Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Rob C on August 01, 2010, 01:16:29 PM

Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 01, 2010, 01:16:29 PM
I have thought about this quite often but hesitated to post for fear some might take it the wrong way. It is not my intention to mock, hurt feelings or be a smart-ass in any way; I can do that number quite intentionally so take my word for it, this is not such an instance. I think it has been motivated (the question) by the huge number of tourists here at the moment, all armed at arm's length and doing the same callisthenic of snapping something invisible to me. Is it a conspiracy?

My thought/question, basically, boils down to this: why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, town halls, lakes, tourist 'attractions' or, even that LuLa favourite, icebergs? I can understand the professional travel photographer having to do this - well, there used to be a branch as such in the profession - where some commercial gain might be had, but for the amateur, however good, where lies the motivation?

I can understand a little more clearly why a dedicated landscape photographer might be moved by a scene of outstanding natural beauty and be motivated by a wish to preserve that experience and do something decorative with it; I can perhaps catch on to the family snap ethic too - just - but mostly, I couldn't get into that either and not for want of an array of cameras or family members.

The theme of 'street' has been raised in this connection earlier, and there I can grasp fully the possibly illicit thrill of the hunt, as it were, but going beyond that moment as far as actually working to produce a print is also several steps further than I'd go. The question would be, as with the other disciplines, what good would such prints be to one? No doubt some have followed the Arbus wagon and done well (commercially, as in art photographer) out of it, but for the rest who don't seek money, what are they seeking?

Bringing it down to concrete, I can see the value (to me) of some of stamper's shots insofar as they served a real purpose (to me) in showing me things about my old town that I was interested to learn; I'd imagine that such direct benefits/uses seldom exist in most experiences. Of course I could be wrong, I'd be the first to admit that.

It's a wide question - any focussed explanations?

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 01, 2010, 05:06:40 PM
I'll give it a whirl, Rob, since I am aware of sometimes being a tourist (often) and (at other times) a "Photographer" ("Of which title I am very proud" -- Edward Weston).

When I am in "tourist" mode, I want souvenirs of places that I have enjoyed being (whether it's because I had a memorable experience there, or am merely proud that I managed to get there -- such as the top of a mountain). Looking at my snapshots later on helps me to relive the experience (and sometimes bores the hell out of friends and relatives).

Commercial postcards may often be of higher quality than the snapshots I can take myself, but they lack the sense of "I was there; that's how it looked to me." Thus I try to take my own snaps so I can relive past pleasures.

I'll admit that some tourist pix by others sometimes interest me, if they are of places that I have also visited, or places that I wish I could get to. I do a fair amount of vicarious mountain climbing to images of both Bernard L and Lisa N (but there "tourist" pix have a good bit of the "photographer" to them.

As for "Street Photography": It generally leaves me unmoved unless it displays some significant relationship between persons and setting or between persons and others (such as Henri C-B was a master at.)

As for icebergs: If I ever got to meet one up close I would want to study it from many angles and see if I could find one where the shapes and forms, slight and shadows come together to make an image that says more than "This is an iceberg, and I took a picture of it." I have seen a few such iceberg photos from some of LuLa-ers who have done one or more of the Antarctic trips. Not many, but a couple.

I think it's hard for us mortals to spend time and money on something (expensive equipment, expensive trips to exotic places, etc.) and have to face up to the fact that the results may be so-so.

But as old geezers, you and I are getting to the point in life where we have seen too many clichés in too many types of photography. Try to remember when each new image was a discovery!

I hope some others will take up your bait and respond, too.




Cheers,

Eric

Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 01, 2010, 05:57:48 PM
Rob,
Wide question.

I think it has many ramifications and explainations, not so much photographic but social.

We basically are living in a culture of consuming. This is not new, but what changed is the grade of perfection. In other words, we consume much more than our parents and our parents than their parents.
We consume everything, and basically most of the things we don't really need. It is consuming for consuming.
When we are tired, and we are very fast... we just purchase another gadget.
We consume cars, sex, relashionships, travels, cars, house...and of course pics. There is IMO no other motivation that consuming pictures. Nothing profund just the act in itself.

It's funny, in a very recent thread I remember the Cooter's post saying that people would be surprised how old are the gear and devices in professional studios. That's logical, they are working.
But...is there anybody here that is still working with a good 6MP camera?
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 02, 2010, 06:50:13 AM
Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
I'll give it a whirl, Rob, since I am aware of sometimes being a tourist (often) and (at other times) a "Photographer" ("Of which title I am very proud" -- Edward Weston).

But as old geezers, you and I are getting to the point in life where we have seen too many clichés in too many types of photography. Try to remember when each new image was a discovery!

I hope some others will take up your bait and respond, too.


Cheers,

Eric


I hope folks do, too. It's possible that it's an age thing, with some of us, but that wouldn't explain why I spent so much blood, sweat and tears getting myself into the profession yet never shared the general amateur ethic of why. Whatever that really is, which is what I hope this thread might partially reveal.

http://www.artkane.com (http://www.artkane.com)  is a site I rediscovered yesterday. To my surprise, I realised that some of his shots mirror those in early Pirelli cals, not least some of the Francis Giacobetti ones; I am unable, without actually looking at dates, to say which was the chicken and which the egg, but there sure is a huge family resemblance running through there! Accident? Influence? Happenstance?

Several of the Kane images are credited to publication in Pop Phot, their two Annuals being my principle inspiration at that period after the usual fashion magazine suspects that corrupted me the rest of the year.

In this age of digital manipulation it is sobering to see how little that works is new.

Perhaps it's the fascination with Kane, Haskins, Moon et al that has meant that virtually no amateur motifs, in a non-pejorative sense of the term, have seriously entered my head as possible directions of interest. I suppose I would be accurate in saying that it was those photographers' pro work that turned me on - I do believe that many of them, like myself, considered pro and personal to be exactly the same thing. This has never struck me as a slightly pretentious stance, but an honest description of what some actually do with their camera and life.

Tribe needs transportation to a food source! It's a local patron saint's holiday weekend - God knows if we'll find a table.

Rob C


Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 02, 2010, 09:29:03 AM
Quote from: KLaban
For some it's the proof of their existence and for others it's the photographic equivalent of I was 'ere.
But they where not there Keith.

Because if you want to be there, with your presence, the last thing you want to have with you is a camera.
Go to a wonderfull place with your camera and you loose the reality, because all that matters is suddenly the good picture to take.
And the expertienced was the damn good pic, not what was happening at this moment.
Some will say, but to take good pics yopu have to be present, you pay more attention. But if we look closer, that is not what is happening,
in fact we pay attention in order to gain something (the pic) not attention to what is for what is.

We consume gear, so we consume pics, and if we consume pics, we will consume gear.
Does someone can go to a wonderfull place on hollidays and NOT bring the camera? I'm almost sure that there will be 99% of No.
And why? just in case...the motivation is pic consuming, then after the consuming, the diffusion, and after the diffusion in the best case, the whaos and bravos expected.
There is no other motivation Rob, basic. Rarelly a strong process, message or whatever. Pics for pics like sex for sex.

Just in my street, there is the Mali consul. Every morning I walk in front the Mali consul to go to the bar and have my ritual coffee.
The Mali consul is one door and one 10m2 room. My dressing-room is bigger than the Mali consul...this is all what a country like Mali can afford. One 10m2 room.
It breakes my heart and makes me think really about our standards. So huge differences!
In the forums you see many members doing fences and trees pics barking because of DR and stuff like that.
It makes you think...

Then, no surprise to see these tourist buses in an indian reserve with their fashionable 15mp cameras with face detections and now smile detection (don't laugh it is not a joke).

Sure that if they will shoot this Mali consul, they would feel embarassed somewhere.

Something's wrong Rob. Something's wrong.


Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 02, 2010, 10:01:48 AM
Living in a tourist Mecca (Bangkok and greater Thailand) my observations lead me to believe "because it's there" and "marketing is telling us to.. so we must."

At Angkor Vat not so recently I was mildly to greatly annoyed when my serenity and thought processes were interrupted by large tourist buses of mainly ethnic Koreans and Chinese.. who universally appear to have little respect for this great sites religious and/or spiritual significance.  The noisy and loud (not to mention stinky diesel fumes) extra large tour buses pull up one after the other, the cattle call is sounded, hundreds of tourists disembark with cameras in hand, and then proceed to loudly shout amongst one another while climbing on artifacts to have their photo taken.. often while "signing" like hip-hop artists.  The cattle call sounds again, they rush inside the giant tin cans, and an amazing amount of empty water bottles, food wrappers, and what not is left behind.  I often join in with the locals cleaning the area to help make it suitable for being photographed once again before settling back into thought.. at which time another set of extra large tour buses appear...

This is standard throughout South East Asia, but it's especially irksome at such sites of religious or spiritual significance.

However, it is "the thing to do" as evidenced by repetitious advertising from large billboards to television ads mind bending the viewer into believing no vacation is complete, no visit to an attraction fulfilled, no experience meaningful, without pulling out the newest most feature laden electronic toy to document their invasion.

I can't wait until they start marketing individual robotic trash collectors and make them the 'toy of choice' at each site..

Don't get me wrong, I don't want the place to myself.  I've long realized most compositions in this area aren't complete without people in the scene.  It's more the method of encroachment and lack of respect.  Because it's there and marketing tells us we must..
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 02, 2010, 12:47:38 PM
Fred, I think you are right and I think you have also probably answered my current dilemma about France: to go or not to go.

As you know, I've driven through many times, mainly in a general north/south axis, with, always, an end purpose in mind - getting back to Ecosse to see family. En route, I'd take lots of Velvias with a sort of unclear idea of putting them into stock later on. So now, without either set of parents to spend six weeks with, nor wife with whom to enjoy the trip, there is suddeny no real sense of either destination or purpose beyond more of what were incidental photographs accompanying the private reliving of Route 66 without Corvette. So... why, exactly, to go? Man with no name, just driftin' thru? I don't even have a big hat.

South-east Asia. Well, I can understand the feeling of anger. I expect anyone living in a tourist area who does not have a tourist-based business will feel much the same. Tourism is basically a curse and one of the most corrupting influences I have ever seen at work. Today is a local holiday. I took the family out to lunch and we ended up back home (without eating anything) where we had pasta and were glad to be there enjoying it. Wherever we looked had doubled prices (at least) and cut choices. Worse, the acrid stench of vomit and bleach from last night's festivities in honour(?) of the patron saint were all-pervasive despite early morning efforts of the sanitation department. Today it continues, not for the saint but for the Moors and Christians, an annual epic where they stage mock street fights to re-enact the eviction of the Moors from Mallorca some centuries ago. The sanitation department will have, if not exactly enjoy, much more overtime tomorrow.

But there we are - I have never, in all these decades, gone to shoot either event.

It's an interesting thought: does having a camera actually distance you from the reality around you? Fred, I think it does; I think it creates an ersatz one of its own, giving you the same quality of the experience as enjoyed by the waitress at a wedding. You are there but you are not there. When I was just starting out I was asked to shoot my cousin's wedding for her. That's a job which really takes you out of the main event! I can remember nothing about it, but I'm sure my wife and daughter would have been able to tell you everything that went down, not that it would have thrilled you, I don't think.

Consumerism may really be the reason, as has been suggested, that people obey this ritual, nothing more profound than that.

Perhaps not directly connected, but it sort of makes me think about an old theory of mine: prices have rocketed because so many wives/girlfriends work. They did or did not do this largely from choice up until around the late 60s, and then with the explosion of boutiques, temptation parlours everywhere, it became a necessity for many women in a relationship to bring in some money so that the family could simply stand still. The annual holiday abroad seems, to me, to carry much of the responsibility for that thirst for money. And to what end? To be mugged by everyone in the chain.

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: RSL on August 02, 2010, 01:24:46 PM
Rob,

I think there are three classes of reasons why people make photographs or paint or make prints (etchings, lithos, etc.). I was going to say "make visual art," but introducing the term, "art" begs the question. People make images (1) to record or (2) to create or (3) to "be."

The tourists, including the asses described by Steve (ask me about a trip I once made to the Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor), like all tourists, are shooting to record. They think that someday they'll go back to the pictures and say, "Ah, wasn't that a wonderful trip to Angkor," or they plan to impress their friends with a slide show that will demonstrate their multiculture-appreciation credentials, and probably bore their possibly soon-to-be-ex friends into catatonia. Happily for their friends, in most cases neither plan will be carried out. The pictures will disappear into limbo until their descendents run across them while cleaning out the house after the funeral, and wonder "Where the hell is that?"

People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three.

Finally, there are the people who want to "be" an "artist." I saw this in my college days when I was planning to become a professor of English Lit. I constantly ran into people who wanted to "be" a writer, but didn't particularly want to bother with the hard work of writing. I saw the same thing again when my wife had her gallery: people who wanted to "be" an artist, but didn't want to bother learning the chemistry and mechanics of painting, or learn the history of the genre they wanted to pursue. It seems to me that this is the kind of thing the "fine art" community survives on. Somebody like, say, Christo, has managed to acquire the credential: "artist," even though what he does strikes most people as anything but "art." I could name several "fine artists" who sell paintings at phenomenal prices even though it's clear to anyone with eyes to see that their "art" is crap, though if I name them there's going to be an uproar that's beside the point. It's the Barnum principle at work.

