Modesty

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by allen herbert, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Modesty....what a word.
    Truly great/creative people are always modest so we are told.. Indeed great photographers are generally considered modest.....but are they really?
    Why not say you are great....think of Mohammed Ali. Nobody loved him for a long while...indeed he was hated.
    Modesty, a culture believe? A lack of self of self esteem.?
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  2. Modesty in the arts is often passive-aggressive hubris in disguise.
     
  3. "Modesty in the arts is often passive-aggressive hubris in disguise".
    So, play the modesty game....and hide behind it. Let us hubris in disguise in a aggresive way or perhaps we are showing a lack of conviction and character. Lots of great Artists seemed to lack a hubris of disguise...so many to name.
    A slave to the establishment in the hope of some gold coin much like Judas or a hubris in disguise.
     
  4. No one likes a braggart.
     
  5. There are no modest commercially successful artists, actors, musicians, writers or athletes. There are modest people who play those roles and hire immodest people to make them commercially successful - agents and publicists. Some take on multiple roles as creator, impresario, etc.
    The lines may be blurred and it's often difficult for outsiders to tell where the lines are between the real person, the creator roles they play, and the roles they play as promoters hawking their own wares.
    Muhammad Ali was a very good example - since the original post referred to him. Ali the man was actually known to be quite reserved and humble. But he was an astute student of the celebrity game and modeled his public persona after the flamboyant wrestler Gorgeous George. The finishing touch was Ali's personal MC, the late Bundini Brown, who helped refine Ali's chops as a colorful and quotable public persona. After Ali retired, and after Brown's death in 1987, we never saw that brash Ali again. And it wasn't merely due to the onset of Parkinson's. Ali was still very sharp and witty with a sly sense of humor for several years after his retirement - you can see it in several interviews after he retired. But when he retired, so did that brash public persona.
    "Nobody loved him for a long while...indeed he was hated."​
    Not at all. Ali was more loved than hated, and loved more worldwide than most public figures can lay claim to. The few noisy haters aren't representative of the vast majority of people around the world who recognized Ali's name with respect and even love. He earned that respect and adulation everywhere he traveled. After his transition to more conventional Islam he was an ambassador for Islam long before the US and European media paid any attention.
    There are photographers, creative types and celebrities who seem to thrive on the ragged edge of notoriety and impropriety. For some it seems organic, natural, inherent to their personalities. They're misfits, outcasts and bete noir types who also happen to be good artists and were fortunate enough to peak in an era when those characteristics were considered marketable. Others seem to adopt the roles of bad boys and girls, posers from good families and backgrounds who cultivate the attitude and persona of the edgy outcast.
     
  6. Many photographers are sharply observant, and know how to work quietly and unobtrusively, in the background. That might encourage modesty over flamboyance. I've been in three camera clubs over the years, observing that many of us seemed to be introverts.
     
  7. Modesty, a culture believe? A lack of self of self esteem.?​
    Or maybe the complete opposite?
    The sincerely modest people I know tend to be a lot stronger and have a lot more self-esteem than the self-boasting non-modest ones. More importantly: they also tend to hold others in a higher esteem and are more able to treat others with respect.
    Self esteem isn't shouting what you belief you can do. That can be a completely delusional self-image. Self esteem is knowing deeply and properly what your strong and weak points are, being committed to work about and holding up some values you hold dearly to yourself. Self esteem is being honest and critical with yourself. Most people lacking in modesty are anything but, they're instead overestimating their abilities while dismissing those of others, or they're just putting up a show.
    Great artists convinced others by what they create(d), not by how they speak of themselves, or how they avoid to do that. Their modesty has got very little to do with their creativity and their art being art, apart from possibly generating publicity. There are examples of highly succesful modest artists as well. Modesty (or lack thereof) may become apparent in their work, but that doesn't make things more or less creative, or more or less likely to be considered art.
    So, a lack of modesty - a lack of self esteem? Seems to me at least as probable, if not more so. There are photographers of any kind, though as Howard said, it tends to be an introspective activity, so introverts might be more attracted to it. But there are enough examples of the opposite as well. Famous and not famous alike.
     
  8. When you are in public it's helpful to know your audience and have a sense of how to present yourself. Sometimes acting
    modest is useful,and sometimes it's best to wave your flag with pride.
     
  9. Good points Wouter. I feel letting others call you an
    artist and your work artistic is modesty as well.
     
  10. Picking up on some of Wouter's thoughts . . . Some who tend to immodestly boast about their achievements, their work, etc., tend to be mostly fluff and very little substance. They easily can talk the talk but have difficulty walking the walk.
     
