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Thread: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

  1. #21

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Let me go a step further...

    Humans tend to like to do only what we are interested in... But our interests tend to change (usually less) depending on how we feel at any given moment... It is easy to copy (by rote) what we have done before, go where we have gone before (our safety zone), do what we do, or try to emulate what we have seen others have done before (I think the "artspeak" term (I hate) for it is "validation"), so if we can break those cycles, we operate in a new world, with new possibilities...

    To simplify a new approach, maybe to try to avoid representational approaches to seeing (this is a house, this is a girl, this is a tree etc) and try to see it another way, such as a form exercise (try to view the "skeleton" of things, maybe a subject you would not touch with a 10 ft pole, things one would have trouble defining), but keep exploring it as the new series/approach will evolve... For example, maybe some old trees happen to look sad to you under some mood/lighting condition, so keep trying to explore that mood, and see where it takes you (maybe a wall, or a long journey and education)... Noticing something about something off your radar screen, can open a new dialog, that evolves into a new larger body of exploration and work...

    Don't be a prisoner to your moods and interests!!! Don't be blind to a outer and inner world around you!!! Your limitation is YOU!!!

    Steve K

  2. #22

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Over the years I've often come back to this quote concerning Archery. Taking these pursuits as a form of self-cultivation, we could easily substitute the word archer with photographer.

    Archery consists in the archer aiming at himself – and yet not at himself, in hitting himself – and yet not himself, and thus becoming simultaneously the aimer and the aim, the hitter and the hit.

    It is necessary for the archer to become, in spite of himself, an unmoved center. Then comes the supreme and ultimate miracle: art becomes “artless” …the end a beginning, and the beginning perfection.

  3. #23

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    Over the years I've often come back to this quote concerning Archery. Taking these pursuits as a form of self-cultivation, we could easily substitute the word archer with photographer.

    Archery consists in the archer aiming at himself – and yet not at himself, in hitting himself – and yet not himself, and thus becoming simultaneously the aimer and the aim, the hitter and the hit.

    It is necessary for the archer to become, in spite of himself, an unmoved center. Then comes the supreme and ultimate miracle: art becomes “artless” …the end a beginning, and the beginning perfection.
    Cool!!!

    I have studied/practiced Kyudo (Japanese Zen Archery) for a few years, and it really helped my photography and awareness... One of the main goals was the archer would merely "facilitate" the process of drawing the bow, and other things would take over and complete the cycles, but one just stands in the middle of it all (with no ego or mental noise)...

    One of my new favorite words is Reikon (Japanese) which much more simply translated, is a ghost that lives between the spiritual and material worlds...

    (I'm thinking about covering up the Nikon label on my 35mm street camera with a new label reading "Reikon"...) ;-)

    Steve K

  4. #24

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Your limitation is YOU!!!

    Steve K
    Apparently not to some people on this forum -- it's either your format or your lens(es) or your technique or your enlarger or your method or your film or your........................................

  5. #25
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    Hard to imagine that it has been 25 years now that I have pursued artistic photography.
    [...]
    The wisest man that ever lived may have said it best. All is vanity and striving after wind.
    I recognize your thoughts. Your words are like mine, but still I cannot truly feel the distress - only tangentially recognize depression which I've battled all my life. Wishing you well.

    Twenty-five years is not so long, Jim. Sometimes it helps to have new eyes look at your work. Many years ago a chap took special interest in my largely photo journalistic work. His enthusiasm and insight helped me rise up to appreciate what is hidden in most of us - our unevinced vision which motivates us - something beyond our ordinary vocabulary. (Unfortunately this was during a very low economic period for me and I blew it, let it slide. That man is now retired from a long career as a major metropolitan photography curator.)

    The point is that in twenty-five years you certainly have pursued a vision and someone other than you might discern the vector, your vision, pare your huge collection into a stunning summary that might surprise you.

    Regarding the Wind, an aside. I had an uncle who spent his whole life trying to harness the wind as a source of lifting. In his Sixties he patented the Jalbert Parafoil. He had no regrets for the decades of work.

    Very Best to you and yours,
    Jac Stafford

  6. #26

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Again thanks for all of the well reasoned and thoughtful responses. No worries. I'm not cashing in the chips just yet. I'm still having fun.

    What's changed is that original naivete that believed I was doing important art. I'm over it. And perhaps a little cynical. Nothing I'm shooting and probably what you're shooting is really very important. I understand the "end in itself" argument.

    Here's a recent image. Cliffside Winery on the Washington side up in the Maryhill country. Joanie went above and beyond giving me and my daughter a wine tour and tasting. We asked if she'd sit for a portrait and I did this with Tina's (my daughter) B&J 4X5 and a 6 3/4" Gundlach f3 Cinema petzval. Not an important picture but we were having great fun and Tina later took the portrait up to Joanie.

    Not art, and doesn't need to be. That's all I was saying.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails joanies.jpg  
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  7. #27

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    This is truly inspirational. I think I will write a book -- "Zen and the Art of Large Format Photography". It won't actually deal with Zen, at all, nor will it deal with Large Format Photography, at all. But neither did the original. My only trepidation is that I might need to move to California and set up a school/commune/movement sort of thingy.

  8. #28

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Sometimes I think I should learn to empty my mind and let it become a mirror or the ground glass behind my lens. Like an old Chinese sage says:

    THE MIND OF A PERFECT MAN IS LIKE A MIRROR.
    IT GRASPS NOTHING.
    IT EXPECTS NOTHING.
    IT REFLECTS BUT DOES NOT HOLD.

  9. #29
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    LOL Good one!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Zhang View Post
    Sometimes I think I should learn to empty my mind and let it become a mirror or the ground glass behind my lens. Like an old Chinese sage says:

    THE MIND OF A PERFECT MAN IS LIKE A MIRROR.
    IT GRASPS NOTHING.
    IT EXPECTS NOTHING.
    IT REFLECTS BUT DOES NOT HOLD.

  10. #30

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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Zhang View Post
    THE MIND OF A PERFECT MAN IS LIKE A MIRROR.
    That is the best definition of narcissism I've ever heard -- hands down. Thanks!

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