What IS it about nature photography?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by chris_jordan|3, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. hey guys, here's a serious question that i'll probably overstate because i overstate everything (including that) but here goes: i have this judgment that there are WAYYY too many people out there taking the same photos over and over and over again, convincing themselves that they're "artists" but fundamentally missing the whole point of art. in short, a huge part of America's photographic scene is in a serious rut.

    <p>

    sure, shots of aspens and canyon country at sunrise are pretty, but that is ALL they are, and if this were any other art medium (painting, jazz, literature) the people who think that kind of work is "art" would be laughed right out of the game because what they do is so transparently formulaic, un-creative and derivative. All they're really doing is showing that they can competently and precisely copy the work of others. Where is the art in that?

    <p>

    Painters learn to copy the work of others as an exercise in technique, but in much of photography, copying the work of others seems to be the final goal. It's absurd! Imagine if there were thousands of writers out there who aspired to write books that read exactly like Kurt Vonnegut's novels, or thousands of jazz musicians whose sole goal was to sound exactly like Paul Desmond, or thousands of painters whose work looked EXACTLY like Andrew Wyeth's, so you couldn't even tell whose was what. it's hard to imagine such a scenario in the other art forms, and yet, i believe that's exactly what's going on in photography. You could borrow ten photos from each of a thousand nature photographers, and mix them all up, and you'd have NO IDEA which photographer took which picture because they're all exactly the same.

    <p>

    what will it take to get the photography community THINKING, working on new, difficult, challenging projects that involve introspection and sophistication, risk, experimentation and failure? there's a wild-ass beautiful universe out there, right in our own cities and backyards, and yet most photographers think they have to go to these few "special" pristine natural places at just the right time to take an artistic photograph. it's the saddest and most ironic thing to see the same old crap year after year being called "art"-- the same hackneyed photos taken at sunrise from the same worn-in tripod holes from the same places in the same national parks, all without an ounce of any of the ingredients that artists from other media would say are the foundations of meaningful art.

    <p>

    where is the satisfaction in doing that kind of work? why is the photographic community so stuck in this furrow? i think the current situation is worse than the pictorialist movement at the turn of last century, which in retrospect we all look at with a smirk because everyone was doing the same tacky-looking work and no one realized how bad it all was. a hundred years later, here we are repeating history, just with better technology.

    <p>

    please respond sincerely with whatever thoughts you have to offer, so long as they're well-considered (one-liners from the shooting gallery will not help anyone).

    <p>

    ~chris jordan (Seattle)

    <p>

    www.chrisjordanphoto.com
     
  2. Chris:
    Several points:
    The landscapes I create are mine. The light, the time of year, the
    decision when to press the cable release, the particular scene, and
    the impulse to set up are my personal decisions.

    <p>

    I also have a wonderful reason to place myself in areas I consider
    beautiful(with all the definitions that can be ascribed to the word)

    <p>

    Whats wrong with pretty?

    <p>

    Barry.
     
  3. You must frequent different galleries than I do or look at the work
    of different photographers. Either that or you read a new article or
    got a new book for Christmas.
    Yes, there is a lot of copying. This is true in any art discipline.
    Most of what passes for 'art' is lacking in many ways with few really
    creative individuals doing excellent work... as it has always been.
    It won't change.
     
  4. Chris:

    <p>

    Here are my 2 cents.

    <p>

    In any artistic medium artists operate at different levels. When
    learning a musical instrument, the first pieces are hardly fine art,
    but they are to the student. And the simplest melody or photograph,
    when well executed, can be appreciated.

    <p>

    I think we all suffer from failure to appreciate fully that with
    which they are most familiar. So the beauty in our backyard goes un-
    photographed, while the national park we visit on a trip is new,
    exciting, and gets photographed, often, as you imply, from the same
    vantage point as every other tourist.
     
  5. Dan, what really got me to thinking about this was the recent threads
    where people ask "where should i go in New York to take photos?"
    Jeez, I wanted to grab them and shake them and say "in your own
    freaking house!!!!!"

    <p>

    I suppose you're right that it won't change; i just have the sense
    that it COULD. Other artistic media, such as jazz (which i am
    familiar with because i am a jazz pianist), operate at a higher level
    of excellence than photography, I think because there is a general
    creative drive and energy in the jazz community that seems to be
    lacking in much of photography. I don't know why though; or maybe i'm
    just wrong.

    <p>

    ~cj
     
  6. I do exactly the kind of photography you describe. For me the
    satisfaction is in being in a variety of beautiful places, totally
    surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of nature, and to
    create a pretty image which reminds me, and possibly arouses in the
    viewer, some of the emotions that the place gave me. It is to
    capture as much as possible of this visual excitement. Incidentally,
    if the same photograph has been made a million of times (see my
    Delicate Arch image), it is somewhat satifying for me to believe that
    my image might be among one of the hundreds better ones, for factors
    such as composition, perspective, timing, light, and the mere
    information density of the 5x7 format. Why is the community stuck
    in this furrow ? I suppose a lot of photographers are out there to
    please
    themselves (and apparently the viewers as well), rather than to
    create "art", whatever it is.
     
  7. Chris:

    <p>

    Simple answer... people like such images.

    <p>

    I am looking at retirement communities for my mother, and yesterday
    visited an art center at one community where a painting class was
    held. Of approximately 30 paintings in the room, about 25 were
    scenics of forest paths, lakes, mountains, etc. Not a one was of an
    urban street or city scape. And people can paint anything they like.

    <p>

    For me, I enjoy being in such places, and the photography is the
    hobby that gets me there. But people who view and buy my works like
    what I capture. People see their own backyards, vacant lots,
    buildings, sidewalks, etc everyday. They have to look at that stuff
    but they don't have to like it. Ask 100 city dwellers if they would
    rather live in Jackson Hole and see what they say.

    <p>

    I think, experiment and take risks in my job everyday. I shoot
    scenics for a hobby, but I think, experiment and take risks there as
    well. For me, my LF photography is defined by the shots I don't take.
    Many times I will work with a scene for an hour or more, and finally
    decide there is nothing new or worthwhile there. So don't assume that
    every scenic was some thoughtless snap of the shutter just because
    you don't like it.

    <p>

    I am happy for you to stay in the city and experiment, and leave the
    wilderness to the rest of us.
     
  8. Same photo can NOT be taken over and over again, unless you are using
    an auto 35mm shooting out of the window of your tour bus. First and
    foremost, photography as an art is a very intense creative process
    and experience. It's a form of personal expression. If somebody
    happens to like my photo, that's fine. I care less if somebody say
    that my photos are just like others' photos. I know that's not true.
    Nature is infinite, thus the way to express it.
     
