Where's your pleasure?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Julie H, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I think you have summed up, far, far better than I could, why so much of my 'work' is of unposed, 'natural' views, scenes, activities, 'objects' if you will - on the odd occasion I have made photographs where I could control or even had to control elements within the image (usually at the behest of others, for whom I was making the image), I have felt far less personal satisfaction with the result. Probably for similar reasons, very few of my images contain the human race or evidence of their effect upon the world (some classic architecture and vintage transport being notable exceptions to this - and obviously these I cannot move around to suit myself !).

    My ex-parents-in-law never could understand why I took photos without people in them - to them, it was a complete waste of film, time and effort. If I have an aim in my photography (debatable !) it is merely to record, for my own pleasure and satisfaction, memories against the time (probably fast approaching) when I am unable to enjoy and appreciate the actual scene.
  2. LOL

    That's the response I've gotten from almost every non-fellow-photographer for ... most of my pictures. One's choices, in response, are to believe them and stop being a nut, or to convince oneself that one knows things they don't know, which is nicely vague and unassailable. And not worry about it. (Notice how it is "one" who does such evasive things ... not "me.")

    The problem that I have with this kind of shooting is that, for me, the (great!) fun is in the shooting. The end result (see my photos above) doesn't really interest me except in the way a completed crossword puzzle proves that you solved the challenge. Who saves their completed crossword puzzles? Well, I guess I do, because I have them to post here, but that's their only moment in the sun.
    Tony Parsons likes this.
  3. There are other choices. One of those choices is to follow neither choice blindly, not necessarily to “believe” what others may see but rather to consider it, to consider whether there’s any sense in what others say about our work rather than defend it simply because it’s ours. That can sometimes get us to step back and actually change some golden rule we’ve set for ourselves that might just be holding us back. I’ve heard a fair amount of lip service paid from fellow photographers to getting out of our comfort zones while at the same time using ego and self-assuredness in the path THEY’VE chosen to defend their givens and status quos.
    That’s interesting and I respect however one feels about process and finished product. I can’t separate the two and the photo itself ultimately matters to me a great deal. I see the photo as guiding the entire process. Love the process. Love the photo. For me, photography is about sharing, often in the process since I do work with others, and often in the body and the viewing of the photo itself, as I love showing my work to others.
  4. Experiment in free association?

  5. things_chickenlist.jpg
    [found art]
  6. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

  7. What curtain? She's happy to grind away right in front of you. She's straightforward. No pretense. In fact, I think she *wants* you to hear her grinding away.

    Who says it has to be "in an invisible way"? You make me think of ladies' underwear. Being coy is not Mann's MO.
  8. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Very nice - now where's the basket of snakes, please ?
  9. ...........
    When talking about "Where's your pleasure?" I've left out the elephant in the room: failure. Assuming I'm not too different from most of you, I do a lot of failing. If you've been doing this for as long as I have, you don't even notice it: it's kind of the time-between all the pleasurable tidbits that you sniffle up here and there.

    On the other hand, for some of us, me maybe twice in my life, the failures didn't or wouldn't stay unnoticed; they weighed, they killed the joy, and I stopped photographing altogether for a while. Both times, when I came back, I came back knowing more about when/where and what *not* to photograph.

    Here are a couple of ... not quite failures (we get enough of those on our own) but near misses that I regret not being able to have been able to make do what I think they could have done. These aren't the same as what I talked about back in post #52, where I simply didn't want to do the work. These are cases where I tried and couldn't "get it."

    This, to me, was totally cool. It's some kind of red fungus that is commonly and widely found in dots and clumps on the surface of wood — you've all probably seen it because it's so bright. But here it was growing in this crack, and, to my eye, looked just like fire. As you can see, the only thing I managed to do with it was choose a somewhat interesting line. This leaves the bulk of the frame with pretty dreary "regular" tree bark. I love the red, hate the picture. Oh well.

    This one happened in an instant. Less than an instant. I saw the set-up but who knows whether there was a good shot in the blink of an eye during which the wasp, which was tearing along that grass stem, zipped onto and off of the shadow-receiving background. On the plus side, I comfort myself by thinking that it always seems like the one-that-got-away-speedily would have been more than it really would. Is that better or worse to believe?

    This looks awful, doesn't it? I spent ten times more effort trying to shoot this than the other two. In post, I even took two shots and combined them to get both sides of the down to be sharp and to try to get the background tree form to work with the foreground skinny tree. And ... it's a picture of a white blob on a some gray fuzz.

    I think I do more of that last kind of visual shuffling with stuff that is really a little too tired to be brought to life, than I do with stuff that is too fast, or that is gorgeous but probably in an impossible context. I'm not sure if it's vanity or laziness that makes me think I can make something out of nothing. Well, okay, I am sure: it's both. And that I find pleasure even in failure. I had fun working on that down failure, and I'm having fun talking about it right now.
  10. Yes the shooting..... what makes me take the camera out of the bag ...then more often than not somewhere in the process of shooting I get the "feel" a different idea than I had a the first depression of the shutter, it makes me go back and rethink the shoot.