  11. +1 Wouter, as usual.
    The greatest artists are too busy thinking of art to spend any time worrying about self-promotion.
     
  12. Why stereotype people?
    Some artists are modest. Others aren't.
    Modesty is an admirable trait in some people and strong ego is an admirable trait in others. It depends to what end and in what way each personality trait is used. Some artists and people may even be modest some of the time and egotistical other times.
    I've never been told creative people are modest.
    Also key, in addition to what Wouter said, is that an artist's personality is often dissimilar to what their art is actually expressing. Chopin, for example, known for his utterly romantic music, was a pretty tough guy to be around, often curmudgeonly, envious, etc. That's not to say his life experience and personality isn't responsible for his art. It's just to say it's not a simplistic correlation. People are complicated. And what they create may have many different complex reasons for and methods of emanating from who they are.
    _____________________________________________
    A counterexample on the self-promotion front would be Andy Warhol.
     
  13. The Photograph
    Two pretty girls.
    On using her natural talent to self promote the other working modestly in a shop.
    "+1 Wouter, as usual.
    The greatest artists are too busy thinking of art to spend any time worrying about self-promotion".
    Let us have a think about the truth of the above posts.
    How many really great photographers work is still hidden away in shoe boxes....Vivian Mailer comes to mind! Perhaps some self promotion would have opened that work....
    Then ask the question among the "great" how many self= promoted their work or got others to do so? Then ask yourself the question does self-believe have to be modest... Does self-believe require modesty and waiting for some nefarious something to happen to give a stamp of approval.
    A braggart nobody likes but is it because they have self-believe and refused to except the conformity of the masses.....white shirts rule do not wear anything else. Conform, do not be different.
     
  14. Take Richard Avedon as an example, the little I know of him anyway. No doubt he promoted his photography, had a strong ego? Yet when he spoke, as we have discussed in other threads, the photograph of his father in his final illness: he was rather honest about what it was about himself and his father that he was grappling with and trying to express by photographing. He was uncertain of his motives.
    So I think to some extent 'being modest' is a behavior that operates within the rules of socially constructed silence. I don't think the praise he may have received for his father's illness photo would have meant much to him given that his entire being was involved in the making of that photograph. But we by norms and conventions engineer conversations to invoke, impose silence at some boundary point past which we prefer to only allow our intimates. Bravado or ego may also be a form of engineered silence. I don't necessarily see where either suggests lack of self esteem or high self esteem. People pretend and cover up. Modesty covers up, so at times does bravado and self-promotion.
     
  15. Or Andy Warhol, for example. Was extremally modest guy though they had turned wig in him many times. This modesty thing IMO can actually be seen as a prefered strategy or an artistic technique or natural fear, for a change.
     
  16. " Ali the man was actually known to be quite reserved and humble".
    Methinks not...
    He was never humble or reserved today or yesteryear. He has/has a strong self believe and truly believed he is/was the greatest.
    And not just in his boxing skills, but in his strength of character, to follow his beliefs and not to be bullied into submission.
     
  17. " Ali the man was actually known to be quite reserved and humble".
    Methinks not...
    He was never humble or reserved today or yesteryear. He has/has a strong self believe and truly believed he is/was the greatest.
    And not just in his boxing skills, but in his strength of character, to follow his beliefs and not to be bullied into submission.
     
  18. Regarding Ali, the dichotomy between his public and private personas really isn't in dispute. It's widely documented by those who knew him personally, including photographers and reporters. Here's one of many retrospective articles that cite the dichotomy between his brash public persona and the real Ali known to his family, friends and associates.
    If you find Ali's 1989 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show with Mike Tyson, Hall asks both fighters who would have won if they'd fought in their primes. Ali just smiles and points to Tyson, who won't have any of it and says Ali would have won.
    Ali's confidence in his legacy as a great boxer, his right to refuse to participate in the Vietnam war, and in his roles in the civil rights movement and as an international ambassador for Islam and peace, should never be mistaken for immodesty. Even a modest person can demonstrate confidence, strength and resolve.
    The difference between Ali and too many entertainers, celebrities, artists and creative people is that he always knew the difference between his public and private personas. His only real fault was not knowing when to retire before risking his health, but that was due in part to financial pressures, not merely ego and an inability to recognize that his skills had deteriorated. Ali did not make nearly as much money as some vastly inferior boxers, and not even as much as some boxers who may equal Ali in ability and potential, but not in courage and willingness to face any and all opponents, including facing his most difficult opponents repeatedly to resolve any doubts.
     
