Looking at a photo for more than ten seconds

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by unrealnature, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. When was the last time you looked at a photo, other than one of your own, for more than ten seconds?
    ... one ... two ... three ... four ... five ... six ... seven ... eight ... nine ... ten ...
    Ten seconds is a pretty long time. Why did you look at it for that long? Exactly what were you looking at? In detail, please.
    I am, this second realizing that my own report is not of a masterpiece of fine art (maybe I should quickly find one ... ). Oh well, I shall be honest and tell what is in fact the last ten-seconder as of this instant.
    I was reading the recent Aperture article to do with Eggleston and sound, and in it, the author says something like "You do not want to leave your wife or girlfriend alone with this man." I'm thinking, "Huh?" Eggleston has always looked like kind of a lizard to me, but not a lady-killer. Anyway, at the end of the article, the author tells that he did leave his wife alone with Eggleston, and his recounting of what she told him happened then made me go and look for more than ten seconds at the picture that accompanies the article of the seventy+ year old Eggleston. He sure doesn't look like a hotty to me.
    That's my ten-second look. If you've got one, please post. Why did you look at it for that long? Exactly what were you looking at? In detail, please.
    [If requested, I'll quote what happened between Eggleston and the author's wife.]
  2. Julie, are you looking at the photo of Eggleston for more than ten seconds or are you looking at Eggleston in the photo in an attempt to see why he's considered a lush to women which I imagine will require more than ten seconds? I guess sex really does sell but to see why from a still photo would seem to require more complex methods of examination.
    I've done the same thing. But with regards to your OP I guess with your opening example you've set up a more compelling if not a bit more complicated situation for discussion by mentioning a written backstory accompanying the photo that seems to make it difficult to separate which of the two inputs influenced the amount of time the photo was looked at.
    Though I've posted this photo before I know I've looked at it for more than ten seconds... http://s14.photobucket.com/user/andynuyen/media/gap.jpg.html
    ...but a large portion of that time has been viewing it stuck in my mind weeks after I closed the web page, so technically speaking I've looked at it way longer than I should.
    In that time I kept asking myself why I hadn't I seen or noticed this aspect of the female figure as a teenager in the '70's where now it's become a "thang" starting some time in the '90's. Has the female figure evolved or morphed in that time span to make their "gap" more noticeable or does the gap represent something metaphysical similar to why there's a hole in a doughnut we don't pay attention to but yet we buy and eat doughnut holes. I admit it's a philosophically crude subject, but I can't get it out of my head for less than ten seconds. And I've REALLY TRIED!
  3. ... hmmm ... looking at Tim's picture, you can tell I'm not terribly interested in looking at women's asses, especially ones that are better than mine ... because I was mainly struck by the fact that she's standing in front of a toilet (why?? we don't pee that way!) and the toilet is *very* clean, which mine is not, at least not *that* clean. So, exiting my ten-second look, I'm basically feeling very inferior.
  4. I was going to say something but then I might hear from my wife.
  5. Does a photograph reproduction of a
    painting count? Three weeks ago, I
    looked at a photo of a painting of a
    beautifully drawn Muslim Obama with
    long beard, large ears and them little
    cap. It was wonderfully done, only with
    slight embellishments, very realistic
    unlike some badly drawn cartoon
    characters. I looked at it three nights in
    a row, each maybe 15-20 seconds,
    debating whether to purchase it or
  6. Julie, moments before I read your post I was looking at one of Steve Gubin's latest shots here on PN, and it engaged me for at least a couple of minutes. Much of Steve's work is not quickly understood by me, yet there is something to it that is engaging. Specifically, I was looking at the characters in the shot, looking at expressions and interactions, looking for meaning below the surface, and wondering why Steve found the shot worthy of posting. Eventually, I hope to comment on the photo, but it's going to take more perusal. I find that it's often the case with me, that I'll spend some time with a photo, and come back to it later for more looking, before commenting on it.
  7. ... hmmm ... looking at Tim's picture, you can tell I'm not terribly interested in looking at women's asses, especially ones that are better than mine ...​
    My intent behind choosing that image, Julie, was not to entice as a gender specific item to ogle over, but to confront and understand what I perceive as a portion of my reptilian brain. It's one of many variety of reasons why anyone would look more than ten seconds at an image.
    I am not one who seeks out these types of images. I may come across a nude maybe once a year. Even if my linked sample image was done in an artful style or as a painting similar to Leslie's example, I'ld still be looking and pondering over it more than ten seconds. There's a design aspect in the anatomy I've seen in industrial designs from automobiles to kitchenware I've spent some time attempting to dissect and analyze and I come up blank.
    But then there is this landscape I've posted in another PN thread... http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=111143.0;attach=146110;image
    I've looked at more than ten seconds and have bookmarked it. I just like the quality of tonality that gives this particular landscape a unique presence and sense of tranquility. I've not come across anything like it on the web.
    So maybe another reason for looking at an image more than ten seconds is that the viewer knows or gets a very strong sense they're looking at something that's truly one of a kind that defies explanation.
  8. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    any photo that takes me somewhere - eg charlie le may's stuff on the leica forum
  9. Tim, your linked landscape requires me to log in, and I'm not registered there.
    Just thinking about the variations in response so far, some seem to be because a picture confirms what one already feels while others are about discovering something new that one didn't feel before (Mark Zell's post in particular). On the latter, from poet Marianne Moore: "That which is able to change the heart proves itself."
    I'm not sure how much one can really verbalize what or how something changes the heart, but I do think we know when it happens. Talking about such private inklings can develop the feeling, keep it from escaping or being lost/forgotten; but they can also displace it by wordy dissection.
    If you've got a good ten-second picture, but don't like to 'why' it to death, I'd still be interested in 'what' you notice yourself looking at in that particular picture.
  10. Julie, I have looked at quite a few images right here on PN for longer than 10 seconds. I've provided 2 examples.
    This image is one of Alf Bailey's. Indeed, I have been following his landscape work for quite a while. This one, though, differs from his usual bill of fare because of its abstract quality.
    I've also been dialed in to Jack McRitchie's work. Although he doesn't appear to engage in postprocessing, he nonetheless picks subjects that are off the beaten track enough to encourage me to not just to view their capture with my eyes but also with my full attention. This image fits that description.
  11. Tim, your linked landscape requires me to log in, and I'm not registered there.​
    Sorry about that, Julie. I sent a message over at LuLa to Erik Kaffehr, the photographer, where he provided a link to it from his personal gallery... http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Dolomites-West/i-xkLZ9tp/A
    There are others in the Dolomite West gallery folder that are rendered with the same subtle tonality and color... http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Dolomites-West/i-85K7sdc
    Of course I spent way over ten seconds looking through all of it.
  12. Do vinyl-record album covers count? I've probably spent hours studying the cover photo on the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album while listening to the music. And sometimes I wasn't even high.
  13. I sometimes find it difficult to look at any art for an extended period of time. Especially upon first viewing. Greater appreciation for any photo or other art works for me comes from repeated visitations to the work. Yes sometimes something is so good it just captivates the eye but more often several visits have me looking deeper, contemplating more and seeing the things that avoided the eye in previous viewings.
  14. While Eggleston may not be considered movie star handsome, he is a very successful living artist and that alone can be very attractive to some women. Generally speaking artists, actors and musicians do not make enough money to make a living but something about being in these fields is attractive to some women and if you are one of the small percentage who achieves success then women will beat down your door.
    As to the 10 seconds question, sure I do. Most of the pictures I look at these days are in museums so I have time to look and contemplate without distractions. I used to visit a lot of online forums especially those dedicated to street photography but I don't anymore. To be honest I didn't find much of the work in these forums any good. Furthermore, some of these forums tended to be curated by people with a particular taste that isn't my cup of tea and others were so cliquey that the same small number of people where the only ones posting pictures. I made the mistake once of pointing out some obvious flaws in one picture and I caught holy Hell for it not only from the photographer herself but the other clique members who previously gushed over the picture. Oh well, so much for constructive criticism I guess. Some pictures don't need more then ten seconds to figure them out. Some don't even need five. All great works of art reveal themselves slowly. For what it's worth I visit museums on a regular basis. I observe my fellow patrons when I do and for the most part 10 seconds is about the length of time most of them stand in front of a painting or sculpture or photograph. I'm talking about work from some of the biggest names in the history of art. They may add a few extra seconds to take a selfie in front of it as well but very often they rush from one work to the next. I wonder when they leave if they remember any of it.
  15. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Seeing involves more than staring at something
    no one has said otherwise. why introduce such negative connotations?
  16. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Julie, I have looked at quite a few images right here on PN for longer than 10 seconds. I've provided 2 examples
    most people who willingly look at photos do spend more than 10 seconds looking at them. ten seconds is not very long
  17. Tim, that landscape does have a nice atmospheric 3D quality to it. Can you tell me *what* you were looking at in the picture for ten seconds? Same to Michael Linder: what were you looking at in those two photos? Not what makes them good or bad, but simply what were you looking at.
    What I really, really want is not just "I looked at this" but what you were looking at when you "looked at this."
    Of course everybody looks at some pictures for more then ten seconds. What I'm curious about is, taking your most recent ten-seconder, no matter what it is, and noticing what you were looking at. Something about it made you linger. If you did so for ten seconds, surely you can notice *what* it was that you were looking at.
    For example, this morning I was leafing through two new books I just got. In A Brush With Reality: Figurative Painting Today, I passed this image by François Bard, and paused. Then I continued. Not ten seconds, but a hiccup of interest. Got to the end and went back to it.
    I stayed, thinking "Why isn't it a photograph even though it looks exactly like one in many ways? Why can't it be a photograph? I think it's the edges -- photos, no matter how sharp, always have a certain syrupy-ness to their edges, you can't get this kind of crusty color in a photo ... and he gets to pick out those specular notes on the face that don't cooperate in photos ... and he gets to have a uniform bluish tint with just that certain yellow ... boy does that face stare at me with force! ... that firm but not quite angry lower lip ... the 'maybe' quality of his friendly but stern stance, especially the shoulder ... " [link to the picture]
    That kind of thing is what I wish would be posted about your most recent ten-seconder.
    The other book, Joel Meyerowitz's Seeing Things: A Kid's Guide to Looking at Photographs, I'm sorry to say, I just whizzed right through (I'll go back and read it closely later). This even though, or because all the photos it contains are very famous ones I know pretty much by heart; the two that I paused over were an Atget that I didn't remember (Organ-grinder), but I mainly looked at it to follow Meyerowitz's reading of the picture; and the well-known Winogrand picture of three (and a half) pairs of young people (five white women, one black man, and half of an older unpaired white man) on a park bench -- I'm looking at the feel of the interactions within and between the pairs -- as I have many times before, but it seems to attract me every time.
  18. Not long ago, I was viewing Noah Weiner's "Moving Through Trees 008" for quite a while, on a tablet. I found that the parallax effect was greatly enhanced by zooming in quickly, then back out slowly. It made the entire viewing experience more immersive, putting me into a sort of dream state...driving along half asleep and watching those skeletal trees go by over and over again. As I wrote to him, I'm not sure if I could or would have tried that with a print, or if it's something that was revealed through that particular combination of content and delivery method.
    Another recent image that held my attention for considerably more than 10 seconds was A.Ola Schmidt's "Made Alive". It's a nightmare in beige, connecting our world to Hieronymus Bosch's through writhing tentacles and matching tones. Is that inadequate fence keeping something horrible out, or in?
  19. Tim, that landscape does have a nice atmospheric 3D quality to it. Can you tell me *what* you were looking at in the picture for ten seconds? Same to Michael Linder: what were you looking at in those two photos? Not what makes them good or bad, but simply what were you looking at.
    In the landscape I was taking in the extreme realism of the overall image as if I was being transported to that place. My eyes wondered around noting the texture and warm green of the grassy rolling hills thinking I could role around on them without discomfort of any kind.
    I looked at the construction and size of the small log cabin structures and marveled in their toy like smallness from their sharp detail against the wide open space and softness of the huge majestic mountain peaks in the background.
    The random placement of elements within the composition projects to me an unassuming honesty from the photographer as if he was showing us how he was taken aback from coming upon the scene unexpectedly and resting a bit to take in the splendor and beauty as if discovering for the first time a hidden away part of Earth.
    This helped me not interpret the intent as just another stock photo cutesy commercial contrivance in an attempt to pander to a broad audience. I think if I detected a rule of thirds or golden mean ratio within the composition I'ld most likely pass it by as just another commercial looking technically perfect stock image.
    How's that, Julie?
  20. Outstanding!! Just what I was hoping for. I have to tell you, though, the paragraph "The random placement of elements within the composition projects to me an unassuming honesty from the photographer as if he was showing us how he was taken aback from coming upon the scene unexpectedly and resting a bit to take in the splendor and beauty as if discovering for the first time a hidden away part of Earth," made me laugh out loud. You and I both know how incredibly hard one has to work to get that kind of nonchalant, just-happened-upon this look. Like those fashion models that the stylist works on for five hours to look like they just got out of bed looking that way ...
    Thank you!!
    Sean, the Schmidt picture got me for the full ten seconds (I feel like I'm in a bull-riding contest, though they go for thirty, I think ...). On first look, all the pipes seem to be with the fantasy group, which seemed to be behind the screen, but then I noticed the *real* pipes at the top and had to sort it out visually.
    I really like those fat pipes, for some reason (have you seen the movie Brazil -- the scene where Robert DeNiro as plumber goes into Jonathan Pryce's apartment wall ... ?). Almost more than the creatures. I'm not crazy about the thought-balloon porcupine (and if that doesn't get the rest of you to look, you need another cup of coffee).
  21. You and I both know how incredibly hard one has to work to get that kind of nonchalant, just-happened-upon this look. Like those fashion models that the stylist works on for five hours to look like they just got out of bed looking that way ...​
    I thought the same thing and found from perusing Erik's gallery and in LuLa discussions with him over the years he's just a hobbyist photographer who has no art training. In fact he's more a technical person who likes discussing camera performance. He's not a personally complicated guy.
    A better way to describe why Erik does by accident and ease what you and I try to do with great effort can be related to the plane ordinary flat look and feel provided by the actors in the movie "Napolean Dynamite" where the director used real people from the town (or at least it seemed to me) without acting knowledge to provide the spontaneity and lack of cinematic stylization. Rick Linklater used real people including some of his own family in his movie "Bernie" to great effect.
  22. Why can't it be a photograph?​
    That Bard image really made me linger more than ten seconds and I got the same take on it as you describe. But then your mentioning why it can't be a photograph really got me to think about the internal and somewhat hidden language of intent in the actual creation of an image.
    Paintings already convey a more personal and intimate connection to the subject in expressing intent through the language of interpretation by brush strokes of paint on canvas by the artist where a photograph projects a separation and distancing of the artist from the subject/scene by way of the technical process and the knowledge by the viewer that it's a recording of photons on light sensitive material or electronics, not a spontaneous response of brush strokes by human hand.
  23. Now since Eggleston was mentioned here I'm going to turn the OP question around and ask whether a photographer should look at the scene they are shooting for more than ten seconds. As an example looking at Eggleston photographic excursion in this YouTube documentary segment makes me question whether we should as photographers stop over thinking (and gazing at scenes too long) our approach to what should be photographed...
    I mean the guy just points and shoots. Not a very complicated guy it appears at least in the way he shoots. I don't know if I could do it like that. I think I wouldn't enjoy it much doing it that way.
  24. Julie, Tim - In Alf's image, I was taken by the presence of areas of monochrome and other areas of slightly desaturated gold or yellow. Also, the detail seemed to lessen the closer my eye got to reflections in the water. Jack's image was totally a different story. In this instance, my attention was mainly on the composition - four framed portraits sitting on the floor of a school storage room and a chalice sitting on top of a student desk in front of the portraits.
  25. Speaking of Eggleston, I have enough banal pictures of my own. When I shot them and looked at them, always longer then ten seconds, I thought they were the cat's meow. What I was impressed about, thinking about it in retrospect, was that I was forever capturing a slice of time which if you think about it is rather impressive just in itself. Even God himself doesn't do that as far as I can tell. I'm still impressed by that act, especially my own.
  26. I really like those fat pipes, for some reason (have you seen the movie Brazil -- the scene where Robert DeNiro as plumber goes into Jonathan Pryce's apartment wall ... ?). Almost more than the creatures. I'm not crazy about the thought-balloon porcupine (and if that doesn't get the rest of you to look, you need another cup of coffee).​
    Yes, Brazil is pretty unforgettable. If I remember correctly, that scene introduces a new level of surreality that continues through the rest of the movie. The photo definitely takes me to a similar place, and Terry Gilliam has cited Bosch as a major influence on his style, so I got to geek out for a moment about you making that connection. :)
  27. "I am at war with the obvious." — William Eggleston
    In that very well known quote from Eggleston, it is, I think often taken to mean our obvious. It doesn't (IMO); it means his own. Eggleston doesn't give a rat's ass about Alan Klein's obvious ... or yours or mine.
    Tim writes: "I mean the guy just points and shoots." If he (or you or I) stare longer at something it gives our inner on-going same-old personal narrative time to take over and colonize what we're seeing. By shooting fast, I think Eggleston is trying to stay out ahead of that; that which is the obvious.
    Color relations are the most immediate, felt narrative, arriving before the organizing, known, familiar, obvious narratives in which we are all embedded. By shooting color and letting our known narratives chase it, Eggleston is turning on its head the usual shooting of narrative and letting (or making) color chase our already given (obvious) narrative.
    This whole thread is about how some photos make us work to find or develop a narrative. Because? They're strange, they're new, they're subtle? Because they're not obvious.
    "Bill Eggleston's stuff sure didn't strike me at first as 'good' photography. I mean, everything isn't always in focus, the 'subject' isn't always in the center (it's sometimes chopped off!) and the framing sure ain't what they advise in the Kodak manual. And, to top it off, unlike a lot of 'documentary' pictures, one can't even tell what some of the pictures are about. Isn't a picture supposed to be about something? Isn't it supposed to be telling us something?