  9. On the other hand:

    <p>

    Let's say I take a blue dog teddy bear to all of my locations, and
    place it in every shot (ie. blue dog in "The Wave"). Then I make up a
    "profound statement" about it.

    <p>

    Now, I definitely have a "signature style". If anyone else does the
    same thing, it is very obvious copying.

    <p>

    Is it art? Is it just a gimmick?

    <p>

    It is difficult to develop a unique, recognizable landscape style, and
    not make it a gimmick.

    <p>

    Maybe I should just insist that the prints be hung upside-down.

    <p>

    This all leads me to another question: is there any landscape
    photographer whose work is immediately recognizable, based on style,
    content, location, etc? (If there is, then we can all start copying
    her/him ;-)
     
  10. convincing themselves that they're "artists" but fundamentally missing the whole point of art.
    You're off to a bad start. There is no point of art. There are as many points of art as there are artists. I should stop here because the rest of your question rests on this one issue, but, like you, I like to overstate things.
    are pretty, but that is ALL they are
    To you (and many others, I admit) perhaps. But I love seeing a well captured landscape--that's my business. Many are more that pretty to me. This is because I like being in a beautiful landscape. I love hiking to distant locations to find something beautiful, but I never think that I am the first one down the path. That doesn't stop me from going, however.
    Imagine if there were thousands of writers out there who aspired to write books that read exactly like Kurt Vonnegut's novels
    There are
    or thousands of jazz musicians whose sole goal was to sound exactly like Paul Desmond
    There are. Vonnegut, Desmond, and Wyeth are called geniuses for a reason. You can't expect that from everyone. There will always be those who forge ahead and those that follow. Sometimes those that follow end up outperforming the inovators. J.S. Bach was considered old fashioned in his day. Fugues were out, but he kept on writing them and transcended the entire genre. It doesn't happen every day, but it happens
    You could borrow ten photos from each of a thousand nature photographers, and mix them all up, and you'd have NO IDEA which photographer took which picture because they're all exactly the same Speaking of Bach, how would you do if we played the same game with trio-sonatas written by baroque composers. Could you tell ten apart? (most serious musicians couldn't) Does this mean they are exactly the same? No. They are different but it is subtle. Does it make them bad art? No. They've lasted centuries and people still listen to them. If you listen enough you will be able to tell Handel from Bach, but you will still have trouble with ten different composers. The same is true in photography--even nature photography. David Meunch's work looks like David Muench's work. You can usually pick it out of a line up.
    What will it take to get the photography community THINKING, working on new, difficult, challenging projects that involve introspection and sophistication, risk, experimentation and failure? A community does not do ANY of this. Individuals do. They are out there doing it as you read. If you look hard enough you will find inovators in every field. If you don't see good photographers doing the kind of work you value either you are not looking hard enough, or you have a unique vision in which case you should stop complaining and show us.
    This subject has been beaten to death. If you don't like the work others are doing don't look at it and shoot the kind of work you like.
     
  11. Michael: As to whether there is a landscape photographer whose work
    is immediately recognizable, the answer is yes. Adams, Weston, Brett
    Weston, John Sexton, Clyde Butcher, and others. As photographers, we
    all see things in a different way. Everyone on this forum could go to
    the same site, shoot from the same place, and the pictures will look
    different. That is the individual artist, not duplicating because we
    are all different mentally.

    <p>

    Regards,
     
  12. Hi Chris -

    <p>

    I'm a fairly conservative, literal-minded guy, and my pictures
    reflect this. I'm not likely to do a two-year study of "Sidewalks of
    Amerika" or photograph severed Barbie doll heads floating in pickle
    brine. For me, art is something I do to relax, and just maybe
    produce something that pleases me. I don't know that I want to be
    dangerous or edgy or ground-breaking.

    <p>

    Provacative question, though. Be prepared for lots of warm, roasty
    flames!
     
  13. Not everyone can be a master. It would be a sad world if only
    Rubensteion and Horowitz and other legends could play Mozart and
    Beethovan. Most people who play the piano do it for their own
    enjoyment; they are not professional musicians. The same is true of
    photographers. I laugh at those who seek out the (virtual) tripod
    holes of St. Ansel in Yosemite, but I've done it and it gives me
    great pleasure to compare my vision with his.
     
  14. Chris:

    <p>

    When I read your post, I went to your website and viewed your
    images. (Good idea to increase those site hits!) After all, with a
    blanket condemnation such as yours, I figured that you must certainly
    be on the cutting edge of art photography.

    <p>

    Yet upon viewing your images, (which by the way are very good), I
    have to ask you this: Are you the first person to photograph moss
    covered trees in the old growth forests of the Pacific N.W.? No?
    Then why do YOU take photographs of pretty nature scenes that have
    been photographed before. Do your images scream "This photo was
    taken by Chris Jordan"? Is this art or another hackneyed
    interpretation of nature?

    <p>

    I suspect that you photograph these scenes because they appeal to
    you. Why we photograph what we do is a very personal, and at times,
    unexplainable decision -- something inside of us just "clicks." (No
    pun intended). We make photographs because there is something that
    lies before our eyes that appeals to us and sparks a creative
    interst, not because it meets some self serving interpretation of art
    ala Susan Sontag. If similar subjects have been photographed before,
    so what? If a person draws inspiration from a subject that helps
    them to grow in a way perhaps known only to them, who are we to say
    that their efforts lack meaning?
     
  15. "Introspection", "Sophistication" "Risk" "Wild-Ass". Another attempt
    to define "Art" and photography with words. Such attempts, while
    interesting, will always fail (less than total agreement), as Art and
    Photography speak without words in a language all of their own. Kevin
     
  16. "You could borrow ten photos from each of a thousand nature photographers,
    and mix them all up, and you'd have NO IDEA which photographer took which
    picture because they're all exactly the same. "

    <p>

    From 90 percent, yes. But in addition to those already mentioned, Charles
    Cramer, Jack Dykinga, Jeff Grandy, Kerik Kouklis, William Neill, Richard
    Newman, Rich Seiling...

    <p>

    I have recordings of "All Blues" in my collection from Miles Davis, Stanley
    Clarke, Freddie Hubbard, and Larry Coryell. Each is based on the same theme
    Davis wrote 40 years ago, but each has a unique sound and I enjoy listening to
    them all. Same with "A Night in Tunisia." Listen to Dizzy Gillispie's original and
    compare it with the versions Art Blakey and Randy Weston recorded. They're
    each uniquely beautiful.

    <p>

    As with music, photographic variations on themes carry their own unique
    beauty. Frankly, your diatribe says more about you than it does about the
    people you are judging.
     
  17. Hi Chris & All,

    <p>

    Let me fan the flames, and after 13 days we still have plenty here
    in Sydney to share around.

