Youts Vs Geezers

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by jtk, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. jtk

    jtk

    http://www.fractionmagazine.com/issue/issue-24/
    That bunch is mostly youngish. They write unusually well for photographers. Hope for the future.
    A Philosophy of Photography Forum's elders (boomers and older, just to pick an bracket) surely wants to comment that these Fraction Magazine youts are derivative. I'll simply note that "street" and "nature" and "architecture" (duck, rock etc) are inherently derivative, which may be the reason these younger, mostly non-street folks are instead pursuing essay form, overlooked matters, their own lives, staged/evocative situations...
    Philosophy has always been the game of old folks. C'est moi.
    Do the habits of your advanced age (boomer plus) make it hard to do fresh work?
    Or is the fact that you're still doing what you did a few years ago a matter of laziness? Or are you doing vibrant things regularly? Me, I get stuck for extended periods, only occasionally recognize the stuckness...
     
  2. Well I am an old fart myself. I am not lazy but I doubt I do anything vibrant. My life is boring mostly. Up in the morning and off to work on my bicycle. Back home in the afternoon and then the usual family guy stuff. I have 6 grown kids and they all come over most every day. I am not stuck in photography but I have never had any goals with it. I just snap off some pictures when I feel like it with my F100. It's my #3 hobby.
    I checked out some of the photos from the magazine and I would not be interested in a titty magazine myself. My wife would just toss it in the recycle bin as soon as she saw it anyway.
     
  3. They should progress well. Good traditional college stuff. Déjà vu in some cases, reasonably novel in others. Better sounding and more understandable prose than in most art galleries, if that is considered a merit. My affinity is with Ross' view, except mine is hobby number 2 (+part time profession that allows an occasional Starbuck's coffee). It will probably never be number 1, I wouldn't be able to support myself.
     
  4. jtk

    jtk

    So, two votes for blah. Sounds like fear...I didn't anticipate that.
    Me, I'm not that way...I'm turned on sometimes, dead in the water other times. Working with no salary (forty years of mostly eat what I kill) does burn tremendous energy, but it fuels as well. Photography's like jazz in that respect. I don't see photography as a "hobby." Maybe that's the issue.
    Picasso got turned on near the end...ought to be easy for a photographer, right? Just point and shoot, like HCB.
     
  5. There's some marvelous work there; I didn't go through them all, but I will. I found many of the people shots uninteresting and even depressing, but some of the Oklahoma shots were, while bleak, also very atmospheric. Some of the 'studio' shots bordered on the surreal. All in all, I'm impressed; I've never accomplished anything so nice. I studied photography largely because I wanted to take better vacation pics, and haven't progressed much beyond that stage in two decades.
     
  6. "I don't see photography as a "hobby." Maybe that's the issue."
    John, it seems that you often see both philosophy and photography as "youts versus geezers", or as "photography as a non-art" or as "video versus old-fashioned still photography." It would be interesting to see some of your non-hobby photography to support your thesis, or to eliminate what you term the "blah". Quite a few of us have not been too fearful in the past about posting our own photos in this forum in support of our ideas, ...sorry, I should have said "blah", not ideas.
     
  7. I'm a geezer who's open to new ideas and approaches, but I spend most of my time and energy trying to do better the kind of work I've done for decades. The old are most comfortable with what is familiar.
     
  8. I have a career and family myself. It's not fear but hard work every day. I have 6 kids to educate. The way I pay college tuition is getting up early, working hard and bringing home the money. Blowing a bunch of money on camera's and photo trips is counter productive to my goals. However I manage to snag a nice snapshot once in a while anyway. I am more interested in music, guitar and riding my bicycle then taking photos. I am more interested in my wife then anything else in the world. Every beat of her beautiful heart is the most important thing in my world. She is everything.
     
  9. Philosophy has always been the game of old folks​
    Been interested in it since age 16 (thanks to having to translate Plato in school). And it's just 20 years later now.
    Oh wait, I am in the wrong thread!
     