I need to make one point about street photography before I leave the discussion. Eric hit the nail on the head when he said, "It generally leaves me unmoved unless it displays some significant relationship..." That's exactly what good street photography does, and when it does, it's what I call "art." Good street photography conveys information about the human condition that you can't put into words -- unless, possibly, you're a very, very good novelist or poet. I think it's difficult almost to the point of impossibility to do that in any other photographic genre.
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 02, 2010, 01:54:24 PM
I toatally agree with both Eric and Russ about what good street photography is about.
Actually, it does not necessary leads to a human meeting in the sense of Keith is talking.

Yes, the camera, as everything can be wisedly used and be a passport, I agree with that. But if you think about it, this attitude does not depend on the camera.
What I mean is that I know lovely people who have been able to have these kind of meetings a camera in hands, but I realised that their nature
leads them to wonderfull meetings even without the camera, others even with a camera never succeed to approach other human beings. It can even be hostile.

In the moment one is busy making picture he experiments the making of an image.

The reasons why this act occurs are diverse. I rarelly see a professional photographer, I even know some real artists, that use their cameras when it is not for work or create their art.
Except if street or land is your art, that's another story, but then your behaviour will be very different from a tourist.
But very very few that I know go out and shoot all the bloody time whatever is in front of them and certainly less the pyramides or temples if there is not a deep reason for it.

If someone can not go on hollidays without shooting, he is in slavery state. To be in bondage, better to have a good reason. It can be art, it can be human experience or whatever.

I doubt that most the tourists are thinking about these, they are in auto pilot.

I bet you anything if that could be verified, that what would happen if we where forced to not bring a camera in a 1 month trip would be anxiety. I don't have my toy. I may miss pictures.
Rarelly it will be I may miss human experience or meeting. No, I will come home without pics.
Then back, another anxiety and frustration state that these trip was fantastic and if I had a camera, what great pictures I would have taken.

The lost pics are always the better aren't they?
Title: Motivation
Post by: feppe on August 02, 2010, 04:49:52 PM
For the vast majority of P&S shooters it's just the thing marketers have convinced them is the thing to do. Same for most self-described amateurs with expensive cameras, but slightly different reasons - perhaps justifying their gear lust, bragging rights, showing off?

There's a small group who shoot because they enjoy it, and have no driving external reason for it. I would call them amateurs or perhaps hobbyists - they can be found in all other hobbies, from stamp collecting to sailing.

Quote from: Rob C
Fred, I think you are right and I think you have also probably answered my current dilemma about France: to go or not to go.

As you know, I've driven through many times, mainly in a general north/south axis, with, always, an end purpose in mind - getting back to Ecosse to see family. En route, I'd take lots of Velvias with a sort of unclear idea of putting them into stock later on. So now, without either set of parents to spend six weeks with, nor wife with whom to enjoy the trip, there is suddeny no real sense of either destination or purpose beyond more of what were incidental photographs accompanying the private reliving of Route 66 without Corvette. So... why, exactly, to go? Man with no name, just driftin' thru? I don't even have a big hat.

South-east Asia. Well, I can understand the feeling of anger. I expect anyone living in a tourist area who does not have a tourist-based business will feel much the same. Tourism is basically a curse and one of the most corrupting influences I have ever seen at work. Today is a local holiday. I took the family out to lunch and we ended up back home (without eating anything) where we had pasta and were glad to be there enjoying it. Wherever we looked had doubled prices (at least) and cut choices. Worse, the acrid stench of vomit and bleach from last night's festivities in honour(?) of the patron saint were all-pervasive despite early morning efforts of the sanitation department. Today it continues, not for the saint but for the Moors and Christians, an annual epic where they stage mock street fights to re-enact the eviction of the Moors from Mallorca some centuries ago. The sanitation department will have, if not exactly enjoy, much more overtime tomorrow.

But there we are - I have never, in all these decades, gone to shoot either event.

It's an interesting thought: does having a camera actually distance you from the reality around you? Fred, I think it does; I think it creates an ersatz one of its own, giving you the same quality of the experience as enjoyed by the waitress at a wedding. You are there but you are not there. When I was just starting out I was asked to shoot my cousin's wedding for her. That's a job which really takes you out of the main event! I can remember nothing about it, but I'm sure my wife and daughter would have been able to tell you everything that went down, not that it would have thrilled you, I don't think.

Consumerism may really be the reason, as has been suggested, that people obey this ritual, nothing more profound than that.

Perhaps not directly connected, but it sort of makes me think about an old theory of mine: prices have rocketed because so many wives/girlfriends work. They did or did not do this largely from choice up until around the late 60s, and then with the explosion of boutiques, temptation parlours everywhere, it became a necessity for many women in a relationship to bring in some money so that the family could simply stand still. The annual holiday abroad seems, to me, to carry much of the responsibility for that thirst for money. And to what end? To be mugged by everyone in the chain.

Rob C

With the threat of derailing the discussion, I need to point out that tourism is a vital industry for many places, including entire countries, such as Thailand mentioned earlier. Clearly there are externalities (both positive and negative), but suggesting that tourism is a negative-sum industry is ill-informed at best.

Secondly, your theory about prices "rocketing" because women have entered the workplace is an unnecessarily simplified explanation and doesn't survive even cursory scrutiny: there was rampant inflation (and deflation) before women's suffrage or rise of feminism. Women also increase global productivity, something which has a strong multiplying feedback loop.

I would even go as far as saying prices rocketing is plain wrong. If one looks at inflation or buying power time series it can be a rather depressing exercise. This becomes even more dismal if we allow for the constant tweaking to the definition of inflation by politicians to make it look better than it is; quoting "core inflation" being the latest sleight of hand trick. But when we look at what the money today buys it's a whole different story. Even poor western families can afford goods which kings would have literally killed just a few generations ago, such as air conditioning, refrigeration, cars, or TVs. Buying power is a moving target, and comparing just the value of a dollar doesn't even scratch the surface.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 02, 2010, 06:17:13 PM
Quote from: KLaban
One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.




Not at all, Keith, it results in an exchange of views and an interesting insight into other psyches and even one's own, if with a different eye. I think that 'getting out there and doing it' really needs to be qualified a little. I've seen folks doing exactly that every summer for too many years to buy into the value of the experience they are having. Damn, I imagined the same dream was going to be a realistic way of life myself, and for the first couple of months we lived here I did spend most of it on the beach. Soon, I couldn't bear the discomfort and blinding monotony of it. In fact, last week, when I took the girls off to the sailing school, it marked the first time in years that my feet have hit a beach - couldn't wait to get off it and shake the stuff out of my shoes.

It's routine; its the doing of the expected. That's all the beach holiday can be. I ask myself why did I want to have a tan? Why did I want to lie in all that uncomfortable muck best left to the building site (okay, I do know you shouldn't build using sand that has salt in it) and the crabs? I can't give a sensible reply to my own question - how can I expect one on behalf of others?  City holidays - the same thing with a different theme, that's all. Go to Rome, walk the walks, see the columns and toss the cents into the Trevi and make the wish. Like everybody else. Follow the footsteps of a zillion million others. And record it all in the camera.

But, that's not a condemnation that I'm attempting. What I'm trying to discover is the unwritten why of shooting it at all. Or if there is, indeed, one to reveal.

Camera as social passport. Well, it does open a few doors, but also closes others just as firmly. Was a time when being a fashion photographer was a passport all right, and to more than foreign ports. Even ugly guys got laid! Now, rich ugly guys get laid.

Again, Fred has it right: whether desirable doors open to you or not is more something in your own character than in your job/hobby or whether you tote a camera.

"People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three."  - Russ.

This can lead into a different direction altogether. In fact, I think that you have chosen to miss the greater part of the function of the three types of work you quoted, Russ; devilish advocacy, perchance? Recording is far from being the motive for fashion and even for product: glamorization is closer to it since there is ever the selling aspect, even for a bottle of detergent. As for weddings - I couldn't wait to dump them - even did so at about the fourth such assignment before I knew if I could make it doing anything else. Why? Simply because there was no interest in those people's lives, their spouses-to-be nor any part of them. But then, I wasn't really driven by money, strange to say. The driver was the work that I wanted to do; a quick, painful failure at fashion or girls would have been far better than a lifetime of brides and grooms, even with a big reward in the bank. Back to that biblical thing I mentioned some days ago: what would it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

Yes, you are right that some achieve this creativity where many don't, but that's also a measure of the components as much as of anything else. It's no accident that some models get all the work! But creativity is core to those jobs - it's part of why some get them and others never will.

"The reasons why this act occurs are diverse. I rarelly see a professional photographer, I even know some real artists, that use their cameras when it is not for work or create their art.
Except if street or land is your art, that's another story, but then your behaviour will be very different from a tourist.
But very very few that I know go out and shoot all the bloody time whatever is in front of them and certainly less the pyramides or temples if there is not a deep reason for it." - Fred.

Once more, Fred, you might be sitting in my head. You are writing the story of my life. And of any other pro pho that I personally know. Most have no love at all for taking the damn thing around with them without a reason; for ages I thought that my own reluctance to take my stuff walkies was somehow tied up with the loss of physical energy, stamina and pure strength that follows a heart incident. I would think about this body married with this lens - even fantasize about the M9 (just fantasize) when I realise, in my heart of hearts, that the problem is what this thread is about: motivation, not camera type, not physical ability. (Hence my doubts about the sense of taking a drive around France, thinking a camera can even begin to replace a wife in that equation.)

That's not the same thing as not having anything photographic you want to do, it's that for me, those things become unattainable without a huge client structure that is long gone. And there comes the Terence Donovan quotation re. the amateur. He never has that structure/experience, so where will he find that key which evades some of us much of the time? Now, uncomfortably wearing the am shoes, I see his point ever so much more clearly!

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 03, 2010, 06:49:59 AM
Quote from: KLaban
Can't agree.

Over the years my camera has been a passport into the lives of people I would have otherwise never have met and has resulted in opportunities not afforded to others. This has nothing to do with being professional or amateur and everything to do with being there, looking and seeing, and above all connecting with people.

One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.

Rant over.

For now...
1.  In the context you're using a camera is just an object like any other object.  You could say "my bicycle is a passport....." and it would be just as true.  

2.  It's unfortunate that you think discussion and thought results in absolutely nothing.  Did you really mean to say that?

3.  It's not necessary to travel as a tourist to capture meaningful images or create art.. I'd go so far as to say those who travel in the tour buses and tour packages I observed and referred to are LESS likely to create meaningful images or art than if they walked ten minutes from their home and quietly observed their environment.  The travel needs to be part of a targeted mindset to be productive to good photography.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 03, 2010, 06:56:47 AM
Quote from: feppe
With the threat of derailing the discussion, I need to point out that tourism is a vital industry for many places, including entire countries, such as Thailand mentioned earlier. Clearly there are externalities (both positive and negative), but suggesting that tourism is a negative-sum industry is ill-informed at best.
I wouldn't say tourism is "vital" to Thailand anymore than we can say its vital to America or the UK or anywhere else.  It's just another industry like any other.  Thailand is hardly the third world country hungry for any tourist dollar that comes along that people think it might be.  And considering the caliber of 'tourist' so common to this country.. I'd dare say Thailand would be far better off without tourism.  But then this becomes a very complicated discussion.  I just wanted to point out that Thailand has a huge export economy which is doing quite well and it's not living off tourist dollar handouts..
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 03, 2010, 07:23:30 AM
Steve

Quite right on all points - and as far as tourism and the dependency it does or does not create, that must vary according to the number of irons any country can stick into the fire.

If you look at the Balearics, you see islands that were once somewhat independent if not exactly living high on the hog. Now, particularly since the advent of the EU, that has changed dramatically. Just over the hedge to our place is what used to be cultivated land - each time the grain was due to be harvested it looked like a golden sea as the breeze would turn the plants into waves. When it was harvested, the farmer's few cows, a couple of goats, sheep and several pigs and chickens were given free range and it was a lovely sight to see. Then he was paid by the European powers to destroy all of that, stop growing cereals, keeping animals. The land is now abandoned and reverting to scrub with a few pines catching hold here and there.

You could drive through the island and see farm after farm. Now, you see some potatoes still grown and a few fruit and almond trees - the latter mostly abandoned because of the cost of gathering the nuts and turning them into what you buy in the market. There was a great shoe industry which has also declined with many factory closures. What happened? In short, what seems to have happened is the BMW and the Mercedes. The current generation has seen the money from abroad, sniffed the fruit of the disco and drug trade, sold the farm to a foreigner bearing gold and now he discovers that the land he sold is forever out of his ability to repurchase. Then, as is always going to happen, the tourist trade got hit by economic downturns and altered expectations and destinations. Suddenly, the winter tourism (that I used to do brochures for) is as dead as the dodo and has been these past ten or twenty years. The net result is that when the building of apartments, villas and bus trips to the local versions of the 'Disneyland' industry fade, the people suddenly find themselves without anything left to do. You can't run an economy on nothing more than sun and sand and drunken sex in an alley. And when there is no motivation beyond that of easy money from rock'n'roll, sex and drugs and poor, expensive food, you end up with no silver left to sell, a morality that loses itself in unreality and the ability to blame it all on the people that no longer come to throw their hard earned around.

I stand by my observations: tourism is a poison that kills without you noticing.

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 03, 2010, 09:37:37 AM
Quote from: Rob C
I stand by my observations: tourism is a poison that kills without you noticing.
Rob C
Most often, but not always, tourism is just another tool of the rich to exploit those who are not rich.

