Photography: Presentation or Creation

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Norma Desmond, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Presentation/Creation.

    Do your own photographs fall more into one camp than another. As a viewer, do you prefer one type of
    photo over another?

    There is overlap. For most, it's not strictly either/or.

    Which qualities fall under presentation and which under creation?

    NOT "PURITY" VS. POST-PROCESSING . . . PLEASE!

    (Photography, of course, is not limited to these two descriptions.)
     
  2. I enjoy both flavors. To the extent that "representation" falls more into your "presentation" bucket, that's probably me. People who tend towards documenting things or hoping to capture a narrative that they see are more in that camp. Folks who wish to synthesize a narrative are more in the "creative" camp. It would be a sorry pursuit indeed though, if I felt stuck in one mode or the other. Each approach informs and improves the other. Now, if I can just get things in focus.
     
  3. But, wouldn't you in fact 'create' a 'presentation' of the subject always?

    If you are talking about REPRESENTATION of something for what it is I think whatever we 'think' or 'believe' it is has already been filtered by our own creative (or not) mind. Therefore, even as we take the picture without adding to it any props, lights, etc... we are however, adding unavoidably our own vision by the angle, format choice, lens choice, processing choices, etc... thus 'creating' a 'representation' of what we believe that subject looks like.

    It would be impossible to totally no be involved in that. Even if you are taking pictures during a violent event (be it a war, civil unrest, etc...) you'd be creating a vision of that event again by the choice of cameras, lenses, point of view, etc... which will all contribute to create YOUR vision of that event as it unfolded before your very eyes.

    I would have to say that since not two photographers would record an even the same exact way it is impossible to do one without the other.

    I would fall in the presentation group however, because I am not into creating shots. With the preface above in mind, of course.
     
  4. Matt--

    Thanks for supplying the idea of "synthesis." There was a recent thread about composition
    and relationship and I think "synthesis" would have helped that discussion along.
    "Composition," even though it entails elements coming together in a whole, seemed more
    structural/formal. "Relationship" applies to an association or connection of formal as well
    as narrative elements yet doesn't include the notion of a unified whole. "Synthesis" seems
    to speak both to the variety of elements (emotional/structural/formal/technical) in a work
    and to their unified cohesion.

    Giampi--

    An important point to remember. I often couch it in terms of perspective. No matter how
    representational we try to be, we are always somewhat limited by our perspective. I agree
    with you that representation or presentation will always have an element, to a greater or
    lesser degree, of creation. Likewise creations will be presented. It's more a matter of where
    on the continuum we each fall, which you of course recognize in your analysis of your own
    photographs. Thanks.
     
  5. jtk

    jtk

    Giampi, how come your website doesn't have audio files? What kind of Telecaster knockoff is that? That's a remarkable lens...what is it? How does all this relate to those flashy models? I like your perspective.
     
  6. jtk

    jtk

    I make photos as often as I find them. Sometimes I'm looking for something and having a hard time finding it. That can take years. Other times I know where I'm going to find it, go to it (or expect it and try to pounce on it), other times I intentionally make the image I want to make, like a commercial photographer.

    In general I dislike the "street photography" categorization because so often that means predatory and poorly executed, student work. But I'm also bored by "nature photography" because so much of that is repetitive and reliant on romantic falsehoods. I have more affinity for portraiture, journalism, and commercial/illustrative photography than for those other "categories." Yet I engage in them all.

    Seems sensible to include audio tracks with photo websites, and I've linked music to this forum for that reason. The music moves things toward "narrative."

    One phrase to describe what I most like in photos is "story telling." Virtually all of the images I share are accompanied by extensive rambling commentary. Can't help myself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL-uL2M3xvM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnRqYMTpXHc&mode=related&search=

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGkE5g7_jAg&mode=related&search=
     
  7. Fred, when I looked at my pictures (I have created and done) I fall under both camps. I love doing my creations and manipulations but I love just doing my photography. I think it is very evident when I do do my manipulations and then evident when I do my art.

    But, there are also things that I like to do the old post processing techniques (dodge and burn). But I found in my portfolio that I am half way down the middle and didn't realize it till you said something.

    Funny thing to, till you mentioned it. I am drawn to street photography the most. Things that move me eotionally. I am, however not drawn to something that is manipulated unless I find it well done. If it is cheesy I don't like it very much.
     
  8. Micki-- How 'bout forgetting about post manipulation and just thinking about creative vs.
    (rep)resentation in the picture-taking part itself. Does that come into play for you? It does for
    me.

    John-- But there can be narrative without music, right?
     
  9. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, narrative can be done in Morse code if one wants, but whether narrative (or valid philosophizing) can effectively be done in a linear verbal way is a question (I include music because it, or the fact of it, can readily convey more than can a sentence...just as can a photograph or series of photos).

    The best common narrative, other than live presentation, may be in NY Times articles...which make heavy use of graphic design (headlines, subheads, extracted quotations, photos).

    As to "the picture taking part," I don't find it significant. I think the picture MAKING is what's significant. Picture "taking" is for tourists, picture "making" is for photographers. Apples, oranges. Picture making includes putting oneself in a situation to make a photo, being technically prepared (reasonable equipment and skills), executing, and making the image manafest in some way...print, online...

    I think "taking" Vs "making" often distinguishes "street photography" from photography.
     
  10. I think music and photos convey some of the same things and some different things than
    sentences, sometimes more, sometimes less. I also think music can add a lot to both the
    experience of picture making and picture viewing. I never thought of it as adding
    narrative, though. Worth considering.

    Can you flesh out what you mean by "a linear verbal way?" Not sure what that means.
    (What
    is a nonlinear verbal way?)

    I mostly read the NY Times for the bagel and cream cheese.

    I may have misspoken. I didn't mean to make too distinct the "taking" and the "making."
    There's a lot of overlap. More and more, even if I am going to do a whole lot of post-
    processing, I am putting more "making" into the "taking" and getting better photographs.
    That's what I meant to ask Micki. It was actually some of your suggestions weeks ago that
    led me in the direction of just how important the "taking" stage is if you make it part of
    the "making." None of which precludes, of course, that some people will simply and often
    quite unremarkably and uninterestingly "take" a photo.
     
  11. jtk

    jtk

    As to "taking" Vs "making," the two concepts are properly labeled, self-explanitory, profoundly different.

