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Thread: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

  1. #71
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    I hate ballet too, Peter. Best to think of me as a barbarian. I do enjoy some classical music. But most of all I dislike anything overproduced and commoditized, like much contemporary music. I don't like commoditized photography either. Just my perspective. I don't expect everyone to be the same. But I do admire restraint, nuanced layers, things that reward intent viewing over a period of time, rather than in-your-face market imagery. Right now, it's the sheer adolescence of digital, with its myriad of gimmicky apps, that seems to spawn a tsunami of pseudo-creativity. In the past, others things had the same effect. It takes awhile for any relatively new medium to find gracefulness. My notion of the utter ruination of art lies with blatant advertising types like Warhol and Avedon. I'm more in line with the poetic mode of Kertesz, who phrased the biggest insult to Avedon's work ever, calling him "a zero, just a commercial photographer". That would have stung from someone like Kertesz. Oh well. I guess being ornery keeps us ole mountain men going longer. I just get disappointed at the superficiality of it all, especially the whoring of nature. With all the incredible real light out there, what's the need to pour sticky-sweet jelly and jam all over it, or reduce it into one cute gimmick after another? Our own eyes hold more potential than any clever app ever invented, or that ever will be invented. Having all this new technology suddenly available is just like having a race car. Fine. But you need an equal set of brakes to go with it. ... Now back to my three vicious mini mountain lions. One of them is snoring loudly at the moment.

  2. #72

    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    This flat blank slate sky overhead is my least favorite kind of light for either color or black and white photography.
    Ideal conditions to use an orthochromatic black and white film. E.g. https://www.maco-photo.de/files/imag...leiOrtho25.pdf

    Instead of insulting digital photographers, art historians, ballet dancers, and the rest of the world. Why do you hate them?

    AA? - Life goes on. I am sure AA would have liked digital photographs (he did a lot of Polaroid), art historians (B. & N. Newhall were his friends), ballet (he played Strawinsky). Geologists?

    The art of Wilkes is great. It's unfair to devaluate something, just because of a locked idea of an art that finishes itself.
    Last edited by Daniel Casper Lohenstein; 5-Apr-2019 at 02:17.

  3. #73
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Well, thanks for the tip. The Ortho look is easy to achieve in a sheet film like T-Max (either speed) and a deep green separation filter. But I'm not in the desert. Everything is a green as Ireland around here at the moment, and even a modest yellow-green filter would turn the hills into white paste. But I don't hate any of these people. That fact doesn't prevent me from commenting on particular genre. Do you somehow think that only career critics and historians have that right? Nonsense! If they're always so perceptive, why aren't they the ones making the paintings and photographs, and not just hobnobbing and pontificating? I've been around that set; they don't fool me. (Of course, there have always been certain individuals genuinely proficient at both roles, like Stieglitz; and I have personally known other examples.) Misrach pretty much pegged it when he called art critics "essentially parasitic". That must mean something from someone whose entire career has been dependent upon them, reciprocally. But I have no problems accepting all kinds of genre within a limited sphere of definition. Those digitized Wilkes time-lapse simulations in question are indeed entertaining and among the best examples of the plethora of that kind of work being done now. I have no objection to it as visual entertainment. But I can't realistically regard it as anything much more than that. It's cute. The National Park Service is deliberately courting that kind of visual output to attract the younger generation with their electronic devices to the Parks, so the flow of necessary interest, and tax and entry fee money will continue unabated. But in another sense, it's counterproductive, because it engenders stereotypes of what things should look like, and diverts from taking a deeper look. Why have parks and wilderness areas been set aside at all, if these are just regarded as theme parks, or if you can otherwise concoct scenic stereotypes sitting on yer butt abusing Fauxtoshop? Believe me, I don't pass judgment on anyone enjoying what they do, as long as its legal. My backpacking companions include both serious film photographers as well as amateurs using digital gear for all kinds of fun effects and trip documentation, with no pretension to art whatsoever. I never discuss that kind of thing on the trail. But just being along means they're learning how to look. I point things out - not only hidden details of flora and fauna and geology, but the infinite shading of the light. They observe my intensity and waiting, before I trip the shutter. Seeing is a process in itself. Shortcutting this is just penalizing yourself - you miss the real treasure. I don't care how many thousands of hours it took to shoot and digitally assemble a catchy jigsaw puzzle composite; it's not the same thing. Yes, commercial photographers need to make money if they're going to travel and pay their bills, etc. And, just like advertising photography, instantly snagging the eye with a clever new tweak is way to do it, though any specific such strategy gets tiresome very quickly. Fine; I understand. Just call it what it is. Or, if you can't, don't deny my right to do so. This whole thread is, after all, posted on the "On Photograhy" section, where opinions should be accepted.