    "But I kept going back to look at them. More and more of them. As if by staring long enough I might penetrate their mystery and understand why they mess with my mind like they do. And every time I'd think I'd uncovered some underlying system, device or technique, I'd see something else that would totally throw me for a loop.
    "Maybe the sensation of getting thrown for a loop is the thrill I was seeking. Like stepping off a roller-coaster, or spinning around until dizzy, or drugs, or driving music, I guess the feeling of slight disorientation is addictive."
    [ ... ]
    "It's a world that's familiar and darkly mysterious at the same time. As if we came home one day and there was this strange smell. Unrecognizable. Well, Bill Eggleston puts that smell in there. Sweet and stinky ... but I still can't figure out what it is." — David Byrne
    ... "sweet and stinky." Raw colors and smells; before or outside of the visual obvious.
  28. Julie, I'm curious about your thoughts on the response I posted.
  29. Michael, thank you for posting your description. From it I can get some idea of why you are stopped by those two pictures -- which didn't stop me at all. That's not a criticism of either you or the photos. It's the peculiarity of each of us that I'm sniffing out in this thread ...
  30. "Peculiarity" - interesting and helpful choice of words, Julie.
  31. ... "sweet and stinky." Raw colors and smells; before or outside of the visual obvious.​
    Interesting take on Eggleston, Julie. I have to wonder if he could find or see the "sweet and stinky" looking at reality in the way shown in the YouTube video because the color and tone in his mages/prints don't look like reality due to the color reproduction process he was using.
    So his way of looking around for something to shoot, tripping the shutter in an off kilter but casual fashion had to have some preconception as to how it would look as a print. His decisions for choosing what to show must change the battle plans as well in his war with the obvious.
    There's still an element of the accidental starting from framing reality in the viewfinder to showing the final prints that he decides to keep.
  32. Julie, Tim - In Alf's image, I was taken by the presence of areas of monochrome and other areas of slightly desaturated gold or yellow. Also, the detail seemed to lessen the closer my eye got to reflections in the water. Jack's image was totally a different story. In this instance, my attention was mainly on the composition - four framed portraits sitting on the floor of a school storage room and a chalice sitting on top of a student desk in front of the portraits.​
    Alf's monochrome immediately came across to me as a circa early 1900's post card, but the yellow on my display shows more of a desaturated urine (slightly greenish) hue which actually gives it a unique other worldly distressed look as if to reflect how one would feel in an actual flood as well as give the impression the photo/print had literally been pulled out of polluted flood water.
    McRitchie's row of portraits was a bit hard to understand on whether it's shot in an abandon school now used to warehouse instructional charts/maps and trappings of former school administrations or that it might be a working classroom being readied for a new school year. I do like the diminished hues of the wood with the concrete floor and off white dingy walls. Very Marxist looking.
  33. Thanks to a mix of inertia and excitement, I look at images longer in museums and galleries. Photos aside, I've spent as much as an hour or two looking at individual artworks in museums. The sorts of photos that keep me looking longest online so far vary from the realism of the guy who did the google cam selections to real life compositions like Jack McRitchie's, but a big commonality is juxtapositions: if there is an interesting path for my eye to cycle around, criss-crossing back and forth, I'm all in. At the moment smallish, intimate portraits in the National Gallery in London (turn left at the entrance) and a huge Renoir of Diana the Huntress in the Metropolitan in New York are coming to mind (paintings). Aha, for photos Joel-Peter Witkin stands out. I've actually put quite a lot of thought into how to interpret and use view time, in a context that can't be mentioned here due to censorship, but there is more about it in my gallery for anyone interested. This is my first post after being banned for a month (with a threat to make it permanent), so I'm testing the water!
  34. Bill, Did they make you stand in the corner?
  35. "Looking at a photo for more than ten seconds "Julie Hooley.
    It was a cold place, Julie. They answered without a soul...somehow, I can only think they were lost somewhere.. pray don't tell them.
    Now, if a girl has a fit arse, us blokes would look at it for a lot longer than 10 seconds....don't you think?
    Girls like a blokes interesting arses.... 10 seconds plus..... and a strong back when they are not mounting a horses
    Now, have a think...if a photo was communicating....have a little think.
    Yes, I am.
  36. "mounting a horse"
    I may have a Mapplethorpe where a man is mounting a horse ... I know I have a Mapplethorpe, a gorgeous black and white with exquisite detail, of a man's ass being fisted -- up to the elbow -- that I confess I did indeed look at for a long time. But only because, on the farm where I grew up, the vet *always* wore a plastic full-arm glove when he did that to a horse.
    [Hi Bill! Glad to see you back.]
  37. "I may have a Mapplethorpe where a man is mounting a horse ... "Julie
    Okay, I have wet my knickers. A name ,who means nothing to me....Sorry.
    Julie is shy.
    Move on. You need to look and respect a photo...and try to understand what is being communicated....
  38. One of the few bees I have in my bonnet is, why all the fuss about Mapplethorpe, when his transgressions are so slight compared to Witkin? Sometimes I really despair over humanity.
    [Thanks, Julie!]
  39. They walked among the dead....and lived among dead.
    They lost their humanity.... it became a cold lost thing....
  40. Since I sort of feel responsible for inspiring the last comments concerning sexuality of the human figure with my "Gap" photo I'ld like to provide some level of profundity and class just to divert away from the titillating aspect of it.
    I think the "Gap" photo subject matter needs to be presented in a way that makes its shape and design more than what the photo projects similar in a way as this sample photo depicting a sculpture of a full figured woman I found very interesting... http://render.fineartamerica.com/images/rendered/default/greeting-card/images/artworkimages/medium/1/fat-lady-sculpture-carl-purcell.jpg?&targetx=-29&targety=0&imagewidth=758&imageheight=500&modelwidth=700&modelheight=500&backgroundcolor=1B2421&orientation=0
    I just couldn't find a sculpture of that "Gap" photo online.
  41. I have three ten-seconders this morning, one of which will definitely make you laugh:
    First picture: I'm leafing through a book* about old photographic processes when I come to this image. That horse way on the left, why way over there? nose touching the left side of the picture where there is a one+ inch area of pure black; on the right a row, a great crowd of men, massed; that black horse; why way over there? facing backward; its back to the men, its back to the center; its back to all that massed attention; to my attention; powerful, relaxed but fully ready; everything waiting in the dim light; feeling of dread; why is that horse over there? [the way-off-center horse and rider, facing 'backward' (left) and touching the black bar on the left is what holds my attention; I admire it's effect; it works]
    Second picture: still leafing through the same book. Stopped for this one; an aerial view; leaning forward to see what's way down there; wonder where it is; caption says 'aerial reconnaissance photographs, battle of chicamauga circa 1863; trying to remember the details of that battle to figure out which part is seen ... oh, wait, 'aerial'??? chicamauga?? [big gotcha grin]; reading the rest of the caption: 'from the American history reinvented series 1987.' Took me more than ten seconds (making my excuse here) because the tintype process said it was genuine and distracted me from the 'aerial' impossibility. Okay, okay, I'm an idiot.
    Third picture: This one is just drop-dead gorgeous. I stopped because it's interesting how key the frame is to the success of the picture; that contrast in texture, sinuous vs rigidly gridded; tone, warm vs bluish cold; and look at how clever it is to have the bird's beak almost touch the edge; because of that tight fit, I'm forced to realize the lines of the bird rather than just 'the bird'; most nature photographers are never going to squeeze the bird like that to force me to see lines and curves rather than animal; the line of that neck with the rigidity of the beak is just ... very fine. [the importance of the frame and the tight fit working to accentuate the lines are what hold me]
    *the book is Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes (2002) by Lyle Rexer
    Pictures, in order:
    1. John Coffer, Civil War Reenactment, 1999, tintype
    2. Warren Neidich (with John Coffer doing the tintype), aerial reconnaissance photographs, battle of chicamauga circa 1863, from the American history reinvented series. 1987, tintype
    3. Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Common Egret, casmerodius albus, 2000, tintype
  42. Phil you posted while I was writing mine, but I agree completely that many, even most, of what I think are the greatest photographs don't stop me so much as bring me back again and again.
    I'm specifically not thinking of ten-seconders as a value judgment; rather simply in what can make me stop. Terrible pictures can make me stop just to figure out why they are so terrible.
  43. Go look at a picture of someone you love; and fall in love all over again.
  44. Go look at a picture of someone you love; and fall in love all over again.​
    Many years ago, on one of the (real) philosophy forums frequented by (real) philosophers, they had a long and heated debate about whether it was ethical for a man to masturbate while looking at photos of a long-departed ex-girlfriend. They did not resolve the issue.
  45. I don't want to seen critical. But that's not what I was
    talking about.
  46. Julie as Mel Brooks and Alan as Carl Reiner...now that is worth revisiting again and again!
  47. Oh, thanks a bunch, Sean. Now I'm going around imagining Mel Brooks playing a masturbating philosopher. Mrs. Robinson is in there somewhere, too.
    Movies, we'll stare at for hours; still photos, not so much. I need to get a copy of 24 Hour Psycho and watch twenty frames of it (ten seconds). Trick myself into watching an almost-still because I think I'm watching a movie. I have watched a number of other avant-garde films where things happen verrrrry slowly.
    Edited to add: "Watch" is not the same as "looking at," though, is it?
  48. Go look at a picture of someone you love; and fall in love all over again.
    Many years ago, on one of the (real) philosophy forums frequented by (real) philosophers, they had a long and heated debate about whether it was ethical for a man to masturbate while looking at photos of a long-departed ex-girlfriend. They did not resolve the issue.​
    Quoting Seinfeld..."Well that must've a been a real Algonquin round table."
    I actually do view photos of my former wife longer than ten seconds and she's definitely still alive. My only concern viewing them is how well I fight the urge to want to get back with her, a decision I acted upon back in the early '90's with disastrous results for me.
    I never wanted to gratify myself looking at them. Something too deep about my attachment developed over the times I spent with her good or bad that made it feel sacrilegious. Maybe anyone can see why from this polaroid I shot of her back in the early '80's. Can you look at it for more than ten seconds?
  49. That's a fine picture, Tim. You were lucky with the color of the car (?) she's leaning against. From the look on her face, I think she liked you. A lot. :)
  50. Thanks for the kind words, Julie.
    Not to add to the perceived crassness of my previously posted female body type photo, but my former wife did not have a "Gap". Some women do and some don't no matter how fit looking they are. I really sense it's an anatomical mystery mainly influenced by bone structure.
  51. As long as the original subject is wandering, here's one of my own pics that I look at or muse over for over 10 sec. Having been a street musician, I relate to a disenfranchised man doing who knows what on a trash container behind a bus terminal. It takes me back to my former milieu, here shot from my later digs in a hyper-modern corporate office building. We see the man interrupted in his task as he ponders whether the Gap is a 'thing'.
  52. I know this is un-PC to say, but Bill's picture smells.
  53. Bill, context, direction and presentation is everything with images and humor. If you're going to make light of someone's well thought out point, contradiction equals confusion when it comes to communication. You're a musician like me. You should know that already.
    I really don't get your point or your image.
  54. Go look at a picture of someone you love; and fall in love all over again.
    We're mostly in love with the idea of being in love. We're in love with the story in which we play the starring role. Photography as a sentimental journey ( the only worthwhile photography ) isn't about truth, it's about our idea of what should be true.​
    I was thinking Phil if your and my comments apply to selfies?
  55. Forget about context.​
    Including the context of Bill's first introduction of the image as something of serious importance to him enough to look at it more than ten seconds as a keeper while reducing it to a "Far Side" cartoon in order to zing me and my point about "The Gap"?
    I couldn't make out a pen in his image, Phil. It's so blurry I can't even tell what's in the dude's hands.
  56. Sorry for offending you Tim, I did rather cavalierly link my post to the context. I thought my joke reinforced your point (which in my mind amounts to the Gap is for fetishists). Sounds a bit like jazz with that in mind maybe?
    Julie, not sure what 'smells' is about?
  57. Phil, your chosen picture brings up an interesting issue for me. I've seen that picture so many times that I can't remember how I looked at it the first time, on its own merits. I now know so much history about it -- about Edward, about Charis, about the day it was taken, they were on the Guggenheim project, climbing a mountain (thus the boots) with Ansel and the mosquitoes were incredibly terrible (thus the thing tied around her head). She was exhausted, Adams was exhausted, weather was about to happen there's Edward not slowing down one bit, taking her picture. Further, when they got back to Ansel's that night, ate and were falling asleep, his darkroom caught on fire.
    All that history makes me not see the picture. A pedant like me is never going to suggest that knowing more about works of art is in any way a bad thing, but it's interesting to think about the ways in which it can be a distraction rather than a help in simply seeing the thing.
    How much, or in what way, is seeing right through a picture (without really seeing the picture itself) a good thing? Blowing right by it en route to history. Allen doesn't fall in love with the picture -- he goes right through it into something/somewhere else without even seeing the picture at all. Barthes's mother does nothing for or to me; Proust's madeleine does nothing to/for me. But I'm not sure how much Barthes even sees the picture (itself) of his mother at all.
    [Edward or William with your wife: Edward's women were already naked. That kind of makes a difference. In addition, I'm pretty sure the women were at least as aggressive as Edward in all of his relationships. Definitely true with Charis, at least.]
    Bill, 'smells' is just about how the picture works on me. The picture (due to the way you've processed it) seems to have an unclean, f***-you, man-odor to it. Rank, dried-sweat, street perfume. Part of his leather coat, ring-on-middle finger way of getting up your nose.
  58. Thanks for the juicy detail Julie. The pic was shot at an angle through tinted glass.
  59. I thought my joke reinforced your point (which in my mind amounts to the Gap is for fetishists).​
    Which confirms my frustrations I didn't communicate effectively my point about the Gap image further fueling the tone of my response to you, Bill. I'm over it. We hit a wrong note in our verbal improvisation on this subject, a subject I can't stop thinking about thanks to Julie.
    I'm going to make another attempt at it. I was hoping to make aware the ways of changing the motivation why one would look at a photo for more than ten seconds with context, presentation and direction so the Gap photo could be shot so it's not viewed as mere sexual titillation for fetishists.
    For instance if the Gap subject was presented as a photo of a sculpture then it would help connect with the viewer seeing it as more intimate relationship between the creator of the sculpture and the subject presented that goes beyond just another depiction of a freakish female body shaming standard and cosmetic augmentation. In its current TMZ style shot of a model in a bathroom it could be given a lot more dignity and class through better presentation and context. You'ld definitely be looking at it more than ten seconds, just for different reasons.
  60. Although I make fun of fetishism, I don't want to demean it. Seeing that picture changed my life (riffing again), but in such a personal way that discussion seems superfluous. I think the rarity of the experience transcends the other details.
  61. 10 seconds.
    In our consumer, quick fix world;10 seconds a lifetime.
    Lets try...a photo of a girl with her knickers down...
    A photo of the latest shiny new camera....
    5 seconds a natural or man made disaster...
    A photo of a new tasty burger.
    A photo of aliens landing on our planet...
    "Eggleston has always looked like kind of a lizard to me, but not a lady-killer. Anyway, at the end of the article, the author tells that he did leave his wife alone with Eggleston, and his recounting of what she told him happened then made me go and look for more than ten seconds at the picture that accompanies the article of the seventy+ year old Eggleston. He sure doesn't look like a hotty to me".Julie
    Hmm, perhaps she felt him touching her soul or maybe she felt his pocket...a pocket of fame and fortune she could join with.
    Jackie Kennedy remarried such a man...have I sinned?
  62. Phil, that sounds good, but 'always' sounds too strong. And hard to find either in a lot of abstract art.
  63. The interesting thing is those photos i was so impressed with and was looking at for minutes...not impressing me year later at all((
  64. Phil, I think that's too reductive, yet not reductive enough (there, I'm covered :). Is an otter batting stones back and forth on its chest about sex or death? I would go for the notion that it's all about survival, but procreation and death ignores the complexities of everyday maintenance. Things that are inherently interesting and time-consuming arise from that. Why would I consider that there could be a measurable distance between one photo and the next, and spend a lot of time exploring the geometries implied by those measurements? Because exploration for its own sake has proved a worthwhile strategy evolutionarily. You have to find the genitals before you can use them, mostly.
  65. Bill, Phil's formula is circular and therefore meaningless.
    If you say "What makes us look longer always comes down to two things: Eros and Thanatos,"; the next question is going to be, "What is Eros and Thanatos?" to which the answer is, "Why, Eros and Thanatos is what makes us look longer, of course!"
    misha mishyn, your post made me smile. So true. The pictures must be changing when our back is turned ... A nowatose becomes a thenatose.
  66. I was just looking at my implementation of image analysis for making interesting qualitative associations of pictures, and using the Sift algorithm with 1k 'words' (whatever that means), I got maybe the first knockout one-two-three punch sequence I've seen, again straying from 'not your own' but at least confined to my own folder and easy to put 10 seconds into knowing that the algorithm actually matched features to pick this who-would-have-thunk sequence out of 6000 pix, 1, 2, 3 (actually at that point it was 427, 428, 429 out of 6500).
    Added comment: Looking back, maybe Julie's comment is what made the sequence tie together for me!
  67. Looking at pictures as a game makes me look at each of them less, not more.
  68. I spend time on the on-the-ground-ness that ties the first pair together, and the analogous but flipped look-down of the second pair, which slows me down considerably just in the processing. Then the blind thematic range clicked in my mind, and I decided to intervene. Interesting that you consider it a game, since to me it's an objective exploration of an experimental design. But seeing the novel associations spin out at the click of the mouse, knowing they are objective best fits that I paid to calculate, is the kind of drip-drip-drip reward afforded by a game, I'll grant you. That's why my own, hand-written associator tries to dynamically vary the choice, which by dint of having a policy and responding to timing much more resembles a game, while trying to be a doglike life form. Sift's next pic is a group of those apes, by the way. It's a simple pleasure.
    That said, I am definitely playing on every level I can, so that might detract from the pics, particularly if using them to explore objective perceptual strategies takes away from their essence, or just makes you want to see what the next one will be. As it is, I'm afraid to click 'next' now :)
  69. Bill, please stop twisting this thread into a promotion for you site. Thanks.
  70. Actually I'm starting to like Allen's pictures. Talk about looking at many many samples of his work to arrive at a point where I can say that instead of where in the first couple seconds before a look away I just thought: trash.
  71. Julie, please note that I didn't mention that I even had a site. E.g. the pure Sift option isn't even publicly available on it. But I will go away since I can't stop talking about my creative activity.
  72. Holy smokes! They brought this back from the dead! We are risen ...
  73. "Actually I'm starting to like Allen's pictures" Charles.
    Me too.
    But it has taken a while....methinks, its because I have to look at them for a while when editing, which usually takes a little longer the 20 seconds.
  74. Sweet photos, Allen!
  75. Not much into poetry though...too many mental visual images to deal with?
    And Brad, I also noticed within the last couple months that either your street work has changed or I have changed because like with Allen's, I noticed I actually spend more time when at your city snaps and like what I see.
  76. Thanks, Brad.
    Your city snaps website is an enjoyment.
