What and How Have You Learned to See?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Norma Desmond, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. What I've learned to see (not exhaustive, of course):
    1. Highlights can be as nuanced as shadows. At first, I almost instinctively felt the depth of shadows and how inviting and penetrating they could be. I had a more one-dimensional approach to highlights. The subtleties of highlights took some time for me to be able to see and then realize.

      ALEX is one of the first photos I worked on where a sense of movement and variation to the highlights began to take shape. Though the shadowy nature of the lighting was more easily accessible, the way I began to work with highlights to lead my eye and emphasize muscles, curves, and direction was a turning point. Rather than being simply striking, highlights became more of an involvement.

    2. I've learned how to see poorly-executed technique, especially digitization that can creep in from poor post processing.

      EMIL, an early, now hidden photo, is outstanding in its crude approach to processing that I simply wasn't seeing at the time. The drop-off in lighting on Emil's neck and especially around his shoulder blades has a very digitized look, not an organic sense of shadowing. Some of the same crudeness of processing can be seen in the photo of Alex talked about above, especially above and below his mouth and on his lips.

    3. I've learned how to move from hunting and capturing poseurs to intentionally utilizing staging and pose to advance a more personal and intimate vision.

      Without saying much about them, I leave you to see the distance and aloofness of POWELL STREET , also now hidden, and what I experience as more consciousness and engagement in GERALD.

    How I've learned to see:

    I've broken down the work of others into manageable photographic elements. I've looked at how, with depth and the suggestion of detail and texture, I could become involved in shadows, how the dynamic variations of light could lead my eye throughout the frame, when technique seemed to relate to subject matter and when it seemed to just lie on the page. I've looked intently at work I don't like to understand why. I've taken pictures in my mind, without my camera. I've put each of my photos in a variety of contexts, created new folders with different juxtapositions and themes, altering the presentation periodically.
    Trial and error has yielded more intentional focus. I've been willing to explore different ways of seeing, to rework the same photo in a variety of ways because I couldn't visualize much in advance. This has led me to a more committed overall stance and more confidence when I feel compelled toward a certain viewpoint or perspective. I can now go for it more unhesitatingly and with gusto.
    [Note: Please don't take my recognition of having learned to see as a non-recognition that I have more to learn. Thanks.]
     
  2. I've learned to see light - its intensity, direction and color on favorite subjects. A photo is as much about light as about subject. At times I've learned about myself through making a photo as much as I've learned about the subject. Why do certain subjects draw me with such excitement? It remains mystery - more intuitive than intellectual. This morning I caught a glimpse of a bright spot on our back yard fence through our window from the breakfast table. After a few moments it explained itself to my brain: a flower from our neighbor's yard had managed to find an opening in our fence and bloom there. As I photographed it in a series of stills from different angles and perspectives I realized that a last silhouette shot could be a bio photo for my page here at photo.net. Maybe I'm a bit enamored with the shot right now, but I think this photo is a good statement of how I'm learning to enjoy light.
    00X4oe-269143684.jpg
     
  3. In workshop programs I constantly see presentations listed for Seeing Light and Color, The Kinds of Light, etc. There are always discussions about light and its importance to photography. But it's shadow created by the light that I believe really makes the statement.
    Shadows give dimension. Shadows hold the unknown. Shadows demand our attention and a deeper scrutiny.
    But to respond to how have I learned to see. Simply by looking and looking and looking. I'm obsessed by it.
     
  4. I cannot say that I have learned to see, in the sense that I think that I have been realising something, but it's far from acquired.
    What I've learned to see (a first idea):
    But one thing I have started to learn - at least theoretically - is to see is beyond the obvious. My eye sees a scene and there is a main visual element. I could have the temptation to portrait this main visual element. But there also might be other elements in the photo, besides the main element, which might require more attention, and therefore emphasis in the composition.
    How I learned to see:
    Mainly listening to others. Not necessarily they have addressed the specific element, but considering what they said, thoughts came up.
    But also viewing other work.
    It's more a subliminal work than a conscious process.
     
  5. jtk

    jtk

    I'm eager to read and reflect on what's said on this thread.
    I think I'm becoming less concerned with "seeing" than trying to comprehend (not a first-order visual process): unfolded/unfolding visual clues for which I can identify or invent some sort of back story...not just beauty or graphics. Little theatre attendance (contemporary stage) and audio recording of my own narratives have played some kind of role in bringing "comprehension" to my attention. Beauty is becoming increasingly dubious. This too will, undoubtedly, pass :)
    Howard V's flower/fence/shadow ("Backyard fence") is something I can comprehend in that way...it's dramatic and he's provided a back story. It's not just a visual.
     
  6. jtk

    jtk

    ...to clarify, what attracts me to Howard's photo is its distinctly multiple levels, and not just the visual ones.
     
  7. Good subject Fred and good introduction.
    It is a complex subject matter because I, like you, continue to learn seeing things that I have never noticed before and because the sources of inspiration and learning are without limits. I see things because of my professional affiliations and engagements but surely also because of what I read of literature and especially Asian literature (read Jun'ichirō Tanizaki essays and novels for example and you will never look at old men in the same way anymore!).
    Music plays a central role in my way of seeing. You cannot listen to music of Debussy like "The Sea" without "seeing" sea side differently and especially more intensely. I don't think Meyerowitz could have shot Cape Light pictures without having listened to the music of Debussy.
    I have especially learned seeing by "studying" (I have no educational background in arts) especially 19th century art and here especially paintings. The paintings of Realism of for example Courbet (painting of 1834) opened my eyes for the wonders of the trivial views around us. German Romantic art of for example Casper David Friedrich (1774-1840) (see here the painting "Morning" or here "Monk by the sea" or here) opened my eyes for the almost divine light of nature and the central importance of under statements. I think that every major school of European art especially has developed my sensitivity for seeing things when I shoot photos. Most influence of my way and capabilities of seeing, I think I have received from abstract expressionism which continues to teach me. The way Pierre Soulages worked with the color black or Paul Klee subtile colors are a challenge to the eye which invites me to see contrasts and color palettes in a new and ever changing ways.
     
  8. I have learned that the camera is here to serve me, not vice versa. I have no interest in conforming my vision to that of the camera; I want to show what being in the world is like to me. Pax Garry Winogrand, I have no interest in seeing what the world looks like in a photograph. The camera's "vision" doesn't interest me; my vision does.
     
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I have learned that the camera is here to serve me, not vice versa.​
    Great point! I feel the same way. I don't get too hung up on different technical points, I just try to get where I want to go.
    I have no interest in conforming my vision to that of the camera;​
    Right, letting the camera decide means the photographer can leave the room.
    I want to show what being in the world is like to me.​
    On the other hand, I have no interest in this. What I am is irrelevant, I live in service of the photograph. I take things I see and use the camera and post-processing to turn them into other things. For the longest time, I have done movie stills from non-existent noir and horror films, it has nothing to do with what being in the world is like to me, but it is something that comes from somewhere inside. Here's the most recent one.
    [​IMG]
    They Only Come Out At Night, Copyright 2010 Jeff Spirer
     
  10. How?
    (in no particular order, except for the first one, and no, in no way is this any kind of Gospel, nor do I preach it)
    1. By paying attention.
    2. Listening to the Muses that cross my path. I never know from where the next one is coming from, or what form it/they will take. They're never aware of the energies and burdens they are gifting me with.
    3. I believe the world is an unimaginably rich place, that the gold ring thumbs our noses constantly, the universe cries out to us, and more, but until we get eyes and ears, it remains almost totally undetectable.
    4. Everything I've learned gets in the way until fluency gets me to the point that I don't have to consciously think about it. Then it becomes like breathing, mindless, but quite useful.
    5. Meditation.
    6. Like Jeff, I believe myself to be in service... a mere vessel, conduit, or medium for somethings far greater than myself.
    7. Question everything you do, but not to the point of paralysis, of course.
    8. Test everything. Push all the boundaries. Whether it's cameras, lenses, programs, materials, principles, identities, procedures, etc. See what happens for yourself.
    9. Pass it on to someone else. Whether as a professor, mentor or buddy. The more you give away, the more you rehash everything, & make room for more to flow through you.
    10. Follow hunches!
    What?
    Offhand...(sorry, no nuts or bolts).
    1. The obvious is the last and most difficult thing we see.
    2. There are innumerable photogs who have the technical hands down. The number of creatives is unbelievably small. The ratio is probably similar to the number of people that can play Bach to the number of Bachs. And Bach may not have played his own music as well as many of the technical virtuosos can.
    3. Having said #2, I should make it clear that I believe that making craftwork, and art in particular, is an intensely human activity, one that if benign, has healing and growth-inducing properties to those who make and come in contact with it.
    4. Most photographs are incredibly boring. Until you spend some time looking at them. Anything looked at long enough becomes everything.
    5. No matter how skilled and great you fancy yourself to be, knowledgeable, etc., the act of photographing boils down to breathing life into the image (What FG once called "spark"). This is pure magic. Irrational, unjustifiable, unexplainable, unprogrammable stuff. When achieved, said image in turn breathes life into viewers, to each in his own way, like a psychic generator and/or a conceptual kind of messenger RNA.
     
  11. I've learned to see pictures by taking and anticipating lots of 'em. But seeing pictures doesn't equal to seeing and what seems the easiest is perhaps the most difficult of all : to see with our eyes what lies before our eyes. I'm still learning to see, if there's anything at all, then that's what I've learned through photography. And that the camera is never blind of course. I wonder what I have unlearned.
     
  12. After ancient and modern painting traditions like mentioned above, surely, like Phylo, I have to a large degree learned "seeing" in photographical terms by studying and analyzing the work of photographers. I think that having a continuous open eye for what other photographers do or have done with photography is inspiring to the least. Like painters copying the stile and themes of old masters was part of their training it is also part of training of any photographer whether they admit it or not. It teaches us to see and to use the technical means available to us as photographers. The aim is of course liberate yourself from such masters and find a proper style and was of expression. To "see" with my eyes and not through the eyes of somebody else.
    I have throughout a very long time slowly to develop analytical tools for analyzing photo that catches my attention as exceptionally "good". I think most of us have such approaches at our disposal, whether formalized or not. Analysis of compositions plays here a central role. Keeping track of them and categorizing them is part of sush an approach to earning in my mind.
    For me the danger of the camera taking over does not exist. I have no specific interest in the technics apart from the obvious necessity of mastering what I have in my hand to the best of its possibilities. I have no intention of carrying around multiple camera or even a great number of lenses.
    Traveling light is part of my way of seeing when I shoot photos. What I see at a certain moment is therefor ot a large degree dependent on what I can express given the tools I have brought with me. To foresee what I can expect to see at a certain occasion is part of the choice of the photographical tools I bring with me. I can therefore not say like Julie, Jeff or Luis, that my camera has no influence of what I see.
     
  13. There is a saying in Hebrew (I wrote it before too,free translation)..."From all my teachers I became educated". The first thing is that one wants to learn and be educated..
    I don't think that learning to see can be divided to subjects.I think that it is a building/developing long process, by layers on top of layers.

    I see the camera as a tool , like the brash for the painter, the chisel for the sculptore, like the written word of the writer/poet, like the note for the composer and musician. Learning to see is to be a "sponge"....to be alert to your surrounding, to people's life, to art in its different forms, to lights of human existence as well as its darkness.
    All this are ,and always will be my tools to see, and create my personal point of sight.. one layers on top of all the others I have experienced.
     
  14. jtk

    jtk

    Jeff Spirer's "noir/horror" look has leaped forward wherever I've seen it ...and/but his very specific and classic cinema reference seems to conflict with his humble claim that he "serves" photography and is not himself important.
    I hope Jeff will expand on what the "photography" he "serves" means to him.
    Maybe I'm over-emphasizing Jeff's intentions and the importance of his chosen approach, but they seem to result in a style of imagery (noir/horror) he's defined in advance, both technically and by virtue of his subjects.
    His intentionality and that resulting look seem more powerful and significant than "seeing." He's not a mere "seer" IMO. I've always considered Jeff a "virtual cinematographer," hinting at back stories, as much as still photographer.
     
  15. [Nodding at John. Somehow I don't see Jeff as a milquetoast, wallflower kind of guy meekly serving ... anybody. On the other hand, I expect he is very much a professional at what he does, and can apply himself to the task at hand ... ]
    I have a lot of trouble responding in a useful way to this thread because I've been photographing since I was ... six, seven (?) years old. The way of working (and the bad habits) are second-nature.
    However, I can think of one thing that might be relevant. Some years back I spent a lot of time exploring the dynamics of the edge of the image frame. That edge is the one area where the camera does prevail as long as I want to make rectangular prints (as I do). How close is "too close" to the edge (almost-but-not-quite-there will make an irritating buzz/tension)? What happens when/where you breach the edges with some line or object? What's going on in corners? What does the frame proportion do to the power/pull of the center? That kind of thing.
     
  16. Julie you touch a very important dimension of seeing when you mention the role of the frame.
    I think that the frame is essential to create and to understand a photo: what happens near it, on the border and maybe especially outside the frame. The way the photographer prepares the viewer for what is the limits of what he/she is allowed to see by creating a tension between what is inside and outside the frame is essential for the degree to which the photo provokes interest and attention. Framing is maybe the most essential act of the photographer which creates the photographical reality so much different from real world reality.
     
  17. "At times I've learned about myself through making a photo . . . " --Howard
    Can you give an example or two of something you've learned about yourself and a description of or link to the photo that helped you learn it?
    "how have I learned to see. Simply by looking and looking and looking." --James
    James, when you look through your camera lens do you look differently than when you look without your camera? Can you talk about any differences?
    "to see is beyond the obvious" --Luca
    I sense in some of your recent work (the tractors) a presence that is, indeed, beyond the obvious. It's hard to describe what I mean by presence. I like it when I sense it (and I sense it because of what I see).
    "unfolded/unfolding visual clues" --John
    Yes, the kind of thing I am thinking about as well . . . as opposed to the abstract idea and probably non-existent state of "mere seeing." I have been involved with conceptualization for so long, that I am relieved to look and to discuss seeing, visualizations, unfolding visual clues, without necessarily referring to the concepts themselves too blatantly. But it is a matter of emphasis, for surely there are ideas and intentions behind what I do, as you've recognized in your response to Jeff, with which I agree.
    I agree that "beauty" (as commonly used) is dubious. I think concepts and ideas can be dubiously beautiful as well. It's not just visual beauty that is suspect. Check out this week's POW. It's a "bea-uuu-tiful" concept executed with visual awkwardness. A more sophisticated and deep concept continuing to utilize a visually unconvincing approach would still lack something significant: the photographer's visual realization of his idea.
    "Music plays a central role in my way of seeing." --Anders
    I think photographs have many of the elements of music: rhythm, harmony, discord, counterpoint. I often describe what I see with musical terms because music is so filled with the spirit/breath of life. And, yes, as far as painting (and drawing). When I first started photographing, a friend advised me to think like a painter. Looking at a lot of paintings, particularly the creation of light and the use of brushstrokes, helps me discover and utilize photographic texture. It's also very helpful in imbuing photographs with a sense of depth/dimension.
    "I have learned that the camera is here to serve me . . ." --Julie
    There's strength and a lot of willfulness behind your post.
    "I have no interest in seeing what the world looks like in a photograph" --Julie
    Since I'm doing more printing now, and learning a lot as I go, I'm curious about your own printing. Do you print? Do you care much for those prints? How do you see them / what do they mean to you?
    "I don't get too hung up on different technical points" --Jeff
    Can you give some examples of the types of technical points you're talking about? Regarding some of your other points, I'll be listening to any responses you care to make to John, because I like where he's gone.
    "Bach may not have played his own music as well as many of the technical virtuosos can." --Luis
    Virtuoso performers are not just technical. Their artistry is simply in a different realm from the creativity involved in composing. It's like the difference between actor and playwright. An actor/performer gives of himself, body and soul, much more than technical virtuosity. I don't understand comparing those photographers who emphasize the technical (to the detriment of the creative, and I agree there are some) to virtuoso music performers. There are performers, like photographers, who are only technically proficient (some feel that way about the great pianist Maurizio Pollini, though I love the music he makes) and then there are other performers, as well as photographers, who transcend their technical mastery and are creators of great music.
    "seeing pictures doesn't equal to seeing" --Phylo
    I agree with that, though there are clear points of similarity.
    "I wonder what I have unlearned." --Phylo
    Have a go at it. Would be a compelling inquiry.
    "like the written word of the writer/poet" --Pnina
    I think the camera, as you say, can be compared to the brush of the painter. I don't think it can be compared to the written word, which actually appears on the page, while the camera itself does not. I think the written word is more comparable to what's actually visible through the lens and in the photo. Words are to a novel or play as visual structures, signs, and symbols are to a photograph.
    "From all my teachers I became educated" --Pnina
    A nice quote. And there are many sources from which I can be taught, they don't have to have a teaching or mentoring credential. I am spending the week in NY with several young children in my family. They teach me an awful lot . . . and it's fun. Smiling opens me up to learning.
    __________________________________
    I'll let it rest here, but I love thinking about the significance of the frame, so I hope that discussion will bear some fruit. Thanks, Julie, for bringing it up here, and Anders for pursuing it.
     
  18. jtk

    jtk

    "Frame."
    Doing "art" with a view camera I was always concerned about the frame...had plenty of time and the camera was on a tripod. Wasn't a worry with commercial work because the art director would always crop anyway...my job was mostly stuff like lens selection, positioning, detail condition of the subject, light, and exposure etc.
    By contrast, I wonder of many of us have attended much to the edge and corner details of "Napalm Girl," "Moonrise, Hernandez," or any of HCB's Top 40?
    As a longtime Aaron Siskind devotee I certainly can obsess on corners and edges. However, I think we/I sometimes prefer to think about those detail matters rather than considering the significance of the image. That "significance" question might be uncomfortable. I won't attempt to define significance beyond saying that the word is a question more than a description. Analysis seems easier than whatever it is that's suffering the analysis.
    I mentioned theatre (stage) earlier. Did Shakespeare or Albee care much about stage setting? The furniture and bric-a-brac? Sometimes backgrounds are important in photographs, but I notice some of us are enthusiasts for f/1.1.
     
  19. I usually find myself 6 pages behind in a thread like this and end up reading rather than posting. Maybe if I type and think quickly enough I can post this by page 4 or so.

    I don't know that I can broadly address your topic, Fred. But reading and viewing some of the responses brought to mind a more specific aspect of seeing. Particularly in relation to John's mention of "stage". I do a certain amount of street photography, but because the genre is weighted with so many preconceptions and freighted with so much baggage (to me, at least), I actually prefer to call what I do "cityscapes". Which brings me around to "stage" and "seeing".

    Three or four years ago my street work aimed at fulfilling the orthodox dictum of some contemporary practitioners to "get close, get close, get close". Some of it I liked, but it was not satisfying overall. "Here's a close shot of a stranger doing something!" ...maybe it's something interesting, but more than likely in most cases, it's not... Disembodied faces and torsos with little relation to their environment...but an invisible medal to the photographer (me) for "getting close".
    So I backed up a bit and stopped looking for the people and concentrated more on the buildings, streets, doorways and alleys that interested me in certain kinds of light. Sometimes people would enter the frame of what I was photographing, and then I started waiting for them to enter. What they did, or what they looked like stopped mattering. Their geometrical placement in the environment became the primary factor.