    For example, if one thinks in ethical terms, taking something has a different implication than making something: stumbling across something that's occurring indepently of one Vs being responsible.

    If one thinks in a hiker's terms, a reponsible hiker covers ground, observes, "takes" nothing but health benefits and memories, either "takes" or "makes" photographs, leaves little more than well-buried excrement.

    However, if one thinks about photography from the perspective of an un-engaged person, one "takes" pictures, one "captures" rather than "taking" responsibility, being the author of the image.
     
  12. jtk

    jtk

    "Linear narrative" is like linear logic. It's OK as far as it goes, but it's not as evocative of events as it would be if it transcended primitive X+Y=Z logic, which is within the capability of crows.

    Linear narratives become more communicative, more evocative of understanding, when they start becoming poetic or are accompanied by visuals or music... By contrast, pure X+Y=Z is frequently a tool of oppressors : its utility is that, "sticking" to basic pre-selected factors or terms, shades of grey and crucial tangential truths can be ignored. Example: Middle Easterners + 9/11= war with Shia, therefore sabre rattling (or more) with Iran.
     
  13. Regardless, I know this is hard for you to believe, but great logical arguments whether from
    Kant, Plato, or Russell evoke a whole lot for me. I doubt I can convey to you how moved I am
    by a good philosophical argument. But, then again, I shouldn't have to.
     
  14. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I'm not sure your definition of "philosophical argument" is today widely accepted in non-Jesuitical circles, but I'm glad for you. And of course, you don't "have" to convey anything.

    On the other hand, this forum's Philosophy is supposed to center on Photography, a medium of communication.

    It seems a solopsistic side trip (OT) when one distances oneself from photography by evoking thinkers who were not in any way involved in "the arts," much less photography.
     
  15. It is precisely because it is important to a discussion of what art can and cannot
    accomplish that a discussion of various types of narrative should take place.

    The questions I would answer affirmatively are: Can photography and other arts
    accomplish a linear narrative comparable in many ways to those of great thinkers
    (nonartists) and/or logicians? And the reverse, can the linear narrative accomplish
    instilling the kinds of feelings and emotions, the gut reactions and visceral responses, that
    art does?

    Art and photography as well as linear narratives use languages. There are both similarities
    and differences in the way they operate and have an affect. Only perspective, personality,
    some bias and predisposition will decide whether the glass is half full or half empty. No
    doubt, there's a difference between Milton and Kant, Joyce and Descartes. But how they
    use their tools to evoke what they evoke seems a more studied, learned, considered, and
    practiced matter than many are ready to accept. And that they can both reach deep down
    is also too often missed.

    "Philosophical argument" takes many shapes and seems accepted in a wide array of circles.
    Jesuitical has little to do with it.
     
  16. And that they can both reach deep down is also too often missed.
     
  17. Do your own photographs fall more into one camp than another.

    I tend to look for emotion. Emotion can be expressed in many forms and ways. I'm not sure what camp that falls in.

    As a viewer, do you prefer one type of photo over another?

    As above. However,i enjoy all.
     
  18. jtk

    jtk

    "The questions I would answer affirmatively are: Can photography and other arts accomplish a linear narrative comparable in many ways to those of great thinkers (nonartists) and/or logicians? And the reverse, can the linear narrative accomplish instilling the kinds of feelings and emotions, the gut reactions and visceral responses, that art does?"

    Good. You hold that linear narrative can speak in some way to photography. It's important always to make that connection to Photo here, as this is after all a Photo forum.

    I've attached musical links without explaining how the relate, just as inconsiderately as if I had mentioned Plato or Aristotle without explaining specifically how they relate.

    I hope you, Fred, will prove here that they do have some relevance directly to Photography. I'd think it easy for you, as you've asserted repeatedly that there is some relevance.
     
  19. Can photography and other arts accomplish a linear narrative comparable in many ways to those of great thinkers (nonartists) and/or logicians?

    Let's drop the linear sht.The answer is ,yes. Religion created the concept of zero, the root of mathematics. One could not consider,and i maybe wrong, religion is not based on logic....more a question of faith.

    And the reverse, can the linear narrative accomplish instilling the kinds of feelings and emotions, the gut reactions and visceral responses, that art does?"

    Of course,in most ways steps in science are based on imagination,and new ideas. Just the same as Art.

    Nothing is pure BW, just different shades of grey.
     
  20. John--

    Listen to The Grateful Dead's cover of Morning Dew on their Europe '72 album. Jerry's lead
    guitar thread is as progressive and convincing as any logical argument I've ever heard.
    Most
    anything of Beethoven's builds to its crescendos step by step, in a completely methodic
    and
    rather argumentative manner. Avedon's storytelling, aside from the visceral aspects, is a
    well
    considered use of the tools of his means of communication. His use of piercing eyes, of
    erect
    stanses, of stark backgrounds are as intentional and symbolic as X + Y = Z.

    Philosophers are not just talking and arguing for the sake of doing it. They are doing so,
    often
    much in accordance with the art and history of their times. They are not acting in
    vacuums. They know that the exhiliration of reaching a well argued and valid conclusion,
    each important step blooming along the way, is the result of using thought and language
    in as transcendent a manner as using visible symbols and chemistry and paper is to the
    photographer.

    You, John, have written in these forums disparagingly about the deification of art. I will
    accuse you of doing the same. You are deifying it as if it is something magical, special
    beyond this world. Of course it is special, but only if its tools are used well, if its symbols
    are understood and furthered, if it is well studied and well executed. In many ways, it is as
    down to earth and as grammatical as the sentences we are writing.

    The journey of Kant's Critique is every bit as emotional, as provocative, as productive, as
    sensual, as thoughtful, as progressive, as the journey I take when I look at Leibowitz's
    portrait of Willliam Burroughs. With Kant, it's through words, descriptions, definitions
    evolving into greater definitions, the invocation of history, the homages to previous
    philosophers, ties that bind from his era to previous eras, words whose nuance of meaning
    changes with each sentence he composes, all this evolving into theories and conclusions
    (wrong or right though they be). With Leibowitz, it's shading, it's the way the light
    gracefully moves from forehead down to mouth, the burning of lines in the face, the
    history told so convincingly with the light in Burroughs's eyes.

