Evolution of Formalism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by weinheimerphoto, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. I posted this in rec.photo.advanced back in 1995. I just found it after all this time (it's
    amazing how things bounce around the internet) and while it is not a question it does
    reflect the philosophy of Photography and I welcome all comments on the editorial. It is
    lengthy so forewarned is forarmed.


    THE EVOLUTION OF FORMALISM
    AND WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

    By Gary Weinheimer

    During the early part of the twentieth century a movement
    known as modernism entered into the world of photography. This
    movement is touted as one of the more important advances in
    photography since the Deguerreotype. Modernism is the use of
    lines, angles, form, shadows, highlights and a sharp focus to
    create an image. The issue becomes not what the photo is of, but
    what it conveys. This allows the photographer to concentrate on
    the feeling they want to convey with the image instead of
    conserning themselves with the choice of a subject. A formalist
    attempts to produce a visceral response from the composition of
    the piece, vice the subject of the piece. Artists that fall into
    this category include Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Emma Jean
    Cunningham, and Alfred Steiglitz. It has been put forth by many
    that the Modernistic Movement was conceived and born out of the
    need for photography to prove itself as a fine art, rising out of
    the ashes of the Pictorialist Movement. Was Modernism a change
    of direction? I contend not. I will deliver evidence within
    this paper that modernism was simply a progression of the work
    produced before it and not necessarily a deviation from it's
    predecessors.

    In 1837 Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and Henry William Fox
    Talbot introduced ways to transfer the images from the camera
    obscura onto a permanent medium. Even in it's early stages one
    can see the formation of a modernistic viewpoint. Looking at The
    Open Door, by H. Talbot we can see the use of line shadow and
    form. The way the broom cuts a diagonal in the shadow of the
    doorway and the way the sun highlight the frame of the opening.
    These are tools that the modernist might use to compose their
    image. This photo however, is by Mr. Talbots own admittance in
    The Pencil of Nature, a study of the capabilities of this new
    found science. In addition if one were to look at Louis
    Daguerre's Still Life, one could say that his use of shadow is
    comparable to Helmar Lerski's German Metal Worker. It is known
    however that due to the limitations of the Daguerreotype that
    Daguerre had to place the items in his photo near a light source
    to obtain a workable exposure time, yet one can already begin to
    see a foundation being laid that is to form the basis of the
    formalistic art form that became popular in the early twentieth
    century.

    As the art of photography began to form a history, line,
    shape, and form seemed to become more apparent in the work of the
    photographer/ operators. As the Civil War broke out, operators
    like Timothy H. O'Sullivan and George N. Barnard began to
    document the events surrounding our civil strife. In Barnards
    Rebel Works in Front of Atlanta, Georgia, we can see a dirt mound
    forming an arching angle from left to lower right. Obviously
    this was not a decision based on limitations of the equipment, so
    why compose this photograph with what could later be described as
    a formalistic style? It could have been taken from the mound
    itself, or any number of other angles. It would appear that not
    even thirty years into this new medium operators are becoming
    concerned with composition. The look was becoming important.

    This interest in the use of lighting, angles and shadows as
    means of conveying feeling or at least make a stronger point,
    grew even more pronounced as the Westward Expansion and the
    Industrial Revolution began. Many of the operators that
    photographed the Civil War went west to seek their fortunes while
    others used there vision to glorify mans accomplishments using
    skills learned form their past experiences.

    One of the possibilities for a young man with photographic
    skills was to become a member of the many geological survey teams
    that the government had begun employing to categorize this new
    wilderness. One of the tasks, be it self motivated or assigned,
    was to make the west appealing to those people in the east. This
    desire to give the west a favorable focus seemed to have a
    profound influence in the way this new territory was documented.
    Some of the operators involved with the westward expansion were
    Timothy O'Sullivan, Carleton Watkins, and Eadweard Muybridge.
    Looking at all three of these mens work we can see strong roots
    forming the modernistic tradition. Timothy O'Sullivan had a
    vision that must have influenced Ansel Adams. Looking at
    O'Sullivan's Ancient Ruins in the Canyon de Chelle, New Mexico we
    see the use of lines and highlights that Mr. Adams must have
    found so compelling some years later. O'Sullivan's Ancient
    Ruins... seem's to embody the use of highlights, shadow, and line
    to compose a very powerful piece of work. Your eye is drawn into
    the crevice by the highlighted lines on the rock face causing
    your eye to fall directly on the ruins. This is not an oddity
    among the many photos taken of that period. We can also look at
    Carleton Watkins' Magenta Flume, Nevada Co. California or Henry
    Hamilton Bennett's Sugar Bowl with Rowboat, Wisconsin Dells and
    come to similar conclusions.