  10. I'm on the tail end of the boomer category, born 1961. Been taking photographs most of my life, since age 6) but took a break when my kids were born. Didn't even take many photos of my kids. Picked it up again 6 years ago. I've found mixing it up helps tremendously. Pinhole, street, urban landscape, rinse, and repeat... Open your mind and see how all of this can apply to even a geezers mind. See what's there and see how that can apply to your own vision of it.
     
  11. As an official geezer, I've found that belonging to salon groups (not photo clubs) has kept me stimulated. I also collect photography books with an emphasis on 1890-1960 photographers. Getting acquainted with their approaches to photography is always an inspiration.
     
  12. jtk

    jtk

    the work of many of us can be seen by clicking on our names. I assume that tells some kind of story, perhaps about directions.
    In my own case I've shown images that were only a year or two old, at most, for the past couple of years...(exception for some very early 20th century things I've collected..family farm, Tsar Nicholas etc).
    However, I'm starting to review (and maybe scan/print) film I may not have taken seriously decades ago... just posted one from 1975 (maybe) and from 1994. I actually like some of that guy's work. Maybe that means I'm trying to return to youth. But I know it means I'm getting to know him better than I did when I was his age.
     
  13. jtk

    jtk

    1975 and 74, not 94. My stuff from the 90s seems unengaged.
     
  14. I learned an important life lesson from my father-in-law, who still has his marbles at age 95. John, what you refer to as "geezer" is a choice. I cannot escape the fact that I am 63; nor do I wish to do so. In fact, I feel proud in a sense to have reached this point in my life. I have earned it. Whether I choose to act in way stereotyped as "geezer" is up to me, notwithstanding physical realities I must accept. To the extent possible, I choose to act as I did when I was younger. I listen to substantially the same music. I enjoy substantially the same recreational activities. I still do balls-to-the-wall workouts at the gym.
    I thoroughly disagree with, and resent, your statement that "Philosophy has always been the game of old folks." If engaging in philosophy involves questioning and seeking answers, then children are the best philosphers, bar none. Of course, given what I have read in other threads, you hold philosophy in contempt. So, why would you care who plays the game?
    One more musing about age. Toward the beginning of "Star Trek II," Captain KIrk bemoans the fact that he is getting older. At the end of the film, Dr. McCoy asked him, "Jim, how do you feel?" Kirk's response: "Young . . . I feel young."
     
  15. Agree, Michael, that age is not the best indicator of fresh attitude, inquisitiveness, energy and vision. Fixed attitudes and lack of curiosity are present in samples of teenagers as they are in samples of 80 year olds.
     
  16. jtk

    jtk

    Michael, yes: philosophy asks questions. But philosophizing is attempted murder by boredom.
    That you "resent" may be a good sign. You're alive. But you claim to be free of change, which is insanity. I'm reading Moby Dick with incredible excitement. You're quoting a nobody who wrote for a mercifully dead TV program.
    I've always been a reader and photographer and guitar picker and worse. In other words, I can't relate to purported ideas read for TV by "Captain Kirk". I do regularly suggest video interviews, as http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11185. I also suggest browsing http://www.dailyhitchens.com/ I don't "agree" with either man about much, but admire both and do agree with burning the candle on both ends. I don't use "balls to the wall," but that's probably because I've never enjoyed heavy metal.
    As to age, it'd be news to scientists and theologians that we "earn it" (your phrase). We arrive at it. You believe you're the same person you were years ago: I know I'm a different person.
    Congratulations on working out. Me too, not enough.
    That you "listen to substantially the same music" may be OK in your world but not in mine (I'm especially fond of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-EzfanXbB4&feature=related.
    I don't "choose to act" like I'm generations younger...I have a former brother-in-law who does. Different strokes.
    I asked a photographic question at the beginning of this thread and you're crying resentment.
    What about your photography? Same as it ever was? Mine is, in some ways.
     