    Hardly a radical concept (sophomoric to some of you, perhaps), but none of it was conscious to me at the time. I pressed the shutter when it "felt right", and sometimes would run a burst to have several frames to choose from. I find this forum and these discussions beneficial because they often cause me to try and analyze what I am doing, or what I have done. In looking back at some of the cityscapes ("street", "urban"...call them what you will) I have done I see a pattern. The frame was the stage, the building in the frame was the set. (Since my concern in such shots is more the placement of the figures than the action they perform, I suppose that makes me more of a set designer than a director or a playwright. There are other types of shots I take in which the people play a more predominant role, but I have hard enough time expressing what I've expressed so far and who the hell wants to read it all anyway?)
    Another element to such shots is why I choose what I choose. It is highly subjective and has to do with a combination of feeling (my own) and history. Photographing in the streets of Chicago is a joy to me (akin to the joy I felt the time I played blues harmonica onstage at an open blues jam at Buddy Guy's club on Wabash). I feel the history and tradition of the streets here. John Vachon, Russell Lee, Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Harry Callahan (among countless others) have photographed the life and energy of these streets. My parents and grandparents walked these streets in the 10's, 20's and 30's. A shot of Union Station at dusk with some indistinct figures in the background might convey some moodiness, some slight sense of existential angst to a viewer. But for me, beyond that, beyond the pillars on the well worn steps (if you've ever been there, you've seen the shallow depression in the center of the steps) leading down into the station are the ghosts of Al Capone, Joe Louis, my mother and father, some newly arrived sharecropper from the South...on and on. That does not come through in the photograph, but it informs my selection as much as light, time of day, angle of view, f stop, etc. It is the history I "see" and feel as much as what is physically in the frame.
    Last, I suppose another thing I have learned to "see" is my own photography in a slightly and hesitatingly more analytical light than simply "I like this" or "It feels right".
    00X5VC-269687584.jpg
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I hope Jeff will expand on what the "photography" he "serves" means to him.

    What I am saying is that I don't photograph what it feels like to be me, I photograph to make the photograph. I am completely uninterested in showing my feelings at the moment, more to show a view of what goes through my mind in the more general timeframe. Sort of like a Pandora's box of images. I have shot quite a bit in close proximity to violence recently. My "feelings" are usually fear - I am older and more out of shape than most everyone participating in some level of violence, but that's not really interesting to me. What the photograph gravitates to is never the fear in the situation, but instead where the scene plays into the photograph. It's a bit circular, but there is no other way to explain it.
    I've always considered Jeff a "virtual cinematographer," hinting at back stories, as much as still photographer.​
    I will just say that I love Jim Carrolls' poetry, songs and stories, and the way he conveyed them when he was alive, and regard him as a strong influence on my photography. Rather than really tell a story (except for maybe The Basketball Diaries), he often created cinematic imagery with words that could be as vivid as any photograph and many paintings. I doubt I will ever forget these song lyrics: They'd be so faceless they'd be like old film/Just like old film I never did process. He understood, and I've always wanted to photograph that...
    Can you give some examples of the types of technical points you're talking about?​
    I shoot 90% of the time with one camera body and one lens. I use one of two apertures about 80% of the time. I have learned to get what I want from the setup. I do vary the flash and the ISO quite a bit, but that's just because it's necessary to modify the lighting. Otherwise, I pretty much ignore everything else. I think I shoot at an aperture higher than f5.6 twice a year. I shoot almost everything now with flash (I used to shoot nothing with flash before I learned to completely control it) and it's always the same flash except when I have access to s studio-type environment. One camera, one lens, one flash...
    I have been inspired by the work of Mario Giacomelli, he's been a favorite of mine since I first saw his work while he was alive. He shot almost everything he did during a long life of photography with a camera that was stuck on a single shutter speed. He spent far longer thinking and working on his photos than he did taking them. He shows how little the technical matters if one can formulate what one wants. Within boundaries, of course, I wouldn't shoot the fights with his large format camera with one shutter speed.
    Back to cinema, I saw a scene on the street, it looked nothing like this if you were just watching, I took it into an old favorite filmaker...
    [​IMG]
    8 3/4
     
  21. I've always, as far back as I can remember, seen things around me every day that I "frame" in my mind that would be great photos, particularly people's faces. As I get older, faces interest me more than landscapes, city-scapes and abstracts. Facial expressions are so infinite and subtle it amazes me. Lighting and composition have always come quite naturally for me and I don't have to think about these things much consciously as I photograph. I have learned from every photo I have seen; I have learned what "works" and what doesn't. At 60 I am still trying to keep up to the standard I set as a teenager, when I was shooting entirely from instinct and unfettered by theory and "art."
     
  22. Fred, ( It is not easy to do it in English, but I try, the reading of the thread is slow)....I would like to clear my thoughts about tool of words of a writer/poet . I think Julie's addition about framing fits my intention and thoughts. I think that a book is a "framing"of the writer thoughts ,imagination, and a way to express himself, like a score /partiture of a composer that has the note and detail framed /" photographed"/listened /seen in his minds head. The end result is a book, concert , painting , photographs, that are a realization of an individual seeing possibilities.
    I see with my eyes, feeling , personal history, knowledge and interests before I start shooting with my camera.
     
  23. Pnina, I think there are different categories of tools. In one category, there are the thoughts and emotions that go into creating a visual work. In another category, there are the tools of conveyance, what one uses to help realize the vision, what one physically utilizes: the camera for photographer, the brush for painter, the knife for sculptor. In yet another category, are what builds up the piece being worked on, the elements that add up to the work: words for the poet, dabs of paint for the painter, light and chemistry for the photographer. Words are similar to a photographer's light and visual structures, not to a camera.
     
  24. Frames exclude. They often make apparent -- especially for the one doing the framing -- what is not.
    Frames bring something into focus even as that focusing may create questions and mystery. Something framed seems to command a dramatic kind of attention.
    Julie, I've had similar experiences, wondering what is enough and what is too much to include (exclude) at the edges of the frame. It's that fine line about when is enough too much or not enough. A hint is only a hint if it's enough to be a hint.
    Backgrounds effect me differently in different photos. Steve, I can relate to your talking about "pulling back." I've been doing very much the same thing in order to add visual narrative (for which I don't necessarily utilize or need words) to my photos/portraits. I am as in tune and in touch with my backgrounds as with my subjects, especially as they relate to each other, and I'm as likely (perhaps more so) to shoot a portrait with f10 and above as with my narrowest f4. The rumble and lines of the supporting cellos and basses are as important as the soaring melody of the violins, though I may come away more likely to hum a melody.
    This brings me back to learning to see. Learning to hear rhythm, color, and counterpoint in addition to melody has added depth, dimension, and texture to my vision.
     
  25. Addition: I may not give my backgrounds the same visual weight as I do my foregrounds/subjects but that doesn't necessarily make them any less profound and doesn't mean that every detail doesn't count.
     
  26. [Please note: this post is about the (learning of) HOW and not the WHAT of making photographs. In his lovely and in-depth post near the start of the thread, Luis gives an excellent treatment of th WHAT (even his "HOW" is a WHAT -- that's Luis for you ... ]
    I think there is something very cool evident in this thread (thanks Fred). In the following, I'm going to make all kinds of oversimplified assumptions, but I hope you will, nevertheless find them thought-provoking.
    Learning photography. We all start from the snapshot. What is a snapshot? It's about presence and/or drama. How do you get from snapshot to Avedon or Goldin or Frank or Weston? By developing -- formalizing, codifying, structuring, accentuating, learning to manage and work with/from presence and/or drama.
    What are ways that presence can be asserted, formalized, accentuated, etc. etc.? By using common/familiar colors, tones, postures, gestures, shared ground plane, but most of all -- by far most of all, by the use of texture. Texture is touch. Texture is the taste, the visceral flavor of presence.
    What are ways that drama can be asserted, formalized, accentuated, used visually? Staging, role-playing, symbolism, framing both total and partial (frame = definition visually as verbally = stage) and so forth (I'm thinking as I write, so that list is off the top of my head).
    I think learning photography means moving towards mastery of presence and drama however and wherever we choose to mix and match them, to use them to "speak" or "sound" or convey (what a weak word ... ) what is, at root impulse, a glorified (magnificent) snapshot. The symphony started from a reed whistle or something like that. So it is with pictures.
    So in his first post, we find Fred developing his skills at finding and using texture in highlight detail (presence) while also exploring role-playing (drama). Howard's picture has texture (presence) and a story (drama). I think James is finding drama in shadows. From many of Luca's comments, here and elsewhere, it seems to me that he's particularly interested in drama, but starting from a base of presence. John often seems primarily interested in narrative, but I find a lot of texture/presence in the pictures he posts to his gallery. In Anders pictures and words, I find strong use of formal drama and some intentional suppression of presence (I may be wrong on that). This (suppression) is not a "bad" thing. Presence can get in the way of drama. "You are NOT here" can not only useful but necessary to a dramatic presentation. See Jeff's pictures, for example. Pnina, it seems to me used introduces presence into what is already drama (dance) in a lovely way. I can't do a drama/presence take on Phylo because he's a moving target, but I'll shoot anyway and say he is less interested in presence than in drama.
    Apologies for these grossly oversimplified comments. Of course photography does not fall into a neat little presence/drama package. But for the purpose of discussion, just think about it as if ...
    My suggested point is that learning to be a better photographer is about learning to develop what is already in the lowly snapshot. I do it all the time even in my composites. I make every effort to leave my "scenes" available, accessible and viscerally present to viewers while at the same time presenting very formalized, codified dramas.
     
  27. Shoot. I missed commenting on Steve's picture. It's a wonderful example of the use of both presence (texture) and drama.
     
  28. First one word about learning to see from paintings. I notice that it was not taken up by others and not by Fred either. Why is this? Is it because it is not a relevant source of learning for most? Is it because the obvious sources of inspiration of most American photographers here on PN would be the after the War painting schools like Abstract Expressionism? Then what is the role of inspiration of Pop Art when it comes to seeing?
    Concerning the discussion on frames. I think there is a difference between trying the define the role of frames of photos and trying to discuss how we learned the art of framing. I mentioned earlier the inspiration I have from analyzing for example Meyerowitz's Cape Cod photos and especially the wide views of the beach (I can't find a good example on the web to link up to). Lots of things happen at the very border line of the frame in many of these photos that in my eyes explain the dynamics of scenes that seem, at a first glance, to be almost still life. Compared to such a mastery of borders, my own photos are mostly heavily centered. One modest example where the border structures and lines are primordial for the photo, you can see below.
    00X5by-269777584.jpg
     
  29. Anders, this is from my long post in response to everyone, by name, you included, of Aug 16 at 5:30 PM:
    "I think photographs have many of the elements of music: rhythm, harmony, discord, counterpoint. I often describe what I see with musical terms because music is so filled with the spirit/breath of life. And, yes, as far as painting (and drawing). When I first started photographing, a friend advised me to think like a painter. Looking at a lot of paintings, particularly the creation of light and the use of brushstrokes, helps me discover and utilize photographic texture. It's also very helpful in imbuing photographs with a sense of depth/dimension."
    Sorry you missed it, both because it does address the importance of looking at and understanding painting and because thinking about painting made me access the idea of texture, which Julie has returned to. For me, this shows that your bringing in painting was significant to the thread. Even if it never received the weight, for example, of a foreground subject, its presence in the background has had a vital effect! A detail that might otherwise have been left out of the frame or cropped out but whose presence is profound.
    To me, the texture of photographs is much like the color we talk about in a symphony orchestra's performance. (Texture is about how things look as color is about how they sound. A flute can play the same note as an oboe for the same duration and be in the same pitch, yet we will hear the difference because of the timbre of the instruments. Timbre is an element of musical color. The way timbres combine, the way sound is delivered, is the color of the orchestra. There is an analogy with the texture of a photograph: how individual elements look, are separated from, and relate to, each other.)
    Anders, your example above is one where elements in the photograph provide a frame. But more significant to me is the role of the frame the lens provides, whether that is emphasized by visual entities around the edges of the photograph or not. In many cases, the use of framing devices (which are strongly and noticeably employed in your example) has a very different visual impact from the natural frame/border/edge of the photo itself in photos where such devices are not employed.
     
  30. Thanks Fred I noticed the reference to painting, but, as you write, it was not given a central role by others. My argument is that painting, not the act of painting, but the history of painting, is maybe the central source of learning that is at our disposal when it comes to seeing. The way impressionism and cubism developed slowly in the late 19th century is all a process of learning to see, that we, photographs, cannot learn enough from in my view and according to my own experience.
    Concerning framing,when you make a difference between
    the use of framing devices (which are strongly and noticeably employed in your example) has a very different visual impact from the natural frame/border/edge of the photo itself in photos where such devices are not employed​
    I have difficulty of following you. The framing "devices" in the example above are chosen by he photographer hinting at the couple on the bridge. These are in my eyes "natural" and put into service by the photographers eye. My problem with the example is that it "walks in very heavy shoes". The examples one can find in the photos of Meyerowitz that I referred to (he is just one among many, and not necessarily the best) are much more subtile and delicate and functions in a much more elaborate way (small triangles of sand, thin lines of piers, lines of light etc).
     
  31. [Note: I wrote the following qualification as an immediate follow-up to my own post above, before seeing Anders response. I hope it will help clarify the distinction I am making.]
    Qualification: When I say "the frame the lens provides" I am not suggesting the photographer doesn't do the framing, of course. But I can frame with less self-comment on the frame than is usually accomplished with visual elements that frame the edges of a photo. (Anders has utilized such internal visual elements in his example, and I am by no means minimizing the effectiveness of such framing. I am just drawing a distinction here.) I always frame with my camera, whether there are elements along the border emphasizing the frame or not, and the act and fact of framing without any further visual emphasis such as Anders's, will be significant to the look, feel, and concept of the photo.
     
  32. A further thought, which I think is really significant in communicating with each other and I've brought up several times and will continue to bring up. When we don't address something, or don't address it with the emphasis someone else thinks worthy, it is not because we are actively ignoring it or consciously making light of it or in any way think it is unimportant. There is a lot of territory that can be covered in any thread. Absolutely NOTHING should be read into passive omissions or minimal emphasis. Our posts are long enough as they are. Having to qualify everything we say by addressing the importance of everything we haven't said or have not yet said would make our posts impossibly long and more tedious.
     
  33. But more significant to me is the role of the frame the lens provides​
    Yes, but quite literally. At the risk of being cuffed and taken away by the quote police, here's a quote from Ralph Gibson's Refractions, which deals in a pretty straightforward manner with topics such as the frame, influence, music & photography, the portrait, painting...
    The photographic frame could be considered a dialogue of selection and exclusion taking place in specific time within a perpetual grid...The lens, when permitted to function at its maximum efficiency, will render the shapes within the image with a perfect perspective and proportion. The shapes inside the frame all interrelate and find their place : part to part, part to whole. ....the lens has a kind of power to describe objects and bring them into relief with a harmony and balance that is often sacrified by cropping ( the negative ) during printing.
    Melody is to music as reality is to photography. How dissonant can a sound be and how much can a photograph depart from reality are moot questions but close to the problem. As a musician counts and syncopates time, a photographer measures and alters light. How abstract can a melody be and still adhere to the parameters of listenable music ? How abstract can a photogrpah become before it's no longer recognizable ?​
    Julie, surely there can be presence in each drama and drama in each presence !
    00X5dv-269803584.jpg
     
  34. jtk

    jtk

    Jeff, thanks for expanding/detailing your ideas and approach.
    Your mention of Carroll and expansion on that "cinema" idea was very helpful, as was mention of violence (which relates of course to your boxing and nightclub photos). Many photographers seem unable to get past photo-as-graphic so find themselves thinking in semi-mystical terms (Minor White encouraged that and I refer to zen too much).
     
  35. jtk

    jtk

    I think the discussion of "framing" has been made to seem complex or subtle... to pretend that performers, writers, and theoreticians have not used that mundane "frame" metaphor forever for discussion of non-graphic works.
    ...in this thread we just saw a sudden abandonment of concern with corners and edges, a switch to that more intellectual-sounding "frame" of reference.
    ...there's been no discussion of the standard theatric "proscenium." Seems fundamental to photography.
    With exceptions like Indonesian puppetry, theatre is 3-dimensional, and most photographs seem that way as well...I wonder why photographers sometimes become preoccupied with edges and corners in photographs? ...I've never heard about similar obsessions in theatre, not even in set design (tho I'm not widely read there)...does that preoccupation have to do with substitution of graphics for "significance?"
     
  36. Fred I have not the slightest problem with themes that are not taken up, mine included. My question was more related to the observation that no-one up till now seems to jump on the theme of what paintings and painters have taught us. Cézannes series of paintings of the Saint-Victoire mountain in the South of France, or Monet's series of paintings of the Cathedral of Rouen or of Haystacks in different lights and seasons, are all examples of paintings that teaches us how to see. The same is the case of George Braque's paintings from the village of Estaque, announcing Cubism.
    In fact I think I have learned, in all modesty, more from paintings of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century than from my continuous studying of master photographers unless "just in time" is a way of seeing.
    This does not make the ongoing discussion on framing less important. I would however like to know what seems to be the main question in this thread when we discuss framing: Where does our capability of "seeing frames" come from? Where did we learn it?
     
  37. a switch to that more intellectual-sounding "frame" of reference.​
    What exactly is so intellectual-sounding about frame / framing in the context of photography ? The viewfinder is a frame by which the photographer frames out aspects of the world and creates a *picture*.
    or Monet's series of paintings of the Cathedral of Rouen or of Haystacks in different lights and seasons, are all examples of paintings that teaches us how to see.​
    Yes but it doesn't necessarily teaches us to see photographically, the way a lens can "see".
     
  38. It is stipulated here and now that John's concerns are always significant and the rest of us are concerned with mere graphics.
    Anders, though I certainly have an interest in various genres and approaches to painting and am profoundly aware of the different schools and styles of painting, as well as its history, I was approaching seeing here from a craft point of view and less so from an appreciative point of view. You are free to approach it the way you do and I get much out of listening to your ideas (unlike John's judgments of others from which I get little and about which I care quite a bit less -- and I'm not anxious either, just annoyed), but I just don't feel I've exhausted the aspects of how I craft a photo from the standpoint of how painting influences me, and so I am emphasizing that for the purposes of how I choose to approach this thread. I am thinking about painting less in terms of specific style and subject matter than I am thinking about it in terms of craft and technique, in terms of making. John thinks that makes me -- and/or others -- graphic. He's wrong. It's about seeing as a sensual experience and as a part of doing, making a photograph. The grandest, deepest idea or concept (alone) does not make a good photograph, though it often makes for a good philosophy. Perhaps John is, really, merely, a philosopher.
     
