Photographer Andrew Sweet

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by michaellinder, May 30, 2019.

  1. Enjoyed the photos in a historical way. Thanks for posting.

    But, they are somewhat remote from the subjects matter;

    I did not feel a connection on any level.
     
    ruslan likes this.
  2. Take a look at Bill Aren's "Shlom Y'All" a documentary of Jewish life in the Southern U.S. Its on Amazon.
     
    michaellinder and Supriyo like this.
  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Well, I wouldn't have them stand there like you see in the typical snapshot pose. First, I would ask permission to photograph them, then I would try to catch them doing common beach activities. I would have to play it by ear, since normally I very rarely photograph people.
     
    ruslan likes this.
  4. I would have interacted and speak to them, ask for permission, take a number of close-up portraits. I would have used thirds rule, align the horizon (while manual printing), maybe dodge and burn method locally, captured them during their activities. But for maximum results, some unusual angles of of view might be just right (wide-angle, unusual vantage point, etc).
     
  5. I did a project about school life. This was my work. I delivered 90 photos based on that approach plus portraits.

    school.JPG
     
    jordan2240 likes this.
  6. Based on this, from Bill C, I wonder if many of these shots would have ever made it into public view had Sweet been the one to determine it. Perhaps many were 'throwaways.'
     
  7. I see your point. However, I have seen works of several eminent photographers, and not all of their works come off as aesthetically or compositionally extraordinary or special to me. What does come off is their dedication and consistency, and a deep understanding of their subjects. I understand, for certain subject matters, it is probably beneficial to avoid creative angles or compositions and remove the photographer's ego from the results.

    I personally don't mind snapshots (or selfies), if I can make some sort of a connection with the subject. How we connect with (unknown) subjects in photos depends a lot on the photographer's skill and engagement with the subject, sometimes at subtle levels. In this case, I was able to connect with Andy's subjects in several of the photos and I understand you couldn't, and I will leave it at that.
     
    jordan2240 likes this.
  8. Indeed!
     
  9. Thanks for the suggestion. Shalom Y'All, right? I saw a few photos from the preview. Would like to take a detailed look, in the weekend.
     
  10. Thanks Vincent for your input. I appreciate that you tried to engage in the ongoing conversation. My take is, beach is where young people go to engage in vigorous activities like volleyball, while seniors might prefer to relax and socialize more. Thats their normal activity I suppose. Some of Andy's pictures are full body portraits, while others, like these (the beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach the beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach the beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach people and places Miami Beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach) do show the subjects' activities. I love the 2nd and the 4th pictures.

    I personally would like to see a mixture of both kinds in a series, the standing kind as well as the 'engaged in activity' kind. It would also depend on the subject in my opinion. Sometimes, a person photographed standing in their environment (with certain body language and facial expression) can make a strong statement, and some of Andy's photos of this kind come off as strong statements to me, for example this one: the beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach .
     
  11. Thanks, Ruslan for sharing your methodology. I have no doubt you would do that, so would other trained and experienced photographers like you. However, despite following all the rules, results do vary widely depending on whether you appreciate the significance of the theme and how you feel about the subjects in general. Most photographic rules are also overrated and great results can be obtained at times by ignoring them. I am sure you are aware of that. For instance, this one in my opinion works because the horizon is tilted. That tilted horizon conveys so much to me.

    Both the pictures from your school life project are good and effective, but I don't think there is much conceptual similarity between Andy's project and your's, except that both are documentaries. I can totally understand if they benefit from different approaches.
     
  12. Supriyo, there is a remoteness to his photos;sort of like I'm not really here

    " for example this one: the beach - Andy Sweet's Miami Beach " Supriyo

    I just see a half forced smile and a feeling of embarrassment. If you feel they have a art to them, and they work for you, that is all that matters.

    But methinks you are being kind; and Phil can find a art in a photograph of a gravy stain;) And articulate it with prose.

    Prose..."Cinderella" is a prose fairy tale.
     
    ruslan likes this.
  13. Rusian, your examples, I felt had a connection between photographer and subjects, reflected in a natural candid way.

    Because photographs were taken in historical times, does not make them, special, other than the photographs were taken in historical times.

    A shoe box full of photos is a shoe box full of photos. Lets not be too carried away with shoe boxes;) Although you cannot help but think, someone is looking to make gold coins out of them, by proclaiming them as very special photography. Hmm.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    ruslan likes this.
  14. They are the most honest visual clues of other people's existence. No photographer with a bag full of lenses and a head full of strobist and bryan peterson can fake out a mom and her instamatic.
     
    tholte, samstevens and richard a like this.
  15. Conjured pathos for the camera, which is what a lot of photographers would have mindlessly resorted to here, doesn't always trump unvarnished simplicity.
     
    tholte likes this.
  16. I wish I could have said it as well as you did!
     
  17. Pretty pathetic, as always :)
     
  18. I might agree with your appraisal of Sweet's work from a technical point of view. Also, I may even concede that his photos may not have a great deal of artistic merit. But, as I suspect I stated in an earlier post, I find the real value - which certainly is a legitimate photographic purpose - of his work to be documentary. Between the time he started shooting photos until his untimely death, he documented both the history of South Beach. (southern Miami Beach, for those of you unfamiliar with the location) and the people who vacationed and/or settled there.

    To add another historical note - - From its earliest history, Miami Beach was virulently antisemitic. Hotel owners would advertise that Jews were not allowed to stay there; some restaurants also excluded them. Miami-Dade County's Official Records included a deed restriction regarding property north of 5th Street. As a result Jews were not allowed to own property north of that boundary, which accounts for the creation of the unofficial name of the area south of it, namely South Beach. That very deed restriction partially explains the significance presence of Jews in South Beach during the time of Sweet's activity.
     
  19. Jordan, I never have described myself as an artist. Nor have I held myself out to be an art expert. To qualify these two remarks, I am not at all saying that you attributed such characteristics to me. Yet, I get the feeling that no art form, including photography, can exist in a vacuum. I am using the term 'vacuum' in its broadest sense to include other art forms, history, sociology, philosophy, etc., etc. Hence, Supriyo's responding to one of your posts by mentioning reading about a certain art in history.
     
  20. Supriyo, your questions are exceptionally thought-provoking and challenging. Sadly, I have no response at this time other than to reiterate my take on the value of Sweet's images.
     
    tholte likes this.

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