Don't get me wrong, I've spent most of my adult life "traveling" first courtesy of our armed services and then living as an expat overseas.  I love the adventure and feeling of visiting a new country and meeting the people.. but perhaps because I started "touring" at a single location for 2-3 years at a time, I never got into the 2 week vacation thing.  I'd go live in a country, learn the language, study the history and experience the culture.. each time I moved on I'd take a small piece of 'something better' with me.  Sometimes I feel I was born a few hundred years too late, no more frontiers to explore, no more unknowns to amaze.. but then I stop and think how lucky we are to live in our current time where we can chat with people from other countries so easily via the internet (I used to do it via ham radio), share images from around the world the same way, and travel so easily to almost anywhere on the planet..

I'm on the road 7-12 days a month somewhere inside SEA.. and with each trip I grow more rich.  When I feel I've seen it all.. I'll move to another country and start over for as long as the body will allow.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 03, 2010, 10:11:57 AM
[quote name='KLaban' date='Aug 3 2010, 08:48 PM' post='379679']
Well, I'll give it a try, but I do have to wonder how many folk are going to welcome me into their lives and homes because of my bike.]

There are plenty of social events surrounding cycling, or motorcycles, or even ultralights or dogs..  A commonality to meet and greet and make new friends.  Of course if you're talking about using your camera as a tool to perform a service then your Black and Decker will get you an invite if your handy with it..

[Yup. It seems that there are those, who despite years of discussion cajoling and encouragement, cannot be helped. I'm now trying tough love but don't hold out too much hope.]

Aye, I think I see where you're going with this.  Perhaps a bit unfair to apply it to this thread unless there's some history I'm not aware of.. but I do get your point.  I use 'fun', if I can get people to think photography is fun then I can get them to take one of my workshops, model for a portfolio, or even buy a print.. it is a constant exercise though.



[At last we agree on something. This is precisely what I've been encouraging certain folk to do for years but seemingly without success. As I've said, I'm even trying tough love, but now I'm at the point where I should probably just accept that, at least for them, discussion and thought is all that's left. I really hope I'm wrong.]

I hope you're wrong too.. but I suspect there is a fair amount of truth in what you say.  Personally I enjoy such discussion because I have to be home sometimes and exchanging thoughts on the internet is far preferable to me than sitting in front of the television..
Title: Motivation
Post by: RSL on August 03, 2010, 10:45:59 AM
Quote from: Rob C
"People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three."  - Russ.

This can lead into a different direction altogether. In fact, I think that you have chosen to miss the greater part of the function of the three types of work you quoted, Russ; devilish advocacy, perchance? Recording is far from being the motive for fashion and even for product: glamorization is closer to it since there is ever the selling aspect, even for a bottle of detergent. As for weddings - I couldn't wait to dump them - even did so at about the fourth such assignment before I knew if I could make it doing anything else. Why? Simply because there was no interest in those people's lives, their spouses-to-be nor any part of them. But then, I wasn't really driven by money, strange to say. The driver was the work that I wanted to do; a quick, painful failure at fashion or girls would have been far better than a lifetime of brides and grooms, even with a big reward in the bank. Back to that biblical thing I mentioned some days ago: what would it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

Yes, you are right that some achieve this creativity where many don't, but that's also a measure of the components as much as of anything else. It's no accident that some models get all the work! But creativity is core to those jobs - it's part of why some get them and others never will.
Rob C

Rob, I'd agree with your word, "glamorization." I'd also agree with your statement that creativity is what leads to some models getting all the work. The same thing applies to plumbers, cab drivers, accountants, and people in most fields of work, though "creative accounting" can lead to problems. Creativity is a part of human nature and I think it's always there. But only to some degree. It doesn't take long to separate the people with a high level of creativity from those with a low or non-existent level.

But let's get to the "driven by money" idea. A lot of people with a certain degree of creativity make money as a result of their creativity, but -- and here's my neck sticking out -- an artist doesn't do what he does for money. He does it because he HAS TO DO IT. If he happens to make money doing it, great, but if he doesn't make money at it he'll take a part-time job -- perhaps even descend to shooting weddings -- to support what he does, and he'll starve before he'll stop doing it.

I know my three classes of reasons for making photographs overlap and, in a debate I probably could take the other side and debunk the divisions, but I still think you pretty much can sort most photographers into those classes.
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 03, 2010, 11:12:42 AM
Quote from: KLaban
Well, I'll give it a try, but I do have to wonder how many folk are going to welcome me into their lives and homes because of my bike.



Yup. It seems that there are those, who despite years of discussion cajoling and encouragement, cannot be helped. I'm now trying tough love but don't hold out too much hope.



At last we agree on something. This is precisely what I've been encouraging certain folk to do for years but seemingly without success. As I've said, I'm even trying tough love, but now I'm at the point where I should probably just accept that, at least for them, discussion and thought is all that's left. I really hope I'm wrong.
I'm too "young" in internet forums (and Lu-La is the first and only forum I'm in) to be aware if this topic has been already discussed many times in the past and leaded nowhere.
I guess each time is a sort of renaissance and déjà vu.

I understood from the beginning that Keith was talking about meeting people to an intimate degree. Although I must say that I've discovered that there is a more powerfull passport than the camera if what you want is a date with a gorgeous lady and end in her house: a dog!
Buy a dog and go to the park with the dog. Very soon it will meet many lady's dogs...  It works better than any MF.

Now...if what you want is a more profound human experience, and I guess that is what Keith was talking about, (do not mean that you don't like dogs)
the camera can be a passport. But, are we talking about tourism there?

I know 2 guys here, photographers, that do that and I've seen a movie of exactly what I understand Keith is talking about, captured by a friend and it was really impressive how deep things where going.
Specially, there is an old district in Madrid far from the center that most tourist don't know it exists. This district is under the heavy speculation of high buildings and stuff like that. In some years it will have disppeared and all a cultural and arquitectural heritage with it.

These 2 guys are operating in that district, and because of their cameras, they managed to enter micro-world with humanity, love, and lots of strong messages and content emerged. People open their door because they trust them. They where able to go deep in people intimacy.
But that is not tourism. Those guys are clear about what they are doing, their ethics, and the sense of all that.
This is not even street photography because there is no instant.
This is pure photo-reportage. But before all, human exchange.

But it depends what is the camera for each one. I've been asked to join if I wanted these guys, doing social reportage. I knew that as a human experience it would have been incredible and always improvised. But in my case I don't need the camera neither want to use it to take some pics of the sheppard who invited me to have a cognac and a nice talk. It happened to me many times, I did not have the camera with me, thank god. I feel like Rob when it comes to photography. I have to take photographs, do not know why, but I have also to not take photographs. I'm also happy when I live the camera at home. What would be the sense? I never brought my paintings on hollidays when I was painting!?! and in fact I do not know what holliday means as a tourist because like Steve, I like to live in a country for awhile. If not, I'm not travelling if there is not a good reason, and generally they are professional. That is just me and no criticsm at all if you want to also use the camera as a passport and travel the all world and photograph or paint or draw...

Now, about the tourism...that's another story.
There is no more anti-glamour, anti-erotic and anti-esthetic than a tourist costume. They all look the same with their birkenstock and colored socks, big bellys, beer can and the 15mp camera with smile detection in the hand. It is completly decadent, (we are talking about rich countries people aren't we?)
Sorry but I can't deal with this.
Title: Motivation
Post by: walter.sk on August 03, 2010, 11:50:15 AM
Quote from: Rob C
My thought/question, basically, boils down to this: why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, town halls, lakes, tourist 'attractions' or, even that LuLa favourite, icebergs? I can understand the professional travel photographer having to do this - well, there used to be a branch as such in the profession - where some commercial gain might be had, but for the amateur, however good, where lies the motivation?
Rob C
Interesting question.  I, for one, take pictures avidly when traveling or on vacation.  However, I do the same in my own city, NYC, as well as the surrounding urban and more rural areas.  My actions come from a pair of parallel fascinations.  First is with experience: experience of my surroundings, the people in them, the man-made elements in them and nature's final say on both of those.  Second is with the experience of photography, which for better or worse has been a drive in my life since age 4 or 5.

I enjoy the process of seeing.  This includes things new to me as well as things very familiar to me.  I enjoy the process of reaching for my camera when I see something that says something to me, and that "something" is not always expressable in words although sometimes it is, too.  I enjoy the challenge of making my camera (not 6, but 8 megapixels) through composing and then postprocessing and printing, capture the essence of what moved me when I saw the scene.  I am particularly moved by contrasts in time, contradictions, our impact on nature, and the reverse: nature's impact on us.

I enjoy seeing something in the familiar that many others overlook.  I enjoy finding the beauty in a scene that many would consider ugly, and vice-versa.  When I shoot a record shot I try to capture the angle and perspective that will later remind me
and perhaps show others, how I saw what I saw.  I also enjoy, sometimes many years later, the memories of the experience evoked when I occasionally review my old pictures.

I have stood on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and enjoyed the company of tourists from all over the world, sometimes helping them spot sights that they are looking for to shoot, and the exchanges have always been gratifying. When I travel, I have found as a tourist that local people are eager to show me what they consider impaortant to see in their area.

When I see all those people, arms extended and eyes squinting at almost-dimmed out LCD's, I realize that there is a love of photography that makes it so popular, and it can be considered a democratization of art.

I also admire the amateur painter whom I pass at the ramp from Riverside Drive to the GW Bridge, who paints the same buildings every time I observe him.  I also see, while I am photographing the power of the sea and rocks off Ocean Point, Maine, the same straw-hatted lady, year after year, who paints the "same" ocean scene, just for the sheer enjoyment of translating what her inner eye senses about that scene into physical movement and feel of brush and paint on textured canvas.

Yes, I don't mind selling my prints, either.  But the urge to shoot is very longstanding, and I would not be surprised to find that many of those tourists with point-and-shoots experience some of the same joys, with some of the same motivations, that I experience.
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 03, 2010, 11:59:46 AM
Quote from: walter.sk
Interesting question.  I, for one, take pictures avidly when traveling or on vacation.  However, I do the same in my own city, NYC, as well as the surrounding urban and more rural areas.  My actions come from a pair of parallel fascinations.  First is with experience: experience of my surroundings, the people in them, the man-made elements in them and nature's final say on both of those.  Second is with the experience of photography, which for better or worse has been a drive in my life since age 4 or 5.

I enjoy the process of seeing.  This includes things new to me as well as things very familiar to me.  I enjoy the process of reaching for my camera when I see something that says something to me, and that "something" is not always expressable in words although sometimes it is, too.  I enjoy the challenge of making my camera (not 6, but 8 megapixels) through composing and then postprocessing and printing, capture the essence of what moved me when I saw the scene.  I am particularly moved by contrasts in time, contradictions, our impact on nature, and the reverse: nature's impact on us.

I enjoy seeing something in the familiar that many others overlook.  I enjoy finding the beauty in a scene that many would consider ugly, and vice-versa.  When I shoot a record shot I try to capture the angle and perspective that will later remind me
and perhaps show others, how I saw what I saw.  I also enjoy, sometimes many years later, the memories of the experience evoked when I occasionally review my old pictures.

I have stood on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and enjoyed the company of tourists from all over the world, sometimes helping them spot sights that they are looking for to shoot, and the exchanges have always been gratifying. When I travel, I have found as a tourist that local people are eager to show me what they consider impaortant to see in their area.

When I see all those people, arms extended and eyes squinting at almost-dimmed out LCD's, I realize that there is a love of photography that makes it so popular, and it can be considered a democratization of art.

I also admire the amateur painter whom I pass at the ramp from Riverside Drive to the GW Bridge, who paints the same buildings every time I observe him.  I also see, while I am photographing the power of the sea and rocks off Ocean Point, Maine, the same straw-hatted lady, year after year, who paints the "same" ocean scene, just for the sheer enjoyment of translating what her inner eye senses about that scene into physical movement and feel of brush and paint on textured canvas.

Yes, I don't mind selling my prints, either.  But the urge to shoot is very longstanding, and I would not be surprised to find that many of those tourists with point-and-shoots experience some of the same joys, with some of the same motivations, that I experience.
Great post Walker. I liked it.
Well, understanding you and sharing some of your points, others where I differs completly but your arguments come from real a deep feeling.
Many folks, as much many different approach and ways of living photography. And because of this diversity it is so interesting. There is a place for everyone there.
Oh and by the way, congrats for your 8MP camera! they are so rare nowdays...
I use now a 4.5 MP DP1 and enjoy it very much.


Title: Motivation
Post by: walter.sk on August 03, 2010, 01:08:14 PM
Quote from: fredjeang
Oh and by the way, congrats for your 8MP camera! they are so rare nowdays...
I use now a 4.5 MP DP1 and enjoy it very much.
Mine is an aging 1DMkii, and it still serves me quite well.
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 03, 2010, 02:52:38 PM
I bought the 4.5 MP Sigma with all its"hassles" reputation because it is a real tool and truly pocketable. I wanted that option for street as I do a lot of street for my personal pleasure.

The thing I've been learning with street photography is what Russ end Erik were talking about in this thread. What is interesting is when you tell a story and when you witness an interaction, a significant relationship (Erik words). I came to that after a lot of sweating and shooting like crazy and the result is that I take now very very few photographs, because if you want to witness a story and not shoot whatever scenery you end shooting much much less. Many times now I'm back with no pictures, but I better be back with no pictures and not loosing time in post prod and dedicate me to other activities than coming back home with many bad or really average pics just for the fun or in case a keeper will be hidden in the card.

