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  1. #11

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    Photographing for someone else is very foreign and difficult for me. I have of course actually does this but I consider it "work". Nothing wrong with work but it rarely gives me the pleasure of just doing my own thing.

  2. #12
    Rick A's Avatar
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    For me, it's all about self satisfaction. When I was young I dreampt of being an artist. Life happened to get in the way of that and beat it out of me. I managed to get to a point in my life where I can focus on my desire to form art, and shoot to find the artist in me. If people find my work appealing and want to own some of it, fine and dandy. I have managed to sell some of my more mainstream looking photos, and that fuels the artist in me even more.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    How does the rest of the world practice photography?
    Do you aim your photography at selling the pictures? Or does it all come from the heart? Do you blend what's in your heart with inspiration from others?
    Do you subscribe to any particular ideas about photography, like all your photos have to be stark realism, or romantic like pictorialism?
    Recently I have stepped back from the act of photography and engaged myself more in surrealist drawings and woodcuts. Inspired by conversations with my dear fried Diwan Bhathal, I started to worry that my work just wasn't "fresh" any more.

    So then I set out sketching whatever came to mind. The idea was to sketch whatever is in my head without questioning it, as directly as possible, and not allow myself to ask why I see that or whether someone else will like it or accept it. The idea is simply to get it out. The results have been everything from light and funny to deeply disturbing, but mostly interesting.

    For me, the act of photography doesn't quite lend itself to that kind of emotive freewheeling... yet. So I've taken a little holiday from it. The idea is that what I am doing will feed back into the photography in some way. If it doesn't, fine, I'll just keep sketching and whatever.

    What I have learned, from this holiday, is that I was certainly much too concerned about how others viewed my photography, and that preoccupation with process and technicals and whatever else was certainly keeping me from expressing the thoughts that I think are most valuable.

    What happens next, who knows. I am slowly regaining my interest in photography, but I am definitely seeing things in a different way. More creatively, I think.

    The point of this lengthy soliloquy is that I think that all of us who aspire to create art have to keep seeking original approaches, different ways of thinking and seeing. We have to seek ways to keep it "fresh." Otherwise it all becomes formulaic and stale. At least for me, there isn't one formula; as soon as I feel that I have mastered one particular approach (e.g. black and white IR landscape) to the best of my abilities then I simply lose interest and move on.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  4. #14
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Keith,

    I just want to make sure that it's clear that I too don't think there is 'one' formula for any of this. Following your heart means to be open to whatever strikes our fancy. Whether it's fresh or not doesn't matter, as long as we enjoy it.

    I confess that the most fun I've had with photography in the last few weeks is - prepare to be shocked - playing with my iPhone. Now if I disregard the fun of that I would not be true to myself. Ha. There. I said it. I doubt it will last, however. As with all other things, the only thing that has remained constant throughout my time spent with photography is film, chemistry, and darkroom. Everything else surrounding it has changed, but the pure base for me is film and darkroom. What's around the corner? Who knows. But I'll keep on trucking as long as I enjoy what I'm doing.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #15

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    Thomas, this is something I have struggled with for a long time. What I finally ended up accepting is that if I am honest in my photography, and truly photograph what I want to photograph, I will likely never sell anything. There are two reasons for this.

    #1: The subject matter I'm most interested in (for now at least) will never be popular with buyers, whether they are seriously into photography, or just looking for something decorative.

    #2: I find that for the most part, print quality is overlooked by most people. They're simply not interested. I work extremely hard on my prints, and again, if I print honestly, the results are usually quieter and more subtle than the type of thing that would really grab someone's attention. The types of photographs and prints I have always admired are ones that I can continually come back to, over and over, perhaps finding new details to appreciate, rather than prints with alot of initial "zing" that might end up falling flat over time.

    I guess in the end if your aesthetic preferences don't jive with what people like most (my case), you have to decide whether or not to comprimise. So far I have decided not to do that. I decided if I can satisfy myself, and also be able to go to someone like John Sexton with a portfolio and get a great review, I feel validated enough both as an artist and printer, even if no gallery will ever want to see or show my stuff. I can sort of rest knowing it's not because I suck.

    I'm wondering why you're thinking about this though, Thomas. At least if we use APUG as an example, your work is quite popular and gets alot of attention. That's a pretty nice combination - doing honest work true to your vision, and also having it appreciated by many others!

  6. #16
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Michael,

    It's more of a philosophical query, really, not doubting myself or anything. I'm pretty sure I know how to proceed with my work, it's just that I hadn't really put it into words before. It's been sort of a gut feeling all along, and as I did think about it I thought it might be interesting to explore the subject with others.

    Keep doing what you're doing, Michael, if you ask me. Since you're not bothered about feeling validated anyway. To me it proves strength as a photographer, or artist of any discipline, to continue working on things that entertain only our own imagination. It means you were able to filter out the mainstream and opinions of others.
    Now, I do find it rewarding to discuss my work with others, and sometimes doing so can give me great ideas of how I might like it better myself. When I apply those ideas I sometimes like it better that way, and that's pretty cool. I usually prefer to do that with folks whose opinions I value, though.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #17
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    I too love my iPhone for the immediacy of being able to take a picture any time any where. Will it ever replace my large format gear? NO. But it is what it is, the right tool for the task at hand when I'm walking down the street and see something spontaneous, or when I'm in a museum where I want to take a visual note about something I want to use later in a more formal, polished image. As I was saying to someone on the street when they were interrogating me about why I was still shooting with my 5x7 - "It's not that I reject digital. I do shoot it. But it's a case of the right tool for the task - would you grab a hammer from the toolbox when you need a screwdriver? Would you say that oil painting is superior to watercolor, or watercolor is superior to oil painting because of one particular characteristic? If I want to paint on canvas with opaque colors, I'll use oils. If I want to work on paper with translucent colors, I'll do watercolor". We got over the whole "color is superior to black-and-white/black-and-white is superior to color" thing a long time ago, when Edward Weston (Brett?) said, "You can say things in color that you can't say in black-and-white". The converse is also true, and eventually we'll get to "You can say things in digital that you can't say in analog, and vice versa".

  8. #18
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Scott,

    I relate to what you're saying very much. I like what I like because I like it, not because everybody else likes it.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #19
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Thomas- I think we're on exactly the same page here - I do what I do because what I make when I'm done pleases me. If I can find a market for that, so be it. If I can't, well, at least I made something that made me happy, and it's my own assessment that matters when I'm drawing my last breath and looking back on my life.

  10. #20
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    All you guys who say you do it just to please yourselves: don't you know that'll make you go blind? At least that's what my dad told me.

    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

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