  17. The link you provided took me to issue #24. I have to admit, I felt some kinship with the first three photographers, Antone Dolezal, Bootsy Holler, and Kristen Fecker Peroni. They are doing stuff similar to what I'm doing. Am I doing better or worse work than they? I'd have to say, yeah, I pretty much am. But I do know I'm getting tired of pretty rocks, blurry moving water, spectacular sunsets, and pretty young women staring into the camera in a challenging manner.
    I don't think age has anything to do wth this sort of thing. It's partly nature and it's partly nurture. Age is just one factor.
     
  18. John: You totally misinterpreted my comments. Nowhere did I claim to be the same person I was years ago, or even yesterday. In any case, I think it's best for me to end my participation in this thread by saying that we can agree to disagree.
     
  19. Youts Vs Geezers​
    What's a "yout"? I'm familiar with the movie scene where Judge Haller asks, "Did you say 'yutes'?"
    But, more to the point, relative age is a mental state. I find nothing in the photographs that would distinguish the age of the photographers - really don't care what they write, and make it a point to not read words that are purported to be related to visual work. The "Painted Word" made the seminal statement on written theory versus visual expression. I prefer to look at work without the attempted viewpoint manipulation. With my own work I never tell anyone why I took the photograph, as that should be irrelevant to the viewer's personal interpretation of the work.
     
  20. jtk

    jtk

    Steve, I'd happily change the age concept to refer to stages or periods, recognizing (as I think I did) that those would simply be conversational conveniences.
    Is your work essentially the same as it was when you were 25? Perhaps you have the same idealism...I have occasional hits of that, mostly because I occasionally commit to it. I was intentional then and I'm intentional now, but I think I'm more demanding of myself in some ways today. That's partially how I've convinced myself to reconsider a few 35 year old negatives.
    "yout"... Brooklynese for "youth"
     
  21. John:
    I thought I could avoid any unnecessary angst in countering the post you directed to me by disappearing into the woodwork. Since this thread still is haunting me, I decided to reappear.
    Let's start with what appears to be your distinction between philosophy and philosophizing. If I read your comment correctly, you are OK with philosophy but not OK with philosophizing. I really can't make any sense out of this distinction since the essence of philosophy is dialogue - i.e., an activity. Is all philosophy worthwhile and a good use of time? Absolutely not. Medieval scholastics and I have nothing in common, and that's by my choice. Moreover, the fact that you hold philosophy in such contempt seems based on a presupposition that philosophy is purely an intellectual endeavor. That may be true of the sort of philosophy to which you've been exposed, but it's not true of the sort of philosophy in which I've engaged. That has involved my intellect, my feelings, my preferences, my values - - in summary, my everything.
    Next, you refer to my stating that I've earned my age, and criticize it based on what you take to be scientists' and theologians' views. Absolutely wrong . . . I did not state that I've earned my age. What I did state is that I've earned this point in my life. I've bloody well worked my ass off for it.
    As for your disdain of "Star Trek", its creator, its writers, its characters, etc. - I feel sorry for you. There's much to be learned from it. I, for one, will not limit what's available for me to learn (even at 63) or what sources I can use.
    Finally, in answer to your OP, I feel deep down that my photography has evolved as I have evolved. I confess that I really haven't thought about this befrore, so I can't spell out what this evolution may involve. At this stage in the game, all I can share is that I feel creative impulses more intensely than ever before.
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    Michael, thanks for returning. I apologize for the abruptness of my responses. I gave too much weight to your assertions of what seemed like pursuit of youth. I probably wasn't clear enough in my OT...I was looking for comments about change in our photography over time, or in different life stages... I think I indicated that I've both changed and not changed, which I may be learning from my decades-old film (excluding a period of mere snapshooting and a long period of professional work).
    I am not alone in associating science fiction with extended male (rarely female) adolescence. I don't think Kirk's comments about feeling younger have much bearing on my experience, no matter how pleasant he sounded.
    I sometimes recommend Roger Zelazney because he has a creditable understanding of the roots of Buddhism. Ursula Le Guin was a favorite science fiction writer because a) she was flat out smarter than most and a far better writer than anyone else I read in that genre and b) I studied with her brother, an anthropologist, and knew that her father was a (perhaps THE) dominant figure in anthropology (Theodore Kroeber) and her mother was instrumental in installing Ishi, purportedly the last of his tribe, in the San Francisco Museum of Natural History...where he taught obsidion-knapping and other native crafts. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/leguin.htm
     