Russ pointed many times here that the true really good street pics are very very little in a year of time and I certainly confirm that.
And it is not because one shoot all the time compulsively that the rate of good pictures will increment.

But street to me is like my big school. Street is my master if I might say, and each time I'm on the street I feel humble, knowing that I won't probably get the pictures I would like to take. But a wired attraction tells me I have to do it.

But then, Rob is right on the money about his views on the motivation. At least I share completly his thoughts. What's the purpose?
I also start to do a professional activity in photography, it cames by itself and again there is the oscur force that "tells us" that we have to do it, and obedient, I do it, it is as simple. I love it, I enjoy. But when the lights are off, when everybody went home, when the pics are done, I don't want more camera. Actually, I feel somewhere sad. After a fashion shooting I feel empty. I want to live the studio.

I just finished a movie yesterday and today it's not so fun. Sure Rob knows that when he just finished a fantastic session with a great model. The girl is back home, the studio is empty. The pictures are done. What to shoot then?
Nothing.

Just living this silence, until the next work.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 03, 2010, 05:43:38 PM
Fred, I don't enjoy reading about empty studios: it is the second-saddest thing that happens after a session that went well. I used to feel so low that it was over that I didn't even want to process the films. This sounds bizarre to somebody not involved with those interchanges, but I can't imagine getting that emotion from a scenic. When we went on foreign shoots, I used to think of it as almost a sort of commando raid: we made our own rules as we went along, broke local real ones and did recces of different areas, just like some big adventure and unconsciously stored up memories for those years ahead when we probably all knew it would be over, finished, and somebody else's turn in the sun. The end of a good trip really was the saddest moment in photography, much as I imagine the end of making a movie might feel, the breaking up of a unit that might never regroup again.

This afternoon I got a first-hand reason for people taking 'tourist' pictures, and had it not been for this topic, I wouldn't have noticed. The granddaughters had both been on a sailing course last week and today they took their mother out for a short sail around the Bay. When they were back here, they began to unload their pics into the small computer I have for books, and from outside I could hear them giggle and laugh out loud at the shots they had taken in the boat. Now that was a damn good reason for making pictures. Personal, at a moment of happiness and something that linked them all together on a different plane from the moment before the snaps were made. It was just an extension of the moment and will probably be shown to their Dad when they all get back to Scotland tomorrow night, and then forgotten. But worth it nonetheless. And no spoken pretensions to art or anything else.

"When I see all those people, arms extended and eyes squinting at almost-dimmed out LCD's, I realize that there is a love of photography that makes it so popular, and it can be considered a democratization of art." - walter.sk

That's the part in your post that throws me. Everything else I think I understand, but the leap to the conclusion that we are witnessing anything to do with 'love' for photography or the democratization of art is just beyond my power to accept. I think of EPCOT and those Kodak 'shoot from here' signposts... if anything, I think it represents, epitomizes the mindlessness of the tourist photo experience.

Rob C

Title: Motivation
Post by: feppe on August 03, 2010, 08:21:25 PM
Quote from: Steve Weldon
I wouldn't say tourism is "vital" to Thailand anymore than we can say its vital to America or the UK or anywhere else.  It's just another industry like any other.  Thailand is hardly the third world country hungry for any tourist dollar that comes along that people think it might be.  And considering the caliber of 'tourist' so common to this country.. I'd dare say Thailand would be far better off without tourism.  But then this becomes a very complicated discussion.  I just wanted to point out that Thailand has a huge export economy which is doing quite well and it's not living off tourist dollar handouts..

Tourism in Thailand is worth 550,000 million baht (http://www2.tat.or.th/stat/web/static_index.php), which is almost 5% of the GDP. I would call it vital, but YMMV.

By comparison, 10% of US GDP comes from auto industry.
Title: Motivation
Post by: walter.sk on August 03, 2010, 09:21:56 PM
Quote from: Rob C
...from outside I could hear them giggle and laugh out loud at the shots they had taken in the boat. Now that was a damn good reason for making pictures.

"When I see all those people, arms extended and eyes squinting at almost-dimmed out LCD's, I realize that there is a love of photography that makes it so popular, and it can be considered a democratization of art." - walter.sk

That's the part in your post that throws me. Everything else I think I understand, but the leap to the conclusion that we are witnessing anything to do with 'love' for photography or the democratization of art is just beyond my power to accept.
Rob C
Don't you think at least some portion of the tourists go home and look at their pictures on the computer with the same joy that your grandchildren felt when seeing there own?  And by "democratization of art" what I mean is that now anybody who enjoys looking at a scene or subject and framing it in the LCD for the pleasure they get out of it, and get a kick out of sharing it with others, is in a very real sense going through the same process that a trained and art-educated person does, in a less elitist way?
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 04, 2010, 01:49:35 AM
Quote from: feppe
Tourism in Thailand is worth 550,000 million baht (http://www2.tat.or.th/stat/web/static_index.php), which is almost 5% of the GDP. I would call it vital, but YMMV.

By comparison, 10% of US GDP comes from auto industry.
Thailand's total GDP is in excess of 8.5 trillion baht based overwhelmingly on exports.. it's the second largest economy in SEA.  The 4-5% of GDP from tourism is hardly "vital", especially when you consider the average annual GDP growth is 5-7% over the last few years.  

"Vital"
I'm using this way:  "necessary to the existence, continuance, or well-being of something; indispensable; essential: vital for a healthy society."   And 4-5% of any countries economy is not "vital" to the existence of that country, nor is it indispensable to the country.. heck, it's less than their lowest VAT category..

The great colonialism mindset.. its really outdated.   If Thailand closed off all tourism today we'd merely see GDP growth drop from 5-7% to either zero growth to 2% growth.   This would be the immediate most serious consequence.  By the 2nd or 3rd year the resources being directed towards tourism would be reallocated  and GDP growth would rebound, perhaps even higher as the resources 'could' be allocated to activities more profitable.. who knows.. but to think the country couldn't survive or its somehow "indispensable", not even close..

Btw.. I don't think the US auto industry which is in the manufacturing sector is anything more than a straw man argument, but you might have mentioned that tourism to the US accounts for 8% of it's GDP (largest in the world (for a single country)btw, exceeded only by the entire EU at 9.5%).. and while 8% (or 9.5%) is significant, I don't think the USA or the EU would cease to exist if tourists stopped getting off trains, planes and automobiles.

It's actually a bit funny.. Thailand's tourism is only about half as important to their GDP as tourism is to the EU's GDP.. Perhaps Thai's should start boarding planes and save the EU from it's eventual demise.. ;o)
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 04, 2010, 03:29:51 AM
Few days ago in a fashion shooting in the lunch break, I was sitting in the restaurant next to a model and she was talking about Tailand.
In short, she was used to go to Tailand and enjoyed it, but she pointed that in the latest years it has become an unbearable disneyland, out of control.
The result is that she won't go back to Tailand until the situation change. She was saying that Cambogia is a more healphy experience and worth the trip
but that Tailand is too much.

I confirm Steve's post about how dirty they leave the places, included religious places. The locals have to clean them.

Same experience in France. I use to go to the big Landes (unstopped sand dunes on the sea), very wild and width area so no massification. You can find space.
But you have no idea how dirty tourists leave those beaches.
France has a big infrastructure and therefore you have special trucks for cleaning the tourist beer cans and plastic bags. Even the trucks have a hard time.

More interesting to notice is tourism in this area comes from northen country, so concerned about being green, being clean etc...but it seems that when they are away
in another country, throwing away plastic bags and beer can is absolutly normal while they would put me on jail if I through away a cigarrette in their streets...

Very interesting...

Rob, I experience the same as you about the shooting when all is done. "The end of a good trip really was the saddest moment in photography, much as I imagine the end of making a movie might feel, the breaking up of a unit that might never regroup again."

I think it plays a big role in the reason of your open post about motivation.



Title: Motivation
Post by: stamper on August 04, 2010, 04:44:13 AM
I have "only" been into photography for ten years and already I am becoming cynical about the process of shooting and seeing things. Rob and others have been into it three or four times longer either as a professional or an amateur. I often wonder how a professional manages to split the thought process, apart from the money thing, and take photos for pleasure? If you have been into photography for a long time, or any other pursuit, then there comes a time when you think that you have done it all and it is time to move on to other things. Photography is an expensive way of passing the time. If you didn't do it you would have to do something else or lie in bed all day. Analysing it too much will I think give you grief and make you think of putting the camera in the cupboard, possibly permanently? As to going places and taking photographs I find you don't see the place if you are constantly looking through the viewfinder. When you do look at the scene you tend to look at it from a photographer's point of view and not as an interested spectator. As to meeting people you tend to talk to other photographers and end up talking "equipment" In the ten years of shooting with thousands of journeys made I have only once went out along with another photographer. Sad? I think it is the best way to get what you want and how you want it. Moral of the story keep shooting and don't over analyse why.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 05:13:17 AM
Quote from: walter.sk
Don't you think at least some portion of the tourists go home and look at their pictures on the computer with the same joy that your grandchildren felt when seeing there own?  And by "democratization of art" what I mean is that now anybody who enjoys looking at a scene or subject and framing it in the LCD for the pleasure they get out of it, and get a kick out of sharing it with others, is in a very real sense going through the same process that a trained and art-educated person does, in a less elitist way?




I was thinking about that same thing as I wrote the lines. However, I couldn't equate the kids' experiences with any love for photography per se. It is complicated. One of the girls won a photographic competition in Glasgow and had a b/w shot put into a local calendar. I thought she might have been interested in photography and continued, but it just stopped dead in its tracks. On this short holiday, I asked her if she was still interested and she said well, sort of, but there's no time. I then said that if she developed an interest again, she could have my D200 but her folks could buy whatever glass because I still wanted to keep my stuff for the other cameras. She wasn't motivated to jump at the chance despite the fact that she snaps everything that happens.

What I think we see with her, as with the folks you describe doing the photo yoga number, is an interest in the 'moment' but not in the actual process of photography.

I take issue with your 'elitist' connotation - knowing something about the medium doesn't imply elitism which I think smacks more of a sense of superiority, however misplaced that often seems to be. Elitism as a function of camera ownership yes; that I can imagine being prevalent in certain circles, but even that can fall flat on its face unless the people one wants to impress are clued up enough to know about prices... vanity, status symbolism, but not really photography in the sense of a love for the medium. Camera clubs spring to mind.

Regarding the value of tourism in a national sense - figures are one thing, but tourism perhaps tends to be a localised phenomeon. Thus, the failure of it in the Spanish islands and along the Costas has put millions of native construction workers and thousands of North African migrant ones out ofwork. They still have to eat, and European Community unemployment  benefits are generally more realistic than the UK ones: why else the queues of wannabe illegal migrants lined up awaiting a lift across the English Channel into Britain, considering the fact that those people are already within the EU, which, incidentally, shows little sign of hampering their crossing to dump within Britain. But that's a measure of the stupidity/cynicism of a previous government touting to catch the vote of the dispossessed on the basis of the more the merrier, and thus the larger such a group the greater the volume of the left-wing vote.

But, depending on tourism prevents the creation of other activities and the mindset becomes one of six-months working and six-months on the dole. Comfortable? Perhaps, but somebody has to finance the inactivity and, if they don't, the prices for the working months scream rip-off, which they do!

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 07:11:28 AM
Quote from: stamper


 "I often wonder how a professional manages to split the thought process, apart from the money thing, and take photos for pleasure? If you have been into photography for a long time, or any other pursuit, then there comes a time when you think that you have done it all and it is time to move on to other things."

Ah, stamper, you have touched on a sticky one! I would say that for the pros that I have a personal regard for, the two, business and pleasure, are one and the same. What they do for business is what drew them into the thing in the first instance.

As for having done it all and moving on to fresh pastures, I don't know - I never reached the point of saturation. In my case, what happened was that the market vanished and there was nowhere left to go that I wanted to go. I am currently in a state of limbo - rough love notwithstanding - where I am burned up with mental images of shots I want to make but lack the opportunity, now, to do. The ability to transfer my allegiance from girls to bricks and glass is not happening, and trees and rocks have as little success in weaning me away from the main deal. So, it isn't a matter of boredom as much as a matter of opportunity. And sadly, a great motivator in all of it was the assignment-as-challenge-to-shine. Especially over the local competition.

Of course, independent wealth might have alleviated some of the angst, made some more photography possible, but that still leaves out the big buzz of being chosen to do something for the money.

"In the ten years of shooting with thousands of journeys made I have only once went out along with another photographer. Sad? I think it is the best way to get what you want and how you want it. Moral of the story keep shooting and don't over analyse why."

Again, I think you are absolutely right. I can't for the life of me imagine the point of a group shoot - and that has to cover so-called workshops. Can you imagine the atmosphere of six or seven photographers pointing their cameras at the same poor girl? At the same little tree or saguaro, horse or goat? It's the equivalent of a bunch of student sitting the same exam, but working together to submit a single paper. Who the hell is the author? Of course, there are those seeking social intercourse, and that's fine too, no worse than spending hours here, but what has it to do with the development of one's own photographic vision or ability? I am willing to admit it might help ability, but hardly personal vision, which is a fruit best tended through one's own efforts. In the same category I would put clients who want to be on the shoot - just enjoy the holiday and let the actors do the acting; have that second lunch or G&T and let the people you pay do the work without you sitting on their shoulders like a friggin' parrot!

