Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by joe_jackson|4, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. Some questions...
    As someone who takes pictures with a camera, do you attempt to make yourself relevant to the viewing of photos in some way? (These could be your own or those of others...) If so, in what way do you wish to be relevant to the pictures...? What are your motivations for doing so? What methods do you tend to use, on this site or elsewhere? Have you been successful, do you think...? What evidence do you have?
    Is it of importance to you that you, as an individual, are considered in some way during the process of people viewing your pictures (or those of others)...? If so, why?
    On a possibly related note... Would you be content for your pictures to be displayed anonymously in public, and to receive no feedback...? Many commercial photographers must often find themselves doing just that, of course, given billboards, uncredited magazine ads and so on... Would this be satisfying to you, or are you looking for something more...? What would you say you're looking for...? Do you know...?
    Just curious how people feel about such things... Cheers.
  2. jtk


    Paul, how do YOU "feel" about such things? Step up to the plate.
  3. Oh, this is all too deep for me. I value honest opinions to filter out what works and what don't. When someone likes something so much that they give me cash for it, that may perhaps be the biggest complement. "anonymously in public"? I beleve credit is due to those who deserve it.
  4. The work an individual produces in nearly all occupations, excepting some types of performance work, shows what he can do and not who she/he is in an very personal way. There is a strong sentiment in our popular culture against this notion. One doesn't have to look very far to find enthusiasm for work that "lets you be your true self." The individual demonstrating his personal integrity by standing up for himself against one establishment or another is commonplace. You might know and recognize the theme of a young person struggling to realize his true self as he overcomes obstacles to reach adulthood.
    Unfortunately this is all BS. Your list of questions above reflect the same kind of wishful thinking I am describing. Where is a person's self, the part of him that is actually living, when you see the work he has produced? Of course it's still inside him where it's always been. His work (say his photographs) show what skills, training and discipline he has developed in his field of interest. Photographs can demonstrate certain preferences for one type of theme or subject as opposed to another. They show off competence, creativity, and like all work, an ability to make something of the stuff other people give us as subjects and assignments.
    In short: My work is not me. It must stand by itself when I'm done with it. Your questions make very little sense because you are looking for something that a good many craftspeople and artists understand simply isn't there. The fact is that I've met a number of people who go about their work every day with amazing results without ever troubling themselves with questions like yours at all. At least as far as I can tell. They actually enjoy what they're doing.
    A little celebrity probably never hurt anyone very much, but other people say and do whatever they will just the same.
  5. "You" is present in your photos only so much as you are following your instinct and personal creativity and not that of others. It may not be a recognizable aspect by the majority of viewers, but that is secondary. You are doing it for your own creative interest.
    I don't worry much about Internet viewing but try to exhibit my work wherever I can (cafés, galleries, etc.) and do not sign the photo on the front, but put an artist bio-approach document somewhere where the interested viewer can see it.
  6. "I" matter 100% in the photographic process. "I" am not just a button-pusher for my audience. "I" shoot how I want to shoot and feel is the best way to shoot. Some people like my work and others do not. The ones who do will always support me as long as I continue shooting the way I see fit and not compromising. The ones who do not can hire another photographer to be their button-pusher or who's vision more accurately resembles their own.
    Why is this an important stance? Just like it's important to know the background of an author of a book, it's important that you know the perspective of the person behind the camera, using images of life to create statements. Knowing the author will allow the audience to both understand and appreciate (or not) the statement. For me, I think incorporating my personal bias into my photographs visually is fairly important. This reveals to the audience the point of view of the photographer and does not claim false objectivity as soo many photographs (and TV news) do.
    I reveal my identity by using mirrors to put myself in the photo. I reveal my identity by using particular films. I reveal my identity by not using a flash. I reveal my identity primarily by shooting repeated and themes. I even shoot people in poses that express who I am and how I am feeling while shooting them.
    Most of these items are very subtle but become increasingly apparent as one looks over the body of my work.
    "You" are important. "You" are what makes a photograph honestly expressive and representation. Perhaps not always 'accurate' but honest relative to the perspective from which the photo came.
  7. John, I suspect you know why I asked these questions. And no, they weren't directed at you, specifically... Or anyone else, for that matter.
    You hold the plate there for me, John. If we're lucky, maybe another goose will come along and sit on it...? Perhaps it'll open itself up for us...? Then we can all look inside.