  4. #74

    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    But I don't hate any of these people. That fact doesn't prevent me from commenting on particular genre. Do you somehow think that only career critics and historians have that right? Nonsense! If they're always so perceptive, why aren't they the ones making the paintings and photographs, and not just hobnobbing and pontificating? I've been around that set; they don't fool me. (Of course, there have always been certain individuals genuinely proficient at both roles, like Stieglitz; and I have personally known other examples.) Misrach pretty much pegged it when he called art critics "essentially parasitic".
    Hullo Drew,

    now I really wonder about it, because you can't stop insulting.

    1. You really wrote that you "hate" particular genres. Apparently you spend much time with posting. But even a hardworking typist don't have the licence to affront others.

    2. It's not about a personal opinion. When speaking in a pejorative way of "career critics and historians", you suppose that they're only interested in climbing the social ladder or in advancing in a position. You're inventing a bugaboo. But nobody is interested in shadow plays. - Somebody who is familiar with the analysis of art works will always be able to defend his opinion in a qualified way, without "hating". Why should he shut up when some self-proclaimed hero claims to be the cat's whiskers and emphasizes the authenticity of his process?

    3. Being "perceptive" does not mean that one produces art. Being a red wine connoisseur does not mean that one produces red wine. - Artists appreciate me because they see their art through the eyes of another human being. In many cases I am even the only one who looks at their (good) work: the others, especially other artists, gorge themselves at the vernissages, talk about their yoga warm-up.

    4. "I've been around that set" - I suppose that you have got some experiences. Is this the gist of the matter?

    5. Stieglitz: this is history. Life goes on. We don't live in the 1950ies. We are talking about actual art and ecology, about life in the 21th century.

    6. If Misrach, the other name you have thrown in, like many others, as you like it, experienced only "essentially parasitic" people, his experiences of the ecology of art would be pitiable. - But Misrach ins't a loser at all. He experienced a lot of people with university diplomas in art history, who publish his works, who helped him to publish himself. He received a lot of grants and awards. He is appreciated by many people and institutions. In fact he makes a living of this cultural activities, as well as he lives on his prints I suppose. Many artists, at least here in Europe, live on grants and scholarships, paid by public authorities, that means by me as the tax payer. You pay up to 45% tax in Europe ... As far as the artists are concerned: they don't even generate taxable incomes. Most of them exist in precarius conditions. The taxpaying art historian who nourrishes this bohemian universe: he shall be the parasitic one? - Do you see my point? It's the other way round, not at all how you want to tell it.

    Regards

  5. #75
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Richard Misrach is an excellent example for the OP to look into for the type of work he is interested in pursueing. Really...not many are finer. He's been thru the wringer a few times, but still keeps going (change in a paper's production stopped his main body of work just as he was getting them into museums, etc, and a fire that took out his studio, negs, etc).

