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RodinalDuchamp
1-Jul-2015, 07:10
Moderators please move of this isn't the right forum.


I've been photographing everything I find interesting. I think anytime 2 or more images are shown together a third dialog begins to develop.

I am in school and there is a very heavy influence of conceptualism and post modern ideals I find myself constantly fighting. Because I tend to lean toward not thinking or planning about what I am trying to "say" with my pictures. I feel they say enough on their own.

Now this isn't about writing or even speaking about the pictures. It's a question of at what point is the message coming through on its own, why force the work to be something other than what it is.

I'd like to hear some of your opinions on this as I know many of you have had quite successful careers as artists.

Kirk Gittings
1-Jul-2015, 07:35
Paraphrasing SS here. I read an interview with Sebastian Salgado. I consider much of his work pretty powerful and self explanatory yet in the interview he said that the images were simply a hook to draw people into discussions with him about broader social issues. In much the same way I use my landscape photographs to talk about SW human history even when there is no obvious man made elements obvious in the image. These images, for example, from the Petrified Forest can be seen simply as pretty desert landscapes but I use them to bring people out a discussion about the history that passed through it from Clovis hunters to Rt. 66. All photographs are potentially a teaching moment that can enrich peoples lives beyond simple obvious beauty. In that way they become triggers for broader ideas and appreciation. From decades of showing and selling images I know that people absolutely love and treasure these back stories.

Paul Metcalf
1-Jul-2015, 08:06
I prefer to try and express an emotion or emotions in my photos (which would be mine at the time of image capture), and if a dialog is needed I'll just talk (and listen). Oh, and make the best darn image and print I can.

But I haven't had a successful career as an artist.

jcoldslabs
1-Jul-2015, 08:19
I've never thought that my photographs were "saying" anything. When I compose a photo, I'm reacting to what's in front of me without a thought in my head. It's a purely intuitive act along the lines of, "Wow, that looks neat. I'll take a photo of that." All I'm hoping for is that a few viewers will think, "Wow, that does look neat." But I'm a hobbyist, not an artist.

Jonathan

DrTang
1-Jul-2015, 08:22
I photograph to see how things look photographed


who said that?? Winogrand maybe??

on the one hand..I am trying to remove as much 'subjectivity' as I can.. as if I am photographing specimens for a scientific publication..or mug shots

on the other..I am also trying to please the models with some of the outcome anyway

and then, on the third hand, I am poking fun at something some of the time too

so..with three different sets of goals..I try not to think at all otherwise I'll forget to stop down or something

Bruce Barlow
1-Jul-2015, 08:25
[QUOTE=DrTang;1256178]I photograph to see how things look photographed


who said that??

I heard Fred Picker say it, but I wouldn't guarantee he was the first.

Jac@stafford.net
1-Jul-2015, 08:29
I photograph to see how things look photographed


who said that?? Winogrand maybe??

Yes, Garry Winogrand.

paulr
1-Jul-2015, 08:33
I'd suggest rethinking the question. If you ask about photographs "saying" something, there's pressure to know what you're trying to say before pointing the camera, or before leaving the house. Good work rarely comes out of this. For one thing, it tends to limit you to saying what you already know. Or to being merely as smart as you already are.

Think instead in terms of what your photographs are exploring.

You can do a lot of exploring before you have to form an opinion on what you've discovered.

I'll argue that it's important to form such an opinion, eventually. You're going to have to edit your work, and sequence it, and shape it into a larger whole. This is rough going and potentially fruitless if you can't find a guiding principle. And if you can't decide why the body of work matters, it's a bit presumptuous to think others will. You'll also have a much easier time getting people's attention if you know how to talk about it.

So yes, think about it, and yes, say something. But try to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open for a long time first.

paulr
1-Jul-2015, 08:36
who said that?? Winogrand maybe??

Yes. And as with most things he said, he was dodging the question.

Kimberly Anderson
1-Jul-2015, 09:27
I don't care if my photographs say anything. I care tremendously that they ask something. I want them to start a discussion and hopefully they begin that conversation by posing a question to the viewer.

Randy Moe
1-Jul-2015, 09:32
All Art is political

RodinalDuchamp
1-Jul-2015, 09:46
Wow. I didn't expect so many great responses so fast.

I agree with probably all of you at least in some way.

Paulr mentioned that trying to have a notion of what is to be said before grabbing your gear is counter intuitive. I have to agree.

Personally I like photographing because I like photographing. Everything is exciting, I enjoy it.

But as an artist there are things I want to say, but I don't want to feel like I'm trying to make the viewer see something that's not there.
For me the nature of my work has become exploratory. I see something, it catches my attention, if I get excited about it I shoot it.

Whatever comes out of that process, in my mind is inextricably linked to whatever subconscious notions exist. Forcing a meaning on to that becomes a chore and dissatisfying. Hopefully eventually some commentary will arise organically from the series/sets

Oren Grad
1-Jul-2015, 09:52
Hopefully eventually some commentary will arise organically from the series/sets

It's fine if it does, but it's also fine if it doesn't. There's no one right way to do or present photography. It's not necessary to have an agenda beyond wanting to share a joy in seeing, if that's what's driving you.

ckagy
1-Jul-2015, 09:59
But as an artist there are things I want to say, but I don't want to feel like I'm trying to make the viewer see something that's not there.


I try not to confuse saying something with communicating something. Saying only needs one person involved and all that matters is his or her satisfaction with what is said; how it is received by others is secondary. Communicating needs two or more people, and how the message is received is critically important.

Off to split more hairs... ;-)

-Chris

Doremus Scudder
1-Jul-2015, 10:07
I think we use the term "say something" a bit carelessly, therefore confusing verbal communication with other kinds of expression.

My photographs "say" nothing (unless there are signs in them :) ), but, I hope, express a lot. Photography can be like musical improvisation; spontaneously exploring the subject on an instinctive and intuitive level (gut reactions, if you will) or, it can be more methodical and thought-out, similar to composing. However, photographs, like other non-verbal art forms, exists in a wordless expressive world, communicating on a different level and in a different manner.

There are lots of elements in a photograph that express: the composition, i.e., juxtaposition and arrangement of elements, which can be wonderfully expressive in itself, the subject matter, if recognizable, communicates with us too, so do the tonalities and textures, the more tactile elements of a photograph. And, lets not forget all the things we can do with visual references to culture or to our instinctive reactions to certain shapes, etc. Then, of course, we can combine images and text; the one enhancing the other to form a whole that is (hopefully) greater than the sum of the parts. The list and the combinations are practically endless.

So, to the OP: You're "saying" something (i.e., expressing something) with your photography whether you recognize it or not. Growing as an artist is recognizing what you like, what you want to express to/share with others and why that is important to you. Great art works on many levels simultaneously, and that is what I strive for. I try to combine expressive composition, virtuosic performance, intriguing and meaningful subject matter, references to history, literature and other visual arts as well as thought-provoking underlying narratives in my work. That said, I usually let my subconscious guide me when choosing subjects and, I must confess, usually the impetus to photograph starts with "that looks cool!" Only after something has caught my eye do I work it, looking for expressive possibilities, stories, arrangements, emotion... After I think I have put an image together that will make a good photograph, I set up the camera.

What I'm trying to say... Look at my photographs. As Robert Frost said when asked to explain a poem, "You want me to say it worse?"

Best,

Doremus

Heroique
1-Jul-2015, 12:13
What I'm trying to say... Look at my photographs. As Robert Frost said when asked to explain a poem, "You want me to say it worse?"

That reminds me of an anecdote about a young Beethoven.

After he played a piano sonata, a listener asked what it meant.

Beethoven turned back to the piano and played it again.

-----
I feel no loss when excellent prints have no explanatory placards.

prendt
1-Jul-2015, 12:22
Moderators please move of this isn't the right forum.


I've been photographing everything I find interesting. I think anytime 2 or more images are shown together a third dialog begins to develop.

I am in school and there is a very heavy influence of conceptualism and post modern ideals I find myself constantly fighting. Because I tend to lean toward not thinking or planning about what I am trying to "say" with my pictures. I feel they say enough on their own.

Now this isn't about writing or even speaking about the pictures. It's a question of at what point is the message coming through on its own, why force the work to be something other than what it is.

I'd like to hear some of your opinions on this as I know many of you have had quite successful careers as artists.

It seems to me you're just after reasoning you could use in your "constant fighting" at the school. Am I mistaken? If pictures don't say anything they are just boring pictures. How about that?

RodinalDuchamp
1-Jul-2015, 12:27
It seems to me you're just after reasoning you could use in your "constant fighting" at the school. Am I mistaken? If pictures don't say anything they are just boring pictures. How about that?
I'm not so sure that's what I meant at all.

I don't need justification. What I am fighting are post modern principles forcefully applied to a modern art (photography).

The post modernists are much more methodical in conceptualization. Sometimes though photos are just good photos end of story.

prendt
1-Jul-2015, 12:48
Yeah, but to say sometimes photos are just good photos doesn't say much to speak about. There must be more underlying.

Mark Sawyer
1-Jul-2015, 12:51
I am in school and there is a very heavy influence of conceptualism and post modern ideals I find myself constantly fighting...

That's the dominant state of Fine Art academia today, especially in photography. You chose to play in their house by their rules, so there you are. Good luck with the uphill battle; you'll be somewhat analogous to a musician trying to play classical etudes for a crowd that came to hear Pussy Riot.

RodinalDuchamp
1-Jul-2015, 12:51
Yeah, but to say sometimes photos are just good photos doesn't say much to speak about. There must be more underlying.
Yes but this is radically different from photographing with intent in mind.

