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

  1. #131

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Oh really?



    Michael Kenna, Clyde Butcher, and many others out there today doing just that. And, I'm not sure how you can say one person is an artist and another isn't just because of the time period they are alive in.



    Only those who earn money only from their art are "true" artists? And you would not qualify yourself as a "true" artist because you teach for the majority of your paycheck?
    I knew youíd swing in and get defensive.

    You just named two artists well into their years, they became established in an era that valued modern ideals (ie cameras and sharp prints etc). Also, Butcher isnít highly regarded in art circles. Kenna is.

    This is about 2019 and beyond. Artists are supported by fellowships, grants, residencies etc. Iím not the first person to say this is so it isnít new. Art has been a pay to play model for a long time, those with financial means can ride the ďhard waveĒ before they start to break into the game. I have friends who have legit studios in major American cities despite never having a ďrealĒ job (cough cough) mom and dad pay their rent.

    Iím not a real artist... I give it my best go, but no. I accept that I straddle the line and as a result Iíve come to grips with the lack of support.

    The reality is that the world cares more about the meaning (social / economic / power) of the work than they do technical nature. Which is why people will keep on selling 40 dollar prints at art fairs while young artists will continue to push their mediums and enjoy their time at McDowell / Skowhegan / and their multi thousand dollar grants while showing work in major non profit spaces.

    Iím not judging peopleís pictures... if you live trees and rocks, thatís cool. Make what you want to make. But when people ask ďwhy Is _____Ē happening in photography you have to be able to face the music.


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  2. #132
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Not defensive, merely disagreeing with you.

    You're right though, those two I mentioned are older and yes Clyde was the butt of jokes for years. But that's not the point - he's earning a (good) living, so apparently he's more of an artist than any and all photography professors by your metric. But I don't agree with that kind of outlook. And there's a lot of younger folks selling work, generally focusing on social media and direct online interaction to build an audience (like many different kinds of young entrepreneurs using YouTube and Instagram for this).

    I agree with you though about the academic world, where the only thing that matters it seems is hyper-politicized art, and that affluent people have a serious, almost insurmountable leg up on us regular folks. But you've categorized an artist only as someone making a living at it - that has nothing to do with the type of art, or where it's being shown. In fact most young art students I've met seem to think getting any money from their art in any way is "selling out."

    I don't know man, I'm just not agreeing with some of your pigeonholing of photography / artists / art. I get where you are coming from in a sense, just not your conclusions.

    Part of the reason I see things differently is because my Master's is in music performance, as a classically-trained flutist. In that arena very few make it as solo musicians, and most aren't even trying to do that. Performing with a big regional symphony (or multiple small ones) is a common way to make a living, along with holiday gigs and such. I lived that life for a long time, along with working as a recording engineer. There aren't debates about who is a "true" musician. No one feels like they are not a real musician because they also run a small private teaching studio (nearly everyone does). It's just a very strange way of thinking to me. And of course we can make a parallel between traditional F64 photography and orchestra performances of Beethoven and Mozart - which is a tough sell to most of the population. Anyway, just a thought, from that perspective.
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  3. #133

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

    The thread seems to be morphing again, away from "great shots" and towards "who is a real artist?" So are we discussing "real artists" or "great artists?" The field of "true musicians" is a lot larger than the field of "great musicians," and would lead easily to the question, "where is the great music today?" As an "average Joe" as far as classical music goes, I can name only two possibly great flutists (this is for Corran), Sir James Galway, and stretching because at least I know her name, Eugenia Zuckerman; which does not mean that Corran isn't a "true musician," just not a great one. As far as great music goes, I can't think of anyone currently composing great orchestral or chamber work (John Williams? Leonard Bernstein? One old and one passed away.) The comparison between Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven and Weston, Adams, etc. is inescapable. Many in my generation might argue that while classical is "dead," the great music is Bob Dylan, or The Airplane, or the Eagles. I'm not sure what my children would pick, but for sure not the "3 Bs".

