January 22nd, 2013, 12:12 PM
Well yeah, at some point they diverge along separate paths, (which is why they have different monikers to distinguish one from the other), but both have identical/similar roots.
Originally Posted by Hikari
As to your last statement ... I still have tears in my eyes.
"Everywhere you look there are photographs, it is up to us photogs to see them."- Gary Ayala
My Snaps are Here: Unsharp At Any Speed
January 22nd, 2013, 12:18 PM
OH YEAH! I get that from time to time... and then, even if perhaps I *might* have considered shooting it with something, I lose the desire to do so almost immediately
Originally Posted by BBW
Gear: Mostly the Fuji X100, Ricoh GRD III and Olympus XZ-1
January 22nd, 2013, 12:37 PM
They say.. where are you?? Where are we??? As I am not shooting..
January 22nd, 2013, 01:21 PM
Dang. I think I realized why I don't care much for street photography. I just don't like people too much.
Originally Posted by Ray
In all seriousness, the only time I like to "people watch" is when I'm at the beach and occasionally at the park. When I am enjoying that I don't feel like taking pictures. When I'm taking pictures, I don't find most people's everyday activities all that exciting, photographically. Over the last few years seeing your pictures, your attitude is the complete opposite of mine. But that is what seperates most photographers, I think, is their attitude and feelings towards various subject matter.
January 22nd, 2013, 01:50 PM
Yup, all down to what you like. Show me a macro of a flower or a butterfly or a technically amazing shot of a bird in flight, and I'll probably fall asleep before my eye moves from the left side of the image to the right. But people always fascinate me, particularly if any sort of humanity comes through in the shot (sometimes even a blank expression can work). And sometimes I just like trying to find images in mundane everyday objects, but that always feels more like practice to keep my eye in shape than anything I ultimately want to keep. I just realized that all but two of the shots I have hanging in my house have people in them - just goes to show.
Originally Posted by Djarum
If we all liked the same stuff, life would be really boring...
January 22nd, 2013, 03:00 PM
My husband will point things out to me or call me out of the house or into the garage or into the yard etc.. usually these things he points out are macro related but not always and sometimes they are worth shooting so I go to look but the feeling prior to seeing.. is.. are you really bugging me with this. Then after it's like.. oh.. or wow.. depending on what I see. When he is out of town he takes photos for me so if he asks me to take something then I take it for him. No biggie. Now if some one told me I should be shooting such-and-such all the time I would probably walk the other way. I shoot what I am compelled to and can't artistically frame something I have no feeling towards.
Originally Posted by BBW
January 22nd, 2013, 11:48 PM
Lots of interesting responses... From been there done that like the discussion just like Grog and Thag when discussing the artistic merit and statement on the human condition of Thag's first petroglyph - to Barrie you really need to consider getting a dog at least - to photography is not at all about me at all - to it's all about me. So those are your opinions yet every viewer of your photographs is forming their opinion too - not only about the picture you post but also about you.
Looking further into this about two weeks earlier than the quote in the first post Guy Tal posted the following on his blog...
The Missing Dimensions | Guy Tal Photography Journal
I would go further to say "the awareness the artist artist wanted to create in the viewer and/or to experience..."
The Missing Dimensions
Guy Tal | December 30, 2012
Questions and answers are powerful means of gleaning information and opinions. Still, while answers are often scrutinized and validated before being accepted as truth, such examination rarely is applied to most questions. If an answer seems plausible, the question is seldom deconstructed. Thus, it is quite easy to lead a curious mind down a futile path by providing well-reasoned answers to nonsensical questions. This does not necessarily imply ill will on the side of either party, but it does suggest a responsibility on the part of anyone addressing important topics to also recognize those situations when the questions are flawed and should not be simply answered as asked.
Especially suspect are questions containing statements of fact. For example: “Since the Earth is flat, how come nobody ever falls off the edge?” If the stated fact is patently incorrect, it is far more useful to address the fault in the question (however well-intentioned) than to venture an answer within the constraints of error or ignorance.
One such question that seems to come up often with regard to photography is: “How can you distill the richness of a multidimensional real-life experience into a two-dimensional rectangular frame?” The correct answer is, obviously, you can’t. But when examined closely, the question itself, no matter how you answer it, does little more than affirm an ignorance of how images are perceived by viewers. The experience derived out of an image is always a different one from that of the photographer present at the scene. But, neither is it limited to two-dimensions.
While seemingly a reasonable question, one has to wonder why writers are never asked how they can relay complex experiences using just a two-dimensional page covered in strange little symbols; and musicians are not asked how they can stir the hearts of listeners using one-dimensional invisible waves.
