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Thread: Aesthetics

  1. #11

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    I'm sort of in agreement with Suzanne here. For me aesthetics are very much dependent on my mood at the time and the baggage I carry with me. When some of us have baggage in common then we may share similar feelings when seeing a piece of work.

    Essentially though aesthetics is a personal feeling and when I first saw Monet's work in Paris I was too close and wondered what all the fuss was about, but then I turned and looked back when I reached the exit and thought WOW I Like!! As Picasso's Guernica was mentioned here I had a peek. I see a beautiful piece or work (art? call it what you like) and would love to see it for real. I feel it depicts wonderfully the chaotic world around us but my feeling are only one of beauty.

    Not sure if that's what your after, but that's what you got from me Ed

  2. #12
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I saw Picasso's "Guernica" when I first moved to New York City years ago. I had just started college and it was still housed at the Museum of Modern Art at the time. I have never been more moved by a painting in my life. You could have knocked me down with a feather. It is stunning, and grabs the viewer by the lapels, and won't let go. It still amazes me, very much on a gut level. And I haven't seen it again since then, it was returned to Spain not long after I saw it. Reproductions don't do justice to the experience of standing in front of it.

    It would be well worth a trip to Spain to experience it again.

    Cheers,
    Suzanne

  3. #13

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    Suzanne, I found this news link which goes to show the impact that peice must have on many people. I was amazed to see that it's 11 feet 6 inches high and 25 feet 8 inches wide, I'm also envious that you have seen it in the flesh so to speak. Looks like I need to make an effort to get to see it for real as I'm sure as you say it's stunning.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
    Interesting, Steve.

    How many of your comments were directed to the technical (more properly, scientific) characteristics of the image: "Out of focus", "poorly lit, or exposed" --- "trite" - I will accept "trite" as a gut feeling. One can critique technically ... (read "scientific" in the opening definitions of this thread) in the Critique gallery.

    I have made the error of allowing a narrow interpretation of "What I consider to be a successful photograph" ... Some could take it as, "Feel EXACTLY as the artist did when s/he created the work"... that should have been "Feel something of the emotion that the artist felt upon the production of the work."

    To precisely, and exactly, with NO chance for error, be sure of the artists' "state of mind"" ... of course that is not possible ... I didn't think there would be a need to indulge in such excruciating precision ... that there would be enough intelligent life here to make that unnecessary.

    Interesting you should cite Picasso's Guernica. I know more of that work than his others. I think Picasso went a trifle - or quite a bit more than a "trifle" - "off the deep end" after the Nazi bombing of that Basque town, without warning, and with horrendous loss of life. I guess I'm able to do the impossible ... as I look at that work, I can sense an amount of the revulsion, the feeling of helplessness and loss ... of reacting to an incomprehensible injustice.

    I have read a lot about Guernica, but I can't remember one word about Picasso's technique in this painting.
    Well Ed, it goes like this - I have a real hard time responding to images that are not technically the best they can be - I don't really care to look at the image any further. So, I have no reaction to it - I just dismiss it out of hand as not being as good as possible.

    You wanted to know what people responded to in that image - so I told you. The fact that the response wasn't what YOU were looking for is really YOUR problem. If you can't handle the response - don't post the picture.

    I read your attempt to limit responses to ONLY what YOU thought was important. I reject that approach for art. I talked very succintly about images, making images and aesthetics - which YOU ignored in your response. I can only assume that you're really not interested in that aspect?

    For me, the technical aspects overwhelmed any message there might be - whether you like it or not - that's a fact. I suggest YOU open your mind to that fact and deal with that idea. You're distracting me from your message specifically BECAUSE of the technical limitations I mentioned.

    As for Guernica - I mention it because I stood in front of it for at least 2 hours marveling at what Picasso had made. And learning a lesson they don't teach in art school - sometimes size really does matter. That's a piece of art that got me started on really examining the correct presentation of a piece of art - size, colors, media, etc.

    Simple for some people, but for a 19 year old who had only seen 3x5 inch reproductions of the piece in art books - it was a real revelation.

  5. #15
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Aesthetics is by its non-verbal nature all over the place.

    As for good taste, it's inevitably whatever the middle class most aspires to.

    Generally, I find that if I watch sad movies before 10AM, they make me cry.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    Aesthetics is by its non-verbal nature all over the place.

    As for good taste, it's inevitably whatever the middle class most aspires to.

    Generally, I find that if I watch sad movies before 10AM, they make me cry.
    Do you suggest Bjorke that good taste is defined by the middle class or that the bulk of the market for Art is driven by it, therefore ..... same result?

