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  1. #51
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Hej Emil,

    So what is it about the opinions of others that matter so much?

    - Thomas
    Hi Thomas.

    Upbringing, I think. "Breeding" (?)

    I'm from Denmark, and as you might know, we over here has this "Law of Jante", which bacically tells everybody to keep a low profile - and one shouldn't dare presuming to be "better" than others.

    A classic Danish approach...

    So we're somewhat taught to be humble - or pretend to be..
    And we're worried on how others might think of us - especially when not present..

    I am a trained musician, and after my graduation I first entered, and then cancelled several competitions for places in symphony orchestres..

    For two reasons:
    How would I feel if I didn't win?
    But more important: what would happen, if I did win? (the idea was, that the rest of the orchestra proberly quickly would realize I was nothing after all....)

    I have refused exhibitions on the same reason: what if somebody, that actually know what he/she is doing saw my junk?

    Ahh well... I have learned to live with it.

  2. #52
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gandolfi View Post
    Hi Thomas.

    Upbringing, I think. "Breeding" (?)

    I'm from Denmark, and as you might know, we over here has this "Law of Jante", which bacically tells everybody to keep a low profile - and one shouldn't dare presuming to be "better" than others.

    A classic Danish approach...

    So we're somewhat taught to be humble - or pretend to be..
    And we're worried on how others might think of us - especially when not present..

    I am a trained musician, and after my graduation I first entered, and then cancelled several competitions for places in symphony orchestres..

    For two reasons:
    How would I feel if I didn't win?
    But more important: what would happen, if I did win? (the idea was, that the rest of the orchestra proberly quickly would realize I was nothing after all....)

    I have refused exhibitions on the same reason: what if somebody, that actually know what he/she is doing saw my junk?

    Ahh well... I have learned to live with it.
    Emil,

    I understand where you're coming from; I was brought up the same way and used to feel exactly how you do. Inside I knew very well that I was a very capable person, good with my hands, a good head on my shoulders, fairly blessed with strength and agility, but like you say I would never act like I did.

    It wasn't until 2001 when I moved to the United States that I started to realize that it was OK to be confident. While I try to remain humble, I don't mind confidence, and if someone asks about photography, for example, I have no problem telling them that I am pretty good. Someone might ask me if I'm a strong bicyclist, and I will not deny that I am pretty strong. I guess what I'm saying is that culturally my attitude changed, because this society is more accepting of confidence.

    And, your pictures would look wonderful in any exhibition. I really mean that. You are one of the people out of all photographers that truly inspire me.

    - 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

  3. #53
    Gim
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    Emil,

    I can't think of anybody here that is more original than you. I always look forward to seeing what your up to and wish I had some of your vision. Junk?? No, I make junk.

    Best,
    Jim

  4. #54
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    I see it more internal like when I am writing poetry, setting it aside for several days even forgetting about it, and comming back to it later only to look into the mirror I created and see what I did not realize in the first go. I do this with my prints and negatives as well as my digital images. It is a mode of self meditation and mental self medication if you will. I dont see it as selfish but rather a necessity to begin to eventually understand myself, my perceptions, and my limitations where I can begin to work through those limitations and extend my perceptions about the world around me. I am not selling anything, in fact I am paying for more self reflection, building a darkroom in my basement to print in order to experience more behind the experience of image creation and realization or self actualization. I dont have a plan to sell anything. I do trade prints to photographer friends and give gifts to relatives or friends with birthdays; but essentially I am doing this for myself as well. Have you read the book "Tao of Photography" http://www.amazon.com/Tao-Photograph.../dp/1580081940 it may give you some ideas.
    "Often you will discover in life, that temerity yields little that quiet observation and decisive action can!"

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    The idea need not be big. Today for example, I am going to take pictures of the kids playing soccer. My idea is not to look for outstanding goal shots but kids in control of the ball...
    Posted the shot in Gallery, Pink Piranhas vs Purple Panthers. I got what I was thinking of, a kid totally focused on the ball. Not suggesting it was a great idea, it was a small idea.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    As my photography life continues on, I seem to be interested more and more in purely subject matter. This has proven a bit difficult for me to live by, because I'm not 100% confident in how to handle it. How do I follow my heart?

    Hopefully photography is about subject matter; finding something interesting, taking a picture of it, and finally making a killer print out of it. After all, my aim is to satisfy nobody but myself, and while I enjoy sharing with others, discussing, and giving or receiving critiques, my endeavor is entirely selfish - it's all about satisfying myself.

