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Thread: Forget boring, ...

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Forget boring, ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JMB View Post
    At all costs, the photograph should not reduce to a slavish attempt to simply record or imitate nature, which requires a sort of self-denial –the antithesis of the artistic personality. Rather, a good photograph demonstrates a photographer’s capacity for intense vision and his ability to express himself forcefully.

    I have creative photography in mind, here, of course. And all art worthy of the name, at least in my view, ultimately has beauty and sublimity (however broadly conceived) as its primary subjects.
    It depends on what you want to accomplish. A police photographer recording evidence of a crime scene, or an architect recording a architectural detail, or a portrait photographer shooting his 208th high school senior that morning may have a very different viewpoint, yet all can produce a photo worthy of being considered "Art."
    Sometimes the results of photography for the record can be outstanding!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Western Australia

    Re: Forget boring, ...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    It depends on what you want to accomplish. A police photographer recording evidence of a crime scene, or an architect recording a architectural detail, or a portrait photographer shooting his 208th high school senior that morning may have a very different viewpoint, yet all can produce a photo worthy of being considered "Art."
    Sometimes the results of photography for the record can be outstanding!
    Although rarely, A Photograph that is both beautiful and original is becoming harder to achieve , A police photographer recording a crime scene will always be original .But will it be beautiful Most likely not , The high school senior seen one seen them all? Now the last one is a more interesting conundrum because as long as not being photographed for the Architect the creative potential is endless!! Now the clincher i do not shoot architecture , But your other two examples are a more structured process

  3. #23

    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: Forget boring, ...

    My response to the query, “What is a good photograph?” stresses two basic elements in the making of a good photograph: (1) the photographer’s understanding of and respect for the unique power of the lens and (2) the photographer’s inclination to develop and exercise his powers for expression.

    I think that John Kasaian’s response aimed at the second element is actually most valuable and insightful as a confirmation of (1) --the photographer’s responsibility to understand and respect the integrity of the lens, rather than as a counter claim with respect to (2) --the importance of the creative photographer’s inclination and capacity to express himself. Kasaian’s response also suggests important issues about the uneasy relationship between photography and art. Insofar as (1) is an essential element of a good photograph, it actually elevates the importance of (2) from the standpoint of creative photography.

    Redirected, Kasaian’s remarks are a vivid way of insisting upon a Photographers’ Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” In other words, the photographer, if nothing else, should at least be vigilant in refraining from undermining the uncompromised or even mercilessly innate intensity of the camera lens. He must be careful not to elevate technique either consciously or unconsciously to a goal itself or resort to measures that interfere with the lens’s inherent capacity to intensify and to infuse its subject matter with a great sense of truth. To be sure, if there is any validity at all to element (1), then montage, multi-media, color, hand painting, drawing, mushy focus, encouragement of process artifacts, inkjet printing or other similar devises are especially vulgar measures, which are in essence anti-photographic –they violate the Photographers’ Hippocratic Oath by undermining a photograph’s inherent sense of truth and the lens’s capacity to intensify experience.

    The crime scene photographs with special impact, which Kasaian posits would certainly owe their strange status to the fact that the police photographer must have at least honored element (1) if we grant that he utterly failed to satisfy element (2). Now, it also seems unlikely to me, by the way, that our police photographer would actually fail to satisfy element (2) in light of his suggested results (in essence, Gary Talbert's observation). The more sensitive a photographer is to the hidden vicissitudes of his subject the greater his opportunity to unveil the image’s significance or to build significance into it. A photograph is never exclusively an object study; it is always and unavoidably self-asserting –sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Photographs are confessions. In any case, there is no reason to assume that the police photographer or photographers in question did not actually invest themselves emotionally or analytically in their work at least to some significant degree simply because they worked ostensibly for the record. Timothy O’Sullivan is certainly a good example of a photographer who worked for the record, but nevertheless invested himself strongly yet subtly into his subjects.

    Still, Kasaian’s remarks are sufficiently valid to help in a special way to underscore the fact that the relationship between photography and art is still undetermined. And this is so because the camera if at least left unfettered makes it too rewarding or rewarding in too many ways (provisionally) for the photographer to “take” photographs rather than “create” pictures. Photographers are too easily distracted by the camera’s inherent powers to fully realize them. Even some of the great masters of the medium find themselves thinking of “recording” images rather than “making” them (Edward Weston, for example). Stieglitz, too, was never able to entirely free himself from the conception of photographs as “recordings.” To a very critical degree it seems that even the greatest photographers have never fully liberated themselves from the jealous power of the camera—always providing answers, you might say with Fichte, to questions that they never asked. And contemporary professional art critics are too far from understanding (or otherwise compromised) to point-out this fact or to even insist upon lens integrity in the first place. Yet who would doubt that our greatest photographers would bristle at the charge that they are merely mechanics?

    Artists working in other media have never had to face the sort of limitation inherent in photography (also its greatest strength). Some of the greatest accomplishments in art still belong to those painters and sculptors who understood the power of representational renderings (element “1” of a good photograph) but having found it constitutionally impossible to be nature’s slaves expressed themselves forcefully through their re-presentations (element “2” of a good photograph).

    But artists working in other media before the development of photography never had in their hands the kind of power that a lens has to breathe life into images –to make real a charged world of transcendental truths. And I think that the creative photographer who refuses to be a slave to nature (simply recording it) and understands and uses the power of the lens to breathe life into the subjective truths that he is able to discover about himself from the objects that he studies is in an exciting position to raise photography and art itself to new heights. For he will be making images that fluctuate between life and art –images that are powerful because they fluctuate between life and art and are so much more than mere records –even good records. Such images will also help us to more fully appreciate art’s classification as a “humanity”--an appreciation that seems to be disappearing in contemporary culture.
    Last edited by JMB; 23-Dec-2017 at 10:49.

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