    Perhaps the aesthetics of art (i.e. the definitions of good and bad aesthetics) are commentated on most by the buyers/sellers. Additionally we know that our perceptions are always through our own filters.
    But is it not possible that there are aspects of the aesthetic appreciation that can stand apart from these things? Can art not connect at a deeper level of human perception, other than through an individuals' political beliefs and social conditioning?

    ... just curious.

  7. #17

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    A few thoughts:


    For me, the reaction I have to an aesthetically pleasing work of art mirrors something about my interests, desires, fears etc. I think in some ways the greater the art, the deeper the feelings, thoughts emotions are touched in me.


    Several people have metioned Guernica. I can see many art works and photographs depicting the horror of war, and they may move me. Many have become cliches in a world hardened by never ending violence and exposure through the media. Guernica is one of those rare works that for me transcends time and place, and for what ever reason so many emotions, and thoughts were awakened in me that I wept. I literally could not focus on anything else in my head for several days after I saw only a full scale reproduction many years ago. One of the things I would like to do is travel to see the actual work someday.

    But of course Guernica is a ture masterpeice, a one in a million work that evokes the same response in almost anyone who sees it.

    I can think of only a few photographers who come close, (for me) Weston and Eugene Smith being the two that come to mind at first.

    The good news is that the work that we strive to produce, can produce the same response in people all though on a smaller scale in most cases. The best work does not need to use tricks or gimmicks or galleries to tell you what you are supposed to feel. Good work places its message out in front of you and lets you decide if you will connect with it on some level. Sometimes we mere mortals can produce work of such content and beauty that it will make other weep. I think the greatest art even transcends religion, education or cultural heritage. It can touch us so deep that it reaches those "hard wired" emotions that God has given us, but are so easily buried in the garbage of this world.

    Most of the time we can make work that strikes a chord on more singular levels dealing with singular emotions, memories, and concepts of beauty.

    I made a series of images of discarded and rusting steel milling and cutting machines. Technically they are rather good, and for people intersted in such things I think they strike a chord dealing with a past era, loss, way of life etc.
    Visually they are interesting tones of light and dark, and good compositions of details. For some people they are fascinating to look at. But they are not going to bring anyone to tears.

    So it is really not about the aesthetic of the artist, but the aesthetics of the viewer. Does the mirror his art provides reflect anything from the audience?
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #18
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Well Ed, it goes like this - I have a real hard time responding to images that are not technically the best they can be - I don't really care to look at the image any further. So, I have no reaction to it - I just dismiss it out of hand as not being as good as possible.
    You wanted to know what people responded to in that image - so I told you. The fact that the response wasn't what YOU were looking for is really YOUR problem. If you can't handle the response - don't post the picture.
    I r.
    Gee, your response cuts me to the quick. I had no idea I was so deficient and narrow minded ... you are looking for ... what? A "victory" of some sort?

    I explained, I think rather adequately, the raison d'etre behind this thread. It is meant to be a place for "aesthetics" - hence the title (hold on for this ...) "Aesthetics". If you cannot respond without referring to your inability to do so without defaulting to technical aspects, ... you just CAN'T do that ... it is *MY* problem?

    I've said it and repeated: this should be the place to discuss that which is NOT technique. If you can't handle that, it is all right with me.. we'll just have to muddle through without the benefit of your (obviously superior) wisdom. Possibly, there will be others interested ... if not, then I will have taken my best shot, and will move on.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  9. #19
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Ed, I'm sorry to say that the image you posted doesn't evoke any emotional response from me...

    I Thank you for addressing the non-technical aspects of our medium, and I hope that you won't take my comments personally.
    There is no law that said it must.. or even, should. There are those who will look at Guernica, or Botticelli's Birth of Venus, or Monet's Lilies, and be similarly unaffected. It would be stupid to think that I, in some way, deserved better than that. If I was looking for "guarantees", I'd leave photography, and sculpture, and charcoals... and all art.

    If you did have some sort of emotional reaction, we would have appreciated your sharing it ... if you did not ... of course - absolutely of course ... that is OK too.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #20
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    A few thoughts:

    For me, the reaction I have to an aesthetically pleasing work of art mirrors something about my interests, desires, fears etc. I think in some ways the greater the art, the deeper the feelings, thoughts emotions are touched in me.

    So it is really not about the aesthetic of the artist, but the aesthetics of the viewer. Does the mirror his art provides reflect anything from the audience?
    I can't agree more, Jim. Well written!!
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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