Whatever is communicated is inherently in the picture itself. Of course the viewers own perspective and experiences will come into play at some point. I'm OK with this.

RodinalDuchamp
1-Jul-2015, 12:53
That's the dominant state of Fine Art academia today, especially in photography. You chose to play in their house by their rules, so there you are. Good luck with the uphill battle; you'll be somewhat analogous to a musician trying to play classical etudes for a crowd that came to hear Pussy Riot.
lol yes it does feel that way - sometimes. Fortunately the photo professors are very understanding of this dilemma since they too have lived it already.

It's good to hear what you guys have to say.

Peter Lewin
1-Jul-2015, 12:56
My vote goes with the comments that suggest that the photo itself may not "say anything," but that a good photograph engages the viewer, so in that sense the viewer says something.

But we are also sailing very close to the idea that the viewer should be able to intuit the photographer's intention. While this might be true in some cases, I'm tempted to paraphrase from memory an anecdote on this subject from Sally Mann's "Hold Still" (which I just finished, so it hasn't yet deserted my short-term memory :)):

Eudora Welty (the author) was giving a talk about her writing, including a short story which involved a piece of pound cake. As Sally tells it, a couple of PhD candidates in the back were excited during the question and answer session, and asked Ms. Welty what made her think of the pound cake as a symbol for yin and yang, or black and white (Welty is a "Southern" writer!). Ms. Welty considered the question, and replied, "Well, the recipe has been in my family for many years..." (i.e. for her, the cake wasn't symbolic, it was just part of her everyday life). So to state the obvious, the viewer's or listener's ability to intuit the creator's intent is marginal at best.

jp
1-Jul-2015, 13:18
What I am fighting are post modern principles forcefully applied to a modern art (photography).


I'm sorta weaving back and forth over the line between photography as a modern art and photography as a pictorialism/arts&crafts thing. It's my choice. No police are going to come along and tell me to stay in a certain lane. Rhetorically, if you're fighting post modern photography, that means you're either fighting by your self or with someone on the side of post modern photography. I do enjoy surrealist photography but I think conceptualization is a very small part of that genre and don't consider it post modern. Sorry for not much of an answer, but do what works for you rather than fight.

Greg Miller
1-Jul-2015, 14:13
Moderators please move of this isn't the right forum.


I've been photographing everything I find interesting. I think anytime 2 or more images are shown together a third dialog begins to develop.

I am in school and there is a very heavy influence of conceptualism and post modern ideals I find myself constantly fighting. Because I tend to lean toward not thinking or planning about what I am trying to "say" with my pictures. I feel they say enough on their own.

Now this isn't about writing or even speaking about the pictures. It's a question of at what point is the message coming through on its own, why force the work to be something other than what it is.

I'd like to hear some of your opinions on this as I know many of you have had quite successful careers as artists.

Putting aside documentary photography (maybe), photography is an expressive art. Just like dance, sculpture, painting, music,... Expressive arts just move the viewer in some way. If it doesn't what is the point? Why ask the viewer to invest time seeing a photo if it does not move them in some way? Player pianos are technically perfect, but express nothing. They are boring as hell after the third time you hear it - its purely a technical exercise. When you hear a really good musician, you feel moved by their music.

mdarnton
1-Jul-2015, 14:16
I don't think the question is so much HOW you say it but IF you say it. For that we need to see some photos. You got photos? Otherwise it's all just talk, and talk is definitely not photography at all. :-)

Bruce Watson
1-Jul-2015, 14:37
Does it have to say anything?

Yes it does. But it only has to say something to you. That doesn't preclude it saying something to lots of people. But it has to say something to you, directly; otherwise you won't make the photograph.

Plenty of photographers have that (those) special photograph(s) that means something to them that no one else understands. As it should be. I actually didn't feel like I knew what I was trying to do until I produced a few of those.

I've got one of those up on my dining room wall. My wife gets it. No one else seems to. The usual comment is "what a pretty picture of a tree". Often my wife and I will exchange looks then, and a sly smile will cross her face. Just sayin'.

mdm
1-Jul-2015, 14:44
Photographs do communicate something, but it's not always evident to the photographer what is being communicated. Atget just made photographs without pretension, but they communicated something extremely important and are still relevant today. Personally, I like Jonathan's approach because if we just get out of the way and respond to what we see intuitively including the backstory, this was my granny's vase, flower for my lover, ancient trade route, the quality of light, the state of your mind, those things are there in the photograph. But if you use your mind alone the result will be mechanical, or theatrical, and that is often the case when you start lf photography and you are too busy whith the mechanics of the process and is often the case with modern photography. What is a selfie if not theatre? Perhaps all art is political but not all photography is art, and the greatest art transcends politics and the mind and pierces the heart.

Joe O'Hara
1-Jul-2015, 14:59
Many interesting perspectives here.

Personally I agree with what Beethoven said (@16).

Greg Miller
1-Jul-2015, 15:46
Personally, I like Jonathan's approach because if we just get out of the way and respond to what we see intuitively including the backstory, this was my granny's vase, flower for my lover, ancient trade route, the quality of light, the state of your mind, those things are there in the photograph.

The problem I have with this approach is understanding why a scene moves you helps select the optimal camera position, lens, aperture, shutter speed, ... If you are not connected with your own feelings enough to know why a scene moves you, then your chances of success are pretty low. And if you are skilled and practiced enough with your equipment and process (what some people refer to as craft), then there is no fear of becoming mechanical. You can assemble your camera and choose a lens without requiring enough thought to shift the brain from the right hemisphere. Being mechanical, or very left brain occupied, occurs when the mechanics require enough attention to cause one to shift from right brain to left brain. Musicians become musical when that have mastered the technical aspects of their instrument enough that the brain can stay right hemisphere dominated. But ask a master guitar player to play a tough piece musically after not touching his.her instrument for a year, and they will struggle. Master ballet dancers are not thinking mechanics when they dance, they are thinking expression. They know what they are trying to express and the mechanics are not a dominant thought.

Jac@stafford.net
1-Jul-2015, 16:18
Photographs do communicate something, but it's not always evident to the photographer what is being communicated. Atget just made photographs without pretension, but they communicated something extremely important and are still relevant today. [...]

Perhaps no one else made similar images and he was discovered, made popular through patrons. Do not throw away your ULF images of McDonalds.

.

jcoldslabs
1-Jul-2015, 18:40
If you are not connected with your own feelings enough to know why a scene moves you, then your chances of success are pretty low.

Why is the "why" important at all? I almost never know why I am taking a picture. If I thought about it too much in advance I would break the spell and talk myself out of clicking the shutter in the first place. My impulse to photograph is separate from my intellect. That's part of the appeal for me.

J.

Greg Miller
1-Jul-2015, 18:51
Why is the "why" important at all? I almost never know why I am taking a picture. If I thought about it too much in advance I would break the spell and talk myself out of clicking the shutter in the first place. My impulse to photograph is separate from my intellect. That's part of the appeal for me.

J.

If you don't know why a scene moves you, how can you possibly make decisions on how to photograph it. What to include, what to exclude, hat camera position, what aperture,... sure, you can go ahead and make a photo with ou that understanding, but you'll be lucky to be successful, if you can even define.success. I can randomly press keys on a piano but I would be lucky if the notes turn out to be music.

It isn't a matter of thinking too much. It is a matter of being in touch with your feelings to know what moves you. I don't sit there and ponder a scene. I have learned how to recognize what and why I want to photograph. It happens quickly. And often part of that includes recognizing that the scene can move me more by waiting for better light. If I wasn't in touch with what moved me about a scene I would have now way to know when to trip the shutter to make the best photograph possible. Or with a portrait knowing when to trip the shutter to get the best expression for the photo I want to make.

Keith Fleming
1-Jul-2015, 19:15
I am a former graduate student with a PhD in history, and I think Mark Sawyer's comments about playing by the school's rules are good advice. If the goal is to learn and obtain a diploma, then fighting the system is not very helpful. There were times I just said to myself, "Okay, I'll play their silly game, but will go my own way once I have that diploma."

Even so, it might be helpful to go see faculty members and talk about the issue. They may agree with you--and they recognize which students use art-speak as a smokescreen to hide a lack of genuine creativity and vision.

But deep inside me is the sense that successful photographers and other artists are able to talk honestly and openly about their own work and motivations in a way that makes sense to whatever kind of audience they are addressing. School is a good time to develop that ability, and it is a worthwhile goal.

Keith

jcoldslabs
1-Jul-2015, 19:19
If you don't know why a scene moves you, how can you possibly make decisions on how to photograph it.

Not sure, but I've been doing it this way for over 35 years.


...sure, you can go ahead and make a photo with ou that understanding, but you'll be lucky to be successful, if you can even define.success.

I've never claimed to be successful, so you may be on to something there.

J.

Peter Lewin
1-Jul-2015, 19:27
We all know the story about Ansel Adams and Moonrise, where he saw a scene, realized that he had only minutes to get the image before the light would no longer be on the cemetery crosses, knew from experience the luminance of the moon, and managed to set up his camera and get the shot before the light left the crosses. Now in those few minutes, do we think AA analyzed what it was about the image that appealed to him, or thought about what he wanted to say? Obviously I don't know the answers to those questions, but my hunch is that he saw an image that struck him, and he made the photograph simply because it "looked good." Even though I have seen that picture a lot of times, both in actual AA prints and in books, I still couldn't tell you what it says, but it is an image that many of us enjoy. Now to me as an East Coast resident, it an image that typifies the "Old West" and a wonderful, somewhat exotic, landscape, but since AA lived in that landscape, who knows if he had a different message, or any message, in mind?

