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  1. #91
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    The use of the word 'pictorial' in critical writing on photography generally refers to more illustrative compositions - i.e. one point perspective, near-far, little emphasis on formal elements (no abstraction of space). Most amateur landscape photography you see prescribes to pictorial methods. 'Pictorial' means *compositional* devices derived from painting, basically.

    'The Pictorialists' or pictorialism on the other hand was a movement in photography that not only used pictorial compositions, but attempted to emulate painterly, impressionistic effects through photographic techniques.

    So I assume you mean 'pictorialism uses abstract concepts', but... pictorialism is only abstract *in technique* if we consider straight photography the norm. In actual fact, f/64 and Edward Weston's work in particular would have been considered abstract in its nature and thinking at the time. F/64 paved the way for formal abstraction in photography through proposing that an 'intensity of seeing' is more important than effects in technique.

    Pictorialism at its core is illustrative, with the 'fuzziness' adding the mood and emotional elements.

    Coming back to contrast and what Thomas said about negative space (pure black or pure white) being used as formal compositional elements - something Bill Brandt did a great deal. Although this is a product of photographic technique it has all its roots in f/64 because it is informed by seeing and in turn, the abstractions of seeing. Pictorialism had no part to play in the use of contrast as aesthetic.
    Yes, I mistakenly left off the "ist".

    The point I'm making regarding Pictorialists leaning toward abstraction is that Pictorialists aren't necessarily or even normally trying to picture anything "straight".

    Also f64 has no lock pre-visualization or seeing.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

  2. #92
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    It is merely a stance against photography being used to imitate other art forms, and an assertion that the purity of the photographic image is, in itself, the art form of the photographic process, accentuated by the optical qualities of the lens, I believe AA used the term "straight photography" in the writings. Not to be confused with a "straight print" made without any dodging and burning, the phrases are not at all to be used interchageably.
    So what's wrong with photography imitating other art forms?

    HCB used photography to "draw pictures" instead of pencil and paper.

    I fully believe that HCB would have simply used a different medium if photography had not be available. Cameras and photographic processes were incidental to him, simply tools that were convenient in expressing ideas, not somthing that had a role in defining the idea.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

  3. #93
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    [QUOTE=markbarendt;1427311]So what's wrong with photography imitating other art forms?[QUOTE]

    Postivley nothing at all, if that is what you want to do.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    So what's wrong with photography imitating other art forms?
    Nothing is wrong with it. But the Group f/64 manifesto clearly wanted nothing to do with that. They wanted to move forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Nothing is wrong with it. But the Group f/64 manifesto clearly wanted nothing to do with that. They wanted to move forward.
    Yeah. It was a reactionary movement (which most are). Certain things have to be compromised, if only for a certain period, for art to progress. Most celebrated art and photography today is notable for its broad appropriation of the arts in general, so it's become acceptable again. In our age of uncertainty, trying to find answers, I think much art is attempting to summarize everything that's gone before in one concise statement. Seems that way to me.

  6. #96
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Nothing is wrong with it. But the Group f/64 manifesto clearly wanted nothing to do with that. They wanted to move forward.
    So we did that, had a pretty good run of it too. Just checked, yep I've got the t-shirt too , now what?

    I don't want to minimize the good that f64 has done, it provides a clear structure and understandable guidelines to achieve specific results. It encourages seeing before shooting, rigorous attention to detail.

    It forgets/rejects though 1000's of years of artistic history and theory. It puts us in handcuffs of sorts.

    So, now what?
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

  7. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    So we did that, had a pretty good run of it too. Just checked, yep I've got the t-shirt too , now what?

    I don't want to minimize the good that f64 has done, it provides a clear structure and understandable guidelines to achieve specific results. It encourages seeing before shooting, rigorous attention to detail.

    It forgets/rejects though 1000's of years of artistic history and theory. It puts us in handcuffs of sorts.

    So, now what?
    I've found a great deal of contemporary photographers reference painters as influences before photographers. As others have mentioned, F/64 wasn't the whole story at that time, and people like Bresson/Callahan were actively involved and influenced by the broader arts. So whether or not we take from painting might depend on how religiously we follow F/64 thinking - which it should be mentioned, is about 80 years old at this point and only consisted of 7 photographers.

    Felt the need to respond, sorry, as my previous comment vaguely suggests where contemporary photography is at.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post

    It forgets/rejects though 1000's of years of artistic history and theory. It puts us in handcuffs of sorts.
    I don't see it as doing that at all. I see it as asserting that photography is its own art form, not just a way of imitating what came before.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  9. #99
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
    I don't see it as doing that at all. I see it as asserting that photography is its own art form, not just a way of imitating what came before.
    Actually I'd suggest that they were subjectively defining there own subset of photography for their own benefit in an act of shameless self promotion as stated in paragraph 2 in the excerpt below.

    This wasn't the first time a bunch of artists got together to promote their work, think Impressionism for one example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

    The following was excerpted from this Wikipedia artical http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_f/64

    Bolds added by me.

    The first paragraph is purely subjective specifying "cleanness and definition" as a standard. That is obviously but one of many effects a lens and a piece of film can create and they essentially admit that in the third paragraph.

    IMO they purposefully boxed themselves in simply as a marketing tool to be able to get more shows. Galleries love themes.

    Group f/64 displayed the following manifesto at their 1932 exhibit:

    The name of this Group is derived from a diaphragm number of the photographic lens. It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition of the photographic image which is an important element in the work of members of this Group.

    The chief object of the Group is to present in frequent shows what it considers the best contemporary photography of the West; in addition to the showing of the work of its members, it will include prints from other photographers who evidence tendencies in their work similar to that of the Group.

    Group f/64 is not pretending to cover the entire spectrum of photography or to indicate through its selection of members any deprecating opinion of the photographers who are not included in its shows. There are great number of serious workers in photography whose style and technique does not relate to the metier of the Group.

    Group f/64 limits its members and invitational names to those workers who are striving to define photography as an art form by simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods. The Group will show no work at any time that does not conform to its standards of pure photography. Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form. The production of the "Pictorialist," on the other hand, indicates a devotion to principles of art which are directly related to painting and the graphic arts.

    The members of Group f/64 believe that photography, as an art form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself.

    The Group will appreciate information regarding any serious work in photography that has escaped its attention, and is favorable towards establishing itself as a Forum of Modern Photography.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Actually I'd suggest that they were subjectively defining there own subset of photography for their own benefit in an act of shameless self promotion as stated in paragraph 2 in the excerpt below.
    Your're certainly entitled to your own opinion on it, but you are stating that it is shameless and therefore wrong to "self promote", my opinion on that is, utter nonsense. It's called being in "business" for yourself--------what is wrong with that? They were no doubt trying to put money in their pockests by selling prints just as many may do today. The manifesto was simply a core belief and a passionate one for those practitioners, just like it may be for some today, me included. I do not care for the "fuzzy wuzzies" myself or otherwise turning a photograph into something that does not look like a photograph. IMO, anytime I may post a photograph on the web, I am, in a manner of speaking, promoting "straight" photography in my own right but without the "manifesto", who needs one these days anyway.

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