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Thread: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

  1. #1
    Saulius's Avatar
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    Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    Just came across this article written by Guy Tal:
    Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?
    On Cynicism and Nature Photography

    You can read the article at this link: http://www.naturephotographers.net/a.../gt1006-1.html

    Guy makes some valid points, many of which I agree with. I once had a photography history professor who said the only original images made today are those linked with current events. You can't make for instance an original image of say a persons hand because it's all been done already. Every conceivable way of portraying a hand has been done. So if your image of a hand doesn't talk in some way about peoples' current condition in the here and now then you can't have a fresh, orginal photograph. Thankfully many of us don't see it that way.
    If anyone is interested here is a link to some more aritcles Guy Tal has written:
    http://scenicwild.com/sw/articles/index.jsp

  2. #2
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    sort of no... and yes

    the one thing I would strongly disagree with are that the two examples he gives are in any special way "fresh, interesting"
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  3. #3

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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    I think one could effectively argue that "the world" doesn't need any of what we do, stale and boring or fresh and interesting. Guy makes his point for me when he writes, "the real question should be: do I need another aspen image, or better yet do I love being out among the aspen?"

    Now those of you who make all or part of your living from your photography may not see it this way, and that would be sad for you must have lost something of the wonder that I feel when I'm under the darkcloth. As for myself, I don't rely on my photography for income, so it's all about me. The world can go to hell.

  4. #4
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Davenport View Post
    Now those of you who make all or part of your living from your photography may not see it this way, and that would be sad for you must have lost something of the wonder that I feel when I'm under the darkcloth. As for myself, I don't rely on my photography for income, so it's all about me. The world can go to hell.
    sounds an awful lot like onanism... (as opposed to say - prostitution!) :-)
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  5. #5
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    The author gives a thoroughly mindless answer to an interesting question.

    Ultimately I believe he misunderstands the question. By "another aspen image" the question implies another image that looks essentially like all the others. Which is what people in nature photography forums seem to be striving for, year after year, decade after decade. Witness the author's own examples of "fresh, interesting" aspen pictures. As Tim says, these are neither; they are superficially different, but essentially the same as many thousands of pictures everyone here has seen.

    Understood in a meaningful way, I suspect the question will lead to a big divide among photographers. Those in the camera club school of craft-based photography seem to get great pleasure out of creating images that are superficially different, but essentially the same as everything else in a tradition. Much as furniture makers typically take pride in being able to produce perfect (and therefore essentially anonymous) examples of a style.

    On the other hand, photographers from the art side of the world tend to be baffled by this pursuit. They think, "why on earth do we need one more image that's the same as all the others?" They value showing something in a way that is essentially fresh ... to share a vision of the world that is uniquely their own. Whether that world includes aspen trees or not is relatively unimportant.

  6. #6

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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    ...
    Last edited by Frank Petronio; 28-Oct-2006 at 10:05.

  7. #7
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    mind you, the more I look at it, the more Tal is setting up something of a straw man, taking several points and turning each of them just enough so he can knock them down to make his argument.

    For one thing he seems to confuse originality with uniqueness when they are really quite different in some regards.

    Again, with creativity and craftsmanship - although he doesn't use the latter word, it seems implied (and an entirely honorable word and goal).

    Again, a misunderstanding of the process of striving for creative originality - finding new ways of seeing the same things - rather than the production - click, click - of a unique creation. Interesting that he also seems to compare photography to the performance of an existing piece of music - rather than the creation of a new one. Hard, difficult, yes, but not impossible.
    Last edited by tim atherton; 28-Oct-2006 at 10:33.
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  8. #8
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    ...
    perfect example of Pauls second point!
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  9. #9

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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    I like to make photographs of aspens. In fact I just came back from a trip to Steens Mountain where I made about 20 of them. Have I ever seen any that looked just like the ones I made? Nope. Has somebody somewhere some time probably made aspen photographs just like mine? Yes. Do I give a s__t? Nope. I enjoyed making mine. I may have one keeper in the bunch that I'll also enjoy working on and eventually printing and maybe hanging but even if I don't, that's o.k., I had a great time just making the photographs. And I confess, the last thing on my mind when making them was whether anyone had made any like them before.

    I could also reduce all photographs to their lowest common denominator ("another third-world beggar, another Appalachian coal miner, another slum) and conclude that because billions and billions of photographs have been made since 1839 there's no point in making any more. But despite the extreme improbability of making a totally new and unique photograph, or even of seeing the same thing in a "fresh" way that nobody has ever seen before, we nevertheless continue making photographs for a lot of reasons, the least important of which should be because we expect to make one that is "unique."
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10
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    Re: Does the World Need Another Aspen Image?

    Just take the pictures you want to take and let the chips fall where they may. This camera clubber vs. artiste thing gets really old...

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