Greg Miller
1-Jul-2015, 19:34
I would guess that Ansel knew very well why that scene moved him. He was skilled enough that it was instantaneous, and was practiced enough technically to know what lens to use to frame the shot (exclude elements that did not support his feelings) and the other settings. Don't take what do you want to say too literally. But if you do t know why a scene moves you, how do you make good decisions for making the photo, and how can you expect the viewer to be moved?

Randy Moe
1-Jul-2015, 19:39
Not sure, but I've been doing it this way for over 35 years.



I've never claimed to be successful, so you may be on to something there.

J.

Don't change and I know you won't.

I also know what I like, after I see it...meaning your work.

:)

Greg Miller
1-Jul-2015, 19:44
Yo yo ma: you don't play music for perfection. The point of music is to make someone feel..


how do you make so eone feel about something if you are not in tune with how you feel about it?

paulr
1-Jul-2015, 20:38
If you don't know why a scene moves you, how can you possibly make decisions on how to photograph it.

Well, I've done it a lot, and don't think it's such an odd practice. You do what feels right and hope for the best. Your feelings and intuitions are probably informed by a lot of experience (and thinking about that experience) so it's not like this is actually a naive process. You didn't pop out of the womb and pick up the camera.

I think it's later on, when you have enough pictures to start crafting a body of work, when the kind of clarity and articulation you're talking about becomes important. It's a rare genius who can shape a coherent body of work without thinking clearly about it.

I'm usually working on something that's new to me, and I'm trying to stretch myself. So it's not so surprising that it might take a while to figure out just what's attracting me, and what's going on on all those different layers.

koh303
1-Jul-2015, 20:46
I am in school and there is a very heavy influence of conceptualism and post modern ideals I find myself constantly fighting. Because I tend to lean toward not thinking or planning about what I am trying to "say" with my pictures. I feel they say enough on their own.

That is what MFA or art education in general is for. If you were thinking about getting an education, you are wasting your time (and money).
If you thought you would learn something - you have it all right there - learn to talk about your work outside of what you planned/thought/did not think it might or would or could be. Thats all art education is.

If you are only starting out (i would guess this is the end of your first year of and MFA, though who knows), then you still have time to stop, take the money and invest it (real estate might be a good thing if you live in SF or Boston...), and if you are a senior in a BFA program, than you are late to the party.

dsphotog
1-Jul-2015, 21:57
Who coined the term "Post-rationalization"?

Peter De Smidt
1-Jul-2015, 21:58
Just because someone doesn't consciously consider reasons for taking a photograph, whether before or after taking it, it doesn't mean that they haven't thought about it. Not all thought is conscious.

LabRat
1-Jul-2015, 22:26
I believe creating any visual work is a statement (of sorts)...

We probably create as an extension of our survival mechanism... Way, way back when, we had to create our way out of troubles to survive , such as eating, staying warm, staying alive, reproducing, etc... Later we started to sense our lives had meaning, so the hunts were drawn on the cave walls, to mark that in our evolving sense of limited time here... And that we were developing a sense of order... We followed our instincts, and we developed a more and more complicated order along the way... We formed communities that were a mutual benefit for all there... As people became more numerous, individuals had to "invent" new perspectives/ideas/processes to get ahead of the "crowd" to have more to survive with, then to find something as one's own... (And we even went as far as to question the very things we had developed...)

So we have a long tradition as humans to create, and make order of things... (and sometimes destroy order!!! Things got REALLY complicated!!!!!!)

But back to pix, we are usually trying to make something say (at least) something, (pretty/ugly/big/tiny/unexpected/likable/empty/crowded etc, on and on and on...) We pick up on that stuff...

Or reverse that and let the subject reveal and speak... (Pretty flower/creepy slum, on and on and on) Or letting the camera pick up on the unseen...

So we are always thinking through this "filter"... And this will be reflected in the final result...

As photogs, we have a complicated balancing act going on where we have a process that we're trying to keep within it's scales, and keep outside problems from wrecking that balance, learn to work with hardware that might be more or less responsive to what we are trying to do, keep things within budget limits, put ourselves out there to lift and think about how to apply the hardware, to make the right technical calls so as to fit into those scales, (and not screw-up!!!) deal with the environment we will be in, AND still have the instincts to create order within the frame!!!! (Often of what's there or NOT there!!!) Then bring it all home for the next steps of the process...

So we better make our visual statement count!!!! Try to make/let a miracle happen!!!! It's in your genes!!!!!

Life's too short for empty art!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve K

John Kasaian
1-Jul-2015, 22:40
An interesting post.
I'm working on two series right now which definitely say something--- but I'm not the one saying it---the subject says it all in ways far more eloquent than I am even remotely capable of---I'm merely recording it on film.
Landscapes for me are different. I figure if I like being there, it's likely someone else would like being there but since they aren't, I want to share the exprience with them

Leszek Vogt
1-Jul-2015, 23:46
Unless one takes aimless snaps, most of us leave a soul residue of ourselves in the images we take. Some people will see it...while others don't. That old adage about G. Canyon keeps returning....where one person sees the beauty (and the details of the landscape) + unusual light, etc. and is excited about it....and the next person....lets just say Homer-like character, who sees is as a massive "hole".

Les

tgtaylor
2-Jul-2015, 00:26
“From the counter[in a roadside diner] where we sat, he had turned and taken a picture of a big car trailer with piled cars, two tiers, pulling in the gravel driveyard, but through the window and right over a scene of leftovers and dishes where a family had just vacated a booth and got in their car and driven off, and the waitress had not had time yet to clear the dishes. The combination of that, plus the movement outside, and the further parked cars, and reflections everywhere in chrome, glass and steel of cars, cars, road, road. I suddenly realized I was taking a trip with a genuine artist and that he was expressing himself in an artform that was not unlike my own and yet fraught with a thousand difficulties quite unlike those of my own.” Jack Kerouac on Robert Frank in On the Road to Florida published Evergreen Review, No. 74.

Thomas

Greg Miller
2-Jul-2015, 03:27
Well, I've done it a lot, and don't think it's such an odd practice. You do what feels right and hope for the best. Your feelings and intuitions are probably informed by a lot of experience (and thinking about that experience) so it's not like this is actually a naive process. You didn't pop out of the womb and pick up the camera.

I think it's later on, when you have enough pictures to start crafting a body of work, when the kind of clarity and articulation you're talking about becomes important. It's a rare genius who can shape a coherent body of work without thinking clearly about it.

I'm usually working on something that's new to me, and I'm trying to stretch myself. So it's not so surprising that it might take a while to figure out just what's attracting me, and what's going on on all those different layers.

I'm not suggesting you can't it. But it seems logical that the more in tune you are with why a scene moves you, the better the odds are for success, or at least making the photograph better. I think you congorm that in your last paragraph.

jp
2-Jul-2015, 13:15
I was on a road call for work today and I got to listen to a couple CDs getting there and back. I had brought along some classics. First was No Doubt's Rock Steady album. I'm 40, male, and married and Gwen's lyrics don't resonate with me, but the music is so very good and inspired and the album is made to play continously where the lead in track 1 picks up from the last track. I then listened to a Bjork remix, then a little bit of Cranberries and a little bit of Natalie Merchant. Cranberries and Merchant, the mood communicated is more powerful than the lyrics. Sometimes I listen to Phish; "A picture of nectar" album ;it shows plainly that the music is more important than the message since half the lyrics are nonsense made to sound good with the music. Last election cycle, Rage against the machine was PO'd that one of the right wing candidates appreciated their music; clearly the mood/emotion makes the lyrics/message secondary.

I think photos are often the same way to various extents.

Some photographers really want to communicate a message with the medium. Others just want to make cool/beautiful/moody music. I think some photographers pair up with a message to get some extra exposure and mileage and it works well for them (Such as various famous photographers associated with the Sierra club).

RodinalDuchamp
2-Jul-2015, 13:34
I am a former graduate student with a PhD in history, and I think Mark Sawyer's comments about playing by the school's rules are good advice. If the goal is to learn and obtain a diploma, then fighting the system is not very helpful. There were times I just said to myself, "Okay, I'll play their silly game, but will go my own way once I have that diploma."

Even so, it might be helpful to go see faculty members and talk about the issue. They may agree with you--and they recognize which students use art-speak as a smokescreen to hide a lack of genuine creativity and vision.

But deep inside me is the sense that successful photographers and other artists are able to talk honestly and openly about their own work and motivations in a way that makes sense to whatever kind of audience they are addressing. School is a good time to develop that ability, and it is a worthwhile goal.

Keith
Duly noted.

I am not fighting the school or professors at all. If I don't play by their rules I don't finish.

But I always consider myself in school even if I'm not in a college. I've learned tremendously from this forum not only technically but about the art world, galleries, dealings and such. And generally I trust the advice and viewpoints here because they are so diverse and for the most part sincere.

RodinalDuchamp
2-Jul-2015, 13:41
That is what MFA or art education in general is for. If you were thinking about getting an education, you are wasting your time (and money).
If you thought you would learn something - you have it all right there - learn to talk about your work outside of what you planned/thought/did not think it might or would or could be. Thats all art education is.

If you are only starting out (i would guess this is the end of your first year of and MFA, though who knows), then you still have time to stop, take the money and invest it (real estate might be a good thing if you live in SF or Boston...), and if you are a senior in a BFA program, than you are late to the party.
I would generally agree with your statement. However I'm no spring chicken. I went back to school with very specific goals in mind and understand fully being an artists is the furthest thing from a solid financial move.

Luckily I've already done the corporate thing. I'm not cut our for that life style, money does not motivate me. Though I do own my own modest home and have been financially savvy enough to keep my debt extremely low.