    Gotta run.
     
  21. jtk

    jtk

    Allen, I don't comprehend your meaning. Please write again.

    Religion is certainly not "a question of faith" when it's founded on accident of birth and obedience to rites, as with the largest religion on the planet. As it happens the scholar that invented the zero subscribed to that religion. The religion didn't do it, the mathematician did it.

    Science is not "based on imagination," it's "based on" disciplined methodology that tests hypotheses. Think: proper Photo exposure and processing technique. Scientific (and Photo) hypotheses may be imaginative, but they are more commonly mere tentative ideas, rarely "creative." When a hypothesis has been tested over and over, in all sorts of different ways by many careful investigators, the hypothesis becomes a validated theory...as in evolutionary theory or new ways to process film (eg. Ilford's recommendation for film washing with minimal water).

    In science and Photo there are very few "facts," there are mostly partially tested hypotheses, theories, and methodologies. Perhaps that
    echos your "shades of grey" idea.

    Linear in "art," as with everything else, contrasts with non-linear. Jazz classically starts linear (a recognized "tune") then becomes non-linear (improv) then returns to linear. The genius in jazz manifestes in the middle, non-linear section. It's no surprise that people with African ancestry, as opposed to Northern European, excel in the middle.

    The same concept applies to photography. Anyone can set up a view camera with proper optics and movements and exposure in the appropriate season (lighting, clouds) and render a building correctly Skidmore Owins and Merrill, the architects, maintain an accurate calendar of lighting (Sun position) on each of their buildings for photographic purposes, as well as for today's municipal codes wtr setbacks from street etc. It takes a human variable, something SOM can't chart in a linear way, for their photographer to make an architectural image of the same building that sings.
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    Fred: "You, John, have written in these forums disparagingly about the deification of art. I will accuse you of doing the same. You are deifying it as if it is something magical, special beyond this world. "

    I've evidently not made myself clear.

    I actually DO deify art. If you think I believe it's a god, that resonates, I won't object. It is is in fact magical, "special beyond this world," not explainable. Neither you nor I can explain Picasso, for example. "Art" does not consist of pretty pictures and it is not "whatever the artist says it is." It is "fey." Look that up.

    I prefer not to even use the term, just as some ultra-conservative Jews prefer to say g-d.
     
  23. John--

    I'm running out the door, but I'd love to discuss this deification more with you.

    I'd also like you to respond to the rest of my post (Garcia, Leibowitz, Kant, etc.)
     
  24. The religion didn't do it, the mathematician did it.

    The religion did it,without the religion there would not have been the mathematician. Simple thought.


    Religion is certainly not "a question of faith" when it's founded on accident of birth and obedience to rites.

    So,you are saying they are automated robots. Many who are involved in religion do not come from an accident of birth. Again, a question of faith.

    Science is not "based on imagination," it's "based on" disciplined methodology that tests hypotheses

    Simplistic thoughts. Leaps in imagination, mark mankind as different from other species on the planet,not just simple logical choice,or another step on the building block. Can you beat a computer at chess?

    Think....
     
  25. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I know Leibowitz's earliest photo origin and career and can't get past knowing that she's paid prepaid dues. Most Jimi Hendrix photographers have made fine images. I like some of her work, the recent stuff especially, but I mostly envy the career that was dropped in her lap. That's not to my credit, of course.

    Garcia didn't make the Dead, the cosmic hitch was Phil Lesh.

    I Kant speak to Kant. I don't have the patience for verbal houses of cards, though I do enjoy verbal jousting.
     
  26. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I suggest you look into Shia, Sunni, the one distinctly faith-related version of Islam (Sufi), the various versions of Judaism, and Catholicism... and into the scientific method, which defines science.

    No, I did not say anyone was an "automated robot." Why did you invent that?

    The mathematician/s was/were, like Galileo developing the telescope, serving remarkably mercantile cultures. Neither were created by a religion, nobody is, in any theology.
     
  27. John-- The "automated robot" statement and mathematician had nothing to do with me.

    You're avoiding my subject for some reason. I didn't ask for your opinion of Annie or who you
    thought made the Dead. You asked me to make the connection between philosophy/logic
    and photography/art and I did. Why not discuss the substance of that instead of going off on
    a tangent about Phil Lesh?
     
  28. Science is not "based on imagination," it's "based on" disciplined methodology that tests hypotheses

    Leondo da Vinc

    iThe mathematician/s was/were, like Galileo developing the telescope, serving remarkably mercantile cultures. Neither were created by a religion, nobody is, in any theology.

    "It is through the works of Vedic religion that we gain the first literary evidence of Indian culture and hence mathematics. Written in Vedic Sanskrit the Vedic works, Vedas and Vedangas (and later Sulbasutras) are primarily religious in content"
     
  29. jtk

    jtk

    Fred,

    Sorry, I mistakenly addressed the "automated robot" line to you. I couldn't correct that.

    You have said absolutely nothing about Leibowitz or Kant to which I could respond usefully and you have not tried to connect either of them to the topic at hand.

    I knew Leibowitz indirectly (she was close to people to whom I was close), back when she was just another young woman with a Nikkormat. She's made good use of Rolling Stone. I think she's comparable to Mapplethorpe: lots of history and connections behind her, big supporting team, creative (or flashy), continuing to enjoy a 40 year career with her first employer. What more do you want me to say? She's no better than many that post here.

    Garcia was reasonably good for a rock guitarist, had a distinctive sound (I played one of his SGs while it was being rewired), he wasn't a good bluegrass guitarist. He was nowhere near Joe Pass, Clarence White, Bireli Lagrene, Stevie Ray Vaughn or dozens of other guitarists. His play was led by Phil Lesh. I could try to make Jerry relate somehow to photography or "creativity" but you didn't bother, so what am I supposed to say? I've always loved the Dead, but they went downhill after their first Morning Dew and they never got better than Quicksilver (to be an antiquarian about this).

    Kant isn't in my realm and you don't seem to consider him relevant to photography, as you've not tried to make the connection. Gurdjieff doesn't appear to be in your realm, yet he influenced a lot of photographers directly, particularly those connected with the creative program at Rochester Institute of Technology.

    We could make long lists of people one or the other of us don't know, but unless we explain just a little, it looks like strutting. I mistakenly did that a while back with James Joyce.
     