    Charles, you have a story of in your mind of the life and times of the creatures you photograph which I relate to...in a sense your photographs are just an add on.
    20 second,:I think to understand another photographers vision you have to hang on to their coat tails and try to understand what their work is communicating...in a way only 20 seconds is a disrespect...
  77. Looking at photos made in the video Everybody Street, I can tell you that ten seconds is nine seconds more than they looked when they made the shots.
  78. Sorry, Phil, but I think Julie is being generous.
    Your work is far more interesting than any photographers you have recently posted....genuinely; I have to look at your work much longer than 20.seconds... you are a learning curve for me.
    Post an example from your work....
  79. And you. Julie.
  80. From the OP:
    When was the last time you looked at a photo, other than one of your own, for more than ten seconds?​
  81. Okay, I have been told off.. lets try reading your post.
    Elliot Irving he captures us in a clever succinct way... with a clever touch of the Marx Brothers humour...most comedians to be funny have to have a hand on our soul.
    Nope, Im not that old to remember the Marx brothers; I would have to be older than dirt;))
  82. Hmm, I think I have found the thoughts for a post on this forum as requested, from you...to me, Julie.
    Current active photographers, and what is their vision, and how do we perceive it.
    Have we moved on from those who have walked before us, or just walking endlessly in their footsteps...following their vision.
    Need a bit of time to put this together with examples of the latest works....as to why they have moved on; and have they really?
  83. That's an interesting example, Phil (who still refuses to describe *what* he's looking at when he's looking at that picture ... ).
    It did hold me for ten seconds and what I was looking at was out the back of my head. By which I mean, I was staring intently at that hand and wrist as they "grew" the man that they demanded. Takes ten seconds to make a man out the back of my head ...
  84. "Allen, after looking at it for more than ten seconds, I really like your last posted picture, too bad you didn't get the girl's feet..." Phil.
    It was a candid snap, and like most candid snaps , you are limited in time ...
    I really appreciate your comments and the constructive thought that you have given them...I will ponder...
    Thank you.
  85. Continuing my travels through ten-second land, this morning I was stopped by this photo by by Garry Fabian Miller. I had been thumbing through two books of his work, almost but not quite liking anything enough to fully stop, though several were close. I love his intent:
    "I'm interested in that moment of peace which descends when someone is reading a book, or observes flowers in a vase, and a certain quality of light comes into the room, some transcendent instant -- and then it passes. I want to preserve a space for those special moments -- the pictures are embodiments of them." — Garry Fabian Miller
    I realize how 'precious' that statement is so I will pretend it isn't here, but I do like it and it is what I was looking for in his work. The one that stopped me, here, did so for two reasons: it's interesting to look at, but I was really looking for the 'why' of its title, which is 'Exposure (seven hours of light), 2005.' Exposure of what? How? Why? There is a companion that is 'Exposure (five hours of light)' where the colors and essential composition are the same, but the compositional components (center and concentrations of the dots) is quite different. I'll give the technical explanation*, later, but for now, another Miller quote:
    "Making something which is other, which seems to have come from an unknown place, is what I'm aspiring to do. Making things visible that have never been seen before." — Garry Fabian Miller
    ... to which my immediate response, in thought was, 'half of photographs are looking for the known; the other half are looking for the unknown.' Then, after about two seconds, I revised that to be 'Okay, make that 90% are looking for the known, 10% for the unknown.' Another two seconds, 'Okay, okay, 99.99999999% are looking for the known, and the remainder, what a scientist would call "effectively zero %" are looking for the unknown.' That zero percent would include me. I am your 'effectively zero' correspondent.
    We zeros are a long way from you guys with all the nines. For example, I was recently watching a documentary about the street photographer Max Weber ("More Than the Rainbow") and the video kept trying to make me look at his shots for more than ten seconds. Thank god for the fast forward button. The video goes on to show me the inevitable series of his subway shots and I'm actually shouting at the TV, "It's been DONE!! For god's sake, do you know how boring this is...???" Fast forward, fast forward. I will not look at any more shots of Peculiar People Doing Peculiar Things.
    *Back to the 'How?' of Miller's work:
    "His main medium is Cibachrome photographic paper (now known as Ilfochrome), a positive-to-positive paper [ ... ]He pins the paper to the wall behind sheets of glass, and floods it with light that is refracted through colored and clear vessels containing oil and water. The reds and blues are created using water in the colored glass vessels, the yellows and oranges by shining light through a clear one containing engine oil. ... Exposure times range from a few minutes to more than 20 hours ... Using stencils cut from pieces of cardboard, he manipulates the patterns of light and color that will emerge after processing." —Nigel Warburton in The Colour of Time: Garry Fabian Miller, 2010
    As I said at the start, Miller's work doesn't really succeed for me. I find it almost boring but in a different way from Weber's street work. The big difference, for me, is my awareness, both in the works and in Miller's words, of his intent, which seems to me to be almost there, almost breaking through. That's enough to make me want to look and keep looking.
  86. This morning's ten-second pause: looking at the samples from Susan Bernstine's book Absence of Being. Trying to suss out the how and why of each picture. I like some of the pictures very much; some not so much, but her intent and how she did it are pretty cool, I think. The book's blurb, which is what attracted me reads:
    "Finding no existing camera that could create what her mind envisioned, she began to experiment with building her own and molding her own lenses until she arrived at the prototype for the handmade cameras she continues to use.
    "The results are instantly recognizable black-and-white images, which have been described as 21st-century impressionism. Burnstine does not use any of the post-production tools available in today’s digital environment. All of the effects one sees in a Burnstine photograph are created in the camera at the time of exposure of the negative."​
    Wondering if the book gives more technical details, because the sample gives only pictures, not explanatory text.
  87. This morning, reading a cinema essay by Susan Sontag, I ran across this: "Sometimes the most enjoyable effects are gained when the material and the form are at cross purposes. ... [P]lacing a hot subject in a cold frame. Other times, what satisfies is that the form is perfectly appropriate to the theme."
    Spent a very enjoyable hour trying to "feel" what the frame (form) and material (content) are doing to each other in hot (emotional, immediate) and cold (intellectual, remote, geometrical) combinations. I looked at (slowly, with much back-and-forthing):
    Cold frame/ hot material = Ralph Gibson's The Somnambulist
    Hot frame / hot material = Fukase's The Solitude of Ravens
    No frame / hot material = Naito Masatoshi's Nihon No Shashinka [think Provoke imagery]
    Later in her essay, Sontag says of film:
    "It is precisely the defect of the naturalistic theater and cinema that, giving itself too readily, it easily consumes and exhausts its effects. Ultimately the greatest source of emotional power in art lies not in any particular subject-matter, however passionate, however universal. It lies in form. The detachment and retarding of the emotions, through the consciousness of form, makes them far stronger and more intense in the end."​
    I don't think I agree with that at all. It seems to me that the power of art lies in ambiguity, not form.
  88. *before you ask, Eggleston's work doesn't have a temperature any more than a cocklebur has a temperature.
    They stick in your hair and on you socks and irritate the hell out of you. Make you stop and deal with them, though. And if you look at them, you notice what marvels of engineering they are, randomly dropping their seeds into your into your passing life.
  89. This morning, looked for a long time at a Mike Brodie photograph because it was recommended by Pieter Hugo, one of my favorite photographers. It's in Aperture's recurring feature 'Curriculum: A List of Favorite Anythings' from a different photographer each issue. Here is Hugo's description of the picture:
    "I own a print by photographer Mike Brodie. I have been told it is of his girlfriend. She is lying on her back reading Flannery O'Connor. With her right hand, she is lifting her skirt to reveal her menstrual-stained panties. I love this portrait. My wife won't let me hang it in our home. We have young children, and she doesn't feel that they are quite ready for this picture. Or perhaps she isn't quite ready to explain it to them. Or to their friends who come to visit. Or to the parents of the visitors. I love how the politics of the picture have stepped out of the frame and provoked a dialogue about what is appropriate and what is not."​
    It's a disturbing picture; it's also a powerful picture (#1064), probably the best in Brodie's book, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity (2006-9). Looking at that book for context, wondering how much buffing and massaging went into the 'Mike Brodie story' that reads like a Hollywood script; but mainly when looking at the picture, I'm thinking about Hugo and how this affects my reading of his work such as that in his books The Hyena & Other Men and Nollywood.
    Hugo likes the sensational; far from tastefully incorporating it, he puts it front and center. Not only does he not reduce or avoid it, he seems to seek it out and even add or amplify it. But it also has seemed to me that his pictures are more than a sugar hit; they're sticky and do not leave quickly. He's a different kind of photographer than Brodie; I'm interested in how Hugo's feelings about Brodie's picture tinker with my reading of Hugo's work.
    Hugo, in the same Aperture segment also picks out Arcara and Santese's book Found Photos in Detroit, which a friend sent to him. Of this book he says: "It feels like witnessing a train smash in slow motion. Simply haunting and extremely sad." That book doesn't really work for me, but I'm wondering how different Detroit seems to a South African than to an American. Again, I'm looking at the work of other photographers but thinking of that work in terms of Hugo.
  90. Phil, you really sent me down a rabbit hole this morning [she writes, as if that's bad when we all know she loves it]. You said "Alec Soth," and I think of how much I dislike him. I go and get the one book of his that I own. Refuse to look at any of his pictures for ten seconds. Blech! Think to myself, he reminds me of the thing actors say: "I'm not a doctor; I just play one on TV." Soth is not a photographer; he just plays a photographer -- and does it better than most real photographers, I'll give him that.
    Which made me think of John Gossage, who is unquestionably a photographer. Gossage is no dummy but ... he did a project/book with Soth. Maybe Gossage is a dummy ... I go and look at a few of his books. Nope. I find his work very uneven, but always ... possible, interesting, on-scent.
    Using this goose-chase as an excuse to look at -- for more than ten seconds each -- most of the pictures in Gossage's book A Dozen Failures (that this is my favorite of his books may tell you something ... ). I love studying the pictures and finding out how they fail. He doesn't give fakes or obvious duds; these are very, very close to not failing. Several make me argue that Gossage has failed in picking failures because this one succeeds ... but usually I end up finding that I agree with his choices. It's a delicious inverted kind of critical exercise.
    Finally, at the end of Gossage's brief text in A Dozen Failures he writes:
    "Maybe every picture delivers just as much as any other, it's just that some deliver things I can't use. Failures? Or am I just not prepared for what the world has to offer?
    "Maybe failed pictures are like illusionists who make things only seem to come true, while all the time we know if we look hard enough they don't. Things that you were sure were there, but now you have no proof of, and doubt. And love lost through lack of skill and understanding, giving off the slightest whiff of fear.
    "Tone deaf."​
    I think those last two words are wrong: tone deaf is someone who only plays a doctor; failures are someone who smelled something but then lost the scent (to mix metaphors).
  91. Find an Alec Soth picture that you like and tell me what you see/think. I won't argue with you, I promise. I'm just curious.
    This morning, doing a Phil kind of ten-seconder; that is, looking at a picture in memory for more than ten-seconds that I only looked at 'in-fact' for less than two seconds.
    On the Matt Weber documentary video More Than The Rainbow that I panned in a previous post, there is an episode where photographer Zoe Strauss describes the following incident. I am telling this from memory so I will probably get the details wrong but the main story should be about right:
    One day when Strauss, who is a short, somewhat chunky lesbian, was street-shooting in New York, a man said to her, something like "Do you want to come up to my room and see me naked?" To which Zoe replied, "Yes" with evident delight. She then tells that she and the man, a burly, middle-aged 'typical' New Yorker, went up to his tiny apartment, he took off his clothes and she took his picture. She immediately said, "Thanks!" and quickly left.
    Her picture of the man is then shown: no surprise, it's a burly middle-aged 'typical' New Yorker lying on his side wearing only his rumpled socks on his unkempt bed in his not-unusual small (unkempt , homey) apartment in the kind of usual light one finds in a small New York apartment.
    Zoe finishes with a huge smile and "It was incredibly beautiful!"
    To which my passing response, to both the story and the picture was "That's just stupid." Harrumph.
    And thought I'd taken care of that ridiculousness ... except that the story/picture kept coming back to my mind since then. Why am I still thinking about it? She -- and he -- have upset so many boundaries. This totally unremarkable, unsexy, somewhat lumpen man lying on his own bed in mid-day, looking at and being looked at by a woman he only met two minutes ago. He's showing everything and revealing nothing; or is he showing that there is nothing to reveal or ... etc. It feels more like a visit to the doctor than a visit to any kind of 'art' experience or sexy encounter.
    More than a few other photographers have photographed strangers naked, but I can't think of any others that do it in this kind of mid-day immediate way without any preparation. It breaks all the usual photographic hiding/revealing rules played by people taking and being taken by photographs.
    Katy Grannan did something somewhat similar in her Model American collection. She would put "brief ads in small-town newspapers" to get her 'models,' but though strangers, they had time to choose and manipulate the encounter with each other. The one good analogy I find in Grannan's book is that of (a woman) hitchhiking: you never know what kind of person is going to pick you up and they don't know if you're a criminal, either. But there's no revelation in the hitchhiker relation, just a silent watchfulness. Grannan also describes her work as "equal parts affection and predation." That's more interesting, but still not as clean or decisive as Strauss's encounter.
    Okay, maybe it was just "stupid." But if a picture keeps floating back into my mind, I like to let it work. If I got it wrong, I'm happy to have a second chance to see it; not to miss what was given to me.
  92. I'll tell you what Braeckman feels like to me; the crawl space under my house. My home, like any home, has living areas are clean and ordered (more or less ... ) and painted and shaped and all that good stuff. But if you go into the crawl space under the house it's dark, there's damp, there's dirt there's insulation some of which is sagging, there's wiring and pipes and ducts and tape and unpainted wood and cinderblock and mice and bugs. It's not 'a place,' it's the side that's not supposed to show.
    What Braeckman does to me is show all the holes and cracks and wires and dirt that kill the illusion of assumed structure(s). What he doesn't do for me is give me any other illusion; any other story or narrative or claim of what's *really* the structure of space. He makes me look up its skirt and see the plumbing. He's not claiming anything; he's just making me look at what I don't look at.
    The Venus of Willendorf has no face, but she has an asshole.
  93. Yes, exactly. I should have said that. For me, that's why they're so ... horribly good. The 'gaps' are so unavoidably there.
  94. I think Vande Veire is too rational.
    If you take utopian-perfection (think Moholy Nagy) as one end of a spectrum and the documentary (including the artistically documentary) at the other, you'd think all photographers would fall somewhere on that continuity. Braeckman doesn't. He's not on photography's evolutionary tree.
    That spectrum is rational; he's not. They're dancing, walking, fighting, doing coherent things. There is structure. Not in Braeckman; Braeckman is falling. He removes our support, while also very carefully removing all avenues to fantasy (escape). Takes us to 30,000 feet and pushes us out of the plane without a parachute. And leaves. No dialogue; not even any questions; no reason.
    James Dickey wrote a poem about a stewardess who was sucked out of a commercial night flight over the Midwest when an emergency door popped open accidentally. The poem, Falling, includes:
    [ ... ]
    ... finding herself with the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat
    The undying cry of the void falling living beginning to be something
    That no one has ever been and lived through screaming without enough air
    Still neat lipsticked stockinged girdled by regulation ..
    [ ... ]
    ... There is time to live
    In superhuman health seeing mortal unreachable lights far down seeing
    An ultimate highway with one late priceless car probing it arriving
    In a square town ...​
    Of course at the end of the poem:
    Lies in the fields in this field on her broken back as though on
    A cloud she cannot drop through while farmers sleepwalk without
    Their women from houses a walk like falling toward the far waters
    Of life in moonlight toward the dreamed eternal meaning of their farms
    Toward the flowering of the harvest in their hands ...​
    To the above, Hollywood would have added a soaring full symphony soundtrack.
    To the above Braeckman says ... ummm ... no.
    Or rather, he never says anything. Saying is not what he does; he just removes. No poetry. No symphony. You are falling. [ pure silence ] Not even a question mark, just the pictures in your face and all escape removed.
    I would guess that there are inherent limits to what can be done (heh!) by not doing, but I can't say that for sure. Maybe Braeckman will show us in the future.
  95. Looked at this picture by Lucas Foglia for a long time today, and not just because I like cows.
    It's a long way from Braeckman. Or, it's no way at all; it's the outside of what Braeckman is the inside of.
  96. ... and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling. — from James Joyce's 'The Dead.'​
    If you strip out all narrative, as I've tried to do with the Joyce fragment, that's what I find in Braeckman's work. It's like entering the process in process, with no distance, no separation. No perspective. Expressing his reservations about making a book of his work, Braeckman says, in his intro into his big yellow book (I have two smaller ones but texts are not in English, so I can only look): "A book postulates something, sets things out in black and white, while I want to keep my work as transient and open as possible," and "Every image should stand alone, unlimited in relation to other images," and "I prefer to keep all options open so that the viewer can decide how he wishes to approach my work."
    He's got a John-Cage-ish approach. But this can be limiting; as explanation of how/why, I give this from this magazine article about a contemporary English piano composer (Hough). I think Braeckman (a la Cage) can be compared to the 12-note system approach:
    "Traditional tonality works by creating and resolving tensions — "placing markers along the way, paths to return home," Mr Hough says. "Conversely the 12-note system ensures that all roads are equal, that no note is more important than any other ... a nomadic circular path where home is the journey itself." This system became the basis for a cramping orthodoxy which still has adherents. Mr. Hough's Piano Sonata III (Trinitas) is an ingenious experiment designed to undermine that system by taking it to its logical conclusion. "I want music to move me," he says, "and I don't think it can do that without at least a link to tonality. It's the tug between atonal and tonal which makes music poignant."​
    Which is to say, as with 12-note music, Braeckman's work can be (very) disturbing and certainly artistic, but can it move you, can it be poignant? Notice how, when Fukase, in The Solitude of Ravens, adds the frame of narrative to his otherwise disoriented pictures, people respond because of that frame. Braeckman gives no frame.
    "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead," (last sentence of Joyce's story) is beautiful, but it's far, far more poignant and moving if you know the story that led to it.
  97. Crewdson, to me, is good for the same reasons he's not good. This is just for me; not arguing, just describing my feelings ...
    I find his craftsmanship to be incredibly satisfying (watch the documentary on him ... ); he gives me exactly what I expect, down to the last molecule. And that's just why I find him not any better than a great craftsman; he closes his circle, he never surprises me; the very thing that satisfies me disappoints me.
    He's like a great character actor who can deliver the most pitch-perfect representation of a 'type' but who could never carry a picture because that which makes him so good (that he is exactly what you expect) is what prevents him from moving me. He goes nowhere.