Conceptual art is the name of the game but it isn't the only game in town. Some artists prefer to express something, I'm instead exploring something.

h2oman
2-Jul-2015, 13:52
...but I don't want to feel like I'm trying to make the viewer see something that's not there.

What about making (helping?) them see something that is there, but that they've never noticed or seen in the way that you get them to see it?

RodinalDuchamp
2-Jul-2015, 14:00
What about making (helping?) them see something that is there, but that they've never noticed or seen in the way that you get them to see it?
Well that absolutely.

I've thought about this a lot since I started the thread. I never expected it to blow up like it has which is great.

I enjoy seeing and I enjoy seeing things photographed. Often these two things produce images of things in a new perspective. Even for myself. Many times what I see though the ground glass feels differently in a print.

Currently I am allowing my subconscious my lizard brain to control what I photograph. If I like it I shoot it. And there does seem to be some consistency and I believe if I continue working this way some dialog will develop that is more cohesive and focused than if I actively tried or sought to make images that fit together somehow.

Iluvmyviewcam
2-Jul-2015, 16:37
OP, First the pix must please me. I like the subject simplified and to the point. People make all sort of messages out of a pix. I just shoot what I like and let the chips fall where they may. I ma social doc photog, so I don't do much with the creative end of things.

RodinalDuchamp
2-Jul-2015, 16:40
OP, First the pix must please me. I like the subject simplified and to the point. People make all sort of messages out of a pix. I just shoot what I like and let the chips fall where they may. I ma social doc photog, so I don't do much with the creative end of things.
I think we may have more in common than you might think. Actually what you are saying is very akin to how I feel.

koh303
2-Jul-2015, 20:18
I would generally agree with your statement. However I'm no spring chicken. I went back to school with very specific goals in mind and understand fully being an artists is the furthest thing from a solid financial move.

Getting an MFA has nothing to do with being an artist, its just another little marketing ploy they use to make you feel like its needed for something.

This has nothing really to do with money, in most cases, from the perspective of the prospective student (unless or course, like the vast majority, they cannot even think about affording any kind of higher education, let alone a second degree in "absolutely nothing in particular"), but has everything to do with it from the perspective of any school or program. Its a business. They sell a product, kind of like yoga or the maharishi self help retreats. They are selling self affirmation in ones existence (as crappy as that might be, and i am not talking about yours here, but in general), through such tools as peer pressure cookers (crit classes), and arbitrarily appointed moderators/instructors/chairs etc.

For this to work, they must make sure to offer a good reason for someone to drop 100K$ cash. One way to say things like: you need to have an MFA for a career in art education, which in a very generalized way might be true, but they do not tell you the second part of this, which is there are no careers in art education. At least none that actually pay back the initial investment, or are such that can sustain who ever has them. Ask any 10 year veteran adjunct, there are many.

They also say things like: all showing and gallery artists today have an MFA, if you get an MFA, you might be one too. Of course, David Lachappelle would laugh his ass off, but who are we to question what a well lubricated mega billion industry says is the truth?

They tell you that concent driven concept is irrelevant, and that you must master borrowed ideas from other disciplines, like architecture theory, in order to understand yourself, and thus your work, and thus create something that is meaningful without having any intent or meaning, thus answering your initial question of why everything must have a "why" attached to it. That way, if all you make is crap, or better yet, if you do not make any work at all, which in most cases is exactly what MFA students do, they can still pat themselves on the back, in self gratification that they are doing something which is internally meaninful to them, they cannot possible share it with anyone else.

Thats why barthes, boudriar, jameson and jenks are oh so important, and why rosalind kraus and walther benjamin are kings and queens or artspeak.

Lenny Eiger
3-Jul-2015, 11:43
I knew I wanted to teach so I went for the masters. It is true that if you want to teach at the college level, you must have this piece of paper. Yet, I got a lot out of it. After graduating with a BFA in Photography I was like any college student after 4 years, I had taken a lot of different courses, some of them great, others useless. However, the MFA experience had me complete a thesis, a portfolio and one-man show at the college gallery, which bought me a lot of understanding about what that process is about. I am still happy about the work I produced during that time. There were others in that program who had graduated somewhere not so exciting, and wanted an opportunity to study with one or another of the professors where I was. Another good reason.

Koh303 is correct, however. When I graduated there were no jobs. There was an opening in San Francisco, and there were 750 applicants, all of them more qualified than someone right out of school. Ultimately I found a way in and I taught for over a decade. I enjoyed it immensely but the other part is true as well, you won't get paid much at all. It's very tough if you want to have a family, for example, or own a car that isn't one that someone gave you...

The other part about teaching is that the politics are beyond belief. I simply could not believe what people are actually capable of.

I also agree with his position on post-modernism. It's puerile and sterile. Oh, there's a good thought here or there, but it's not a movement because it has no soul... nothing of use to add to our lives. And it is definitely way too present in current day academia.

Lenny

Peter De Smidt
3-Jul-2015, 12:48
Having taught on and off at the college level for a long time, I agree with Lenny. I'll add that whether a class is worthwhile or not depends overwhelmingly on the instructor...and the students. A knowledgeable instructor who teaches with passion and the goal of being a benefit to his or her students can have a profound affect. Another person can teach the very same subject matter and suck all of the joy out of it.

koh303
3-Jul-2015, 16:10
The other part about teaching is that the politics are beyond belief. I simply could not believe what people are actually capable of.

I did not even go into that stuff, because i think for all the years i taught at a state university, i was more of a volunteer that an employee, yet had to deal with all the ancient lasting internal arguments and politics, of the whole 3 person department...

paulr
3-Jul-2015, 18:39
I'm not suggesting you can't it. But it seems logical that the more in tune you are with why a scene moves you, the better the odds are for success, or at least making the photograph better. I think you congorm that in your last paragraph.

It might be most accurate to say that in the beginning of a project I won't understand my attraction, but by the end I'll have more clarity. That's the journey.

And this means a transition happens at some point, which can be awkward and even uncomfortable. After I figure out, ok, here's why I'm doing this, here's what it's about, here's what the project needs, etc.., I have to start thinking more analytically while photographing. This means I'm working much differently when finishing a body of work than I was when starting it. The care-free innocence is over, along with some of the spontaneity. And the results are often mixed.

Navigating this shift from spontaneous reaction to something deliberate—without killing what made the spontaneous work good—is the most challenging thing for me. I think one of things that separates me from the artists I consider truly great is their ability to do this seamlessly, without any apparent loss.

RodinalDuchamp
3-Jul-2015, 19:07
It might be most accurate to say that in the beginning of a project I won't understand my attraction, but by the end I'll have more clarity. That's the journey.

And this means a transition happens at some point, which can be awkward and even uncomfortable. After I figure out, ok, here's why I'm doing this, here's what it's about, here's what the project needs, etc.., I have to start thinking more analytically while photographing. This means I'm working much differently when finishing a body of work than I was when starting it. The care-free innocence is over, along with some of the spontaneity. And the results are often mixed.

Navigating this shift from spontaneous reaction to something deliberate—without killing what made the spontaneous work good—is the most challenging thing for me. I think one of things that separates me from the artists I consider truly great is their ability to do this seamlessly, without any apparent loss.
This is the most accurate account of what I feel and what in a poor choice of words tried to explain.

sun of sand
4-Jul-2015, 09:44
Putting pictures up on wall is a gallery
For many its hard to discern talent beyond a certain point
Therefore
Any gallery will often appear to be a collection from those just as talented as any other

How do you set them apart?
Titles groupings and statements


Give something to belong to and you've fooled people into believing that that something has earned its position there
That that subsection has its own merits whether you understand them or not
Ghost authority
Valuation inflation

Tell a newbie anything and that its great and they may just die believing it
They will share it
They will spread it

How many students have 4.0 GPA?
Ask a parent what that means and they will fight you


appear official and people will just assume you are and must be

Randy Moe
4-Jul-2015, 09:55
+1 :)

Robert Langham
4-Jul-2015, 10:09
What a wonderful....and terrible...thing to be in graduate school in the arts during a time when the West is losing the culture wars! Looks to me as if you are getting better advice here than you probably are there. That said, I'll offer a couple of *crescent wrench level observations:

1. NEVER explain the mystery in one of your images to a viewer. Better for them to wonder. What happens in Fight Club STAYS in Fight Club.

2. Teaching slots are difficult, political and hard to get. Low pay, hard work, long hours are ahead for the next generation due to the fact that the university system on the liberal arts side, is already dead, just staggering around looking for a place to fall. All the value is over in engineering, accounting, geology, et. That said, while you are in school, get every email and business card, start accumulating every gallery, museum, curatorial, publishing, commercial contact that you can. Go to every gallery opening, school function, museum opening and pass out YOUR vistaprint card. Ask for advice. Show work. Cultivate faculty. Visit galleries and businesses and museums. Keep mouth shut. Ask questions. Listen to answers, even if they are full of beans, (which is common). Those people are going to be your client base.

.......And keep in mind that the folks who HAVE those slots are a little desperate, so like approaching a one-eyed mule, don't walk up on their blind side and spook them!

3. Response to "what does this photograph say?" When the Israelites questioned God about his essence inside the whirlwind, his answer was, "I am". Most art says that first. (It's the first thing the raw subject matter said to YOU, as a matter of fact.) When someone asks about an image, answering: "pretend I'm not here," is a good place to start. Asking them if they would like to have the photograph as a purchase or gift. Ask for them to set a price in US dollars, or failing that, in goats. Ask them if they think the print size is right, or if it should be larger or smaller, or if you should print it reversed. Ask what they think about the curatorial sequence on the wall. Talk about the photo and the one next to it and the conversation they have. Let them talk. If they say something helpful that you haven't thought of, whip out notepad and write it down.