  39. Julie - "[Please note: this post is about the (learning of) HOW and not the WHAT of making photographs. In his lovely and in-depth post near the start of the thread, Luis gives an excellent treatment of th WHAT (even his "HOW" is a WHAT -- that's Luis for you ... ]
    Julie misread and miscaricaturized me, but I can live with that. As Mae West would say, at least she got the name right.
    I should stay out of this post and thread... but I'll take Julie's bait:
    You get to become an Avedon, Goldin, Frank or Weston by becoming one. Before the usual suspects cry foul, no, not literally. And they had talent to begin with. Avedon's childhood snaps are more memorable than 99% of all the pictures I've seen on PN.
    Although everyone here talks good game, who bet their farm, gave up comfort, financial security, family, safety, decades of their lives, marriages, etc for their photography? Goldin, Frank and Weston did. And they had no idea if anything would come of it. Most of the time, little does. For every photographer that gambled everything and found success/recognition/some money, thousands gambled and lost, many of those who "won" ended up losing as well.
    Art is not predictable. Nor is it a LEGO set, X-Box game, self-help or recipe book.
    We do know what those people actually did, and there's nothing (besides a lack of courage and/or talent, duh) stopping any of us from doing the same. They devoted their lives to the medium & put in more than ten thousand hours of doing. They developed, cultivated and individuated themselves along the way to a degree that is hard to grasp. They sacrificed (for decades of the best years of their lives) what most of us here never have, or will, for their photography. They said yes to this, and no to everything else. You want presence and drama? Those weren't just ideas bandied about, and these photographers didn't intellectually compartmentalize them and discreetly inject the cocktail into their work in a sterile field. They lived it.
     
  40. "who bet their farm, gave up comfort, financial security, family, safety, decades of their lives, marriages, etc for their photography" --Luis
    Be careful what you ask and assume. You might get an answer you hadn't considered.
    It also might be of value to ask, who DIDN'T?
     
  41. Andres typed - "Where does our capability of "seeing frames" come from? Where did we learn it?"
    Most of us were born through a er...frame... in a rectangular room. We were handed to our mothers swaddled in a rectangular or square blanket. Our mothers held us in a rectangular bed. We stared at a rectangular ceiling. People entered and left the room through a door frame. And that was just the first DAY.
    Our world, as seen through our eyes, is framed in a butterfly pattern. As children, we watched TV in a rectangular frame. Looked out into the world through window frames. Most of us live in cities, and if one refers to either Anders' or Phylo's pictures, we are seeing a patchwork quilt of stitched subframes. That's how we learned to see in frames.
     
  42. I have learned to see by trying to be open to what is going on around me and by concentrating on what is important to me. I am often attracted by details that I find many of my companions or fellow citizens tend to overlook. That simple fact may not endear my vision to theirs, but I believe discovery is what it is all about. A visual discovery that becomes a personal discovery, which may inspire others (if we are lucky).
    Impressive vistas or scenery often take second place in my seeing, unless they are somehow placed in a particular atmospheric condition or, more important, if some limited element of them speaks strongly to me. Details comprise much of my photography and they are often indirect indications of the presence of man, or of his handiwork. I rarely photograph man directly, believing, perhaps wrongly, that a telling definition of each of us is in more in what we accomplish, or fail to, or in the visible traces we leave in our paths or the surroundings that define us or our mood. More on this later or in a later thread, when I will have processed and uploaded some new images in that regard.
    Another way I have learned to see is to seek out and isolate irregular or even absurd subject matter, again often in the form of details, that I feel can challenge our sense of what is a normal, or what is a generally chosen photographic depiction of that type of matter. This may be a result of my particular formation in research, but I think not. It is probably just simple curiosity and questioning of life. In an analogous manner, I have learned to not always portray what I see as I physically see it, but to alter that vision with some intention I have at that moment. I guess I have learned to see things as they are not (- at first sight). To some extent I have learned to marry the mental perception with a control of light or composition (under or overexposure, specific lens filtration, unusual angle of view, inclusion or exclusion of elements to alter the equilibrium of masses or tones, for instance) or in post-capture alteration, or I may also choose to create a diptych (or multiple exposure) with another image that communicates with the first one.
    I have learned to apply the foregoing and some other ways of seeing (undisclosed here for the sake of time) over a couple of decades, in parallel with my interest in the subject matter of painters, and sometimes sculptors (Brancusi, Moore and Gacometti, amongst others). I find the painters of the 20th century more valuable to me as inspiration than those of preceding periods, if only because they reflect some of the more contemporary aspects of civilisation (and visual references or societal issues that are still current), although I don't reject the influence of the great artists of the past. I look as much at the works of painters as photographers.
    I have learned one imortant thing in seeing that is not the easiest for me to implement. To aim for a visual communication of subtle nature. If I get the meaning of an image at first sight, I am not always greatly rewarded, as I have often not been challenged sufficiently by it, or the image appears to me to be too staged or intentional. I have learned to try to imbue my images with a subtle communication, or with different layers that interact with or oppose each other.
    (There are several excellent texts on learning to see, in both art and photography, From Arnheim to Zakia, passing by Edwards, Kandinsky and Patterson)
    Luis,
    Our vision is also highly directional (I think that the eye sees most clearly in a 1 degree spot, or something like that) and we are consequently forced to scan scenes, faces, or images, to take in all their parts. I think I am becoming more interested in that scanning function in regard to learning how to see and create an image. It is a good thing, as we are obliged to scan a subject in perceiving it and in analysing how or what we wish to photograph.
     
  43. Fred and Anders.I think both of you have a point.We learned to see from all the arts modes we have been exposed to, as you write Anders, each of us learned from variety of artists we looked , observed and assimilated.

    Fred, you make a distinction between the real / physic tools (like brash, chisel etc.)and the spirit ( metaphysic) of human existence ( if I understood you well enough). For me the two are equally important and are "framing"the result as each one sees in his real eyes and mental eyes (feelings, observation, creating).

    "Julie, surely there can be presence in each drama and drama in each presence !" I echo you and Phylo .....;-))
     
  44. Luis, I'm convinced that you are serious! If you are right, we should all see the world as cubists using only squares and no triangles. The funny thing is that we do mostly not, apart from all using square or rectangular frames when we shoot photos.
     
  45. Fred fired back - "
    Be careful what you ask and assume. You might get an answer you hadn't considered.
    It also might be of value to ask, who DIDN'T?"
    Thanks for the generous admonition, Fred, but I don't need it. It was a serious question, and I stand by it 100%. Lots of people DIDN'T, though a few fantasize they did, and some might actually have. And if anyone here actually did, I'd love to hear it.
     
  46. Anders and Arthur: I was answering Anders' how did we learn to see in frames. Remember what Fred said about what we do not mention? Just because I did not mention the other facets of seeing does not mean I deny their existence.
     
  47. Avedon's childhood snaps are more memorable than 99% of all the pictures I've seen on PN.​
    That may be perfectly true, or not. But which are the 1% ?? Is one of us in it ? In either case, you are excluded rather comfortably from those 99%, not having any pictures here on photo.net, to judge that comparison from...Which is not a crime I know, but :
    Although everyone here talks good game​
     
  48. "And if anyone here actually did, I'd love to hear it."
    Cool. Many of us let our photos do a lot of the talking and are less inclined to make a big deal of our sacrifices, sufferings, and our CVs. Were we to make an issue of our sacrifice and/or suffering, I can imagine we'd be nailed to the cross in this forum!
     
  49. Phylo said (and Pnina quoted), "Julie, surely there can be presence in each drama and drama in each presence !" Yes! Absolutely. I hope I didn't imply that a picture was zero sum.
    Luis misread and miscaricaturized me, but I can live with that. As Mae West would say, "Beulah, peel me a grape."
    Steve J Murray, I forgot to mention you in my marathon post of previous and I particularly wanted to mention your portraits. Sorry .... and sorry to anybody else that I forgot (muttering to self about the hazards of on-line forums ...)
     
  50. Luis,
    My response about seeing in 1 degree cones was not related to the nature of your response to Anders about frames, but to how we can learn to see by that obligatory fragmentary seeing function. I directed my observation to you as I assumed that you might be interested in that additional aspect of how we see and how it influences the way we see, just as I am interested in knowing if others have similar or different experiences in learning to see as my few personal ways of seeing that I mentioned in my initial response above. I welcome discussions based upon the continuing development and modification of ideas between the participants.
     
  51. Luis "And if anyone here actually did, I'd love to hear it." why? "who bet their farm, gave up comfort, financial security, family, safety, decades of their lives, marriages, etc for their photography" I did, am. Assuming that the farm is a metaphor and just one marriage (so far), I have done just that ... word for word. What do you want to know? That is part of how I learned to see ... it is how i live, it impacts nearly every aspect of my life. It would be simpler to tell you what it does not iimpact if I could think of it...
    I have also experienced how dramatically Fred's life has been infected by his dedication, passion for learning and doing the last 5 years. The irony is that he used to give me heat for the sacrifice of comfort I made.
    Fred "Were we to make an issue of our sacrifice and/or suffering, I can imagine we'd be nailed to the cross in this forum!" :cool:
     
  52. Arthur, I like the way you talked about seeing things as they are not. I know what you mean and yet I always have a hard time talking about it. That's because I vacillate between feeling as if I'm seeing things as they are not and actually seeing them as I see them and as they are for me. Seeing them as they are not seems to imply to me that there is a way it really is aside from the way I have seen it. I question that. My seeing it (in a different way than another would see it or photograph it, perhaps with blur, perhaps with excited color, perhaps with exaggerated scale relationships) is its own reality. And I tend not to compare it anymore to a standard of Fred seeing that is, shall I say, more tame, more expected, more in line. It actually is often what and how I see now. Even before photographing, some of my more "exploratory" experiences of the 70s have caused me to see differently to this day. What is NOT there is at least part of my experienced visual grammar and vocabulary. The NOT has, at least to some extent and on more and more occasions, become the IS.
     
  53. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I commented on a sudden shift from edge/corner concerns (tight visual framing) to conceptual framing (ie frame of reference), and I speculated as to the reason. Need I ask a panel of wannabe moderators for permission to make such observations?
    No, I distinctly wasn't pronouncing judgements on others...there was a dramatic shift and I thought it interesting and "telling." I specifically pointed out that I have the same issue (or weakness): tendency to obsess on detail, thereby missing significance.
    Like many, I sometimes almost-intentionally distract myself from what I actually know to be most important (most significant) through that very compositional/edge-corner "frame" concern.
    I especially wanted to point out that many of the photos we (I) esteem are remembered without whatever's in the corners and edges...which may suggest that memory prioritizes what's most significant.

    Phylo, "intellectual-sounding" was a reference to convoluted, florid writing used to discuss common, relatively mundane ideas (re "frame").
     
  54. [Left my reading glasses @ home, can't see a thing. If it wasn't for the red underlining of the spell check, I'd be butchering this wholesale]
    Phylo - "In either case, you are excluded rather comfortably from those 99%, not having any pictures here on photo.net, to judge that comparison from...Which is not a crime I know, but :"
    No, Phylo, you misunderstand: There's no comfort for the wicked. I will happily exclude myself from that 1%. I have never made any pretentious claims about my own work, know enough about art and history to have any illusions about it.
    When I run across work that I see as truly extraordinary, my ccomments will reflect it. This is not to say that there isn't above-average, innovative good quality work in the PoP ranks. world-Cclass work is something else entirely.
    I manage to get into enough trouble here as it is, so no names and after a recent incident, no reviews.
     
  55. as if it isn't, why would it need be a review? I thought it was about how we learn and the introduction of dedication or sacrifice.
    Luis "It was a serious question ... "
     
  56. Fred - ""And if anyone here actually did, I'd love to hear it."
    Cool. Many of us let our photos do a lot of the talking"
    Tres cool. I go by that criterion, I'm sorry to report that I am not seeing anything that comes close (in the context of its own time) to what Avedon, Weston, Goldin (whom I do not put at the same level of the others mentioned) and Frank did in their time. How I would love to discover any unknown of that caliber here.
    Not that it really matters to anyone but the egomaniacs, because all you are capable of doing at a given moment is more or less a fixed given. All we can do is the best we can.
    But your mileage obviously vaires, and if you really think you are at that level right now, there are galleries in any major city in the US and Europe you could walk into and be recognized. No respectable gallery owner would let anyone of that caliber slip through their hands undiscovered.
    Crucifixions on the PoP? We have no shortage of Crucifiers or wanna-be Jesuses (Or is it Geeziii?)
     
  57. "The NOT has, at least to some extent and on more and more occasions, become the IS"
    Fred, I am glad that you also see that way. It has been a favourite part of my growth process in life, as well as seeing in photography. I think we learn to see better when we learn to question what we see better. It's only one way of learning to see, but an effective one.
     
  58. Arthur - "My response about seeing in 1 degree cones was not related to the nature of your response to Anders about frames, but to how we can learn to see by that obligatory fragmentary seeing function. I directed my observation to you as I assumed that you might be interested in that additional aspect of how we see and how it influences the way we see, just as I am interested in knowing if others have similar or different experiences in learning to see as my few personal ways of seeing that I mentioned in my initial response above. I welcome discussions based upon the continuing development and modification of ideas between the p participants."
    Arthur, the flak around here gets pretty dense, so please forgive me for assuming a defensive posture. I should wait until I get back to my glasses to give this post its proper due. You're right: It does interest me.
    J
     
  59. Luis you asked I answered and it is perceived as crucifixion..? Once again we butt heads and for what? Without your help I can only project the why. and that leads me nowhere I care to be.
    It is clear (sorry I changed this lead in) I made no claims or comparisons about the quality/placement of my own work and I was not asked. The answer there might surprise you but this is not the place for it. You're backhanded (almost frontal assault) is out of place here.
     
  60. Josh - "as if it isn't, why would it need be a review? I thought it was about how we learn and the introduction of dedication or sacrifice.""
    It's called thread drift. I do not think I used the word "review". I used "comment".
     
  61. jtk

    jtk

    Luis theorized about the origin of rectangular "frames" :

    "Most of us were born through a er...frame. .. in a rectangular room. We were handed to our mothers swaddled in a rectangular or square blanket. Our mothers held us in a rectangular bed. We stared at a rectangular ceiling. People entered and left the room through a door frame. And that was just the first DAY."

    "Our world, as seen through our eyes, is framed in a butterfly pattern. As children, we watched TV in a rectangular frame. Looked out into the world through window frames. Most of us live in cities, and if one refers to either Anders' or Phylo's pictures, we are seeing a patchwork quilt of stitched subframes. That's how we learned to see in frames."

    Predictably, I don't agree that we see "in frames," particularly not in rectangular, and certainly not in Luis's "butterfly" frames (which may have to do with "no-line" bifocals :)
    We construct continually evolving visual panoramas of varying momentary shapes depending on the situation, we see blurs, infants see nipples and breasts.
    Neither TV nor windows nor cities, nor the photography of any of us (Anders, Phylo, myself) are a "patchwork quilt of stitched subframes." Those are their own specific phenomena, together they are simply groups of rectangles in the midst of all sorts of other shapes...they do not reflect any native way of seeing, they simply represent convenient standard formats.
    btw, yes, in my part of the world we are born through the "..a er.." frame Luis mentioned, but it isn't rectangular. Perhaps he was joking... or maybe women are built differently in his part of the world :)
     
  62. Josh - :Luis you asked I answered and it is perceived as crucifixion..? Once again we butt heads and for what? Without your help I can only project the why. and that leads me nowhere I care to be.
    It is clear (sorry I changed this lead in) I made no claims or comparisons about the quality/placement of my own work and I was not asked. The answer there might surprise you but this is not the place for it. You're backhanded (almost frontal assault) is out of place here."
    I edited out the part you;'re referring to as you typed the above. It was in response to another post of yours, which I have responded to indeoendently. I was addressing Fred's post with the crucifixion reference. I have no interest whatsoever in butting head with you. The why? Here Julie stereotyped me as a "What" kind of guy
    . There was no frontal or other assault intended. If the Mods agree with you, I am certain I'll hear about itl.
     
  63. John wrote:
    I especially wanted to point out that many of the photos we (I) esteem are remembered without whatever's in the corners and edges​
    You might be right, John, on that, but still, when discussing frames it might be relevant to mention that some photographers seem to use the extreme of the frame for some good purpose.
    Go to Harry Callahan and his pictures of the 70's from Cape Cod: here, here or to a lesser degree this one here.
    Of course not all of Callahan photos use the border to create the "dynamics" of the scene. Here is one, with nothing what so ever on the border of the frame, which probably is the force of that particular shot.
    You could also look at this photo of Sergio Larrain from Valparaso, which uses the same means at the border.
     
  64. jtk

    jtk

    Anders, of course you're right that some photographers use the extremes of frames for good purpose...most of us probably do, at least occasionally.
    Photographers who use totally defocused or black or white or otherwise featureless backgrounds do position a subject somewhere, even that frame...yes. On the other hand, their work doesn't depend on our examination of corners and edges any more than Shakespeare's work asks for that. Hamlet could declaim from the center or off to the side for various effects...maybe that'd be significant or maybe it'd just be a director's vanity.
     
  65. Arthur " I think we learn to see better when we learn to question what we see better. " I enjoy posing questions in my photos but perhaps learn even more by others images that pose,suggest questions to me or at its best works that have me just ask my own question. Questioning has always been a solid technique for me to learn. Even if that seems obvious I found I had to train myself to see works ... and life as you point out, in that way.
    I have been following loosely the recent PoP forums. Taste, learning, viewers experience, when is it good yada. I don't recall coming across the aging factor explored. May be wrong...? as i read these forums for me many brought to my mind my aging process as a hugely influential factor. My taste has been in near constant flux throughout my life. What I thought was great 20-30 years ago now has little or less than 0 value to me. Normal right...? a very small handful has endured. Then at different milestones in my life - minor and major - I will respond to images under the influence of what is going on for me. baggage and all.
    So images good or bad that tweak the right buttons (i have many buttons) can become useful for me. But even through this personal vail I have learned to see and recognize good even great work that is not to my taste. That ability opens the gates to potential for me to tap. I study in my fashion good work that I would not care to make but in doing so I have a larger vocabulary to work with.
     
  66. No need for moderation Luis...yet :cool:. we'll just move on.
     
  67. In this picture I framed ( released the shutter, framing or working with the edge has often as much to do with timing ) for the right lower corner / edge. Already had the Jesus statue in the middle, and then hit the shutter as soon as the man walked in, I anticipated he was going to walk in there, without him there wouldn't be an image. It created an "X" and a "triangle".
    00X5lI-269861684.jpg
     
  68. What about semiology, and learning / unlearning to see.
     
  69. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, yes. I barely grasp the idea, if at all. Perhaps you could expand on your understanding.
    ...how does semiotics, the word/concept, relate to "leaning/unlearning to see"?
    I think of semiotics in relation to "finding meaning," which relates to my concern about "significance" rather than "seeing."
    Here's one person's expositon: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem02.html
     
  70. Phylo, I am Jonesing for Chicago from seeing your photos. Looks like you got some good pictures. I've stood right where you stood for both of those.
     