  8. I think a lot depends on the type of photo being shot. Photojournalism, food/ fashion photography (as a profession) offer limited representations of the photographer's self (although they can clearly represent their style/skill). They often rely on their client's needs to determine the parameters of the shot and end result. When a photo is not restricted in this way, it relies on the photographer's creativity to develop, and in that context it can and does represent them ('You"). Although I believe a photo can represent part of who "You" (we) are, it is the viewing of collective works that exhibit the whole of a photographer's self more so than a single photo (Johnny Martyr has touched on this: "Most of these items are very subtle but become increasingly apparent as one looks over the body of my work"). Photography, like other art forms is as much about the artist as it is the art work. I dont think you can create an image without having some of you in that work. Consciously or otherwise, I hope that through my photos the viewer may come to, at the very least, appreciate my style, and at best, understand what I am trying to convey.
    This then leads me to your question about whether I would prefer my works to be displayed anonymously or named in public and whether feedback was important. The mere fact that I am a member of PN clearly answers that question.
  9. Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds.
    -- Emerson, Representing Men (1844)​
  10. What's the end game? If someone hires a photographer for commercial shoot not of interest to the photographer, it's because he or she demonstrated something that the client liked. In which case, you, me, we are already in it.
    I learned this in early on in Navy photo school in '83. We were handed an F1n, a roll of ISO 125 film and instructed to shoot objects on a list found in various places about the base. One of them was a simple cinder block on a bare foundation.
    You would not believe that there could be twenty different and unique shots of the same stone. Ranging from the stand and shoot to the bold faced silhouette. I learned that it was my job to make even the mundane and ordinary something of interest. Without me, it was just a rock.
  11. jtk


    Paul W, I suggested that you step up to the plate because I thought you be able (capable) to step a little bit away from your usual strategy: Lurking, then making cryptic criticisms of folks who are aware and courageously open about their own questions and ideas.
    It's OK to hide most of the time IMO, but I think it'd be rewarding if you stepped up to the plate and shared your own ideas occasionally.
  12. I've never considered myself integral to whatever images I'm working on, but had never actually thought about it. Perhaps everything I've ever shot, put together, but I feel that misses the point. Am I relevant to my own pictures? That's where thoughts get messed up.
    I've been working on a large set of several portraits for a year now-- going to shoot more tomorrow in Charlevoix, Michigan-- and I would rather they be more relevant to the idea and character I'm describing in the images than the guy that came up with them. Are they my legacy? Since I won't have children they are. But me? I'm just a guy with a camera.
  13. "You would not believe that there could be twenty different and unique shots of the same stone."
    "Without me, it was just a rock."
    So, you were able to tell who had shot which picture? I shoot fireplugs for the same reason, a drill to tell something about the subject, but not the photographer.
    @Paul Wilkins, John's right about this thread. You started it and haven't graced it with your presence in two and half weeks. Not even to thank the several people who answered your question.:)
    Happy Shooting, Kurt
  14. Western art always assumes a viewer's presence, and viewpoint. It plays to that. Even images of the unaware presume an awareness that we, the viewers, are 'spying' on a private moment.
    As to Paul's original posting, one has to wonder about his shyness in posing the question and then evaporating... a professor of mine a long time ago used to play this imagination game in which he posited that people had tails, and then would have to work out in great detail what sort of tail every person that happened by actually had. I imagine Paul has a very long, delicate tail, somewhat like a housecat and yet much more elongated and delicate than that, with a fine short hair covering, and that he must keep the end of the tail held gently in one hand, lest it drag the ground and get dirty, or even worse get caught in something and become damaged. Instances where both of his hand are occupied require that he tuck one end up under his upper arm. In quiet moments Paul thinks long and hard about a way to protect this delicately long tail, and he has experimented with several articles of clothing that provide sleeves, pockets and loop tabs to carry and protect the worrisome, fragile tail.
    My first class lecture to studio art students began by drawing an octagon on a stick, and asking the class what it was... always answered by "a stop sign". It was the starting point to a challenge that contrasts symbols with reality, and how much we see only what we know, encouraging them to see again with fresh eyes. What does Paul see when he posts such questions?
  15. "What does Paul see when he posts such questions?"
    I see what I'm presented with... This includes the eye-rollingly familiar crock of worthless (to me) "art" waffle and a notable failure to answer the questions... I didn't mention "art", and for good reason... And yes, I also see "art teachers" like Mr T.watt here, and (unsurprisingly...) yet another bunch of pics like these:
    Now, I don't mean to be mean-spirited to anyone here, but you'll really have excuse my distinct lack of interest in "work" like that, especially given my current feelings of "blah, seen it all before" apathy towards the vast majority of photography these days... The truth is that this kind of stuff is being uploaded to the net by the truck load on a daily basis, and I must confess I simply see no reason whatsoever to be interested in it. (Well, it's about as interesting to me as a bucket of used bus tickets, TBH, and of somewhat less material value, of course...)