The more helpful answer is this: The question is meaningless, since it relies on two false assumptions: that photographs (and photographers) are limited in their expressive powers to simple objective recording of appearances, and that the evocative powers of an image are limited to its visual aesthetics alone.
Let’s start with the understanding that an experience is not derived exclusively from the senses. An experience is always the product of a mix of stimuli, sensibilities, memories, beliefs and states of mind. Therefore, an experience, whether triggered by a real-life situation or a photograph, is always multidimensional. It can, therefore, be said that artists don’t just record experiences, they create them for their audiences. These experiences are derived not only from the raw materials, tools and processes used in the creation of a given work, but also from interpretations and meanings originating from the artist’s mind and expressed in their creative choices (from composition to the use of color, line, tone, etc.).
More important is an understanding of how we recall memories. Connections in the brain link data together. A scent may trigger a memory, which is linked to other memories – perhaps of sounds, moods or sensations – which, in turn, may be linked to others. The dimensions – visual, emotional, auditory – are all there in memory. The image is only a starting point for a greater experience.
Taken a step further, though, the actual memories really only exist in the mind of the person who was literally there. An image may tap into more than just memories, though. Color, line and tone may be linked to visceral sensations, to emotions, to moods and concepts that are common to given audiences, perhaps even to all people. This is how we can convey deep meanings through the use of symbols, sounds, euphemisms, etc.
In photography, as in every other medium of art and communication, the finished work can never explicitly contain every related fact and meaning. If the artist is skilled enough, though, they may unfold a complex story by merely arousing the right kind of connotations in their audience, through an understanding of visual perception, of effective metaphors, and of common sensibilities.
Through the power of perception, an artist may literally control the brains of their viewers, prompting them to produce a desired experience and reaction, oftentimes far exceeding the simple graphics contained within the frame.
Viewers of a work of visual art are no different from viewers looking out a window. They may not have the actual experience of being on the other side, but they have enough for their minds to form an idea of what it feels like. Art goes beyond that, though. More than just a window, it is a deliberate arrangement that can be consciously designed to prompt desired reactions.
The missing dimensions are not missing at all; they are manufactured in the mind of the viewer. An artist may opt for the ease of simply relaying objective experiences associated with easily-predictable interpretations, or they can assert control over more nuanced responses by taking the time to study how visual information is converted into perceptions of meaning. The two-dimensional image can answer so much more than simply “What did it look like?”; it can very clearly suggest what “it” sounded like, what it smelled like, what it felt like, or better yet, what the artist wanted the viewer to hear, smell, touch, taste or feel.
So now I want to go back to those two parking lot pictures I posted in my first post following the idea that the missing dimensions are not missing at all as they are manufactured in the mind of the viewer.
Aside from the fact that the photographer is obviously very skilled at photography - those images are impeccable and beautifully done in their composition and colour - what I saw as I looked at them was - in the case of the first - what a wonderful world this would be if we were not so dependent on drugs (I think it is no accident that the word pharmacy is in the image and off to the side and not the first thing you see) - and in the case of the second - the famous Rolling Stones song Goodby Ruby Tuesday Who could hang a name on you... - beautiful juxtapositioning of an excavator often used for demolishing buildings and a building with that name. Those two photographs are images that I would have been very proud to have captured.
I would have thought the photographer to be highly trained in photography and to have a wonderful sense of the ironic.
I have no idea what the photographer intended but wonder...
The point being every time you press the shutter not only are you saying something about yourself - whether you think so or not - but you also have an opportunity to control the message and to express something. Meanwhile we rush to take another picture of the Moulton Barn or Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend.
My all time favorite photographer is Dorothea Lange and she addressed these very issues as well. Some quotes...
She had no problem with the issue. I obviously need to find a personal "hero photographer" far more superficial than Dorothea Lange!
Every image he sees, every photograph he takes, becomes in a sense a self-portrait. The portrait is made more meaningful by intimacy - an intimacy shared not only by the photographer with his subject but by the audience.
As photographers, we turn our attention to the familiarities of which we are a part. So turning, we in our work can speak more than of our subject – we can speak with them; we can more than speak about our subjects – we can speak for them. They, given tongue, will be able to speak with and for us. And in this language will be proposed to the lens that with which, in the end, photography must be concerned – time, and place, and the works of man.
I would like to see photographers become responsible and photography realize its potential.
I confess to thinking about this alot - not with respect to all my photography much of which is just family documentation but some portion of it. I been trying to think of a way to move forward with this... By and large pretty just doesn't cut it with me anymore. I would like my photography to say "creative, thoughtful and unique" but I think right now it may say - I'm not sure what - muddled, confused, struggling - who knows.