    <p>

    I have visited your site, Chris, several times in recent months
    because I really admire your vision, your choice of subject, your
    acceptance of and fascination with your immediate environment.
    I find in your photographs inner connections that you must also
    bring to your music. Obviously the camera is simply another
    instrument to give expression to your thoughts and emotions.

    <p>

    In response to this no doubt a clamouring chorus will arise
    acclaiming the camera as simply an instrument of expression
    for them also. On that point they are probably right.
    Unfortanately, for the rest of us, the difference with regards many
    of the chorus is that they sadly have an inner connection to a
    vacuous abyss. They have nothing to say. Nothing of their own at
    least. Not that that presents any obstacle to the continuation of
    their soporific output .

    <p>

    By definition, ensuant to its title, this site attracts devotees with a
    fascination with the hardware of photography. In fact, very
    particular hardware. Pride of possession and the veneration of
    the covetted drive much of the dialogue. Photography as a facile
    folly and diversion to escape the pressure and humdrum of the
    daily round of the over-affluent.

    <p>

    Twenty-first Century visual hunter-gatherers bivouac in the wild to
    celebrate and indulge their primal roots capturing vistas and
    tableaux which, whilst numinously charged, are devoid of plot or
    intrigue and are, therefore, incapable of denouement. An
    inadequate reward to the enlightened viewer - merely the comfort
    and security of treading trodden ground.

    <p>

    Walter Glover
     
  18. I realize my thoughts may come across as sounding elitist, which has
    prompted a lot of defensive responses, but i truly believe that "art"
    is NOT something that is reserved for the special few-- EVERYONE has a
    unique "vision" inside them, and the only ingredient necessary to
    release it is the willingness to show up and take the risk of knowing
    the Truth (whatever that is for each person). It's so sad that so few
    people are willing to go there, considering the incredibly rich
    rewards. But, I'll go away now because I can see that I've offended a
    lot of people. Apologies, and peace.

    <p>

    ~cj (Seattle)
     
  19. Chris, I gotta say I like what you had to say. Not being one to go
    on with a lengthy post. I have tasked myself to begin in my own
    backyard, literally, and attempt to find beauty. To force myself to
    be aware of the poetry around me. Be it my wife and daughter on the
    front porch, grape leaves on a fence out back, the way the light
    falls on my daughter's swing set. It's all right there under my nose.
    I am never, never bored. I bet there are legions of photogs doing
    this in their own enviroment everyday. Thanks for your pos
     
  20. Perhaps you have offended some people, but you also may have made
    others think.
     
  21. So many "Artists"..... so many important sounding words.....<BR>
    So many who are "making statements"... "expessions of inner
    visions"....<BR>
    All so much B.S.
    Of the probable thousand readers/posters here there may be an artist
    or two lurking - but please gents, let's be honest with ourselves!<BR>
    We are, at best, Craftsmen and Technicians of a PROCESS. We enjoy the
    PROCESS of photography, and we study and strive to produce a more
    technically perfect product, thereby reaffirming our proficiency of
    the PROCESS.<BR>
    We compare our results with those of the "masters" in an attempt to
    validate that proficiency (and all the time and money invested).<BR>
    An artist uses whatever tools are necessary to create the product
    that reflects "the vision". Whether that be $10,000 worth of computer
    gear, a camera - or crayons for that matter - or any combination of
    all media available. Because the VISION, the END is the primary goal -
    not the PROCESS of arriving there that we are so in love with.
     
  22. Walter

    <p>

    How much time did you spend with your Roget's Thesaurus before you
    wrote your comments?

    <p>

    Kevin
     
  23. Thank you, Matt, for your honest and lucid words. Compared to real
    masters of the processus of pictorial expression like van Eyck, van
    der Weyden or da Vinci, we cannot even hope to get there and achieve
    such intensity, corrupted as we are by today's culture of instant
    gratification. In this connection, what a shame that naive avidity to
    name oneself "artist", while "artist" is not a self-proclamed status
    but a recognition given by the(competent)peers, as somebody once
    nicely said.
     
  24. Look there is only one Michael Jordan, but that does not mean that
    there are not many other talented players. If we take Chris's
    statements at face value then I guess we should all stop watching
    basketball because the rest are not at the same level as Jordan.
    There are many "capable" photographers that are masters of the craft,
    but once in a while there comes a special "talent" that defines that
    generation, as Emile said, there was Da Vinci, there was AA or
    Weston. I dont think is a matter of photographing the same places, is
    a matter of being in the same places and "seeing" a different thing
    that defines that special talent. So unless you are one of those
    special people Chris, probably your phtography is as redundant or
    boring as ours...
     
  25. Hasn't it occured to you that our society is really screwed up
    artisticlly right now.With the extreame commerciality of all forms
    of art and few giants alive or incarnate to lead the way... we end
    up with mush most of the time. There is little support in the school
    systems and also little or no adult societal support...really no way
    for an artist to live cheap anywhere anymore and be and develop
    fully and artisticly ... so we suffer.Look what you have to do just
    to pay rent...not that these were not always a problem but its
    really bad now....and we can clearly see the proof artistically! A
    russian friend of mine commented recently that the art and music in
    the US is really bland and uninspiring generally.Look at the art and
    music and performance idioms of the 1920's through the 60's
    here....great creative stuff....nowadays....we have de-volved.We are
    asleep...and loving it.Jazz is the greatest musical form to come
    along in a really long time but now where are the
    Coltranes,Parkers,and other greats that other generations have
    created? We dont have any.We have much talent but not any need to
    use it.If times get really bad we might have a chance.We need a fire
    under our ass.I dont think this society is condusive to much
    creativity except in rare circumstances where the artist is
    supported one way or another.An artist really has to eat sleep and
    drink their art to come up with the goods...how many now can spend
    12 to 15 hours a day on this? Not many these days.
     
  26. Emile....There is a place and an attitude like you're describing
    that exists now, only it's in Brazil, in the State of Bahia, in the
    Pelorinho. Bahia is where the slaves were first taken to South
    America from Africa, where the religion and culture of slaves combined
    with South American and European culture.

    <p>

    Bahia is the spiritual capital of Brazil, it's beautiful
    exciting, colorful, as is the rest of Brazil. The culture and
    religion of the Yoruba and the origins of Carnaval and masked ritual
    came into and radiated out from Bahia.

    <p>

    The Pelorinho which is located in the downtown area of
    Bahia is a hotbed of painters, poets, photographers, singers, and like
    the rest of Bahia, has an INFINITE number of photo-ops. Bahia the
    place, is as beautiful, and lyrical, and as spiritual as its people.

    <p>

    I went there for Carnaval one year instead of Rio, and spent my
    first day and night in a wonderful hotel overlooking a quaint
    lighthouse listening to the beat of Samba from trios electricos, mixed
    in with James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Miles Davis.