    At his worst, I find Crewdson to be painfully laborious. As if he knows he's too predictable so he just says, okay, you, take off your clothes. Thud.
  98. When the car door is closed, you're not there yet (little kids in the back seat, "Are we there yet are we there yet are we there yet ... ???"). When the car door is open, you're there. So there must be somebody there somewhere. But where?
    How about the inverse-converse of Crewdson? Taki Kōji (of Provoke):
    "I would drive at dusk and press the shutter button while still driving. When I stop the car and hold the camera, I realize that the sensations I was feeling in my body while driving have disappeared. I no longer feel motivated to press the shutter, and I return to my car. What I was feeling while driving was that objects were not static, that they disappeared from my view in a flash."​
  99. One day, just one day....I will talk a great photograph to offer into the world.
    Today, I will just go with my imagination and press that button and hope.
  100. "sensations I was feeling in my body while driving have disappeared. I no longer feel motivated to press the shutter, and I return to my car. What I was feeling while driving was that objects were not static, that they disappeared from my view in a flash."Julie.
    Well, colorful, introspection.
    But in the real world our imagination shouts to us....press the big button.
  101. Allen, when you post your pictures in threads for no apparent reason, you remind me of a flasher. I'm not real happy about being made to look at what I didn't ask to see.
  102. Julie, I post photographs which are relevant to the thread.
    "Looking at a photo for more than ten seconds" Julie.
    So, you are asking for photos...or, do you just want lots of words which somehow will turn into a photo? Sorry if you find it offensive that I post photos....but this is a photographic web site.
    Out of respect for this forum, and yourself, I only post my best photos.
    But I understand you are looking for a deeper engagement....which I respect and Im failing in those areas.
    Just have to be in the mood but photographs are always relevant.
  103. "The mystery of things, where is it?
    Where is the thing that doesn’t appear
    At least to show us it’s a mystery?"
    So, what is a photo communicating....what is it telling us.
    What do we feel...is there an Art to it? Or, someone telling you a story for you to believe.
    Because they can write a lot of prose and they know best...what do you feel in those 10 seconds?
  104. Its about the photograph communicating in its own language not about a thousand words of prose.
  105. And Julie threw her arms up in frustration.
  106. How do you tell your aunt Mabel that you really can't stand to look at any more pictures of her prize begonias? "Oh, just on more! This one is just spectacular! Is it possible that anybody doesn't love begonias??"
  107. Phil, photography is about photographs...not about bitching.
    I learn from posted photos on P/N; seeing is understanding...my photography has improved looking at the quality of other folks work. I would include your photography in that thought.
    Phil, look at my work in awe its worth it;)
    Don't be shy.
  108. "How do you tell your aunt Mabel that you really can't stand to look at any more pictures of her prize begonias" Julie
    I try to tell my Gran that I don't like taking flower photos....but she insists what can I say.
    Cant argue with my Gran.
  109. "When was the last time you looked at a photo, other than one of your own, for more than ten seconds?"Julie
    To my mind, simple as it is, I thought the lady was asking for some photos which were worth looking at longer than 10 seconds...i did my best.
    Phil, still bitching; you are bigger than that.
    Have you promoted yourself to a moderator in your new personae.
    Stop it, I have no issues with you other than challinging your posts.
  110. You link to photographers who you think are very special....I don't.
    Im entitled to my opinion without ad hominin attacks.
  111. Still caring on, Phil.
    I really don't care a monkeys what you think is annoying...who do you think you are? Someone special?
    Just another reborn personae, of another person; but now you have got religion and have decided you are holy.
  112. "Something that makes me want to look longer at their work. You don't. That's perfectly ok. Nobody is saying that you should find them special to"o.
    Its not perfectly okay with you. That's really is your problem with me.
    You consider yourself to be the Master of Photography...the final word... without any challenges...dream on.
  113. I really don't understand why we are having this thing.
  114. " There's no-one else here interested in talking photography"
    Im mostly about photos ...just me.
    When the car door is closed, you're not there yet (little kids in the back seat, "Are we there yet are we there yet are we there yet ... ???"). When the car door is open, you're there."
    I cannot connect with the above...truly, I would like to.
  115. I really disagree that Crewdson is anything to do with moving/transition. He's about what is where Kōji and Provoke is about process. That's what I both like and dislike about Crewdson as I said above; he always gives me what I already know; even his mysteries are known mysteries (like reading mystery books where you don't know the outcome but you really do know the outcome). This is both very satisfying and very limited, to my mind.
    But I want to set aside my opinion, and pretend I do like Crewdson and just compare his approach to that of Paul Graham. [Before I go off in this direction, thank you for the open-car-door motif; it's really an amazing node of scene-transition. I was only partly kidding with all the there/not there word play. Thank you.]
    Okay. Starting with something that I like about Crewdson, this from a Jonathan Lethem essay about Crewdson:
    "In a place where he didn't grasp the spoken language, the buildings uttered, articulate as any human voicing. In this place, he drowned in their choruses. ... Architecture might be in this sense feral, something formerly under the hand of a human master but which had now retreated to the edge of the fire ... "​
    That's the Crewdson I like. Here's what I don't like, also from the same essay:
    "By this point, he carried his frames within him, anyhow -- he'd hardly be surprised if a contact sheet inserted beneath his pillow would have affixed upon it a sequence of images overnight."
    He (thinks that he) knows. And I think that he knows, too, and that's why his pictures are ... oh, wait, I'm not supposed to be criticizing, just comparing ...
    On to Paul Graham. Compare the above to this by David Chandler writing about Paul Graham:
    "What [Graham's book] shimmer makes explicit here is the act of photographing as a process of moving, seeing and thinking; an interplay between intention and discovery that evolves as each subject is negotiated. ... Vilém Flusser saw this as a fundamental condition of 'the gesture of photographing,' ... Flusser calls this 'the movement of doubt ... the philosophical gesture par excellence.' "
    [ ... ]
    "... in contrast to the exemplary, single photograph, which is necessarily abstracted from the act of photographing in order to underscore that enigmatic quality, as the mysterious possession of something precious about reality that will always elude the naked eye, Graham's work ... places the viewer back in the world of active, unfolding visual experience, with all its concentrations and distractions, its capacity for revelation and distortion, its wonder and its contingency.
    [line break added] There on the street, Graham operates in a human dimension, his camera lens meeting people at eye level. As he focuses on individuals in the crowd, the blurred forms of others closer by, or brushing past him as he makes a picture, break into frame. He is conspicuously one viewer among a mass of others, and although his own image remains invisible, his embodied presence is reinforced and continually felt through the highly subjective quality of the short picture sequences that chart his responses to those human tableaux as they form and dissemble around him.
    [line break added] Instead of the detached, objective spectator, Graham here places himself at the center of a wider perceptual field in constant flux, where the process of seeing and the character of what is seen are bound together in a reciprocal relationship."​
    Crewdson never includes the viewer in his tableaux. The circle is closed.
  116. I've been following this discussion for a while now, each day thinking, "Okay. What was the last photograph I spent more than 10 seconds on that I want to say something about? Something more substantive than, "I like it, I don't like it. It makes me feel/see Y, it doesn't make me feel/see Y, it causes me to consider or reevaluate X…"
    I still don't know that I have much of substance to offer, but the discussion of Crewdson and Graham got me to looking up Graham's work because I was unfamiliar with it.
    I don't want to jump into a debate (if, in fact, there is one), but I would have to say that I can "be" with Graham and enter his photographs, but I have never felt that I am present with Crewdson. Graham is like an immersive, almost participatory, theater in the round. Crewdson is a strict proscenium stage and the fourth wall is never broken. Graham is found. Crewdson is manufactured. This is not a criticism of either. It's just how I view their work and their approach in relation to each other.
    From the MOMA commentary on "a shimmer of possibility":
    "...a shimmer of possibility is a call for attention to the brief, indefinite intervals of life. As Graham has said, “Perhaps instead of standing at the river’s edge scooping out water, it’s better to be in the current itself, to watch how the river comes up to you, flows smoothly around your presence, and reforms on the other side like you were never there.”
    [EDIT -- I posted before seeing Phil's comments above:
    Crewdson always includes the viewer in his tableaux. The frame is open.
    He leaves the story untold and hanging in midair. Leaves it up to you the viewer to fill in the blanks. So whatever you project, that's what you will get.​
    Defined in this way, sure, I get that type of inclusion of the viewer. But the type of inclusion I am talking about is different.]
    So – to get back to the OP -- when I spent more than 10 seconds looking at one of Graham's photos, I did so for various reasons.
    1.) At least in terms of "shimmer…", we seem to work in the same aesthetic neighborhood and I am always interested in seeing what someone else's camera sees. (I do not want to use the "S" word to categorize these photos because I think it has been twisted, hammered, contorted, and generally defined out of recognition over the last 20 or 30 years, and especially so in the last 10.)
    2.) The first thing that grabs me is what I can only call a "vibe". I generally feel a photo before I intellectualize about what elements give me a particular feeling. A group of people, hanging out on a street corner, looking in different directions. Why this corner, why this perspective, where are we geographically, what's the actual or illusory relationship of these people to each other, are there any implicit or implied tensions in the spatial relationships, is there a focal point or does my eye wander looking for one, is there a message, a symbol, a cultural signifier, on and on and on until I arrive at some sort of preliminary judgement of like, meh, or don't like.
    3.) My brief understanding of "shimmer…" is that it is comprised of a series of sequential photos, following a particular person or location. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but without the book itself I could not find the companion photos to this one. Would the sequence impact me differently than looking at this single photo?
    My eye has always been drawn to street and documentary photographs (as opposed to portraits, landscapes, abstracts, or conceptual works, etc.) but I they are not the only kinds of photographs I spend more than 10 seconds looking at. I might spend substantially more time on an abstract or conceptual piece in an effort to understand it better, to obtain whatever kind of vibe it may have to offer. ("Vibe"? In a Philosophy forum? "Feeling" then...)
    And just a public service announcement in relation to the earlier comments about "Provoke": there is going to be an exhibition making a stop at the Art Institute of Chicago in January.
  117. This morning I looked at the work of Seydou Keita with the above discussion in mind. You'll have to figure out why the one led to the other for yourself. I looked at many of his pictures for more than ten seconds, keeping what's been said in recent posts in mind. What I was looking at was what always draws my eye and mind in Seydou Keita's work: not (just) the portraits, with which I am familiar and that I enjoy, but the stuff that's not "supposed" to be there. The insistent indiosyncrasies of the cloth backgrounds, the dirt and rock ground, the bits of debris, etc.
    If there were no attempt at a formal 'backdrop,' I wouldn't pay any attention to any of this stuff.
    If there was the usual seamless and/or perfect formal background I wouldn't pay any attention to any of that stuff.
    But instead, I have incongruities. Stuff that draws my eye and holds my mind and doesn't let me slide past it. If I saw these as flaws, mistakes, or simply crummy photography it would be is easy to spit out and reject. I can't do that here.
    I won't give you any conclusions or explanations of what I'm thinking. I will say that doing something with or about things that disturb you, that you don't fully understand: that's what art is. Finding this kind of gap or tear in my attention, a live spot, is a gift, in my opinion.
    [Side note: in the large format book of Seydou Keita's work that I was looking at, this picture, in the book, is of two men lovingly holding hands. I was kind of shocked to see that in the online version, someone has blacked out the entire lower third of the picture to remove the hands. I know that Africa is not receptive to homosexuality, but still, it was an immediate shock to see that black obliteration.]
  118. Correction to my 'Side note,' above: I misremembered which picture was which. The one where two men are holding hands is not censored on the web: you can see it here. My mistake. I'm not sure why the one I linked has had the bottom blacked out.
  119. Steve, what keeps me occupied in the Graham photo you link to are the subtle gestures of each player. For me, it's those
    gestures, the tilts of the heads of the couple by the pole, the stare into the distance of the guy at right, the interest in the
    nespaper of the foreground guy that add up to that vibe you're talking about. Also the photographer's gesture in clipping
    the foreground sign but including the sale price, the Pepsi truck against the meat market sign, the focus of individuals
    within a community and on a street corner, together yet each uniquely absorbed. It's as if someone could come along and
    easily be part of this scene while not being noticed by fellow travelers, sort of like your own place here as you entered the
    thread and the conversation went on as if you hadn't.
  120. Correction to my 'Side note,' above: I misremembered which picture was which. The one where two men are holding hands is not censored on the web: you can see it here. My mistake. I'm not sure why the one I linked has had the bottom blacked out.​
    Julie, number 26 out of the 45 on your first link shows more of what you're referring to even more than the one you just linked to in your correction. I was more taken aback by how all the subjects had the same bored facial expression.
    Graham's image Steve linked to that Fred talks about I viewed more than 10 seconds mainly from its 3D DOF effect from the blurry background against sharp foreground subjects as well as how close the hue of Pepsi blue is repeated in the concrete post and clothes as if they lived in a Marxist regime that favors blue as the element of conformity. And then again each subject has the same bored thousand yard gaze as if they live in a war zone.
  121. This morning, looking at the work of Gyorgy Kepes and thinking how frustrating it is when you find a photographer whose work is this close, this close to being really good, but never quite gets there. I've never seen a Kepes picture that wasn't fascinating, but I've also never seen a Kepes picture that, on its own, was great. He was a brilliant, intensely creative man, seething with ideas. Maybe he just couldn't slow down long enough to submit to the work. Or maybe he didn't have it in him. I'll never know.
    Here's a Google search of his photographic work (he also painted). En masse, they look so cool ... but pick one and for me, all alone, it always disappoints as a work of art.
    The other thing I was thinking of was how abstract is such a Catch 22 in photography. Because it's a photograph, I want to know what it is "of." But if I find out what it is of, then it stops being truly abstract. For example, the internal sigh of relief when I see his Bread and Light. (Ah! Bread! Happily latching onto the familiar texture (in bad black and white reproduction) that my mind has decided "is" bread.)
    An aside: in the two (cheap, used) picture books I have of Kepes' work, one shows his Cosmic Gyration horizontal and the other, vertical. And the online version of Bread and Light that I've linked is upside-down versus that which is in both my books. The hazards of abstract ...
    But if I'm not happy with abstract photographs that I can't identify, why do I think that Wolfgang Tillmans's Blushes are the most luscious, gorgeous, beautiful abstract photographic images ever made? They're not even from a camera; they are chemigrams.* I think (looking at them) it's because while I know that they're chemigrams, they look like dye in water, or even something as familiar as the effluent from a teabag in hot water.
    Why is a chemigram a photograph? Tillmans says: "It's important that these are not paintings; as the eye recognizes these as photographic the association machine in the head connects them to reality, whereas a painting is always understood by the eye as mark making by the artist. This connectedness of 'evidence' as in photographic reality, and an obviously painterly process frees them from being read only as a product of the artist's hand."
    Ah. The "association machine in the head" must be wherein lies my problem with Kepes's work. (I'm looking suspiciously at Tillmans's "only" in the last sentence of that quote. Painters won't like that ... )
    *chemigram: "is generally produced when substances -- also non-photographic ones -- influence the texture of the photographic emulsion. Light is thereby a necessary catalyst, but is not pictorially determinate."
  122. That's the first I've seen of those photographers in name and work, Julie. I wish I had the motivation to develop a roster of other photographer's work from past and present as you, but there's just so much time in a day. But I'm glad you can remember all them and post links to them, Julie.
    I agree with your assessment of Kepe's work. The connectedness of 'evidence' in photographic reality or the lack there of going by that google search collection is that he's made it too obvious with his dazzling but odd and unique abstracts that he's found or created a world in reality that no one has access to and thus can't relate or confirm whether it's real.
    I mean where did this guy live to find all these various unfamiliar objects? They don't look like they're randomly found as if one would stumble upon them in the natural world. They look more like they're arranged, setup and maybe even manufactured which suggests more of a "mark making by the artist" concept (really good quotes from Tillman). I don't see this as any different from computer generate fractal patterns seeing there's nothing to ground the viewer. I'm left with "It looks great but what is it and why?" unresolved questions.
    They look better as a collection as an overall design due to their contrasting appearances seemingly reducing them to functioning as interior design pieces.
  123. Tim, I actually thought of you this morning when reading the intro to one of the Kepes books. Here is just a bit (the whole thing might kill you ... ). This is so ridiculous, so wildly over-the-top ... and it's written by a fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT (where Kepes worked). Here you go:
    "The wide array of Kepes' art derives its primordial strength through its metaphoric contact with the earth, in all its diverse extravagance. His earth-eye senses the writing of light in fields and on forest floors, light glimmering in nests of vegetal splendor and well-being. In his vision, this earth light is woven into nature's fecundity. ...
    "... An example: in Bread and Light, seeing dives into being and bends round the fundamental food. A wedge of nurture becomes light -- becomes wheat -- becomes bread -- becomes food -- becomes sharing -- becomes seeing -- becomes love -- becomes light. This potent emblem is a gateway to a cosmos filled to its last corner with portent, a portent of goodness that Kepes undertakes to capture in this work, which is both hieroglyph and icon."​
    Made even me laugh and think, wouldn't it be fun to pop that juicy bit of baloney on photo.net? And here it is.
  124. Wall is completely different from Crewdson.
  125. "comparing the Paul Graham photo to a Jeff Wall staged street photo, it's similar in feel"
    I think I agree, but I'm still thinking ... :)
    Noting that 1) I really like the picture Steve picked out, but; 2) it's not typical of Graham's work. Which is just fine; I just want to point that out.
  126. "How do Seydou Keita's backgrounds compare to Irving Penn's backgrounds ... "
    I was thinking that very thought while writing that post. I really want to look at the Penn stuff and will do so tomorrow morning. No time right now. I look forward to it (I love this kind of one-thing-leads-to-another).
    Or, you might ask about Wall's founding picture of the wrecked room that deliberately shows that it's a construction. Kind of the inverse of the accidental real seeping in.
  127. I am going to be much more evasive than you (Avedon is beloved by many; and/or I am a chicken). The painter Philip Guston once said, in a speech:
    "To know and yet how not to know is the greatest puzzle of all. We are primitives in spite of our knowing. So much preparation for a few moments of innocence -- of desperate play. To learn how to unlearn."​
    It's my opinion that that applies to Penn but not to Avedon. Keita is too remote from me to say one way or the other -- except that for me looking at his work, it seems, in some respects, to start from an unlearned place.
    Just saw your newest post. Don't f*$k fashion; his work with the Japanese guy is just scary weird. Come on, you know you love it!
  128. This morning, looking at an Irving Penn fashion photo done for/of the work of Issey Miyake. Scanned this morning just for you, and found here.