Am I the only one who struggles with this?
PS For those "into" landscapes that work to "say something" much as new topographics did I would recommend this site and do have a look at some of the work being produced. New Landscape Photography I spend a fair bit of time looking at the work of the photographers listed.
January 23rd, 2013, 05:00 AM
Food for thought on heroes: what do Paul Strand's photographs say about him? Do they perhaps say much more that is not about him ie do they instead speak of time, space, nature, art, and the place and function of humanity in this world?
Gosh, this subject is getting much too complicated for my limited understanding of things.
January 23rd, 2013, 05:34 AM
Ed, I sense two different photographic purposes in your text, which I also sensed in the essay you quoted in your OP. The first of those purposes seems to be to communicate something about the subject, to give the viewer a certain experience, thought, meaning etc though your photograph. The second purpose seems to be to communicate something about yourself through your photos (lazy, creative, unique, etc).
It seems to me the first one is a much more useful thing to be worried about. If you set out to create photos that show that you are a unique and thoughtful photographer, for instance, you'll probably be less successful in communicating something about the subject.
If I can re-quote part of the essay:
I strongly disagree with the part I made red; I think those judgements about you as a photographer follow from your work, but should not be an integral consideration when you're composing your work. I much more agree with the blue part; if you approach photography like that, showing your own emotions and thoughts about the subject (or triggered by the subject / composition), you can create an emotional or intellectual response in your viewers.
Legendary film director Federico Fellini expressed what, to me, is one of the most profound truths about art when he said that all art is autobiographical. This simple sentence illustrates the gravity and importance of thinking about our images as more than just attractive photographs. Someone who had not yet understood this premise may ask: “is this a good image?” The serious artist, however, knows that a far more important question is: “what does this image say about me?” Do your images say that you are creative? lazy? thoughtful? formulaic? sensitive? an imitator? an artist? unique? generic?
When you consider that the image reflects the person who made it, you must also acknowledge that everything that may be said about your image is ultimately said about you. More than that, it means that you have the power to control your artistic legacy. Rather than repeating formulas or producing images devoid of meaning, make sure there’s a concept behind your images – something deliberate you wish for them to express – something of your own making and that represents you – your thoughts, your relationship with the things you photograph, and the meaning you wish your viewers and critics to find in your work.
I think the lazy / formulaic / creative / whatever adjectives should follow from your way of creating an experience for your audience; particularly if you consider that lazy or formulaic approaches can often work very well (and can often relate what you're trying to say in a tried-and-true, effective way), but might also not keep the viewer's attention for long, whereas creative, innovative approaches can relate your message in a fresh way, possibly triggering a stronger response but also offering a higher chance of failure.
Basically, I see it like a discussion. Would you rather show your creativity, thoughtfulness and uniqueness through your ability to discuss subjects in a creative / thoughtful / unique way, or would you rather show it by saying, 'I'm creative, unique and thoughtful! '? I think the first is both more interesting for your discussion partner, and more convincing in shaping his opinion about you.
Oh, and thanks for that Missing Dimension article, I enjoyed reading it
Last edited by bartjeej; January 23rd, 2013 at 05:37 AM.
January 23rd, 2013, 11:45 AM
I agree. I absolutely love Minor White's photographs, his yammering about the cosmos less so. He was a great photographer, a less convincing guru, at least to my mind. HE needed all that stuff to produce his work, just a Yeats needed his cycles of history and ghostly platonism; WE don't need it to take the work in. His photographs themselves reveal his mystical side, his awareness of something transcending the reality he shot. But don't we all believe that? Even if the shot is a family photo of a child at his birthday party, we are pointing to a larger reality, to the family that cares for the child and threw the party, to the child's friends, to the importance of nurturing. Can a photo say all that? Yes, and usually does. The trick is to say it well, and that involves inherently photographic principles.
Originally Posted by pdh
My own feeling is that the photographer will bring his conceptual apparatus to his work -- his loves, and his neurosis too, probably. To be too self-conscious about trying to translate a concept can put one in a straight-jacket, narrow the focus too much, and cut off the connections to a wider world that make photography interesting in the first place. I see a fair amount of conceptual art that is long on concept and short on anything else. I have a taste (not a talent, a taste) for philosophy, but if I'm looking at the ground and shooting interesting shapes and shadows, forms and textures, I'm thinking more in terms of Guillevic's basic, elemental things than of Whitehead's prehensive gatherings. Though both the poet and philospher are among my heroes.
Last edited by Lawrence A.; January 23rd, 2013 at 11:48 AM.
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