Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: DarkPenguin on March 13, 2009, 12:47:08 PM

Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on March 13, 2009, 12:47:08 PM
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/t...-true-fans.html (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/03/does-ctein-have-100-true-fans.html)
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 13, 2009, 01:18:10 PM
Maybe, but I'm not one of them. When some guy with a woolly beard tells me about his multiple degrees and concludes that his credentials make him an artist I tend to back away. Evidently he's written some how-to books. That probably qualifies him for something, but not fanship as an artist.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on March 13, 2009, 01:45:49 PM
Uh, no.  But his artistry does.

Quote from: RSL
Maybe, but I'm not one of them. When some guy with a woolly beard tells me about his multiple degrees and concludes that his credentials make him an artist I tend to back away. Evidently he's written some how-to books. That probably qualifies him for something, but not fanship as an artist.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 13, 2009, 03:56:50 PM
Quote from: DarkPenguin
Uh, no.  But his artistry does.

Well, I guess I'm just not into what Wordsworth called "rocks and stones and trees" and tourist shots of Canaveral. I realize that many, many people are. That's why photographers are able to sell this kind of stuff at art fairs. I'll also happily admit that from what I can tell on an lcd screen at 92ppi he's a very good printer. He certainly makes what art fair attendees call "clear" pictures. So if that adds up to "artistry," then I'd have to concede the point.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on March 13, 2009, 04:24:53 PM
Quote from: RSL
Well, I guess I'm just not into what Wordsworth called "rocks and stones and trees" and tourist shots of Canaveral. I realize that many, many people are. That's why photographers are able to sell this kind of stuff at art fairs. I'll also happily admit that from what I can tell on an lcd screen at 92ppi he's a very good printer. He certainly makes what art fair attendees call "clear" pictures. So if that adds up to "artistry," then I'd have to concede the point.

I thought the "or doesn't" would be implied.  Guess not.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: KeithR on March 13, 2009, 05:42:40 PM
Quote from: RSL
Well, I guess I'm just not into what Wordsworth called "rocks and stones and trees" and tourist shots of Canaveral. I realize that many, many people are. That's why photographers are able to sell this kind of stuff at art fairs. I'll also happily admit that from what I can tell on an lcd screen at 92ppi he's a very good printer. He certainly makes what art fair attendees call "clear" pictures. So if that adds up to "artistry," then I'd have to concede the point.

I would love to see any Ansel Adams, any of the Weston family, Elliot Proter or any of the other "Masters" original prints sold at "art fairs". Didn't they photograph "rocks and stones and trees"? It's such a pity that they are represented by reputable art dealers around the world and sell for such mundane prices into the thousands of dollars.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: whawn on March 13, 2009, 06:42:58 PM
Quote from: KeithR
I would love to see any Ansel Adams, any of the Weston family, Elliot Proter or any of the other "Masters" original prints sold at "art fairs". Didn't they photograph "rocks and stones and trees"? It's such a pity that they are represented by reputable art dealers around the world and sell for such mundane prices into the thousands of dollars.
I can't say about the others but I don't think Adams sold at art fairs, but he did sell for cheap in tourist shops at Yosemite and elsewhere.  I've heard prices as low as six dollars for an 8x10.  The lowest I saw, in 1967, was $15.  I bought it, as I had just finished "The Camera" and "The Negative" and was mightily impressed.  And, FWIW, IMHO, if Weston was an artist, then Ctien is a master.  The first step toward artistry is the thorough understanding of the chosen medium.  Ctien understands and applies.  He's got a good eye, and he thinks deeply about his work.  What else do you need?
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: JDClements on March 13, 2009, 06:43:29 PM
An interesting experiment by ctein. I hope it works out. In (the deep) past, art thrived on the patron system. That was when a select few had 99% of the money, and would support artists at their "courts". It would be interesting to see a sort of patron system spread over a larger base like this.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: michael on March 13, 2009, 06:43:51 PM
Well, call him "some guy with a woolly beard" if it makes you feel superior, but Ctein was once called "The world's greatest color printer", by Kodak. He has been a respected book author and magazine columnist for a couple of decades, and is one of the few remaining dye transfer printers in the world, if you know what that process is.

In other words, he's one of the most respected pros in his field. He also happens to be a really decent, kind and generous human being, and is highly regarded by his peers.

As for his art, as with all art it's a matter of personal taste. I think enough of it to own one of his original dye transfers, which I purchased, not traded for.

Just thought I'd mention this.

Michael
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: KeithR on March 13, 2009, 07:50:38 PM
Quote from: whawn
I can't say about the others but I don't think Adams sold at art fairs, but he did sell for cheap in tourist shops at Yosemite and elsewhere.  I've heard prices as low as six dollars for an 8x10.  The lowest I saw, in 1967, was $15.  I bought it, as I had just finished "The Camera" and "The Negative" and was mightily impressed.  And, FWIW, IMHO, if Weston was an artist, then Ctien is a master.  The first step toward artistry is the thorough understanding of the chosen medium.  Ctien understands and applies.  He's got a good eye, and he thinks deeply about his work.  What else do you need?
Let's keep things in proper perspective concerning money and the economic times back when Ansel sold for cheap. By todays standards $6 or $15 isn't much, but back in the 60's, if you were making $15k a year you were doing very well. Not rich but but you weren't poor by any means.  My parents bought a home in a young, well to do suburb for about $16k back in '66 and my stepfather almost balked at the price as being too high. Last I heard, that same 3 bedroom rambler last sold for about $225K!
And yes, I do consider Ctein a master, but remember also that it was Adams who was impressed with the elder Westons'(Edward)negatives that led to the development of the zone system.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: bob mccarthy on March 13, 2009, 08:07:43 PM
Michael,

I'm glad you spoke up. I was getting pissed as I read the original post. Ctein is the classic definition of the guy that works for art not money. The classic starving artist that is discovered long into life. like Ansel, Like Weston, etc.