  23. John: Thanks for your apology, which really was unnecessary. (I really wish you would reconsider your take on philosophy, but that's entirely your call.) I do agree that "Star Trek" may be considered "light sci fi", especially when held up to people like Zelazny. I did read "Lord of Light" a long time ago, and realize that maybe I should read it again.
     
  24. That bunch is mostly youngish. They write unusually well for photographers. Hope for the future.
    A Philosophy of Photography Forum's elders (boomers and older, just to pick an bracket) surely wants to comment that these Fraction Magazine youts are derivative. I'll simply note that "street" and "nature" and "architecture" (duck, rock etc) are inherently derivative, which may be the reason these younger, mostly non-street folks are instead pursuing essay form, overlooked matters, their own lives, staged/evocative situations...
    Philosophy has always been the game of old folks. C'est moi.
    Do the habits of your advanced age (boomer plus) make it hard to do fresh work?
    Or is the fact that you're still doing what you did a few years ago a matter of laziness? Or are you doing vibrant things regularly? Me, I get stuck for extended periods, only occasionally recognize the stuckness...​
    I'm late to the party, but this thread struck a chord.
    Boomer in age, "yout" in photographic development and knowledge. (Come to think of it, a college sophomore studying photographic arts likely knows more about technique and history than I do.) My photography blossomed roughly one year after I purchased my first digital camera and I started frequenting sites like flickr, jpeg mag, and Photo.net. Suddenly wanted to do more than take family snaps. "What's an f-stop?" "This is interesting with the face in focus and the background blurred...how is that done?" "Who's this Diane Arbus, this Gary Winogrand, this Yasuhiro Ishimoto, this Harry Callahan?" There are advantages and disadvantages to self-education and being relatively new at something. It's all new, it's all fresh, and if you do anything derivative, you're too ignorant to know it. Any creative endeavour encounters stale periods, slumps...I don't feel that mine are related to age.
    I had no "history" in terms of having worked with film outside of brownies when I was a kid and disposable cameras later on. No preconceived notions of how things were to be, or used to be, or which photographer first did what or when they did it. Yet who knows where I'd be had I taken photography seriously at a younger age...if I'd learned to develop my own film...studied the history of photography...worked with an experienced photographer? But, it is what it is and to me there's still plenty of fresh things to discover in the work of others, and hopefully in my own work.
     
  25. jtk

    jtk

    Steve, Your situation is enviable. It sounds like mine... I feel like a beginner.
    Somebody recently used the term "auto didact" to describe himself, and I've seen it occasionally, but I finally looked into its meaning. It means "self-educated." I've been at photography forever (nearly 60 years, on and off) but I've taken only 4 week's summer schooling (from a Minor White student and an illustrative advertising photographer) nearly forty years ago. Everything else has been picked up from acquaintances and more substantial relationships, my own gallery observations, work with graphics pros, reading, trial and error etc. So I'm not a newcomer, but I think of myself much the way you do. In fact my current work may be coming full circle to where I was forty years ago.
    THANK YOU for bravely addressing the OT so directly!
     
