Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => User Critiques => Topic started by: RedwoodGuy on February 07, 2013, 11:57:32 AM

Title: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 07, 2013, 11:57:32 AM
If you photograph in the streets, post your artistic visions. (Don't worry about taxonomy)

Here's a kick off photograph.

Coffee.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: amolitor on February 07, 2013, 12:19:05 PM
I think the gorilla ruins it. It is not longer an amusing juxtapostion of a person at cafe with the scarecrows seen through the window, it's just a guy in a gorilla suit and some guy with a camera who said 'cool, guy in a gorilla suit'.

While it's possible that you were thinking of the scene as a whole, scarecrows and all, the gorilla suit guy overwhelms the result, and all we're left with as viewers is 'photo of some mug in a gorilla suit'.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: Bruce Cox on February 07, 2013, 12:36:33 PM
Street scenes can lack for spontaneity as easily as those in a studio.

Bruce
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 09:13:33 AM
Street scenes can lack for spontaneity as easily as those in a studio.

Bruce
Absolutely true - that can happen. For me, this "surreal juxtaposition" upon turning the corner, was the spontaneous uprising of the moment. I suppose one could ask people to animate themselves......
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 10:59:30 AM
  all we're left with as viewers is 'photo of some mug in a gorilla suit'.
To quote your post from this morning:

"Why would I want a tree and a plowed field to be provocative?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: amolitor on February 08, 2013, 11:01:41 AM
I didn't say that.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 11:17:16 AM
I didn't say that.

My sincere apologies. I got two names confused - they looked similar.  No, you didn't say that.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: amolitor on February 08, 2013, 11:34:23 AM
No worries, man, it happens!
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 01:14:57 PM
Courthouse.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: stamper on February 09, 2013, 04:51:25 AM
I don't think there is much ambiguity in the image. More about togetherness, therefore less interest than I would have liked.  :-\
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 09:11:14 AM
I am trying to figure out why everyone is assuming every photograph is about ambiguity?
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 10:15:36 AM
I am trying to figure out why everyone is assuming every photograph is about ambiguity?

Then you haven't been reading the threads. Nobody's expecting a landscape to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting editorial documentation to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting architecture to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting portraiture to be ambiguous.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 10:38:50 AM
Then you haven't been reading the threads. Nobody's expecting a landscape to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting editorial documentation to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting architecture to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting portraiture to be ambiguous.
Actually, I do read the threads. And yes, I am well aware that some people think there is a strict definition and set of rules for what they call "Street Photography." Yes, if you were reading, you  might recall that I thought such an idea was a bad one and wrote extensively on it.  That's why this thread was titled "Street View Photography" to set aside that parochial bias and see what other people are doing who aren't suffering under the burden of past photographers.

I thought the title and intention was obvious. But, apparently not. It was clearly too ambiguous.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 09, 2013, 10:45:13 AM
Then you haven't been reading the threads. Nobody's expecting a landscape to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting editorial documentation to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting architecture to be ambiguous. Nobody's expecting portraiture to be ambiguous.
Right.

And in much photography that is done of people on city streets (I'm avoiding using a categorical name), one of the most interesting features is very often ambiguity. Why? Because it stimulates the viewer's mind to do some creative work on his/her own rather than just being a passive bystander.

Ambiguity is very often present in the work of the great Street Photographers, as Russ so often points out. It can also work well in many abstract images, and perhaps in some other types of photography. If you have several layers of possible meaning in an image, it can give you something different each time you view it. And that gives it more staying power, for those of us who enjoy variety.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 11:22:25 AM
Right.

And in much photography that is done of people on city streets (I'm avoiding using a categorical name), one of the most interesting features is very often ambiguity. Why? Because it stimulates the viewer's mind to do some creative work on his/her own rather than just being a passive bystander.

Ambiguity is very often present in the work of the great Street Photographers, as Russ so often points out. It can also work well in many abstract images, and perhaps in some other types of photography. If you have several layers of possible meaning in an image, it can give you something different each time you view it. And that gives it more staying power, for those of us who enjoy variety.

Yes, ambiguity is one of dozens of qualities that a photograph can express. But honestly folks, the idea that all street photography is ambiguous is a local absurdity present only in this clique here. Some of you need to get out more often. You might discover photos that are explicit, or honest, or frank, or mysterious, or playful, or sentimental, or romantic, or confusing, or shocking, or humorous, or pathetic, or sympathetic, or compassionate, or inquisitive, or patriotic or subversive, or rhythmic, or ironic. What a world is open to the camera and the artist!

I know, I am the rude interloper disturbing the peace here, but I also know there are people who actually DID want to get critical feedback which goes beyond the "+1" and "I like it" realm. And, for that to happen, people have to know that the world of photography is not contained in the word "ambiguity." Not even the world of street photography.