    His Desert Cantos is a classic. I watched him use an 8x10 like a 35mm camera...a good skill for chasing fires in the desert.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #76
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Daniel - thank you for at least articulating your position. But it is a private opinion, just like mine; and I find your response inadequate. No, you're not talking about ecology at all. Mythologized Photoshopping etc might be fine for an action flick, but has no place in alleged science, which ecology implies, whether photographically presented or not. But I don't understand the over-sensitivity. Why do you feel your toes are getting stepped on? And why should I be obligated to worship at the altar of certain practicing or pontificating peers? I can stand on my own feet. I don't need their approval one way or the other. Nor am I impressed with academic resumes. Nor do the economics don't define this topic, while common-sense business practices might. Lots of the art world, whether aspiring or academic, barely earns a living here too. People who now have a reputation often chose the long dreary path of "starving artist" beforehand. Just because someone chooses to find a more efficient means of making a living doesn't necessarily constitute them into anything less, photographically. The old school heroes like AA and Edward Weston primarily supported themselves as commercial photographers, not as artists; but at least they made the distinction as to what examples applied to personal versus client applications. New-school names, several of which live in my own general neighborhood, and who take me as an equal, did come out of academic environments, tended to either miserably grub their way up the ladder, or had a spouse supporting them. There's nothing "self-proclaimed" about me at all. I don't need that either. I'm not pretending. Sounds like you are the one dishing out the insults. And what the heck makes you think I'm any less educated? That's a pretty bold presumption in itself. I don't care. I don't have a thin skin. But I do have a point to make. I'm not claiming it's any more valid than your viewpoint, or anyone else's here. But I should have a right to articulate it, without such genre distinctions being perceived as "insults". I don't like sugar in my coffee either - should that fact condemn me as somehow being out of touch?

  7. #77
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Gosh, Vaughn ... his 8x10 camera technique was awful; but he was honest enough to admit it. What I didn't have patience for was the manner he angrily harangued the two lab owners who printed his work, who were both friends of mine. He eventually wore out his welcome. They went through hell to print those so-so negs. He's adapted much better to MF digital. Yes, a lot of interesting images over his career, and a few iconic ones, which I've followed from the beginning. But he was the epitome of a starving artist. A brave guy, willing to go off on tangents and work through entire bellyflop projects before finding his feet off n'on again. Began with night photography of Telegraph Ave in its sordid heyday of narcotics and homeless victimized youth. That launched his career at an NYC gallery; but not a single person other than him and his wife attended the opening. Nobdody. So he worked his way up the ladder, something I have no interest in doing. All my opportunities came comparatively easily. When my wife was attending UC and we were dating, we'd walk to Blondie's Pizza there on Telegraph, and she spotted one of her professors dumpster diving behind the shop, probably buried six miles under student loans. It was a popular dumpster with local artistes too. Not a lifestyle I envy. But yeah, I have a copy of Desert Cantos on a shelf behind me, and have seen every one of the original prints, which have all probably faded into oblivion by now. It was the Ektacolor 74 era. But we all fade too. Some of his recent work is skillful and rewarding. I didn't see the point of his, Pictures of Pictures project - that was just too academically pretentious for me. But he's one person I just don't care to personally interact with.

  8. #78
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Read OP's opening and the first 20 odd replies, read the last few too

    I think time is what some are looking for, at least I am

    Last night I woke with a plan, I had almost forgotten until I read OP's post 1, five minutes ago.

    Now I remember and back to my drawing board, in reality.

    Nothing to add to this discussion, except 'time'...
    sin eater

  9. #79
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Yeah, time indeed. I've got a big printing project lined up, but it needs a block of time, and the usual little circumstances of life have got me stuck in the house. ...getting over a cold, vet issues with pets, filing taxes. Every half hour I see if things are ripe to sneak out with a camera again. The rainy sky cleared an hour ago and some beautiful thunderheads appeared, but within ten minutes everything went slate gray again. Hope tomorrow will work out. If not, I'll default to a raincoat with a Nikon tucked under it. Cabin fever.

  10. #80
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Musings on landscape photography from a landscape ecologist's point of view

    Not at all what I meant.
    sin eater

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