Or just reply: "I don't know." Admitting you don't know, and that you are...searching, while keeping the faith. You are in the process. It's a very valuable thing to admit and keep in mind. Artists DON'T know. They ARE searching. What does that photograph say? I wonder....

4. You MUST have deep and nearly complete insight into your images, and be able to talk about them individually and as a series. (That will build over time.) But they are yours and nobody else's. Talking about them is NOT the same as explaining them. Asking a question can edge into being a micro-aggressive act. It requires something of another. (For a moment, you're their slave! Don't resist...but DO see the ground you are standing on.) It is a very powerful psychological position to demand answers for trivial questions. I'd answer with what I wanted to talk about and what I thought was important. A dream that inspired you, observations on where ideas come from, experiences in the field or studio, how you are using titling. (Refer back to Austin Granger's description of photographing Chimney Rock at Point Reyes.

5. You make images to show. Be happy when they see it and ask anything. Even a stupid question can lead to real discussion so be ready to talk about what YOU want to talk about, while staying open to new information. (A completely new idea may appear...like they do. Pull out your notepad and write it down.)

I've shown work six or seven times in the last couple months, all at the museum level. I've got a sequence and a system with some surprises built in. I have a card. I'm always early and have walked their current shows. I've read their CV. They get a notebook of digital proofs that I leave with them, showing the work, plus a bit more. It's professionally presented with titles and short essay about each series. Curators LOVE to see work....as long as you aren't a tourist and wasting their time. My portfolio case is prepped. I show the Blackfork Bestiary, I show Shiprock. I point out which ones are already in major collections. Then I show Magic & Logic, my newish still life series, in mats. I talk about my concept of kinetic still life. I talk about the difference between still life and landscape. It's shocking. When I have ten mats out and they think they have SEEN the work, I start pulling prints out of the mats and showing a second print underneath. The best images are saved for last. Curators actually stagger and get a little frantic at that point. (I'm not kidding.) Then I wrap up. I don't repeat myself, waste time or daudle. I make the point that I would love to be part of their collection.

Good luck! You are in the pipeline, 5 X 5. You will learn to be a master at these questions, and others. Hope I'm being helpful!



I'm sure I will come back and revise this, as ideas change a bit, so check back.

* The "crescent wrench" approach is keeping things simple enough so that experts and beginners can immediately use them without instruction.

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Randy Moe
4-Jul-2015, 10:22
Wow Robert, very good advice!

I wish your essay had been given to me just 15 years ago, when I entered Art school system at age 49.

Thank you!

Jac@stafford.net
4-Jul-2015, 10:45
I wish your essay had been given to me just 15 years ago, when I entered Art school system at age 49.

Indeed! +10

I especially appreciate the crescent wrench approach.

paulr
4-Jul-2015, 10:46
Talking about them is NOT the same as explaining them.

This is one simple idea that needs to be inscribed on the crescent wrench before whacking all artists and critics in the head with said wrench.

Randy Moe
4-Jul-2015, 10:57
Ihe one 'truth?' I learned in Grad school was, 'You are ready to graduate when you actually throw your advisors out of your studio'.

This Fall I will be matched with a current SAIC student in a one year collaboration of unknown scale and consequence.

I eagerly look forward to it.

Jac@stafford.net
4-Jul-2015, 11:29
To Paul & Randy Moe

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Randy Moe
4-Jul-2015, 11:33
To Paul & Randy Moe

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obverse Snap On

scheinfluger_77
5-Jul-2015, 20:18
...Response to "what does this photograph say?"...

..."I am"...


The best thing said so far in this discussion IMO. This is already understood in the other visual arts such as painting or sculpture. It doesn't hurt to learn a new style or school in a medium, but if you understand why you shoot what you do and why the subject moved you in the first place, the pressure to conform to the latest popular style for its own sake becomes irrelevant and ineffectual. Many of my images don't say "I AM", but some do. Somehow Rodin's "The Thinker" comes to mind with your statement Robert.

Robert Langham
6-Jul-2015, 09:00
Everyone here also knows that often raw subject matter says: "I'm NOT." Or "I'm not ready". Or "save your film and move on." That's one I wish I could crack every time. Unfortunately I have a process where I have to gnaw my way in, via lesser images and it costs film and time. A lot of human experience is that way: stupid ideas at least getting you started toward a better and more perfected idea. I wish it was more direct. I have that dream every now and then, that I EXACTLY understand how to make a perfect photo, every time. Exhilarating dream. Then you wake up and can't.....quite....remember the exact approach. It was something VERY simple. Like a crescent wrench.

An old variation of a Zen saying would be: When the photographer is ready, the subject appears.

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Jim Jones
7-Jul-2015, 11:10
When people speak, it is not necessary that they say anything. However, it is usually better if they do. For a rare few, just the sound of their voice is enough.

Drew Wiley
8-Jul-2015, 09:25
My own credo is that nothing should be too obvious. A print can be impressive and catch the eye, but the primary content should be capable of being "discovered" by the viewer over time or be otherwise below the surface. I utterly hate any form of "let it all hang out" photography - either than cutesy stuff so popular now, reminiscent of "gotcha" advertising images (grab you attention, but only hold it a few seconds), or anything with an obvious socially relevant or politically correct readily apparent message (news coverage is a different category), or anything merely scenic. All that kind of stuff bores the hell out of me, including stuff that is academically artsy/fartsy in vogue at the moment. A print, especially a large-format print, should have layers. Some of these might be quickly accessible, but within them there should be something that rewards over repeated viewing, over many years. If I can hang one of my prints on my own walls and still enjoy it six months later, I figure it's a success. Twenty years later, well, it's happened. But I've even had the audacity to hang some big rich detailed prints in commercial settings where everyone initially asked why on earth so much conspicuous effort and technical fuss was spent on a landscape "subject" they couldn't even relate to. But then several months later I got feedback, how certain images were just starting to grow on them, and they were starting to see things like I had, along with discovering all kinds of little intricate features day by day. Of course, I mixed in a few relatively decor-ish prints in
too, which I'd never put in a gallery venue, just to bag their attention initially and justify their commitment of all that wall yardage to begin with. I don't think
very many people are going to understand the majority of my prints, which I shoot for myself. Some do.

paulr
8-Jul-2015, 10:41
The best thing said so far in this discussion IMO. This is already understood in the other visual arts such as painting or sculpture. It doesn't hurt to learn a new style or school in a medium, but if you understand why you shoot what you do and why the subject moved you in the first place, the pressure to conform to the latest popular style for its own sake becomes irrelevant and ineffectual. Many of my images don't say "I AM", but some do. Somehow Rodin's "The Thinker" comes to mind with your statement Robert.

I'm not convinced. Tagging a wall with spray paint says I Am. So does peeing on a fire hydrant (at least to other dogs). Or trolling an internet forum.

Which is not to say that these couldn't be mediums for art (the first often is). But that good art better do more than assert your existence.

Lenny Eiger
8-Jul-2015, 10:43
"If you do not breathe through writing,
if you do not cry out in writing, or sing
in writing, then don't write, because our
culture has no use for it."

~Anaîs Nin

Drew Wiley
8-Jul-2015, 10:52
Yeah, Paul ... in my dictionary "street art" is still "vandalism" and the people who do it have less brains than the dogs peeing on hydrants, because at least the dogs aren't deliberately inhaling toxic fumes. Tagging does say something about who was there; it says, "I am stupid".

koh303
8-Jul-2015, 12:38
Yeah, Paul ... in my dictionary "street art" is still "vandalism" and the people who do it have less brains than the dogs peeing on hydrants, because at least the dogs aren't deliberately inhaling toxic fumes. Tagging does say something about who was there; it says, "I am stupid".

You are right, we are much better off with the hoards of "artists" swarming every "art" fair (read crafts) telling everyone about their latest amazing BW experience photographing some chipping paint, or a falling over barn, or some rust, or a boring landscape. In all cases, you really have to wonder, WHY are they wasting everyones time? Oh wait, thats kind of what happens here more often then not.

Peter Lewin
8-Jul-2015, 12:51
Two excerpts from Emmet Gowin's interview in "Hidden Likeness:"

"What was so powerful about the photograph? I felt that in a photograph you could not be sure exactly what the intention was, because the seeming code of the picture is always under suspicion and unclear. ... The meaning belongs in some way to the scene itself and to the moment, not to the photographer's intention. ... While I didn't show my parents my photographs - I thought they were too private and too secret - I still believed that no one could have said exactly what they were about. Nonetheless I felt I knew what they were about, and of course, most viewers immediately think they know what a photograph is about."

"You can't really know what you're doing and do something new. When you do something new, you intuitively realize that maybe there are good reasons why you took that strange step that seemed unexplainable. ... Something about the process of art-making allows you a kind of relax of purpose: you need not know exactly what you're doing to still be active and at least aim in the general direction - the target - which is the mystery of life."

And one extra anecdote from the start of the interview, which Gowin tells with a smile:

"The day I graduated with my Master's degree in photography, my mother told me, "We're so happy you became a photographer." I looked at her stunned, because I knew that her intention and my father's had been for me to follow him [in the ministry]. ... So I stared at my mother, and finally she said, "Oh, we were so afraid you might become an artist!" I think of that period of my life as simply treading very softly around the edges."

paulr
8-Jul-2015, 12:59
Yeah, Paul ... in my dictionary "street art" is still "vandalism" and the people who do it have less brains than the dogs peeing on hydrants, because at least the dogs aren't deliberately inhaling toxic fumes. Tagging does say something about who was there; it says, "I am stupid".