  30. jtk

    jtk

    Allen, your posts have been incoherent recently. Type more carefully, try to use sentences. I gather you think Vedic religion, whatever you mean by that, has something to do with Zero. So what?
     
  31. John--

    We are on very different wavelengths here. I don't know what more to say to make the
    connection I made above obvious. I was very clear and precise in making the connections
    and similarities between the way photography works and the way logic works, between the
    way music operates and the way logic operates. I thought that was where the discussion
    had led us. I was no longer making a point about the original topic, creation vs.
    presentation. We had moved on to linear narrative and possible connections to
    photography.

    You have moved it into telling me what you know about Annie Leibowitz's life and career,
    your opinions of her work, what you think of Jerry Garcia in relationship to other guitarists
    you want me to know you know, all of which seems to have little relevance to whether
    linear narrative applies to photography and art. This may be the place where thinking and
    name-dropping have to part ways.

    A direction to move in here would be, for instance, to respond to the notion I put forth
    that Beethoven's crescendos are reached as the culmination of musical arguments. There's
    my connection of linear narrative to art. It involves structure, the verbal or cognitive
    structure of logical argument, the harmonic structure of musical argument. Or that Annie
    Leibowitz (like her or not, I could care less) uses gradation of light on a face or a burn tool
    along a wrinkle every bit as much symbolically as X + Y = Z. My claim is that we don't
    respond to magic in photography, we respond for the most part to a symbolic visual
    language very much comparable to the symbols of Math or Logic.
     
  32. In the best of my own work I am just the equipment operator. The photograph was there for anyone to shoot, I just happened to be the one who did. The world is full of countless photographs for anyone to shoot.

    I really don't start with a philosophy and then shoot. I just shoot.

    But as to what photographs I like, it's a lot like music. I like photographs from all types of genres and styles, just as I like music from all genres and styles. But that doesn't mean I like all photographs or all pieces of music.
     
  33. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, thank you for clarifying. We are on different wave lengths, but I think that's mostly a matter of where we each feel strongest.

    I know it's possible for the twain to meet, but I did after all grow into manhood in San Francisco and Berkeley in the 60s/70s and what we learned then has all but vanished from the communal intellectual hard drive.

    We've polarized more for simplicity's sake, we needed to being dumber, and we've been forced into fantasy versions of 1950s-style corners by various oppressive forces. A Renaissance has passed, and we're in an Inquisition.
     
  34. jtk

    jtk

    CJ, following your line of thinking, do you believe musical performances and compositions are "out there for anyone" to do ("shoot") as well?
     
  35. No. It takes a lot more skill to play a musical instrument than to operate a camera.

    I never equated shooting a photograph with giving a musical performance or writing a musical composition. I compared experiencing the two, not creating the two.
     
  36. John-- It's not "a matter of where we each feel strongest." It's that you refuse to engage in an
    actual dialogue.
     
  37. CJ: "It takes a lot more skill to play a musical instrument than to operate a camera."

    I was hoping to see what that line of thinking leads to in terms of your own photography. Too
    bad you have nothing posted and no web site. It would be interesting to see the results
    gotten by a photographer who thinks that way about his/her craft.
     
  38. Allen--

    Thanks for your responses. I appreciate that you put emotion into your photographs.
    Seems like an important consideration and element.

    I guess what I was getting at with the two camps, understanding there will naturally be
    overlap, was to ask if you are more interested in conveying something you believe you've
    found or creating something you believe is new. As I look at a lot of the photos on PN, it
    seems like the majority are trying to "capture" something, a moment, a curious sign, a
    beautiful woman, a serene sunset. Fewer photographers here seem to be trying to create
    something, whether it be a new way of seeing, a unique style of their own, a photo that is
    actually an artistic statement. Trying to describe "creation" is a bit hard. I was hoping that
    the distinction between presentation (or representation if you prefer) and creation would
    just be understood and assumed. I admit it may need more clarification to be
    comprehensible.
     
  39. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I've not "refused."

    My turn to point finger: I have no idea what the hell you're trying to say at this point. This has to do with your writing. That you see a logic in Leibowitz's work doesn't make that logic linear.

    Of greater concern, in a recent attack you revealed that you'd never bothered to read what I've said about "art." I'm disappointed with the interpersonal dimension.

    We are both dumb as posts about dimensions we won't live long enough to explore. You're a better photographer than writer. I'd give you an A for one and a C for the other.
     
  40. As it happens the scholar that invented the zero subscribed to that religion. The religion didn't do it, the mathematician did it. Science is not "based on imagination," it's "based on" disciplined methodology that tests hypotheses.


    Imagination creates the desire to understand,John. Without the imagination there would be no desire. I can't help thinking John you have a "bread and butter understanding of life".Too much reading of others thoughts,without recourse to your own.

    methodology that tests hypotheses.

    Yes,John,thanks for stating an obvious fact,but again try looking further than the bricks of the building.

    Allen, your posts have been incoherent recently. Type more carefully, try to use sentences.

    Fred. My turn to point finger: I have no idea what the hell you're trying to say at this point. This has to do with your writing.

    Ha ,have these statements got something to do with being an elitist,or purist;)Chill out John you seem to be getting very agitated with folk who do not share your points of view.
     
  41. Fewer photographers here seem to be trying to create something, whether it be a new way of seeing, a unique style of their own, a photo that is actually an artistic statement.

    I think there are some out there some,Fred. I think it's a case of searching through portfolios.Have a look in at the street forum, there's some interesting work taking place.
     
  42. Fred, you can see a few of my photos here.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11201989@N02/
     
  43. Allen, yes, there are some out there. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I scout them out
    devotedly. I think the majority of photographers tend to present more than create. The street
    forum, as you say, has much to offer. So does your own portfolio. In yours, I actually see what
    I find to be a good combination of the two "camps." That combination feels like it comes
    through both in the combination of photos within the portfolio and within many photos
    themselves.
     
  44. CJ--

    What I'll say is that I've played the piano since I was six. I picked up a camera seriously for the
    first time about 4 years ago. I believe I will need many years of camera practice to get my
    photography where I hope to take it. I didn't expect to play the Waldstein in my first few years
    and I don't expect to be as nuanced as Westin . . . ever!

    To each, as it were, his or her own. I'm off to read a little about lighting so I can make better
    portraits.
     