He may be at a loss on how to market himself well, but his art sings up close and personal.

so what have you done RSL as an artist???

<removed expletive>

bob



Quote from: michael
Well, call him "some guy with a woolly beard" if it makes you feel superior, but Ctein was once called "The world's greatest color printer", by Kodak. He has been a respected book author and magazine columnist for a couple of decades, and is one of the few remaining dye transfer printers in the world, if you know what that process is.

In other words, he's one of the most respected pros in his field. He also happens to be a really decent, kind and generous human being, and is highly regarded by his peers.

As for his art, as with all art it's a matter of personal taste. I think enough of it to own one of his original dye transfers, which I purchased, not traded for.

Just thought I'd mention this.

Michael
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 13, 2009, 08:20:55 PM
It sounds as if Ctein probably has a lot more than 100 fans. By tomorrow the rest of them probably will have logged on.

Okay. I'll concede that what we're talking about is a subjective thing. I happen not to think Ansel Adams is that great a photographer. He certainly was a master of his equipment, materials, and darkroom -- probably the best printer of his day. In the sixties I used to go into the mountains west of Colorado Springs with a view camera and walk around with a Weston Master, getting zone readings. In the darkroom I'd mix a separate batch of developer for each sheet of film -- or sometimes for more than one if several had a similar zone spread. I made good prints; not as good as Ansel's, but good enough: the best I could do under the circumstances. During the same period I did a lot of street photography with three Leicas -- rolling my own cassettes from 100 foot rolls of Ilford HP-4 and developing in four-roll tanks in the kitchen. Now, the carefully zoned rocks and stones and trees are long gone but the street shots live on. After a while rocks and stones and trees lose their interest but people never do.

To me, Walker Evans was a better artist than Ansel Adams. At the top, along with Evans I'd include Eugene Atget, Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank and Steve McCurry. At the next tier I'd include Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, Garry Winogrand, Gene Smith, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doiseneau, Brassai, Manuel Alvarez Bravo... I'd put Edward Weston somewhere in between since for the most part he photographed rocks and stones and trees and peppers, but sometimes also people.

So there you have it. I guess that's why we disagree. To me, photographing rocks and stones and trees is a cop out. The human condition is what cameras are for. Landscape is for painters.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: JDClements on March 13, 2009, 08:30:34 PM
Quote from: RSL
To me, photographing rocks and stones and trees is a cop out. The human condition is what cameras are for. Landscape is for painters.
I guess I better pack it in, then. That's what Canada is... rocks and trees, with only a few people spread around amongst and between. Oh well.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Bill Caulfeild-Browne on March 13, 2009, 09:00:42 PM
Quote from: JDClements
I guess I better pack it in, then. That's what Canada is... rocks and trees, with only a few people spread around amongst and between. Oh well.

I guess you're right, Dan, as I live on rock, surrounded by trees and water....

Mind you, they were here somewhat before man was and will likely still be here when we're history...unless we destroy our environment along with ourselves!

Bill
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: bob mccarthy on March 13, 2009, 09:49:14 PM
Isn't this forum "Luminous LANDSCAPE".

Don't get me wrong I really enjoy street, documentary, social commentary, and other forms of photography,

but rocks and trees are pretty much the mother earth of a landscape photographer.

Too call a guy wooly bearded describes a bunch of us.

What were you thinking....


bob

Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: whawn on March 13, 2009, 11:36:14 PM
Quote from: KeithR
Let's keep things in proper perspective concerning money and the economic times back when Ansel sold for cheap. By todays standards $6 or $15 isn't much, but back in the 60's, if you were making $15k a year you were doing very well.
No question, but he was still cheap, comparatively... this inflation calculator (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/) puts $15 in 1967 at 92.20 in 2007.  At the time, I wrote newspaper copy for a dollar a foot, so I can tell you $15 was a pretty penny to me.  It helped that I was still in HS, so my basic living was taken care of by the parents (who, between them, as teachers, brought home just over 6g), but it was a large outlay for me.   Try to find good, artful, hand-printed landscape renditions at that price, today.  You can find high-quality commercial lithographs for around $40, but real, actual, superbly realized silver prints?
Quote from: RSL
So there you have it. I guess that's why we disagree. To me, photographing rocks and stones and trees is a cop out. The human condition is what cameras are for. Landscape is for painters.
I swear I saw some rocks and trees on your website (http://www.FineArtSnaps.com), Russ.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: David Sutton on March 14, 2009, 04:29:39 AM
Well, I saw a photograph of a human condition once. And it was alright I suppose , if you like that sort of thing. But rocks and stones and trees are damned hard to photograph well, and it's damned hard being out at all times of day and in all weathers. AND I'M NOT A GUY WITH A WOOLLY BEARD. I'm a chap with a woolly beard.
David
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on March 14, 2009, 05:23:44 AM
Look, this is the LuLa but that does not preclude other genres of photography. For what itīs worth, Iīd be willing to bet that were it in fact restricted to the another rock another tree genre that it would probably die a natural death of boredom.