    <p>

    When Carnaval started, it all happened at once. The music, the
    drums, everything, the whole town exploded all at once, and I felt the
    music and it's vibration in my feet standing in my hotel room!

    <p>

    Brazil is 500 years old, Bahia has countless churches and
    buildings and structures that old, that like the rest of Brazil have
    to be seen to be beleived. The place, the people, the beaches, the
    music, the air, they make you feel alive, and I always feel refreshed
    when coming back from Brazil.

    <p>

    I'm not suggesting going off to Brazil looking for a pot of gold
    at the end of the rainbow, that would be going there for the wrong
    reason, because I think Chris Jordan is right about stuff right here
    in front of all of us.

    <p>

    Emile is right to as the issues about a place and an attitude
    conducive to growth, and Bahia is what you've described, and on that
    basis, go there at some point in time, the only problem is that no
    matter what, you'll never have enough film for what catches your eyes.
     
  27. Before somebody brings up money, plenty of kids go, they get in
    touch with somebody in Brazil over the web, there's always rooms for
    rent.

    <p>

    One year that I went to Rio for Carnaval, I rode into town with
    five kids who had rented a large apartment in Baja de Tijauca a
    beautiful suburb of Rio, and they got that apartment for less than you
    would pay to stay in a holiday inn here in the states.

    <p>

    How they got that apartment that cheap was amazing. They paid one
    fifth of the total rent for the apartment and not individually. Their
    bill for 8 days during Carnaval was $900.00, they each paid $180.00
    for the apartment! Going to Brazil can be done on a skimpy budget
    given enough time to make contacts and do reseach.
     
  28. Anybody want to get instant feedback on Brazil online, go to
    www.brazzil.com, it's an online magazine run by a Brazilian.
     
  29. Emile & Jonathan,

    <p>

    Once you got to Brazil how could you resist Peru while you're in
    the neighbourhood? A colleague just had a pretty successful
    show with work from Chile and Patagonia (although Patagonia
    seems pretty serious 'climber' territory.

    <p>

    Ah, to dream ... Walter
     
  30. Here is an essay I wrote that is on my website that stresses my
    thoughts on the matter.

    <p>

    Hometown Safaris

    <p>

    To what distances would you have to go, to find subject matter that
    has the feel and flavor of exotic fair, of places on far in which to
    photograph? As you pour over the many books and magazines loaded with
    breath taking landscapes, interesting details, folklore, candids of
    the natives, you wonder if you would ever be able to go there
    yourself on an excursion of self discovery. Would you have to fly
    half way around the world, a quarter, or any other fraction there of?
    Remember, what seems exotic and unusual to the tourist, is common
    place, every day to the locals. It all depends on your point of view.

    <p>

    If you keep a few common premises in mind that is true no matter
    where you live in the world, you will be able to find rich subject
    matter to photograph. These premise are, that there is only one sun
    in the sky, that rises in the east and sets in the west, that there
    are weather patterns, seasons, storms, no matter where you live in
    the world. What it requires is the same for all great photographs, a
    point of view, desire, discipline, hard work, careful planning, and
    getting out of bed early enough to be at the location you want at
    least one hour before sunrise and staying long past sunset.

    <p>

    Familiarity is key, by exploring your backyard, your state, the
    parks, seashores, old buildings, historic sites, extensively and
    repeatedly over the course of time, years, seasons, weather
    conditions, keeping notes, mental or written, the landscape will
    reveal itself to you. The point is, you have to be out there and in
    position when those magical moments happen, because they can happen
    at almost anytime, no matter where you live in the world. The more
    times you visit a spot, the better your chances. You also have to be
    ready to shoot and know how to interpret what you're seeing and
    translate it into a finished, successful photograph that says what
    you want to say.

    <p>

    One most recent example is the cover photograph on the 2002 Down the
    Shore Lighthouse calendar of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. This location
    is about 20 minutes from my home in NJ. I used to work there summers
    for the National Park Service during college and have gone there
    many, many times with the intention of making publishable photographs
    but never found such a rare and glorious site as: "A Rainbow in
    December!"

    <p>

    It was a lazy dreary Sunday afternoon and I was looking for something
    to do, so I decided to take a drive to "The Hook" and see what there
    was to see. Fortunately, I decided to grab (but have not always done
    so) my 4x5-view camera and bag. A cold front was coming through, it
    was breezy and getting chilly. I scouted around the park for
    possibilities, and settled on the "same o same o,"…the lighthouse.
    Yaaaawwwnnn, I need some variety in my subjects, was running through
    my mind. I set up, composed a few shots, but did not expose any film.
    The sky was pretty much over cast and I thought of leaving to go to
    Twin Lights Historic Site, 5 minutes away. But, I decided to stay,
    thinking there would be no difference. Besides, I was just looking
    for a little change of scenery to pass the time.

    <p>

    I broke down the camera, got in the car and waited, turned on some
    classical music and did a little reading. After awhile, I looked to
    the horizon, there was a break in the clouds coming. A window of
    sunlight would soon open up. Still not expecting anything special, I
    set up and waited and waited and…the first rays of sun hit the top of
    the tower. A telephoto lens close up was good; a few frames shot off.
    Then the sky over the lighthouse darkened and a few sprinkles hit the
    camera, just be patient, I thought, and waited longer….Then ... and
    ….. THEN!... AND….. THEN !!!!!!!!! WOW !!!!!!!!!!! THIS INCREDABLE
    RAINBOW WAS FORMING…RIGHT OVER THE TOWER!!!!!! I started with a wide
    angel shot, then changed lenses and moved closer. This rainbow was
    incredible! It was just not going to quit! I was able to get off a
    sequence of 3 different views before it was all over.

    <p>

    A moment in time like that is what I call a "Once in Eternity"
    opportunity, when all the elements of time, weather and circumstance
    come together and the landscape reveals its sublime glory. It has
    about the same chances of happening again as there are of finding
    identical snowflakes. Sure, there will be rainbows over Sandy Hook,
    NJ in the future. But will they appear as intensely dramatic, will
    they appear as a rarity in December, in winter, will they appear
    right over the lighthouse, and most importantly, will a skillful
    photographer be there to interpret it?
     
  31. WOW! Some of you are extremely philisophical and poetic thinkers -
    guess I must be a simpleton .....

    <p>

    I take photographs because I like to take photographs. Wheter they
    are of my favorite subjects - Civil War Battlefields - or of some
    interesting (to me) subject that happens to be in my own backyard. I
    happen to live in the Detroit Metropolitan area, and as such, am in
    very close proximity to some of the largest, and most modern
    automotive manufacturing plants in the world. Additionally, there
    are more than a few decaying artifacts of what was at one time, a
    world-class manufacturing facility - for example, Henry Ford's
    Highland Park plant where the world came a knockin' en masse for a
    $5.00 daily wage .....