  26. I've never been crazy about the obviously powerful image. They suck you in but they spit you out just as fast. Images that last have an undertow. When they take you, they hold you, for good. So while my subjects are basically the same as they have always been, I have gradually become deeper. Nuance is everything. The final print has just the right off balance, the perfect but challenging tonality for the shot, and most importantly, imperfection, or better yet incompleteness. Painters call it a foil. Seamless perfection is death, commercial, photographic. There has to be something going on, a lure, but you don't know quite what it is. So while I may make mostly punchy, hey that's a great picture, the really satisfying ones are the less obvious. So that's what I work towards, and I'm more intensely involved now than I have been in forty years of shooting. It may be almost a strictly formalists pursuit, and I sometimes worry that I am without a message, but thats the way it is, and I don't intend on forcing a change to stay up with powerhouse imagery, or go out and cover an edgy topic that I'm not really empathetic towards. I'll take instead the minor, the meagre, offhand, overlooked, maybe even a little chaotic. As long as it slows you down long enough to ponder. To go, humm ? Otherwise it's todays movies, eye blasting, and leaving you numbed. A spectator only. I love the still image, the contemplativeness of it.
    You know there's something about greatness in any field. And you know you can't really say what it is, but it works because it touches you, and thats what I look for. I don't care too much about the actual subject. That shadow on the side of the house, sure it's powerful, but unless you play it down a little, hide some or contradict it, it'll be obvious, the eye will devour it, and there won't be anything left to feed the soul.
     
  27. jtk

    jtk

    Kenneth, you write one hell of a post, but somehow paragraph formation has eluded you :)
    I wish you'd illustrate your situaton with photos in a P.N gallery.
    I don't accept your comfortable use of ideas such as "greatness" when the context is your own (or my own) aspirations...and I actively reject the idea that "you can't really say what ... touches you." I can often say what touches me, it's not always ephemeral...and a person as verbal as you can certainly do it...so I think you're dissembling. You're not "thinking too much," you're trying to fool yourself. IMO. Human nature. Veil of Maya.
    "Seamless perfection.." isn't "death" when it's preferred by people such as Avedon, Weston, Penn, Siskind, Davidson et al. I think the idea that perfection is a problem is an affectation. The craft itself is worthy, btw.
     
  28. Yeah there's some shaky stuff in that last post. This one too, probably. By seamless perfection I should clarify, not technically seamless, as photography has almost unavoidable technical exquisiteness, but seamless by presenting untroubled, non conflicted, perfectly poised postcards. For which I should apologize, is not death to the healthy. But might as well be death for the sick souls, i.e. the ones in real need of redemptive and meaning filled lived art. To them, to me, the bright happy sound triumphant image is vapid. Gives them nothing. Patti Page. Doggie in the window. Not worth five seconds.
    Paragraph. I posted on apug a few years back. Waste of time, Dumb compliments, cheery good natured blather. Time better spent in the darkroom. Hate scanners and clone stamps. Not trying to prove anything, and too filled with doubt to bear deciding what to chose, and I doubt I could be very convincing yet anyway. I'm still working this out. So sorry. I'd be glad to send you a print though.
    Greatness of course is as subjective, I guess, as can be. But doesn't this overtly relativistic culture kinda bug you? Anything goes, everybody's wonderful in their own way. Seems destructive to treat people like children. Especially when the real strong creatives are pretty serious people who know their stuff. Maybe. What do I know? Maybe they're more easy breezy than I think, and I'm just a drudge. But I can't say why I like my favorites. Dylan is my favorite artist bar none. Can't say exactly why. Oh he does this, he does that, so what? So do many others. I think he's like any great. An inexplicable idiosyncratic hambone. We could name loads of people in music, but would you say, "oh I like Howlin Wolf, because of his guttural growl I'm charmed into feelin like I'm right there on the porch with him. No me. Authentic people have something, and though they might have to work on it, at least they don't have to fake it. And no I don't think Dylan faked it much, despite the hillbilly lore. After all, he's just a song and dance man. Said so himself.
    And the craft is worthy, sure. Sure it is. Worthy of a nap. It's only the rock and rollers that make it interesting. The modern in modern art is the rejection of ideals for innards. Subverting surface attractiveness. These real creatives aren't just ohhhing and awing over their pyro developed tonalities. They might have the best craft imaginable, but the real content is how well they render their predicament.
    How am I trying to fool myself?
     
