The vacuum?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by samstevens, Sep 8, 2021.

  1. "neither I nor any of the critics I reference think or say photos require words" Sam

    We agree,

    Yet, those sneaky word come in to support those...well, they need the words. Sort of like a tin of soup;))

    Jeez, Sam, Chill. Mostly I agree with you.

    Anyway, a photo for you.

    Of looking..

  2. Okay,

    Be happy with love in folk.

    Sort of like a politician, who like to hear, what they only like to hear.
  3. The sneaky words don’t “come in.” You bring them in. You intentionally use the word need to mischaracterize what others are doing when they use words to describe photos. Because you can’t accept the words for what they are and likely have not read the words or understood the words, you have to distort what’s happening to live comfortably in the false world you’ve created for yourself.
    you sound like a hack tv evangelist. Next thing you’ll be asking for love donations. Get a grip.
  4. "you sound like a hack tv evangelist. Next thing you’ll be asking for love donations" Sam

    Okay, like the idea of love donations. Starving children, comes to to mind, in the so called third world. If someone sent a dollar reading this post..

    Chill, out Sam. Send a few coins as a love donation.

    Anyway, obviously, not my intention, I'm upsetting, I'm off to read a book. God bless.

  5. I like his tricycle photo
  6. training wheels
  7. Lol. And then remembered....
    That was the photo that first piqued my interest in Eggleston. Still love it and paid deference to it with my version.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  8. "you have to distort what’s happening to live comfortably in the false world you’ve created for yourself" Sam

    Err what is happening? Okay, it is happening in fantasy fairyland for you.

    Anyway, Inoneeye agrees with anything you say. He is not sure what he agrees with, but, does it matter? He's enjoying the training wheels you gave him, bucket loads.

    Eggleston’s, sort of think the endless prose written about; he must be really, something special. Me, I like looking at the photos, not the endless words. And for me, I feel little communication with his photos.

    The wordsmithing is far more interesting..
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  9. "I had taken you off but I’m putting you back on ignore. Too toxic and it’s not fair to all who read these insipid exchanges. My own failing. I can’t take it. Don’t expect any more responses" Sam.

    Sam likes to be the Bella Donna of Ball.

    Its all about admiring his wonderful prose, and the way, he dances around the ball room, with so much elegance.

    Admires are welcome only. Others with different thoughts, are insipid folk, who are not deserve to receive the superior intellectually of the Sam.

    Sad., he really needs to grow up.
  10. You cannot help but think, that intellectual superior folk ,cannot possible respond to the thoughts of intellectual inferior folk.

    Cannot help but think, these folk live in a intellectual vacuum, of their own making. Of a superiority ,of their needs, and a fairy tale.

    Then we ask why the world is so full of conflict. .
  11. Interesting thread! First off: I don't believe 'sniping' at other members is at all helpful either in this thread or at PN generally.

    To get back on topic, my 2 cts is that not everyone that paints pictures, makes sculptures, composes music, makes movies, or takes photos is considered an 'artist'. So what are the criteria for being considered an 'artist'? I have no idea but IHMO there are at least a couple:
    - an innovative vision of (and/or approach to) expression in a certain medium (at the time)
    - achieving a high degree of excellence (and a 'body of work')

    IMHO for any 'artwork (even current) there is always a historical context that at least reflects:
    - some knowledge of what previous artists have done
    - an awareness of what other contemporary artists are doing
    - (often) an awareness of what's going on in society
    - a sense of where established 'boundaries' be pushed

    So I believe that some understanding of the historical (social, cultural, and artistic) context is an aid to fully appreciating past works presented (or recognized) as 'art'. I might not rate a painting or photo (standing by itself) very highly now, but the historical context may give me more information about the artistic contribution of an artist in his/her own time. Some currently 'highly rated' artists from the various art movements (Impressionists, Fauvists, etc.) only became so long after their works were exhibited.

    IHHO, elevating some 'past' artists is 'safe' for many art institutions and publishers. Well-known names (of past artists) draw crowds. New (art) photographers have to work their way up to widespread recognition through photo exhibitions/festivals.

    FWIW, photographers usually need to add comments at exhibitions/festivals explaining what their exhibition series is about. The days are gone in which 'each photo speaks for itself'. Without some kind of purpose or theme for the series, the individual photos mean little.
  12. Your post is generally right on target. You nail several important ideas about photos, context, descriptions, etc.

    Perhaps "The days are gone" is a little too strong. While I do think, more and more, galleries and museums are showing and often expecting "concept" work, where some explanation is helpful to the viewing, I still do see photo shows where many of the photos do and are intended to speak for themselves. It's usually pretty easy to tell what's what. Sometimes, a photo that's part of a bigger series still speaks loudly for itself, and sometimes photos meant to speak for themselves don't speak at all.

    There are all different kinds of explanations accompanying exhibits these days. Some are pedantic and awful, saying very little with a whole lot of trendy words and phrases being tossed out there for effect. Many, however, are helpful in supplying photographers' motivations, back stories, and sometimes important documentary information about a particular project. Some explanations inspire questions, new ways of looking, and can be ambiguous but suggestive, acting more as an accompaniment to the photos than an explanation of them.