  71. Tending to particular areas of the frame, like the edges/corners/center/etc is a perfectly OK thing for anyone to do and/or learn.
    Seeing the whole frame is, in my experience, the thing, and I don't mean that in an egalitarian manner. Some pictures are naturally weighed one way or another. One way I taught to learn this is to set the camera (and a zoom lens) on a tripod, frame a picture, and make your exposure(s). Now, zoom out, and make another exposure. When you get home, compare the deliberately framed one with the wider one, and try alternate crops of the same view. The differences will tell you something about how the edges were being managed.
     
  72. how does semiotics, the word/concept, relate to "leaning/unlearning to see"?​
    In simple photographic terms, it could mean learning to see beyond the symbol / sign we ( automatically ) may assign to a pictures content or to the picture as a whole. This picture of yours is besides its literal content of *signs* also a sign/symbol as a whole, but can also be seen as an abstraction, a scheme, of shades of black and gray. Without it being an abstract.
    Or, in a photography context, the term could mean, seeing ( not "unseeing" ) the semiology and identity of a time and place and translating it into the visual.
    Again, from Refractions :
    Every culture evolves its own unigue semiology, its own system of signs and glyphs. It can be the language, music, or entirely visual stimuli that show me the way.​
    This is subjective I think for every photographer, in the way he/she can see and translate this semiology into something visual, into an image. I photograph differently in different places, or differently put, let the places speak through the photographs. Like below image from Sicily, which to me was a visual translation to that specific sense of place, with its ingrained Italian identity. It doesn't necessarily shows where its made, but I couldn't make this kind of image in Belgium in a natural manner, which to me has a more dark, greyer, surrealist melancholy pull and fix to it, as a photographic place.
    I think Arthur also spoke in the past about the *semiology* of his Quebec, Canada and how it translates to his photographs. It's this kinda *photographic semiology* that I was thinking about, one of time and place, rather than an ant crawling in the sand., which in the end is more about words than images.
    I think one learns to see everytime one visits a new place, or remembers and comes across an old one.
    00X5nv-269899584.jpg
     
  73. Phylo, I am Jonesing for Chicago from seeing your photos. Looks like you got some good pictures. I've stood right where you stood for both of those.​
    You mean the two in my portfolio ? I returned with some good pictures, still lots to process. I loved Chicago. Was there for only 4 days but will definitely go back. Memories. Next stop will be *somewhere* in the state Maine, some small town there I guess, which I suspect will also have its own ( photographic ) pull and whisper to it.
     
  74. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, thanks. I will invest some thought in this. I do agree with your analyses of my photo...actually felt some guilt about overt use of the words and intentional grafitti-art, but it was so well done, and the tones were interesting...so I yeilded.
    Let me commend you for writing with such directness and clarity... the concept is as complex and nuanced as anything we've seen on this Forum, almost always burdened by hundreds of words, dozens of commas...garbled by continual backing and filling :)
    I'm a novel-reader, have a hard time with philosophy but do OK with psychology and science generally.
    Scientists don't wrestle with verbage-approximations-of-idea to the extent philosophers do...instead they devise hypotheses, design experiments and test them. Perhaps that makes them like some novelists, who instead of refining plot, devise characters and see how they work when they're turned loose. The virtual people novelists create sometimes belabor philosophy as stand-ins for the author or reader.
    "...image from Sicily... I couldn't make this kind of image in Belgium in a natural manner, which to me has a more dark, greyer, surrealist melancholy pull and fix to it..." -- Phylo D.
    Well, the light's different, the language is different, the culture's different, and the cuisine's different. Other than that... :)
     
  75. Arthur - "Another way I have learned to see is to seek out and isolate irregular or even absurd subject matter, again often in the form of details, that I feel can challenge our sense of what is a normal, or what is a generally chosen photographic depiction of that type of matter."
    We're on the same track on the above. This is part of what I was referring to when I brought up my exploration of the signifiers of photographic art.
    AP - "
    Our vision is also highly directional (I think that the eye sees most clearly in a 1 degree spot, or something like that) and we are consequently forced to scan scenes, faces, or images, to take in all their parts. I think I am becoming more interested in that scanning function in regard to learning how to see and create an image. It is a good thing, as we are obliged to scan a subject in perceiving it and in analysing how or what we wish to photograph."
    The eye automatically moves in its own autonomic rapid native scans. These are called saccades, and they come in two flavors. The major ones can be seen with the naked eye, the minor ones are too quick and tiny to be discernable without instrumentation. Analysis occurs much later, after the photons reaching the retina are transduced into electrochemical signals that travel through the optic nerve and into the brain.
     
  76. Phylo, I find it hard to (both understand and) apply to photographic learning and approach what Pulham is discussing, because if I read his thesis right he is not so much supporting semiology as questioning the appropriateness of any constructs that attempt to relate the physical world with the photograph, design or written text about it. I no doubt need to re-read the text, I had tried to struggle through it once before (not being a philosopher, or so trained), but lost track about 3/4s of the way down the text.
    On your interesting aspect of, and learning of, semiology and our local society and culture, I acknowledge that the way we make images is connected with our specific cultural baggage, but I think that the picture itself may or may not relate to those references, except in certain cases. While the Silicilian dress was perhaps photographed by you with relation or reference to your culture of Holland, as opposed to that of a photographer from Sicily, I am not sure that the image evokes a Dutch view of Sicily. It is certainly convincing and evocative of a Mediterranean (or even a possible Caribbean) atmosphere - accepting John's reservation of that representation as it can be argued that you could perhaps produce a fairly similar image in Rotterdam or Delft, given a colorful clothesline and light colored building (without identifying gables) - but I don't see it particularly having the imprint of someone from northern Europe. Not like your more intimate images of doorways and windows in a small Dutch village. Perhaps the opposite would also be true, of a Sicilian photographing bicycle riders or canals in Amsterdam or Delft. We possibly transpose ourselves effectively when we photograph in a foreign place, adopting quickly the atmosphere of the place visited. Perhaps the semiology operates best when an American is photographing an iconic American festival or place, or a Dutch person is photographing an event or place in Holland. The references and the representations are possibly much more closely linked in those cases. Maybe this doesn't make much sense, but it does relate to what and how we learn to see, and the effect of semiology.
    Luis, your description of the automation of our viewing, with the handicap of a very tunnel vision, is interesting, and I did not know it worked at both a conscious and unconscious level. As the conscious one seems to be the more extended sweeping one, it does imply I think a certain choice in where we arrest our eye, if only briefly, and the exclusion of all else at that particular time. Like an instant in the space of time, it is a fragment in the overall vision. I think I have learned to decompose or disassociate a whole image while photographing it and choosing a part of it that becomes the raison d'etre of my intention to photograph. Iam not usually successful at it, but it is a process, nonetheless. Another person may view the same scene and choose a different element or aspect to highlight. Cause and effect might suggest though that this has nothing to do with the learning of the way the eye works, or that it works in such a blinkered way, but has more to do with the culture, mood, curiosity (empathy with the thing being photographed), or intentionality of the photographer. I would think that the latter set predominates, with the possible exception of perhaps the presence of other (psychological, brain-programmed) forces that make our furtive glance arrest at a specific point.
     
  77. jtk

    jtk

    "The eye automatically moves in its own autonomic rapid native scans."
    More obviously importantly to photography (IMO), the eye is directed by curiosity and intentionality. Those are of course unpopularly recognized as they imply that some actual human occupies the skull in question.
    Among phenomena as minor as "saccades" (and "optical nystagmus" a similar behavior) are "phosphenes,' little spots of light that seem emulated sometimes by digital over-sharpening...known well to physiological (perceptual) psychologists, ignored generally by opthamologists.
     
  78. Phylo, what I hear you saying is that one sees within a context and also that context determines what and how one sees and photographs. Perhaps "determines" is too strong. That context "allows" one to see and photograph as one does. I think recognizing that state of affairs allows me to transcend it to some extent. I then wind up dealing with the tension between being tied to some context while simultaneously affecting that context, thereby influencing and changing it. It's always seemed to me that semiotics recognizes both the limit and freedom inherent in signs, symbols, and contexts. They are like shifting, ever-cracking foundations. They provide a footing but can also cause us to lose that footing.
     
  79. Arthur, I also appreciate your idea of questioning what we see, for sure. It's hard to learn without asking questions and it's hard to really see without some sense of curiosity, even intrigue.
    I hope you'll expand on your thoughts about photographing people.
    I get much more out of people's actions than their accomplishments. Accomplishments often seem to me like resumés, a flat listing. One accomplishes things like getting a certain grade, reaching a certain level of school, fulfilling certain goals. I find actions much more telling and much more evocative of mood. Action is an important part of freedom, choice, and morality, all very human. Accomplishment can be fairly barren and also deceptive. One can graduate college, a hollow accomplishment if it's not accompanied by individual academic actions that have some sort of significance. One can accomplish 50 years of a loveless marriage. It is the actions within the marriage that will tell me what I want to know about the individual involved.
    Photographing actions, which require some degree of gesture, can be very dynamic and very much alive when people are photographed as more than mere things. I don't think a specific or non-ambiguous human story has to be told in order to provide something human and telling.
     
  80. Keeping it on the ground and without intellectualizing the subject, I have often observed that certain places make me see without limits and other places seem to close my photographical eye. I normally explain such phenomena by the fact (?) that certain places have obviously (?) a soul (Paris, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Tokyo...) other places are without because they have never had or because it has been destroyed by wars, town planning etc.
    I also believe that the photographical eye we are talking about is heavily culturally biased. No because of the influence of the place we are shooting but because of the cultural bias of personal history, education, affinities and common surroundings. The great differences between European, US, japanese photography for example are in my mind a clear reminder of this phenomenon that we normally do not manage to get to grips with here on PN.
     
  81. Fred - "Photographing actions, which require some degree of gesture, can be very dynamic and very much alive when people are photographed as more than mere things."
    Would you consider photographing a statically posed subject, perhaps in a frozen gesture, photographing 'action'? Can things be photographed as more than mere things?
     
  82. I want to add a little bit to something Anders and John were talking about yesterday. Anders quoted John thus:
    "I especially wanted to point out that many of the photos we (I) esteem are remembered without whatever's in the corners and edges"​
    Anders used several Harry Callahan photos to show how the frame is "full" even when it's "empty." I just want to amplify what I think Anders was getting at. A gorgeous gradient "empty" space is not emtpy in a photograph. It's like the space between the notes -- the silence that is necessarily part of the music. Such silences are not usually noticed unless they are very long, or as in the Callahan, used so expressively, but they are no less important to the structure of the whole than is/are the notes of the central melody.
    A silence in music is not a good time to cough or check your messages and the space that's not the "main thing" in a photograph is not a good place to leave a bunch of junk or a sky that looks like a disease.
     
  83. In my view people do not have to act, make gestures or faces to become human and interesting on a photo. Nothing is more recognizable for all viewers than humans. They would never just become "things" in the eyes of the viewer. They might be treated as things (alienation) and that might be the message of many street photographies or nature scenes. However it is exactly because the viewer knows that humans are not "things" that such photos can have strength and "burn" as Julie so well has formulated it. I think we all have examples of such photos in our portfolios.
     
  84. [Warning: nudity and opinion in the following post.]
    Anders, people photographed as things and viewed as things. (A giveaway is self-describing these nudes as "artistic" in the folder title, a word often used as an excuse, in this case for erections.)
    I agree with Anders that people do not have to act, make gestures or faces to be human and interesting in a photo. I talked about action to make the most obvious example I could think of in response to Arthur's thoughts about photographing humans.
    I disagree with you, Anders, that people never become things in people's eyes. People become things in others' eyes (both in photographs and not in photographs) all the time. Some nude "studies" of people make them things and I love some of those photos. I don't mind people being made into things with awareness. But they can also be made into things unconsciously or with malice or under pretense of "art" and that can be dicey.
    Luis, yes, things can be photographed as more than mere things. Weston's pepper simultaneously is "thingy" and transcends its "thing-ness". It is a pepper extraordinaire and a beguiling photograph of a pepper. The latter part of that description is one of the ways in which it transcends. The light and shape, and the gesture of the photographer, are aids toward transcendence. The focus of attention on the pepper is transcending.
    As for the question about a statically-posed gesture, for me there's a difference between gesture and action. My choosing "action" in order to respond to Arthur's hesitation about what photographs of humans can be and his belief that what we accomplish (among other things) "defines" us was, again, meant to make my point as obvious as possible, though I believe many other things suggest humanity in a photograph, including gesture, both photographer's and subject's. Gesture suggests action, IMO, more than it is action. Static poses can be very dynamic when photographed and certainly can suggest humanity. There are, of course, also active gestures, but I wouldn't think of those as static poses.
    I've said before, and it's worth repeating here, that what we look like and what's on the surface is also very human. I don't think we always have to dig "deep" to find humanity. There is humanity in persona, mask, skin texture, clothing chosen (usually an action performed freely), etc. I can see humanity. I can show and be shown it. I don't have to be told about it.
     
  85. This is for Josh and a little bit for Fred (I'm worried about you!), in response to Luis's bit, "Although everyone here talks good game, who bet their farm, gave up comfort, financial security, family, safety, decades of their lives, marriages... "
    ... that completely misses the point. Casanova, Don Juan, Romeo, [fill in your local favorite lady-killer or man-killer] became Casanova, Don Juan, Romeo [or your local favorite] by giving up "comfort, financial security, family, safety, decades of their lives, marriages ..." but I don't hear them complaining. ("All those tango lessons!", "The cost, the pain of those hair-implants!" ...)
    Doing what you love is not a sacrifice or a hardship. It's not "talking a good game."
    [I, on the other hand, lie in bed all day in my pink chiffon nightie eating bon-bons. Sometimes I poilish my toenails, but that's so exhausting ...]
     
  86. Julie, no need to worry, but thanks!
    People sacrifice without complaining about it all the time. Rest assured, there have been no complaints from Josh and you'll hear none from me.
    There is a kind of tension wrapped up in the idea of sacrifice. That tension is described in one of the on-line definitions of "sacrifice": "selfless good deeds for others or a loss in return for a greater gain." Losses that yield greater goods are still very much losses, especially to the one losing something.
     
  87. Fred, to a great degree I agree with you, people on photos are often treated as things - maybe even mostly. This is exactly what alienation is all about. The good news is however that to a great degree people treated like things by photographers are viewed as real human beings by viewers. Not necessarily individuals with private life, history and feeling but as archetypes of humans acting in a social world.

    I can make a photo of what some would call street theatre, treating people like actor in a show they are not themselves aware. The viewer would probably, if I succeed, see it as people doing their private business. Here is one on two levels.
    00X63g-270143584.jpg
     
  88. Phylo, I find it hard to (both understand and) apply to photographic learning and approach what Pulham is discussing - Arthur​
    Me too, while interesting and stimulating, I simply pointed to it in line of John's own link on the topic of semiology / symbols / signs. But I was rather using semiology here as it can be used from the "straightforward" photographer's point of view, as it's being used in R.G's Refractions.
    While the Silicilian dress was perhaps photographed by you with relation or reference to your culture of Holland, as opposed to that of a photographer from Sicily, I am not sure that the image evokes a Dutch view of Sicily.​
    That's not was I meant in showing it and / or talking about its semiology, for it to evoke a Dutch view of Sicily, I meant for the images ( plural as it belongs to a series ) to evoke a view and feel of the place I was in, which was Sicily and Palermo specifically, with its own semiology and symbology attached to it. I opened up ( with succes or not ) to let that semiology speak through the photographs, instead of marking my own use of symbology on it. Which is not to say that I wasn't seeing and photographing from my own personal perspective. But this is not a Belgium photograph for example, even if it was made in Belgium, it wouldn't belong being made there.
    Phylo, what I hear you saying is that one sees within a context and also that context determines what and how one sees and photographs. Perhaps "determines" is too strong. That context "allows" one to see and photograph as one does. - Fred​
    Yes, it's the allowing to see and provide a context even while we are being determined to see within nothing but our own context.
    ----------
    ( Arthur, I'm not from Holland but from Belgium, they are close but yet world's apart ! )
     
  89. Phylo,
    Please excuse my confusion about your home country. If I had read more carefully your interesting post, it should have been obvious. I once visited both Belgium and Holland, was impressed by both, and appreciate their individual uniqueness. It appears I also missed your point about your type of seeing in respect of your Sicilian image (which I find quite fresh, and I share the interest for the type of seeing you have learned to do, with your attention to details as key elements in making an image). Making that image in Belgium would be quite a bit more difficult, as you say. In a related context, I wonder though what most often influences our seeing, the adopting of the 'aura' or atmosphere that the subject and place communicates to us, or the infusing of our own cultural experience into the image? Of course, that will vary between individuals and it is probably more difficult to infuse one's cultural experience or signature into an image of a foreign place, although our specific style (that more apparent part of our signature) of the photographer might be more readily evident in the image.
    Fred,
    I do not photograph people with the quality of approach and attention to them as you do so well. Perhaps introducing to a portrait their accomplishments does not support a human portrait too well, as it always seemed to me a bit gratuitous as a method to see a sportsman photographed beside his medals or racing bicycle or kayak. It is a sometimes too evident connection. Going deeper than that is not easy, unless one can place the subject in a context that mirrors some quality related to his or her accomplishments. I can imagine a tennis player or gymnast being photographed while walking along the top of a board fence, or at the edge of some natural or man-made precipice. But again, that doesn't really get into the human, it only makes some superficial association, however relevant. I think that perhaps the image background or the context in which the portrait is made can perhaps serve to describe the individual, as you have done in several of your images. I personally went through a very questioning period (one of many) about 15-20 years ago and took a few photographs of myself (shadows) and friends (multiple exposures with background references) at that time which may show some of the feelings I reserved then for myself (somewhat universal issues of "alone in the world" and "direction") and others. I will upload them sometime this week and either reference them to your OT or put them in the "request a critique" space and let you know. I think this OT on seeing is very useful.
     
  90. BTW, Anders, you really are good with that social world theme in your photographs. There's an unsentimental, uplifting quality to it, of what we are and can be. Reminds me of some Berenice Abbott and Renee Burri.
    ____________________________
    Julie... what I said yesterday wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. Fred needs no defense because he was not attacked. My post was not about him. Who bound the idea of sacrifice to complaining? Read back, because *I* didn't, so please do not ascribe it to me. I openly asked about sacrifice. I did not equate an answer to "complaining".
    For the record, I've never spoken of sacrifice in regard to myself here.
    It all goes back to the still open question about how does one get from fambly snap to Weston, Goldin, Frank and Avedon. Hard work is not enough. Recipes and guidebooks will not do. Technical perfection is not required (besides Avedon, none of the others were/are technical prodigies). No maps, roads or trail markers. All we have is the history of how these photographers did it (and it is filled with lacunae, at that).
    My answer, and there are many, was that one gets there primarily via personal transformation (and honed talent, and many other things that just because they're not being mentioned are not being denied). Apparently, no one else here agrees ( Julie's endless stream of insightful and incisive quotes allude to it constantly) and that's fine.
    [ And as with everything else in life, there are glaring exceptions. Bill Brandt was a trust-fund baby, lived quite well, never had to worry about a job or the rent check, and with very few exceptions, did not photograph between assignments.]
    Julie- [I, on the other hand, lie in bed all day in my pink chiffon nightie eating bon-bons. Sometimes I poilish my toenails, but that's so exhausting ...]
    I only eat baby food nowadays. Trust me on this: Outsource the toenail polish, it's too much of a sacrifice.
     