  45. Fred, I'm sure you got a good photograph in less time that you got a good performance on the piano. Photography is the most egalatarian of art forms. Anyone with a camera can get a good photograph, and any camera that functions is just right for making some sort of photograph.

    There's a lot that can be learned. You can learn how to light. You can look for the light that is already there.

    The initial art that is in photography is accomplished or reached before the camera is even brought into play. It's a matter of seeing or conceivingof what you want to photograph. Everything beyond that is a matter of operating the equipment correctly.
     
  46. jtk

    jtk

    Allen, you've recently created an intentional near-lie on one thread ("automatons") and sniped at me by name on another thread, totally unrelated to any post I made there. Something about me worries you.

    Only when I asked you to be coherent, above, did you make the attempt. You can do that, when asked, as we've just seen.

    I do have a "bread and butter" approach to life. And I'm diversely educated, formally and informally(you might read my bio on P.N). You caught on. Good.

    There was no external reason for you to abuse me, immediately following your accurate B&B observation, nor for your earlier abuse, but your internal reason diagnoses itself.
     
  47. John, abuse is rather a strong word. Playful good humour is my answer.However, when i put my mind to your thoughts,i will answer in a more concise way.
    00Mswy-39041384.jpg
     
  48. Just an observation; but I've never heard anyone who was abusive admit to being abusive. "Playful good humor" is invariably ALWAYS what they call their own behavion.

    I slso notice that when those people are subjected to the very same treatment they have subjected others to, they don't find it nearly so 'playful' or humorous.

    Just an observation.
     
  49. Just an observation

    It's a shame some err very recent new members feel the need to stir with a wooden spoon. Perhaps they should look at their own err behavion.

    Just an observation my old friend;)

    John, having read your last post,it would seem i have upset you. I'm happy to apologise,if this is the case. Thanks for you compliments on my photos on a previous thread. Peace.

    Fred, i see a lot of passion in your work, with skilled use of lighting.
     
  50. Like I said (err)"

    "I slso notice that when those people are subjected to the very same treatment they have subjected others to, they don't find it nearly so 'playful' or humorous. "

    err
     
  51. Very good,CJ.You are a wonder.

    Now why don't you go and take some photos and be happy.
     
  52. Thanks, Allen. Appreciate your looking.
     
  53. -------- email from photo.net -------------

    This is to alert you that photo.net has provided this email address to another photo.net member, Allen Herbert, whose email address is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

    ----------------------

    Thanks for the heads up, photo.net. I'm sure any use to which this information is put will be both playful and humorous..
     
  54. Presentation and creation, it's all relative to me. Both notions merge itself at the time of taking a photography. The process alone is creative and then an image represents some narration of the decisive moment. The presentation can refers to marketing and media. I'm speaking in more technical, methodological terms.
     
  55. CJ Bas,there are a lot of wicked folk in the world, you can't be too careful. Best hide under your bed at night, especially if you are a college boy. Word on the street, is that your email address is being used to cast a spell of premature balding, on certain students of a well known college.

    Presentation and creation, it's all relative to me.

    There's only creation, the presention is just, presentation.
     
  56. Presentation or Creation

    Let's look at the actual question, which is penetrating.

    Going back to the zero, the basis of modern mathematics. The zero was a leap in mankind's imagination, to try to understand the concept of a supreme being, and how that concept could be understood, in an understandable way.

    So, we created we have the zero, the perfect balance. The start of all understanding.
     
  57. So, we created we have the zero, the perfect balance. The start of all understanding.

    So,we created the zero.
     
  58. Allen Herbert, if you're going to be embarrassed by having your actions made public - and obviously your are - then perhaps you should think before acting in the future.
     
  59. Allen: "the presentation is just, presentation."

    I don't think I agree. I think it's more.

    In order to present, one must recognize. Recognizing what's worth presenting may be an
    overlooked talent.

    "Presentation" would also seem to involve clarity or a lack thereof. How something is
    presented will affect how it is received.

    It also involves perspective. One doesn't present something in a vacuum, especially when
    we are talking photographically. One presents from a perspective. How and why a
    particular perspective is chosen is not an unimportant matter.
     
  60. I don't think I agree. I think it's more.

    You make some good points, Fred. However, you can't help feeling that a lot of photos are just about presentation, at the expense of content. The concerns being the presentation, rather than the vision.

    Althought good presentation/craft is important to supplement the vision,it often seen as the be and end all in itself.

    Bottom line,for me it's about the content,no matter how badly it's presented.
     
  61. The process of creation as I have read above, well, I must ask, has anyone is familiar with Escher and his graphics. In short, he was concerned with the problematics of space. He was also familiar with Zen philosophy. So, his lithographs and graphics are very much narrative. They are highly mathematical and logical with music background too. Now one author, Douglas Hofstadter, said that his art is somehow connected to Bach's music. Probably because of mathematical background.
    Escher's vision and creation is deeply profound.
     
  62. Allen--

    You, too, make good points.

    I now realize we are also talking about two different aspects of presentation.

    In my original post and in my last post, I was referring not to "presentation" as in how the
    photo is presented or in the presentation aspect as opposed to the vision, a distinction
    which you rightly drew when interpreting "presentation" in one way.

    I meant photos that try to "present" the world as opposed to photos that try to "create" a
    world.

    Photos that "create" something, true, can be "presented" in a variety of different ways and,
    as you say, that presentation can sometimes get in the way of or enhance the subject.

    But what I was getting at was the type of photo that, by design, does not try to create
    something, but just wants to present something, for instance, an "accurate" rendition of a
    nature scene. The type of photo where the photographer tries, to the extent possible, to
    leave himself out of it versus the type of photo where the photographer has obviously
    invested himself and imparted some of himself into the photo.
     
  63. does not try to create something, but just wants to present something, for instance, an "accurate" rendition of a nature scene.

    Even just presenting something it would be hard not to have any creative input. Choice of time of day you take the photo,the camera angle, the selection of lenses , filters etc. I think that more creative input,the more interesting the photo. What photographer really wants to be an office photo copier.
     