This is not to criticise the landscape photograph - the landscape photographer is fair game - but only to state that the very eclectic mix of cultures that comes to roost here is what gives it its vitality. And Iīm pretty sure Big Daddy is more than aware of that! Where else do you get this blend of car, fashion, nude, architectural, rockīnītree , pro and amateur mix working so well together?

If there is a problem, it is the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to defend every icon, however flawed impartial observation might reveal him/her to be. Loosen up a bit: in the final analysis ALL photographers have might hefty feet of clay - you just have to know where they hide them.

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 14, 2009, 05:58:11 AM
Interesting experience.

Regular income and the pressure of a done deal are obviously two things many artists need/strive for.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 14, 2009, 09:58:08 AM
Quote from: JDClements
I guess I better pack it in, then. That's what Canada is... rocks and trees, with only a few people spread around amongst and between. Oh well.

Easy there, Dan. I was born and raised just across the river from Canada -- a place where you go north from Canada to get to the U.S. I also was stationed at Beausejour, Manitoba for nearly three years. There are lots of rocks and trees in Canada -- some very beautiful ones by the way, but there are also a lot of warm, wonderful people there. If all you can see and photograph are rocks and trees, you need to look around. As Cartier-Bresson said, "Photographing is nothing. Looking is everything."
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 14, 2009, 10:09:31 AM
Quote from: bob mccarthy
Isn't this forum "Luminous LANDSCAPE".

Don't get me wrong I really enjoy street, documentary, social commentary, and other forms of photography,

but rocks and trees are pretty much the mother earth of a landscape photographer.

Too call a guy wooly bearded describes a bunch of us.

What were you thinking....


bob

Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.

Actually it's not the woolly beard idea that bothers me, it's the idea that academic credentials can turn someone into an "artist." In my own experience, if a man makes that claim it usually turns out that he also has a woolly beard. If a woman makes that claim it usually turns out that she goes by three names.

That's what I was thinking.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 14, 2009, 10:20:12 AM
Quote from: whawn
I swear I saw some rocks and trees on your website (http://www.FineArtSnaps.com), Russ.

Mea culpa, Walter. But it's pretty hard to shoot pictures in Colorado without catching a few rocks and trees in the background -- unless you're shooting inside. If you look closely you'll notice that the pictures of western ghosts, which sometimes include rocks and trees, are actually about ghostly artifacts left behind by humans, not about rocks and trees.

But I envy you picking up one of Ansel's prints for $15 in 1967. That was the period when I was going into the mountains west of Colorado Springs with a view camera and carefully following Ansel's teaching in his books. Even though I very much prefer the people side of photography I still can appreciate a finely wrought B&W print, and Ansel wrought them more finely than anyone. On the other hand, during that same period I was picking up a whole collection of what now are pretty valuable books of photographs from a second-hand and rare book shop in Colorado Springs.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: whawn on March 14, 2009, 02:12:49 PM
Quote from: RSL
Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.
For myself, I've always taken the 'landscape' part to be figurative.  Seems to me that the 'Landscape' can encompass everything illuminated.  And I'll agree that the human element is part of the literal landscape, and so photography within a city can be 'landscape' photography.  I believe the 'natural' landscape carries or enhances the soul of the human, and that without the land, the rocks and the trees, the human withers.  The landscape, as illuminated by Adams, or by Constable, can be a grand thing, lofting the soul.  Or it can be mundane and less, displaying the ugly (which nature, unadorned, can provide in excelsis, without the help of humankind), the choice is that of the artist.  

Adams often included the works of man within his rocks and trees.  "Moonrise...," famously so, and there is a lesser known but very fine work from 1951, "Silverton, Colorado."
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 14, 2009, 02:26:17 PM
Quote from: whawn
For myself, I've always taken the 'landscape' part to be figurative.  Seems to me that the 'Landscape' can encompass everything illuminated.  And I'll agree that the human element is part of the literal landscape, and so photography within a city can be 'landscape' photography.  I believe the 'natural' landscape carries or enhances the soul of the human, and that without the land, the rocks and the trees, the human withers.  The landscape, as illuminated by Adams, or by Constable, can be a grand thing, lofting the soul.  Or it can be mundane and less, displaying the ugly (which nature, unadorned, can provide in excelsis, without the help of humankind), the choice is that of the artist.  

Adams often included the works of man within his rocks and trees.  "Moonrise...," famously so, and there is a lesser known but very fine work from 1951, "Silverton, Colorado."

Quite so. "Moonrise, Hernandez" has been one of my favorites of his for years and "Sliverton" is another good one. An even better one is "Woman behind screen door, Independence, California 1944." When he photographed people and their artifacts he did good work. I think one reason he didn't do more of it is that he got typecast as a landscape photographer and was never able to break out of the mold.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Robert Roaldi on March 14, 2009, 05:06:12 PM
RSL,  

I don't have any particular axe to grind here, but you said, twice, that you didn't think that credentials implied artistic merit. Did anyone suggest they did?

Maybe landscapes don't do it for you, but it seems a little closed minded to presume that only artistic pursuits that appeal to you have value. You're free to think that, of course, but I don't believe that's how it works.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: JDClements on March 14, 2009, 05:39:07 PM
Quote from: RSL
There are lots of rocks and trees in Canada -- but there are also a lot of warm, wonderful people there.
Some with a sense of humour, even.  
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: bob mccarthy on March 14, 2009, 08:03:03 PM
Quote from: RSL
Bob, I didn't realize that "Luminous Landscape" was to be taken so literally. If you're right, and if we're supposed to limit our appreciation on this forum to lanscapes only, then I apologize.

