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Thread: What is a"vision"?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    What is a"vision"?

    What is a "vision"? Sandy, if I understood correctly, it is an impression about a topic or subject that you reveal/express of it, at a certain preconceived situ ation, time & place, so as to portray your thoughts about it. Robert Adam's work would fall into this class, right? And you would have a point to make about cho osing the subject matter. If this is the case, I was wrong saying that we cannot have a vision in photography.

    What I want to ask here is whether "vision" is necessary (or possible) in every aspect of photographic work? Take for instance, the work of Stieglitz. His work is broad. While he may have a preconceived idea about "The Steerage" just before the exposure, he probably did not conceive the subject of rich and poor, before hand. He was "moved" at that instance there and then. He was out there all the t ime doing "sensitive" pictures he could find in the streets. My point to the gro up is, "Would his photographs be less "sensitive" had he appointed a project (vi sion) for himself? Or was he out there just shooting? What about his "clouds" pi ctures? Your thoughts please?

    As for Atget, I think now that he was "free" in his seeing because he saw his wo rk as documents and not art.

    Aaron

  2. #2

    What is a"vision"?

    Vision is needed for photography. Its hard to get somewhere when you don't know where you want to go. Stieglitz may have not conceived of the idea before he photographed the ship but an idea has to be in the picture. When it is conceived isn't so important. Its just a matter of time when the photographer understands what they are doing.

    Atget is the best stock photographer ever. This is not an insult but one of the highest praise I can give to a photographer. He made photographs and then people thought of them as art. Critics, curators, gallery owners and collectors understood what he really wanted to do. Personally I think the work is okay. Hoever I respect his impact. He is lucky that Abbott took the work to New York and people liked it.

    "Vision is a feedback loop" - David Payumo (I am paraphrasing. I think.)

  3. #3
    Kevin Kolosky
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    738

    What is a"vision"?

    Aaron

    I have been following your threads, and even popped in on the first one concening Atget. I certainly don't pretend to know you or how you feel or what you want to say with your photography. So excuse me if I am off base for saying this, but it appears to me that you seem to be trying too hard to define one form of communication with another form of communication. Photographs are a language. More universal than any spoken language. And they speak to those who view them on a very personal and subjective level such that all of the spoken language in the world may not be able to describe the message either sent or received. Pardon me for saying so, but I think that you are trying to hard to describe photography with words. You cannot tell another person how to feel about "The Steerage" just as you cannot tell another person exactly what the words "love" or "hate" really mean. Yes you can get close, because we are all human, but you cannot be exact, which is why it is better sometimes to just allow the language to happen through the photograph itself, and not argue (discuss) what the photograph really means, or what the photographer really meant. Yes, it is possible that there could be some deep meaning that Atget wanted to present to his viewers. On the other hand, it is possible that Atget said to himself, "I see this, I think its interesting, I want to show it to other people" and thats it! I think alot of photographers sometimes are "just out there shooting" and the vision is nothing more than "I see this, I think it is interesting in my own way, and since I cannot bring it to show other people I can bring a representation of it by making a photograph of it, and that photograph will speak for me in a language that I don't have to explain (because I cannot really explain it) so I will let the viewer attach her own meaning to it, and we will have communicated" Then, of course, after those feelings comes the craft (the desire to show it in the best way possible)which is even more subjective (i.e. what film, what paper, what exposure, etc.) Kevin

  4. #4

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    What is a"vision"?

    Yes Kelvin, you miss the point. Aaron

  5. #5

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    What is a"vision"?

    Aaron,

    By assoiciating the notion with a preconceived idea, I think you are confusing a vision with an agenda. A century ago photographers were sidetracked by imitation of painterly effects. Today academic photographic training has convinced many photographers that they must start from a preconceived, highly verbalized, program and then go out and make photographs to express the agenda. I suppose decent work can be done that way, though I see little. I think it's a serious sidetrack from photography's real strength. For me photography by its nature is at its strongest when used reactively, interpretively. An artist's reactions and interpretations are plenty of material to constitute a personal Vision, as the current thread on Weston's vintage print show in LA points out. Weston had a vision, and it may be that he had an agenda to express that vision in his photographs, but the photographs themselves were his discoveries and reactions and interpretations of the world around him, not a pre-conceived and verbalized 'statement.' Some of the worst photographic criticism I've seen (Sontag comes to mind) fails because it insists on analysing photographs as though they were a text. For a photographer to approach the making of photographs as though they constitute an expository text is, I think, an equally b

  6. #6
    Kevin Kolosky
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    What is a"vision"?

    Aaron

    Although he said it with different words, Carl said the same thing I did. Perhaps it is you that is "missing the point".

    Kevin

  7. #7

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    What is a"vision"?

    still getting the end of messages chopped off...anyone know how to fix that? add a few returns at the end?

  8. #8

    What is a"vision"?

    It is possible that "vision" is something that is as much unconscious as conscious. I know that I have looked back at quick street photographs and discovered that I unconsciously included elements that made them much more powerful to me than if the placement had been a merely random "snapshot". I think the more experienced we become as photographers the more effectively we are able to pursue our vision through photography on an unconscious as well as conscious level. This is not to devalue the active process of thinking and previsualizing, but to say that it often works in tandem with processes that are unconscious. I think what made Atget a poweful photographer was his innate confidence in his conscious and unconscious ("intuitive") sense of what makes a strong image. To me, what separates good, competent photographers from powerful ones is their ability to make sense of the world's chaotic imagery through both processes. I find Stieglitz fascinating because he was so capable, and had such a pathbreaking ambition for photography. On the other hand, I find him intuitively cold and austere (except when photographing Georgia O'Keefe). There is a cold draft emanating from his work, that is so different from the work of his contemporaries like August Sanders and Paul Strand.

  9. #9

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    What is a"vision"?

    My vision revolves around seeing a subject that personally resonates with me, then trying to communicate that feeling on paper. If the end result produces something that others enjoy, great. If it produces a finished print that I look at and can say captures how I felt when I first saw the subject, my vision has been achieved.

    My vision seems to be best achieved with certain subject matter. I enjoy finding abstract subjects and found urban/suburban landscapes. I work at night also. I have learned that my vision is dependent on making images that I want to make and not images I feel I have to make because I sometimes use a large format camera.

    When I first got a 4x5 I imagined producing Adamesque images of granduer. I pursued many a landscape when time would allow, but I was always disapointed. So I got an 8x10- same result. The first photo I considered grand was one taken about 10 miles from home of a flooded park and some half submerged vehicles with birds sitting on top and wonderful reflections on the water of the surrounding trees and buildings. Pretty mundane for an 8x10 image by some people's standards, but it was a return to my personal vision and subject matter.

    Sometimes I think it becomes easy to try to emulate others because the medium allows us the technical ability to come close to the quality of their work. If your desire is to produce similar work and that is your vision great. But don't be afraid to explore things that only you may be interested in. You may be surprised where your "vision" may lead to.

  10. #10

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    What is a"vision"?

    No Kevin, it's not about what Carl said that's not different from what you said. It's about you saying that I'm putting my opinions about Stieglitz's image onto others. I never did. I remember reading what Stieglitz said about what he "saw" and "felt" and that he felt a release being separated from the rich (something to that effect). And as one poster pointed out in the other thread, Atget called himself a documentary photographer. So I thought he must have been "free" from a certain burden in his work. Why do we read "The Daybooks"? To understand the artist, isn't it??

    Yes, I'm trying hard to communicate, because I'm the one needing help here. How am I supposed to get help if I do not open up myself to scrunity (spelling?)? And I'm getting help here (I'm learning)! Not Arguement! So please be kind.

    Aaron

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