    On the other side of the continent the industrial revolution
    was getting under way. Photographers felt the need to bear
    witness to the massive advances being made. To this end
    photographers began photographing anything mechanical.
    Interestingly enough machinery seem's to lend itself to the
    concepts of formalism quite well. The angler formations and the
    way that the different outcroppings form shadows when the light
    falls on it make for a strong composition. It may have therefore
    been purely coincidental that A. Collard's Roundhouse on the
    Bourbonnais Railway, Nevers has a very symmetrical, modernistic
    feel. The engines forming a semicircle that matches the outline
    of the building which matches the outline of the highlights made
    by the glass in the ceiling. We could compare A Collards work to
    Industry by Sheeler made in 1932. The angles and created by the
    covered conveyer belts and the smoke stacks give the photo a kind
    of symmetry that cropped up in work 30 years prior. Additionally
    it should be pointed out that both of the afore mentioned photos
    were sharply in focus, a trait bestowed to the modernists of the
    early twentieth century. The similarities between modernistic
    work and the work before it seem to be endless.

    Then we have the Pictorialst movement. Pictorialism
    predates modernism by approximately thirty years, however I
    believe that it is the pictorialsts that are in fact the odd man
    out, if you will. Could it be possible that the branching out of
    the photographic field simply occurred at an earlier date than
    believed by many. Looking at the varied work that occurred
    between the 1850's and the 1880's we can see essentially two
    types of images. That which was designed to inform people, and
    that which told a story of some kind. These two branches had
    vastly different styles. Pictorialsts used among other things a
    fuzzy focus to distill a since of art in their work, while
    modernists used a sharp focus to get every possible detail. It
    is easy to make the statement that modernists were contrasting
    their predecessors, but what if they are simply progressing from
    the work produced by people like Muybridge, Watkins and
    O'Sullivan? Even in the Pictorialist Movement we can see the use
    of lines and angles to make the composure of the image more
    harmonious. Take for example Humbert De Molard's The Hunters.
    The line of the brick wall behind the models and the sweeping arc
    of the Ivy and the way it mimics the line of the models pose.
    Being a directed photograph, it could have been taken in any
    setting, with any back drop, but the artist chose this
    composition, why? It may be that there are simply people who are
    by nature, formalistic.

    Pictorialists were, like modernists, trying to convince
    critics that photography was in fact an art form. They did this
    by emulating painters, sculptors and other "true" artists of the
    time. To some degree they could be compared to abstract artists
    of today. Abstraction is constantly under fire for it's lack of
    apparent effort and skill, where as photography in the late
    1800's was under fire as an art form, as it is today, for it's
    apparent lack of effort and skill. After all can't you just
    point the camera and get a picture? Where's the artistic skill
    in that? To answer this challenge pictorialsts began to emulate
    those people in the art community that were considered true
    artists. One has to realize though, that while these
    photographers were fighting a battle to put them on the pedestal
    next to the other "fine arts" that there were a number of other
    photographers producing work throughout the west that can not be
    denied as art. As I have already pointed out through numerous
    examples operators from the westward expansion and the industrial
    movement of the mid 1800's were already using composition as a
    tool to obtain incredible images.

    By the standards of the time however these images were
    simply being taken to show people how wonderful our
    accomplishments were and how much room there was for expansion.
    However if the artistic conception begins at the time of
    composition could it not be said that these people were in fact
    artists? If this is the case, then is it possible that we have
    two distinct styles emerging much sooner than generally
    perceived? It could be said then, that modernism is a direct
    outcropping of the documentary work done before it, and that
    abstraction is the progression of pictorialism.