  29. jtk

    jtk

    I'll leave you to think about that "fool myself" question. clue: veil of maya. Everybody fakes everything, you're not more or less special than they are.
    More interesting than any rock/roller is Miles Davis, working with Gil Evans. Quiet Nights etc. Seamless perfection. Think Irving Penn. (I cite them because we both seem to be the right vintage)
    Dylan isn't my favorite, he's one of many. In that vein, consider Jack Elliott (Dylan was his former son :)...who doesn't need obscurity or poetry to be poetic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jzVffTEfMw&feature=related
     
  30. Right, the self is just a social construction. But it's "my" social construction.
    I'm not getting my idea of seamless across. I'm stating it wrong. Penn looked around for ways to subvert the veneer, his documentary stint, his grey corners, wilting flowers, cigarette butts. Avedon seeemed to Arbus it up a notch with The New West. Before that in his commercial work, his starkness was always a jab at veneer. I don't mean to say that techincal perfection means seamless. But if it's only technique, then there's nothing under the wrapping, even if you could poke through it.
    In fact that's why so many, I like Jack too, wear out so soon. Nice stuff gets boring. Sure the Stanley Brothers sound great now, because they're rediscovered, but at the time, I bet they got to sounding awful. Dylan knows how to keep the edge on. He's great at the grating. You look for it to collapse, but it doesn't. Seamless pictures, wowie stuff, over and done in seconds. That horrible over glorified post processing nature stuff going on today. More of a homage to the Easter Bunny than to nature.
    Things a little more personally cockeyed, and you wander in more, look around more, ask what's going on here? Something has to be off, to be on.
    Sketches of Spain. One of the most brilliant albums in my collection. Wanders and wavers.
     
  31. Correction: That's "American West" by Richard Avedon. And "Avedon At Work" has some great stories about the making of it. A wonderful sweet man who was truly concerned with many of the people he encountered doing that project.
     
  32. jtk

    jtk

    I've not read "Avedon At Work" but I first formed my positive personal impression of the man from his work with James Baldwin in "Nothing Personal"... not just his mental hospital candids...his personal values (the enemies of "deconstruction") are on display in his paired portraits of "great men."
    His masterfully designed "Richard Avedon Portraits" (accordion design, I've not identified the designer) contains a thoughtful biography that places him in context with painters (the austerity factor) and a personal meditation on Egon Schiele's work...something about photographs or photographing as "performances."
    "I was no longer interested in doing portraits of persons of power and accomplishment. However, there were three men whose work I admired enormously and whose portraits I wanted to make: Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, and Francis Bacon. Their portraits turned out to involve three different kinds of performances: Borges gave an unphotographable performance, Beckett refused to perform, and Bacon offered a perfect performance. I photograph what I'm most afraid of, and Borges was blind." etc etc.
    http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1997/schiele/artistwork.html
     
  33. Funny you should mention Egon Schiele. I spent half a day in the museum for him in Cesky Kumlov last October. His paintings of the houses, wonderful stacks of rectangles were from there, before they hounded him out of town for misdeeds with I believe it was young females.
    As close as I got to Avedon was to supply one of the white background papers when he was in Cheyenne at the Frontier Days Rodeo. I was working as an in house photographer for a company and we got the call, so I trooped out to the fair with this roll of white, but was met by one of his assistants instead. A portrait did come out of that visit though, the severe looking woman in the rhinestones and cowboy hat.
     
  34. jtk

    jtk

    One take-away on Avedon for me is that he set his course as a child, found opportunities and guidance as he grew, stuck generally to that course, became increasingly able to follow it as-the-crow-flies with ever-fewer wanderings.
    . This take-away suggests that studying people like Avedon (like Picasso for that matter) won't set the clock back for us as individuals, but it can nonetheless inspire.
    I think the reason so many amateurs imagine "art" is superior to the work of professionals has mostly, if not entirely to do with failure to comprehend dedication, since by definition they (I/we) lack it, and fear the the harsh reality of luck and the accompanying high odds of disaster.
     