    Looking; thinking:
    Because it's fashion, of course it's about the crotch, so Penn gives us two; one in flesh, one in metal(ic).
    Fashion as hiding place; fashion as armor. Fashion as identity; fashion as chrysalis.
    Tension nodes everywhere. Horns, lowered; black insect eyes. But also pathetic in-turned puffy pajama feet. And nowhere is there a (real) face beyond the central black eye of the doubled crotch.
    A Penn nude. This is just a pleasure to look at. Needs no words. A real nude. Gorgeous. (Note that the seemingly blown whites are in the original and are a common feature of Penn's style.)
  129. Forced assignments in schools have killed many of our passions.
  130. Boy, Supriyo. Your post sent me down all kinds of memory lanes. Not going to tell what they were, but I'm happy to be back.
    Phil I (finally!) remembered you'd linked a Gibson photo a few posts back. It is good. For some reason (or no reason), the bit of fabric or whatever that lighter patch is that is at the center of the lady's back, just makes the picture for me. But I hate that the large letters, which I enjoy as letters, say 'BAR.' That is just such a 'duh' killjoy for me.
    Risking your wrath, I'm finding myself thinking that Phil likes scene transition locations -- doors of all kinds.
  131. Forced assignments in schools have killed many of our passions.​
    Especially when they have a huge influence on end of term grade averages. I'm reminded of the poster design assignment based on visually communicating the concept and title behind "Form And Purpose" as an end of year project attending The Art Institute Of Houston.
    The winner of the poster contest illustrated the title with a drawing of a giant paper clip towering and casting a long shadow over a very tiny short stature group of suit and tie office workers. I looked at that poster for more than ten seconds not because it attracted my attention but confounded me in how it was communicating "Form And Purpose".
    In fact the seconds are still ticking by as I'm picturing the poster in mind still trying to figure that out.
  132. This morning I have an imaginary picture stuck in my head. Here's the story:
    Yesterday, I cleaned, with soap and water, a very fine piece of raw quartz that it took me forever to find, and that I need for a composite I'm working on. Scrubbed it carefully, gently with a brush under warm water and diluted dish soap, feeling its texture and weight; studying its facets and shape. Dried it carefully and put it where I could study it further throughout the rest of the day.
    So, last night I had a dream. I was doing underwater photography (I never do underwater photography) of seals. They were darting in and out of sight, in and out of darkness, the way seals always do in nature films (which is the only place I've ever seen seals). As one very nice one passed very close to me, I thought it was not quite the way I wanted it to be, so I freeze-framed the scene. And then proceeded to, carefully and gently, scrub the seal with a brush and soap (underwater?). Mainly around its right front flipper and neck. When it was done to my satisfaction, I un-freeze-framed the scene and the seal was gone into the darkness in the blink of an eye. At which point I thought to myself, "You should have marked it or something; how will you know which one it is?"
    All morning, I've had the image of myself scrubbing the seal underwater, stuck in my head. The light, the feel, the temp of the water, my fussy watching to see that I got it nicely clean ...
  133. Good lord, that Crewdson bird pic is even worse than mine!
    All my bird composite projects are failures, to my mind.
    I feel like I understand their chemistry, and I try to ... mesh it or meet it with mine, but it's like the sun and the stars; you can't see the latter when the former is shining. In other words, my own is too loud or central to let their flittering subtlety work with it in the same picture. Birds alone don't interest me; I want to find where they and I meet.
    This project I'm getting ready to do is going to be my last bird effort. I quit shooting them last winter but I have two years of unused prior shooting (more than 20,000 birds, and they're good quality -- I have gotten better as the years go by ... ) to choose from, so I want to give it one last try. Here's hoping.
  134. A photograph or any work of art no matter how good doesn't solve anything, if anything things are made more ( unnecessarily ) complex​