Actually it's not the woolly beard idea that bothers me, it's the idea that academic credentials can turn someone into an "artist." In my own experience, if a man makes that claim it usually turns out that he also has a woolly beard. If a woman makes that claim it usually turns out that she goes by three names.

That's what I was thinking.

No one ever said the LL was an exclusive site devoted solely to landscape photography. When you spend some time with us you would note that the owner is a guy that does many types of photography, but principally works in landscape and does videos and reviews somewhat focused on the landscape genre. He is very broad in his acceptance of different forms of photography and controversial viewpoints.

I would say that landscape is a common thread of most of the people who frequent the site.

When you threw the original grenade into the room, and I'll say you didn't make any friends by dissing Ctein, who many respect as a skilled practitioner of the art.
 
I would describe your attitude as arrogant and a bit small minded. There is room for us all. Nothing wrong with discussing any particular viewpoint, but just dismissing artists who are generally held in high esteem is not a way to make friends, only enemies.

bob
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on March 15, 2009, 05:53:50 AM
Quote from: bob mccarthy
I would describe your attitude as arrogant and a bit small minded. There is room for us all. Nothing wrong with discussing any particular viewpoint, but just dismissing artists who are generally held in high esteem is not a way to make friends, only enemies.

bob



Bob, why should it matter about making friends, as you put it? I refer you to my last post in this thread where I mention the fact that all (photographers) have these huge feet of clay. I would suggest that the problem with belief in "icons" is that you are ultimately setting yourself, and the rest of the world, up for a huge disappointment. It might take time, but it will come.

From musicians that one thought god-like during those years of youth to painters and certainly photographers one admired, there is something in the experience that does not endure. The sad reality always breaks through in the end and you come to realise that you have been a player in the age-old game of blind faith.

Thatīs part of the problem with icons in the current, popular meaning of the term: they become icons because of public clamour, press hype and precious little intrinsic merit. Invidious to make an example, but simply to illustrate the point by raising the question: without his homosexual noise, would anybody have given a snap of the fingers for anything else that came from the toil of Mr Mapplethorpe?

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 15, 2009, 07:19:11 AM
Quote from: bob mccarthy
No one ever said the LL was an exclusive site devoted solely to landscape photography.

Well, I guess it's possible for sarcasm to be too subtle to be effective.

Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 15, 2009, 07:42:14 AM
Quote from: Robert Roaldi
I don't have any particular axe to grind here, but you said, twice, that you didn't think that credentials implied artistic merit. Did anyone suggest they did?

Robert, If you haven't already done so, check http://ctein.com/whoami.htm (http://ctein.com/whoami.htm). Here's a subtle, unassuming artist's statement if there ever was one. (Maybe that sarcasm is too subtle too.)

Come on, folks. Real artists don't make wild claims about their own accomplishments, or statements like, "What ties my work together is a consistent and coherent artistic vision." He calls this a "modest effort at self-promotion." One has to wonder what an immodest one would look like.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Geoff Wittig on March 15, 2009, 03:35:28 PM
Quote from: RSL
Robert, If you haven't already done so, check http://ctein.com/whoami.htm (http://ctein.com/whoami.htm). Here's a subtle, unassuming artist's statement if there ever was one. (Maybe that sarcasm is too subtle too.)

Come on, folks. Real artists don't make wild claims about their own accomplishments, or statements like, "What ties my work together is a consistent and coherent artistic vision." He calls this a "modest effort at self-promotion." One has to wonder what an immodest one would look like.

Russ, you absolutely have the right to your opinion regarding the merit of Ctein's work as art. Different strokes and all that. But your comments descend to the level of ad hominem attacks on an exceedingly talented individual. I would strongly recommend that you find a copy of Ctein's book Post Exposure, the smartest discussion you will ever find of the perceptual and physical underpinnings of photography. Simply brilliant stuff.
You might also want to withhold judgment until you have a chance to actually see some of Ctein's dye transfer work in person. I love my Z3100 and I think I can make an excellent print; but the color purity and impact of a dye transfer print is in another league.
Finally, the art world is all about self-promotion. Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on March 15, 2009, 04:40:01 PM
Quote from: Geoff Wittig
Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.


Geoff, thatīs a little bit harsh too. We have already seen where Ph.Ds can take discussion in another thread just recently; education has its place - a huge one - but qualifications per se are no answer to lifeīs imponderables. In fact, if you take the idea into the world of public services and local government even, you find that many of those sitting in the top jobs are very qualified academically but totally incapable of getting the refuse collected and the busses running on time - or at all. I am no spring chicken unfortunately, and in my inevitably longish experience of people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, I have noted that those with lesser scholastic achievements are often the ones at the top of the economic totem pole, the ones that can make things happen.

So no, I wouldnīt put a heap of credibility on someone just because they can scribble some abbreviations after their name.

Your reference to "real artists" making claims about their art: you call it marketing; I could also call it bullshit. It all depends from which angle you care to view it, or even whether you have the nose to sniff it at ten metres. Interesting that you concatenate failure and hobbyist.