    I'm probably babbling a little, but I tend to agree with Dodphotography, and want to come back from analogy to photography. My first suggestion, for those who can, would be to attend any of the AIPAD shows (Association of International Photographic Art Dealers) and see what the galleries are selling. With only a few outliers, they are selling either "historical" museum-grade work (lots of Weston and Adams!), or contemporary, which is most often super-large, color "staged" photography. Contemporary "f64" photographs I, and many of us, like to make with our view cameras, are non-existent. Then see if there are any good "amateur" photo exhibitions around. My group in NJ is currently hanging its 25th Anniversary Show in two halves in two locations, Watchung and Trenton. I have images in both halves, but specifically because the curator wanted to show the history and trends in the group's work, and my "f64" school silver gelatin prints represent a form that has essentially become obsolete in this day of digital, PhotoShop, and large-scale digital printers. And when I say "amateur show," that is in a way deceptive, because a surprising number of those exhibiting work in the Anniversary shows have published books, admittedly photo instruction rather than fine-art monographs. Our form of photography, as Dodphotography implies, has had its day and been bypassed. We, and I include the Clyde Butchers, are producing "true shots," but not "great shots."

  4. #134
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    I just want my photography work to be tax deductible business expense... I don't care that I make a living in another field (selling computers). So far, I'm making background images for the desktops of computers we sell. It helps them look good and adds a local flavor/style to an otherwise bland piece of globalized machinery. But my interests in work and photography are varied and I don't feel like I have to make a living doing photography and am glad I don't actually. My favorite styles of photography (LF soft focus and MF/SF nature) don't really have much audience.

  5. #135

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    The thread seems to be morphing again, away from "great shots" and towards "who is a real artist?" So are we discussing "real artists" or "great artists?" The field of "true musicians" is a lot larger than the field of "great musicians," and would lead easily to the question, "where is the great music today?" As an "average Joe" as far as classical music goes, I can name only two possibly great flutists (this is for Corran), Sir James Galway, and stretching because at least I know her name, Eugenia Zuckerman; which does not mean that Corran isn't a "true musician," just not a great one. As far as great music goes, I can't think of anyone currently composing great orchestral or chamber work (John Williams? Leonard Bernstein? One old and one passed away.) The comparison between Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven and Weston, Adams, etc. is inescapable. Many in my generation might argue that while classical is "dead," the great music is Bob Dylan, or The Airplane, or the Eagles. I'm not sure what my children would pick, but for sure not the "3 Bs".

    I'm probably babbling a little, but I tend to agree with Dodphotography, and want to come back from analogy to photography. My first suggestion, for those who can, would be to attend any of the AIPAD shows (Association of International Photographic Art Dealers) and see what the galleries are selling. With only a few outliers, they are selling either "historical" museum-grade work (lots of Weston and Adams!), or contemporary, which is most often super-large, color "staged" photography. Contemporary "f64" photographs I, and many of us, like to make with our view cameras, are non-existent. Then see if there are any good "amateur" photo exhibitions around. My group in NJ is currently hanging its 25th Anniversary Show in two halves in two locations, Watchung and Trenton. I have images in both halves, but specifically because the curator wanted to show the history and trends in the group's work, and my "f64" school silver gelatin prints represent a form that has essentially become obsolete in this day of digital, PhotoShop, and large-scale digital printers. And when I say "amateur show," that is in a way deceptive, because a surprising number of those exhibiting work in the Anniversary shows have published books, admittedly photo instruction rather than fine-art monographs. Our form of photography, as Dodphotography implies, has had its day and been bypassed. We, and I include the Clyde Butchers, are producing "true shots," but not "great shots."
    My dream is to be Alec Soth... magnum, dude using an 810 but it isnít about the 810, teaches some workshops here and there and maybe drops into some college programs as a visiting lecture... makes a living from his monographs and prints.


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  6. #136
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Graduating age 51, Spring 2001, I spent real money to earn MFA from one of the most esoteric art programs in USA. By esoteric I mean it had no grading system and allowed any self determined course of study using some classes and many advisors. My thesis project was Student Loans

    School was a lot of discussion, I learned the most from my cohort who were all very serious and extremely intelligent.