    The people, it would seem, are the ones that control what is
    considered art as in the above case. During the westward
    expansion the people decided that the work being delivered from
    the west was not to be considered art, yet. Thirty years later
    photographers are rendering pieces that use similar techniques to
    those produced out of the west and are touted as great artists.
    It is the consumer that determines what art will sell, however it
    is not the consumer that determines what artists will create. If
    following the line of logic that the art of photography has more
    or less been branching since it's inception then how can we truly
    say that modernism was a reaction to the fuzzy focused
    pictorialists as so much as it was to the critics finally waking
    up to the fact that it takes some effort to compose a piece like
    Frank J. Haynes Geyser, Yellowstone, Wyoming, c.1885 or George
    Barker's Moonlight on the St. Johns River, 1886.

    We are finding more and more that the consumer is coming
    around to the formalist viewpoint of art. If you were to ask
    some one off the street to name five famous photographers one of
    the first name to come out of their mouth would more than likely
    be Ansel Adams and they would probably be hard pressed to name
    any others. So what if it is simply a case of popularity when
    dealing with this topic? If painting was popular among the
    working class could it be that a more abstract form of
    photography may be popular today among those that pursue that
    career? Eugene Smith might not have pursued a career as a
    photojournalist but as a gallery artist, had the whims of the
    populace been different. I'm not completely convinced that art
    controls it's own direction. Like every thing else in life art
    turns in the direction of popularity due to the fact that
    popularity is where at least a living can be made even if it's
    not a grandiose one.

    If we look at the world today, especially the United States,
    we can see examples of popularity commanding a market. Take for
    example professional football. If it were not for the popularity
    of the game, the players would not necessarily be able to make
    quite as handsome a living in that field. Likewise the populace
    has decided that the place for photography is to replicate what
    it feels is reality. It has become our duty as photographers to
    fool the populace, giving them the harsh details while keeping
    them away from the actual dangers. If we take this one step
    further we could say that video has built on the numbing that
    photographers began. We, as visual communicators, gave the
    populace what they seemed to demand and now we have people who
    believe that soap opera stars are real people. What does this do
    to the value of our work and what paths does it give us to
    travel? There is a trend in the air that may give us an
    indication of what the populace is willing to except. People
    seem to be becoming weary of stark reality as the popularity of
    resent animations involving pure fantasy being released out of
    Hollywood may indicate.

    For the still photographer this may mean a future of
    photograms and double exposures. With the introduction of the
    computer into the art world it seems to be becoming easier for
    those of us with the talent for artistic rendering in the
    photographic medium to manipulate our work to exactly what hides
    in the depths of our imagination. If we were to wake up tomorrow
    and find that the fickle public has changed what they consider
    art would we rather go hungry or give them what they want? Could
    we answer their desires?

    In conclusion, I feel that the many and varied styles of
    photography have always been in the minds of the artists. I do
    not feel that a true conflict exists, only a difference in
    opinion in the way an artist chooses to use their medium. It is
    the public that controls which particular form or style of art is
    dominate at any particular time. We will continue to produce
    what our hearts tell us to, however we may find ourselves wanting
    and therefore produce what we are told we should produce, at
    least for a little while. This may not seem "fair" yet it is the
    way of the artist. We have to eat, clothe ourselves and
    preferably live indoors. We will therefore do what we have to do
    to survive, at least for the most part. On occasion we have
    purists like Eugene Smith who would not bend in their way
    regardless of the pressures real or conceived, but these people
    are in the minority and most of us will survive, when pressed, by
    what ever means it takes. Even if that means bending to the norm
    for a short while. Where the many branches of our art will go
    from here is up to those who tell us what they want, and what
    they want is never certain and always changing.

    May the future be kind to the arts in what ever foom it
    takes, for it is one of the few things that keeps us human.

    FIN
     
  2. I couldn't read past where he called Imogen, Emma Jean. Sorry. She's too important for
    someone writing about photography not to know what her name is.
     
  3. Your right, I'm sorry, I should have proof read it again. I haven't looked at this since 1995.
    My apologies for any typos that you may come across.
     
  4. I'm sorry if I seemed snooty... she's just one of my favorites.
    Also... Canyon de Chelly...

    And speaking of Louis Daguerre, there's a new book out about him, no photos, just a book
    about his life. The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, by Dominic Smith. It's quite an
    inspiring read.
     
  5. A modernist is not concerned with choice of subject but with conveying feeling ?

    A formalist attempts to produce a visceral response from the composition...and visceral is defined as natural instinct ?

    A pictorialist emulates classic art and that is abstract ?