What a surprising and open minded opinion. Now I know who turn to for nuanced ideas about this. Or anything.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Jul-2015, 13:21
What a surprising and open minded opinion. Now I know who turn to for nuanced ideas about this. Or anything.
Maybe he hasn't been introduced to Banksy

jp
8-Jul-2015, 13:38
You are right, we are much better off with the hoards of "artists" swarming every "art" fair (read crafts) telling everyone about their latest amazing BW experience photographing some chipping paint, or a falling over barn, or some rust, or a boring landscape. In all cases, you really have to wonder, WHY are they wasting everyones time? Oh wait, thats kind of what happens here more often then not.

You're not making any friends knocking people's photography styles here.

If someone sees a falling over barn or rust/paint or a plain landscape, sees beauty in it and wants a photo, and maybe learns or hones some sort of skill in the process, it's good and not a waste of time. People wouldn't bring those photos to art fairs for long if they didn't sell, so it's apparently worth doing, just something few of us are interested in pursuing.

Drew Wiley
8-Jul-2015, 14:05
Photographing peeling paint is one thing. Someone going out with spray cans and tagging is not art. It's a property crime. Interesting discussion about that over in SF lately. A commercial property owner who doesn't clean up the mess gets fined more than the tagger who caused it. Seems the victim should be suing the city for not protecting property rather than the other way around. The sums of money required to clean up a major incident involved in can run into many thousands of dollars, which logically constitute felony territory. Or you get these E-Geek offices over there nowadays that actually pay people to come in there and spray-paint the walls during work hours so they can customize things. If someone tried that here I'd have them instantly arrested on a health and safety violation. It's illegal period - EPA, OSHA, health dept - not just locally, nationwide. Might as well be sniffing glue. So yeah... it does make a statement, that someone is either stupid to begin with or trying real hard to become stupid permanently.

prendt
8-Jul-2015, 14:26
You are right, we are much better off with the hoards of "artists" swarming every "art" fair (read crafts) telling everyone about their latest amazing BW experience photographing some chipping paint, or a falling over barn, or some rust, or a boring landscape. In all cases, you really have to wonder, WHY are they wasting everyones time? Oh wait, thats kind of what happens here more often then not.

+1, Well said koh303.

paulr
8-Jul-2015, 16:41
Photographing peeling paint is one thing. Someone going out with spray cans and tagging is not art.

Look up "false dichotomy."

There's no definition of art that says it has to be legal.

And not all street art is illegal. Graffiti artists that I know always ask permission from property owners. They show sketches first. Why? Because what they do is a lot of work, and they don't want it to get painted over.

Street art is often sponsored by the city in public places. It's supported by grants.

Try something novel and research a topic before forming a negative opinion about it. I promise—it'll only hurt for a minute.

koh303
8-Jul-2015, 17:22
Might as well be sniffing glue. So yeah... it does make a statement, that someone is either stupid to begin with or trying real hard to become stupid permanently.

Indeed, anyone who does not have cash to burn on really useless and meaningless, thoughtless and mostly no art education whatsoever type of photography is actually smart, not stupid, and makes excellet work to be admired. Marshall Mcluhan would have a field day with this one. In a nut shell, this interesting thread about the merits of art education at the post graduate level has ended with Wiley's definition of who should be arrested because of the quality of the art they may or may not make.

In my humble opinion rust bucket/paint chip/lone tree at the grand canyon of yosemite should be arrested for wasting film, and money that could have otherwise be used to feed the masses (and save some fish along the way). They can spend all their time in the pen, penning those greatly boring ideas of "ideal and conceprual" beauty that sells so well in craft fairs and call it art.

Having an art education might be useless in most cases, but can also be priceless when considering what is an "art" felony. Surely creative thinking, even if not at the Bansky level, are by far better then more of the same, of people who are "learning" how to get better at more of the same.

There is nothing wrong with making statements, defying the law, rebelling against societies inadequacies, and pointing out to anyone who passes by that not everything can fit inside small cubes of understanding so common here. Robert Venturi talks about this in his book learning from Las Vegas. Drew - you should read it, it might make you think twice about those felons (though the second though might still be to put them away and throw away the key for violating OSHA regulations).

If you are still not sure what i am talking about check this out:
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/andy_warhol/oxidation.php



posted at the risk of trolling (or feeding the troll)

koh303
8-Jul-2015, 17:24
People wouldn't bring those photos to art fairs for long if they didn't sell, so it's apparently worth doing
Indeed there is no accounting for taste, but the masses choice does not make something good, rather, in most cases popular things are down right awful.
If being worth doing is the measure, pornography is most likely the best and most successful type of art.

Kirk Gittings
8-Jul-2015, 19:06
One irony I find in these discussions. Oftentimes the critics of old school peeling paint photography are obvious descendants of New Topographics. So while one is following a 40 year old tradition (New Topographics and criticizing a 45-65 year old tradition (late modernism-Brett Weston to Siskind).

In my mind the first question is never "is it new" but in my mind "is it any good". IMHO very little is actually new and even less is any good.

jp
8-Jul-2015, 19:10
Indeed there is no accounting for taste.

Indeed.

Peter De Smidt
8-Jul-2015, 20:32
I've bought some fine photography at art fairs, including from some people who frequent this site. Lumping all "art fair" photography together is a bit needlessly dismissive.

Merg Ross
8-Jul-2015, 21:19
If you ask about photographs "saying" something, there's pressure to know what you're trying to say before pointing the camera, or before leaving the house. Good work rarely comes out of this. For one thing, it tends to limit you to saying what you already know.

I am in agreement, concluding this early in my career. Otherwise, where is the accommodation for a happy accident, revelation, or growth? A question for you Paul, do you believe that a photographer must always understand his or her own work?

RodinalDuchamp
8-Jul-2015, 21:22
One irony I find in these discussions. Oftentimes the critics of old school peeling paint photography are obvious descendants of New Topographics. So while one is following a 40 year old tradition (New Topographics and criticizing a 45-65 year old tradition (late modernism-Brett Weston to Siskind).

In my mind the first question is never "is it new" but in my mind "is it any good". IMHO very little is actually new and even less is any good.
Always so rich with information. I did not know of these two artists and googled them. I like their work! Thanks for opening a new avenue for me.

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 09:51
Always so rich with information. I did not know of these two artists and googled them. I like their work! Thanks for opening a new avenue for me.

If you in an MFA and never heard of new topographics at the end of your first year, you should ask for your money back.

RodinalDuchamp
9-Jul-2015, 09:56
I will be honest with you landscape photography is not being emphasized at least at the 2 schools I've attended. The programs revolve around mainly 35mm work. The big names are HCB, winogrand, frank etc. I don't think I've ever even seen Ansel Adams be discussed despite his huge contribution to the national parks.

Just to clarify I am still an undergrad so maybe this affects the curriculum significantly.

Randy Moe
9-Jul-2015, 10:08
I am in agreement, concluding this early in my career. Otherwise, where is the accommodation for a happy accident, revelation, or growth? A question for you Paul, do you believe that a photographer must always understand his or her own work?

Great question!

RodinalDuchamp
9-Jul-2015, 10:32
In my mind the first question is never "is it new" but in my mind "is it any good". IMHO very little is actually new and even less is any good.

I have to agree here. However the new stuff I've seen at least is not for me, seems overworked over-thought probably just for the sake of doing it.

My opinion is that I'd probably be good at what I'm doing instead of doing something new for the sake of novelty.

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 10:47
I will be honest with you landscape photography is not being emphasized at least at the 2 schools I've attended. The programs revolve around mainly 35mm work. The big names are HCB, winogrand, frank etc. I don't think I've ever even seen Ansel Adams be discussed despite his huge contribution to the national parks.

Just to clarify I am still an undergrad so maybe this affects the curriculum significantly.

Well - you should start taking more history of photography classes, and i am guessing you will if you are not yet a 4th year student, so you still have to learn and hear about all kinds of stuff. That said, format has naught to do with what is being photographed.

Ansel adams is boring and only referenced as backing for something else, if ever in art school. New topographics on the other hand is the basis for about 90% of all work currently being made and shown in galleries showing photography. The canonical US/American version of history of photography is pretty aggressive about who it does and does not include.

Bill Burke (?) + Joe Deal: Yes. Marry Ellen Mark + Elliot Erwit: No. Why? Thats the topic of your thread isent it?

appletree
9-Jul-2015, 10:53
In my mind the first question is never "is it new" but in my mind "is it any good". IMHO very little is actually new and even less is any good.

But, this goes to the age old question of what exactly is new? And honestly, does it matter if any good? Maybe for the artist or starving student or advancing the world of art, but if it is art to the originator then is that enough? If it is good to them, even when they claim and feel it is underwhelming, won't this feeling of it being never good enough drive them more and more.


I also think, some people are searching for answers, some think they found the answers, while some suppress/ignore the feeling of answers having any meaning to them. So how someone approaches life in general will ultimately play out in their artistic expressions. Yet if a person is not yearning to grow and learn, how then can one ever ponder meaning and trying to piecemeal a story together. Whether pointing and shooting, adjusting lighting, or framing a shot for 3 hours, I think it expresses something no matter what. Some particular moment in time. Although I feel like anything if we make have our identity in earthly things, it may shift over time. And like the artist themselves or the viewer what something might express one day takes on a different meaning another. Perhaps for years it says little to nothing, leaving it up to the person viewing it. Perhaps after life changes around it takes root of particular meaning or expression. Ultimately one day, perhaps all meaning is lost along with the art, or only subject to how a person stumbling onto feels from viewing.

tgtaylor
9-Jul-2015, 11:03
Great question!