  35. And there's the content. Commercial is the establishment, consumerism, crass capitalism, and the like. Art represents the individual, the rebel, spirit, soul, etc. That surely has an effect. If however you look past that then there is no doubt that astounding work is being churned out by professionals at a much higher rate. Yet, yet, the artist will take the time to experiment, look under rocks, throw the bucket of paint at convention. The pros lap it up too.
     
  36. jtk

    jtk

    Kenneth, where we differ (slightly) includes the notion that amateurs are more likely to be "artists" than are professionals. That has almost entirely to do with fixation on one aspect of professional work (the purely illustrative) while ignoring the nature of almost all amateur work.
    I doubt many amateurs actually know the work of more than a few professionals, much less know any of them well enough to understand "dedication" ... which is not just a matter of throwing paint at convention: convention is the literal goal of most amateur photographers, as is evident in P.N. ratings.
    How many amateur "artists" live in their studios or work straight trough, 20/7, for weeks?
     
  37. Hi John, I think another place we are differing has to do with how we frame this notion. I'm only thinking of the best examples of either camp, not quantifying a near impossible guest at the entire entity amateur, or professional, and what they represent. Who cares what utilitarian/ family/ casual vacation photography amounts to?
    Actually, now that I say that, both camps do. Both camps have stuck their quivers into snapshot aesthetics. And in that case I'd give more to the amateurs/ artists. Robert Frank, New Topographics, Winogrand, Eggleston. The pros, after they tired of the floating Nikes of the 70's, went retro snapshooter black and white in the 80's. At least fashion did. It went from glam to some kind of Wim Wenders meets Guess Jeans with Anna Nicole. Ah Anna.
    Don't get me wrong. I think highly of pro's. I half heartedly tried to be one in NY in the 80's. They have to be firing on all cylinders, to be sure. But that takes a toll on being inventive. People get stuck with an image and can't change much even if they wanted to. Meanwhile a vast and diverse pool of amateurs bring up the rear with new things. For me, the most interesting photography happening today is showing up on Flickr. Not in the fashion mags, not in the museums, or Geographic, but from kids with digital cameras.
     
  38. jtk

    jtk

    Kenneth, I'm happy to change perspectives. We agree about things happening in Flickr. To make this more confusing, or to blur ideas more usefully, I'm not sure anybody with a digital camera ever produces a fully non-commercial image, and a lot of what I see in ads is exactly the amateur-looking work you cited.
    By the way, if you got March 13 Sunday NY Times the "Style Magazine" (fashion) had a wonderful B&W cover of Tim Lincicum, superstar MLB pitcher ( "the freak"), and a bunch B&Ws of elderly rock stars in skinny outfits, as well as some highly Los Angeles-looking freaked-out color (beyond anybody's Flickr aspirations I suspect) and some absolutely abysmal advertisements featuring washed-out, starving, slack-jawed hominids...reflective of something else about professionals.
     
  39. jtk

    jtk

    Kenneth, I'm happy to change perspectives. We agree about things happening in Flickr. To make this more confusing, or to blur ideas more usefully, I'm not sure anybody with a digital camera ever produces a fully non-commercial image, and a lot of what I see in ads is exactly the amateur-looking work you cited.
    By the way, if you got March 13 Sunday NY Times the "Style Magazine" (fashion) had a wonderful B&W cover of Tim Lincicum, superstar MLB pitcher ( "the freak"), and a bunch B&Ws of elderly rock stars in skinny outfits, as well as some highly Los Angeles-looking freaked-out color (beyond anybody's Flickr aspirations I suspect) and some absolutely abysmal advertisements featuring washed-out, starving, slack-jawed hominids...reflective of something else about professionals.
     
  40. You know what? I think I'm becoming a real die hard Arthur Plumpton fan.
     
  41. Here's a thought. When I was in school, 76-80, there was a definite line between art and commercial, for me anyway, and I think for many. By the time the 80's commenced that line was erased, and they flowed back and forth unimpeded by the heavy considerations that I held.
     