  64. Allen--

    I'm with you. But a lot of people, in these forums in particular, have expressed a desire to
    stay out of their pictures and simply present what they see. I have often come back at
    them with just the considerations (choice of time, angle, lenses) you articulate. That's why
    I put "accurate" in quotes. There is really no "accurate" rendition, only perspective.
    Nevertheless, I do understand when people make the point that they are more trying to be
    "accurate" in representing something than they are trying to create something. I think it's
    all kind of on a continuum. Nothing is 100% creative (we all draw to an extent on what's
    given to us and what has come before us) and nothing is 100% representational. But things
    do tend to lean toward one end of the spectrum or the other. My question was meant to
    elicit just the kinds of things you and I are speaking about and to figure out where people
    lean. It wasn't meant to suggest a black and white distinction.
     
  65. There is really no "accurate" rendition, only perspective

    Absolutely

    Nothing is 100% creative (we all draw to an extent on what's given to us and what has come before us) and nothing is 100% representational. But things do tend to lean toward one end of the spectrum or the other.

    Agreed

    There are no black and whites, Fred. Just shades of grey.

    I must ask, has anyone is familiar with Escher and his graphics

    I was not, Kristina. Thanks for bringing him to my attention. I think his work is very creative, combining together Art and Mathematical form....which have always been together.
     
  66. There is really no "accurate" rendition, only perspective

    Absolutely

    Nothing is 100% creative (we all draw to an extent on what's given to us and what has come before us) and nothing is 100% representational. But things do tend to lean toward one end of the spectrum or the other.

    Agreed

    There are no black and whites, Fred. Just shades of grey.

    I must ask, has anyone is familiar with Escher and his graphics

    I was not, Kristina. Thanks for bringing him to my attention. I think his work is very creative, combining together Art and Mathematical form?..which have always been together.
     
  67. Escher is an amazing artist. Thanks, Kristina, for bringing him up. I have loved him for
    many
    years.

    The book referred to is by Douglas Hofstadter and is called Godel, Escher, Bach.

    It's a difficult but rewarding read. It's main subject is loops, endlessly rising matters like
    Bach's canons and Escher's graphics. It's about the play between finite and infinite and it's
    very much about paradoxes and self-cancelling statements.

    Godel's inspiration in mathematics are some of the early Greek philosophical paradoxes,
    especially those of Epimenides. Statements like "I am lying" are the key. We tend to think
    of statements as true or false. But if the statement "I am lying" is true it immediately
    backfires on you and makes you think it is false. Once you think it is false, it backfires
    again and makes you think it is true.

    So Godel supplies the logical equivalent of what the visual works of Escher tend to do and
    the musical works of Bach tend to do. They seem to defy logic or create a new logic. One
    direction quickly becomes another and just when you think you've gotten somewhere you
    are actually back where you started.
     
  68. Thanks Fred for reminding me about the book GEB. Well, I'm reading it for the second time. And now I understand it and enjoying myself. I like the metaphorical fugues, the dialogues. I am very much happy in discovering the true meaning of Escher's graphics and the life, the spaces that surround us. I heard that many people, readers, didn't understand an author nor his book.

    The book is telling everything about the life and art. Everything that one should know. It's like bible.
     
  69. Interesting conversation Fred and Allen, I think its tough to categorize Presentation/Creation as that obviously means different things to different people based on the above comments.

    However, if I take the author's definition "I meant photos that try to "present" the world as opposed to photos that try to "create" a world.", then almost everything taken is a Presentation. Street photos, a portrait, still life, almost everything except abstracts would be a presentation of the world. Now, some presentations of the world are changed greatly by the addition of a title by the photographer, which, if it were not titled, would be a presentation of the world (Jeff Long's photos come to mind here).

    Now, I've got to say, I don't agree that is the case, I think that definition is to stringent, but based on that definition, that is how I see it.

    Personally, I see it as more overlapping than being in one camp or another. For instance, in using Fred's definition, almost all the images in Allen's, Fred's, Jeff's and my portfolio are presentations - presenting the world. When, I know for fact that they were all thoughtfully created to "present" the world as our minds created it for us at the time of capturing or making the image.

    Also, what appears as a Presentation could have been a highly thought out creation, such as a landscape or wildlife shot, whereas something that appears as a Creation (not speaking post processing manipulation) could have been a presentation that, to others, looks like a creation or that started as a presentation.

    For instance, one of my latest images "Guilty Until Proven Innocent". I stopped to take pictures to present to others what happened the day the traffic was jammed up, granted, I did it with some compositional thought in mind. However, when I looked at my presentational pictures, I realized that one composition in particular held a smaller image that creates an image and impression of something that isn't even there - a black man standing below a gallows about to be hung with the state trooper car below identifying one of the states which that act is thought to have occured in (Is that Presentation or Creation?).

    Kirk
     
  70. Kirk--

    I don't think I've conveyed to you what I mean by "create." By "presenting," I meant trying
    to "accurately" render a scene, trying to keep yourself out of it. "Creation" involves putting
    your own perspective on something in order to show it in a new and personal light. I try
    always to do that with my folder. Many others say they like to keep themselves out of it
    and simply "present" what they see. Yes, there is overlap. A portrait does NOT have to be a
    straight presentation. The photographer can add his own feelings about the subject into
    the photo if he wants. That would be a creation. By choosing a certain background and
    lighting, the photographer can either more or less effect how the portrait will feel and
    what emotional suggestions will be made. That would be creating. One can do that with
    nature and street shooting as well. Or one can simply try to document, keeping things very
    straightforward. The latter would be more of a presentation. But even, to me, some
    documentary stuff is extremely creative, done in a new way or with a different style, yet
    still being true to documenting what is seen.
     
  71. "Or one can simply try to document, keeping things very straightforward."

    I'm a 'presenter', but what I am presenting isn't a straightforward document like a forensic photograph or photojournalism, but an attempt to re-present how or why it caught my eye. What the camera records is unlikely to match the impression made on my mind's eye by what was in the viewfinder without thought and work to tease it out. I judge the photograph successful or not depending on how well it makes me recall the moment...a fresh recognition.

    A casual analogy to painting: My kind of "presenting" is impressionist (i.e., I want to capture the light of the moment, plein aire), and "creation", as you've offered it, is post-impressionist. I wouldn't stress the analogy by taking it too far, but is offered as a way to characterize the distinction.
     
  72. I like your analogy and agree. Thanks.
     
  73. "There is overlap. For most, it's not strictly either/or."

