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  1. #1

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    [color=indigo]Boy that's a lot of questions .....[/color]

    How do you see your photography advancing the medium, or do you?

    [color=indigo]I am not a guru of photography nor do I want to be even if I had the chance which I wont. I shoot pictures that I want to shoot the way I want them to look. If people like my work that's nice, if they don't it won't change the way I work.[/color]

    Is it important to you to break new ground, or are you satisfied to work in an established tradition?

    [color=indigo]If it's new ground for myself then always happy and looking for new idea's / concepts.[/color]

    Do you feel that your work accurately represents your ideas and passions?

    [color=indigo]It's getting there. Given say another 30 years I may have something I'm 99.5% happy with and representative.[/color]

    In what direction, if any, do you feel that the medium is moving, and how are you contributing, or not, to that movement?

    [color=indigo]As I said I'm not a guru, so other than giving advice where I can probably not.[/color]

    In what direction do you think that the medium should be moving, if any, and how are you contributing, or not, to that movement?

    [color=indigo]Again I'm not a guru.[/color]

    How do you see the future of our medium?

    [color=indigo]Camera's, film, etc. will continued to be produced and people like ourselves will continue to use it. Also new generations will come along and re-discover what we have found. Nothing changes really since the day the first camera's were sold.[/color]

    [color=#4b0082]Can I have a cigi and single malt scotch break now please? [/color]
    Last edited by TPPhotog; 10-30-2004 at 01:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    most of the work that we're doing bores the hell out of me
    Not that "we're doing" because I don't like to impose my artistic bent on other artists, but I have lately felt that my work has devolved into "pretty pictures." They just seem rather boring, so I have lately been going back through old work and looking for images that I still like now in an effort to see if I have moved artistically in a direction that bores me. Now I have been trying to take and print more pictures that evoke some sort of visceral feeling be it anger, serenity, confusion, or glee. The difficulty in this lies with the attachment one has to recently taken photos. To circumvent this and find photos that truly carry some emotional impact--however little--I have been storing away the recently shot images and culling through my older files (1-5 years old) for images to print. The hard part, is that my technical expertise has jumped in leaps and bounds since then and some of them are hard to work with
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #3
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Just wanted to place an addendum:

    A lot of my work is very disjointed with no themes. To this end I have decided to spend time in my girlfriend's horse pasture shooting over the course of the next couple of years to give myself a fall-back location to return to shoot when I am feeling run down. In addition, the work will probably all be done with a holga and one of those neat panoramic cameras a la Leon (when I can get one) as I spend too much of my time shooting local concerts with a complicated whiz-bang digital camera and not enough with a simple lens, shutter, box, and film.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  4. #4

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    This topic probably isn't intended for the hobbyist but I'm going to answer anyway. I hope no one minds.

    In the midst of this "digital revolution", it seems to me that photography has become polarized, with digital imaging fighting for legitimacy . . .

    I've gotten the impression that it's now traditional photography that is fighting for legitimacy. Digital is new and advanced. Is does more, faster, easier ... than ever while traditional is considered out-moded, slow, and perhaps cumbersome.

    How do you see your photography advancing the medium, or do you?
    Is it important to you to break new ground, or are you satisfied to work in an established tradition?


    I don't know that I'm breaking any new ground or working according to an established tradition. I shoot the way that works for me based on information I have gleaned from books and other sources, but I don't follow a strict set of rules. I really don't know where that places - likely exactly where I am though, in the rank of amateurs.

    Do you feel that your work accurately represents your ideas and passions?

    To an extent. I can't say that a photo of a mushroom is a clear and definite representation of who I am as a photographer but it is in the realm of what inspires me.

    In what direction, if any, do you feel that the medium is moving, and how are you contributing, or not, to that movement?

    I'm shooting film. I explain clearly why I personally enjoy the medium. I share my photos and my passion with people. Beyond that I'm not sure what else I personally could do.

    As I've written before, most of the work that we're doing bores the hell out of me, but I've begun to identify that work that seems to offer something important and interesting, and the photographers responsible for it.

    I imagine that a lot of people find my photos boring. Honestly most of them even bore me, but currently I'm not trying to wow anyone. I'm just learning the ropes. When I view the images that wow other people though I feel pretty certain that I will forever be a boring photographer because the "wow" stuff doesn't do a thing for me. The same photographers and styles don't excite me or inspire me in any way.

    How do you see the future of our medium?

    I think it will be a growing struggle to validate using film over digital as digital makes more advances. That could just be my overwhelming pessimism coming out though.