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Geoff Wittig on March 15, 2009, 06:22:51 PM
Quote from: Rob C
Geoff, thatīs a little bit harsh too. We have already seen where Ph.Ds can take discussion in another thread just recently; education has its place - a huge one - but qualifications per se are no answer to lifeīs imponderables. In fact, if you take the idea into the world of public services and local government even, you find that many of those sitting in the top jobs are very qualified academically but totally incapable of getting the refuse collected and the busses running on time - or at all. I am no spring chicken unfortunately, and in my inevitably longish experience of people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, I have noted that those with lesser scholastic achievements are often the ones at the top of the economic totem pole, the ones that can make things happen.

So no, I wouldnīt put a heap of credibility on someone just because they can scribble some abbreviations after their name.

Your reference to "real artists" making claims about their art: you call it marketing; I could also call it bullshit. It all depends from which angle you care to view it, or even whether you have the nose to sniff it at ten metres. Interesting that you concatenate failure and hobbyist.

Rob C

Projection, perhaps. Seeing as how I generally fall into the hobbyst category.  
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 15, 2009, 08:35:41 PM
Quote from: Geoff Wittig
You might also want to withhold judgment until you have a chance to actually see some of Ctein's dye transfer work in person. I love my Z3100 and I think I can make an excellent print; but the color purity and impact of a dye transfer print is in another league.
Finally, the art world is all about self-promotion. Ctein's academic and scientific credentials lend a bit more weight to his writing than your average blogger in mom's basement. "Real artists" make lots of claims about the quality of their artistic vision and technique. It's called marketing. And there are several words for artists who never make any effort to publicize their skill or promote their talents. "Failure" and "hobbyist" come to mind.

Geoff, It's not a question of seeing his stuff in its original state. I love Ansel Adams's original prints too. He's a marvelous mechanic. But that doesn't make photographic landscapes any more significant. Looking at a photograph, Walker Evans once said, "That's a beautiful sunrise..." and then added, "So what?" Precisely. I agree with him. I've seen landscape paintings that really blew me away -- gripped me -- made me sit down in the museum in front of them and stay a while. I've never seen anything like that in photography.

As far as self-promotion is concerned, marketing certainly is about promotion but it seems to me that what I'd consider successful artists get promoted mostly by people other than themselves. The kind of self-promotion this guy's doing should be embarassing to him and to anyone who reads it. As far as self-promotion is concerned, walk into a museum some time and look at the crap "artists" write about their work and about themselves. It's the same kind of thing, and it usually leaves me ROTFL because the people writing it haven't a clue about the English language. This guy isn't in the same league. He knows how to write, so he should know better.

As far as the average blogger in mom's basement is concerned, considering the condition of our "news" media and the veracity of the credentialed "reporters" writing for them, all I can say is thank God we have bloggers in mom's basement.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: viewfinder on March 16, 2009, 06:20:08 AM
I'm quite sure Ctein is a wonderful, intelligent and clever man.........

..........Unfortuntately, no amount of those undoubted attributes makes one an 'artist'.    Ctein is obviously a very skilled photographer, but I see nothing on his website that is any different to the million other photo sites of snapshooters despite his claim that; "everyone who has seen my work declares it unparalleled."...( a touch of humility would'nt come amiss!)

We can argue for days about what constitutes 'art', however, the real test for me is whether an image has the power to get me to return to it again and again.    In the case of Ctein, the images are good solid snapshots of many different subjects but none have anything other than the usual 'so what' apeal.

The truth is that there are millions of people clicking cameras and it's getting easier to do so it's only human nature to imagine that what you're doing must be art because it 'feels' artistic.

Unfortunately there is rather more to it than that.........
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on March 16, 2009, 06:36:15 AM
Quote from: RSL
As far as the average blogger in mom's basement is concerned, considering the condition of our "news" media and the veracity of the credentialed "reporters" writing for them, all I can say is thank God we have bloggers in mom's basement.


Or even people like us!

At the moment, on British TV we have an overdose of media attention applied to a woman who was considered a total no-no when she was on one of those stupid shows where people live together for whatever reason and are watched by TV cameras (what a waste of resources and crew). Unfortunately for her, she has now reached what is claimed to be a terminal state of cancer, and all is forgiven, and we are fed daily reports about her condition.

As some may know, my own wife died of cancer in November last. I donīt need daily TV reminders of my loss, I live with it all day and every day. (Unbelievably, the guy who is behind her in the rôle of PR agent is a man who once enjoyed a Coke on my terrace out here in Spain. To make things even worse, his own wife, I believe was killed by the disease.) I wonder just how many other people like me are being slapped in the face and their emotions torn to bits in the pursuit of nothing but sensational junk. I guess itīs the age-old thing about public interest being confused with public curiosity - as if the media didnīt really know!

I have every sympahy for the woman in question. I know too damn well what she is facing and that nobody deserves it. She is not the problem, she has the problem. What is unforgivable is the way that it has all been turned, willingly, into a circus intended to raise money for her children via the disease, instant weddings, christenings and God alone knows what other spectacles.  And the hell with everybody else.

So with reference to your comment about the media, it does truly suck.

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Geoff Wittig on March 16, 2009, 07:04:09 AM
Quote from: RSL
Geoff, It's not a question of seeing his stuff in its original state. I love Ansel Adams's original prints too. He's a marvelous mechanic. But that doesn't make photographic landscapes any more significant. Walker Evans once said, "That's a beautiful sunrise..." and then added, "So what?" Precisely. I agree with him. I've seen landscape paintings that really blew me away -- gripped me -- made me sit down in the museum in front of them and stay a while. I've never seen anything like that in photography.