    "Photography, of course, is not limited to these two descriptions."

    I agree with these statements, and if the analogy to post-/impressionism holds, I'd say there is no major distinction to be drawn between presentation and creation. The first post-impressionists were some of the impressionists who tired of the self-imposed limitations of impressionist theory and practice -- plus, I think, impressionist painting is a futile endevor in the final analysis, but it is the metier of photography. Impressionists like Monet and Degas owned cameras, took photographs, and studied them.

    Post-/impressionists were in rebellion against the academy and the studio system in the 19th century and its highly intellectualized subjects, its mannered lighting, the smooth clear surfaces, and the sharpness and accutance of delineation (is this sounding familiar photography-wise?).

    A post-/impressionist photographer would be one for whom that laundry-list is of little importance in their photography. They are not attempting pixel-perfection, but rather expressing something else that is likely to be erased from the frame by a commitment to technical perfection.
     
  74. I'm not sure how major the distinction is, but I think there's a distinction.
    Perhaps I'm beginning to think of presentation as a subset of creation rather than being in competition with it.
    As I look around particularly at PN portfolios, I tend to notice a difference between those who want to create something at least somewhat anew (perhaps wanting to have more influence over their viewer or express something within themselves that the image does not represent but conveys, and those who want to, shall we say, create a presentation.
    In my own work, I might put THIS in the former and THIS in the latter category, to the extent they each fall on a continuum more toward one or the other end.
     
  75. Here's a 'grab shot', which is to say, the sort of photography I enjoy most. It caught my eye and I caught it. What caught my eye besides composition and the interesting light, was the woman's posture -- rather dainty for the ordinary and grubby act of filling the windshield washing fluid resevoir. It is certainly "presentation", and I did nothing to create it, except to see it, set the camera, and release the shutter. Could it be a better photograph? You bet, but the moment has passed; I'd have to recreate it with a model.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/6627772

    I think I'm saying I understand the 'Presentation' part, but not the 'Creation' part -- unless it refers to studio or location work, or other types of careful planning-out-the-photo-before-the-exposure. It can't be that, though, unless forensic photography, for example, is categorized as creation.

    So, I'm left with the thought that presentation and creation are as intertwined as spaghetti on fork.
     
  76. Don--

    I think there are ways you might have approached this photo that would have been more
    creative (not better, by any means, just different). A less straightforward perspective and
    shooting angle, catching something ironic in the background, more dramatic lighting at a
    different time of day would have evoked a different set of emotions and might have felt
    like you were putting either a personal stamp on it or attempting to get something you
    wanted out of your viewer.

    It's probably a matter of seeing things differently. I gave you two examples in my own
    work, one which I think "creates" more than the other. You may not perceive the same kind
    of difference I do. Is that the case?
     
  77. Fred, I think the first photo is dramatic -- lighting, pose, expression, focus, composition. I can create a narrative...an intrusion into privacy that is not welcome. Others come to mind. The second, the colors would have caught my eye (including the man who is himself 'colorful' (from his expression). I'll assume it is his house. My eye wants to see the things around him and in the next room. My eye roams through the photo wanting a to see more clearly those things that reflect the subject and his life. Eggleston said in a recent interview that he was not so much interested in people, but in what people do (question about portraits). I'm more like that than not.

    So, the first is the better photo, but after a bit there is not much reason for me to go back to it except to admire it.

    As for my example, there was no other approach possible, it's a grab shot. I got off two exposures before the moment passed. Even though the face is in shadow, I think the stance reveals something essential about the person. I'm pleased to have been there with a camera.
     
  78. I really like both of the images linked by Fred, above, and the one linked by Don E. It's sort of irritating to have to try to categorize them - I just like them. They, do, however, help in clarifying what is being said reference this thread.

    I have a quote from another photographer that I think may be relevant to Don E's point of view:
    "I take emotional response as a given in the creative process and I just try to make the best picture I can. When I work, I'm not looking for anything. I am just looking. The world has more to teach me than I have to teach the world, so I try to let whatever it is I am photographing work on me." [Michael A. Smith]

    Maybe the difference between presentation and creation is 'me working on the world' vs 'the world working on me'?

    -Julie
     
  79. Julie--

    I think you are right that winding up categorizing photos can be irritating. When I asked
    the original question, I had in mind more the approach different photographers took to
    their images as opposed to where particular photographs might fall on what's obviously a
    sort of continuum.

    I think the Smith quote is valuable in getting us back to the photographer's mindset
    instead of any particular photograph's accomplishments. Thank you. As is usually the case
    with pithy quotes, it's poignant on the one hand and limited on the other. "The world has
    more to teach me . . ." has a nice ring to it but, in my mind, still only covers half the story.

    I think the creative process is as much active as passive. If Picasso and those who
    influenced him hadn't imposed their vision on the world, taught the world so to speak, we
    wouldn't have had a Cubist period. Cubism, Dadaism, Expressionism, etc. didn't simply
    occur by artists looking at the world. Knowledge of art history was involved as was a
    desire to express in a new and vital way with a new and fresh vocabulary. Something very
    individual and human is found in what people/artists are willing to bring to and give to the
    universe.
     
  80. Fred,

    I agree with you competely. I neglected to put in my post that I don't agree with the quote that I posted; rather I was trying to get a handle on Don E's point of view (which is not my own). I'm confusing myself as I write this...


    One difference that I noticed in the images posted is that in yours, you have eye contact and response from the people in your pictures where Don's does not. This may be coincidental and even trivial but I think it's a small part of the difference in the approach that the two of you have to subjects.

    -Julie
     
  81. "Maybe the difference between presentation and creation is 'me working on the world' vs 'the world working on me'?"

    I think the comparison is useful as a starting point for discussion; eventually the two converge. But significant differences concern the kind of photography a person chooses as their metier. It seems obvious that a landscape and a street photographer, for example, do not take the same approach to their photography. They have different criteria.
    So do commercial photographers and amateurs, studio/location photographers and "plein air" photographers. Yet we all get together and attempt to hammer out an overarching philosophy of photography despite our 'from venus, from mars' differences.


    "Maybe the difference between presentation and creation is 'me working on the world' vs 'the world working on me'?" Julie

    My photography depends on luck or fate, of being 'there' and not anywhere else at some 'time', and to have the vision to see the photograph in potentia and the energy to make the exposure.