    Reminds me of annealing ... heat up a substance and cool down slowly, it assumes a more stable form. The previous form had been a metastable one, thus an illusion. Perhaps some artworks act as mental annealing. Watch --> Weave complexities --> let the mind cool down --> a new simpler truth is realized that is more pervasive than the preexisting one.

    Not sure what I am babbling ...
  135. so I freeze-framed the scene. And then proceeded to, carefully and gently, scrub the seal with a brush and soap (underwater?).​

    Not to divert from the discussion, but Julie's dream reminds me of 4K videos (or even better with 8K coming in future) where any frame of a video can be made into a nice 8 MP still image. The photographer's job at that point becomes more of selecting a frame rather than reacting in real time. How does our attitude towards photography change with such technology becoming possible.
  136. "Reminds me of annealing ... heat up a substance and cool down slowly, it assumes a more stable form. The previous form had been a metastable one, thus an illusion. Perhaps some artworks act as mental annealing. Watch --> Weave complexities --> let the mind cool down --> a new simpler truth is realized that is more pervasive than the preexisting one."
    That's really good.
    And yes to the dream/video ideas. (I hope everybody knows it's okay to laugh at the dream; I am ... ) I was thinking that maybe it's become automatic for me to manipulate the visible.
  137. Supriyo Battacharya: Reminds me of annealing ... heat up a substance and cool down slowly, it assumes a more stable form. The previous form had been a metastable one, thus an illusion. Perhaps some artworks act as mental annealing. Watch --> Weave complexities --> let the mind cool down --> a new simpler truth is realized that is more pervasive than the preexisting one.

    Not sure what I am babbling ...

    I agree with Julie. That is really good, and it makes sense. A concise way of expressing the affect that some photographs have upon me. Babble on. (No pun intended.)
  138. "Reminds me of annealing ... heat up a substance and cool down slowly, it assumes a more stable form. The previous form had been a metastable one, thus an illusion. Perhaps some artworks act as mental annealing. Watch --> Weave complexities --> let the mind cool down --> a new simpler truth is realized that is more pervasive than the preexisting one."​
    [Note: I think this is in disagreement with the quote it references from Phil, but I'm ignoring that. Phil may choose to comment ... ]
    The reason I think that's "really good" is because it's a "really good" formulation of the unspoken Nicene Creed, or the blood and body consumed with eyes closed, of photography. Assumed without noticing that it's been assumed.
    Except for modern heretics like Paul Graham, or Rinko Kawauchi, or Wolfgang Tillmans or many more. The assumed-without-knowing-its-assumed mindset of almost all photographers is probably why such heretics seem so incomprehensible or nonsensical. If not annealing, what's the point? What are they doing?
    Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa writing about Paul Graham:
    "We are accustomed to the uniformity of deep focal clarity, and to the way in which it suggests that an any moment each of us is coincident with, or consubstantial with anyone else (the 'false democracy' to which Graham referred). ... Graham foregrounds the selectivity of viewing, and does so in a compositional format [diptychs and triptychs] that very closely resembles human sight in all its partiality and relativity, and in the uneven specificity of his pictures he unearths an unattended commonality ... "
    "... the activity of seeing is coupled with the unattended absences that perspective inevitably generates, so that the cohesive expression of Graham's images might alert us to the limits of conventional perception."​
    David Chandler writing about Rinko Kawauchi:
    "... a very distinctive approach to editing and bookmaking based, unaccountably it seemed, on simple traits of visual association that appeared to unlock an entirely new register of indeterminate emotional complexity. In this style, individual images could be exquisite, but mattered less and less: subordinate to the series and the sequential flow of the book, they lacked any sense of consistent formal restraint and there was no apparent striving for composure. The visible world drifted in these photographs from coherence, moments of incredible detail and almost tactile sharpness, into incoherence, a dissolved and amorphous reality, as if the photographer were trying to grasp the fugitive atmospheres of a dream."
    "... Wolfgang Tillmans, an important influence on Kawauchi's sensibility ... once referred to his own rejection of something he called the "language of importance" in pictorial traditions. In tune with Tillmans, everything in Kawauchi's visual universe becomes similarly charged with potential for the camera."
    " ... The rhythms of this life are recorded, rather than its set pieces: and here a breath, a touch, and a glance -- the things that happen inside the moment and that can never be clearly seen -- are as imperative as the instances of everyday grace that might present themselves, or the small miracles that we might discover. It is reasonable to suspect that, for Kawauchi, it is these rhythms, life's minor vibrations, as much as its pressing details, which harbor memory."​
    Please note that this is not a matter of either-or. Photographers who do not assume, who are aware of "annealing," circle it, question it, use it, flirt with it, refer to it without doing it ... But awareness is new; it no longer assumes.
    Also, please note that a lack of annealing does not mean there is (necessarily) mystery. It simply means that that photographer believes that the idea of annealing is an illusion.
  139. A quick response:
    The two Winogrand's are just outstanding, and I don't recall seeing either of them before. The first one, more easily, that's just so delicious (Winogrand making such good use of color?), but I'm thinking the second is slower but maybe more nutritious.
    I knew the Sternfeld (no i) by it's title; without looking. I love his work. It confounds me that you compare it to the Crewdson. No comparison, to my eye. Won't argue with you, but, but, but ...
    Car 2 doesn't seem to be in the same league as the above (minus Crewdson ... ) but I'm still thinking. I'll probably have more to say in the morning.
  140. I'm having a good old time with the second Winogrand picture (Houston 1964).
    To my eye, it's very sexual -- not in the sense of f****** but in the germy sense of the messy, swampy, generative intermingling. The overwhelming feeling of plunging into/downward; the feeling of the central woman falling into the light (though she's surely simply floating); the gooey, tangled-bank messiness of the furry (vegetation?) at the top, all the bits and pieces of stuff on the pool; the sexy shape of the pool -- like the torso of a bent woman ... or worm?; the "entering" figure on the pool ladder at the top, like sperm into an egg.
    Equally interesting was a discovery about image presentation. I wanted to look at the picture off-line, so I found it in the big Garry Winogrand (2013) compendium put out by the SF Museum. And the picture was completely different. Weak. Trivial. Still. Flat. WTF??
    It's because it was paired, in the book's page spread, with this picture, Los Angeles, 1964, which is a very well-known Winogrand of a side-to-side man/woman in car; man with Band-Aid on his nose, glaring at Winogrand (at us). That very strong side-to-side movement and especially the man's intense, hostile stare, completely obliterate the effect of the Houston, 1964 picture.
    I stared at the pair (Houston on the left, Los Angeles on the right) for a long time, puzzling over how layout can totally kill at least one of the pictures in a pair. Try it if you can get the two images open together.
  141. When 1st graders were asked to copy the Hido picture, look at how they try to deal with the sky -- kind of feeling for the sun, even though they can't really find it. I'm not sure if the stop sign's size is their own idea or not. I'm sure the orange ground and the cutout tree must be because of materials provided and coaching by their teacher.
  142. All of the images mentioned here are worth staring at. Personally I have found two aspects that often make me stare at things (excluding the cases where I am staring consciously to find info): one, nostalgia (e.g. even ordinary images from my hometown, I can't resist, I have been perpetually homesick), two, some sort of hypnotic effect due to either a sense of falling or other unnatural motion. The Houston, 1964 picture gives me a sense of acrophobia, at the same time, I am immensely attracted to the pool in the middle, as if I have to get there at any cost. This apparent conflict keeps me fixated on the image, while (may be) the brain is trying to figure out what is going on. The dreamy archetype of the image comes to mind initially, but doesn't stay long. For me, it is the new sensation that prevails.
    Now, coming to the question of archetypes, 'simpler truth' to me is not necessarily an universal archetype (simpler not= universal). The term simpler was used to contrast with the previous complexities the mind was in. In fact (it is just my opinion), the easy to figure archetype(s) is the first thing I notice in a picture. I feel, given enough time and an image that works, one can move away from universal archetypes and pursue personal truth. Still archetypes could be involved there, but those would be individual archetypes.
    Images that end up in universal archetypes and don't let me go anywhere are kind of boring. What fun is there to figure out something that everyone else figures out. Artist that doesn't whisper in my ears ..., uses a megaphone ...
  143. I would pair it with something that looks up from below, may be. (thats my personal archetype)
  144. Like, you are so sure of everything in the image and suddenly you find something different.
  145. Disorder or complexity that is integral, innate. That can't be scraped off.
  146. Wow! All those linked photos washed over me for more than ten seconds, I'ld say some the strangest and out-of -body seconds I've experienced looking at still photos.
    The Houston 1964 immediately hit home for me. It perfectly encapsulates the feeling of several years of my living in that town in the '80's & '90's. I immediately got a flashback to an incident that lasted only seconds back when I got my first apartment as a 20 year old attending the Art Institute Of Houston that has stayed with me for the rest of my life. I just wished I'ld photographed it at the time.
    Houston, Texas was built too quickly by people who were only in it for the money and lots of it due to the oil boom with regard to skirting zoning laws and showing lack of quality of life concerns in urban design and planning.
    I lived at the Beverly Hills Apartments that seemed to be dropped into the middle of an industrial complex and urban subdivision (mixed use on steroids). There was an unmarked warehouse/clinic/storage facility looking building with one door facing the street next to the apartment complex. I decided one day to open that door and saw a rather pinky red faced man laying face up on a gurney with a white sheet covering his body and a man in a white lab coat standing next to him quickly turning to look at me. I immediately slammed the door because I knew I was looking at a corpse and that building must've been either a morgue or funeral home.
    That's Houston in a nutshell. Just wish I could've come up with a photograph that would encapsulate that moment as the Houston 1964.
  147. Phil, the pool picture was on the left; the car on the right. The guy in the car is so strong, so now, I can't even see the pool picture.
    The pool picture is soft, dark, rich, whole, slow; I breath it in. The car picture is like a splinter in the eye.
    [Tim, that's a great story.]
  148. But would the picture also encapsulate that feeling for you without its title describing the time and / or place it was taken in?​
    Most likely it wouldn't have specifically stood in my mind representing Houston, Texas's big city sprawl but more as an overall general representation of hastened big city development. It's just that one unique image's claustrophobic feel of a refreshing swimming pool amidst the ruddy, dark concrete surround viewed several stories up seemingly pinned in like an urban prison stood for me as a perfect description of how Houston felt for me not just for 1964.
    Though after thinking about that time I do remember a family trip as a child passing through Houston for the first time to visit my dad's friends in Baytown where we sat around listening to a Bill Cosby record (my first for me) and everyone laughing and me thinking Bill Cosby was a genius. And with what's happened to him now supports my premise that anything even barely associated with Houston TX eventually turns to sh*t including the reputation of Bill Cosby.
    In regard to your Friedlander quote I don't think anyone should underestimate the power of any photograph to drum up memory association specific to each viewer that may not be shared by others regardless if the photographer keeps quiet about their work. Free association can be an enhancer and helper for both viewer and creator because each can't possibly know how a created image will be interpreted and affect others. Any image (painting or photo) is going to convey meaning to someone. They all have value in this regard only specific to the time and person viewing them.
    It's the first time I've seen those images among the trillions that exist today. If I hadn't seen them linked here in this thread that's a rich interpretative experience I would've missed that maybe someone else viewing them may not have shared. Their loss, not mine. I guess it's sort of like the tree falling in the woods and no one there to hear it POV. If a photo doesn't get viewed and affect someone, anyone, does it have value and meaning that will last more than 10 seconds?
  149. Tim, that's interesting that you recall that image and memory ( of Houston in that time ) and of seeing the body covered up by a white sheet. Was it the pairing of the Frank picture of the covered car with the Winogrand picture of the pool at night and floating figure of the woman ( floating there like a lifeless body ) that triggered that memory?!​
    No, Phil, just the Houston 1964 image did the triggering. I didn't see the woman as floating but diving, but now that I look at it again I can see there's nothing to dive off of. The diving board is on the opposite side.
    What really triggered my memory is the attitude I perceived in the photo supported by my memory of how Houston was developed haphazardly reflected in the appearance of the overgrown scraggly weeds at the top of the photo that seem to be left there as a token inclusion of some form of nature that is only made more ugly by the surrounding brick and concrete structures.
    Businesses and residential structures in Houston back in the '80's & '90's just looked dropped in no matter how out of place they looked just like the unmarked morgue/funeral home next to a residential area. Beverly Hills street where I lived in an efficiency had raw dirt drainage ditches strewn with garbage left by patrons of fast food establishments recently built.
    All development looked new and modern next to old growth reflected in the overgrown weeds next to the swimming pool, built in a hurry just like someone decorating their apartment with oddball rental furniture due to a job to job transient existence. No style, no forethought, no taste. No sense of permanence. Nobody cares. Even the night scene of the Winogrand swimming pool shows a level of desperation by the patrons who seem to be so busy during the day they only have time to relax at night in a tightly closed in area. The scene appears to be a suffocating existence contrasted by the oasis like swimming pool.
  150. Supriyo wrote: "Images that end up in universal archetypes and don't let me go anywhere are kind of boring. What fun is there to figure out something that everyone else figures out."
    A New York poet, after seeing the Nutcracker ballet for the umpteenth time: "I could see it every day, it's so deliciously boring."
    And what about all those paintings of the crucifixion? All boring?
  151. A New York poet, after seeing the Nutcracker ballet for the umpteenth time: "I could see it every day, it's so deliciously boring."​

    I don't think all art that relate to universal archetypes are boring (notice there were two criteria in that statement (a) archetype, and (b) what's there further down the road). Archetype can be a powerful tool to reveal something else. Its not that I always have to get to that something, but the mere hunch of sensing something else stimulates interest - ambiguity - ref. Phil.