    What a minute I thought the modernists were abstract...but no the modernists are just "modern" ? That's convenient...

    Well, BH often says that there is art based on affinities and art based on symbolisms and that there is not a fine line between the two...
     
  6. There is an interesting article over at findarticles.com titled: Adams and Stieglitz: a friendship: when Ansel Adams met Alfred Steiglitz in 1933, the two photographers embarked on an enduring personal relationship that was the most important of Adams's artistic life by Sandra S. Phillips.
    Sandra's writing is interesting because it talks to the influences of cubism upon the then friends Alfred Steiglitz and Paul Strand circa. 1915.
    A second article titled: The Family of Stieglitz and Steichen - Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen's legacy - Critical Essay by Jonathan Weinberg goes to the heart of that influence through its inference that Edward Steichen introduced Alfred Steiglitz to modernism including the cubism of Picasso on his return from studying in Paris to live with Stieglitz.
    Sandra Phillips writes Paul Strand "...and Stieglitz were actively engaged in applying Cubist principles to photography. As Strand stated, they employed the camera's "complete uniqueness of means," and produced the first consciously modern photographs, using the frame as an abstracting element..."
    According to Sandra Phillips article it was this experience demonstrated by Paul Strand's work that convinced Ansel Adams to cast off the "characteristic of Pictorialism and become a modern photographer" along with his mentors Strand and Stieglitz.
    However, for me there's too much of the un-peopled landscape present in Ansel's work to convince me that he ever fully cast off his pictorialist roots in contrast to the more cultural influences present in Strand and Stieglitz.
    I felt there was some added value in referencing the above articles here as a tie-in to Gary's good article.
    Cheers...John.
     
  7. Gary, I scrolled down your post in increasing disbelief. As far as I can see, it's not a question and life's too short to plough through such a discourse on a photonet forum. Can you precis your point in 50 words please?
     
  8. Gary,

    I read your post carefully. You deserve that after such an effort. I wish people
    would read mine when I write beyond three paragraphs. I sense they don't.

    Anyway, I'm no art historian, and I'm not always sure of the terms art historians
    use, but I take issue with some of your definitions: modernism. "Modernism is
    the use of lines, angles, form, shadows, highlights and a sharp focus to create
    an image." I'm not so sure of this, although certainly many modernist photos
    employ angles, form, and so on. I think the term is far better defined by the
    adage "form follows function." Thus Weston's Chambered Nautilus
    emphasizes the form of the shell as a function.

    You may be saying that the photograph itself is modernist, because the form
    of the photograph is of neccesity made of angles, lines, shadows and
    highlights. But that seems a stretch to me.

    Well, that's my three paragraphs. I'd better quit.

    Tom
     
  9. Good ideas need a good editor. :)

    http://www.digoliardi.net/critique.htm

    But as it says at the bottom where it give us, let us discuss the ideas.

    Are you comfortable stating that certain photographers' attraction to the technology of photography led to Formalism? Another way of expressing this is to suggest that photographers used the elemental qualities of photography such as light and line to make statements about the medium itself, although some still employed certain classic themes in order to keep the viewer comfortable.
     
  10. "I couldn't read past where he called Imogen, Emma Jean. Sorry. She's too important for someone writing about photography not to know what her name is."

    Yeah...then there's "The angler formations..." I suppose that's really angular. Your credibility often goes no further than the mistakes you make.

    But, in any event, "modernism" is much more than a reaction to "fuzzy focus" As pointed out, Cubism had a large influence on photography and photgraphers.

    Modernism was an entire cultural movement that included art, architecture, music, literature, etc.

    I doubt O'Sullivan, Watkins, etc. were overt modernists as Modernism itself was really born in France and wasn't identified as an art movement until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Well after the work being described was done.

    "...modernism is a direct outcropping of the documentary work done before it...and that abstraction is the progression of pictorialism"

    No. Formally, Modernism is, as described previously, an entire art movement that was a concious reaction to Romanticism, Impressionism, etc. It is as much a philosophy as an art movement. Pictorialism and abstraction are NOT the same thing.

    You obviously don't understand the difference - as I can cite examples of abstract work that absolutely does NOT meet the criteria put forth by pictorialists of the period who were adamant about what characteristics were essential in a pictorial photograph.