Man if you have to ask, you'll never know. - Louis Armstrong

Thomas

Kimberly Anderson
9-Jul-2015, 11:06
If you ask about photographs "saying" something, there's pressure to know what you're trying to say before pointing the camera, or before leaving the house. Good work rarely comes out of this.

I completely disagree. The last 25 years of my photographic career have been based on knowing what I wanted to say before I went out.


Think instead in terms of what your photographs are exploring.

I completely agree. The last 25 years of my photographic career have been based on what I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be asking while I was out photographing.

IOW, I gradually came to the conclusion that the asking was more important than the saying.

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2015, 11:14
koh - I don't know where you get impressions like that. Where are those alleged art history teachers getting their own version of the story, in the back of some
1970's Sears Roebuck catalog? Cause that "New Topographics" thing was already starting to get monotonous half a century ago. Hardly new, and hardly dominant
ever. There was some interesting stuff. I saw a lot of it when some of the major players were nearly eating out of a dumspter doing that starving artist career.
A few did make it; some I can't even remember. I could care less. I photograph with my eyes and not according to some pigeonholed stereotype about what I'm "supposed" to be doing.

Corran
9-Jul-2015, 11:23
An interesting thread and something I've thought about many times.

I've learned more by sitting down and talking with artists and art professors (of all genres), often while viewing art at galleries or even student work, and discussed what was successful and what isn't, and why, from each other's viewpoints. It's fascinating and enlightening. If you aren't getting that from your professors at school that's not good. Some professors (and even more online "experts") will simply tell you what is good and what's not, from their viewpoint, and act as if everyone else is wrong. Take koh303 for example, debasing all of landscape photography like he knows better than anyone else about what is "good photography." I would stay away from such people and broad generalizations.

Anyway, I don't think anyone can answer your question except yourself.

Lenny Eiger
9-Jul-2015, 11:24
Well - you should start taking more history of photography classes, and i am guessing you will if you are not yet a 4th year student, so you still have to learn and hear about all kinds of stuff. That said, format has naught to do with what is being photographed.

Ansel adams is boring and only referenced as backing for something else, if ever in art school. New topographics on the other hand is the basis for about 90% of all work currently being made and shown in galleries showing photography. The canonical US/American version of history of photography is pretty aggressive about who it does and does not include.


Ansel Adams aside, it seems the whole idea of the New Topographics was to be boring. Post-modernism insists that photographs have no emotional content whatsoever, and rejects all that went before as "tainted". Many have said is is the essence of "anti-art". If you want to look at why people are disinterested in going to a gallery or a museum these days (to look at Photography), one need look no further. I have certainly stopped myself.

All great Art looks back at what went before, appreciates it and moves forward. Sometimes there is a nod... Except these bozos. I read a lot of the books about this subject, to understand what they are after. They make a few good points. I read Roland Barthes, was summarily unimpressed (that's as polite as I can get it), read Michael Fried gushing about his friend Jeff Wall who spent $200,000 to take a picture of a woman walking across the room with a sock in her hand, in the most boring way possible, not even looking at the camera. He timed it perfectly so the window to the bay was able to be seen - but wait, he had to photoshop it in just like everyone else. Anyone who knew how to do this would just have taken two different exposures... apparently there's a price to pay for rejecting all previous knowledge.

I can appreciate the inclusion of mental constructs in what one is doing vs just pointing the camera at something pretty. When you go to the place where everything is all about the concept with no emotional context, you lose everyone who would look at your work, except someone else schooled in the drivel. No one is interested in sterility... quite the contrary. They are usually interested in something deep (that's a word for lots of emotion) they haven't noticed before... they want to connect. There is enough disconnection about these days, without this....

RodinalDuchamp
9-Jul-2015, 14:22
Is the general consensus that new topographic is not "in" anymore? Is that a bad thing?

Why was it considered boring as some have mentioned? I ask because Robert Adams is often mentioned in this "school" or movement and he is very influential to me. So I guess it's surprising to hear.

Henry Wessel is mentioned too.

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2015, 15:56
Anyone who lumps Rbt Adams into that alleged school looks at only the subject matter superficially and not his printing style (a predictable error when one analyzes web images or book reproductions). One more flaw in the pigeonholing mentality.

RodinalDuchamp
9-Jul-2015, 16:26
136606

Michael R
9-Jul-2015, 17:02
Is the general consensus that new topographic is not "in" anymore? Is that a bad thing?

Why was it considered boring as some have mentioned? I ask because Robert Adams is often mentioned in this "school" or movement and he is very influential to me. So I guess it's surprising to hear.

Henry Wessel is mentioned too.

I strongly suggest you learn as much about photography and other visual artforms as you can, and decide for yourself. I would also caution that generalization regarding any movement or group can be problematic. The New Topographics is as good an example as any in that regard. Within that "movement" (even within the original exhibit) there is a rather wide variety of styles - different subjects, very different visual approaches. From a printing and technical perspective it is also a very diverse group (everything from 35mm copy films to LF contact prints to LF colour work). Try to find a copy of New Topographics. It's an excellent book about the original exhibition and photographs if you are interested.

Mark Sawyer
9-Jul-2015, 17:14
Anyone who lumps Rbt Adams into that alleged school looks at only the subject matter superficially and not his printing style (a predictable error when one analyzes web images or book reproductions). One more flaw in the pigeonholing mentality.

It's largely a matter of editing/curating. Adams was one of the few photographers in the 1975 New Topographics exhibition that defined the style, (which was basically eschewing style and artistry for a simpler visual cataloging of the landscape), and the selected Adams photographs fit into that niche very well. At the same time he was making photographs later included in Summer Nights that fit a completely different approach, dark, moody, and nostalgic. And his 1982 Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values is arguably a refutation of the New Topographics movement.

Kirk Gittings
9-Jul-2015, 17:53
But, this goes to the age old question of what exactly is new? And honestly, does it matter if any good? Maybe for the artist or starving student or advancing the world of art, but if it is art to the originator then is that enough? If it is good to them, even when they claim and feel it is underwhelming, won't this feeling of it being never good enough drive them more and more.

To be clear these questions are asked upon viewing a piece of art as part of the audience-not its creator. I'm not concerned with whether its new because nothing is really new. I'm more interested in whether it's any good. Of course it matters to me whether the art I am viewing is any good. This is the opposite of what most of my academic friends do.

Lenny Eiger
9-Jul-2015, 18:19
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep


A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford

jcoldslabs
9-Jul-2015, 18:23
Speaking of art being "good" or not, I've always found this piece refreshing: http://members.tripod.com/karl_p_henning/old/itsgood.html

From the essay:

"The question is not whether a thing is abstract or representational, whether it is 'modern' or conventional. The question, inexorably, is whether it is good. And this is a decision which only you, on the basis of instinct, experience, and association, can make for yourself. It takes independence and courage. It involves, moreover, the risk of wrong decision and humility, after the passage of time, of recognizing it as such. As we grow and change and learn, our attitudes can change too, and what we once thought obscure or 'difficult' can later emerge as coherent and illuminating. Entrenched prejudices, obdurate opinions are as sterile as no opinions at all."

Jonathan

Randy Moe
9-Jul-2015, 18:24
Yes

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 18:34
koh - I don't know where you get impressions like that. Where are those alleged art history teachers getting their own version of the story, in the back of some
1970's Sears Roebuck catalog? Cause that "New Topographics" thing was already starting to get monotonous half a century ago. Hardly new, and hardly dominant
ever. There was some interesting stuff. I saw a lot of it when some of the major players were nearly eating out of a dumspter doing that starving artist career.
A few did make it; some I can't even remember. I could care less. I photograph with my eyes and not according to some pigeonholed stereotype about what I'm "supposed" to be doing.

I think google (and hopefully you will find wikipedia as the very first link) has your answer. Something groundbreaking does not really mean it isent boring or that it has any surplus meaning. The few who made it are ALL those who were in the show, and became massively successful (in various careers, mostly, in photography), though i know the bechers were never really famous or did anything of consequence...

All i can tell you here, is that you might benefit from an art history class, perhaps a con-ed college offer sit ins near you. You will be surprised at what they have to say about the world i am sure, though doubt it will change your mind or convince you that you were wrong all this time.

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 18:36
Anyone who lumps Rbt Adams into that alleged school looks at only the subject matter superficially and not his printing style (a predictable error when one analyzes web images or book reproductions). One more flaw in the pigeonholing mentality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Topographics just in case google does not work in your area.
"For "New Topographics" William Jenkins selected eight then-young American photographers: Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal,[5] Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott,[6] Stephen Shore, and Henry Wessel, Jr. He also invited the German couple, Bernd and Hilla Becher,"

First on the list.

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 18:41
Is the general consensus that new topographic is not "in" anymore? Is that a bad thing?

Why was it considered boring as some have mentioned? I ask because Robert Adams is often mentioned in this "school" or movement and he is very influential to me. So I guess it's surprising to hear.

Henry Wessel is mentioned too.

Its boring because eggelston and wingorand are funny and exciting.
Heavy, serious thinking is never fun, light, laughing matter is much more fun hence the presence of this vs that, and lack of some very specific and serious things in US art education. Is anything in? Only self congratulatory behavior, as i am sure you have already learned, and which can include ignoring something that is difficult in favor of looking at something that is just simple and pleasing.