    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?

    For me, I just keep taking pictures of things that interest me, and then I attempt to make the best print that I am able to. That's my idea of what photography should be about, about seeing, reacting, and transferring what I saw to paper in a way I think looks great. The end goal is always to be true to my heart with my intention.
    Thomas, Another great thread!....To your point about making images that you enjoy as being selfish.... I think we all do that to a degree. It is after all, a way to express ourselves as artists. If others also like the work we are doing, that is an added bonus, but not a neccessity to calling an image successful. If the creator is happy with it, that is all that matters in my book.

    Personally for me, photography is a way to decompress and not think too hard about the hectic day to day world we live in. As part of that comes the need to create, or 'reasons' to photograph. We all have our motives and drivers that generate that urge to capture and express the images we interpret. Some do it as a profession, some to it for relaxation, some do it to socialize, some do it for validation. Similarly, the way we approach this art is different for all of us as well. Some like to convey feelings, or emotion. Some like pictorial and dreamy, some like tack sharp and true reality type interpretations.... All approaches are valid, and as long as the individual is comfortable in whatever genre, approach, then go ahead... make your art, be true to your vision of what you like and stick with it.

    In the little peeks into the fine art world I have seen, there seems to be a clear push to having a narrative behind what makes someone create a series of images, and a themed approach. While I agree with having themes for bodies of work, the narrative aspect is what sometimes ruins it for me.... I feel that images should stand on their own without a pressing requirement to have a narrative. It is what makes art different for each of us. We should be able to make our own minds up. I've also heard that giving images titles that do not allow the viewer to think are unsuccessful (threads about this have been on APUG!)...

    Like you, I've often thought, what does it all mean, where am I headed, and what's next? I believe that's a natural occurance in any expressive medium... I view these moments as a way to punctuate where we are on this journey. It's a new chapter, stepping stone, new page, or whatever you call it. Sometimes it's a confusing step, as there is no clear and right answer. Often times, in a moment of clarity, a new direction or challenge usually presents itself for us to evolve into. As long as we continue to grow, and be moved to capture, and create, that's all I want and need from this pursuit.
    I've had a few shows of various themes in my own personal journey, and while not many images were sold, the showing aspect I feel is important not purely for validation reasons either, but because it gives the artist a sense of closure... Another punctuation moment if you will to close out one theme, and be able to move on and start on another.

    These are just my .02 cents and observations. YMMV.

    A.
    Please check out my website www.amoxomphotography.com and APUG Portfolio .....

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Moxom View Post
    In the little peeks into the fine art world I have seen, there seems to be a clear push to having a narrative behind what makes someone create a series of images, and a themed approach. While I agree with having themes for bodies of work, the narrative aspect is what sometimes ruins it for me.... I feel that images should stand on their own without a pressing requirement to have a narrative. It is what makes art different for each of us. We should be able to make our own minds up.
    A.
    This has been my experience too and it drives me crazy. Recently I spent an acutely embarrassing 20 minutes with the art critic of an art magazine, trying to answer his questions about my photos. It was as if we were on different planets, speaking different languages. I wanted to say, "Look. Just look. Stop talking and LOOK!." But that's not the way it works in the art world and, to some extent, if you're even faintly interested in having other people look at your work, you have to play the game. Many years ago I did an MA in art history, so I was able to blather on, talking academic tripe and hating myself for it. But I learned from it and reading this highly principled, intelligent thread has confirmed for me that I won't ever do that again. Being a typical Libran I've always struggled to find balance between following the heart and living with the practicalities and exigencies of daily life. All power to you, gentle friends, for your wise and helpful comments.
    Les

  8. #58
    smcclarin's Avatar
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    I like Bresson's take on the how and Ansell's take on the why. Best of luck if finding your eye and keeping it around for as long as possible.
    "Often you will discover in life, that temerity yields little that quiet observation and decisive action can!"

  9. #59

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    This is a really interesting thread, I wish I had seen it earlier.

    My photography career has swung from the extremes. From the requirement of pleasing others when I did commercial work, to the sole desire to create images that please myself. I have found satisfaction in both.

    Shooting on assignment, having the absolute requirement to give the client exactly what they want or need, can still be very satisfying. Especially if one can exceed the expectations of the client and influence the client to move in a direction that better serves their needs but was not something that they necessarily had thought of. There's nothing wrong with making someone else happy and for me a job well done and the appreciation of my clients, as well as their resulting loyalty and long term business relationship was very gratifying.