I guess I can see where you're coming from regarding art, though I still disagree. The prevailing post-modern view of art is that the intellectual concept, the clever idea or conceit behind the work, is all that matters. "Mere craftsmanship" is not only devalued, it's positively disparaged as trivial. This is what lies beneath everything from Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans to the $12 million stuffed shark highlighted by a recent book on the art market.

Certainly there are compelling photographs that can aspire to 'art' which are technically flawed and crudely printed. But gosh, I'd like something better for my money. If immaculately printed black & white landscape photos ala Ansel Adams leave you cold, that's your privilege. But the craftsmanship is just as important to me as the 'high concept'.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 16, 2009, 10:59:51 AM
Quote from: Geoff Wittig
I guess I can see where you're coming from regarding art, though I still disagree. The prevailing post-modern view of art is that the intellectual concept, the clever idea or conceit behind the work, is all that matters. "Mere craftsmanship" is not only devalued, it's positively disparaged as trivial. This is what lies beneath everything from Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans to the $12 million stuffed shark highlighted by a recent book on the art market.

Certainly there are compelling photographs that can aspire to 'art' which are technically flawed and crudely printed. But gosh, I'd like something better for my money. If immaculately printed black & white landscape photos ala Ansel Adams leave you cold, that's your privilege. But the craftsmanship is just as important to me as the 'high concept'.

Geoff, That's not where I'm coming from. I have absolutely no use for anything like "Piss Christ," Andy Warhol's put-ons, or anything like that. Talk about ROTFL: A year or so ago there was a story -- in the Wall Street Journal I think -- about a Museum janitor who was fired because, during the night, he swept up and dumped an "installation" that consisted of junk. I'm sure the "artist" who set up the installation had a "high concept." Wish I could have read his artist's statement. It probably was a classic.

Ansel's prints don't "leave me cold." As I've explained above, I learned a lot from his books. I have a great deal of respect for fine craftsmanship. I was a software engineer for 30 years, with my own small software company. Occasionally I'd see code so beautifully crafted it could bring tears to your eyes, but it didn't give me the kind of transcendental experience I'd call art. What I look for is a face-to-face meeting with something I can't describe in words. In a different thread I put it this way:

"If the experience you have when you look at a photograph isn't transcendental -- if it doesn't "penetrate the illusions of reality" -- if you actually can explain in words what's important about the image, then it isn't "art." It may be beautiful, it may satisfy the rule of thirds, it may have diagonals, repitition, etc., etc., and it may be significant in some temporal way, but unless the transcendental experience is there, it isn't art."

That's where I'm coming from. I certainly don't look for photographs that are "technically flawed or crudely printed," but sometimes the significance of what's there overcomes flaws. What do you think about Cartier-Bresson's early work -- from, say, the twenties? Some of it is slightly out of focus, but I'm not sure the flaw makes those photographs something less than art. The craft is weak but to my eye the pictures don't "aspire to art," they are art. In fact, they're more art than a lot of his later, well-crafted pictures made to fill out a picture story. His Moscow book comes to mind.

Of course, "art" is always in the eye of the beholder. The question at the start of this thread was, "Does Ctein have 100 true fans?" I suggested that he might but that I'm not one of them. If Ctein's snaps give you a transcendental experience, enjoy it.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: walter.sk on March 16, 2009, 11:13:52 AM
Quote from: Rob C
If there is a problem, it is the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to defend every icon...
Rob C
I think if there is a problem it is also the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to disparage every icon.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 16, 2009, 11:23:40 AM
Quote from: walter.sk
I think if there is a problem it is also the knee-jerk reactionaries who feel obliged to disparage every icon.

If somebody considers himself an icon he deserves to be disparaged. Anyone considering himself a photographic "artist" needs to read Brooks Jensen's book, Letting Go of the Camera."
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 17, 2009, 09:58:37 AM
Quote from: bob mccarthy
Ctein is the classic definition of the guy that works for art not money. The classic starving artist that is discovered long into life. like Ansel, Like Weston, etc.

Almost missed this one. After I stopped laughing I remembered the Peanuts strip where Rerun is out trying to sell one of his drawings. He knocks on a door, a little girl pops out and asks him, "Are you a starving artist?" Rerun steps back and says, "All I had for breakfast was a waffle." The idea that there's such a thing as a "starving artist" in 2009 is beyond absurd.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on March 17, 2009, 11:33:12 AM
Quote from: RSL
Almost missed this one. After I stopped laughing I remembered the Peanuts strip where Rerun is out trying to sell one of his drawings. He knocks on a door, a little girl pops out and asks him, "Are you a starving artist?" Rerun steps back and says, "All I had for breakfast was a waffle." The idea that there's such a thing as a "starving artist" in 2009 is beyond absurd.

Could you please explain?

I'm reminded of the joke what do you call a guitarist without a girlfriend?  Homeless.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 17, 2009, 11:36:40 AM
Quote from: DarkPenguin
Could you please explain?

I'm reminded of the joke what do you call a guitarist without a girlfriend?  Homeless.

Dark, I guess you have to see the strip itself, but I like your joke.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on March 17, 2009, 11:41:38 AM
Quote from: RSL
Dark, I guess you have to see the strip itself, but I like your joke.

Actually, I remember the peanuts strip.  (Although I probably didn't see it on first run.)  I was referring to the starving artist thing in 2009.  With the current economy I would assume that the life support system of the majority of artists (a working spouse) is under fire.