    Then more often than not I let the "image" sit in the camera/ computer before I process it. Some images take a while. days. weeks or even months to fully process, I fall "in and out of love" with them...heck I am still working of images from my trip last April!! The processing part takes a while! Then the print. Once the image is printed, I can move on to the next one (much more often than not; as i try to get the print right the first time.)
  11. Greg, something is germinating! Or is it fermenting? :)

    I'm never sure if it's me or the picture that's germenting and ferminating.
  12. ...........
    This morning, because of something I read (not about photography), I've been thinking about private vs the public reference photography.

    In the origins of the arts, the 'private' was not featured. We had to learn how to get out of the epic, the mythic, the gods and royalty, and find the private life of ordinary people in literature and in the visual arts. Photography was born into the private.

    I find, that for me, the private equates to the snapshot. And from that I notice that maybe 99% of the pictures made today are 'private' whereas maybe 99% of the pictures found on photo.net are not private; are public in the sense that they are aggressively not of the (private) snapshot kind. (My idea of a snapshot is a picture that is intended not to be seen: it should be invisible, it should disappear when looked at. Its only job is to cue some scene or thing out of memory. My idea of non-snapshots is a picture that is intended to be seen and looked at. It should make itself necessary to its own sense-making; it should grow in visibility when looked at.)

    [In art photography, there is a 'snapshot' style. I don't think those pictures are snapshots: they use/abuse the habitual response to that kind of picture to creatively trap the viewer ... but that's another topic for another day ... ]

    I know that many photo.netters make snapshots, carry P&S cameras or use their phone camera to get quick, friendly 'private' grabs out of their life. I don't like to do that, and consequently rarely do that. This is not because I'm an extra fancy photographer but, I think, because I hate looking at things in that way (with my camera).

    A second thought on private photography, and this one surprises me, is that I'm not sure there is such a thing. It seems to me that as soon as you've made a photograph of it, it's somehow been taken out into the public world, no matter how snapshot-ish it is. Unlike literature or painting, which source from the mind, the out-there visible is, in many ways, public once it has been made accessible to other eyes.

    A small part of what I was reading that got me on this tangent:

    "By its very nature this private life does not create a place for the contemplative man, for that 'third person' who might be in a position to meditate on this life, to judge and evaluate it."​

    You'll say, duh!, the viewer becomes that third person. But I think that once third-party judgment and evaluation have been introduced, it is no longer private. It's something else. A presentation, a show.


    "Events acquire a public significance as such only when they become crimes. The criminal act is a moment of private life that becomes involuntarily public."
    [quotes are from M.M. Bakhtin]​

    Rounding this back on topic, I really viscerally dislike, and find no pleasure in, making 'private' pictures. That's odd because when I was a budding photographer, when my six or seven year old self was on the prowl with her box Brownie, I took only 'private' pictures of cats and dogs, and family members — and derived great pleasure from it. That little girl would have agreed with Tony's ex-parents-in-law and thought 'public' pictures were ... nuts.
  13. ............



    "As a 13- or 14-year old boy, I gradually saved up enough money to buy myself a paintbox containing oil paints. I can still feel today the sensation I experienced then — of paints emerging from the tube. One squeeze of the fingers, and out came these strange beings, one after the other, which one calls colors — exultant, solemn, brooding, dreamy, self-absorbed, deeply serious, with roguish exuberance, with a sigh of release, ...


    " ... with a deep sound of mourning, with defiant power and resistance, with submissive suppleness and devotion, with obstinate self-control, with sensitive, precarious balance, living an independent life of their own, with all the necessary qualities for further, autonomous existence, prepared to make way readily, in an instant, for new combinations, to mingle with one another and create an infinite succession of new worlds." — Wassily Kandinsky


    movingfinger likes this.
  14. ............
    “I would like my pictures to look as if a human being had passed between them like a snail, leaving a trail of human presence and memory traces of past events, as the snail leaves its slime.” — Francis Bacon


    " Clichés and probabilities are on the canvas; they fill it, they must fill it, before the painter’s work begins. And the reckless abandon comes down to this: the painter himself must enter into the canvas before beginning."

    " … We do not listen closely enough to what painters have to say. They say that the painter is already in the canvas, where he or she encounters all the figurative and probabilistic givens that occupy and preoccupy the canvas. An entire battle takes place in the canvas between the painter and these givens."
    from Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation by Gilles Deleuze

  15. .............
    What's the difference between my photography (the topic of this thread) and my compositing (not the topic of this thread)?

    In the following, pay close attention to the difference between the meanings of the words visible and visual:

    "Old art attempted to make the non-visible (energy, feelings) visual (marks). New art is attempting to make the non-visual (mathematics) visible (concrete)." — Mel Bochner [emphasis added]

    Think Minimal art and, beyond that, Sol Lewitt (who was neither conceptual nor minimal, though he used both).

    What I do with my photographic composites is the second kind, but I use the visual to do it, or maybe it's more accurate to say, to play with it. I use the visual to make the non-visual visible. Again, note that non-visual is not the same as Old art's non-visible. Got it? :)

    I get an extreme pleasure from doing this. Compositing is my obsession: it's my work, it's what I do all day (in between all that other staying-alive stuff).

  16. ................
    I think you have a fish on the line, but you haven't seen it yet ...

    Compositing is not photography. There is photography and there is compositing. They are good friends, but they live in separate apartments.

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