    Once I started shooting specifically for myself I found a deeper satisfaction. I shoot specifically and only what I want to see. My criteria at the time of capture is based purely on my seeing something that I find visually compelling either on an emotional or intellectual level. I was not focused on producing some sort of monograph of some limited topic, something so very common now in the art world. This has hurt my career to some degree because it seems to a large extent that the art press and academic art world prefer to see a clearly defined theme, like a monograph on left handed, anorexic, jail house mothers. I sometimes wonder if they need this specificity because so much of this type of work contains imagery that lacks sufficient content per image to tell any story, and therefore requires volume as well as an over intellectualized written narrative to tell the art intelligentsia what to think. But I can't play at this game. After 25 years of shooting for others, I am not going to start doing that again, and for a lot less financial gain to boot.

    So I shoot what I want to see, I shoot the kind of work that I would hang on my own walls and could happily look at for years. I'm fortunate that my inherent aesthetic is appealing to some people and that some people will buy my work making it possible for me to continue to produce images. However I find often that images I consider my best work are less appreciated than other images that I consider to be good work but not my best. I guess that is just the reality of the art world, and market, some images are more universal, others too personal or too unique to one's perspective.

    For those who's interest is in producing work for profit, if they inherently don't have the aesthetic to produce work that has a commercial audience, they will have to cater their work to that audience. And there's nothing wrong with that if financial gain is your goal. For those who shoot specifically because they love to shoot, and might not have an aesthetic or perspective that has a more universal appeal, they may simply have to suffice with the knowledge that what they produce is for themselves and not set too much of an expectation on any sort of financial reward. And here too there's nothing wrong with that. Just doing work that you love is a noble goal in itself.

  10. #60
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    My first start with photography, was with film and some developing back in 1988, then I had a looooong break until i bought a digital dslr in 2005, I bought my first analogue in 2006, just for fun, to do some film developing and scanning for the fun of the process.

    So, when I started out, I mostly did the "photo club" route, where you make photos as technically good as you possibly can, but the subjects were pretty boring. So in the beginning I suppose i shot for my own pleasure (it is, after all, fun), but seeking acknowledge and praise from my peers seemed as important. Subject matter wasn't a priority, as long as the photo were "nice to look at", didn't have any distracting elements, not too centered, not to unbalanced etc etc

    After a while, I got fed up with that, with photography in general really, it all became...boring, it wasn't going anywhere.

    That's when I started to shoot for my own, not thinking about what others liked, started to break some rules, started thinking about what I was photographing and why. I also started to shoot people (friends as first, then aspiring models), still mainly digital.

    Even later, I've found myself to be more and more self-centered and "egotistical" in my approach to photography: I shoot when I want, what I want and I am trying to push myself to "see" better.
    As a peculiarity, I attended a local photo club for 1 year (trying to get some friends to get as interested in photography as myself ), and they had the usual "photo of the week" competition.
    Normally not something that is tempting to me, but I used it to push my mind and eyes further. Say they had a subject called "joy" or "movement" (very traditional but whatever), then I used those weekly competitions to increase my creative mind, promising to reject idea number 1, idea number 2 and even rejecting the third idea that would pop into my mind.

    In that way, the weekly competition got very hard and I had to really concentrate to focus on what and why I was photographing, how to convey something, how to look at something in a new or different way.

    I did win the photographer of the year in that club :P but it wasn't my main goal really, I saw that I had actually started to view photography in a different manner.

    Although I still photograph cheesy sunsets (because I like them), I still draw from this exercise in developing my eyes and creative mind and I can still go out with an idea and come home with no photos at all, but a little smarter.

    I use both digital and analogue equipment, I like both, they are two sides of the same coin really, but at the same time, very very different.

    Some of my friends say that I should hold an exhibition, but I just laugh at that, from all the photos I have taken, you will find no common thread or coherence, it vary so much in both style and subject, expression and mood that an exhibition would be a sorry mess of everything and nothing really.

    As a revelation though; The only photos I have wanted to print and hang up on my own walls, have been prints made in the darkroom, most other photos have been forgotten about after finishing and/or publishing them on the web/facebook.

    Praise from others is no longer something I seek, it's nice that people like the photos off course, but it's no longer essential to me.

    I still haven't sold a single print yet, and I couldn't care less, hahaha! =D

    The best photograph I've ever taken, is probably the next one, or the next one after that.
    Last edited by Helinophoto; 01-04-2012 at 08:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    -
    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

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