    <p>

    Only recently, have I discovered the beauty (to me) of these
    behemoths, and will (as soon as I become halfway proficient with my
    new Ebony RW45) go on "assignment". The client in this case (as it
    is with every case in my situation) is myself. My involvement with
    photography is a very personal one. I have never made a dime on any
    photograph - although I may eventually considering what I spent
    recently on my RW45 and Fujinon 90, 150, 240 & 300 mm lenses!

    <p>

    Regards - Bob
     
  32. I used to work with a guy that thought it was stupid of me to enjoy
    photography. He claimed that all the pictures had already been taken.
    There was nothing left! He then went on to tell me he had always
    wanted to be a writer. I didn't tell him to forget it because all the
    words had been used before.
    I have been published quite a few times. He hasn't. If what we are
    doing isn't art, it sure is enjoyable. I enjoy being alone,
    appreciating nature. Photography just gives me an excuse to go
    roaming in the forest by myself. No, not everything I photograph
    turns into a great piece of art. I enjoy it, what is wrong with that?
    Chris, a lot what I feel are my best photographs have never been
    published. A lot of my run of the mill photographs have been.
    Publishers don't seem to want anything different from what is and has
    been successful in the past. I'll admit it, I have been guilty of not
    making a photograph I felt I wanted to. I'd tell myself that it
    wouldn't sell anyway so why bother. I had forgotten why I had gotten
    involved in photography in the first place. Due to the annoyance of
    dealing with publishers and everyone else that seemed to want
    something for nothing, I gave up on photography completely for
    several years. I have started again just recently. This time, it is
    just for me. I may never try to sell anything again. Chris, don't
    judge others if we don't meet your standards of what you feel a
    photographer should be. If it makes us happy, isn't that what
    matters? Some people enjoy climbing mountains. Is that wrong because
    they don't come away from a mountain as an artist? They had fun doing
    it!
     
  33. Walter....For years I had listened to the 'Girl from Ipanema',
    and had loved 'Black Orpheous' the first time I saw it, but for years
    I said, I don't know anything about Brazil, and its 5,600 miles away.

    One particular year I just said to myself, I don't know anybody
    there, but I'm going. One of the best decisions of my life, once you
    go, you never stop going.

    <p>

    I've gotten into these 'to be or not to be' discussions around
    here, and some 'butt ugly' discussions which I thouroughly dislike,
    but what I like about Brazil is what I really like about life, living
    simply, doing what you'd like to do, and having as many laughs as you
    can while you're.

    <p>

    There is love and hate and poverty in Brazil, but not a lot of
    mean spiritness, deviousness, or peoples with chips on their
    shoulders. Most Brazilians are looking for a smile, a joke, a laugh,
    and they just live life without a lot of 'moodyness', 'depression',
    and 'soul searching'. Most Brazilians are good natured, friendly, and
    will split their last beer with you.

    <p>

    They smile and laugh and 'good nature' their way through life,
    and its infectous. I know people who went to Brazil and didn't come
    back, they were so mind blown by the place. There certainly is
    poverty, it isn't club med, but there is a spirit there strength there
    despite what they don't have. People will make do with whatever they
    have.

    <p>

    There is only the rich and the poor, and not really a middle
    class in Brazil, which is why Carnaval is so big in Brazil, because
    during Carnaval you are equal with everyone else no matter what you do
    or have. During Carnaval you're judged on whether you can smile or
    laugh, and after being around all the high spirits you feel your feet
    lifting a couple of inches off the ground.

    <p>

    But don't ge me wrong, anytime you go is the right time, and I'm
    suggesting that it's a good destination for anybody to check out how
    to really live no matter what your problems or dilemmas. Life is so
    simple in Brazil, and that's its attraction, it's too hot to go around
    grumpy, mean, hating yourself or others.

    <p>

    It's just not good for the soul, it's photo-op heavan. There are
    Afro-Brazilians who are as black as the ace of spades with blue and
    green and hazel eyes, blonde hair, every type of shade and color and
    mix you can imagine. There is a large German community, the biggest
    population of Japanese outside of Japan are located in Brazil.
    Classic cars that have been long gone here, are still put-putting
    around some parts of Brazil.

    <p>

    Here in the west coast of the states a lot of people walk around
    with that 'leave me the hell alone' look, you don't have that in South
    America and Brazil, people will walk up to and start talking to you
    like they've known you for twenty years. If you're lost, have trouble
    making change, need help, a brazilian will likely show up with asking,
    and help you.

    <p>

    I love the place, because people there know how to live and enjoy
    life, period. I go every chance I get, because of how good it makes
    me feel, and because its exotic and photogenic everywhere. I just
    think you can get too serious about life, myself included, and I
    recommend traveling to South America on how to get back in touch with
    just enjoying life.

    <p>

    Walter...I hope I can live long enough to see all of South
    America and it's people and places.
     
  34. There is a difference between stealing beauty and creating it. When
    photographers learn to create beauty rather than steal it, they
    become true artists. Until then, they are just a bunch of wannabes.

    <p>

    -John
     
  35. One of my favorite comments about photography, which I think could be
    said in response to your statements, was made by John
    Szarkowski. "The simplicity of photography lies in the fact that it
    is very easy to make a picture. The staggering complexity of it lies
    in the fact that a thousand other pictures of the same subject would
    have been equally easy." I've always liked that. As applied to your
    statements about everyone doing the same thing, what Mr. Szarkowski's
    statement means to me is that everyone isn't doing the same thing and
    in factit's virtually impossible for everyone to do the same thing
    even if he or she tried. I could plant my tripod exactly where Ansel
    Adams planted his for one of his great photographs and I could make
    literally thousands of photographs that were different from his and
    from each other, just from that one spot.
     
  36. In response to Wes, I am lucky, for I still make photographs of the
    things that interest me and then see if any of them are worth
    something to others.

    <p>

    For Chirs, I understand what you are saying, nature photography seems
    to be the overwhelming use for "artistic" phtography. But if we look
    close at that premise, I think that seems to be the case because most
    photo publications dedicate a large portion of content to the genre.
    The general public excepts landscape and nature as the most popular
    use of the medium because of the packaging of Ansel Adams and to a
    lesser extent Weston. If you want a reproduction of a photograph in
    poster form what do people see? Adam's Moonrise, Half Dome, Clearing
    Winter Storm, Aspens etc. I don't see to many Ralph Gibson, Robert
    Frank, Eugene Smith, Brett Weston, Robert Adams, Winnogard, Evans,
    White, Siskind, Clark, Bullock, Heinecken, Brandt posters and
    calanders.