    Imagine two photographers driving in their cars along a country road. The first photographer notes a location, stops and paces off the road viewing the scene. The photographer returns later with a lf camera, tripod, spotmeter, a chair and a thermos of coffee, to wait for the good light. The second photographer stops at the spot, grabs the 'car p&s' dashes up a hill, plops down on his belly, and fires away.

    The first photographer probably (in fact *should*) have a better photograph, but from photographer two's perspective, it is of a entirely different subject, not what caught the eye in the first place. Panta rhei...all things flow [change].

    Julie: actually I prefer eye-contact (or at least visible) however, it was not possible for that photo (and not necessary).
     
  82. Don,

    I think I'm finally getting what you mean. I definitely had it wrong before your last post.

    You want pictures to be of the flow of your life with no disruption. As soon as one is actively "taking pictures" or looking for pictures, that flow is not what it was. You want the flower in nature, not in the garden (speaking metaphorically).

    What comes to mind is what they have found to be true in physics experiments -- that the act of observation changes the outcome (it's a wave or a particle depending on what you look for).

    I think you are conceding this, but nevertheless wish to at least minimize the effect of the observer. Am I getting closer?

    Would this be presentation or creation - surely more the former, but even that seems too strong. More like a peep-hole into your life (the bright or notable moments of your life).

    -Julie
     
  83. Don--

    I see what you mean and think the story of the two photographers says a lot. I do
    consider, though, that spontaneity is an important consideration even in the most "set-up"
    photos. I may set up a portrait, conscious of clothing, background, lighting, etc. yet still
    hope for a moment of expressive spontaneity to come along within that setup.

    I don't agree that the first photographer in your example *should* or *would* get the
    better photograph. It is not the specific type of approach that will determine that. It is the
    photographer's comfort with his or her chosen approach, whichever approach, and the
    photographer's intuitiveness with handling a camera and approaching the world with it
    that will determine the success or competence or quality of the resultant image. I have
    seen some very *dead* photos where the photographer has obviously set up his tripod
    "correctly" and waited for the sun to be in the right position. And I've seen some extremely
    *alive* photos taken in the spur of the moment.
     
  84. I'd like to add that I think a lot of creativity can take place after the shot is taken. It doesn't
    have to be in the forethought.
     
  85. Julie, yes, that is accurate. Thanks.

    Fred, the "better" photograph in terms of the usual standards. Pixel perfection can often squeeze the life out of a photo.

    Fred: "I think a lot of creativity can take place after the shot is taken. It doesn't have to be in the forethought."

    I'll agree with that. It is often the most difficult part of making a photograph. I'm not a proponent of "straight" photography -- there's is too much that gets in the way of 'capturing reality' such as the lens, the emulsion, the sensor, the way the camera "sees", and the, no doubt evolutionary useful, capacity of the human eye to normalize its vision.

    There's also the post-impressionist aesthetic in which the capture is the starting point for expressing significance.
     
  86. Are you familiar with the boyhood photographs of Jacques Lartigue? Would you describe those as presentation or creation?

    (not talking about his adult/commercial work)

    -Julie
     
  87. No I'm not, Julie. Is there a site or a book you'd recommend? I'm fond of the French photographers -- Doisneau, Atget, HCB...
     
  88. Don,

    Hmmm... let me see. Lartiques is probably the polar opposite of Atget. A Google search [ http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=jacques+lartigue&gbv=1 ] will get you a reasonable cross-section of his boyhood images. He's also given a page in Szarkowski's "Looking at Photographs" and gets a fair amount of coverage in Mr. Swinehart's perennial favorite "On the Art of Fixing a Shadow."

    The book that I have, "Jacques Henri Lartigue: Diary of a Century" was published in 1970 so I doubt it's still available. It's a great book not only because it shows all his stuff, but because the images are accompanied by his diary entries (which are just as interesting and entertaining as the pictures). He was six years old when he bagan making the pictures and the diary (think glass plates, and exposure by "taking the cork off the lens").

    I bring him up because when I consider his work according to Fred's "...if you are more interested in conveying something you believe you've found or creating something you believe is new." I have to say his work is not a creation. His are found, not new.

    And again, when thinking of Fred's later "whether it be a new way of seeing, a unique style of their own, a photo that is actually an artistic statement" I'd say a clear no to Lartique as creator.

    But then (again from Fred) "The type of photo where the photographer tries, to the extent possible, to leave himself out of it versus the type of photo where the photographer has obviously invested himself and imparted some of himself into the photo." --- here I think the distinction gets blurred. Lartique often 'encouraged' the events that he presents as spontaneous. I don't think he invented them (I think they show things that he had seen done before, spontaneously).

    Look at this picture; he put his camera on a piece of wood and floated it so he could take his own picture in the bathtub. Yet, he places himself off-center, includes the reflection and other compositional components (I would say by accident, but too many of his 'accidental' pictures show this kind of control). Is this a (re)presentation or a creation?

    -Julie
     
  89. This quote on Lartique, I think adds another perspective to why/how he's interesting and confusing reference this topic (the ellipses are in the quote, not added by me): "... imply things that happened before and after the photographs were taken. They remind us of what we were never there to know ... The uncles fighting - probably my favorite photograph in the entire book. There are two uncles. They're sitting on a pole that's extended over the pool ... and they're having a pillow fight. In the distance is a woman. We don't know who she is. And somehow... from the angle of the photograph... it seems to have beeen taken by a little boy who's been told to taike his nap ... and he's looked out of the window because he's heard laughter ... that grownup laughter. If there can be a sort of physical quality of memory ... a physicalization of memory. It's like a photograph in a dream.... And what did that fight mean? Was it really all in fun? And which uncle did the woman love?" [Richard Avedon 1970] The attached is a really, really terrible scan from a two page spread of the image described. Inset is Lartiques with his camera. -Julie
    00NZB7-40233884.jpg
     
  90. The book is available used, and the 1978 paperback used is reasonably priced. A little stocking-stuffer for me, I think.

    I can't comment on whether it is creation or presentation, as the two concepts intertwine and become one imo. Lartigue's early work would be impressionism in my analogy.
     
  91. Great! I hope you like the book. Thanks for considering his work.

    -Julie
     

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