  91. as it always seemed to me a bit gratuitous as a method to see a sportsman photographed beside his medals or racing bicycle or kayak. It is a sometimes too evident connection. Going deeper than that is not easy, unless one can place the subject in a context that mirrors some quality related to his or her accomplishments. - Arthur​
    That's what I find this Friedlander'esque picture of Lance Armstrong by Anton Corbijn to be doing, mirroring speed / peak, with the element of the tree "growing out of his head" to be mimicking the pointed aerodynamic form of a time trial helmet. If not that literal, the composition / placement of elements somehow does mirror the sports character of the subject pretty well I think, focused towards a point.
    Of course, part of it in this case is knowing who the subject is.
     
  92. Phylo - "That's what I find this Friedlander'esque picture of Lance Armstrong by Anton Corbijn to be doing, mirroring speed / peak, with the element of the tree "growing out of his head" to be mimicking the pointed aerodynamic form of a time trial helmet. If not that literal, the composition / placement of elements somehow does mirror the sports character of the subject pretty well I think, focused towards a point."
    I saw the pointy tree behind Armstrong as more of either a wizard's hat, or a metaphor for a pinnacle. The smaller dead trees over to the left of his head as a sign of the end of a miraculously long and distinguished career. The nubbins of architecture behind him look like mausoleums to me. I see it as a premature eulogy for his halo days.
     
  93. "My answer, and there are many, was that one gets there primarily via personal transformation" --Luis
    Actually, Luis, your answer, as far as you stated it in this thread, was:
    "They developed, cultivated and individuated themselves along the way to a degree that is hard to grasp. They sacrificed . . ."
    And you added to "sacrificed", importantly:
    "what most of us here never have."
    An assumption such as this, especially a false one, served to emphasize the sacrifice part and allowed me to negate other considerations you might have had in mind but didn't specify. It also read to me as a challenge (not to me personally but to the group).
    It seemed even more of a particular type of challenge when you said:
    "everyone here talks good game"
    I think what it takes to go from snap-shooter to Weston is also: intention (one wants to get to that level, though some who don't even think about it get there any way), talent, luck, an innate gift. It depends if we're talking about getting to the level of photographer they are or getting the recognition they did. To get recognition it's often about timing, who you know, the circles you travel in, personality, etc. To get as good photographically, it would take as compelling a vision as they had and their ability to express that vision with camera and post processing tools.
    Personally, I'll be happy with a vision and a coherent body of work and also with a few people asking me to create a portrait for them. I'm not competing with Avedon. I'll be happy with a continually-evolving Fred.
    I wanted to address this because you've brought it up a couple of times and didn't want to seem like I was "ignoring" it. You asked me a few questions about seeing which I answered and I'm wondering if there was anything further about those issues that might still be pursued, especially regarding the visually telling aspects of action, pose, and gesture, how we see and show them and what we actually see and show with them.
     
  94. Luis, yes, a good reading of the background, etc. I do think the photographers main intention ( what Corbijn *saw* ) was placing Armstrong in front of that specific tree, "regardless" of background. The tree being then an aerodynamic continuation ( *speed* ) of Armstrongs body, head and shoulders, towards a *peak*.
    Here's a very different portrait ( Stephan Vanfleteren ) of Eddy Merckx, another, uhm, *accomplished* cyclist / sportsman. He's photographed in his old shirt, calling back to the days of glory but without portraying / photographing him any less glorious.
     
  95. jtk

    jtk

    "[ And as with everything else in life, there are glaring exceptions. Bill Brandt was a trust-fund baby, lived quite well, never had to worry about a job or the rent check, and with very few exceptions, did not photograph between assignments.]" --Luis G
    Luis, I think highly of Brandt's work, hadn't been curious about his finances (like HCB's?).
    How are Brandt's (or HCB's similar) finances relevant, in your estimation, to his work? A case could be made, undoubtedly (but not by me)...what do you mean to imply ?
    Is it "better" to photograph between assignments...or is it "better" for some to refrain ?
    Take this a step further with another photographer. Forget the security that Life Magazine employment meant for W.Eugene Smith...did his divided life (jazz hanger-on, audio recording, and photography) contribute to the overall significance of the photography or does it raise questions? Would his life's work be "better" if he'd focused more and financially struggled more?
    http://www.jazzloftproject.org/?s=book
    Is a photographer who works constantly likely to produce work that's as stellar as s/he might produce with less constant image-making? All work, no play, dull boy etc?
     
  96. Fred - This: "They developed, cultivated and individuated themselves along the way to a degree that is hard to grasp."
    I rephrased as: " personal transformation"
    Are they really that different?
    Fred - "I'll be happy with a continually-evolving Fred."
    Exactly. That's what I was referring to when I said that only the egomaniacs fret about being at the top.
    As to this: "You asked me a few questions about seeing which I answered and I'm wondering if there was anything further about those issues that might still be pursued, especially regarding the visually telling aspects of action, pose, and gesture, how we see and show them and what we actually see and show with them."
    I am, in this instance, doing my best to try to understand you. It's not that I don't know if a thing can be photographed as something else, you know I know. My questions were to draw you out into making finer discriminations clear. If I didn't care, I'd just blow by it. For example, making the distinction between "action" and what you see as action-suggested-by-gesture. That clarified your position.
    No, I am not leading up to anything and there is no ulterior motive to my questions.
     
  97. Though my photographing has taken over my life some in the last decade, I also need to live without a camera always at my side in order to be who and what I want to be ("be" being a fluid, not static, concept). My traveling, my loves, sex, grief, my relationship with my father and family and friends, are not done to advance my photographic agenda, yet they do, precisely because I am able to let go of that photographic agenda long enough to be in the moment when the moment is not (directly and specifically) about photographing. I can bring that stuff to a photograph when the time is right. This seems to work for me.
    I, too, wonder how many of these "lifestyle" issues are related to our work. I think some surely are. As Phylo noted, context will affect a lot of what we produce. But some of the biography stuff is besides the point and a distraction to the work (including the process of working) itself. A lot of artistic sacrifice is mythologized, though a lot of it is very real. And a lot of financial benefit doesn't help actual photographic ability one iota though it makes it easier to afford gear, tools, travel, and even access, which can certainly be useful.
     
  98. "No, I am not leading up to anything and there is no ulterior motive to my questions." --Luis
    Nor am I. I asked because I wanted to hear your thoughts in addition to your questions, which did, in fact, help me refine some key distinctions.
     
  99. jtk

    jtk

    " A gorgeous gradient "empty" space is not emtpy in a photograph. It's like the space between the notes --" --- Julie H
    Yes, to the extent that a photograph is equivalent to a musical performance (Ansel's famous comparison had to do with the act of printing, not with the print). However the question I asked had to do with "significance" and what one "remembers," it didn't have to do with composition, "design", dynamic tension et al.
    I don't think composition/graphic design is nearly as important to strong photography as are many other factors.
    That one does brilliant, long-practiced, unconsciously well-composed grab-shots ("street") is not similar to saying one does significant photography.
    Composition, not very relevant to significance IMO, is easily learned (eg dynamic tension, off-centered "subject," relation to edge, no awkward tangential touches etc). When one brags about doing it semi-consciously it seems (to me) the merest vanity. Hallmark Cards used to hire the very most highly-trained illustrators and designers and then subjected them to further training in composition...their greeting-card success had substantially to do with knowing what most-commonly appeals (cute image, good composition).
    I don't think Picasso or Weston or Avedon or Arbus (etc etc) put much stock in composition, they were concerned more with a certain kind of portrayal of their subjects, known or unknown. In general, they positioned their subjects in the middle of their "frames" and went on with more significant aspects of their work.
     
  100. John, I agree with your assessment of composition, at least to the extent that there are more important factors.
    When I talk about the details that may be important in a background, it's because I think they impact the signification I'm giving to or getting from the subject, if there is a clear subject, which my photos usually have, being portraits. Though I would expect few to home in on such details and fewer to remember them, they may powerfully affect impact and alter response, even if not with awareness on the part of the viewer. What I and what a viewer remembers from viewing a photo or being somewhere is obviously important, but is not always indicative of how s/he remembers, what it feels like to remember . . . the tone or voice or character of the memory.
    I think significance is to a great extent about such character. I think unmemorable backgrounds and details (whether details of the subject or details in the background) can provide such character.
     
  101. jtk

    jtk

    "...a good reading of the background, etc. I do think the photographers main intention ( what Corbijn *saw* ) was placing Armstrong in front of that specific tree, "regardless" of background. The tree being then an aerodynamic continuation ( *speed* ) of Armstrongs body, head and shoulders, towards a *peak*."
    --- Phylo D
    In an interview on www.charlierose.com, Harold Bloom quotes Kant (Bloom translated from the German) to the effect that when one names an experience (eg calls it love), one kills it.
    I don't entirely grasp that, but I do think "reading" photographs takes away from the images' potential ...the way a biologist's essay might take the fun out of love, while a poet's songs might add to it.
     
  102. [Geezus...]
    John, I also think highly of Brandt's work and curious about his life. His entire life. His ideas of what was proper in reportage were er....unique, and eventually resulted in magazines stopping giving him assignments.
    JK - "How are Brandt's (or HCB's similar) finances relevant, in your estimation, to his work?"
    It places him (and many others) in a very different position in the real world than that of most photographers. It's atypical.
    No, it's not as brutally simple as about the advantages of being rich. In the case of Brandt, for example he would have been working a day job, or doing weddings to get by during the many idle times in his career -- or starved and been homeless.
    JK - "A case could be made, undoubtedly (but not by me)...what do you mean to imply ?"
    No implication, simple fact. Read into it what you will.
    JK - "Is it "better" to photograph between assignments...or is it "better" for some to refrain ?"
    Always hung up on the dichotomies, aren't you? Neither, John. It is an exception to the norm, and I clearly referred to it as such when I said: glaring exceptions. How often do we speak here of praxis? Of the assiduous work that so many do non-stop? The sacrifices that are so common that Fred said I should have asked who DIDN'T make them? Well, Brandt seems to have been an instinctive practitioner of Wei Wu Wei. He even joked about it.
    As I have stated many times, including today (if you read this forum), there is no single path.
    JK - " Forget the security that Life Magazine employment meant for W.Eugene Smith.."
    Let's not. Security? The self-financed Pittsburgh essay after he quit LIFE in 1955 bankrupted him. His friends helped him get a Guggenheim, and the famous School for Social Research in NYC gave him a teaching job. Smith was quite broke towards the end of his career, and was rescued (albeit not so selflessly) by the CCP, who also got his collection, a major coup for a photographically-oriented institution.
    Now, imagine Smith had been wealthy. How might that have affected his ability to do self-funded projects? How many more might there have been? OTOH, he also could have dissipated into obsession even more than he did. We will never know.
    I wasn't denigrating Brandt or diminishing him in any way whatsoever. Only remarking that he was an exception.
     
  103. jtk

    jtk

    "I think unmemorable backgrounds and details (whether details of the subject or details in the background) can provide ...character." ---Fred G (I hope my excision didn't alter Fred's meaning, see his post above)
    Fred, I think it's an unnecessary stretch to say that "absence" provides. That stretch seems intended to avoid thinking about the relationship that I posited between "memory" and "significance."
    Yes, this is superficially correct: "unmemorable backgrounds" can at least contribute to (if not provide) the "character" you mention. The degree to which that "character" (style?) is significant seems another question.
    My interest and question have to do with "significance," not "character"... both arguably (for the moment) unrelated.
    Avedon, like Penn and myriad others, used unmemorable backgrounds because he wanted attention elsewhere. That's the purpose of studio sweeps.
     
  104. JK - "I don't think composition/graphic design is nearly as important to strong photography as are many other factors."
    Why? What are the "other factors"?
    JK - "That one does brilliant, long-practiced, unconsciously well-composed grab-shots ("street") is not similar to saying one does significant photography."
    Can you give us some idea of what significant photography is, and what makes it so? How can you tell significant from insignificant?
    I almost missed this: JK-"I do think "reading" photographs takes away from the images' potential"
    Instant attack on my post about Corbjin? LOL!
     
  105. FG - "I asked because I wanted to hear your thoughts in addition to your questions, which did, in fact, help me refine some key distinctions."
    Thank you, Fred.
     
  106. jtk

    jtk

    "I wasn't denigrating Brandt or diminishing him in any way whatsoever. Only remarking that he was an exception." --- Luis G
    Luis, I bail out of the recurrant misunderstandings between you and other participants to the extent that they are explored for their own sakes (half of your posts on this thread). I do however read what you say, skimming past the misunderstandings because you do write well... In this instance I asked a question about an idea that you dangled...
    I don't think your report on Eugene Smith's ebbing and flowing finances contributes, though is no doubt accurately reported from an accountant's angle.
    Non-CPA measures of security seem to have led more directly to Eugene Smith's legacy: He had the relative security of Life Magazine fame, of a powerful social network, Guggenheim grant...and as significantly, as a white man accepted to a degree in a world of black men, in many instances his equals.
    He may have been relatively penniless in your terms ("bankrupt") but he had a studio, a huge collection of photo tools, and a fabulously-extensive audio recording system...not to mention passion and goals. Seems to me that he died rich.
    Concern with ownership of his works seems entirely irrelevant, except as it reinforces something about your way of understanding photography. That's not a criticism...we simply have different perspectives.
     
  107. jtk

    jtk

    Luis, chill. I didn't say anything about you re Corbjin.. I cited Phylo...why take away from him?
     
  108. Fred - "Though my photographing has taken over my life some in the last decade, I also need to live without a camera always at my side..."
    I remember Ernst Haas at an ICP lecture telling us how he used to carry a camera everywhere he went "...even to the store to get milk", and how it enhanced his work to stop doing that (and I'm not saying everyone should).
    FG - " But some of the biography stuff is besides the point and a distraction to the work (including the process of working) itself."
    You mean your own biography?
    FG - "A lot of artistic sacrifice is mythologized, though a lot of it is very real."
    ...and most is historically and factually documented.
    FG - "And a lot of financial benefit doesn't help actual photographic ability one iota though it makes it easier to afford gear, tools, travel, and even access, which can certainly be useful"
    Indeed. I also don't think it touches things like talent. But... let's do simple math. If there's any truth to the ten thousand hour thing, and you put in 40 hr weeks at it, it will take you 4.8 years to put the time in. If you have a full-time day job, and can only put in time doing the weekends, assuming you are a lone wolf, without family, friends, commitments, lawns to mow, laundry to do, etc., you might put in 16 hrs/wk. Now it will take you twelve years to get there. No, I am not discounting the distinct possibility that the additional life experiences a job provides might prove beneficial and/or transformative and potentially add to the work.
    There's too many variables to make viable predictions, of course.
    One can afford to get education, which is no small thing, though, yes [required PoP Disclaimer], lots of people have made it without one. And travel to meet other photographers, hear other minds, see others' work, collect it, and more.
    I am of the opinion that everything matters, but not equally to everyone.
     
  109. John, character is mostly what I think significance is about. The way something is expressed or attended to, not just that it is expressed or attended to.
    Absence does provide, though that's not what I was suggesting. Something not being remembered does not suggest it's present or past absence. It just means someone didn't remember it. But it was and may still be there.
    Because I didn't make much of your connection between memory and significance, once again, does not mean I was avoiding it.
    As far as I can tell, what you said on that matter was "memory prioritizes what's most significant." Unless you want to make a commitment to this idea by expanding on it with a few more words about it and suggest to me how and why memory prioritizes what's most significant, I won't really be moved to take it up seriously.
    I talked about what character is and how it might be available in or given to a subject, especially through unmemorable detail. You dismissed that and, as you did when you asserted a connection between memory and significance, with no reason.
     
  110. jtk

    jtk

    "Can you give us some idea of what significant photography is, and what makes it so? How can you tell significant from insignificant?" --- Luis G
    Luis, I can only repeat for you my understanding that "significance" is more question than answer. It is something we have personally to explore, may even agree upon to a degree with certain peers.
    I realize that's difficult for you...I'm not a scholar so generally avoid terminal-sounding, non-personal answers.
    When a scholar (I mentioned Harold Bloom earlier) speaks about ideas, his erudition is sometimes used in his struggle to come to grips with personal questions (unless he's a hack, merely publishing).
    Bloom hypothesized that Shakespeare "created" the human individual. Others have hypothesized that Shakespeare created the English language. Strong, arguable assertions like that are intended as questions, the way a scientist's hypotheses are intended (look into "scientific method"). My assertion is that "significance" is mostly a question, and as such is of far greater importance than "composition" and the like. The worth of a hypothesis is in its ability to stimulate exploration...hence question rather than answer.
    You, however, are of course free to value "composition" in any way you like.
     
  111. "You mean your own biography?" --Luis
    Both my own and others. I agree with you that everything matters, but that sounds too much like a platitude for me to make too much of it, sort of trivially true. It's the second part of your statement that I find more compelling, which is that everything does not matter equally to everyone. That's what I was getting at by saying "some" biography stuff is besides the point. I often find dwelling on some sorts of biographical information in some instances can lead to missing the bigger picture of the work. For me, this is about what aspects of biography are relevant to what aspects of the work in some significant manner and not about what I consider a much less compelling and descriptive understanding that everything matters.
     
  112. Nevermind.
     
  113. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I didn't mean to "dismiss" your statement that background could provide "character," I simply disagreed as to its contribution to significance...
    .... and I referred to the reason certain photographers have intentionally diminished background (white seamless paper etc).
    "... what you said on that matter was "memory prioritizes what's most significant." Unless you want to make a commitment to this idea by expanding on it with a few more words about it and suggest to me how and why memory prioritizes what's most significant, I won't really be moved to take it up seriously."
    You needn't be "moved to take it up seriously." Engagement and seriousness are up to you.
    The following is all IMO, hopefully that's acceptable: Memory measures significance. An un-remembered image is less significant than a remembered one. An image that evokes other remembered experiences and images is more significant than one that does not. When you photograph someone who looks like "an old sea captain" part, or most of the significance may be in that memory.
     