    Slightly off topic: I actually like roaming around an art gallery full of crucifixion paintings and carefully compare every painter's style with one another; how individual styles (or style evolution with time) bring distinction within a subject matter that is so overtly exploited. Comparing many images/paintings on the same subject matter allows me to subdue the common denominator, and amplify the subtle aspects. And crucifixion in photography is such an effective archetype, I am sure no examples are necessary.
    Is simply beautiful boring?​

    Simply as in "beautiful in a simple way" or "only beautiful"? ... simple as in minimalistic, or lucid or retarded. I like your question for it's potential ambiguity ... Beauty can be seductive or spiritual or both, or it can be comforting. BTW, I associate Peale with all the portraits of Washington and others. I see now, he painted some still-lifes as well. It may be helpful to see the paintings and the photos side by side. Simply going by the photos, the third one appeals to me the most.
  152. Saw this one at the bottom of the page. Notice the interesting discussion. Not sure what (universal) archetype the photo caters to, but I can think of some personal archetypes.
  153. This morning, looking at Richard Misrach's photograph of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington, from Misrach's Pictures of Paintings series.
    I like what Misrach tried to do with this series (see below) but it doesn't work, even with the inclusion of parts of the frame, or, as he does with several of the book's pictures, a series where he gives a sequence of pictures that get closer and closer to the detail he's interested in.
    By making a deliberate effort, I can get a lot of enjoyment out of thinking "with" Misrach, but the pictures really don't even come close to breaking me out of not noticing that this is not (just) a picture of George, it is part of what "George Washington" is and what George is, (and what each of the photographed details is) is not remote and distant but continuous with myself and everybody else.
    From Navjotika Kumar's essay in Misrach's book:
    The mythical fixity of the image has been broken, and we should not really speak of images here, but of gestures ... Even the "Mona Lisa," even Velasquez's "Meninas," can be seen not as timeless static forms but as fragments of a gesture or as frames of a lost film, solely within which they would regain their true meaning. — Giorgio Agamben
    ... Arguably, the earliest function of details was reconstructive. Since the time of hunting societies, they have been used to reconstruct hidden realities that cannot be directly experienced. From the first, hunters relied on details like "tracks on the ground, broken branches, excrement, tufts of hair, entangled feathers, stagnating odors" to surmise the nature of invisible prey.
    [line break added] Detectives, physicians, connoisseurs, and psychoanalysts have used them too for diagnostic purposes. Just as they have typically turned to apparently insignificant details to penetrate what is otherwise obscure, so too have artists and photographers. Used, for instance, in certain practices of institutional critique and appropriation art to reveal the concealed conditions and myths of artistic production, seemingly marginal details have often served in documentary photography to conjure the hidden cultural assumptions of a given society or region.
    Misrach's details, which refer to the practices both of appropriation and documentary photography, and indeed fall between the two rather than on the side of either, may be seen as clues.​
    Staring at George Washington's mouth, which has always seemed to me to be his most interesting feature ... Oh. Wait. Dern. That's not what I'm supposed to be looking at in Misrach's project ...
    Note how different Misrach's project is from Thomas Struth's museum pictures project. Struth's succeeds where Misrach's fails, but I think Misrach's is a much harder -- and more interesting -- endeavor.
  154. Phil, Museum Hours is useful (thanks!) because it helps show what Misrach was not after. Nor Struth, for that matter. That's not a criticism; rather, it's really good to see how art is usually thought of as being seen -- as not "in" the present, even if we compare and contrast it to the present.
    Misrach is interested, not in denying that, but in looking at how -- without any necessary regard for what it meant in the past -- a picture is nevertheless ingested into and is continuous with a viewer. No matter what it is supposed to contain, it is not contained; and what is not contained is not (often not at all) what an art historian will find in it.
    Where Misrach is interested in trying to show this happening "from the inside," Struth wants to show it "from the outside." He's interested in watching how contemporary behavior makes room for what it finds in the art; the time, space, and bodily presentation of that ingestion. The dry description from one of his books is that he's interested in "how art and social order are coproduced in our time." Note that he makes no judgment of the different attitudes of the museum-goers in his pictures. He's intrigued by them all.
    I'm flummoxed trying to figure out why you picked those particular Meatyards out of all his work. What made those stand out, for you?
    The second Cohen clip really doesn't do much for me. It's mildly pleasant, but that kind of thing was done thirty or forty years ago as new. Now it looks formulaic and even nostalgic to me.
  155. To me, that juxtaposition serves to point out, to emphasize how different and remote the people in the museum are from the people and environments shown in the paintings.
  156. Tim, it can't / couldn't be worse than Belgium and its complete lack of uniformity in urban and suburban planning. I know it's ugly but I love it anyway, it's in my DNA. Brussels - and not Paris - is the root of Surrealism...​
    Phil, you're making a point about comparing Houston, Texas to Belgium and Brussels? You can't be serious.
    Europe tends to inject a bit of its own old world character and sense of permanence oozing from the history of its citizenry where as Houston looks like a ready made for the revolving temporary workers just visiting to save up in order to get the hell out upon retirement. (I have relatives who have done this.) There's no meaningful history established from a transient population of this nature for character to have time enough to settle in when it's basically a city functioning as the world's largest flea market.
    And to be clear the emphasis should not be placed on what I'm saying about Houston but more on Winogrand's Houston 1964 photo being responsible for my inspired complaining about the Texas city. I mean we've all heard the adage a picture is worth a thousand words. I think I proved it in this thread.
  157. Looks like Houston went through some Brusselization.

    Really love the architecture of the "Maison du Peuple". Too bad, they demolished it.
  158. I get your point about Brusselization, Phil. At least that town still has some old world charm. Houston has Montrose and the 5th ward which I would have to say doesn't even come close to the character of old world European charm.
    My wife at the time and I bought a 3Bed/2Bath/2Car house that was about 5 years old nestled in a west Houston subdivision we found on a (HUD) Housing And Urban Development foreclosure listing for $45,000 with an escrow account. I happened to give a more closer examination of the attic rafters after purchase and there wasn't one "A" frame roof support that was made out of full length 2 x 4 board. Most of them were patched together in pieces. All the surrounding neighborhood houses looked pretty much the same where I soon began to wonder if they'ld last their 30 year mortgage.
    I certainly wasn't inspired to photograph them like I'm doing in my town of New Braunfels, Texas with its old world German character and historic district.
  159. This morning, feeling very grumpy about a picture that you'll probably think is just fine, maybe even great:
    Edmund Clark's Camp Four; Arrow pointing to Mecca and Ring for Ankle Shackles
    To me, this is the worst kind of photography. It does nothing.
    It sticks a pin in the issues, puts a neat label on them, simple as pie, and that's that. NEXT. No brain cells required. No added value, no improved clarity, no doubt, no questioning, no hitherto unnoticed details or enrichment of the issues. Zip. It's not even shallow; it's one dimensional. You not only don't have to think, you're encouraged not to.
    Why I even noticed the picture is because it's in one of the United Nation's annual Prix Pictet books within which the prefacing essayist, Harry Eyres (following Kofi Annan's leading essay) picks out this picture as being "one of the most telling" from Edmund Clark's "superb series." I disagree.
  160. I agree, but the one dimensional nature of this image is because of the title and the context. If those are unknown, one can fumble and speculate for some meaning and I suspect everyone will come up with his/her own interpretation.
    That said, the image does make me think. Is this image about contradiction or the priority of certain human rights? How fundamentally the freedom of religion is ingrained in our collective psyche? Does it trump all other personal freedoms or lack thereof. A prisoner has the right to practice his/her religion no matter how heinous a crime he has committed. Is it about that or its simply the convenience of the prison staff to keep the inmates calm and win their cooperation? ...
  161. Supriyo, yes, yes and yes to all your questions. But what the image makes me think is why doesn't it make me think ... all those things?
    This scene seems to me to be so immensely fertile; surely he could have found many, many other shots that would have some provocation in the picture.
    I spent the longest time this morning staring the upper half of that picture, trying to force it to provoke me (LOL). Counting the bolt heads (four; two dull, two shiny ... ), green carpet that doesn't match ...
  162. I spent the longest time this morning staring the upper half of that picture, trying to force it to provoke me (LOL). Counting the bolt heads (four; two dull, two shiny ... ), green carpet that doesn't match ...​
    The boredom, the lack of provocation/hope (which you felt) could be a way of the photographer to bring us into his threshold. In some sense, thats a great way to depict a prison (other than explicitly showing bars or weaponed guards). You see nothing spectacular, nothing that sparkles ... then multiply that by days, years ... thats prison. Also I do notice the squeaky clean floor like a hospital or nursing home (places associated with care), and then I notice the shackle ring, and it makes me cringe.
  163. IMO or similarly grumpy interpretation photos that rely too heavily on the title to provide context and the only way to communicate an idea just turns it into photojournalism where now the title relies heavily on the talents of the news editor (not the photographer) to come up with the headline or referencing title. It's not what I'ld technically consider a fine art or groundbreaking way to communicate an idea.
    I mean really, what's the difference?
    There's nothing in the image to support the title. On its own it could represent anything. It's a lazy image.
  164. Supriyo, to my eye, the only thing that makes the picture worth picturing is the arrow. To me, the shackle ring seems redundant, stating what doesn't need any stating; it seems even nice compared to what that prison is and represents. I'd think maybe a close-up of just the arrow would have been more interesting and effective.
    Possibilities that probably should be considered: it wasn't meant to be seen apart from the larger project (I still think that's a form of laziness). Or, the title was added by the book's publishers.
    [nodding at Tim's post]
    This morning, comparing Jacques-André Boiffard's masked men to Ralph Eugene Meatyard's masked people. Meatyard obviously wants to make a whole picture, i.e. he's working with the background and the figures, but, while I like that, I'm not sure it means that Boiffard's pictures, where he's interested almost purely in the figures alone, are therefore less strong. Boiffard, while a surrealist, doesn't seem to be trying to be spooky; Meatyard surely is. Intent, from both, is keyed by the setting:
    Jacques-André Boiffard, Sous le masque, Pierre Prévert, 1930
    Jacques-André Boiffard, [another masked picture, same set]
    Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Boy in Old Man's Mask with Doll, 1960
    Ralph Eugene Meatyard, REF.2452y, 1962
    Note that Boiffard's are from 1930 while Meatyard's are from the 1960s.
  165. "What's effective about it is how the strictly visual playfulness of the image interacts with such questioning of its larger context."
    I'm in an environment of real challenge; I'm trying to climb a really difficult mountain. I don't mind being offered different routes of different kinds, or different levels of difficulty, but sending me back down the mountain, or visually playing with my toes ("visual playfulness") and "wondering" don't do what I think this place demands.
  166. True, the title was important here to even understand what the image stands for. However to me, the title just gives the context and then gets out of the way. I think some photos do need a title or context for unfamiliar viewers. I see no harm in that. It is hard for someone not familiar with the prison environment to know what the arrow is for (I didn't know there are arrows placed on the floor for prayer purpose), which is critical to the relevance of the scene. I still think there can be multiple interpretations/lines of thought even with the definitive knowledge of the arrow.
    Julie, your suggestion of a close up of the arrow itself is worth considering. However here I think the artist was concerned with showing the relationship between the arrow and the ring, and I agree he did make it too redundant in the process. It probably depends on the type of viewers he is catering to. It looks staged and silly that the ring is directly in the path of the arrow. Not that I feel anything is wrong with staging, but here a staged setup (or one that looks staged) probably doesn't go with the overall mood of the scene.
    This image looks like an equation on the floor.
  167. True, the title was important here to even understand what the image stands for.​
    So what audience would get what that image was communicating since it certainly isn't meant for the masses? If it's meant for a limited elitist audience that would understand that image's powerful statement by reading the title as context, I find it hard to see how it's going to bring change if that's the intent behind bringing awareness of religious freedoms and accommodations provided in prisons.
    When I first saw that image it didn't even register as the inside of a prison. Again if it needs to be seen as a series of images for it to make sense then it's not much different from photojournalism only it's photos without the news article text to avoid getting in the way of over explaining it.
    Direction by the photographer is something I marvel over but when there's too much non-directional ambiguity and the "unspoken" sloppily laid out in hopes the viewer fills in the rest, there still needs to be some direction on the part of the photographer to show through that an intelligence is present attempting to enlighten or speak "with a quiet voice" to the viewer. That image is whispering in mumbles to me.
    I'm not getting any direction or intelligence from the photographer in this regard.
  168. "I don't mind being offered different routes of different kinds, or different levels of difficulty" Julie.
    A guiding hand, Julie. However, we are talking about photographs not life and death om mountains. Have a think about those early explores, no guiding hands, just themselves. Methinks they were the real explores and discoverers..
    "I think some photos do need a title or context for unfamiliar viewers. I see no harm in that."Supriyo

    The mystery of unfamiliar, sparks the imagination ,and takes on a journey of discovery. Of course some folk like their hand held ....
  169. Painting with numbers comes to mind.
  170. I think what is really interesting is to discover a photograph for yourself without a helping hand. Try to understand what the photographer, or, the (they can take a life of their own) photograph is communicating and how you visualise it. What is it communicating to you.
    Then, when that communication takes place between you and the photograph; it might be of interest of how others view it. To read, firstly, what others visualization and what it communicates for them is to pollute your imagination.
  171. Julie, interesting mask images. I'm getting the sense they were made to be interpreted by the mindset of the people of the era first presented. I see your point about one trying to be spooky over the other's disturbing playfulness and experimentation with the concept of portraiture with the viewer.
    I've gotten a sense that a lot of intellectuals of those eras who would've responded with the intent desired by the photographer were very smart and very close to their political beliefs on a more personal and maybe tragic level but without regard to an awareness of how the world really worked due to a lack of widespread factual information made available to the masses than we have today. Seems there was a perceived conspiracy to stomp out individualism permeating throughout society back then when in reality most regular folks were just trying to make ends meet.
    I think those images were seen as a lot creepier within a more political and social individualist mindset than my interpreting them as setup to pander to a general audience. That mask on the kid with the doll my grandpa wore to scare the heck out of us kids back in the late '60's and early '70's. I see that photo as a setup just to be spooky as you put it, Julie, but I don't think that was the original intent by the photographer considering the context of the times they were made.
  172. Then, when that communication takes place between you and the photograph; it might be of interest of how others view it. To read, firstly, what others visualization and what it communicates for them is to pollute your imagination.​
    I don't view or interpret what is being communicated in a photo using my imagination. Imagination is already communicated or suppose to be to the viewer by the photographer.
    The viewer demands to be told a story or idea or else they'll go looking for it in the other trillion or so photos that do effectively communicate. It's not the responsibility of the viewer to get what the photographer is communicating. The photographer has to be the responsible one or else they need to take up another hobby.
    We viewers and photographers aren't asking for much, I mean really. Whatever anyone wants to say in an image they should say it in the most imaginative way possible. We'll pick up on it but the photographer must learn how to make this obvious and in as clever a way that draws the viewer in.
    You want to convey ambiguity? Be obvious about it or do something else.
  173. I don't mind starting from scratch, but if the photographer wants to give me a clue outside of the image I don't mind either. If a clue is a nudge towards a whole new world of imagination and analysis, so be it. I don't want to shoot down a work just because it's message(s) needs additional info to process.
    So what audience would get what that image was communicating since it certainly isn't meant for the masses? If it's meant for a limited elitist audience that would understand that image's powerful statement by reading the title as context, I find it hard to see how it's going to bring change if that's the intent behind bringing awareness of religious freedoms and accommodations provided in prisons.​

    I don't think all photos have to appeal to the masses (or to elitists either). If they did, you will see a whole new pattern of images come up to the top here at PN in terms of ratings (for example).
    This image IS photojournalistic.
    When I first saw that image it didn't even register as the inside of a prison.​

    In my case, the title provided me that info, and thats fine with me.
  174. "It's not the responsibility of the viewer to get what the photographer is communicating. The photographer has to be the responsible one or else they need to take up another hobby". Tim.
    Simplistic understanding, Tim. Sort of like unless the food is visually stimulating, dependant on my culture beliefs, the chef has failed in his responsibility. It all about pleasing my narrow culture beliefs. Our of respect for the photographer/chef and the effort they have made... tasting the food using your imagination to feel empathy with the photography...
    But then folk like the quick fix of a burger.
    "If a clue is a nudge towards a whole new world of imagination and analysis, so be it. I don't want to shoot down a work just because it's message(s) needs additional info to process."
    If you need a clue, you have failed your imagination, or, the photograph is rubbish. Sometimes, its about stepping away from yourself and letting your imagination having free rein ...
  175. For instance Phil's photos are about imagination....not instance gratification.
  176. If you need a clue, you have failed your imagination, or, the photograph is rubbish.​

    Thats exactly opposite of what I was trying to say, so I would say I disagree.
    Sometimes, its about stepping away from yourself and letting your imagination having free rein ...​

    True, sometimes, which is as opposed to ...
    If a photo makes me think in a way that I wouldn't have thought otherwise, and if that thought process needed a clue outside the image, will I shoot it down as rubbish?
  177. "True, sometimes, which is as opposed to ...