Edit:  Actually, I might be thinking of a different comic strip.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 17, 2009, 08:07:26 PM
Quote from: DarkPenguin
Actually, I remember the peanuts strip.  (Although I probably didn't see it on first run.)  I was referring to the starving artist thing in 2009.  With the current economy I would assume that the life support system of the majority of artists (a working spouse) is under fire.

Edit:  Actually, I might be thinking of a different comic strip.

Anyone who considers himself a photographic artist or aspires to become one needs two things: (1) A day job, and (2) A careful read of Brooks Jensen's Letting Go of the Camera.

Consider who the great photographers were. Ansel might have made a living on his art, but he also was a concert pianist. Of the Magnum members I'd consider to be great photographers all either were independently wealthy or had day jobs. Several had day jobs as photographers, but they were doing their art in their spare time. Walker Evans had his day job at Fortune and also as a Yale professor. Robert Frank was a fashion photographer for Harpers Bazaar. He was able to do The Americans was because he got a Guggenheim grant. Etc...

Show me a photographer who's a "starving artist," and I'll show you a guy who's not willing to do the grunt work necessary to support his art (or hobby). (And maybe his girlfriend has thrown him out to boot.)
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: ndevlin on March 19, 2009, 07:39:44 PM
To sort of nudge this back towards the original topic, Ctein is a unique human being with a unique vision of the world. Once in a while, that vision translates into some really lovely photography. While few would say he is a master-class photographer, he is undoubtedly a master printer. Moreover, as Michael said, he is a lovely person...something which is mildly unusual amongst people with his raw IQ.

The photography-by-subscription experiment is a wonderful attempt to bough make his own art financially viable and to broaden the the accessibility of art-collecting. It is a refreshingly innovate approach to making the art-commerce connection in challenging financial times.  
For this, he is to be saluted, irrespective of what ones opinion of his artistic talent may be.

- N.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Anthony R on March 19, 2009, 08:32:12 PM
Quote from: ndevlin
The photography-by-subscription experiment is a wonderful attempt to bough make his own art financially viable and to broaden the the accessibility of art-collecting. It is a refreshingly innovate approach to making the art-commerce connection in challenging financial times.  
For this, he is to be saluted, irrespective of what ones opinion of his artistic talent may be.

- N.

here here. I salute him and I fall into the category of finding his photographs of questionable merit. I'm almost tempted to sponsor him just for the sheer audacity and creativity of his experiment.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: RSL on March 20, 2009, 07:40:10 AM
Quote from: Anthony R
here here. I salute him and I fall into the category of finding his photographs of questionable merit. I'm almost tempted to sponsor him just for the sheer audacity and creativity of his experiment.

I certainly agree with that sentiment -- especially the audacity part. Have you read his "artist's statement?"
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Greg D on May 14, 2009, 01:08:47 PM
Quote from: RSL
It sounds as if Ctein probably has a lot more than 100 fans. By tomorrow the rest of them probably will have logged on.

Okay. I'll concede that what we're talking about is a subjective thing. I happen not to think Ansel Adams is that great a photographer. He certainly was a master of his equipment, materials, and darkroom -- probably the best printer of his day. In the sixties I used to go into the mountains west of Colorado Springs with a view camera and walk around with a Weston Master, getting zone readings. In the darkroom I'd mix a separate batch of developer for each sheet of film -- or sometimes for more than one if several had a similar zone spread. I made good prints; not as good as Ansel's, but good enough: the best I could do under the circumstances. During the same period I did a lot of street photography with three Leicas -- rolling my own cassettes from 100 foot rolls of Ilford HP-4 and developing in four-roll tanks in the kitchen. Now, the carefully zoned rocks and stones and trees are long gone but the street shots live on. After a while rocks and stones and trees lose their interest but people never do.

To me, Walker Evans was a better artist than Ansel Adams. At the top, along with Evans I'd include Eugene Atget, Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank and Steve McCurry. At the next tier I'd include Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, Garry Winogrand, Gene Smith, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doiseneau, Brassai, Manuel Alvarez Bravo... I'd put Edward Weston somewhere in between since for the most part he photographed rocks and stones and trees and peppers, but sometimes also people.

So there you have it. I guess that's why we disagree. To me, photographing rocks and stones and trees is a cop out. The human condition is what cameras are for. Landscape is for painters.

Not meaning to be catty, really, but then why spend time and energy on the Luminous LANDSCPE forum?
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on May 26, 2009, 04:01:23 PM
Quote from: grog13
Not meaning to be catty, really, but then why spend time and energy on the Luminous LANDSCPE forum?


Because, thank God, there are other subjects and discussions going down.

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Stuarte on May 27, 2009, 06:32:32 AM
The original poster has done Ctein a great service by raising this topic.

I went to the linked site, perused and read it and found it extremely gauche and amateurish.  After all on the Internet anybody can claim anything.  But then comments by some contributors - not least of them Michael - made me think again about Ctein's credentials and bona fides, and his offer.  Because some people here have taken the man and the offer seriously, I have felt it worth my time and effort to do so too.

Even while writing this comment, revisiting the offer, I realised that Ctein is offering real physical prints.  In point 2 of his offer he talks about digital prints and I assumed this meant just a digital download.