Regarding analysis - well, I think it makes for interesting reading, as I find this thread to be, but as you point out it has a danger built in if you apply it too personally. (feppe's rule of thirds!) But of course, that doesn't mean one shouldn't think about the whats and whys of one's actions. Perhaps the danger is magnified for a person without a huge conviction: in that case, the motivation might really seem disproportionate to the expenditure of time, money and energy that's going into it all. In which case, why not just walk away?

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on August 04, 2010, 08:26:16 AM
Stamper and Rob, Touché! (right on the money in french).

Yes, for the pro, business and pleasure are one and the same!

I can't agree with this separation that we sometimes tend to label about the artist and the business or so called professional.
A videographer like a photographer can be all the time with his camera and film whatever he experienced. Does that mean that a Godard would not be an artist because he just
film when he has a movie in production?

In between lines I often read that in fact if one can't find a motivation out of the assignment then something is suspect. I don't share that point of view.
Does an artist has to be broke all the time and suffers like hell and been misunderstood and live in misery to be qualify as a true artist? Those concepts are all bullshit.
The same to the beleif that once you become professional you sold your soul to the devil and stop to be a creative artist.
Of course those are cultural beleifs far from being the reality.

When I look at Magnum, and see those wonderfull photographers really, it is 80% cult of the hugly, discusting imagery, showing suffering, misery...very very rarelly beauty.
Magnum photographs impact for sure, but I rather watch in the end a rock or a river pic. Yes they hardly move me but I'm fed up of this discusting imagery associated to art.
Is Magnum decadent? I think so. More exactly I think they exploit perfectly the popular imagery of the more provocative and hugly art is, the more authentic.

Rob, about the team as a sort of commando, I agree. Difficult to understand if you have not experienced it, and what means the human adventure associated with it, and the estetic and artistic chalenges.

After that, difficult to be moved by a fence under a sunset as a photographic experience.

But all my respect for the people who feel that deeply and made their images with.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 09:52:10 AM
Quote from: fredjeang

"When I look at Magnum, and see those wonderfull photographers really, it is 80% cult of the hugly, discusting imagery, showing suffering, misery...very very rarelly beauty.
Magnum photographs impact for sure, but I rather watch in the end a rock or a river pic. Yes they hardly move me but I'm fed up of this discusting imagery associated to art.
Is Magnum decadent? I think so. More exactly I think they exploit perfectly the popular imagery of the more provocative and hugly art is, the more authentic.

Rob, about the team as a sort of commando, I agree. Difficult to understand if you have not experienced it, and what means the human adventure associated with it, and the estetic and artistic chalenges."



Regarding Magnum, I suspect that their original raison d'être vanished with Life and all the rest of the PJ market, taking with it the bits that depended on access to movie productions and stars. What can they do now that's still valid? Selling images like a stock agency to advertising seems a strange thing for them to be doing; perhaps motivation haunts them too! As you know, France was a leader in PJ agencies - nearly all gone there as well.

On the second point, about personally experiencing the 'trip' experience in order to understand it, I never really thought about it like that. Of course I should have understood how unlikely it is that folks outwith it can understand what it meant.  I have done the odd solo stock shoot and never regretted going home from that! It simply isn't the same thing, there is no communal creative soul; odd that a bit of a natural loner like myself feels such a need.

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: walter.sk on August 04, 2010, 10:37:18 AM
Quote from: Rob C
I take issue with your 'elitist' connotation - knowing something about the medium doesn't imply elitism which I think smacks more of a sense of superiority, however misplaced that often seems to be. Elitism as a function of camera ownership yes; that I can imagine being prevalent in certain circles, but even that can fall flat on its face unless the people one wants to impress are clued up enough to know about prices... vanity, status symbolism, but not really photography in the sense of a love for the medium. Camera clubs spring to mind.
Rob C
I have nothing against the training, education and experience that mark the work of many excellent photographers.  I used the term "elitist" in the same vein found often in these forums, especially "But Is It Art," in which anyone referring to his/her work as "art" is discussed with disdain.  Against that view of "art" I compare the process of looking, seeing, putting the camera up (though no longer necessarily up to one's eye), making the picture, and printing out the favorites to look at, share with others, and feel anything from pleasure to pride.  I see this as "naive" art, in the same vein as people ranging from "Grandma Moses"
to Rousseau.  And since anybody at all can now pick up an inexpensive tool that will enable this process I referred to it as a "democratization."  Several well known photographers have made their reputations with "snapshot-like" pictures of gas stations across the US, or street intersections in the midwest, and part of the conception in their work is, in a way, a rebellion against the "rules" of salon photography and an elevation of the non-stylized "average Joe's" view of things as shown in their snapshots.

Title: Motivation
Post by: ivokwee on August 04, 2010, 02:19:55 PM
I think tourists are actually the ones staying pure to the essence of what photography is about: a way to remember and share visual experience. That is there only motivation and genuine. A simple snapshot can mean a lot to a person, maybe nothing to someone else. The best way is to dig up some old picture of yourself whenyou were a kid or so, I am sure emotions will arise.

It is us "Photographers" that maybe should be ashamed that forget the essence of the photograph. Seeing photography as "making money", creating art, showing of their gear, then peeping at pixels rather than feeling the experience....

What is more worth? a snapshot taken by yourself of something you experienced yourself, or postcard of a famous photographer from the same thing?
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 04, 2010, 02:32:16 PM
Quote from: fredjeang
Few days ago in a fashion shooting in the lunch break, I was sitting in the restaurant next to a model and she was talking about Tailand.
In short, she was used to go to Tailand and enjoyed it, but she pointed that in the latest years it has become an unbearable disneyland, out of control.
The result is that she won't go back to Tailand until the situation change. She was saying that Cambogia is a more healphy experience and worth the trip
but that Tailand is too much.

I confirm Steve's post about how dirty they leave the places, included religious places. The locals have to clean them.
Thailand and Asia in general can be brutal to females.  Many women leave damaged both by their treatment of an openly sexist and male dominated society, and by how they're treated by their fellow countrymen which is usually men showing extreme hostility towards western women and a crude adoption of the Thai treatment of females..  This is sad.  Unfortunately countries with open prostitution (it's technically illegal here but...) and sex industries tend to bring the lowest common denominator from our own countries.

Trash..  Thai's and Cambodians and most citizens of SEA can be absolutely fastidious in their immediate homes (inside) and certain sites of spiritual and/or religious significance.. and near criminally filthy from right outside their front door to the destruction of natural original growth beaches and forests.. it's hard to wrap your mind around it at times.  Then.. they'll post a "no littering" sign in a tourist area and slap tourists with a 2000 baht ($70 USD) on the spot fine for a dirty kleenex.. while letting hundreds of Thai's walk by throwing whatever they want on the ground.

It can be frustrating.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 02:36:40 PM
Quote from: ivokwee
I think tourists are actually the ones staying pure to the essence of what photography is about: a way to remember and share visual experience. That is there only motivation and genuine. A simple snapshot can mean a lot to a person, maybe nothing to someone else. The best way is to dig up some old picture of yourself whenyou were a kid or so, I am sure emotions will arise.

It is us "Photographers" that maybe should be ashamed that forget the essence of the photograph. Seeing photography as "making money", creating art, showing of their gear, then peeping at pixels rather than feeling the experience....

What is more worth? a snapshot taken by yourself of something you experienced yourself, or postcard of a famous photographer from the same thing?


If your definition is as you say, then you are staying true to your thought. However, that's a single definition - yours. I don't think anyone else is trying to define photography, just suss out what makes photographers photograph. At least, that's what my OP was about.

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 02:52:27 PM
Quote from: walter.sk
And since anybody at all can now pick up an inexpensive tool that will enable this process I referred to it as a "democratization."  Several well known photographers have made their reputations with "snapshot-like" pictures of gas stations across the US, or street intersections in the midwest, and part of the conception in their work is, in a way, a rebellion against the "rules" of salon photography and an elevation of the non-stylized "average Joe's" view of things as shown in their snapshots.



I understand your allusions! However, I see not rebellion but a tweaking by the nose (and especially the wallet) of the popular credibility - a checking out of how far they can take this thing along the highway of mockery of those same collectors and pundits playing the game with them. Frankly outrageous, in my view, and you could throw in pix of empty, decaying swimming pools as companion pieces to the same show. You begin to touch the same base as Fred and his Magnum thoughts...

Interestingly enough, I am not totally agin such pictures. And they have their very singular uses - as backgrounds to some YouTube music videos, for example, they function perfectly in providing a perceived flavour of 50s/60s American life. But that's distinct from their intrinsic photographic value as an art and still doesn't really address the motivation for their being - at least, we can't tell that from the videos. Their value is retrospective.

But anyway, nice to see you spending time on this - thank you.

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 04, 2010, 03:13:06 PM
Quote from: RSL
Rob, I'd agree with your word, "glamorization." I'd also agree with your statement that creativity is what leads to some models getting all the work. The same thing applies to plumbers, cab drivers, accountants, and people in most fields of work, though "creative accounting" can lead to problems. Creativity is a part of human nature and I think it's always there. But only to some degree. It doesn't take long to separate the people with a high level of creativity from those with a low or non-existent level.

But let's get to the "driven by money" idea. A lot of people with a certain degree of creativity make money as a result of their creativity, but -- and here's my neck sticking out -- an artist doesn't do what he does for money. He does it because he HAS TO DO IT. If he happens to make money doing it, great, but if he doesn't make money at it he'll take a part-time job -- perhaps even descend to shooting weddings -- to support what he does, and he'll starve before he'll stop doing it.

I know my three classes of reasons for making photographs overlap and, in a debate I probably could take the other side and debunk the divisions, but I still think you pretty much can sort most photographers into those classes.



Amen! The trick, however, is to combine devotion with reward and that takes quite a lot of creative accounting, even if not all fiscal. I'm not so sure I agree with the wedding scenario as a temporary salvation - at least, for me it did represent a fate worse than bankruptcy - but I guess my guardian angel was feeling in a good mood when I made the easy decision to stop doing that work. The trouble with saying this is that it can be construed as an attack on wedding shooters. It should not be seen as that, just that my personal interest simply can't live in that box. I would have been better staying on and finishing my mech.eng. apprenticeship than do that.

I think that one of the problems with photography is that it takes over your life - or maybe it would be more accurate to say that running a photo business takes over your life. I often thought that it was a job for a single man, that there wasn't space for caring or considering the well-being of anyone else in that life - just the state of the business, of your career. Fortunately, those dice were cast before the business became reality! But, nothing can ever really take away what's inside and wants out - when a man's got to shoot...

Rob C

Title: Motivation
Post by: feppe on August 04, 2010, 04:06:15 PM
Quote from: Steve Weldon
Thailand's total GDP is in excess of 8.5 trillion baht based overwhelmingly on exports.. it's the second largest economy in SEA.  The 4-5% of GDP from tourism is hardly "vital", especially when you consider the average annual GDP growth is 5-7% over the last few years.  

"Vital"
I'm using this way:  "necessary to the existence, continuance, or well-being of something; indispensable; essential: vital for a healthy society."   And 4-5% of any countries economy is not "vital" to the existence of that country, nor is it indispensable to the country.. heck, it's less than their lowest VAT category..

The great colonialism mindset.. its really outdated.   If Thailand closed off all tourism today we'd merely see GDP growth drop from 5-7% to either zero growth to 2% growth.   This would be the immediate most serious consequence.  By the 2nd or 3rd year the resources being directed towards tourism would be reallocated  and GDP growth would rebound, perhaps even higher as the resources 'could' be allocated to activities more profitable.. who knows.. but to think the country couldn't survive or its somehow "indispensable", not even close..

Btw.. I don't think the US auto industry which is in the manufacturing sector is anything more than a straw man argument, but you might have mentioned that tourism to the US accounts for 8% of it's GDP (largest in the world (for a single country)btw, exceeded only by the entire EU at 9.5%).. and while 8% (or 9.5%) is significant, I don't think the USA or the EU would cease to exist if tourists stopped getting off trains, planes and automobiles.

It's actually a bit funny.. Thailand's tourism is only about half as important to their GDP as tourism is to the EU's GDP.. Perhaps Thai's should start boarding planes and save the EU from it's eventual demise.. ;o)

I believe I qualified my "vital" assessment with YMMV. If Thailand's economy is in such a great state that they can withstand a 5% hit on their GDP, great for them. In current economy a 5% hit on GDP would be devastating to many countries.

I don't understand how you can call the auto industry a straw man argument, as I was merely using it to illustrate how significant the tourism industry is to an economy. To clarify: the US economy is hurting in large part due to Detroit hurting.

I have no idea where your tirade about colonialism or comparing EU came from. I'm talking about the GDP of a country, not dissing your mother...

I'm done with this.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 05, 2010, 04:30:59 AM
Guys, we're all getting sidetracked! We're discussing motivation in photography, after all, though I do see how it can lead to more easily coped with themes...

Having said that, I think it one of the nicer things about this place that there is motivation to expand a little on threads; I find the debating society approach quite sterile. Life doesn't actually move in such well defined paths, as most of us here can testify only too well; were it otherwise, who'd have anything to muse over?

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Steve Weldon on August 05, 2010, 05:15:14 AM
Quote from: feppe
I believe I qualified my "vital" assessment with YMMV. If Thailand's economy is in such a great state that they can withstand a 5% hit on their GDP, great for them. In current economy a 5% hit on GDP would be devastating to many countries.