    If a photo makes me think in a way that I wouldn't have thought otherwise, and if that thought process needed a clue outside the image, will I shoot it down as rubbish?"
    No, but would you really think in that different way? Really? easy to say.
  178. Why say it? A way of looking at the images as a dream...imagination?
    "T"hat doesn't mean that I can't still approach the image from the level of imagination"Phil.
    You are approaching your images from a level of imagination. To look at them, and appreciate, its about imagination. Really, what else are they about other than a journey of imagination.....you could hardly call them factual photographs.
  179. I don't see the title as a clue. The title in this case provides context and a way of looking at the image.​

    As in a "context clue" ...
  180. Phil, you are cloaking. Im talking about your work on P/N.
    And these photographs are not about a journey of the imagination?
  181. Need more than seconds.
  182. [I'm enjoying the to-and-fro on the arrow-ring, but don't have anything to add right now. So I'm off to the mask pictures, on which I haven't fully sorted out my thoughts, so you're getting this only half-cooked ...]
    For me, the masked figures take me inside of their body, immediately. I am recognized.
    To explain: Because the mask eye holes are so small, the thing seems to be a closed creature, a thing that eats the face (not the head). It displaces or replaces or simply removes it (I can't settle on the right word here). Hold that thought.
    What I see of myself, not in pictures, not in the mirror, but right now, right then, right always, is a bit of the sides of my nose, and then mostly my hands and arms, and some of the time, if I look down, my torso and legs and feet. I *never* see my face. If I see it in the mirror or in a photo, it's "over there." Merleau-Ponty has a segment of his writing where he talks about how you can never quite get yourself to be both yourself and the watcher in the mirror at the same time.
    What the mask pictures do for me is let me be the watcher in the mirror by giving me what I "recognize" as what I see of myself: torso, hands, NO face. My face is something that has assignments: it works for me, but I never see it. Behind that fixed, defined, clearly-visible face-front, I roam in a wide amorphous space of myself. In the masked pictures, by removing the face from view, the masked figure allows me to "recognize" myself. Notice how it's almost irrelevant to me what expression or figuration the mask has; it's simply a placeholder, taking care of business so "I" can go play behind it.
    Or something like that. As I said, this is raw. I'm still chewing on it.
    A side note that I think is interesting and maybe important is that, as a photographer, I spend a lot of time with a camera blotting out my face. It too contains/conceals/consumes and therefore removes my face.
  183. "I find his images that don't have masks in them, like this one as interesting or even more interesting than the ones with masks."​
    I'm not suggesting a contest: they're all Meatyard.
    What is all this about "demands" and "responsibility"? Are we talking economics and contract theory here?
  184. A quick note for those of you who aren't familiar with Meatyard:
    He was a terrible photographer, technically. He came late to photography and died before he could really get up to speed on handling light and camera.
    It's the originality of his ideas and intent that make him so interesting.
  185. Terrible.
  186. Taking a quick look at Meatyard's portfolio, I am impressed by his use of motion blur in creating the sense of supernatural or uncanniness. [I am recalling Phil's posting of three images of Meatyard in response to the Boll Ross's photo, which I viewed but never responded to till now.]
    I confess I haven't yet gone through all the conversation from yesterday ... I may add more later.
    I have for some time been thinking about incorporating blurry figures in an otherwise harmless scene and what effect that has on viewers. I think, more unexpected the appearance of such "ghosts", stronger the effect, and that means the context needs to be as benign as possible. I would like to experiment with it, but looking for a good quality variable ND filter blah blah .... anyway enough rambling.
  187. For me, the masked figures take me inside of their body, immediately. I am recognized.​

    I totally agree with Julie on this. However, in some photos the nature of the mask matters I think (like this one). The mask colors my feeling about the scene and the person. The mask does not simply dissolve their faces, but adds its own character (hope I make sense).
    Some of his images may be predictably hollywoodly, (e.g. this), but I don't think there are too many of them. In some images, the mask does more harm than good in an otherwise superb image (e.g.).
  188. It's not the responsibility of the photographer if the viewer doesn't have any visual literacy because they want to be spoonfed instead and "demand" an easy story or idea.​
    There's a lot of supplanting of words into other's responses to change the meaning of what was originally said so it "sounds" like either a correction or something different all together or an attempt to say something that hasn't been said when it's already understood just within the context of discussion. I'm not following you on that one, Phil.
    So I will supplant back into to what I said originally. It is the responsibility of the photographer to communicate to the viewer what the photographer wants for them self as well as how anyone will interpret what they are trying to communicate. Visual literacy requires training which implies or even proves communication is involved.
    Even if the photographer or image maker wants to throw paint against a blank wall there are choices that have to made and communicated to the viewer. Choose the cropped or non-cropped abstract paint pattern wisely among all the other paint splatters and the viewer will get what the image maker is communicating. Choose poorly and it just becomes nothing but a Rorschach test where the viewer will get that as well and not linger on it for more than a second.
  189. I can't resist but quote Picasso here:
    Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? …people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.​
  190. It is just my opinion that intent behind a photo could be as obscure (or futile) as trying to understand the photo itself. The photographer may have had a conscious intent while pressing the shutter, but what the image portrays could go it's own way of analysis and interpretation. Thats something I like about photography where the content of the art doesn't have to have a strict correspondence with the artist's psyche. I think I prefer the notion of 'capture', as opposed to 'creation' that applies to other forms of art. I think you stated that succinctly at the end of your post: "of course a picture will also continue to exist beyond the artist's intent".
  191. I generally feel a responsibility not to stray too much from the intent which is often at least loosely discernible by the body of work of a photographer. If part of photography is communication/expression, there has to be some degree of connection/empathy between photographer and viewer. When I'm talking to a friend, I could allow his words to go their own way of analysis and interpretation and make of them whatever I want if I want to hear them strictly from my own perspective or point of view and interpret them personally. That, for me, is not being in a relationship with the friend. It would be a little selfish on my part. I don't want to be a selfish viewer of photos either. I may never know for sure what the intentions of a photographer are and I'm not talking about a forensic study of a photographer's intentions. But I can try to experience someone's photos from what I can put together of their point of view, perspective, and intentions . . . as well as my own. Maybe it helps to see photos not just as created or captured but as shared.
  192. Sharing is the media of making art. Art is not shared.
    An artist makes art because of an awareness, often sudden or by surprise, of being in the same water with ... Because of an intense awareness of sharing being with ... [whatever]. An intense noticing of that 'being in the same water'-ness.
    But the finished art, to the viewer, and even to the artist, is not in the same water. It's severed-from.
    Picasso's bird song immediately puts its hearer in the same water with the bird, but that bird's song is not art. It would be art if it were severed from the bird and given back to hearers not in that water. Note also that while the song (or even E=MC squared) is not so much understood as is the shared water that its saying creates, which is understood. Also note that "song of a bird" is full of understanding -- it is a bird, it is that bird, it is a song (not any other kind of sound), it is that song. The water is made.
    Why is art severed from shared water? Why is a game severed from "real" life? When do you notice electricity? When there's a power failure. When do you listen to the bird's song? When it's not a bird's song.
    Fish don't know they're in water until there is no water. Finished art is something that is not happening.
    On 'capture' vs 'create': I think the artist makes the game; how it's played is not intended to be defined, by definition (that's the point of a game). Why isn't everything, every picture, art? I think it's because there wasn't really any intense shared-water sensation of the maker at the time of making, or the bounds, the separation of the song from the bird, wasn't done. It leaks. :)
    My favorite Picasso quote: "Every artist is a woman." — Picasso to Geneviève Laporte, 1975
  193. But that doesn't mean that when a viewer doesn't find a connection to the work ( because the viewer is demanding something else from it ) that the work isn't in fact made in a way that effectively communicates the artist's intent, whether that means an intent that can be seen upon first viewing and reading of the work or one that requires an additional context in order for the work to be read as the artist intended it.​
    In regard to the religious freedoms prison image I demanded the photographer communicate through a method better fitting for the subject.
    There is what appears to be unintended ambiguity bordering on the abstract caused by the presentation of a very important social issue that would be better served or communicated within the context and venue of a photojournalism article, not some (cropped?) still image of a floor with a metal ring and arrow pointing to it and a title referencing some camp. The title doesn't even include the word prison. I and I'm sure others don't know what "Camp Four" is so I was lost on the way the photo was presented and how heavily it relied on the title to communicate what it was about.
    I didn't say the photographer isn't communicating. He's just not communicating effectively enough for such an important subject.
    And in reference to (cropped?) still it most likely would've been far easier to include more in the image to suggest it's a prison either through cropping or pulling back for a wider angle shot to show a prisoner or guard or something.
  194. Art is shared.
  195. "Art is shared."​
    I can argue that position too. [sincerely; not being sarcastic]
    When animals left the ocean, they took the saline ocean with them in their blood. Instead of being in the water, the water was in them. That quality, that salinity is shared; but of what does "that quality" consist?
  196. Julie,
    Your argument is like saying "the Sun is not shared, but the sunlight is", or that "Mother is not shared but mother's love is". Now if I understood you correctly (I may not have, reprimand me as much as you like), it boils down to sharing of art being a rhetorical phrase to express the sharing of the influence of art.
    The bigger question is, what would this hair splitting argument give us. I don't think it would make me a better photographer (discussing of Meatyard's philosophy would). I have seen many artists to use this expression of sharing their art with the viewers (which includes the artist) as an inspiration behind their creativity. May be they were using it in a rhetorical way, however inspiration is inspiration. Whatever works in art becomes the personal truth for the artist (and for the viewers).
    Everyone's inspiration works in his/her own way. I mostly photograph architecture and inanimate objects (I would like to photograph people, but not very good at it). Many times, I end up sharing my art with myself. It is still sharing, and viewing me through the spectacle of time is one aspect of it. I cannot share my art with my subjects, but I still share nevertheless.
  197. Supriyo, for me, the sharing aspect of art keeps me from thinking self-centeredly. For me, it's not about the kind of hair splitting you are alluding to, and I understand why that's one of your takeaways. That would not be my emphasis.
    Seeing art as a matter of sharing keeps me from thinking that another's work of art is anything I want to make it, because supposedly I'm the viewer and in complete charge of my feelings and interpretation. The aspect of sharing is crucial for me, knowing I'm not in charge and knowing that as a viewer I'm in this with the photographer and other viewers as well as history and culture, knowing it's not all about me. Same when I'm a photographer.
    Many of my friends now prefer to stay home and save the money on admission to movies. They have big screen tvs which are often hooked up to very good surround sound audio systems. Though I watch my share of movies like that, for me, being in the theater with other living, breathing folks is an important part of the experience. I'd much rather go to a museum, for example, where I will encounter other viewers, to experience art and photography. I don't believe it's ever just an individual response to art that's at play. There is a communal aspect to all this. Symbolism is shared. Visual languages are shared. We "understand" because we've learned how to understand, from others. We've watched people before us understand, respond, and feel.
    This all relates to my relationship to the intent of a photographer or artist, which is where I got interested in this thread. As I said, I don't need a forensic study or to know precisely what they intended. (Often what they say they intended is relatively meaningless anyway). But, the intentions I glean from a body of work inform all the pieces within that body of work. And those intentions tie me to an author, who is part of the photo or painting. There is a voice behind every novel, every sculpture, every painting. I find it's important to acknowledge that voice and listen to it to the extent I'm willing and able. That's not to say I don't bring my own voice to someone else's photo. I don't think I can help but do that. But it's to say I don't want to supplant the photographer's voice with my own.
  198. I don't "demand" anything when I look at a work.​
    I do, or else I go looking for it in the other trillion or so images available to me.
    So I figured it was a conceptual photograph done by a conceptual artist / photographer.​
    That's exactly how I saw it as well. So you admit the photographer allowed one image among the series to be displayed in a way that prevented it to communicate what he intended. The photographer in this sense (maybe beyond his control, maybe not) made the image a sort of teaser for you to go looking at the rest of his work. It changed the meaning of the image.
    But something tells me that meaning has been tainted by what appears now as a marketing ploy by others (maybe the publicist?, Julie did say the UN presented this image without reference to the rest of the series of images) which changed how it was to be understood as the photographer originally intended. All in all miscommunication took place.
    And now more information how that one image was shown out of context from the series has come to light which further changes the perception of the image as a distraction to the point I can't distinguish the intelligence of the photographer from others who had a hand in just showing that one image on its own. Now I'm too exhausted to not even care to go looking at this photographer's other works.
  199. This morning, as a treat for myself, I am going to share some of my favorite Ken Josephson photos with you. I love sharing pictures with you guys. I have no idea what Josephson meant to share with me, nor do I have any idea what he or I will share with you, nor can I, but I do love the jingle-jangle of our encounter.
    This first is ... I just love it. It will seem simple, easy, nostalgic; anybody could have taken it. And, in some sense, it is. But it's also gorgeously composed, dangerous, and a more than a little bit wicked. The figure never fails to take me through a whole stew of emotions. My words are too stiff and literal; look for yourself and let her, there, then, play with your mind. What do you think?
    Josephson is underappreciated nowadays (if not simply forgotten). I think this is a little bit his own fault; he is/was too clever, creative, restless, inventive, impatient with what's been done, to ever settle into making a "body of work." Below, I'll give a few other of his pictures both to show his breadth and to add his more well-known work that you'll easily find online.
    Here is a delicious visual pun: birds/broken glass. He loved humor. Not a masterpiece, but amazingly deft and graceful, nevertheless.
    Here is a more classic work, one that easily fits into what most people consider "good" photography. Just to show that he could when he wanted to.
    Here is one that is extremely simple. Probably too simple for some of you, but I love it. It almost makes me dizzy when I look at the swoopy tracks. There's nothing there, but it just flies.
    Not linked are any of his nudes which are outstandingly inventive, creative. I'd encourage you to Google-search Josephson nudes and see for yourself. But as I already said, they're restless and never quite stayed-with to completion.
  200. For girls and boys and moths who think they can fly:
    [ ... ]
    Now look at Konrad the little thumb-sucker.
    Ach! but his poor mama cries when she warns him
    The tailor will come for his thumbs if he sucks them.
    Quick he can cut them off, easy as paper.
    Out goes the mother and wupp! goes the thumbkin in.
    Then the door opens. Enter the tailor.
    See in the picture the terrible tongue in
    His grinning red mouth! In his hands the great shears.
    Just as she told him, the tailor goes klipp und klapp.
    Eight-fingered Konrad has learned a sad lesson.
    Therefore, says Fräulein, shaking her chignon,
    Suck you must not or the tailor will chop!
    Here is smart Robert the flying boy, bad one.
    Hui! How the storm blows and coughs in the treetops.
    Mama has told him today he must stay in,
    But Robert slips out with umbrella and rain cap.
    Now he is flying. The wind sucks and pulls him.
    See, he is carried up, smaller and smaller.
    His cap flies ahead of him; no one can help him.
    Therefore, says Fräulein, smoothing her collar,
    Mind me, says Fräulein. God stands up in Heaven.
    See how He watches? He snatches the bad ones.​
    last two verses of Maxime W. Kumin's Fräulein Reads Instructive Rhymes / Outside Help for Parents Who May Have Forgotten Herr Doktor Hoffman's "Der Struwelpeter"
  201. I look at a photograph or any other piece of art in two stages. The first is very quick -- it has to draw me in and induce me to look longer. If I get past the first stage, I can linger for minutes and frequently will revisit the image a number of times.
  202. But then there are odd ones, like all of Muybridge's work. I don't think I've ever looked at any of his pictures for more than a split second, yet he's deeply in my consciousness. And he's had a huge influence on non-photographic art (film, painting, and sculpture). Odd how simply "getting" something about what they're doing can have so much influence.
  203. I must confess that I approach other people's work in two ways. Firstly, a portrait of an individual, since portraiture does not interest me, will get a few seconds, unless the portrait, in those few seconds, shows something interesting in the subject's character or attitude to life.
    Other topics, however, which do strike a chord, can get intense scrutiny for many seconds, extending into minutes, for two general reasons. Firstly, I try to understand the nature of the subject matter, and the approach the photographer used in capturing the image, both artistic and technique-oriented.
    Then I will try to work out what my approach would have been to the same subject matter, assuming all other factors were equal (i.e. I was at the site, and young and fit enough to get to the same viewpoint). For the same reasons, I will return to the many books of photographs that I (as I am sure do we all) possess, and often find new aspects of images I thought I had 'seen' before.
    Not necessarily trying to copy others' work, but learning what I can to add to 50 years' experience to improve my own shots.

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