  114. Fred, on the biography business, you've prefaced and clarified that your comments are personal. What adds to someone's experience varies greatly from individual to individual. I carefully qualified the "Everything matters" thing, and it can be taken in many ways, from Julie's oft-stated sense of holism (which seems close to my own) to the mathematical, as in chaos theory re: dynamic systems. There are questions of scale, relevancy/redundancy/resolution, etc. Not equally to everyone.
    ____________________
    John, thanks for your usual patronizing non-answer. I asked for it.
    ____________________
     
  115. Fred, please, could you not in a few words tell what is being discussed between John and Luis - I might not be the only one that is somewhat lost !
    If they have answered your initial questions on how and what we learn see? I would like to know it. It might be interesting
     
  116. Memory measures significance. An un-remembered image is less significant than a remembered one.​
    At first sight. But an un-remembered image is not an un-existing image. It is a latent image, which may or may not be(come) more or less significant than a well developed one. Either way, they are both part of the same base.
     
  117. Anders, I think they're fly fishing for crappie (the Mickey Finn is recommended). But I'm reading your (Anders) posts and looking at your examples with great interest.
    [Looking sternly at Luis eating baby food in his pink chiffon nightie and fishing waders]
    I see where you describe my quotes as "insightful and incisive." You're just trying to butter me up.
    ... and ... and ... I am rather extremely fond of butter.
     
  118. Fly fishing ! Why were we not all invited. I love it.
     
  119. Hahahaha!~ Fishing for Crappies! I own entirely too many Mickey Finns, but the crappies here are kinda suicidally gluttonous. The key is to locate them.
    Julie - "[Looking sternly at Luis eating baby food in his pink chiffon nightie and fishing waders]
    Did I leave the webcam on?
    JH - "I see where you describe my quotes as "insightful and incisive." You're just trying to butter me up.
    ... and ... and ... I am rather extremely fond of butter."
    Whew...excellent! (who knew?) :)
    ______________________________
    Anders, the short answer to your question is: Nothing. It started out as an observation, and went nowhere. Not that interesting (and I wrote 1/2 of it) and Frankly, I wish I hadn't participated. If this software allowed it, I would delete all my posts re: John. Just think of it as thread garbage on an outgoing tide.
     
  120. Anders,
    [I'm laughing out loud at Luis's post, but pretending it's not there because I want to answer Anders's previous post as if it weren't ... ]
    Good lord, Anders, shhhhhh!! You don't want to go fishing with John and Luis. They start out with their lunch-boxes and there fishing whatchamadoodles (vests, hooks, harpoons, etc.) and all is well for about five minutes -- which is the limit of John's patience whereupon he throws a stick of dynamite into the water, collects all the fish and Luis is left there all bomb-frizzled with his little flies and stuff and no fish ... heck, no water left ... and John's saying, "What??"
     
  121. I bet I caught more than the two together despite their hooks and harpoons
    00X6Ex-270323584.jpg
     
  122. I'm sure you all meant well, but frankly I found it a bit rude to dismiss Anders question with such short and cavalier responses. As my posts on this forum are legendary for being both insightful and groundbreaking, I thought I'd give Anders a more detailed summary of what has transpired.
    The confusion first ensued when Luis said he was in trouble because his review of Avedon's childhood photographs neglected to take into account the silence in the corners of Callahan's photographs. This also upset Julie's methodology of holism which caused her to drop a bon-bon.
    John Kelly was unsure whether or not to take the dropped bon-bon seriously because, a.) Shakespeare had never invented the bon-bon and, b.) there was no video with accompanying narration to document the falling of the bon-bon. The lack of video documentation caused the bon-bon to disappear from John's memory, thereby rendering it insignificant.
    Phylo attempted to demonstrate the semiotics of the situation by taking a photograph of himself hitting Lance Armstrong over the head with a tree branch. The timer on his camera was defective, however, and the shutter never fired. Luckily, Anton Corbijn happened to be in the neighborhood at the time and kindly agreed to photograph the aftermath of this event.
    Fred explained why this made him sad, yet at the same time elated at the prospect of devoting an entire chapter of this incident to his upcoming biography.
    Luis responded with some cryptic remark involving lacunae and Avedon's wizard hat. Fred said he had his own wizard hat and certainly didn't need Avedon's. Luis said he did not intend to disparage Fred's wizard hat and that when he said lacunae he actually meant saccades.
    John Kelly mentioned that he once saw an interesting video on the saccadic movement of Thelonius Monk's eyes during a rendition of "Crepuscule with Nellie". Jeff Spirer said he'd attempted to document the very same thing with a San Francisco neo-punk band but he'd borrowed Phylo's camera and couldn't get the damn thing to work properly.
    Julie said she really missed her bon-bon and Fred offered her his wizard hat in an effort to console her. All the talk of bon-bon's made me hungry and I left off reading the thread to go get some Serbian cevapcici at the deli down the street.
    Please don't ever ask for an explanation of a POP thread again.
     
  123. ROFL! Tears are streaming down my face. Brilliant!
    Steve, you completely had me with your first paragraph. I thought for sure I was being sent to the principal's office.
     
  124. Thanks Steve, (I'm laughing, risking waking up the house (almost midnight) - the cat left already!) my problem is that I actually read the ping-pong and wondered where the ball was. I understand now that they actually play the game with each their ball and on different tables. They obviously have fun doing it.
    Do you play that game regularly here on the Philosophy and Photography forum?
     
  125. jtk

    jtk

    Steve... :)
    BTW, do you wear those Corbu glasses in real life ? Admirable.
     
  126. Anders, I went fishing only once, when I was about 14, on a family trip from New York to California. We went on a cousin's boat for the day. I was miserable and threw up. I haven't fished since. That's about all I've got for you on the subject. I'm glad you've joined the discussion and hope you'll continue your very grounded, clear posts.
    Yes, we've come a ways from seeing, but I think "significance" is important enough (John and I share that) to address it here (which I will do in a post following this one). We had a long thread on it about three years ago but a revisit is often useful. I think it relates to seeing, or certainly can be related to seeing, and perhaps each of us will do that for ourselves without even having to discuss it. I'd be interested in a new thread where we get into it further, but for now, after this post, I've got something else on my mind that I think I'll post.
     
  127. My introduction to "significance" came back in the early 70s when I first read Suzanne Langer's aesthetic theory. The root "sign" suggests that it's about indication, suggestiveness, and symbolism and Langer discusses it in terms of the power of a kind of expression that abstracts feeling itself rather than dealing with specific feelings.
    [I used the following quotes in the previous thread about significance 3 years ago.]
    ". . . music naturally raises a variety of passions in the human breast . . . we are by turns elated with joy, or sunk in pleasing sorrow, roused to courage, or quelled by grateful terrors . . ."
    -- Charles Avison, British musicologist, 1775.​
    Few of us would choose to be sad. Yet we are content to listen to melancholy or mournful music (pleasing sorrow). The sadness in and of art is not necessarily sadness itself (though it can be) but a kind of SYMPATHETIC sadness. How terrified do we normally become when we contemplate a "terrifying" photo? (Yes, it can happen.)
    Symbols lead to sympathy.
    Significant relates directly to signs and the non-discursive language that art can employ, and significance can be about things we have never actually experienced, let alone remember.
    "Feelings revealed in art are essentially not the passion, love or longing of such-and-such an individual, inviting us to put ourselves in that individual's place, but are presented directly to our understanding [imagination?], that we may grasp, realize, comprehend these feelings, without pretending to have them or imputing them to anyone else. Just as words [symbols] can describe events we have not witnessed, places and things we have not seen, so art can present emotions and moods we have not felt, passions we did not know before. It's subject matter is the same as that of self-expression . . . "
    -- Susanne Langer, discussing "significance" in Philosophy in a New Key.​
    Langer saw significance as a replacement for taste which had previously been the holy grail of aesthetics. Significance was about the abstraction of inner feelings (through expressiveness). Significance is about a symbolic semblance of feeling (the plasticity of art) though not necessarily about the specific feelings of the artist. (She talked about art, not much about photography.) Significance is about an abstraction of feeling, not a translation of feeling.
    Since the time of that thread, I've been photographing more and so have begun to approach significance a little more concretely. While I still think abstraction is salient, I don't find it as exhaustive as Langer seems to. I still don't feel the need to interpret specifically what I see (though I certainly do sometimes), but I am more likely to see signs of my own specific emotions in my work and am also likely to want to convey some more specific things than I think Langer would prefer to acknowledge. Where we probably still agree is that my "success" at that conveyance is less important to me than my attempt. Even if I can't convey it specifically, being in touch with my specific emotions seems to imbue my photographs with some perhaps intangible quality that I find adds dimension to the work.
     
  128. That was hilarious, and much needed, Steve. Thank you. Fred, that was a great follow-up! Wait...you were serious....oops!
    Anders - "Do you play that game regularly here on the Philosophy and Photography forum?"
    Yeah, on Wednesdays. There is no ball, unless a third party, like you, is observing. We're not really playing (no one can ever win at this), only exchanging signals via the paddles.
     
  129. Julie...bad Julie...I'm having a brief, but satisfying fantasy about that harpoon....cain't hep it... Call me Ahab...run, John, run...
    _____________________________________________
    Was that Anders back there playing? Is it a full Moon?
    [BTW, I wanted to say that Anders' pictures remind me or architect's maquettes.]
    ______________________________________________
     
  130. Langer saw significance as a replacement for taste which had previously been the holy grail of aesthetics. Significance was about the abstraction of inner feelings (through expressiveness). Significance is about a symbolic semblance of feeling (the plasticity of art) though not necessarily about the specific feelings of the artist. (She talked about art, not much about photography.) Significance is about an abstraction of feeling, not a translation of feeling.​
    I'm a bit confused by the notion of significance being a replacement for taste. The feeling (or total lack thereof) I derive from a particular photograph is, for me, a primary indicator as to whether or not it is "to my taste". Or is "taste" in the quotation above referring to a more purely intellectual sense of a work meeting certain objective criteria? Criteria which, if not understood or appreciated, can lead to one having "bad taste" in art, for example.
    I think the differentiation between an abstraction of feeling (that which is derived by a viewer and which may or may not have anything to do with the feelings of the photographer) and translation of feeling (that which was felt by the photographer, or which was specifically intended to be imparted to a viewer, but may or may not be felt by the viewer) could be considered part of a criteria of subtlety. (A criteria of "taste", perhaps?) Leaving the feeling (significance) to the viewer's discretion by not pointing toward a desired end through title or element manipulation and the image is subtle. Force the feeling upon the viewer and it is not subtle. Subtlety, of course, can be a positive or a negative. The image of the naked Vietnamese girl burned by napalm leaves little room for doubt as to what the photographer must have felt, and little room for anything but a similar shock and horror on the part of a "normal" viewer. There is nothing subtle about the photograph, but that is its power and can be seen in that sense as a positive. On the other hand, we have probably all seen (or perhaps created at one time or another) clumsy, ham-fisted attempts at forcing a feeling upon a viewer.
    Then there are photographs which may evoke little, if any, feeling whatsoever. I assume there are images which are to be appreciated strictly via some intellectual aesthetic? I sometimes come across images in a gallery or book that "do nothing" for me. Perhaps feeling comes through understanding the aesthetic underpinnings? Maybe my "not getting it" is akin to my sharing a favored Wallace Stevens or Delmore Schwartz poem with someone who reads it and gives an indifferent shrug. Then again, I have gone back to things (novel, poem, music, painting, photograph) after a period of time and discovered that what once bored me, or toward which I felt indifferent and unmoved, now filled me with joy.
     
  131. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I'll want to spend more time with what you just wrote.
    I suggest you visit and, if you've not done so yet, learn in some depth about the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco as it exhibits the thinking/feeling/aesthetic of Bernard Maybeck and others of his era, particularly related to of aesthetic significance in sadness: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1181467 (overly analytic but to the point)
    There are many similar expressions in San Francisco's parks.
    As well, I suggest caution about considering words to be symbols. For starters there's the difference between spoken and written words. Then, written, there are pictograms, Chinese and Japanese near-pictograms...which are distinctly symbolic...and words that are made up of insignificant characters, like these. The letters of our alphabet and most of our words have no innate symbolic value...the efficiency of which explains the universal use of English by commercial air traffic controllers among others.
    At another level there is a great deal of current evidence that words literally (and our sentence structures) reside and operate physically in our skulls, implanted there when we're kids...are almost organisms. You may be familiar with Noam Chomsky, whose non-political claim to fame has to do with that idea...that the brains of a native Chinese speaker are physically different from the brains of a native French speaker, an Eskimo, or the brains of a deaf/dumb person.
    My reason for commenting on your "symbol" idea is only to point out that treating words as symbols is a long-abandoned practice among linguists and neurologists, which means (to me) that they are not properly (not logically) considered that way by anybody else, any more.
     
  132. Steve, Langer was after a different sort of approach to art than "I like it" or "I don't like it." I doubt she felt everyone needed to have an understanding of this new kind of approach, though I think she likely felt that people were often affected by art more deeply than they may have recognized or cared to recognize. The feeling I get when looking at art is often transformative. "Like" and "dislike" will often not even hit me, and even when they do they are not usually primary. I prefer to achieve a state of transcendence, of letting go, of ungroundedness, when photographing and when viewing photographs and art. I spent several hours yesterday at the Met (sad that I missed the Picasso exhibit by a couple of days), and honestly didn't think much at all about my likes and dislikes. I consciously paid attention to what I was seeing . . . and thinking and feeling. The day seemed much more about focus than about taste.
    I really like (not taste but agreement!) what you said about subtlety and think it is key in understanding the difference between abstraction and translation.
    John, I didn't address words as symbols. I said that Langer's use of the word "significance" relates to the symbolic nature of art and artistic expression. As a matter of fact, I talked about her attention to the non-discursive (no words) nature of art.
    Thanks for the link to the article about the Palace. I will read it and may have a comment in response. I've spent a great deal of time there but have not read much about it. I know it as a backdrop for many wedding photographers and have picnicked there many times. I've walked in solitude among the columns frequently and, early on, dazzled my friends with a cliché picture of a lone duck among the rippling waters of the "beautiful" pond. I've been considering bringing one or a pair of my subjects there to shoot and maybe your bringing it up and what I read will light a fire under me to do that. Because it's so over-photographed, I will proceed with caution in using its environs, but that may add just the kind of excitement I often crave.
     
  133. Just one "word" on John's categorical dismissal of treating words as symbols. When someone here on PN write the word "never" or a word associated with that meaning, never take it for granted. A language is still defined by semiologists as a system of "signs" (symbols, indices or icons). It is actually the very definition of their science.
    When Luis writes that my Hong Kong picture uploaded earlier reminds him of "architect"s maquettes" does that means that I can sell it? That would make my day! Give me a price and a buyer, please.
    Is it in the category "I like it" or "I do not like it"?
    Or in terms of the discussion going on for the moment: Architect's maquettes are symbols of what for Luis ?
     
  134. Steve,
    If you are a fish (I'm not saying you are), the worm is tasty; the hook is significant.
    Or, from another angle, to you (Steve), the following should/might be tasty (and significant, in memory):
    "In the naked bed, in Plato's cave; / Reflected headlights slowly slid the wall,"​
    ... because you've already said that you like Mr. Schwartz. For those who are not familiar with D.S. those lines may be primarily significant (before it gets into "taste").
    I think significance is about learning, while taste is about re-cognition of what is already known. Significance happens before you get to like/dislike; taste happens after.
     
  135. Now that this thread is fading out - Fred has started another - it might be the time to consider how we approach a photo, how we "see" photos and relate it to what normally happens here in this forum - seem from my perspective at least.
    I believe that we are often in the same situation as viewers of modern art. One could refer to a famous written of Max Jacob where he advices on how to proceed when faced to a cubist painting.
    If I translate the text freely (see the original below) and write "photos" instead of paintings, the text can be read as below:
    1 / approach the photo without bias and easy sarcasm

    2 / Consider the photo as you would look at a polished precious stone. Consider structures, the light, composition of lines, colors ...

    3 / Hold on to a detail that gives the key to the whole, look at it during some time and the scene will emerge (in a new light).

    4 / On this basis be carried away to the regions of powerfully exquisite allusions.​
    My impression is that we too often jump the first three phases and submerge ourselves in the final fourth phase without direct link to identifiable elements of the photo. The result is as previously discussed that we end up with little to support our learning in "seeing".
    The interest I saw in this specific thread, that Fred started so well, was that we could make the link between the four phases as described by Max Jakob - or any other suggestion on how to approach "seeing" a photo.
    Here is the original French text for those that can read it:
    1/ Arrivez devant le tableau sans parti pris de sarcasme facile
    2/ Considerez la peinture comme on regarde une pierre taillée. Lumière, la disposition de la ligne, des couleurs...
    3/ Se raccrocher à un detail qui donne la clé de l'ensemble, le fixer un bon moment et le modèle surgira.
    4/ Sur cette dernière comparaison se laisser transporter vers les régions de l'allusion puissamment exquise​
     
  136. Anders, I assess my participation in threads much the same way I assess what I've achieved with a photograph.
    Have I made a commitment / taken a stand / accepted responsibility? (And I can commit to and be responsible for ambiguity and uncertainty. But ambiguity and uncertainty can also come from haphazardness and lack of care or capability.)
    Have I emphasized the big picture at the expense of details? Have I sacrificed specifics for the more abstract generalization? In some cases, is the more abstract generalization the more important aspect? Have I considered the balance I want to achieve between the universal and the particular?
    Are my posts/photographs more like platitudes or are they more grounded and personal?
    Have I confronted? Have I avoided? Have I simply not dealt with? (Something I'm wondering about is whether I have avoided making female portraits and nudes or whether it's something I have simply not dealt with . . . yet.)
    Do I state/photograph the obvious or do I search for subtlety (thanks again to Steve for that)?
    Am I photographically articulate and am I so in my writing, even when I am or want to be confused in either realm? If I am inarticulate, does it work somehow?
    Have I been genuine?
    (This is likely a partial list. But it's what came to me first. I'm a little self-conscious about this reading like a checklist, which is a danger. But I'll risk it.)
     
  137. Fred, I think, at least I read the text of Max Jacob like that, the phases of understanding and seeing a painting/photo that he describes is mainly directed towards works of others. I would not use it for my own photos where I know already too much about them and their context to understand whether they communicate to others. For that I need others to look at them. This is one of the reasons I'm around here on PN.
    If you look at the various points of Max Jacob, the first is essential, because it reminds us of the fact that what is often the most important dimension of a work of art is that it does not necessarily adhere to our prejustices about what is a good photo or a good painting. It challenges it.
    The two next stages mentioned are a way of looking at works of art which might be especially directed towards what has been named "analytical cubism" where symbols and indices are introduced to lead the viewer to the subject or scene of the painting. However I think it is relevant to be aware of the fact that "the whole is often hidden in details".
    The last and fourth stage is the one where we let our individual (personality and personal history) and learned associations (knowledge and experiences) free. Starting with the last one miss often the real importance of works of art and see them as openers for ones own limited self: narcism.
     