  5. #5
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Interview with Wynn Bullock, March 1975
    From Dialogue with Photography by Paul Hill and Thomas Joshua Cooper:

    Are you pleased that photography has been reacching an increasingly wide audience? If you are, how would you like to see this increasing awareness developed?
    I feel that photographers of the future should not do the things Stieglitz did, not the things Edward Weston did. They should have more to do with symbols. But for me the great strength of photography is its reality. However, I think we have to evoke new symbols-equivalence is one of them-that expand our minds so that we may be more at home in this scientific and terrifying age we live in.

    Do you see photographers as being able to fulfull that need?
    I think so, but I don't think they're doing it. I think most of them are doing the opposite.

    Do you mean the younger photographers?
    Yes, particularly those younger photographers who are presenting political and social manifestations of all the things that are wrong in the world. That has a useful purpose, but I personally think that if you keep doing it, you lose part of your life. I would rather think of the more positive things, the things that can develop, and then maybe these other things can be changed. Just continually being anti...I'm pro.

    Do you see yourself as an explorer with the camera?
    The world is so mysterious. If you grow, you grow with your own powers, your own faculties; space is one, time is another, recognition of reality now becomes one. You can develop your sense of different realitites, but you can't develop existence. So you come to principles that are in harmony with your nervous system and with your experience. I feel that this is the direction that photography is going to have to take, because the external world has been photographed until it's simply repeated and repeated and repeated. Reality can change. If you develop your own powers, you can develop your realities to express things symbolically.
    Jim

  6. #6
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Jeremy,
    When I wrote "we're doing", I was referring to photographers as a group, and not any particular "artistic bent". In light of your determination that your recent work has devolved, and your intention to adress that by a change in equipment and subject matter, how will your new work differ from the work that you find unsatisfying?
    I think the problem is that my recent work all tries to fit into some sort of formula of what "works." Having done too much work for others in the need for live concert photos (and a few other projects) most of my shots fit one of these formulas (i.e. Faces of the band members in the shot, all of the instrument, even flash lighting, minimal blur). In my opinion my best work is when there is no formula and this applies to the concert shots. I used to break the formula all the time while shooting gigs, but 99.9% of the time the band would just pick out the shots that fit the formula and toss the rest--I have recently been paid by the shot kept so I spent more of my time shooting within the formula to make the sales. Sadly this has pushed its way over into my personal work and all of my photos seem to look the same. To beat this predicament I want to work with new subject matter that interests me to help break from this mold--I enjoy spending time out at the pasture (~8 horses), but I can't ride that often being allergic to the horses (stupid allergies again!). The equipment is also meant to help me escape from this structure I have worked myself into--the concert work is shot on digital in a jpeg format and then burned directly onto cd for the band so the color balance, cropping, and exposure has to be done on the fly in dank, back-alley clubs and bars. Whenever I work with the holga I feel much freer and loose, I don't know why, but if I work with it enough I am hoping it transfers over to more controllable cameras. This has had me so upset recently that I have decided only to shoot concerts for the few bands that not only like, but prefer the shots that break the mold.

    The panoramic camera? Well, I have always wanted one and this seems like a good excuse
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  7. #7
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    That's a fair bunch of questions Jay.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    In the midst of this "digital revolution", it seems to me that photography has become polarized, with digital imaging fighting for legitimacy, while "traditional" photography seems to favor reactionary conservatism, and a disproportional reverence for the past.
    Only because certain parties want it to be polarized. From my view point, I see the digital group being the reactionaries, elitist reactionaries at that. They come off to me as saying "we are better because we are digital". Their whole argument revolves about that agenda.

    I don't associate traditional photography with some sort of reverence for the past. That's being hidebound which I'll have none of. I do it the way I do it because it feels good and works for me. And the methods I use, while they are "ancient" and therefore "traditional" still produce better photographs than any digital method that's come along yet. I suppose there are some very, very expensive digital rigs that may do as well but those are far beyond my means. Even on the analog side, I spend and have spent less getting an 8x10 Deardorf rig, Azo, Amidol et al than a lot of people have tied up in just one lens for their Hasselblads.


    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    This adversarial relationship has had the effect of stagnating the medium as a whole, and distracting photographers from the purest pursuit of expression.
    Well, that's one of the follies of war. If you want to make war, don't complain about what it brings about. If you don't want what war brings, don't go there. No allegory to current politics intended or meant. Just the observation of one old soldier who is content to fade away.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    How do you see your photography advancing the medium, or do you?
    Only by the fact that I am one person practicing large format photgraphy with contact printing. I will never be famous nor written about. It does seem to attract attention and curious questions though. Maybe it plants a seed or two somewhere. I'll never know.


    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Is it important to you to break new ground, or are you satisfied to work in an established tradition?
    Neither concept is important to me. Breaking new technical ground is far beyond the means of most individuals although it occasionally happens. I have no desire to invent something for photography. My 60+year old camera and lenses seem to work just fine for some strange reason. And, again, traditionalism has nothing to do with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Do you feel that your work accurately represents your ideas and passions?
    To a certain extent, yes. But I'm not completely satisfied at the moment. I don't think one should ever be because I think that dissatisfaction, to some extent, is a valid driving force behind creativity, or refinement of current practices. I would like to do more.