I don't understand how you can call the auto industry a straw man argument, as I was merely using it to illustrate how significant the tourism industry is to an economy. To clarify: the US economy is hurting in large part due to Detroit hurting.

I have no idea where your tirade about colonialism or comparing EU came from. I'm talking about the GDP of a country, not dissing your mother...

I'm done with this.
A YMMV statement doesn't change the definition of a word.. 5% is 5% is 5% to any country.. and many countries have taken much larger hits and not been "devastated."  You're dramatizing for effect and it's not working here.

A manufacturing sector comparation to a tourism sector is very different, straw man at best.. especially when both subjects being compared have the exact same sectors to compare and one is choosing not to use them.  And no.. I don't think the US is "hurting to a large part" due to the auto industry.. the current economic issues of the US and globally in fact.. are far more complex.   To be more precise, the auto industry is 'down' because of the economy.. the economy goes down, people buy less 'things'.  Things like automobiles.   One is a cause, the other an effect.  The auto industry didn't "cause" anything.  (at least not this time)

The bottom line is I don't think 5% of any countries economy is 'vital' for anyone but those involved in that 5%.. the country will survive and depending on the country, it's economic policies, and its resources.. recover faster or slower.
Title: Motivation
Post by: stamper on August 05, 2010, 11:25:50 AM


A manufacturing sector comparation to a tourism sector is very different, straw man at best.. especially when both subjects being compared have the exact same sectors to compare and one is choosing not to use them.  And no.. I don't think the US is "hurting to a large part" due to the auto industry.. the current economic issues of the US and globally in fact.. are far more complex.   To be more precise, the auto industry is 'down' because of the economy.. the economy goes down, people buy less 'things'.  Things like automobiles.   One is a cause, the other an effect.  The auto industry didn't "cause" anything.  (at least not this time)

The bottom line is I don't think 5% of any countries economy is 'vital' for anyone but those involved in that 5%.. the country will survive and depending on the country, it's economic policies, and its resources.. recover faster or slower.
[/quote]


ZZZZZZZZZZ
Title: Motivation
Post by: blansky on August 05, 2010, 03:02:59 PM
Who can say why most people do anything. The snappers that take "holiday pictures" do so for a variety of reasons. Ego--- I was there an you weren't, while showing them to friends. Sheep--- because everyone else is doing it so I'd better. etc

But in my opinion the reason a lot of people take photographs is for the emotional hit they get when they are able to relive them back home, months and years later. Maybe it's sort of primal, to prove to themselves that they exist and were there and did something. Maybe it's to record a once in a lifetime experience that they know deep down they will never repeat. Maybe for them and a lot of us it's the reason that attracted them to photography in the first place. The ability to stop time.

Nothing else can really do that. With these magic little boxes we have the ability to stop time, as it is whirling towards an unknown future. We can stop the age of our ever changing children, stop their smiles and glee in mid stream, we can capture the love we feel and maybe once felt for a loved one who may or may not be here any more.

That to me is the essence of photography as I practice it. Not provocative throwaway advertising pieces, not sterile scenics, not masterfully executed technical masterpieces, but instead recordings of human beings caught in a split second in time that provide an emotional twinge to the person that looks at it.  And it may even be a poorly exposed, poorly composed snapshot of someone standing grinning in front of some landmark in a far away place.

As a portrait photographer that's what photography is all about. The quality of what various people produce will vary but the emotions are still there. It is much like in the evening when all the noise of the day is gone and you are sitting with your loved ones, it's the feeling of completeness that you have as you look and hold them. When you are old and alone those are the moments you will long for and on your death bed that is what you will remember.

So in my opinion, let them snap away. And I ALWAYS ask anyone with a camera that is obviously a tourist if they would like me to photograph them in front of something. Especially the couples. They need to be together in the photograph.


Michael
Title: Motivation
Post by: Ray on August 06, 2010, 06:58:37 AM
Quote from: Rob C
My thought/question, basically, boils down to this: why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, town halls, lakes, tourist 'attractions' or, even that LuLa favourite, icebergs? I can understand the professional travel photographer having to do this - well, there used to be a branch as such in the profession - where some commercial gain might be had, but for the amateur, however good, where lies the motivation?

Rob C

Rob,
Having had a look at your website, I think I'm getting an insight into why you are not motivated to take photos when on holiday, or when travelling to a new, exotic or just different location.

Having (apparently) spent half your life as a photographer shooting the female breast, most other subjects must now seem rather flat and uninteresting.

Perhaps you should ask yourself, why would anyone pay significant sums of money to go on holiday or take excursions to see sights that are not worth photographing?

I can understand someone who suffers from technophobia, who has an aversion towards digital products, not wanting to even own a camera. I can understand someone who just wants to relax by the hotel swimming pool and read a few novels, not being interested in taking photos. I can understand someone who is busy and pressed for time, who doesn't want to bother taking photos, and I guess I can understand why someone who lives in an over-familiar, mundane environment, has no motivation to take photos of subjects that cannot compare with the beauty of the female breast, or the allure of a Pirelli Calender model.

Is that last example you?

Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 06, 2010, 03:32:28 PM
Quote from: Ray
Rob,
Having had a look at your website, I think I'm getting an insight into why you are not motivated to take photos when on holiday, or when travelling to a new, exotic or just different location.

Having (apparently) spent half your life as a photographer shooting the female breast, most other subjects must now seem rather flat and uninteresting.

Perhaps you should ask yourself, why would anyone pay significant sums of money to go on holiday or take excursions to see sights that are not worth photographing?

I can understand someone who suffers from technophobia, who has an aversion towards digital products, not wanting to even own a camera. I can understand someone who just wants to relax by the hotel swimming pool and read a few novels, not being interested in taking photos. I can understand someone who is busy and pressed for time, who doesn't want to bother taking photos, and I guess I can understand why someone who lives in an over-familiar, mundane environment, has no motivation to take photos of subjects that cannot compare with the beauty of the female breast, or the allure of a Pirelli Calender model.

Is that last example you?


Absolutely.

And therein the problem: what do you do about it when the client factor disappears?

I see lots and lots of shots around the place of lesser models and it makes me wonder about the motivation/eye of the snapper. I can't remember in which thread this came up recently, but the model is as important in a creative sense - if not more so - than the photographer; you don't see the snapper, but you do see the girl. The problem is, if the girl looks like the 'girl next door' (a lie if ever the magazines promoted one - it's the last thing they or guys seek) then you have pretty well wasted your time. You can stick a zillion lights on her, be as clever as you want, but a pig is still a pig, even with lip gloss. Not everybody, some pros included, seem aware of this. Damn, there's a trail of refining, more refining and many more tears from rejection before the top of the heap even gets to the right castings! Nobody just walks right in and scoops the cream. Yep, famous overnight, after several years of nothing much. Please, nobody say Kate Moss and airport in the same breath.

Still in the personal mode, I've looked at as many different genres as I can think of as being remotely interesting or practical for me to consider, and after a couple of shoots, they simply bore me silly.

Perhaps as Klaban indicated, one might be destined to ruminate forever - a sort of photographic Flying Dutchman. Wish I'd realised that before buying more and more tin, plastic and glass. (I'm thinking cameras, but might just as well be dreaming cars.)

I think I should save your quotation above for posterity and post a copy in front of the monitor. By the way, glad you had a look at the site - thanks for that.

Ciao

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 07, 2010, 04:58:04 AM
Quote from: KLaban
Rob

I must have written a dozen or more posts to this Motivation thread and ended up trashing the lot. It’s a difficult situation.

I understand the passion you had for your work and for the life that went with it. I understand the dilemma you face now that this life and work is no more. What I find difficult to understand is the enthusiasm you show here for photography and yet your lack of enthusiasm for making images.

OK, tough ain't going to work, but hell, I'd tried everything else. What saddens me is the waste of talent.

Best

Keith



Keith

Coming from you, the very last sentence cheers me up no end. Thanks for that.

However, there isn't a lack of enthusiasm for making images - there is a lack of opportunity for making the ones that appeal to me. As the Meerkat hints, those are two different things; tweetch! All genres are not the same, as you well know, and the act of pointing a camera at something you have little interest in is worse than not pointing at all. On the other hand, were I talking photographic business right now, you would be right; I have had to kick my own ankles at times to prevent myself picking up the 'phone and ordering a Nikkor 24mm Tilt/Shifter in pursuit of yet another blind alley. Damn it, my wallet is shrinking fast from such misadventures!

It isn't hardware, software or underwear (well, maybe the latter) that causes the angst that cripples the mind - it's the vicious circle. I would be only too happy were I to wake up with a new enthusiasm for shooting Mediterranean atmospherics, for example, but I don't any more, not since Tony Stone asked me not too because all the agencies were groaning under the weight of such stuff!

Maybe it's akin to finding one's self in a harem but deeply in love with someone else. How would you resolve that? Eff them all whilst saying a mental sorry all the while...? I have a suspìcion I'm not doing that either, just saying the mental sorry, over and over again like a friggin' mantra! I'm gonna buy one of those self-help manuals; might even become a great mechanic! Could do worse: the last oil change the Ford had (last week) cost me €110 and would have been much higher had I not warned the garage that I didn't want plugs or anything else as Rusty's life hangs on a thread that I might cut at any moment.

My youngest granddaughter got home to find that the postman had called: she got all her five As! One more year doing more and then, with luck, joins her sis at uni. Some things are really good. Eff that manual!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: stamper on August 07, 2010, 11:49:10 AM
Have you been on the Sangria Rob? Some very good insights there which must strike a cord with many posters.
Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 07, 2010, 12:12:14 PM
Quote from: stamper
Have you been on the Sangria Rob? Some very good insights there which must strike a cord with many posters.



I wish! Just coldish coffee...

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Ray on August 08, 2010, 11:27:23 AM
Rob,
The following shot which I took in the  Russian Museum in St Petersburg might be just up your alley. I was surprised I was allowed to take photos (albeit without flash or tripod). However, for such occasions I wish I was carrying a D3s.

The nature of the subject matter caught my eye, obviously because I have an artistic temperament.

But I was not familiar with the painter, Henryk Siemiradzki, and my ancient Greek history was not up to scratch. But the internet has revealed all.

The main subject is a high class err!.. escort. It seems that in ancient Greek society, wives had a very 'background' role of chores and raising children. However, the Greeks did have a goddess of love ,beauty and sexuality, called Aphrodite, and certain Greek women, possessed of natural beauty, tried to emulate the characteristics of Aphrodite.

One such woman was Phryne, depicted in the painting. The most famous statue ever sculpted of the Goddess Aphrodite, totally lurid and scandalous, was based on Phryne, sculpted by her then current lover, Praxiteles.

To cut a long story short, Phryne became very wealthy as a result of her natural attractions; ruffled a few feathers because of her numerous love affairs, and ended up in court, charged with the very serious offense of profaning religious occasions. (We all know what happened to Socrates).

Her defending lawyer was an ex-lover, Hyperides. Unfortunately, the case against Phryne was so strong, it seemed a forgone conclusion that she would be found guilty.

In a last-ditch attempt to save the day, Hyperides ripped off Phryne's clothing to reveal her breasts in their full glory. He argued, 'How could such God-given attributes possibly profane any religious festival?'

This was a knock-out blow. The case was dismissed.

[attachment=23574:033_Phry...miradzki.jpg]

Title: Motivation
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 08, 2010, 10:10:52 PM
Quote from: Ray
Rob,
The following shot which I took in the  Russian Museum in St Petersburg might be just up your alley. I was surprised I was allowed to take photos (albeit without flash or tripod). However, for such occasions I wish I In a last-ditch attempt to save the day, Hyperides ripped off Phryne's clothing to reveal her breasts in their full glory. He argued, 'How could such God-given attributes possibly profane any religious festival?'

This was a knock-out blow. The case was dismissed.

[attachment=23574:033_Phry...miradzki.jpg]

And all along I assumed that it was Rob who ripped off her clothing!


Eric

Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 09, 2010, 05:16:58 AM
Me? Bodice ripper? I am the genuine mild-mannered Clark Kent with unexpectedly tonsured hair and no telephone booth.

And there you see my problem with landscape. Like for the painter in question, the prettiest scenery in the world but serves as backdrop to a yet finer figure. And I just can't get over that basic problem of perception. I sometimed think of Keith's Greek pics and how much more they would mean to me were they but gracing another, contemporary Greek goddess... One day, one day he'll surprise me with such a thing.

But seriously, the location in that painting is superb, but it wasn't left empty!

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 09, 2010, 11:02:11 AM
Quote from: Rob C
Me? Bodice ripper? I am the genuine mild-mannered Clark Kent with unexpectedly tonsured hair and no telephone booth.

And there you see my problem with landscape. Like for the painter in question, the prettiest scenery in the world but serves as backdrop to a yet finer figure. And I just can't get over that basic problem of perception. I sometimed think of Keith's Greek pics and how much more they would mean to me were they but gracing another, contemporary Greek goddess... One day, one day he'll surprise me with such a thing.

But seriously, the location in that painting is superb, but it wasn't left empty!

Rob C
But Rob: Empty is beautiful!

I guess it does boil down to needing more equipment: We need to get you a good telephone booth.





Eric

Title: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 09, 2010, 02:49:15 PM
Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
But Rob: Empty is beautiful!

I guess it does boil down to needing more equipment: We need to get you a good telephone booth.


Eric


But I shall still refuse to wear my undies on the outside!

