photographer on the usual sets of top-ten photographer lists who is not known best for his photographs of people.
I liken the effect to music -- there are many brilliant pieces written purely for instruments, but songs still dominate, worldwide and for centuries. The direct human presence in art is unbeatable.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
Well thats cleared up then...
Originally Posted by blansky
more on topic: It's probably easier to get a technically good landscape than portrait (in the sense you can work for an hour setting up, and metering), but its harder to say something original. Looking through the gallery: the first long exposure stream you see looks awesome - when you've seen ten you've seen them all, no matter how well executed they are.
In terms of being INTERESTING, try going to one of the gallery pages, and sort by views so that the most viewed one's are shown first. I tried this a few days ago, and the first two pages were ALL nudes... I think thats says something about what we find visually intresting...
Originally Posted by blansky
Thank you for the idea about incorporating a hooker into that 410 Dock image. After quiet reflection, while contemplating my naval, I came to a decision on this matter.
My idea is this to have a fellow in a "period" fedora, possibly a bowler, sitting upon the bench and have a young and comely lass appropriately dressed in period garb with a parasol engaged in conversation with the fellow. I figured that this would be in keeping with the theme of the image and still incorporate the aspects that you mentioned.
My problem with this began almost imediately. I drove down Broadway about 11:30 last night and there she was standing on the corner. Now I have to admit, Michael, that upon closer examination she was neither young or comely...but I figured "what the hell"...she won't be recognizable in the photograph anyway. So we struck up a bargain...or so I thought. It seems that this lady was not well educated. Case in point...when I mentioned a parasol, she immediately became very defensive. I figured that something that I had said had offended her. In the next breath she told me..."look buster I will do trapezes and trampolines but that parasol crap is out unless you want to come up with more money.
That was only the beginning. The next thing I knew the vice guys busted me...because after all we were engaged in what appeared to be illicit negotiations. To make a long story short, I just bailed out of jail a while ago...what a night!!!