  42. jtk

    jtk

    Ken, in what way is that "a thought" ? What does it mean to you? Where was that school? Was it a wonderful school that you still think representative of some non-school world? Do you think school work typically or even occasionally reflects the excitement of the non-school world? I'm asking this seriously...what do you mean by that blast from the past?
    Do you think your memory of the era in your region or school was indicative of something going on elsewhere?
    During that era in San Francisco I recall an aversion to that kind of "definite line." In general "we" were averse to lines like that from at least the Sixties...I suspect it's still that way. A lot of Fred G's wonderful non-professional (I guess) San Francisco work looks like some of the fine advertising in Vogue, reminds me just a little of Sarah Moon's work (http://secretsofpeopleweknow.blogspot.com/2010/10/completely-intrigued-by-sarah-moon.html)...I suspect he could cash in on it in a professional instant without losing his artistic edge...
     
  43. I shall not speak the name of said school, for I disdained it much.
    It is a thought in that it speaks to the amateur/ pro dichotomy spoken prior, and somewhat, albeit loosely to the mutual "sharing" of influences.
    My subjective experience I think fell midstream from what, in America at least, took off in the sixties, and more through Pop Art, than political ideology. By the mid seventies it dawned on my modest perspective that people were not so concerned with the distinctions art commercial. Whether it came from progressive revolution, rampant relativism, or a natural unfolding I can't say. And I certainly can't nail down a time line, what with Europe to consider as our arts forefather. I don't mean to tackle any Duchamp thing here. Or a civil rights thing either. Some lines need to be erased, and maybe some others don't.
    Only to say that in that mid seventies period I begin to hear and read about more people saying, why not do both? Idealistic art camp people no longer spoke of being a whore or in anyway felt they had to justify earning a living with commercial work. The stigma, and I think there was one, had melted away. Commercial people, of course saw themselves as being just as edgy and daring as any d bag artist, in fact way better. Actually commercial people, as I experienced them while this melding was unfolding, were far more disdainful of the artist. They didn't know their materials as well, and they made incomprehensible nonsense. Only when a Cindy Sherman started bringing in the big bucks did the respect appear on the level that the art camp had already succeeded to the pro.
    Pie and cake, car and model photographers sprinkled their portfolios with street shots, grizzled faces, and any oddball outsider thing they could think of, for that street cred. No one in the 50's and 60's would have gone into a ad agency with "arty" stuff. Secretly they may have revealed that what they really wanted to do, what they really admired was the edgy black and whites of so and so, but they would have kept that out of the office.
    That vanished somewhere in the 70's, I think. I think in a fairly short time, and thanks to that 80's monetizing mentality, it all became commerce. Pop to Postmodernism, sprinkled with feel good relativism. Art was told to get over itself, and commercial was assured that it was not a bad thing at all. In fact it was a very very good thing. The egalitarian victory enshrined wealth above all else.
     
  44. jtk

    jtk

    Kenneth...interesting syntax. I mean, it works...but it's certainly distinctive. I speak a little Russian...it reminds me of that syntax.
    Anyhow...didn't you just shift gears, change your tune, backpedal...or did I misread?
    JK
     
  45. I'm not sure what you mean. But either way, I'm just exploring the ideas around two distinctly different callings and how they've gradually become indistinguishable. But it's a can of worms. Back peddling required, even though I'm not aiming for a definitive summation. Just thought it had some merit as an observation/ topic.
    If it sounds like I'm trying to build a case for or against, that's my failure as a writer. Lack of full awareness makes for didactic sounding claims. Although I do think we're a stronger culture to recognize at least some modern equivalent of sacred and profane.
    Maybe we should just ditch this thread. It seems to have come down to just us, and I'm not sure we have a clear purpose left. Unless you can get me back on track with something more specific, I'll self destruct.
     
  46. Oh, and the syntax? I got that from Joan Crawford.
     

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