    The photographers being cited (Watkins, etc.) were simply making documentary photographs. The idea that they used formal methods of composition is of no consequence or surprise as they had a thousand years of western (European, Greek, etc.) style art to rely upon for examples of formal composition.

    "It has become our duty as photographers to fool the populace, giving them the harsh details while keeping them away from the actual dangers"

    I have NO IDEA what this means. I have no duty to anyone if I'm doing my own personal work.

    "...video has built on the numbing that photographers began."

    No, video is radio with pictures. That was what it was originally invented to be - a better way to broadcast entertainment.

    "We are finding more and more that the consumer is coming around to the formalist viewpoint of art. If you were to ask some one off the street to name five famous photographers one of the first name to come out of their mouth would more than likely be Ansel Adams and they would probably be hard pressed to name any others."

    This has nothing to do with "formalism" and everything to do with the ubiquity of his work through calenders, books, etc. (a better word might be advertising). If his work is seen by hundreds of thousands is it any wonder the response would be Ansel Adams instead of the Reverand Herbert W. Gleason?

    A really disjointed piece of writing, rife with conclusions that aren't supported by either the history of art, history of photography, or facts. I'm not sure what the conclusion means. It has no point.
     
  11. It is true, and always was, that there is interaction between art and society surrounding the same. As one progressed and second progressed too, but what is important is that they go into the same direction. If society where Rembrant lived was not reach as it were I guess I will never know anything about him. You made a nice analyze through very logical and acceptable way. I saw some points and accept it just as this is only internet not a test.

    �� indication of what the populace is willing to accept.�

    I think that communications speed and -reach to- distance and $$$ power of corporations today directs mind and way of thinking of that populace, or at least there is a hard push of try. It is some artificial movement of society and at this point artist are in big trouble for it cannot follow the society. What is left to artist is to master art of surviving: to find source of living out of art, in many cases, while still returning to art, temporarily. This is a case in USA but majority of the normal World do not work in that principle, even some imitations can be seen but more like exploration than target of the society.

    �� with introduction of computer into art world.�

    Computer and chips are not replacement for analog. They are two very different worlds. Digital technology is introduced on commercial purpose. Using digital technology many problems are solved faster and in much more efficient way. This is to thanks that it works in the way: find solution at the point A, make empty space without solution, find solution at the point C, empty space, �. Show the solutions at point A B C... What is in between A and B is not detected by humans resolution. The base of use is that human cannot distinguish, without aids, small enough emptiness. Digital system is discrete and far from the perfection. At the very best efficiency of digital system is 0.5, while analog at it�s the best is 1.0 (or 100 percent). Note that this eff. Is not the same as efficiency above where I deals with time to reach solution. Art cannot deal with a such system. It can be art just in the world of robots. Digital system has its very limitations that will for ever keep it separate from �art�. Also digital system is alive just because human is still not smart enough to use at the same speed analog system. If one day speed and �cost� of analog system becomes the same as digital (or even close to it), it is definite end of digital world. It is also, like a role, that �photographers� knows little about digital technology. Usually what they know is what they see in advertising catalog from Canon or Nikon or TV. If you push someone to learn he always answer �life is too short��

    The best work of the �best� photographers is not their commercial work, but work done for themself personally.
     
  12. ahhh...yes..one more entry into the digital versus analog non-issue.

    Computers, like cameras are only tools. The fact that you do not have the imagination to see or use the new possibilities afforded by new tools has no bearing on the work produced using them.

    The rest is only self-rationalizations about why YOU don't use new tools. These are the exact same type of rationalizations and arguments used by painters of the 19th century when describing why photography would never be art.

    As I wave a fond fairwell from the 21st century to our 19th century dwelling friend - I can only say, give the digital versus film debate a rest. It's been beaten to death; and with much better arguments than you ever tender.
     
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    ahhh...yes..one more entry into the digital versus analog non-issue.
    It's much easier to waste space on that than to actually comprehend the issues that the original post, however flawed, tries to address. By attempting to reduce every argument to digital/analog, one can talk mindlessly about anything.
     
  14. ~The post seems to say that artists make art that the public demands.

    I just think this is fundamentally wrong headed. Sure - a commercial photographer has to
    bend to the clients will to an extent, but the "art photographer" [[**hurl]] doesn't, and I
    thought this was the point ?