Reminds me of a joke about Italian Carbinieri who find a dead body lying on Monfalcone St. but they did know how to spell that, so they moved the body to Rome st. Art students/educators/schools are just like that.

koh303
9-Jul-2015, 18:44
To be clear these questions are asked upon viewing a piece of art as part of the audience-not its creator. I'm not concerned with whether its new because nothing is really new. I'm more interested in whether it's any good. Of course it matters to me whether the art I am viewing is any good. This is the opposite of what most of my academic friends do.

are they concerned with weather its really bad? I am not sure i understand the opposite of you (as mentioned above), please explain? (might be syntax error understanding on my part)

appletree
10-Jul-2015, 07:05
To be clear these questions are asked upon viewing a piece of art as part of the audience-not its creator. I'm not concerned with whether its new because nothing is really new. I'm more interested in whether it's any good. Of course it matters to me whether the art I am viewing is any good. This is the opposite of what most of my academic friends do.

Ah, very well. My misunderstanding. Of course we all hope to view something and see it as "good". Then again, for young naive people like me (without a ton of years of photography experience...especially no formal training) nearly 90% of what I see is "good" and "amazing". A lot of what I seem to stumble across makes me feel like my work is child's play. I am in that group of occasional instagram use, of which some people I follow that do portraiture work always leaves me stunned. The lighting, the shadows, etc. always make me ooo and aaa. Although to me, it is all very inspiring. Likewise a few people that partake in landscape and film, I always enjoy. Although, perhaps after 30+ years of see stuff (one day) then I will have a better acquired filter and taste for what stands out.

appletree
10-Jul-2015, 07:06
Speaking of art being "good" or not, I've always found this piece refreshing: http://members.tripod.com/karl_p_henning/old/itsgood.html

From the essay:

"The question is not whether a thing is abstract or representational, whether it is 'modern' or conventional. The question, inexorably, is whether it is good. And this is a decision which only you, on the basis of instinct, experience, and association, can make for yourself. It takes independence and courage. It involves, moreover, the risk of wrong decision and humility, after the passage of time, of recognizing it as such. As we grow and change and learn, our attitudes can change too, and what we once thought obscure or 'difficult' can later emerge as coherent and illuminating. Entrenched prejudices, obdurate opinions are as sterile as no opinions at all."

Jonathan

Ahhh, so good. In a nutshell, I think this is what I was trying to convey yesterday in my post.

lecarp
10-Jul-2015, 08:19
,
.
!

Colin Graham
10-Jul-2015, 08:24
This thread brings to mind a great Lydia Davis short story-

We know only four boring people. The rest of our friends we find very interesting. However, most of the friends we find interesting find us boring: the most interesting find us the most boring. The few who are somewhat in the middle, with whom there is reciprocal interest, we distrust: at any moment, we feel, they may become too interesting for us, or we too interesting for them.

Lenny Eiger
10-Jul-2015, 09:04
The lighting, the shadows, etc. always make me ooo and aaa. Although to me, it is all very inspiring. Likewise a few people that partake in landscape and film, I always enjoy.

The first thing one has to do is separate craftsmanship from the art. It's important not to be too impressed with craftsmanship. Anyone who shoots and develops film, makes a print, can do so very well after enough tries at it. It's important, might be gratifying to get it all working, but its the beginning, not the end... of the process.

koh303
10-Jul-2015, 09:27
The first thing one has to do is separate craftsmanship from the art. It's important not to be too impressed with craftsmanship. Anyone who shoots and develops film, makes a print, can do so very well after enough tries at it. It's important, might be gratifying to get it all working, but its the beginning, not the end... of the process.

I am sure jerry uelsmann might disagree :)

During the late 70's Winogrand came to visit the school where i did my BFA (many years later of course), and one of my professors, was one of his hosts at the time he visited. This is an old school RIT grad who was very big on darkroom (hi) tech. At the end of wingronads visit he present as a gift to the school a small portfolio box of prints, as well as some of the work he did while on the visit. The prints were all just standard printing time and some were really not that great. Winogrand did not make them, nor did he make the portfolio prints, which i got to see all those years later, and were also not really that great (technically speaking). That professor berated winogrand at ever chance he had to say that he simply could not have a deep enough understanding or control of his concepts if his prints were so bad, did not converse with the subject mater and context. I might not agree with his perspective, but it is a totally valid argument.

appletree
10-Jul-2015, 10:01
The first thing one has to do is separate craftsmanship from the art. It's important not to be too impressed with craftsmanship. Anyone who shoots and develops film, makes a print, can do so very well after enough tries at it. It's important, might be gratifying to get it all working, but its the beginning, not the end... of the process.

Of course, thanks for the advice and wisdom. Ultimately, I think an experience eye can almost ignore the craftsmanship (unless it is spectacular or rare or by a true craftsman) and see through it. Then they dedicate their time viewing it purely as art. For the juxtaposition of elements in the image, the contrast, lighting, framing, decision of the photographer, etc. And likewise, to enjoy the moment in time it displays.

I often times am most excited not in the image itself, but the fact I am holding my negative up to the light. That I got an image. That I made my own print, framed my own work, etc. The craftsmanship side. I enjoy that part of the process so much. Don't get me wrong, when I have a photo where I actually think I did good, that gets my blood going too.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 10:16
Having music in your head isn't the same thing as being able to perform an instrument in a manner others can appreciate. So art and craft are inherently married
if either are to have actual relevance.

tgtaylor
10-Jul-2015, 10:22
Unless you're working in an environment where everything can be completely prearranged, it would be a mistake, IMO, to ignore or place craftsmanship in a subservient position. Consider the Pictoralists for example.

Thomas

appletree
10-Jul-2015, 10:31
I guess I should not have used the word ignore. I more or less mean that for some the art is more in the image vs the craft/process to achieve the final product. Perhaps to some one is more of a mechanical process and the other more artistic. I think both serve an integral part and are joined as one overall, sort of like without one, you don't have the other and vice versa. Or perhaps with only one and not the other, you lose a bit of the beauty.

I imagine world class craftsman are appreciated for their strengths in printing or what-have-you. Whereas those that never printed any of their own work, are appreciated for their strengths and contributions to the photographic world.

Doremus Scudder
10-Jul-2015, 10:49
Having music in your head isn't the same thing as being able to perform an instrument in a manner others can appreciate. So art and craft are inherently married
if either are to have actual relevance.

+1

Drew hits the nail on the head, as usual. The recent "trend" to de-emphasize craftsmanship in visual arts does nothing but remove the human creative element from art; if skill isn't necessary, then anything can be art... just more "dumbing down".

Personally, I strive to be the best craftsman I can so that I can realize my vision printing.

Doremus

Lenny Eiger
10-Jul-2015, 11:50
You guys are missing the point I was trying to make. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I am not suggesting anyone ignore craftsmanship. I am suggesting excellence in craftsmanship. I am suggesting that this should be the base, the beginning, the standard, of every professional's work. By all means, make the 1000 or so negatives it takes to get your own personal system down. Then take it from there, and go further, do something with it. (Yes, say something.)

RodinalDuchamp
10-Jul-2015, 11:59
+1

Drew hits the nail on the head, as usual. The recent "trend" to de-emphasize craftsmanship in visual arts does nothing but remove the human creative element from art; if skill isn't necessary, then anything can be art... just more "dumbing down".

Personally, I strive to be the best craftsman I can so that I can realize my vision printing.

Doremus
Skill hasn't been a requirement since Duchamp put a toilet in a museum.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 11:59
Not all photographers print their own work, so that art/craft marriage is sometimes a collaboration. I'd personally rather have full control of the entire sequence,
shot to print to even framing.

paulr
10-Jul-2015, 12:02
Craft means bringing something into the physical world. You've got a thought—then you need to know the words and the grammar and how to move your lips. If you're good at all those things, you can say it better. But not too many people care about your big vocabulary and mellifluous elocution if you've got nothing interesting to say.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 12:03
Or nobody will listen if you don't know how to say it.

Heroique
10-Jul-2015, 12:22
If you don't know how to say it, everybody will listen if you're a beautiful young woman.

136634

My apologies, but I think this complication remains to be addressed.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 12:27
What about the rest of us, in the "none of the above category"?

Greg Miller
10-Jul-2015, 13:09
Mastering the craft is simply a foundation. Most importantly, if you have not mastered the craft, then taking care of the process consumes the brain, leaving little or the creative process. Once the craft is mastered, becoming very intuitive and requiring little thought, the right hemisphere of the brain can dominate, and creativity can flourish. If your brain is consumed by f-stops, apertures, Scheimpflug, dark slides, shutter cocks, it just isn't going to be very creative.

tgtaylor
10-Jul-2015, 14:16
If your brain is consumed by f-stops, apertures, Scheimpflug, dark slides, shutter cocks, it just isn't going to be very creative.

That's mechanics. We're talking craft.

Thomas

Greg Miller
10-Jul-2015, 14:17
That's mechanics. We're talking craft.

Thomas

Just add to the list. If your brain is absorbed by craft, it will not be free to be creative.

Leszek Vogt
10-Jul-2015, 15:03
If you don't know how to say it, everybody will listen if you're a beautiful young woman.

136634

My apologies, but I think this complication remains to be addressed.


Is that suppose to be a universal thing ? What happens when she's a total bimbo ? Just like Ebony, Lotus, 'Dorff, etc. it doesn't guarantee to create a great photo....yet they look great.

Ha....woman and complication > where did ye get that idea ? :>)

Les

Lenny Eiger
10-Jul-2015, 15:54
The real interesting thing about Photography is that it is a visual language. Some people write (a lot of people can write better than me... almost everyone, I think). However, I can communicate better with photography than I can with words. It's a language... and it defies description using words. It has its own grammar and syntax, genre, etc. It's more like music than it is the written word, unless we are talking about poetry, perhaps.