    <p>

    There are those who are pushing the boundries or at least exploring
    other genres. Most of it goes on with other formats, I think Large
    Format has become synonomous with landscape for a lot of people.
    That is why I first purchased a LF. But I think those who are
    dedicated to improving thier craft explore many other avenues of
    expression. To Steve Simmons credit, he presents quite a few in View
    Camera. But I know people upon learning that a print I made of old
    cars from the 40s placed along a river bank for erosion control was
    made with an 8x10 change the conversation from the content and
    compostion of the print to "why waste an 8x10 tranny, couldn't you
    have gotten it with 35mm?"
     
  37. Photography or Art?

    <p>

    Although I am a painter and photographer I have great difficulty
    defining what is, and what is not 'Art'. The following are my
    personal observations and definately not a difinitive answer to the
    question.

    <p>

    When I am wearing my photographer's hat (not wide brimmed or
    literally you understand!) most of my work is nature and horticulture
    and although I take great pains to achieve a pleasing composition,
    with good lighting and a technically competent photograph, I would
    not describe the result as 'Art'. They are photographs pure and
    simple.

    <p>

    When wearing my artist's smock (again not literally, please believe
    me!) the paintings I produce are very personal statements exhibited
    in art galleries and as such I would not argue if they were described
    as 'Art'. "Works of Art" suggest that they are of great importance
    which thank God is not for me to decide!

    <p>

    However, if still wearing the smock I decide not to use oil or water
    colours and choose to use photographic media to produce an artwork
    and subsequently exhibit the result in an art gallery, again I would
    have no objection if the result was described as 'Art'.

    <p>

    When I do a search on the web, for 'Art Photography' most of the
    results turn out to be large format scenic or nude photographs, a lot
    of which are in black and white.

    <p>

    Is a photograph taken with a large format camera 'Art'?

    <p>

    Is a photograph of a nude 'Art'?

    <p>

    Is a scenic photograph 'Art'?

    <p>

    Is a black and white photograph 'Art'?

    <p>

    My answer to all the above.... probably not.

    <p>

    However, I have seen photographs taken on various formats, in colour
    and in black in white, of scenes, nudes and all manner of subjects
    that I would not hesitate to describe as 'Works of Art'! Photographs
    of great importance.
     
  38. Chris,
    I feel you were trying to bring forth a sincere discussion in regards
    to the landscape as art and subject matter in photography. I will
    try to keep my comments brief as I could ramble on and on about this
    since it is a topic close to my heart.
    Firstly, you seem to have come to the conclusion (if I understand
    your statements correctly) that many individuals are photographing
    pristine landscapes in a similar fashion, style, technique etc.
    Because so many are out there doing it, and have done it for years
    and years it should no longer be considered as an artistic subject.
    You seem to think this somehow invalidates such images as having
    artistic value and can only be thought of as "pretty" pictures. I
    do agree with you that there are many seemingly similar and
    repetitive images of landscapes, but the same can be said of most any
    photographic subject, be it portraits, still life, nudes, street
    photography etc. I personally don't seek out the exact same places
    other photographers have been to but even if I do wind up in
    Yosemite, which is A. Adams territory it does not mean I can not and
    should not photograph there. Chris, you state that people are
    missing the whole point of art but I disagree. Just because a
    photographic image does not break some new ground showing us the
    world in a new light in which hasn't been done before does not
    invalidate it as art. Personally, I do differentiate the various
    landscape images out there, for I don't view everyone as a successful
    one. But when I see landscape images which employ good composition,
    interesting lighting, color if not b/w and is skillfully crafted I am
    often finding myself drawn into it. Part of the reason is because I
    think art is in the eye of the beholder. What one sees as art,
    another may see as garbage. Art can be pretty or gritty, it can be
    of familiar subjects or seldom seen ones, it can come in all sorts of
    shapes and forms. If you find these landscape images as inartistic,
    it might be because you just don't relate to the subject. When I
    lived in the city of Chicago and attended college there I took some
    photography courses and found my choice of subject matter, the
    landscape, in the minority. I felt I wasn't taken seriously because
    I wasn't trying to "push the envelope" in my choice of subject. I
    truly believe these individuals who looked down on me simply couldn’t
    relate to the images I took because they were so distant from the
    subject. They were city dwellers who were only interested in the
    doings of other people in the city. This is fine, but it doesn't
    mean anything outside that couldn't and shouldn't be considered as
    art. The natural landscape has become a lifelong love for me. I
    found myself taking vacations to various national parks and
    wilderness areas, going to state parks and driving for hours on the
    weekends trying to find places that haven't become farmland or paved
    over with most of the natural processes and other living things being
    wiped out. (Although I did and do at times photograph such things.)
    This love of the natural world has brought me to the Pacific
    Northwest so I can live closer to such places and have more access to
    them. I did try photographing in my "back yard", for Chicago is a
    large city with much to offer. But over and over I found myself
    going back to the more natural landscape as subject matter. I can't
    speak for other photographers but for me it is simply a love of the
    land and a connection I feel in my inner core to the land when out
    there photographing away from the noise and fast pace of urban life.
    It satisfies a yearn to try to be more in tune with this planet we
    call home.
    Chris, instead of telling people that they should abandon landscapes
    as subject matter, maybe start a discussion on how to make it more
    relevant to others, how to expand on it's interpretation
    photographically and how to keep it a serious subject matter which I
    think it is and really deserves. And for those interested in this
    one place to start, if you can find a copy is with a book called
    Between Home and Heaven. Contemporary American Landscape
    Photography. published in 1992.
    Best regards,
    Saulius Eidukas (Portland, OR)
     
  39. Really their is a old saying...

    <p>

    "there is nothing new under the sun"

    <p>

    If you look into such things as Jazz they still play the same old
    things these days as when they started out many years ago. Nothing
    really has changed except the gear they play it on.

    <p>

    I'm from Australia and yes we have the same thing happening here,
    1,000,000 pics of Ayres Rock. but theior is still a sense of calmness
    around that rock, the light is different everytime, the seasons bring
    different looks, eg Spring with lots of rain bring the wildflowers etc
    etc.

    <p>

    And the general public still like looking at the same well know areas.

    <p>

    If I ever get to America i'll be in those well known spots not to copy
    someone elses image but to create my own and really that is art. It
    maybe the same scene but we all see it different. And that's what makes
    one artist different than the next
     
  40. I would just like to THANKS all the contributors and Chris for this
    excellent discussion. No nuts and bolts, just good creative input.
    Though I think the gentleman with the new Ebony camera should not
    wait until he becomes proficient before exploring his favorite
    location. Photographers should just go out and quite beating around
    the bush. Either just take your new camera right out into the field
    and work with it, or take what you are proficient at go work with
    that equipment. DOn't waste time! Photography is time.