  19. Lex, thanks for the reasoned and researched info on Ali.
    the dichotomy between his brash public persona and the real Ali known to his family, friends and associates.​
    This kind of thing always fascinates me when it comes to people in the public eye. I understand what you're saying and it makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, I often like to take a look at it from the other side. What if the public persona is actually more real than the intimate one? Could it be? Or at least just as real. Maybe, as artists, entertainers, Hollywood stars, theater people, pop phenomena, some folks feel free enough to actually be who they are. Could it be that the rest of us living our "real" private lives are the ones faking it? Not a full-blown argument, by any means. Just food for thought and my wanting to play around with what may be real and what may be not.
     
  20. " Hollywood stars[​IMG], theater people, pop phenomena, some folks feel free enough to actually be who they are. Could it be that the rest of us living our "real" private lives are the ones faking it?"
    Being themselves and turning their dreams into realities. Turning our dream into a reality is that what our true desires are...being our real self's escaping from the mundane and seeking out the real persona and truths it has to offers.
    Is our "true self" the "dream"
     
  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p6OH7FoWoQ
     
  22. " Mohammed Ali. Nobody loved him for a long while...indeed he was hated"
    A braggart and a black man who refused to fight for his country.
    And a black power Muslim.
    But he had a dream to be the heavy weight champion of the world, and follow his own convictions and believes....the honesty of the time was that most folk wanted him to be humiliated and defeated. Moving forward in time how many would like the thought of a gay heavyweight champion who would not fight for his country?
    So, the question is....modesty, the lack of courage, believe and conviction? The blending in.
    .
     
  23. I love those who wouldn't fight the Vietnam War. I know we shouldn't get into politics here, but I can't allow you to open the door with such blatant accusations without responding to them. First off, many didn't see the Vietnam War as a matter of fighting for their country. They saw it as a useless exercise in politics and, considering how it ended and what it accomplished, I'd say those who refused to fight had a very good point. This takes nothing away from the men who fought valiantly, other than I think they were fighting under a very misguided government at the time.
    I'm not much into fighting as a sport, so a gay heavyweight champion wouldn't do much for me, though I think a gay man should have the opportunity to become one if he wants. If a gay man, heavyweight or not, refused to fight for his country, I'd listen to his reasons, consider the war he was refusing to fight, and make an assessment on a lot of different factors. It's not a given to me, by any stretch of the imagination, that everyone has a moral imperative to fight in wars their country decides to wage.
    Now, if you can somehow tie your thoughts about Ali, his being black, his refusing to fight, his being a braggart, and his being a "black power Muslim" to the Philosophy of PHOTOGRAPHY, that could be very helpful here.
     
  24. "but I can't allow you to open the door with such blatant accusations without responding to them"
    What blatant accusations? And what am I getting away with? for sure many brave folk have/ are fighting for their country and values but why bring that into the conversation?
    Modesty is considered a virtue but is it always a value.
    Very few of greats of photography, to my mind, were not really modest in the sense of the word but played the modest game.
    .
     
  25. I didn't bring it into the conversation, you did!
     
  26. Advertising is bragging about a product and we all know how successful that is. Perhaps, sharing and a bit of bragging from photographers can be a virtue. Maybe then we will not have to wait for their work to be discovered in a shoe box and exploited by someone else. Of course most (hobby) photographers take photographs for their own personnel satisfaction and a way of expressing their Art....Art is in all our souls; seeing beyond. But it is nice to share and maybe brag a bit.
    Just a thoughts in all due modesty;)
     
  27. Okay,Fred. Thanks for your thoughtful input and everyone else.
     
  28. "I know we shouldn't get into politics here"
    I agree, but the topic of conversations is about modestly.
    Back in the times Ali lived in he was black, a member of a black Muslim religion, a draft dodger, and what was considered a braggart. Indeed, folk could not wait for him to be beaten in the ring especially by the "great white hope" Gerry Quarry. The real world of that time.
    But he was not modest but had strong self conviction and strong believe and will. Yes, we all love him now but back in day....
    Modesty, for a photographer...is it really the best policy....or, is it about being thrown into the bin of obscurity....he was a nice modest person. The end.
    If you do not have the believe who else will?
    .
     
  29. Jeez, Im so good I could cry.
    Dear bloke upstairs please help me to be modest so I can disappear into obscurity and everyone will love me....
     

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