    My questions were largely concerned with exploring why someone should perhaps hope (or expect...?) that members of the general public will be interested in either them or their "art"/snaps... And yes, the thought of some apparently bored/talentless muppet sitting there and taking the time to (proudly...) upload yet more pics to their little "portfolio" is, quite frankly, a source of much amusement/bemusement to myself and friends. Good parody material, that's for sure... :) And yes, it's also rather embarrassing to witness, in all honesty... Well, we're really not sure whether to chuckle or cringe at times...
    So, T.Watt, perhaps you could enlighten others as to why you uploaded your flower pics here...? Hmm...? What did you hope to gain from doing this...? Advice on camera settings...? Yes, many people here can help you with that. Or were you hoping for something else, perhaps...? If so, what...? Were you hoping that people would think about you, as a person, in a certain way...? Hmm...? Have you been successful, do you think...? Try to be as calm, clear and precise with your answers as you can.
    (And no, I can't say I'm particularly interested in the answers to these questions myself - I think the answers are painfully obvious, truth be told, and well, summer provides plenty of considerably more interesting distractions - but OK, they may be of interest to others...?)
  16. Thank you, Paul, I'm in complete agreement with everything in the comment above. Most of what you see on the net as people's photography doesn't really interest me. And it's just that, pictures of flowers, a robin sitting on a branch, a model standing up. Like you, I've seen these things many times and want more.
  17. Frankly, I wonder whether the uploaders of the pictures flowers care whether you like it or not. They like it, and they probably liked taking the pictures.
    Many of the photos of people who think they take more interesting and artsy shots than flowers, animals in the zoo and whatever, are severly overrated in my view. Usually, they do not show any better insight in composition, exposure and handling of light than others, but the photographer just adds a bla-bla story on hidden meanings and high-flying intents. Usually, all BS, just mediocre picture. Like the rest of us.
    So get of your high horse there. You ask "is the photographer viewable in a photo?" and next you're discussing taste, getting personal. All because they asked for your point of view, and you did not like the tone? If you open a debate, then please show some debating skill.
    Well, anyway, back to the question.... So, yes, the photographer is visible in the picture. Because the photographer decided to take that picture. But certainly with humans, the closer a photographer gets the more actual interaction will exist between subject and photographer - so the photographer there actively "shapes" the picture. Same for still life, studio and so on. Whether the vision is always unique and easy to identify - no. But that's because the very vast majority of us are really not that gifted.
  18. "You ask "is the photographer viewable in a photo?" "
    No, I didn't.
    Learn to read, and then answer the questions posed to you.
  19. I am always relevant.....
    ....if you don't believe that about yourself you have some serious identity problems.
  20. "I am always relevant....."
    Learn to read, and then answer the questions posed to you.
  21. Paul, interesting that your response is to go on the attack. Actually, it's not intesting at all, just typical.
    So, T.Watt, perhaps you could enlighten others as to why you uploaded your flower pics here...? Hmm...? What did you hope to gain from doing this...? Advice on camera settings...? Yes, many people here can help you with that. Or were you hoping for something else, perhaps...? If so, what...? Were you hoping that people would think about you, as a person, in a certain way...? Hmm...? Have you been successful, do you think...? Try to be as calm, clear and precise with your answers as you can.​
    I hadn't recalled soliciting your opinion concerning my alleged 'work'. In fact I shoot flowers when they're handy because my father (deceased several years ago) loved flowers and photography, and it is a way to connect to memories of him. Had I been concerned about receiving your opinions, I could have uploaded them to the critique forum and gotten some real feedback along with the snotty comments.
    Why would you think anyone would wish to be thought of as a person via a post on a philosophy thread? You think of yourself as a philosopher because you originate the thread? You would hope perhaps that I trot out my imagined 'success' so that you can snipe that those too? Isn't that the point of your thread? So you can snipe at others? My answers do not have to meet with your approval, nor does either the mental/emotional state of the answers nor does the precision or lack thereof.
    Frankly, I'd say you ought to back off the dosage on your drama pills.
  22. We now have a clear example of someone attempting to make both themselves and their dead father relevant to the viewing of a bunch of (distinctly average, in my opinion) flower snaps.
    The thing is, the goose can sit there flapping and honking all it likes, but the eggs served up on the plate still look precisely the same.
  23. Nice contribution to the forum, pal.
    At least I own a camera. As far as I can tell, all you own is an attitude.
  24. "If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it. "
    Andy Warhol
    Perhaps this quote will help someone.....
    Bill P.
  25. Every photo is an interpretation whether you know it or not. The photographer is a part of the photo and the photo says something about the person who took it.

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