    <p>

    For me, photogaphy is proactive, get out there and expose film, you
    see something that strikes you, don't stand there and try to do a
    self Freudian analization as to why. Just shot the damn thing the
    best way you can. Then develope it and print what you want. If you
    accomplish what you set out to do, GREAT, analyze why! If you failed,
    so what, analyze why. No one has to see your failures but you, and
    only as long as they stay out of the garbage can. Or maybe you do
    have something good and you just do not realize it yet. Then file it
    away and look at it in a month or a year or two. You may then
    discover you do have something worth while to print.

    <p>

    My feeling is, if you cannot find interesting subject matter to
    inturpret in your own backyard, then chances are you will have
    trouble in somebody elses.
     
  41. I have the impression that many large format photographers are in fact
    in love with their equipment, and that taking photographs is merely a
    celebration of this love. Which easily leads to calendar photography.
     
  42. Nobody marries a woman they DON'T like, nobody wears clothes they
    DON'T like, nobody paints with brushes they DON'T like, and nobody
    keeps a camera that they can't stand.

    <p>

    I am unabashedly and insanely in love with my 810MII, and if they
    could graft a butt onto my camera, my wife would be in serious
    trouble. If somebody picked some of my work to put on a Calender I
    would feel fortunate as hell.
     
  43. Yes Jon, nobody would bear with the hell of working with a LF camera if not in love with the tools. Any skilled
    craftsman likes his tools and if you look at the life of some great photographers, they were very aware of their
    cameras and techniques. A.A. is the perfect example. He played of his camera like he played piano. Of course,
    if the tools are an important part in the process of expressing ones skills and creativity, the tools alone do not
    make the craftsman and there are certainly some out there who like the cameras more than what can be
    accomplished with them. Nothing wrong! Some collect cars, other collect cameras! But getting caught in
    worshipping gear is certainly a risk for any serious photographer and can divert from the pursut of ones vision
    and become a trap. My good friend and Master Emil Salek used to hammer this to me: "Paul, get rid of all your
    lenses (or give them to me) and keep only one. Then get the most of that one lens until you master the sense
    of composition, shapes and volumes. Throw away your crutches and face the world with your own vision. Make
    photographs that are yours and not so and so's!" I must admit that even if I didn't like it at first, his words
    made sense! (If you'd like to know, I did not give my lenses to him... Oh, just one! which did not suit my shooting
    style anyway. Maybe I should have ;-)
     
  44. I did not ask Paul to give me his lenses! I already have hem all! But
    I see that Paul would like to involve me in the discussion. Well, I
    am at this very moment bitching on my Calumet C1 because it has no
    depth of field at the 2:1 ratio (like any 8x10 in general), which I
    would badly need to shoot that beautiful close up that I can see on
    my GG and I first have to get that shot before I come back here. I
    also sometimes say that it is more important to practice than to talk.
     
  45. Paul if you have any other lenses that do not suit your style I will
    be glad to help you and take them..:)).

    <p>

    Seriously now, is it really in love with the gear or in love with the
    big negative? For myself I'm really not that much in love with
    equipment. Although I do belive to get the best available I can
    afford simply because there is nothing like having the right tool for
    the job, I really do not mind if I own an Ebony or a Gandolfi, I
    think with both you can make beautiful prints. I think most LF
    photographers are still in awe of the big beautiful negative and the
    tonality and texture they can exhibit.
     
  46. Calendar Photography? I doubt AA had calendars in mind when he was
    shooting. But his calendar is probably one of the most popular. I buy
    one every year, inspite of the many complimentary calendars I get
    from buying publishers. Shooting for calendars is like shooting for a
    commercial client, it pays the bills.
     
  47. Yes Paul....I know better, but like my beautiful wife, this
    camera was one of the few things I've gotten that was even better
    having, than getting.
     
  48. This is a long thread, but interesting. I'll read the rest of the
    answers later but.......Had a fabulous time in Death Valley today with
    the 5X7 and the 8X10. Made about 12 images just like you described
    except probably not as good as a whole bunch of other folks might do!
    I had a fabulous time! Ebem if I ripped the film out of the holders
    and threw it away. I enjoy the process enough, just being there and
    doing them that I'm "Paid in full."

    <p>

    This is something I've given a lot of thought to though. And I know
    you're basically right. And it's getting worse not better with the
    whole digital thing. At least they can put a show of Ansul's stuff
    together and say well this is the same but different. With digital
    they'll really all be the same!! Perfectly the same, and samely
    perfect! So what do we do?? I recall a couple of years ago wanting
    to know what some judges comments were on a submission for a grant.
    It was the same predictable "nice, but doesn't push the envelope..."

    <p>

    Then on the other hand I've frequented galleries where the "avant
    guarde" are pushing the envelope. Sorry, I'm not gonna make pictures
    of a person that has both female breasts and a penis. And a whole lot
    of other stuff that is even more wierd than that.

    <p>

    So what to do? What I want, mostly, whether there's any market or
    reception or not! People are still buying "Box-Car Willie" at K-Mart
    aren't they. In fact, though the thought is awful, whoever owns that
    crap is making a lot more money on it than most jazz piano players.
    That doesn't make it good, it just establishes there are other markets
    than "leading edge." I don't really want to be the "Box-Car Willie"
    of photographers, but I don't care to push the envelope out beyond
    disgusting and vile just to push the envelope.

    <p>

    Now I'll go back and finish reading all the other posts! Thanks for
    the good topic. I also get tired of "which side do the notches go on
    when you load these things?"
     
  49. Rob

    <p>

    Don't be certain about what was on Ansel's mind when he was
    shooting. Throughout the period he was shooting his best stuff
    (pre-Hasselblad and pre-circa 1952) Ansel was shooting much
    of his stuff on commercial assignment for Yosemite Curry
    Company, Arizona Highways etc. Then, of course, there were his
    great propoganda photos he did with Dorothea Lange which
    were dropped over Japanese territory from military aircraft.

    <p>

    A point that is often lost when considering the legacy of many of
    the 'past masters', and 'present-day masters' for that matter, is
    that were (are) WORKING photographers.

