I've said it and repeated: this should be the place to discuss that which is NOT technique.
What I'm thinking is that maybe there is no one answer for appreciation that fits everyone. Maybe part of what makes the work great does depend to some on some technical aspects.
Would the Picasso be as moving to people if it wasn't 25 feet wide and expertly painted with a cutting edge style... What if the "technical" aspects of the painting were changed but the "emotional intention" was still the same?? Say I painted it (I can paint a ceiling well, but I'm no painter) and it was on 16x20 and I used watercolours? The technical would help drive the aesthetic wouldn't it?
I think there really is no one shoe that fits us all in our responses...
An interesting thread to ponder, but a difficult one to answer clearly.
I was also thinking that because we're photographers, and photography tends to be technical maybe that's why we approach it from a more structured standpoint.
Perhaps if NON-PHOTOGRAPHERS were asked what moved them about certain photographs the answers would be far more diverse than what we are providing...
Just a thought,
I would agree - there is No one answer - there is no "right" or "'wrong" here. It is more ..."Wow!! Something just happened to ME -- and this is what it was."
Originally Posted by Joe Symchyshyn
I did recognize the difficulty - that is why I wrote - It might just take a new language.
If wo/man, in her/his humanity, was a "simple" being, it would not be hard. So... the way things are ....
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I remember seeing an installation at the National Gallery of Canada a few years back. It was a sculpture that looked like a skeleton of a huge whale or some creature like it. It wasn't supposed to be anything I think, just an idea.
Upon closer examination I started to see bar codes, and then I saw that there were similar parts. When I mentally started putting together the parts I realized that it was a single style of plastic lawn chair cut up. (multiples of it)
I remember stepping back, and just smiling at the whole thing. How brilliant, innocent, happy, strange, and delightful the whole idea was.
That's the feeling I think you're talking about, I just don't know how better to articulate it.
This is an interesting thread Ed. Actually what you have highlighted is the kind of commentary I suspect many of us would love to have about our images.
As always, enjoyed reading Jim C's post.
With your image, being a nude; I find myself at first tentative glance assessing the 'safety' of looking closer. That proving OK, it gives me quite an etheral feeling of detachment, perhaps loneliness(?) The bowed head, covered eyes giving a sense of sadness, but feigned. Feigned, because the arms and fingers give a different sense.
Last edited by John McCallum; 10-14-2004 at 10:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I think that you brought up an interesting and important consideration. I took some time to think about this and I don't know that the photographers initial reaction always is transmitted to the viewer. It would be a nice ideal if it were to work that way. The other factor that is involved is the life's experiences of the viewer. That makes art very often an individual experience.
When I saw your figure study, I had no immediate reaction other then to admire the beauty of the human form. But then that could be a "male" thing. I honestly did not see how well exposed or how sharp your photograph was for that matter.
It is interesting, though, that I have realized similar reactions from a number of viewers of an image in a book that I have about Edw.Weston. This particular image is described most often word for word as "death and destruction". Now I have no idea if that is what Edward Weston saw and felt in exposing and printing this image. But that is what several people indicated at separate times and without knowledge of what others had felt or what others had said. That might make a case for your original hypothesis.
At any rate, interesting thread.
I'm the opposite of 'steve'. Although I like a beautifully made photo or painting as much as anyone I'm more excited and interested in the thought or idea in the piece. I like it when I feel a reaction, especially if the work is not about beauty itself. Beauty is overrated in photography IMO.
I agree totally...but what then becomes of aesthetics?
Originally Posted by Art Vandalay
This is why I realized that I couldn't properly address aesthetics because of the definition. If I really think about it, the images that strike me must have an aesthetic quality that works on me without being too noticeable. Probably it would be the overall composition even if the subject matter, or the superficial quality of the print is not what would normally be considered aesthetically pleasing. Some of the images by Paul Graham are like that for me. The snapshot-like quality adds to the disturbing undercurrent of his images of The Troubles in Ireland.
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
I think that there are photographs where it is pretty apparent to see what motivated the photographer and therefore really connect with what he must have felt at the time.
One such image for me is by Steiglitz called Venitian Boy, 1897.
I believe that this is one of the most beautiful portraits ever made by a photogrpaher. The image is of a young boy, perhaps 10 years old with tight curly locks of either light brown or blond hair, seated on what appears to be a step. He wears somewhat ragged clothes and a rope is used for a belt. The thing about this portrait is the eyes. The lens shows the hair and eyes razor sharp, but those eyes have a look, the look of a boy who knows of a world far beyond his years. They literally drill into the camera lens and it becomes almost impossible to take your eyes off of his. Every time I see this portrait in a book I have, I am always asking, what do you know? What is the story behind those eyes that look so defiant and yet so scared?
I can feel the excitement that Steiglitz must have felt as he composed the image under the ground glass. And still those eyes, if you look at the picture long enough, can haunt your over 100 years later.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"