    Art as object has always been monetized, objects can be anything including concepts to space ships. However few start with a goal of $$$. History or oblivion judges, Mr dodphotography.

    Some artists are internally driven to create as I discovered in myself after decades of work. Others are Professional...like lawyers...

    At my lowest point during divorce, loss of work, desire, hope, almost becoming homeless, something shifted in me. Inspiration. I decided to express my inner rage. It's below. I am the man by the curtain. I lived in that storefront. The car was $100, painted in 20 minutes by roller. The object 2X4, scrap window screen and old paint

    I sold a few pieces of art or NOT ART, regret selling anything.

    Here is the birthing of my first 'art' in 1985 and a LF print from a year ago. Neither has any $$$ value, but they mean a lot to me.

    1-How to Make Dragons by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    2 min 360 2019-03-24-0001 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    sin eater

  7. #137

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Graduating age 51, Spring 2001, I spent real money to earn MFA from one of the most esoteric art programs in USA. By esoteric I mean it had no grading system and allowed any self determined course of study using some classes and many advisors. My thesis project was Student Loans

    School was a lot of discussion, I learned the most from my cohort who were all very serious and extremely intelligent.

    Art as object has always been monetized, objects can be anything including concepts to space ships. However few start with a goal of $$$. History or oblivion judges, Mr dodphotography.

    Some artists are internally driven to create as I discovered in myself after decades of work. Others are Professional...like lawyers...

    At my lowest point during divorce, loss of work, desire, hope, almost becoming homeless, something shifted in me. Inspiration. I decided to express my inner rage. It's below. I am the man by the curtain. I lived in that storefront. The car was $100, painted in 20 minutes by roller. The object 2X4, scrap window screen and old paint

    I sold a few pieces of art or NOT ART, regret selling anything.

    Here is the birthing of my first 'art' in 1985 and a LF print from a year ago. Neither has any $$$ value, but they mean a lot to me.

    1-How to Make Dragons by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    2 min 360 2019-03-24-0001 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    Never said the intention is money or economically driven... thatís a result or the fruits of labor.

    My point in all of this is that the ship has sailed.

    If Nick Nixon was 22 in 2019 making pictures of Boston in his New Topographics stage heíd be posting on Flickr / Instagram with #largeformat and not represented by Frankeal


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  8. #138
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the great shots? Am I a cynicist or a realist?

    Quote Originally Posted by dodphotography View Post
    No, itís not... again... pay attention to contemporary photography. None of us are winning Guggenheim Fellowships or MacArthur Grants


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    I'm sure you're right about Gugenheim Fellowships or MacArthur Grants, and contemporary academic photography, but Enlightenment-style thinkers are hitting back in other areas, such as Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now. The fundamental jumping off point of Post Modernism, the claim that there is no truth, is incoherent. If there is no truth, then there's at least one truth, namely that there isn't any truth....
    ďYou often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.Ē
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  9. #139

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dodphotography View Post
    If Nick Nixon was 22 in 2019 making pictures of Boston in his New Topographics stage he’d be posting on Flickr / Instagram with #largeformat and not represented by Frankeal
    I suspect you're correct about this.

    Except that even the Flockr -- er, Flickr -- and Instagram crowds aren't much interested in New Topographics style photography these days.

    I know this firsthand, because that's basically what I've been photographing since the late 90s. <shrugs>
    JG

    More of my photos can be seen at my photo-blog here: https://audiidudii.aminus3.com/

  10. #140

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    I'm sure you're right about Gugenheim Fellowships or MacArthur Grants, and contemporary academic photography, but Enlightenment-style thinkers are hitting back in other areas, such as Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now. The fundamental jumping off point of Post Modernism, the claim that there is no truth, is incoherent. If there is no truth, then there's at least one truth, namely that there isn't any truth....
    Trust me... Iím not saying itís for the better. I find a lot of the work boring but itís the flavor of the month (and by month I mean the last 35 years).


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