    I haven't got teh time or eh resources at hand to go into the rest of the post really, but it
    does seem like it needs a fair bit of work, over and above simple spelling of photog
    names.

    I applaud the effort though and the offering up of it here for assassination. A brave man
    indeed.

    I think I might start a new thread about digital photography as art.
     
  15. Steve,

    I agree with almost everything you say in the forums. So why are you the most obnoxious contributor on PN? Still trying to reconcile that (those?).

    Grant.
     
  16. "Computers, like cameras are only tools. The fact that you do not have the imagination to see or use the new possibilities afforded by new tools has no bearing on the work produced using them.
    The rest is only self-rationalizations about why YOU don't use new tools. These are the exact same type of rationalizations and arguments used by painters of the 19th century when describing why photography would never be art.
    As I wave a fond fairwell from the 21st century to our 19th century dwelling friend - I can only say, give the digital versus film debate a rest. It's been beaten to death; and with much better arguments than you ever tender."

    Now that is brilliant and bears repeating. Thanks Steve.
    I wish I had time to read this old essay at the top of this thread. Scanning through it though it should've been edited before reposting. I would say too that it's out of date if you consider the changes digital imaging has brought to us since 1995. Chemical darkrooms are pretty much way old school already.
     
  17. "Now that is brilliant and bears repeating. Thanks Steve. "

    It's not brilliant; it's just bloody freaking obvious and shallow and may just perpetrate mediocre thinking. Just because the author cannot find the fundamental virtue of a particular media, does not mean there is none. His view could indicate a sloppy, undisciplined, incurious dolt. One need not exploit the fundamental, but it is there begging to speak for itself.

    "Just a tool" means uttterly nothing. Everything is "just a tool". If everything is a tool, then it is nothing is important.

    (I did a book review once. I hated it. So I critiqued using three firearms: five 44-special bullet holes, two 12 ga shotgun blasts, and 10 .22s. The guns were critical-review "tools". Yeah, right. I sent it back to the soliciting publisher and he sent it back to me to be autographed!) Now, that's an artistic statement. :) NOT!
     
  18. Ken P said: "I wish I had time to read this old essay at the top of this thread. Scanning through it though it should've been edited before reposting. I would say too that it's out of date if you consider the changes digital imaging has brought to us since 1995. Chemical darkrooms are pretty much way old school already."

    So enlighten me; how has digital changed photography since 1995? How has history before 1995 changed since 1995?
     
  19. Swinehart

    I just saw you inserted some of your photographs here in PN. I think they was not there by my last try to see your work. I am impressed with your conrtibution to photography, but all said above is valid except --where are your photographs--. I am sure you have and better images but I will take more time for your picts, and live some my view on them.

    Have a nice view finder.
     
  20. Pico, it's obvious by your nature you like a good fight so I will not offer you one. Relax, take some pictures, and think how much the medium has changed since 1995.
     
  21. Who knows? Endless possibilities immediately overwhelm my meager mind ... and these so pathetically laden with murky, crusty, history-infested present-mindedness that an absolute objection at all attempts at over-simplification screams out in embarrassment ... even if it is our wont, in this present oh-so-impoverished age, to entertain ourselves with these kinds of gymnastics. No, I won't proffer a guess as to the complete enfolding of human intelligence with Time ... but I will, however reluctantly, contribute, in the interest of a fair start, that your pointing up the intersections of money and work and art seems fruitful to the formation of a new attitude toward our human potentials ... including our art, which may well become a completely outdated notion ... a completely impoverished subset of what in the future becomes a much greater totality of human relatedness to our fancies. What will be "art" when no one works?; when no one needs money?; when no one dies?; when no one is burdened with anxiety?. Will we still fancy? If we do, will we still accept the fancies of others, instead of our own? Will we need a class of privileged elites to fancy for us? ... to make up rules? Will we create perfect machines that create fancies for us? Will we graft these machines seemlessly into our brains? ... create bionic imaginations?

    The future is reading this (and everything that we type) ... and laughing at us ... all the time. Or, maybe someone is making of this thread an incredible work of art?
     
  22. THE FUTURE?

    Presuming we avoid a catastrophic economic collapse and further war, then I am certain that bionic implants will be well established in twenty years. Precursors such as computers built into clothes already exist and will become popular beginning next year. In a few years the word 'computer' will begin to fade away as they are realized as popular communications devices.