    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    In what direction, if any, do you feel that the medium is moving, and how are you contributing, or not, to that movement?
    That's rhetorical. I'm contributing to Large Format B&W photography as an individual practicing and displaying it. No more than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    In what direction do you think that the medium should be moving, if any, and how are you contributing, or not, to that movement?
    That's rhetorical again. I try to stay away from any prescribed "movements" because they are inevitably driven by someone with a self-centered agenda.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    As I've written before, most of the work that we're doing bores the hell out of me, but I've begun to identify that work that seems to offer something important and interesting, and the photographers responsible for it. How do you see the future of our medium?
    Boredom is a matter of personal feeling. What bores one excites another. I find most "art school" junk to be just that - junk. Most art school people say the same about my junk. That's fine, doesn't bother me a bit. But I do have a couple friends who are art school grads and I value their opinions. Neither one is caught up in the digital elite movement.

    The future is bright from where I sit.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  8. #8
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Thanks, Jim! 1975, eh? Mr. Bullock's comments definitely resonate with me. The symbols of a new reality comes close to describing my present direction and emphasis. How about yourself, Jim?
    I think Jim is being symbolic.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  9. #9
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    I think that being caught up in the creative process somewhat blinds one to the kind of overview being probed here. I have no idea how to describe what I'm doing or what I've done until my wife offers a 'critique'. Whether it breaks new ground or not couldn't matter less to me....the ground I'm covering is new ground for me. I do confess to being aware of being repetitive, however, and when that begins to happen, I try to avoid it as much as possible.

    I think people using digital processes could care less about film photographers in the same way I stopped even thinking about LP's when CD's came along (I hated LP's anyway and used prerecorded open reel tape for years before CD's were ever conceived.). The people who rant and rail are the ones more interested in equipment than in image making....the digitalists making images are likely to be too busy with their work to bother with belittling anyone else.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    I'm not sure how advancing the medium relates to mentoring/teaching/or being a guru. Maybe we have differing definitions of the term "guru". Do you care to clarify?
    My pleasure and I'll clarify if I can.

    I suppose in a way I tend to think of a guru in this context as someone like the great photographers who really pushed the boundries of our art. A small example would be Adams. Capa, Weston, May Ray, Hosrt P Horst, Cartier- Bresson. the list goes on.

    My work has been and always will be insignificant to the world of photography. That isn't to say that it isn't important to me because it is. But if I had a heart attack here at the keyboard before you finish reading this the history and future of photography would not notice.

    I think the only concious thing I can do is offer advice based on experience to those who are coming into the art of capturing light. At the least my advice may help them to enjoy their photography more and maybe who knows they will be they ones that do push the boundries.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    You seem to tie the history, and future of the medium to equipment and materials, without mention of content or self expression.
    My point is that the materials will continue to be produced and we will still have them available for our art. I don't feel that the introduction of digital and the loss of some suppliers if any will cause us problems in the long term.

    Self expression and content is of course very important and I'm sorry that I failed to make that point. Hopefully we are all expressing ourselves with every depression of the shutter release.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    You wrote that your work might accurately represent your ideas and passions in another 30 years; what do you think you're doing or not doing to make that happen?
    Hopefully and looking back I have always rebelled in some ways even when on paid shoots. I use 28mm lenses when the purists say I should use a 100mm to make a model look good. I use a 105mm when a picture editor tells me I should use a 24mm and get run over by the demonstrators. Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm giving-up all pro work.

    I think over the next 30 years if I have them left, I will break more of the rules finding out which of them can or cannot be broken in relation to the style I like or discover. I only recently discovered Rodinal not bad as I first used an SLR back in 1976. If I had tried it earlier maybe I would have found the style I like earlier, but too late to worry over spilt ID-11/D-76 or DD-X.

    Interestingly from my point of view I think I am also shooting things and in ways I would have previousely dismissed. I was recently shooting at my local arboretum and was told by the groundsman that in all the years he's worked there people have used it for model shoots to landscapes. I am the only person who got on their knee's that he's seen and shot close-up /macro's. My lastest shoot this week was Tmax P3200 shot with a flash in almost complete darkness of the flooding here and souped in Rodinal 1+50. The negs look good but when I told other fools out there trying to capture the scene they all thought my plan for processing the shoot was enough to call the men in white coats.

    Sorry that was such a long reply and I hope you stopped for a coffee break reading through it. I hope my reply makes a little more sense now but ask away if not and I'll try to reply with something shorter.

    Best wishes Tony

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