    I tend to prefer explanations that don't tell me how to interpret photos or how to feel when I view them, and there are some curators and photographers who can't resist doing so. But I'm open to all of it and don't go out of my way to be bothered by stuff that doesn't work for me. I'm free enough in my thinking to ignore stuff I don't get much out of, whether that's explanations, descriptions, or the photos themselves.
  13. I'm not an artist and I can't share contemporary art photo's on PN because (obviously) they're not CC-licensed. Below are just two modern artworks that IHMO only have a depth of meaning in their historical (cultural) context.

    As a volunteer for my local photo festival (BredaPhoto), I'm most familiar with some of the documentary and/or art photographers who have exhibited there. Via the link between brackets you can see a thumbnail photo for each of the 2020 photographers. As stand-alone photo's with no supporting information, they don't mean very much. A good example is the series '“Three Colours I Know in This World" by KINCSŐ BEDE. Again some understanding of the historical context gives more meaning to this photo series.

    It occurs to me that for many 'famous' photos and photographers, their historical (cultural) context and artistic innovation/development is to some extent known amongst those interested in the development of photography. For example, I know that both Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans received recognition for their work documenting the effects of the Great Depression. And that William Eggelston is credited with 'legitimizing' color photos as an 'artistic' medium and focusing on 'ordinary, everyday life' as subject matter for his photos. Taken as 'stand-alone' photos, I find many of Eggelston's photos boring and unworthy of the 'art' tag. It's only his historical backstory that makes me at all interested in viewing his photos.


    "Fountain" (1917) Marcel Duchamp (replica), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
    sourced from Wikimedia commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author:Kim Trayner

    Guernica (1937) Pablo Picasso
    sources from Wikimedia, attribution: ceridwen / Guernica at the Whitechapel / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Allen Herbert likes this.
  14. One of the ways I think Eggleston was provoking was in questioning the very idea of what’s worthy of being labeled art. He wasn’t the only one. And, while this may be one of the big ideas in his body of work, much may be gained from an appreciation of what each photo has to offer. I recently read an excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh, extolling the virtues of such things as washing dishes, mundane, repetitive tasks one can perform consciously and meditatively. He doesn’t want you to just think about that. He’s inviting you to do it. Eggleston, I think, with each photo, is offering us to look with open and fresh eyes inside the frame as well as to the world around us. We may not have been able to deduce that from just looking at a single photo of his, but once we see enough, whether by seeing it ourselves or reading about it, we have a golden opportunity to appreciate each photo for its own richness, peculiarity, and sense of companionship, and to see the subject anew. He made the subjects and the photos worthy of the tag of art, or at least recognized that they were so, something it seems in the nature of artists to keep doing.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2021
    mikemorrell likes this.
  15. Hi Sam,

    Good point! I wouldn't say that I'm committed, practicing Buddhist but I do subscribe to and support much of Buddhist teachings and I do practice and incorporate these into my daily life. I have many of Thich Nhat Hanh's books and I've watched many of his talks at 'Plum village'.
    Leaving aside the most important Buddhist teachings, I think the three most important 'take-aways' for photographers who are not otherwise interested in Buddhism are:
    - learn to stay in the 'present moment' (i.e. be aware of yourself and others without drifting off into the past or future; there is only the ''now')
    - learn to look deeply through 'labels' (this is not a (generic) fish but this specific fish that has specific characteristics, a history, cultural context, etc
    - all human beings fundamentally share the same hopes, aspirations, challenges, tragedies, and disappointments, though some are more privileged than others. There is fundamentally no difference between people. So not between photographers and their 'subjects'.

    So I can appreciate that Eggleston was provoking in questioning the very idea of what’s worthy of being labeled art. As - in his own way - was Warhol.


  16. I wouldn't want to over-emphasize Eggleston's intentions with regard to art or what's worthy of being called art. I think it's fair to do that with Warhol, because he more overtly dealt with consumerism and with art as commodity. Warhol was also much more overtly self promotional and very much created his own persona. (Duchamp also comes to mind with expansions of what can count as art.) I think Eggleston was personally involved, less culturally so than Warhol, with what he saw and photographed.

    “Not intending to make any particular comment about whether it was good or bad or whether I liked it or not. It was just there, and I was interested in it.”
    —William Eggleston
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2021
  17. Mike, I was reading your 3 take aways and it occurred to me that it is a good list of what drew me to Eggleston's imagery originally.
    - learn to stay in the 'present moment' - I have always felt Eggleston imagery is in the moment.
    - learn to look deeply through 'labels' - boring, mundane, banal were labels that most of us had built in stigma to, in the subjects that he most often framed. He sees beyond those labels and takes me with it. With Eggleston the banal has a depth that makes me look further into it.
    - all human beings fundamentally share the same hopes, aspirations, challenges, tragedies, and disappointments, though some are more privileged than others. There is fundamentally no difference between people. So not between photographers and their 'subjects'. - By the way he took his photographs the 'banal subject' , his style transcends, allowing us to empathize and find comfort in the common human experience. His photos were of the everyday, the place where we spent the vast majority of our lives.

  18. If you ever heard Szarkowski speak in person you would think this was a voice from heaven, eg, one of the photography gods. Sort of like Moses with the Ten Commandments.
  19. When did you get to hear him Arthur? What made him 'That' impressive to be compared to Moses.

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