Rob C
Title: Motivation
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 09, 2010, 03:35:11 PM
Quote from: Rob C
But I shall still refuse to wear my undies on the outside!

Rob C

Sir, you have no respect for Tradition!


Eric

Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Steve Kennedy-Williams on August 11, 2010, 03:41:07 PM
I've recently upgraded to a DSLR, and have thought about why I bought it and why I shoot.

1. To capture memories. Snapshots of family and friends. Most have a shelf life of a week or two but do give pleasure.

2. To force myself to see what is around me. Taking photographs as i go about my life pulls me out of my assumptions of what is around me. At times, this forced reevaluation has led to some beautiful photos.

Of these, the second is my primary motivating force. Whether the results of this process are good is subjective, but the process of creating art (intent) makes me a better person.
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: RSL on August 14, 2010, 06:04:08 PM
The trouble with saying this is that it can be construed as an attack on wedding shooters. Rob C

Rob, I should have caught this one earlier. I must tell you that I have a high regard for wedding shooters, just as I have a high regard for plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. They're the folks who keep things running. Without them we'd be in deep do-do. Two of my best friends are, or were, wedding photographers. I shot weddings myself for a while back in the sixties, though as in your case, it just wasn't my thing. But, like plumbing, somebody has to do this kind of work.
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: michswiss on August 17, 2010, 10:21:30 AM
Steve, I became serious about my photography again around four years ago.  I didn't know if the desire would really sustain itself so I didn't invest must in kit at the time.   Much of the initial motivation was similar to your second as well.  It was certainly motivation enough to convince me to move into dSLR and reinvest in good glass.  But what I found out was that I needed more that just learning to see what other's might overlook.  I needed to tell stories; single images, short essays, longer projects.


I've recently upgraded to a DSLR, and have thought about why I bought it and why I shoot.

1. To capture memories. Snapshots of family and friends. Most have a shelf life of a week or two but do give pleasure.

2. To force myself to see what is around me. Taking photographs as i go about my life pulls me out of my assumptions of what is around me. At times, this forced reevaluation has led to some beautiful photos.

Of these, the second is my primary motivating force. Whether the results of this process are good is subjective, but the process of creating art (intent) makes me a better person.
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: JohnKoerner on August 28, 2010, 08:52:05 AM
I am a little late to joining this discussion, which seems like little more than a missing passion in Rob C. If I may make a few comments of my own:


I need to make one point about street photography before I leave the discussion. Eric hit the nail on the head when he said, "It generally leaves me unmoved unless it displays some significant relationship..." That's exactly what good street photography does, and when it does, it's what I call "art." Good street photography conveys information about the human condition that you can't put into words -- unless, possibly, you're a very, very good novelist or poet. I think it's difficult almost to the point of impossibility to do that in any other photographic genre.

Russ, this statement is true of all good photography; essentially it is a default back to the adage: "A picture's worth a thousand words." Perhaps an addendum could be made, "A great picture cannot be quantified into words." This is as true of a beautifully-captured sunset as it is of a serendipitous capture of a unique human expression or moment: there is a capture of something emotional or moving that cannot be described in any other way, but just to behold it and enjoy it.




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One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.
Rant over.
For now...

Keith, I agree with you. I notice there is an infectious pathology here where too many worry about "what others do" (or don't do), and why, instead of just concentrating on doing their own thing for their own reasons.




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I stand by my observations: tourism is a poison that kills without you noticing.
Rob C

Actually, Rob, the real truth is cities full of people in general are a poison to this world ... and are spreading and killing our world with their over-abundance, their waste, and their wanton disregard for trampling what's left of the unspoiled natural beauty of this world. But that's a whole other subject.

Regarding the subject of motivation, at least the photographer tries to appreciate what is beautiful this world by capturing it with his camera.

To me, the whole point of photography is never-ending effort to appreciate and capture the beauty of our world, be that beauty found in the lands, the skies, the seas, the creatures, or the people of this world. The photographer is forever trying to capture something beautiful, or something emotionally/spiritually-moving to him, and therefore this passion to be moved is what forever drives him.




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Interesting question.  I, for one, take pictures avidly when traveling or on vacation.  However, I do the same in my own city, NYC, as well as the surrounding urban and more rural areas.  My actions come from a pair of parallel fascinations.  First is with experience: experience of my surroundings, the people in them, the man-made elements in them and nature's final say on both of those.  Second is with the experience of photography, which for better or worse has been a drive in my life since age 4 or 5.
I enjoy the process of seeing.  This includes things new to me as well as things very familiar to me.  I enjoy the process of reaching for my camera when I see something that says something to me, and that "something" is not always expressable in words although sometimes it is, too.  I enjoy the challenge of making my camera (not 6, but 8 megapixels) through composing and then postprocessing and printing, capture the essence of what moved me when I saw the scene.  I am particularly moved by contrasts in time, contradictions, our impact on nature, and the reverse: nature's impact on us.
I enjoy seeing something in the familiar that many others overlook.  I enjoy finding the beauty in a scene that many would consider ugly, and vice-versa.  When I shoot a record shot I try to capture the angle and perspective that will later remind me
and perhaps show others, how I saw what I saw.  I also enjoy, sometimes many years later, the memories of the experience evoked when I occasionally review my old pictures.
I have stood on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and enjoyed the company of tourists from all over the world, sometimes helping them spot sights that they are looking for to shoot, and the exchanges have always been gratifying. When I travel, I have found as a tourist that local people are eager to show me what they consider impaortant to see in their area.
When I see all those people, arms extended and eyes squinting at almost-dimmed out LCD's, I realize that there is a love of photography that makes it so popular, and it can be considered a democratization of art.
I also admire the amateur painter whom I pass at the ramp from Riverside Drive to the GW Bridge, who paints the same buildings every time I observe him.  I also see, while I am photographing the power of the sea and rocks off Ocean Point, Maine, the same straw-hatted lady, year after year, who paints the "same" ocean scene, just for the sheer enjoyment of translating what her inner eye senses about that scene into physical movement and feel of brush and paint on textured canvas.
Yes, I don't mind selling my prints, either.  But the urge to shoot is very longstanding, and I would not be surprised to find that many of those tourists with point-and-shoots experience some of the same joys, with some of the same motivations, that I experience.

This was a great post. I think a true photographer is somebody who "has" to capture photos because something inside him compels him to do so.

I walk around my property every day (50 acres of Florida wilderness) taking hundreds of photos (most of which I just throw away), just because I love taking photos. I am getting much better at my skills, and yet I still realize I have a long way to go. But none of this matters when I am out there, because I simply enjoy doing it more than anything else. Case in point: I was on the way out the door yesterday, dressed nicely for an appointment, and I happened to see a Great Purple Hairstreak butterfly as I was walking toward my car. I hadn't seen this species in over 2 years, despite uncountable forays into nature, both on my propert and through many Florida State Parks. So I immediately dropped everything in my hands, quickly got my camera, and I proceded to take over 60 pictures of this tiny, beautiful creature ... until it flew away for good. Throughout the process, I had to get on my knees and elbows in the dirt for some shots, and I had to chase it far off into the woods for others, until it simply took off for good. By the time I was done, I had to change my clothes and was unpardonably late to my appointment, but the ability to capture that animal to camera was the only thing I thought about all day long after the fact.

Another person might not have cared, might not have even noticed, but I did notice and I did care very much. Everything was forgotten except the beauty of that animal and my chance to capture it here and now. To me, that is the essence of photography, with different people having different subjects that inspire and drive them to shoot.


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Rob, at the risk of getting personal, you seem to be a perpetual cynic, questioning everything, even your own motivation. You seem to worry too much about what "other people think/do," and/or how something may "look." There is only one thing over which you have complete control and that is you. Questioning your motives can be good, but wallowing in self-questioning is a sign of impotence, a lack of passion. What are you passionate about? If you are passionate about nothing, the real question should be WHY have you lost your passion, and what elements to your life might inspire passion in you?

Once you have a true passion for something, the rest of these silly little questions and self-doubts will instantly become irrelevant.

Jack



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Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 28, 2010, 03:58:49 PM


Rob, at the risk of getting personal, you seem to be a perpetual cynic, questioning everything, even your own motivation. You seem to worry too much about what "other people think/do," and/or how something may "look." There is only one thing over which you have complete control and that is you. Questioning your motives can be good, but wallowing in self-questioning is a sign of impotence, a lack of passion. What are you passionate about? If you are passionate about nothing, the real question should be WHY have you lost your passion, and what elements to your life might inspire passion in you?

Once you have a true passion for something, the rest of these silly little questions and self-doubts will instantly become irrelevant.

Jack

...

Interesting how differently two people can read a single mind.

I see no problem with a thread such as this one – after all, if it were not so, then no answers to it would have been forthcoming. Even you felt obliged to contribute.

Now, motivation for shooting butterflies may be all very well, but they are either available or they are not, and you seldom have to pay them. My personal interest, on the other hand, is the same one that drew me into the job in the first instance: working with beautiful women, professional models. And there’s the rub: you gotta pay them, if you can find them. And none of those good ones are into prints for time deals and I have no need for the other kind of girl. Neither are they generally willing to do stock, so that route is also out as well as being a ruined business model anyway.

Long retired, there is no natural way that the experience is going to return, indeed, it becomes more unlikely every day.

So, accepting the status quo for what it is, I have to look for something else to spark my mind into action, or, at least, to awaken some other desire that might be dormant somewhere deep within. If it exists, I can’t find the damn thing, and it isn’t landscape, cityscape, the sea, the trees, the rocks, the plants nor four-legged friends. Even horses with flowing white manes don’t cut it. You see the problem.

But, as far as “what others think or do” it does interest me very much; I am interested in some people, particularly other photographers, and really do find their work, sites and published works of great interest. I am absolutely interested in hearing/reading what others who have travelled the same paths as I have to say. Why on Earth would I not find other fashion or calendar shooters interesting? I never join clubs, but that one, by default, is one that I would!

You have not had the life experience that I have had. You will probably never realise the buzz from working in those two genres when they are exactly what you have wanted to do all your adult (and teen) life. Fred Gasc, who I believe is currently on holiday, saw that at once, but then he has had experience of that sort of photography; it is so much more than just clicking a shutter, making a pretty composition; it's the creation of a fleeting fantasy for two, it’s something you can never willingly let go. People have died because that work has left their lives. There is a tragic list of such people and I can tell you seriously that it isn’t difficult to understand why they did what they did; the more success the more is lost when your star wanes, as it usually will.

But hell, you have to be there to read it.

Ciao -

Rob C





Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: JohnKoerner on August 28, 2010, 10:59:38 PM
Interesting how differently two people can read a single mind.

Everything looks different from different angles ...



I see no problem with a thread such as this one – after all, if it were not so, then no answers to it would have been forthcoming. Even you felt obliged to contribute.

Touché

My point was to suggest it is better to discover & pursue a passion rather than to lament a lack of it.




Now, motivation for shooting butterflies may be all very well, but they are either available or they are not, and you seldom have to pay them. My personal interest, on the other hand, is the same one that drew me into the job in the first instance: working with beautiful women, professional models. And there’s the rub: you gotta pay them, if you can find them. And none of those good ones are into prints for time deals and I have no need for the other kind of girl. Neither are they generally willing to do stock, so that route is also out as well as being a ruined business model anyway.

Actually, there are plenty of women who will model for free. I can't remember the online resource, but it was one where amateur models would willingly pose for free, for amateur photographers, so long as the amateur photographer agreed to give the model photos of herself. In other words, while the amateur photographer gets to develop his own "model" portfolio for free ... the amateur model gets to build her own portfolio with free pictures of herself.

Surely there is beauty to be enjoyed in this world other than from beautiful models. If I didn't have butterflies, it would be flowers, or clouds, or the sea. I remember when one boardmember posted beautiful macro shots of snow and ice that he took, when he was stuck in the snow during the winter months. There is always something to enjoy, if one is seeking joy. Same as there is always something to lament, if one is seeking sorrow.

I believe it was Churchill who said, "An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty; the pessimest sees the difficulty in every opportunity."

Bring your mind around to the positive side ...




Long retired, there is no natural way that the experience is going to return, indeed, it becomes more unlikely every day.

Reminds me once of what an old man told me a few years back; he said: "Jack, when a man gets to be my age, he don't need no Viagra ... what he needs is young &@$$*"




So, accepting the status quo for what it is, I have to look for something else to spark my mind into action, or, at least, to awaken some other desire that might be dormant somewhere deep within. If it exists, I can’t find the damn thing, and it isn’t landscape, cityscape, the sea, the trees, the rocks, the plants nor four-legged friends. Even horses with flowing white manes don’t cut it. You see the problem.

I do see the problem, Rob, it's Churchill's definition of pessimism. It's also reactivism.

Rather than looking at all the opportunities, you're looking at all the difficulties. Rather than sparking yourself into action, you're waiting for something out there to "spark you" into action.




But, as far as “what others think or do” it does interest me very much; I am interested in some people, particularly other photographers, and really do find their work, sites and published works of great interest. I am absolutely interested in hearing/reading what others who have travelled the same paths as I have to say. Why on Earth would I not find other fashion or calendar shooters interesting? I never join clubs, but that one, by default, is one that I would!

I agree with you on considering what your peers might have to say or do on similar subjects as you. What I disagree on is "worrying" about what others think or do, most especially about the volume of "other photographers" or "tourists" might out there and what they might be doing. I think it is very productive to gain creative perspective/ideas from peers; but I think it is unproductive to curse the volume of "other photographers" and such that there are in this world.