  138. Anders, for too long, I have allowed and even encouraged others to validate me / my work. At the moment, I am learning to be my own critic and viewer in addition to being my own writer and photographer. Standing back and viewing my own work, at least to some extent as I would view the work of others, is essential to my learning to see. While I listen and learn from others, I am taking the most proactive role in my own development right now. You and others may call that narcissism. I really don't care what anyone labels it, though I do appreciate what someone actually says about my photographs. This label of narcissism won't change the fact that, though I take care in looking at my own works and assessing them, that doesn't mean that I only see them as having meaning for my limited self. I see them as a sharing and a communication. I can do both, share and self-reflect, communicate and be personal, accept the thoughts of others while developing my own ability to look at and see and describe what I do.
    Anders, believe me when I tell you I thought about sharing my assessments of the participation of others in this thread according to the criteria you provided. And then I thought again. I do use these criteria (among others) in approaching the photographs of others when I comment on them in the critique forums.
     
  139. Qualification: My last sentence would be more honest were I to say: I will consider using some of these criteria (among others that I already use) in approaching the photographs of others when I comment on them in the critique forums.
    Addition: I wish there were a way of genuinely critiquing (or commenting on) the approach of others to these forums much the same way we may critique or comment on the photographs of others . . . without starting flame wars and without making them into or taking them as personal or ad hominem attacks. It rarely seems to work. Just as much about one's photographs is in the technique or delivery, so much about one's written comments is in the relationship of delivery and substance. I don't see why any of it should be off limits. But it seems necessary in order to try to keep it civil. By your commenting on my way of responding to the criteria you posted, I was able to convey something important about where I am right now and what's at play in my taking it up the way I took it up. That's part of how we learn about each other and learn from each other. And . . . it was done with respect.
     
  140. Anders , I also said this about your pictures: "BTW, Anders, you really are good with that social world theme in your photographs. There's an unsentimental, uplifting quality to it, of what we are and can be. Reminds me of some Berenice Abbott and Renee Burri.

    Anders typed: "When Luis writes that my Hong Kong picture uploaded earlier reminds him of "architect"s maquettes" does that means that I can sell it?

    No. That meant exactly what it said. My father being an architect, I grew up around a lot of maquettes, and your pictures have a certain plausible-future, idealized social/living space quality to them such as is often depicted in maquettes. However, I do think your pictures are niche-marketable.

    AH - "That would make my day! Give me a price and a buyer, please."

    Bring you a buyer? On a silver platter, maybe? Haha. Do the footwork yourself, Anders. Yes, you could possibly sell many of the images of yours I've seen. They have a well-developed Modernist sensibility and clean, sparse design that is appealing to many. Pick a gallery near or in a design district/center, particularly in Italy ot Germany, and show them your work. I think they would work well printed on the large side. See what happens.
    You could also do a Blurb book as a pilot. A friend that I mentored still sells a regular stream of Blurb books that were created 4 or 5 years ago.
    [oops, left the bold on...sorry]
     
  141. (Max Jacob) "1 / approach the photo without bias and easy sarcasm

    2 / Consider the photo as you would look at a polished precious stone. Consider structures, the light, composition of lines, colors ...

    3 / Hold on to a detail that gives the key to the whole, look at it during some time and the scene will emerge (in a new light).

    4 / On this basis be carried away to the regions of powerfully exquisite allusions."

    I really disagree with part pf #2, the "precious" part. Plus I think one needs to approach art in their own way. There is no right or wrong. I have my own way of doing ths, developed after years of doing reviews, but it's only my way, nothing more. What I find necessary to address, others blow by, and that's OK.
    Fred - Critiquing the way others think (not their arguments, which is a different thing altogether) is not going to win you friends or influence people, primarily, because no one asked, and maybe they should, but that's not for me to say. It is getting in someone's face, and at any given time, they are who they are (even Fred) so critiquing them won't have any immediate effects. Besides, does Fred or anyone think they can illuminate another's life? I think we all know who we are. Specially when he openly states he's wound up tight around himself? Oh, and I am keenly aware that I am not sin-free on that account. When I've apprached this, and I try to keep it about understanding what the other is saying, the very best outcomes were obtained via small steps regarding concise issues, and even then, there is almost always initial bristling.
    I admit I have no patience for one particular member.
     
  142. Luis, I said "critiquing the approach of others" and talked about commenting on "the relationship of delivery and substance" in a similar way as I might comment on that relationship in a photograph. I gave as an example the way Anders and I just interacted. I didn't talk about critiquing people or the way they think, but I understand that you may have mentioned that simply as your addition to what I said and not as a paraphrase of or take on what I said. None of it would necessarily be a way of winning friends and influencing people. It would be a way of developing relationships, at least for me, learning about each other, and would probably help some approach even photographic concerns a bit more intimately and personally, if they wanted to.
     
  143. Addition: Some of my closest and longest-lasting friendships have been strengthened by such honest critiques of a personal nature, usually unasked for. Yes, such interaction has destroyed some. But the ones that have remained are treasured and deep. We didn't win each other over. We earned each other's friendship and much of the love and respect now seems unconditional. But it often took some difficulty along the way. I'm not saying I'm looking for such relationships in internet forums, but I am looking for something of substance and am willing for it to be personal and sometimes difficult in order to achieve it.
    BTW, when I've given such critiques, be it personal or about photos, often that has initiated someone throwing something right back at me and my having to learn about myself in the process. It's very risky. I'm OK with that . . . sometimes.
     
  144. Luis, as mentioned earlier that we all have "our own way" but I think Max Jakob is right that "approaching the photo without bias and easy sarcasm" should be taken very seriously if we do not want to risk passing new and creative ways of expression. It is interesting that you so strongly disagree with the second point because I was thinking about you when I wrote it. It would be interesting if you could find time and energy to explain what it is you disagree on. Are details never important? I think they are primordial for any photo of interest but not all details of course. The essential ones. That's his message in the second point.
    I don't think that we can disagree that whatever we come up with when we criticize a photo it is never the objective thrush, but it is valid in some sense or another it goes beyond subjective small talk.
     
  145. Luis, concerning you comments on my portfolio I can only thank you for your support. Such comments make me continue in my work of improving my expressions and my photos in general. I'm not sure I'm especially interested in starting the rat race of competing on the marked of expositions and the selling of individual photos. I find quality in my chosen approach of showing them a maximum of people on the web and enjoying them together with my friends around. I want to keep money out of it. I might do a book or two for the joy and having them in my hand!
    Thanks anyway for your advice.
     
  146. Anders - "It is interesting that you so strongly disagree with the second point because I was thinking about you when I wrote it. It would be interesting if you could find time and energy to explain what it is you disagree on. Are details never important? I think they are primordial for any photo of interest but not all details of course. The essential ones."
    I believe I specified this when I said: "I really disagree with part pf #2, the "precious" part."
    It's only the "polished precious stone" that I have a problem with. I understand that he means it in terms of details/light/structures, but the phrase he used has other connotations that I think almost automatically get in the way. Art isn't precious. It's earnestly human, with all the baggage that entails. No, I have nothing against the rest of #2 as stated.
    As to bias and easy sarcasm, I think it is impossible to approach anything, even a UFO, without any bias. Being alive is a bias. Sarcasm, easy or not, no. I am quite curious as to why you asked this.
    Anders, you are welcome re: your pictures. Yes, I think the Blurb - type book is a very good alternative for someone who doesn't want to enter the fray, costs, complications, etc. of the art world. Books printed on demand are a great way to share your work with a small audience, like friends. Another is to run off a particular image on postcards and send to friends that you know appreciate your work. It doesn't cost much, and people love and keep them.
    _________________________________
    Fred - "Luis, I said...". Fred, I think I know and understand. Some people manage to do this in an easy, gentle manner, others do it like Guantanamo Bay interrogator. Some respect privacy and back-off when the questioned proves reticent, some do not. It's thin ice, and the justification model truly sucks when applied in this fashion, but you knew that already. It doesn't help that IMO, this is not a very easy-going forum, with notable exceptions. Even you use disclaimers on a frequent basis. I'm not saying it's a bad thing per se, not at all, but we agree that it can be risky business.
     
  147. Fred: Thanks. I am a photographic child (!?) and must occasionally break down a concept to a more easily digestible level (a cerebral version of Luis' baby food?). Something which I find transformative may, in my simplistic form of reduction, come down to me "liking" it. My "like" encompasses much more than the simplicity of the word implies. Hell, I'm apparently not real good at clearly translating my internal understanding of these kinds of discussions to the written word. I should change my user name on PN to "Cognitive Dissonance."
    Julie: Ah-HAH! Great application of a DS quotation.
     
  148. Luis I agree of course with you that the term "precious stone" does, as I read not imply that art is a precious stone but that your "reading" of it can be compared to how you "read" the quality of a germ. A little old fashion, I would agree, but not irrelevant as image. As concerns "sarcasm" and bias it is surely not directed towards you but again I think it is important that we are as open as possible to understanding images and art. If not we just repeat ourselves and close out eyes to anything that is not expected in line with our common and individual biases.
    By the way this is why I'm against giving our rating system here on Pn any significance because, as far as I would expect it is based on a fast-food concept of consumption of pictures. Photos need investment in time and efforts to appreciate.
     
  149. jtk

    jtk

    "...one "word" on John's categorical dismissal of treating words as symbols. When someone here on PN write the word "never" or a word associated with that meaning, never take it for granted." -- Anders
    Anders, "never" was your word, not mine (see above).
    And I didn't "categorically dismiss" words as symbols, I just pointed out an alternative perspective (perhaps scientific mainstream). I appreciate that you may be unhappy to read that words may not be symbols, but few brain scientists still remain on that words-as-symbols bandwagon.
    Despite Wikipedia, "semiology" isn't a "science" particularly in Barthes, who theorizes rather than conducting experiments. Semiology is a study of symbols and as such is stuck with that frame of reference. It's called "a science" in order to add gravity to untestable theory, much like calling theology a science.
    Science, by definition, entails postulation of testable hypotheses, attempting tests, and subjecting results to the harshest of peer review tests. Barthes isn't a scientist.
     
  150. Never? I never use never John, you should know that.
     
  151. Barthes isn't a scientist​
    Why should he ? Einstein didn't consider himself one either, at least calling to imagination - the root of all science - more than to knowledge, which is always only an answer.
     
  152. Anders, I think we're on the same page re: Jakob.
     
  153. John , I advice not to start that discussion. Roland Barthes was researchers through a quarter of century in the French National Centre of Scientific Research, CNRS (Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique) first as a internship and than as a "attaché", as responsible for research and than Director of research and you want to tell him now that what he did was not scientific? Come on! this is just the old, out dated story that social sciences and humanities are not real science. That debate would not help us on in this thread anyway, would it John?
     
  154. jtk

    jtk

    I happen to have years of study in social science (research psychology). "Humanities" are not "science" and a onetime membership in a partially scientific organization does not make one a scientist.
    Link to "scientific research" done by Barthes.
    "...one "word" on John's categorical dismissal of treating words as symbols. When someone here on PN write the word "never" or a word associated with that meaning, never take it for granted." -- Anders
    Note Anders reliance on "never."
     
  155. John, concerning your "years of studies" - again let's not start that one either, or I will mention my PhD!
    The story about "never" is a joke (read it again and you might even laugh) but obviously you do not have humor. Relax John. Life is beautiful.
     
  156. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, Barthes need not be a "scientist." What's wrong with "theoretician?"
    It's amusing that you mention Einstein in this context.
    We all value non-scientifc thought, like much of Einsteins and the Barthes that gets mentioned here (if I'm missing Barthes' scientific work..link to it).
    Einstein is fun to quote. His most famous work was theoretic, most of that was testable by definition and has actually been tested extensively: no matter what he label we apply, he was more scientific than his religious quips would suggest. When he ran out of testable theories he postulated deity, ie abandoned science.
     
  157. jtk

    jtk

    Luis's metaphoric reference to "messenger RNA" seems more cogent, more perceptive, than blather about symbols...metaphors are often the best way to express edgy, perhaps edgeless ideas.
    "No matter how skilled and great you fancy yourself to be, knowledgeable, etc., the act of photographing boils down to breathing life into the image (What FG once called "spark"). This is pure magic. Irrational, unjustifiable, unexplainable, unprogrammable stuff. When achieved, said image in turn breathes life into viewers, to each in his own way, like a psychic generator and/or a conceptual kind of messenger RNA." -- Luis G

    I didn't want that brilliance to pass by unnoticed.
     
  158. Phylo, Barthes need not be a "scientist." What's wrong with "theoretician?"​
    I didn't say that anything was wrong or less with being a "theoretician", I thought you did.
    But maybe you can make a list of words that we can't use here ( beginning with "art" ). Posters can then substitute them for *beep* everytime they want to use these meaningless words. Beep, the ultimate symbol of a word, that we can fill in with with whatever meaning we want it to, such as *beep* and *beep*.
     
  159. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, I don't tell people what words to use, hope I "never" have.
    Part of writing is craft: when an otherwise intelligent-seeming person misuses words I wonder if there's an agenda. For example, some photographers prefer to be thought of as "artists." I wonder why they find that preferable.
    What's your problem with questions? Is it religious, political, or just regional?
    "Art," which now refers mostly to decoration, once referred to something more vital (still does for some : see the powerful Luis G quotation I cited above).
    What does "art" mean to you?
     
  160. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, I don't tell people what words to use...I hope I never have.
    Part of writing is craft: when an otherwise intelligent-seeming person misuses words I wonder about their agenda. For example, some photographers prefer to be thought of as "artists." I wonder why they find that preferable.
    What's your problem with questions? Is it religious, political, or just regional?
    "Art," which now refers mostly to decoration, once referred to something more vital (still does for some : see the powerful Luis G quotation I cited above).
    What does "art" mean to you?
     
  161. I don't tell people what words to use...I hope I never have.​
    It's more about telling people what words not to use, what I was thinking about.
    some photographers prefer to be thought of as "artists." I wonder why they find that preferable.​
    Not me, but maybe some find it preferable to say that they are "artists" simply because it communicates something else than the word "photographer" does or can. Anybody else of course is entirely free to think of them as artists or not, regardless of how they wish to be thought of. Do you consider Bernd and Hilla Becher to be artists or photographers ? Does it matter of what you think them to be regardless of how they prefer to be thought of ?
    What's your problem with questions? Is it religious, political, or just regional?​
    Didn't say I had any problem with questions ( quite the opposite, that's why I mentioned imagination ), either way, what's your problem with questioning questions ?
    What does "art" mean to you?​
    Art to me means Learning to See under-consciously. For Jung the unconscious was nature and not art, I think that nature = art. It doesn't refer "mostly to decoration" to me, it can and might as well be, but that's not what it means to me.
    00X6pD-270817584.jpg
     
  162. I have learned to see the mistakes that I once would have made. Unfortunately, I have not yet learned to see the errors that I am destined to commit.
     
  163. John wrote:
    "Art," which now refers mostly to decoration, once referred to something more vital​
    If art mostly refers to decoration, John, it must be because we have lost our way - maybe because contemporary art has lost it's way. "Art" has in most cases become decoration or publicity events. However art do still exist. I just saw it yesterday in Louvre and the Orsay museum. This "more vital" is still with us. Hope that does not provoke an outrage or I promise to keep it a secrete.
    Sorry for not using Phylys's "beep".
    I'm missing Victor Borge and his phonetic pronunciations. Listen to it (4 delirious minutes) and even John will laugh.
     
  164. " 'Art,' which now refers mostly to decoration, once referred to something more vital (still does for some : see the powerful Luis G quotation I cited above)." --John Kelly
    Words, which are not . . . er . . . symbols, do not refer to anything. People refer to things, using words. Regardless of whether words are symbols or not, their meanings are not fixed by God or anyone else. Their meanings do not come from the combination of the letters or sounds (onomatopoeia comes close but is still no cigar). Their meanings are not attached by virtue of the word itself. Their meanings derive from usage. Not a solo usage, which could be a misusage that most people would recognize as off, but an accepted usage by the players who are using them. The meaning does not inhere in the word.
    The word "art" neither refers to what's in a museum nor to what hangs on a motel wall without understanding and acceptance by those using it in either of those ways. It is what different people in different contexts and with different sensibilities and intentions use, understand, and accept to refer to these various things.
    To suggest that "art" refers to decoration is to imbue it with a symbolic nature.
    I can accept both usages and immediately put each use in context. I know who I'm talking to, generally know to what they're referring, and understand words not as mere references but as being used to tell me a lot more than something so static and neutered as a "meaning." Words are alive as are those of us who use them. The word "art" does just sit around and point to something somewhere.
    When Anders or I use "art" anyone who knows us has some idea, in the vicinity, of what we're talking about. It's just like the word "chair." When I use it in this forum, a reader could get a variety of pictures of chairs in their head, pictures which will be refined as I describe more and more about it. If used in a particular context, say I'm talking about eating at the dinner table, it would be ludicrous to picture a big, overstuffed, upholstered thing. It would be just as ludicrous for anyone to think of a motel room or decoration when Anders uses the world "art" especially within the context he usually uses it.
    There's nothing special about the word "art." Though, I do think there is something very special about art.
     
  165. Correction. The sentence should read: The word "art" does NOT just sit around and point to something somewhere.
     
  166. There's nothing special about the word "art." Though, I do think there is something very special about art.​
    Fred I think we would all agree that we can call it what ever we can agree on as long as we know what we are talking about. It does not solve the question on what we are trying since very long to discuss. I feel that someone around is pronouncing the death of ART just like God was pronounced dead by others. I agree that when I refer to museums of ancient art it is a shortcut and a lot of what in French is called "fireman art" can be found in the finest museums. Go to the Orsay museum of 19th and beginning of 20 century can be admired and you will see it side by side with what the majority of us will consider the finest example of modern art. Surely we would never end a discussion on the quality of various specific paintings or sculptures and much subjectivity will be present. However, from their to declaring that the term ART can only be defined in a totally subjective way is too far to go and not very helpful for discussing together at least.
     
  167. First of all, let's at least be straight. The "someone" you're referring to is John.
    There is nothing about "subjectivity" in my post above. I've repeated on many occasions that I don't think art is as subjective as many make it out to be and I certainly don't think word usage is. If it were, no one could ever understand each other. It is as objective* a matter as anything is, especially as I described it. A word requiring many users to use it in the same way and understand it in the same way is a very non-subjective matter. But that doesn't mean the meaning of the word has to inhere in the combination of letters themselves. I'd suggest Wittgenstein but people don't like him being brought up in these forums for reasons beyond my comprehension.
    Do you think the three letter "a - r - t" in the right combination actually have either a meaning or a reference in and of themselves? Just how do you think meaning comes about?
    Among other things, the fact that John usually puts the word "art" in quotes tells me he's very concerned about the word and the way the word is used.
    If you want to discuss with John whether or not art is dead and you find that a fruitful way to proceed, then please do so. I have approached him in a way I think is warranted. You might notice, Anders, that the discussion between John and Phylo which has gone on for some time here has very much been about words and their usage. That was what I was picking up on. You may have other fish to fry so please fry away.
    ___________________________
    *I'm uncomfortable with the subjective/objective dichotomy but using it is facile sometimes, especially when it's used in statements to me.
     