    I dearly hope that as humankind becomes more plugged-in, that it realizes that information is not knowledge. I see no appliance that will give one wisdom. Humankind's predisposition to erred reasoning is so profound, so entrenched, so resistant to improvement that I've little confidence it will improve.

    And someday in the near future, educators are going to have to face certain challenges because information will be cheap. They will have to learn to think anew, revive philosophy and ask the Hard Questions such as "How do we know what we know?" "Can we learn what we do not know?"

    ...and one day Freedom will be licensed. :)
     
  23. Philosophy used to be the process of aquiring knowledge, then the term got hijacked by a bunch of people like Kant and Russell who sold the chattering classes on the idea that, the less you could understand the argument, the more profound it must be. There's a sub-text too: if you disagree with the argument, you must be wrong. Whatever happened to agreeing to live and let live?
     
  24. H. P. , mar 03, 2006; 12:51 p.m.
    "Philosophy used to be the process of aquiring knowledge,"

    At one time philosophy was the only means of aquiring knowledge outside of accepting religious speculation, doctrine. Then the scientific method succeeded (more often than not) to address certain questions of philosophy. An interesting revival of philosophical methods is now coming about in the field of physics.

    "then the term got hijacked by a bunch of people like Kant and Russell who sold the chattering classes on the idea that, the less you could understand the argument, the more profound it must be."

    The chattering masses accepted tiny snippets that fit on a bumper-sticker, and they largely misunderstood even those.

    Some philosophers were just plain horrible writers, true, but I know of no competent scholar of philosophy who believes that profundity is evinced in obscurity.

    "Whatever happened to agreeing to live and let live?"

    One is perfectly free to be willfully ignorant.
     
  25. Where do those guys (who throw their cameras in the air with the self-timer turned on and 'think' they are being 'creative') fit in?
     
  26. what a piece of crap Pico. anyone who dosnt agree with you is ignorant? guys like you give being stupid a bad name
     
  27. "Jimmy Smith , mar 03, 2006; 04:23 p.m.
    what a piece of crap Pico. anyone who dosnt agree with you is ignorant? guys like you give being stupid a bad name"

    Thank you for making my point, Jimmy. I did not ask anyone to agree with me. You volunteered to be one of the willfully ignorant. What more could a person ask for.
     
  28. Art imitates baseball.

    Hey, I read this thing to the bottom. Can I get a prize?
     
  29. It's always good to see that those who like to dish it out, find it difficult to take it in return. While I may disagree with Jimmy's articulation his sentiments hold some merit.
     
  30. HP: "It's always good to see that those who like to dish it out, find it difficult to take it in return."

    That's rather sad. You heard that once, and it stung you, so you think it actually means something. You flatter yourself. You have not replied. You are shooting blanks and don't know it.
     
  31. It's always sad when the best argument someone can advance is a personal attack.
     
  32. My only real experience with formalism came about when i was first asked to explain necessary and sufficient conditi0ns. In response, I said; at a formal dinner a black tie is necessary but not sufficient. I was 18 months old at the time.
     
  33. HP: "It's always sad when the best argument someone can advance is a personal attack."

    Now only is your repost weak, but you were the one to advance a posit of offense.

    You are now in the Ignore File. Don't you hate it? It's the way you made it.
     
  34. One of my previous posts in this thread titled "Who influenced whom" references an essay that talks to amongst other things, the cubist influences on the photographers Alfred Steiglitz and Paul Strand.
    Although I have seen ready recognition of the influence of African sculpture in Picasso's work I have never seen any mention specifically made of Picasso's Camera with it's cracked lens given to him by the Italian futurist Gino Severini around 1905.
    "The box cameraメs cracked lens caused the facial plane in Picassoメs photo-portraits to be broken themselves, and raised slightly on one side. Attributes he would soon utilize and transpose to his early sketches and preparatory drawings for the seminal LES DEMOISELLES DメAVIGNON."
    Edward Steichen viewed the photos on a studio visit and sent several to Alfred Steiglitz, two of which were published in Cameraworks. Steichen would later say: "The images were like the meeting of a shepherd and a mermaid on the trunk of a Buick.ヤ
    Cheers...John.
     
  35. I have to say that being ignored by someone who can't hold a civilised conversation sounds excellent to me. Long may it continue!
     

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