You have not had the life experience that I have had. You will probably never realise the buzz from working in those two genres when they are exactly what you have wanted to do all your adult (and teen) life. Fred Gasc, who I believe is currently on holiday, saw that at once, but then he has had experience of that sort of photography; it is so much more than just clicking a shutter, making a pretty composition; it's the creation of a fleeting fantasy for two, it’s something you can never willingly let go. People have died because that work has left their lives. There is a tragic list of such people and I can tell you seriously that it isn’t difficult to understand why they did what they did; the more success the more is lost when your star wanes, as it usually will.

Well, as someone who grew up in Los Angeles and was in or around Hollywood/Beverly Hills most of my life, I understand the "addiction" that such a lifestyle can bring. Me personally, I think "addiction" is a good word to describe it, for the effects are like a drug: feels good, but it's unhealthy. I have always been more of a health nut than a lover of that lifestyle, and I personally far prefer peace and serenity. Can't really stand to be in the city for too long, quite frankly, and I feel unsettled being around any kind of a "fast paced" lifestyle. But that is just me.

By the tone of the above, it sounds like I hit the nail on the head with the lack of passion left and a resulting general pessimism in your outlook. I sure don't wish you any ill will Rob ... and (speaking of age, life experience, and stars) I sure hope you realize some day that all that glitters isn't necessarily gold. Sometimes it's fool's gold. Honestly, I never knew of a "buzz" that didn't come with a price. IMO, there are plenty of healthier things to devote one's time to, and there are an infinite number of other things to get passionate about in this life.




But hell, you have to be there to read it.
Ciao -
Rob C

Well, Rob, you sound kind of deflated. You really shouldn't be. You obviously have talent, you have experience, and you have the ability to write exceptionally well. There are a thousand different things you could devote your talents and energies to that would be worthwhile, perhaps more worthwhile ultimately than anything you have ever devoted yourself to so far. You just have to focus on all the possibilities, not on all of the difficulties.

Best of luck to you,

Jack




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Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 29, 2010, 04:42:33 AM


Well, Rob, you sound kind of deflated. You really shouldn't be. You obviously have talent, you have experience, and you have the ability to write exceptionally well. There are a thousand different things you could devote your talents and energies to that would be worthwhile, perhaps more worthwhile ultimately than anything you have ever devoted yourself to so far. You just have to focus on all the possibilities, not on all of the difficulties.

Best of luck to you,

Jack




Well, if that last paragraph doesn't move it, then nothing will!

I have to admit, I instantly recognize the difficulties in everything; until now I'd seen that as a sort of self-preservation mechanism... maybe I was mistaken.

Thanks for your time and views.

Rob C
 
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2010, 09:49:23 AM
Update to the above.

Thinking it the dawn of a new era, pour moi, the somewhat unexpected drizzle that greeted me this morning came like a signal from heaven. Yes! Summer is dying and fresh seasons await! So, I filled the black, virgin Lowepro Stealth Reporter D200 AW with a D700 and 24mm for the very first time and went off to lunch, with the grand intention of doing my version of the Café de Flore shot that has grinned out at me from the cover of Paris Mon Amour (sorry, Jeanloup, but gotta try, and as this is Spain and not Paris, then perhaps plagiarism doesn't come into it...); I even took along an umbrella so that nothing could stop me.

Obviously, by the time I had eaten in one establishment run by an expat Frenchman and moved on to the one in the town square where the non-action of the empty tables was to be re-enacted, the friggin' summer was back.

So, what do I think of the bag? First of all, the pad on the shoulder strap slides all over the place, and I spent much walking time shifting the damn combination this way and that. Secondly, the multiplicity of pockets inside it (I had removed the main spacer so that the camera could go in) caused real difficulties when I tried to find my mobile and also my wallet.

Conclusion 1. As I had feared all along, a new departure (that used to be the name of a brand of American bicycle brakes - you peddled backwards to stop) into 'steet' is going to demand more equipment; more expensive hardware is de rigueur, at least an M body - probably film - and a brown paper bag in which to carry it. Of course, as with the Café de Flore, that's not original either: in Blow Up it was a paper bag but with a Nikon F...

Conclusion 2. Photography is best enjoyed in the thinking about it.

Ain't nothin' simple but me?

Rob C
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: JohnKoerner on August 30, 2010, 10:57:14 AM
Well, if that last paragraph doesn't move it, then nothing will!

In truth, if you don't make something happen, then nothing will make something happen for you. All the talent, experience, and perspective in the world are useless without the will to put it all together and do something constructive.




I have to admit, I instantly recognize the difficulties in everything; until now I'd seen that as a sort of self-preservation mechanism... maybe I was mistaken.

I can see the focus on the difficulties in your writings ... perhaps it is now best to begin focusing on the possibilities ...

The paradox is (and all truth contains paradox), 'recognizing' difficulties can be critical, yet it is only useful insofar as said recognition enables you to prepare for difficulties, to go around them, or to bridge them in some way. Being consumed by difficulties, however, is something totally different. The focus should always be on the passion, not the problems. Focusing more on the difficulties than the mission only creates paralysis, not production.

As the saying goes, "Never sum-up all the obstacles; instead always keep your eye directly on the goal."




Thanks for your time and views.
Rob C

No problem.

I was just thinking, perhaps the best way to spark a drive within yourself is marry your proclivity for writing with the passion you clearly have for what you used to do, by creating some sort of book (bio or even a novel) about fashion photography. Not only would you keep alive all the fond memories that you so obviously have, but you could provide more to them with the kind of insightful commentary that only the hindsight of time, perspective, and a wistful appreciation can bring ...

Something to think about anyway ...

Cheers,

Jack





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Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on September 01, 2010, 12:29:07 PM
Well, Jack, between you and Keith, I have been pushed into creating a new gallery within my website. There's zilch in it yet, so don't bother looking, but the intent is established.

I now have to do something - if I remember how to do it, or even what it is supposed to be that I'm going to be doing...

Ciao -

Rob C
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Justinr on September 07, 2010, 05:37:05 PM
The obvious answer to Why? is surely, Why not?

The role of photography has changed considerably over the past few years and can no longer be so easily classified according to the old trinity of pro, enthusiast and occasional snapper. The use of cameras has mushroomed as they have become cheaper and the inconvenience of development has been eradicated. They are an accessory to the young having fun, an extension to the PC for those who like techie things and a method of expressing an innate creativity to those who seek a painless outlet for the artist within. It could be argued that photography was always about these but digitalisation has empowered us all in the ability to produce instant images without the disagreeable process of study or contemplation, and boy does it show at times.

Look at the photo magazines and the relentless message is 'we are all as good as pro's now, just so long as we all buy the latest whizz bang wallop box.' The distressing thing is though that in many scenario's there is an element of truth in that. The photo's I have seen of the Munster 100 Road Race taken by fully kitted out media pass types were no better than I have seen on a couple of forums. But where the going gets tough such as tricky light or studio work then there is still room for a person with some knowledge of the craft, it's just that consumers and customers of photography no longer appreciate this.

So why should anyone take a photo if they are not being paid for it? For the sheer pleasure of doing so. We cannot deny people this experience and nor can we insist that they must demonstrate a certain standard before being allowed to roam with a camera. A more pertinent question is how do those who have made money from it continue to do so in these new circumstances, a worrying question as I note the increasing numbers of closed high street studios and brides with an uncle who's got a 'good' camera and so on. Whether is able to use it to any great effect is a question rarely addressed.
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on September 10, 2010, 09:15:35 AM
It's a funny thing, but even though I always believed that my own philosophy in both professional and 'personal' work - I hate that term; it sounds so bloody pretentious to me - was pretty well one and the same, this has been brought home to me ever so much more strongly over the past couple of days. The catalyst has been the creation of my third gallery in the website (gallery not up yet, so don't bother) where the original intention had been to post a collection of stuff that wasn't really connected in any manner or means with my working life. To my surprise, I discovered that I was actually selecting pics which were either from model tests, more old calendars or even just material from that golden era when I had the unappreciated luxury of a personal muse, a wonderful girl who was every bit as interested in Vogue, Harper's, Nova et al as was I. And my wife didn't have a worry in her head. You can't buy that.

Anyway, what I discovered was that pretty well everything I do/have done falls into much the same mould, be it women, objects or landscapes. For some reason, I have shied away from city shots; perhaps I needed to study karate. Or flower arranging.

This may or may not be obvious to anyone else, but to me, it screams out identity, however much I would have liked to broaded the definition of that - as applied to my own oeuvre; seems to me I do the same basic shot all the time. Is that all there is, for any of us?

Rob C

Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: fredjeang on September 15, 2010, 03:16:55 PM
I can see beauty, some magic, in the corner of my street, in every single step, no doubt. But it does not specially means that I want to catch it with a camera.
I read some lines here about beauty, well, beauty is just one possibility. Motivation for some can be the harsh and the ugly (many Magnum photographers) that become esthetic in the right hands.
I point esthetic and not beautifull.
Others will find motivation in war images, sports action, catastrophies reportages etc...You can meet esthetism in war, but I can't call that seeking for beauty.

In my daily experience, I just know two types of photographers. The one who shoot constantly whatever are the reasons and conditions. And the ones who shoot only on assignments.

But don't get me wrong; it does not mean that the photographers who shoot only on assignment (this can also be an auto-assignment) are just commercial and not artists...that would be a big mistake to beleive so.

Many posters here had the feeling that Rob has a sort of general negativity because his lack of motivation. I see more an healphy feeling of an experienced being who does not want to fool himself with false motivations. It is not negativity IMO, it is an authentic tragedia (in the noble way).

We all make one single image. What we do is only infinite variations of the same story. That is what we are made of, that has something to do with our real nature, perception and sensitivity.

Rob is obviously not a street or landscape shooter.
But the point made by John, that there are models for free does not work either because Rob also shoot on assignment, for a precise purpose. At least that is what I feel and that is why I think that motivation (lack of) in this case has a profund meaning and has to be respected.

When the studio lights are down and the people gone and you are in the middle of this silence...who has ever experienced that feeling?

And when the studio lights are gone forever because there is no more client, do you really think that taking the Nikon for a walk or invent a fake fashion work with amateur girls will bring back motivation?

IMO, the really good thing someone in Rob's position could do is finding motivation in spreading the archives, all the imagery of a full and well lived pro life. I think that the clew might be somewhere here.

All IMO.
Title: Re: Motivation
Post by: Rob C on September 15, 2010, 04:51:52 PM
I can see beauty, some magic, in the corner of my street, in every single step, no doubt. But it does not specially means that I want to catch it with a camera.
I read some lines here about beauty, well, beauty is just one possibility. Motivation for some can be the harsh and the ugly (many Magnum photographers) that become esthetic in the right hands.
I point esthetic and not beautifull.
Others will find motivation in war images, sports action, catastrophies reportages etc...You can meet esthetism in war, but I can't call that seeking for beauty.

In my daily experience, I just know two types of photographers. The one who shoot constantly whatever are the reasons and conditions. And the ones who shoot only on assignments.

But don't get me wrong; it does not mean that the photographers who shoot only on assignment (this can also be an auto-assignment) are just commercial and not artists...that would be a big mistake to beleive so.

Many posters here had the feeling that Rob has a sort of general negativity because his lack of motivation. I see more an healphy feeling of an experienced being who does not want to fool himself with false motivations. It is not negativity IMO, it is an authentic tragedia (in the noble way).

We all make one single image. What we do is only infinite variations of the same story. That is what we are made of, that has something to do with our real nature, perception and sensitivity.

Rob is obviously not a street or landscape shooter.
But the point made by John, that there are models for free does not work either because Rob also shoot on assignment, for a precise purpose. At least that is what I feel and that is why I think that motivation (lack of) in this case has a profund meaning and has to be respected.

When the studio lights are down and the people gone and you are in the middle of this silence...who has ever experienced that feeling?

And when the studio lights are gone forever because there is no more client, do you really think that taking the Nikon for a walk or invent a fake fashion work with amateur girls will bring back motivation?

IMO, the really good thing someone in Rob's position could do is finding motivation in spreading the archives, all the imagery of a full and well lived pro life. I think that the clew might be somewhere here.

All IMO.



Caramba! Wish I’d said that.

Well, hoping not to hog the limelight, I have just some minutes ago put some more stuff up in the Biscuit Tin part of the website, some of which is old and some of which comes from my walk around Pollensa town and, then, the port, two Sundays ago.

I don’t find it fits any strict sense of ‘street’ at all, but I guess it’s still personal observation, whether of things, places or, perish the thought, people who don’t know me. The trouble is, there is just such a lot of choice in life, whether in what you do, whom you befriend and vice versa; even more confusing or, perhaps, complicating, is the sense that what instantly says something to me because of what may have been experienced years and years ago will probably strike nothing, not a chord nor even a sour note with anyone else.

Does that mean that when we go out there, doing something without a commission, that we must shoot something that others will recognize, will instantly see as symbolic of a commonly shared sensation? Is there room for the individual eye, for the inner vision that cannot be shared? Does that render it redundant? Are all of the great masters’ iconic pictures iconic just because they fit a standard conception of something?

The artist who is before his time – is he really, or is it perhaps that his time arrives because somebody, somewhere, decides that he’s fresh meat? Exploitable? Collectible?

I was going to watch a movie on tv tonight…

Ciao

Rob C