    <p>

    Cheers, ... Walter
     
  50. I found the answer from Saulius Eidukas to be the most interesting. I
    think that everybody is an artist if he loves what he is doing. Art for
    me is a way of looking, and seeing the world. Some of us can see it in
    a new way - they are geniuses, big artists. Most of us see it
    "normaly", in a more common way. In a world of photography it means
    that most of us take the pictures that show how, exactly, the things
    are looking like (shots are pin sharp from front to back, with nice
    light, etc.). I found that the most creative landscape photographers
    are in Scandinavia. It seems like they are "playing" with the camera
    and nature. (I'm not from Scandinavia).
    Because most of readers of this forum come from America, you will
    probably don't like me and that what I'm going to write now:
    It is very boring to look at most of landscape photographs from
    America. You have a very beautiful country, but how long can I look at
    hundreds of pictures of "delicate arch", "colorado canion", "bla bla
    canion", etc.? It seems for me like almost everyone of you have the
    same secret book titled "From where and when, and with what lens you
    can take an outstanding picture of America's landscape". I found only
    few landscape photographers from America, who photograph east of
    America, and these pictures were more interesting for me than
    "canions". There won't be a second Ansel Adams, so leave the "canions"
    and look around your home. May be some of you will become a genius?

    <p>

    Best regards

    <p>

    Lukasz
     
  51. My feelings about Chris' question have migrated to the very
    specific and the very general.

    <p>

    The general first: most people are not innovators. Whether it's
    physics, photography or football, most people simply follow the
    herd. They are happy doing so, and will fight tooth and nail to
    avoid the responsibility of being first, best, or different. That's
    human nature and there's not a lot a point getting bunched up
    about it.

    <p>

    The specific: my own nature photography is highly conventional,
    but I look upon it as reflecting my interest in nature, not my
    interest in photography. When I go into the wilderness I am a
    hiker who photographs, not a photographer who hikes, and I
    show my images to other hikers, not to other photographers.

    <p>

    As for art, I think it is important to keep in mind that what
    photographers call 'art photography' is very different from what
    artists call 'art photography'. The gap between the two is one of
    the reasons why fine art nature photography can get away with
    its relative lack of originality in subject matter, as well as an
    accepted style of presentation which admits only a miniscule
    emotional range.

    <p>

    It is true that some nordic photographers are consciously and
    deliberately trying to move away from this, as a reaction against
    NANPA-rules fantasies about untouched nature and how we
    should react to it. Hans Strand, Jan-Peter Lahall and Jan Tove
    are three who are fairly widely published, and close enough to
    the mainstream that they can't be dismissed as naked
    emporers. Personally though, I think the filmmakers have the
    edge these days when it comes to innovative approaches to
    nature, but that's a long way from LF.
     
  52. oi Johnathan, ja sei muito bem essa aspieto do Brasil-- foi la mais de
    diez veces (mais nunca aprendi como escrever portugues-- disculpa...).

    <p>

    abracos,

    <p>

    ~chris jordan (Seattle)
     
  53. Boa tarde Chris, como vai isso? Queria a fala Portequese muito
    melhor! Fico em Brasil uma semana para Carnaval. Meu escrever esta
    pior!

    <p>

    Yes Chris I speak laughing Brazilian and the Brazilians laugh,
    incidently I found out the hard way the first time I went, they call
    it Brazilian.
     
  54. Brasil, e muito lindo! Chris, O que eacha do pais/das pessoas?
    Adeus mi amigo.
     
  55. Walter,

    <p>

    Thanks for the response. No I do not know for sure, what went through
    AA's mind when shooting. The juggeling of commercial and pure
    artistic is difficult and the cross overs common place. Seperating
    the two is sometimes impossible. I personally take a strict view of
    the two; commercial work is when I shoot with someone else in mind,
    what will others think. Pure artistic expression is when I shoot to
    please myself, regardless of what others think.
     
  56. Hi Folks,
    I am tone deaf and can’t speak Brazilian, but I want
    to put my two penneth anyway.

    <p>

    In my opinion Chris is partially correct in what he says – although
    every image is unique there is much of a muchness about many
    photographs including, but not restricted to landscapes. Check out
    the stock image catalogues and you will see that many wildlife and
    portrait shots are repeated ad nauseum. Indeed it must be
    increasingly difficult for anyone to break into stock photography
    unless they supply images that portray modern fashions – state of the
    art sports goods or clothing, etc. When one photo library has 15,000
    images of wolves on its books why do they need any more? Why are
    photographers still disturbing fragile species in the hope of photo
    sales when others already have the same images?

    <p>

    For us amateurs it boils down to why you take the photograph? Some
    photographers are like birdwatchers – they follow in the footsteps of
    their heroes and tick off the images for themselves. Others, like Q
    T and Jim Galli enjoy the experience of actually being out there
    overcoming the challenges of converting the image viewed onto
    emulsion. Photographs are memories and in that respect it does not
    matter whether the subject is hackneyed – it is a personal possession.

    <p>

    Personally I try to make my images as original as possible by
    seeking out new viewpoints. I regularly visit Staithes, Nth Yorkshire
    (the place where Captain James Cook RN first worked) a tiny village
    haunted by pro’ photographers all year round. Despite the host of
    images taken within this restricted environment and regularly
    published in the photo press I have several which I believe may be
    unique. I have another image of a water mill that was taken within a
    few yards of the well worn spot where every other visiting
    photographer stands that gives a vastly different perspective of the
    scene.

    <p>

    As for ‘Art’. Well, I never pretend to understand it. The promoters
    of the Kobal portrait awards and those who claim that an unmade bed,
    dead sheep or empty room is a ‘statement’ may be right. Then again
    they may just be creating controversy for publicity purposes.

    <p>

    Well, that’s it except to say thank you to all the contributors who
    have enlightened my sparse knowledge of LF photography and did n’t
    make too much fuss when I finally settled on the half way house
    option of a 2x3 monorail!

    <p>

    Clive
     
  57. I feel that if you keep just keep shooting until you discover your
    visual passions, work at it with a sense of personal integrity (e.g.
    compose images in a way that serves the piece, versus blatantly
    copying someone else), and just keep plodding along, eventually
    you'll have art that you'll be proud of. A unique identity will
    emerge on its own. No worries! I bet there will always be *someone*
    who will enjoy your stuff!

    <p>

    Best,

    <p>

    Chris
     
  58. Que gostoso ver alguma coisa escrita em brasileiro neste forum. Adorei, e
    aproveitem !!
     
  59. Grasshopper he say "Art is more than decoration and recreation "
     
  60. The issue here is not the the mountain or the lake. It's just that your personal wonderment of it is expressed in the same form as everyone else and therefore loses it's freshness to certain critical others. That's all fine. There will always be that complacency. Might as well make some money off it. It's takes a slightly different mind to see things as if they are being seen for the first time, and others sets of critical eyes to pick that up. These critical eyes know that the same beauty can be found in someone's old shoe as much as it can in a lovely garden. So what if you feel good about your autumn landscape? They'll stay in your living rooms or will be registered into some bland stock photo catalogue. They certainly will never enter the world of art, where they don't belong. Don't even try feebly positioning your argument that way. I suspect, by reading most oif the posts on this web site, that most of you have no idea what I'm talking about. Happy snapping!
     

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