All in all Ctein's site and marketing on their own didn't work for me.  Far from it.  But thanks to the LL forum I'm now interested.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: tony Rosca on June 11, 2009, 05:15:59 PM
Thanks to this forum I saw Ctein's work. I did not like anything I saw  and I dare somebody who liked his work to say what piece and why he liked it. I am sorry if I am hurting anybody's feelings but I wasn't impress at all in fact was a waste of time. Thought the marketing idea was genius
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: ckimmerle on June 11, 2009, 05:24:59 PM
Quote from: tony Rosca
Thanks to this forum I saw Ctein's work. I did not like anything I saw  and I dare somebody who liked his work to say what piece and why he liked it. I am sorry if I am hurting anybody's feelings but I wasn't impress at all in fact was a waste of time. Thought the marketing idea was genius

Well Tony, I dare you to say why you DIDN't like any of his work, and to do so in a mature and intelligent manner rather than the above diatribe which is reminiscent of an eight-year-old dismissing his vegetables.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on June 11, 2009, 05:27:01 PM
lol
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: sananjana on June 12, 2009, 06:47:03 PM
intersting dear  
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DS420 on June 13, 2009, 01:54:40 PM
Quote from: tony Rosca
I did not like anything I saw  and I dare somebody who liked his work to say what piece and why he liked it.

I have two of his dye transfer prints, and they are totally unique. On the screen the subject isn't amazing, but the prints are. The surface texture is very similar to a silver FB print done on Kodak Elite or Ilford Gallerie, and what really gets me is the subtly of tone in the colours. Think of the best B&W traditional print done from a large format negative, with its subtle gradatations of grey, and the dye transfer does the same for the colour.

Due to the process, there is a slight softness to everything, which suits his subject matter very well. It's the exact opposite of many oversharpened digital images that I've seen. Like it or not, I've never seen another colour print with similar qualities..

Craig
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Geoff Wittig on June 13, 2009, 05:39:03 PM
Quote from: DS420
I have two of his dye transfer prints, and they are totally unique. On the screen the subject isn't amazing, but the prints are. The surface texture is very similar to a silver FB print done on Kodak Elite or Ilford Gallerie, and what really gets me is the subtly of tone in the colours. Think of the best B&W traditional print done from a large format negative, with its subtle gradatations of grey, and the dye transfer does the same for the colour.

Due to the process, there is a slight softness to everything, which suits his subject matter very well. It's the exact opposite of many oversharpened digital images that I've seen. Like it or not, I've never seen another colour print with similar qualities..

Craig

Quite so. Dye transfer prints are not like anything else you'll see. The purity of color from the dyes is remarkable, and impossible to explain unless you've seen it in person. George Eastman House has a huge collection of dye transfers, including classics from Nicholas Murray and Elliot Porter, and it's worth making the trip to see some of them when they're exibited. The red in Judy Garland's dress in one of Murray's prints is insane; it's not just the saturation, but the color purity that is so striking. I also own the two dye transfer prints Ctein offered through Mike Johntson's Online Photographer blog, and they are simply beautiful. The green tones in the ginger plant are stunning, and impossible to duplicate via inkjet.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on June 13, 2009, 10:19:04 PM
Quote from: Geoff Wittig
I also own the two dye transfer prints Ctein offered through Mike Johntson's Online Photographer blog, and they are simply beautiful. The green tones in the ginger plant are stunning, and impossible to duplicate via inkjet.

Ditto.  I bought them with intent to give one or both away as gifts.  That isn't going to happen now.  They can have them as gifts when I'm dead.

Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: TimG on July 28, 2009, 01:22:43 AM
Quote from: RSL
The idea that there's such a thing as a "starving artist" in 2009 is beyond absurd.

You're kidding, right?  I know plenty starving artists here in Chicago.  They've lost their jobs, been evicted from their apartments and work studios, and had to sell most of their possessions just to they can a) get a hot meal and a bed every couple of days and  keep making their art.

I'm happy you're living so comfortably, but please don't make such absurd sweeping assumptions about how the other half lives.
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: alainbriot on July 28, 2009, 10:56:53 AM
Quote from: TimG
You're kidding, right?  I know plenty starving artists here in Chicago.  They've lost their jobs, been evicted from their apartments and work studios, and had to sell most of their possessions just to they can a) get a hot meal and a bed every couple of days and  keep making their art.

I'm happy you're living so comfortably, but please don't make such absurd sweeping assumptions about how the other half lives.


That is a very good point.  Many artists only make a few thousand dollars a year...
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on July 28, 2009, 11:43:51 AM
Quote from: alainbriot
That is a very good point.  Many artists only make a few thousand dollars a year...




Alain, thatīs not bad for even a few pro photographers who donīt speak of themselves as artists; perhaps the ones on a good wave donīt remember (or choose to forget) how it was and can very rapidly revert to being. If you want security try something else.

Rob C
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: alainbriot on July 28, 2009, 12:22:43 PM
Quote from: Rob C
Alain, thatīs not bad for even a few pro photographers who donīt speak of themselves as artists; perhaps the ones on a good wave donīt remember (or choose to forget) how it was and can very rapidly revert to being. If you want security try something else.

Rob C


Rob,

I agree.  I have been there . . . and I remember.  It's important to remember where you started and what path you followed.

Alain
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: DarkPenguin on December 30, 2009, 12:24:28 AM
So what did any of the other 99 think of Ctein's x-mas cards?
Title: Does Ctein have 100 true fans?
Post by: Rob C on December 31, 2009, 11:28:56 AM
Guess they didn't get one?

;-)

Rob C