  168. [Wow...kinda early for this, but... ]
    Anders - "I feel that someone around is pronouncing the death of ART just like God was pronounced dead by others."
    Then Fred - "First of all, let's at least be straight. The "someone" you're referring to is John."
    Maybe, but lots of people have OPD'd Art long ago, and JK wasn't one of them. IMO, and may God forgive me for even appearing to come to JK's defense, not that he needs it, but he pronounced it an empty ritual that has lost its meaning, which is a very different thing. Death is merciful by comparison!
    The decorative has been with us from the beginning, and always will be. There's nothing intrinsically wrong or repulsive about it, and it obviously serves a purpose. Plus, there's many kinds of decorative art, and I do not mean categorization by subject. It has its own codes and serves different purposes. For astute and daring artists, it can be an extremely useful -- and delightfully dangerous -- edge to play. [Eggleston and Meyerowitz are masters at this]
    [ ....and it goes without saying that more decorative art is sold & bought than any other kind, just like more cheesecake is sold than portraits....etc.]


    Fred stretched credulity thin and the meaning of "discussion" to the breaking point with: "You might notice, Anders, that the discussion between John and Phylo which has gone on for some time here has very much been about words and their usage."
    Yeah, Fred..."discussion" like: (Phylo's gracefully restrained...) "But maybe you can make a list of words that we can't use here ( beginning with "art" ). Posters can then substitute them for *beep* everytime they want to use these meaningless words. Beep, the ultimate symbol of a word, that we can fill in with with whatever meaning we want it to, such as *beep* and *beep*."

    Which was followed by my Nominee for PoP Sentence of The Year: JK's "I don't tell people what words to use...I hope I never have."
    *Beep* me (after dinner and a movie).
     
  169. Fred (and John, now that you mention him) my approach to discussing in forums like this one is as much as possible to address a majority of people that read and write contributions. I have no specific aim in discussing with specific individuals. i would do that by e-mails, in case, because I believe it would not be of interest to too many others. When I therefore wrote like I did, it is because I believe to have read many times a strong aversion to using the word "art" or to "art" altogether. Lengthly personalized dialogues between two or three persons in this forum cannot be optimal - although one has sometimes to respect that mode of conversation and I follow it myself in many cases as above which points directly back to you.
    To answer a specific question of yours, Fred, on where the meaning of "art" comes from, the simple answer is : by usage, common understanding and convention.
     
  170. Anders: "by usage, understanding and convention"
    This is exactly what I had already said in the post you then commented on. Me, at 6:25 am this morning: "It is what different people in different contexts and with different sensibilities and intentions use, understand, and accept to refer to these various things."
    That's why I'm baffled that you went on to say, in response to me, "declaring that the term ART can only be defined in a totally subjective way is too far to go and not very helpful for discussing together at least." We both come to a "definition" of art and other words by the same means. My method of defining "art" and other words is no more subjective and no less helpful than yours, because our methods are the same.
    In any case, the substance of my point, John, is that you pick and choose the usages of the word "art" and randomly assign it an out of context meaning when others seem to know exactly how the word is being used and to what the speaker is referring. For some reason, you claim that "art" refers to something hanging in a motel when you know it is commonly being used in the context of this forum to refer to something more like what you, yourself, recognize in Luis's statement about the breath of life or mine about spark.
     
  171. By the way, Anders, when you wanted to respond to John on his opinion about words and symbols, I guess you thought that was in some way on point and helpful to the discussion. For some reason, when I chose to respond on the very same matter, you respond like this: "It does not solve the question on what we are trying since very long to discuss. I feel that someone around is pronouncing the death of ART just like God was pronounced dead by others."
    I must have been absent the day they taught that what's good for the goose is NOT good for the Anders. (I couldn't help it. LOL and smiley face and all that jazz.)
     
  172. Fred hit one out of the ball park with "what's good for the goose is NOT good for the Anders. (I couldn't help it. LOL and smiley face and all that jazz.)"
    *Beeping* funny!
     
  173. Perhaps already stated, but here are my simple responses to the OT
    "What (have I learned to see?)":
    What I hadn't seen at first sight.
    "How (have I learned to see?)":
    By taking the time to understand the subject, to analyse, decompose and rebuild it in my mind (and to do the same, as a learning exercise, with the many other images I look at here and in museums and books).
    And to some degree, by considering what is important for me and what I might wish to communicate in my photography (habit or prior paradigms often control the result, but unless the former are products of accident my best images come from the better understanding and analysis of the subject).
     
  174. Fred for me: "different people in different contexts and with different sensibilities and intentions" is a clear definition of an individualized approach. Language is a social phenomenon and does not exist in a vacuum where individual invent their on private world of words and their meaning.
    Just a few words on how I see the question of "what is art".
    When I refer to museums (not motels!) is as mentioned a short cut. Museums are institutions set up to possess and exhibit works of art as defined by those at any time that decide such purchases acquisitions. Much what is purchased is later on stocked away and not shown, or sold. Slowly over time a museum like Louvre ends up with a collection of art works that at a given time is considered worthwhile exhibiting and representative for specific art traditions, schools and/or certain cultures. It can also be seen as a collection of art artifacts that the museum believes the visitors expect to find in a museum of art at a given time in history. It is therefor a long process of choice, selections and rejections. Going to museums is therefor one approach to understanding what ART is in line with such an institutional approach.
    Another approach to what ART is, is of course to go by your purse, and follow prices in galleries and auctions Worldwide. This is the marked approach to ART and is a so many other economic processes subject to manipulations, spin and customs of the day.
    The approach that I mostly see presented here on PN is a personal, individualistic approach of going by what you as a person like or fell good about and consider as art - if you accept the very word.
    None of these approaches are exclusive. They are probably complementary. In my view to impose the individualistic approach as the only acceptable approach makes it very difficult for us to discuss ART. One result of this might be the extreme of declaring art as dead, as mentioned above, or, as Marcel Duchamp wrote, to demand Louvre (or any other museum of art) to be burned for the sake of artistic expression.
     
  175. Now I feel as though you are simply willfully misunderstanding me to make an argument out of this when we absolutely and definitively agree on this matter. I keep saying that it is groups of people, not individuals and we agree that it's about usage and understanding (presumably understanding requires more than an individual). And that's my last word to you on this particular subject, for my own sanity.
     
  176. Fred, if we can agree to agree, I'm happy, and your sanity is saved - to the benefit of us all.
     
  177. Defining what is art seems a bit far from the original OT, "what and how have you learned to see", or is this the way, like some other recent threads that one feel's no longer the desire to contribute to, that we conveniently spin out from its original intention?
    Yes, before someone reminds me, philosophy is best when freely discussed.
     
  178. Arthur apart from the apparent rituals going on, we are in fact talking about "seeing". At least that i why have a special interest in "art". It teaches me to see as I have mentioned already in my first contribution to this thread. I would believe that it also has taught many others to see, but definitely we have difficulties of discussing it.
     
  179. I also learned a lot about seeing (and art) from art, to which I was exposed from a very early age. Both visual and performance arts, particularly the ballet. And I grew up in a family that included architects and back in the 50's an early project manager for IBM Suisse. They were staunch Modernists, and integrated that into their lives and consequently, mine (I moved on).
    ______________________
    Lots of other things that had nothing to do with art/photography taught me how to see. Spending a lot of time on (and in) the water. On the water, a space with a heavy horizontal orientation, I learned to look for very subtle details of swell direction, wind, currents, places where currents met, shallow areas, weedlines, etc. Decades later when I read about the Inuit's special (and spatial) way of seeing, I saw parallels. In the water, the freedom to assume different POVs, translucence, the inverse square law, color casts, etc.
    As I have mentioned before, exposure to the symbolism of the Catholic church as a boy, coupled with the inherent magical realism in the culture, expanded my awareness exponentially, and my universe became (symbolically) textual, no,not in a literal way, but in a way similar to the Celtic "language iof the trees" or the Aboriginal "Songlines".
    These things (and others I won't go into now) may not have had anything to do with either art or photography, but obliquely, along with paying attention, they taught me to see. Not what to see (eye towards Julie), how to see.
     
  180. Luis, a great thanks for this contribution to the thread, because it referring to real learning experiences on how to see. Somewhere and somehow it surely influences how you shoot photos. I'm convinced it also "select" what you see and what you leave aside.
    My own experiences of seeing is first of all related to nature. Fishing in streams, rivers, lakes and by the sea side gave me from an early age an eye for seasons and changing lights. It also gave me en eye for what in literature has been called the "incredible immense in the incredible small details" that I have mentioned earlier. Hunting experiences gave me the strong selective eye necessarily for observing the traces and sounds of your prey (whether you are out for actually shooting it or mainly observing it) and taught me nature and especially forest land in all its complexity. Later on my military training put me in situations of being submerged in the country side in all weathers and seasons and being one with nature.
    The city and especially the big city which since has become my playing ground I approach in a much more intellectual approach that can not be separated from the studies and societal engagements I have been involved in my private and professional life.
    My relationship to art and especially painting, sculpture, music and as Phylos mentions Ballet but also opera and films (mainly European and Asian) all give "visual" pleasure that find a direct expression in my photographical activities - when I succeed!
     
  181. Hold your horse's right there, I didn't mentioned Ballet ?! Where's Steve ?
     
  182. Nah, I mentioned it...
    "Both visual and performance arts, particularly the ballet."
    Anders, I was going to lengthen my post and get into how hunting, hiking & fishing taught me to see symmetries, patterns, breaks in both, and much more. Learning to see fish underwater, or a well-camouflaged animal in the jungle or forest is valuable to any artist (and it also tells you something about how the eye works). When I was a boy, I was hunting in a forest with heavy ground cover, a hundred feet ahead of my father, and there were probably two dozen turkeys around me, but I could not see one. I dropped on all fours, and suddenly, I could see their feet, knew where they were, and still couldn't see them. They knew I was there, but kept pecking and milling around and did not seem concerned in the slightest. They probably knew I was blind to them.
     
  183. Sorry Phylos, hope you forgive me.
     
  184. No prob, it's Phylo, without the S : )
     
  185. I learned to see by looking out my dirty apartment window through fire escape bars in NYC.
     
  186. Phylo I give up for today!
     
  187. I learned to see by being me and in the end it's photography that learned us to see as photographers, and not hunters or painters or balletdancers, but "could a greater thing take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant ? " - Henry David Thoreau
     
  188. We walk through life, seeing.
    Some perceive.
    Some take pictures.
     
  189. jtk

    jtk

    Not sure I want to "look through each other's eyes for an instant." Instants don't have the potential of longer periods of time, and a near infinite number of instant perceptions by "each other" are already swamping Flickr.
    One of the unfortunate results of our evolution has been the replacement of olfactory lobes with cerebral lobes (if it doesn't disturb you theologically you can convince yourself about that via embryology and dissection): We form big ideas but we can't navigate in nature nearly as well as other animals can.
    If one spends enough time in wordless and instant-less environments (like Luis did, hunting), one may begin to notice new smells (slow deer hunters can smell deer beds, fast ones can't) as well as very faint momement... however, one can't be as perceptive as one's hound, and one's hound can't be as perceptive as the cougar (except perhaps re sense of smell)...and the cougar can't begin to be as perceptive as a herd of antelope, which is a remarkably coordinated, often fifty-eyed visual system (it's a herd, not an antelope) that's acutely aware of movement...
     
  190. "slow deer hunters can smell deer beds, fast ones can't"
    Very good, and relevant.
    What I did not see at first site is what I have learned to see now.
    How I learn to see (and beyond past/continuing experiences in museums and galleries, books of photographs, and so on) ? By thinking in a manner to better understand the subject, to analyse, decompose and restructure it in my mind as I really "see" it. It might be more impressive if it were more complicated than that, but simplicity does have its value.
     
  191. John's right. Fast hunters only see the deer (and nature) they spook.
    ____________________________________________
    Luca - "We walk through life, seeing.
    Some perceive.
    Some take pictures."
    That's a neat, X-acto knifed dichotomy, Luca. Are perception and photography mutually exclusive? When you photograph, do you cease to perceive?
    _____________________________________
    IMO...Learning to see is not exclusive to photography or photographers.
    Every photograph we take is a parable on how to see. Before the exposure, there's what we want, probabilities, our ideas, desires, what we imagine will happen. Afterwards, that's transmuted into the image. The gap is always a lesson for those who allow it to be. You may want the photograph to come closer to what was in your head pre-exposure, others you want to move closer to something revealed unto you after the exposure (& PP). Or both.
    This is not a one-way pilgrimage to a destination, or successive approximations towards an ideal. It's a living, organic, messy, ongoing dialogue between ourselves, our delusions, the medium, & more.
    ___________________________
    Although it has nothing to do with impressing anyone, it can be a bit more involved than neatly encapsulated (or is it compartmentalised?) notions. Holistically, if you want to transform your photography, you have to transform yourself. A lot of this happens randomly for most photographers, but there are ways to enter and further the process.
    [Thinking of the picture of the book Phylo showed]
     
  192. slow deer hunters can smell deer beds, fast ones can't. (JK)​
    If a deer hunter is slow and he is incapable of smelling deer beds he will have a hard time hunting deers. Eventually, if he needs it to survive, he will not manage to procure nourishment (and try something else, maybe).
    Smelling deer beds might be a talent, or experience, or both. If one doesn't have it, or is slow at following them, they might be better doing something else.
    Luis,
    That's a neat, X-acto knifed dichotomy, Luca. Are perception and photography mutually exclusive? When you photograph, do you cease to perceive?​
    not at all in my opinion: to be clearer:
    1. with "living" I mean exist and feel, by our 5 + 1 senses. Everybody uses their senses, to a higher or lower degree;
    2. perceive: there is a varying degree in perception. Some perceive more, some less, some are more sensitive, other less;
    3. take pictures: not all who perceive take pictures, not all who take pictures are good at perceiving.
    4. Perception and photography are absolutely not mutually exclusive, their reciprocal relationship is varying.
    It was not meant as a dichotomy.
    It was a way to express my fun for what I was reading, in particular Fred's
    I learned to see by looking out my dirty apartment window through fire escape bars in NYC.​
    If I may add my personal remark on this:
    "I increasingly see/perceive as if I were looking through a viewfinder"
     
  193. "... if you want to transform your photography, you have to transform yourself." -- Luis G
    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." -- Yogi Berra
    That doesn't just mean changing your "soul" or your "out"-look; it doesn't (just) mean that being Faust or St. Theresa or farting roses will change your pictures. It also means building and constantly confirming your idea of what you're doing from-the-outside -- the birds-eye view, your "in"-look. Your self narrative. "I am ..." "I do ... "As we find Fred describing in #3 of the OP and in his description in the Character thread of how he now approachs the Abercrombie and Fitch men.
    I think that saying (and believing ) that "I am an artist" makes you see differently from the person who says (and believes) "I am not an artist." I think that the person who characterizes themself to themself (in their own narrative) as working "quietly, slowly, gently" will take different pictures than a person who envisions themselves as aggressive and bold -- all before any any act of seeing takes place. In other words, the development of a narrative about who you are as a photographer will strongly affect how you see. It will put you in a particular road -- one road and not another, or one as opposed to another.
     
  194. Julie wrote
    I think that the person who characterizes themself to themself (in their own narrative) as working "quietly, slowly, gently" will take different pictures than a person who envisions themselves as aggressive and bold -- all before any any act of seeing takes place. In other words, the development of a narrative about who you are as a photographer will strongly affect how you see. It will put you in a particular road -- one road and not another, or one as opposed to another.​
    Very well written Julie. However, although you are surely right about the link between narrative and photography, narrative and seeing, and photography and seeing, I would believe that they are all interrelated and change in relationship to each other.
     
  195. "... if you want to transform your photography, you have to transform yourself." -- Luis G
    If you want to transform yourself, you have to transform your photography.
     
  196. Julie -"That doesn't just mean <snip> farting roses will change your pictures."
    No? *Beep* There goes my next product idea...
    _____________________________
    "There is no better time for success than now, you can achieve whatever you want, you are what you think most of the time." -- From an infomercial just now on TV...
    _____________________________
    Julie - "It also means building and constantly confirming your idea of what you're doing from-the-outside -- the birds-eye view, your "in"-look. Your self narrative. "I am ..." "I do ... "As we find Fred describing in #3 of the OP and in his description in the Character thread of how he now approachs the Abercrombie and Fitch men."
    This is based on the assumption that a self-narrative is de rigueur because you and everyone you know does it. Fred's probably the poster child for that camp. Outside? Inside? Talking to yourself? Whatever happened to Holism? To the baby and the bathwater? Was that a splash and thud I just heard?
    "How can you think and hit at the same time?" -- Yogi Berra
    ________________________
    Julie - "I think that the person who characterizes themself to themself (in their own narrative) as working "quietly, slowly, gently" will take different pictures than a person who envisions themselves as aggressive and bold -- all before any any act of seeing takes place. In other words, the development of a narrative about who you are as a photographer will strongly affect how you see. It will put you in a particular road -- one road and not another, or one as opposed to another."
    I think they will take crappy pseudo-calm (or bold) pictures unless they become calmer or bolder. IMO, the internal self-narrative is largely delusional, ineffective and a serious hindrance to self-development and transformation. It's like becoming intoxicated with the waft of the imaginary (hopefully very short-stemmed & thornless!) roses one is farting in Mondo Julie.
    __________________________
     
  197. Luca, thanks for clarifying. I think we're mostly in agreement.
    You mean Fred wasn't serious about his window comment? I thought he was alluding to the 5D Mk II's viewfinder!
     
  198. Phylo - "If you want to transform yourself, you have to transform your photography."
    Yes, it's commutative.
     
  199. I agree that the self narrative, the "birds eye view", the in-look, the I-am I-do, only illustrates that we do not possess an ego ( an *artist*,... ) but are possessed by the idea of one. Ask the Awakened. Being possessed can have its charm though, as long as it doesn't make our heads turn around in full 360°.
     
  200. "Yes, it's commutative." -- Luis
    Dear lord. The roses have to go in the same way they came out?
     
  201. Julie - "Dear lord. The roses have to go in the same way they came out?"
    I wasn't clear as to which end came out first. NOoooo, they don't have to go back in...(cringing). That is NOT commutative. Rose stems are not what I would consider a viable flossing material.
     
  202. jtk

    jtk

    "I think they will take crappy pseudo-calm (or bold) pictures unless they become calmer or bolder. IMO, the internal self-narrative is largely delusional, ineffective and a serious hindrance to self-development and transformation." - Luis

    I like that "delusional" "self-narrative" observation ...I'd guess "pseudo-calm (bold)" are pretenses, veil of maya, part of the delusion that one is/is-not an "artist."
    IMO one applies labels in order to terminate questions (which themselves are often artificial or non-questions). Einstein called his failure "god." Guess that made him happy :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHBt9mHq-5c -- Guatama Siddartha Popeye
     
  203. Julie, thanks for acknowledging and drawing a connection between those two posts.
    When the rest of you guys are done with the pop-psychologizing about who's delusional, give me a holler and we'll go back to talking about making photographs.
    Luis, thanks for noticing my derriere.
     
  204. You must have blinked, it was what not who...
    FG - "Luis, thanks for noticing my derriere."
    The pleasure is mine, Fred. Thank you.
     

Share This Page