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Thread: Master or journeyman

  1. #11

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    Re: Master or journeyman

    I think you become a master when you can say to yourself in all honesty that you are

    Maybe sometimes a person will be 15 steps away out of 100 when they declare it and never therefore truly make it though they're still elite
    Some only a few away and since nobody or not many can tell the difference they are ...with heated discussion
    I'd think the few that wait till they're 8 steps beyond are the ones who become legends

    all comes down to work ethic


    i believe if you have a complete timeline of images/works to scan through you could tell when someone became a master
    probably like a narrow 3-5 year window of intense work where the bridge can be found

  2. #12
    Dominik
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    Re: Master or journeyman

    In Austria and I believe in Germany as well there are two ways to become a pro photographer who has the right to call himself pro photographer the first is to do an apprenticeship become a "Geselle" = journeyman and later in order to be able to open your own shop you have to do a "Meisterprüfung" Master, the second way is to go to a photography school like the Graphische Lehr und Versuchsanstalt do your 4 years and get your degree. But you can at least at the Graphische do an additional two years in the Masterclass and you become a master. The Medieval system of journeyman and master and even Guilds is still alive in Austria and Germany.

  3. #13

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    Re: Master or journeyman

    The old guild categories are still very much in use in the manual trades here in the US.

    Quoting an old definition:
    The apprentice learns the rules.
    The Journeyman follows the rules.
    The Master writes the rules, and knows when and how to break them.

    I think that definition of a Master can be applied equally to a photographer. It's not enough to know the technology.

    - Leigh

  4. #14
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Master or journeyman

    are you looking for a formula, or an oasis in the desert that lets you know you have arrived?

    i think if you have mastered your technical skill enough to let manifest your artistic vision, then you are a master.

    but it is easy to get lost in this train of thought derailed by like and dislike of style. its not empirical.

    but technical skill is nothing with out artistic vision, or creative imagination. play.

    alot of photogs get stuck in the technical, and forget to be artists.

    a lot of artists neglect the technical and get lost in themselves.
    through a glass darkly...

  5. #15
    Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Is Andreas Gursky a master photographer? Yes or no? According to the standards, the only measure is money. He is a master photographer because a print sold for $4.3 million dollars.
    Is Peter Lik a master photographer? Yes or no?
    ....
    I don't think commercial success has much to do with "mastery" in the traditional sense of the word. Is Justin Bieber a master singer? Is Dan Brown a master of fiction?
    Mike → "Junior Liberatory Scientist"

  6. #16
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Master or journeyman

    dan brown is a master of fiction.... i could not stop reading his book. well he mastered the art of hooking me into the story, amazing.

    supposed masters, people like Umberto echo are intellectual tossers, who make very cleaver books that are actually boring to experience.

    ok

    just to save my self a little, john stienbeck, master, my favourite author.
    through a glass darkly...

  7. #17

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    Re: Master or journeyman

    Cyrus, a really well thoughtout question. Thanks for posting it.
    I never heard of Peter Lik, but the images on his website are certainly impressive. Is he R&F (rich and famous)? Why should I have heard of him?
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #18
    Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmicexplosion View Post

    just to save my self a little, john stienbeck, master, my favourite author.
    Nice save. Steinbeck is a master.
    Mike → "Junior Liberatory Scientist"

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Since you can't tell by looking at the photograph, the only thing to go on is income.
    You can indeed evaluate skill based on looking at photographs, and skill is the basis for progressing from apprentice to master. The masterpiece, in that ancient connotation, was an expression of skill sufficient to persuade the guild to permit the craftsman to teach others. This was the guild's accreditation process, and then as now it was a tool for limiting supply to keep prices high.

    A journeyman had reached the point of providing the craft to the public for money, and it's meaning to the crafts is similar to "professional" in the learned professions. Even now, a professional must demonstrate something more than what is required to practice to be allowed to teach.

    "Professional" has roots in "professing" to offer a service, and for licensed learned professions, offering a service to the public is evidence of professional activity, not being paid or being commercially successful.

    So, we have credentials for teaching designed to limit supply, credentials for practice designed to maintain the reputation of the guild (that has morphed into protecting the public in recent times), and credentials to allow a person to receive advanced training.

    We also have demonstration of skills, which should never be confused with a credential, though it may be required as part of the credentialimg process. We still expect potential customers to evaluate work product for themselves regardless of what's hanging on the wall.

    The use of the word "art" to mean some inexplicable emotional quality or emotional effect seems to me a relatively modern innovation.

    When did Adams become an artist? When he declared his intention that his photographs were art. When did he make good art? That's a debate for the ages. When did he become a master? When he perfected his craft well enough to reliably achieve his purposes, and also well enough to teach it. "Monolith" would be when Adams realized he could connect his objectives and his craft in purposed application of skill, but that's when he graduated from apprentice to journeyman in his own thinking--and it's also before he decided to become a professional. I think he became a master with the Zone System, and that to me is his masterpiece.

    Rick "noting that the unskilled can produce great art once in a while, but paying them in advance is risky" Denney

  10. #20

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    Re: Master or journeyman

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    The old guild categories are still very much in use in the manual trades here in the US.

    Quoting an old definition:
    The apprentice learns the rules.
    The Journeyman follows the rules.
    The Master writes the rules, and knows when and how to break them.

    I think that definition of a Master can be applied equally to a photographer. It's not enough to know the technology.

    - Leigh
    that's very useful for me to make my point clearer. I'm not particularly interested in how much money people make. I'm interested in when, artistically speaking, Ansel is judged to have broken that barrier you illustrate above between journeyman and master. Or Eisenstadt, or Weston, or Curtis etc. I wonder for example if each of them has a certain specific work which is widely agreed by critics and art historians to mark that point where each of these photographers crossed that line from journeyman to master. After all, Ansel wasn't ALWAYS a great photographer. There must have been a period of time when he took NOT SO GREAT photos, before he became a great photographer. So, aside from how much money etc. he made or didn't, was there a particular series of photos, or perhaps a particular single photo, that we can say marked that transition for Ansel, Curtis etc?

    [As for Peter Lik: had never heard of him myself. His photos...are nice, but don't really do it for me. Looks like stock photography. Pretty sunsets and trees. Great. Yawn, imho]

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