And just as a note of technicality about the thread, I purposely expressed the idea in the opening that "taxonomy" was not important. That means I could care less what formal category the Dear Leader thought your photograph belonged in, if you used a camera, and were in the streets, this would be a thread to post in. Seemed unambiguous to me.


 
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 11:37:53 AM


And in much photography that is done of people on city streets (I'm avoiding using a categorical name), one of the most interesting features is very often ambiguity. Why? Because it stimulates the viewer's mind to do some creative work on his/her own rather than just being a passive bystander.
 

If the viewer is a "passive bystander" that can only mean one thing since viewers are by definition not part of the physical process of making the photograph: It means the photograph is dead. It has no intellectual, emotional, or visual message. It is unable to engage the viewer. Passivity in this context can only mean "not engaged." Any aspect of the photograph that engages the viewer, takes the viewer from passivity to activity. The activity of course is the emotional, intellectual or visual interaction with the photograph.

Now, your position in the above is to suggest that only "ambiguity" engages the viewer. Really? That's got to be the most strictly narrow and limited view of the power of photography (or any art) that I have ever heard declared. I have already listed a few of the many characteristics of photographs that can engage the viewer so I won't relist them here again. But I will say that if your position were true, photography would have died in 1840.

I can only feel a kind of sorrow for anyone who can only be moved by ambiguity in art.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 11:56:55 AM
Some of you need to get out more often.

Here's a suggestion, Guy: "Get out" now and go to the local library. When you get there see if you can find books by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Brassaļ, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand. Also, look for Bystander: A History of Street Photography, by Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz, and Street Photography Now, edited by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. Once you've gone all the way through those books and studied them you'll be in a somewhat better position to make ex-cathedra pronouncements. It usually pays to know at least a little bit about a subject before you expound on it.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 12:20:37 PM
Here's a suggestion, Guy: "Get out" now and go to the local library. When you get there see if you can find books by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Brassaļ, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand. Also, look for Bystander: A History of Street Photography, by Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz, and Street Photography Now, edited by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. Once you've gone all the way through those books and studied them you'll be in a somewhat better position to make ex-cathedra pronouncements. It usually pays to know at least a little bit about a subject before you expound on it.
This coming from the guy who has yet to explain his definition for "street photography," or what was the other one?---"photographic geometry?" But let me guess.....wait..here it comes....YOU know it when you see it! Am I right?

One's art isn't found in a book at the library. But yes, people can go on their whole life trying to copy other artists and pretend they have found something. Happens all the time. Some are even quite good at citing the references by page number.

I get that you're the peacock and you've made your royal pronouncements about art or street photography and the sheep are following along nicely to the dominant personality. Very common in fora. But behind your back, some of your flock ain't all that happy fella. So, unless the moderator kicks me out, I think I will stay and ponder all your fabulously ambiguous "street photography."

Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 09, 2013, 12:26:18 PM
If the viewer is a "passive bystander" that can only mean one thing since viewers are by definition not part of the physical process of making the photograph: It means the photograph is dead. It has no intellectual, emotional, or visual message. It is unable to engage the viewer. Passivity in this context can only mean "not engaged." Any aspect of the photograph that engages the viewer, takes the viewer from passivity to activity. The activity of course is the emotional, intellectual or visual interaction with the photograph.

Now, your position in the above is to suggest that only "ambiguity" engages the viewer. Really? That's got to be the most strictly narrow and limited view of the power of photography (or any art) that I have ever heard declared. I have already listed a few of the many characteristics of photographs that can engage the viewer so I won't relist them here again. But I will say that if your position were true, photography would have died in 1840.

I can only feel a kind of sorrow for anyone who can only be moved by ambiguity in art.

If this tirade is in response to my comments (where I said in specific response to your remarks about 'ambiguity' -- emphasis now added: "...one of the most interesting features is very often ambiguity"), then I must lower my estimate of your ability to read simple English. What is it about "one of" or "very often" that you don't understand?

When you complained about ambiguity, I addressed the value of ambiguity. Nowhere did I drop the slightest hint that ambiguity is the only way a photograph may engage a viewer.

I can only feel a kind of sorrow for anyone who can so misread the comments of others.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 01:19:40 PM
This coming from the guy who has yet to explain his definition for "street photography," or what was the other one?---"photographic geometry?" But let me guess.....wait..here it comes....YOU know it when you see it! Am I right?

One's art isn't found in a book at the library. But yes, people can go on their whole life trying to copy other artists and pretend they have found something. Happens all the time. Some are even quite good at citing the references by page number.

I get that you're the peacock and you've made your royal pronouncements about art or street photography and the sheep are following along nicely to the dominant personality. Very common in fora. But behind your back, some of your flock ain't all that happy fella. So, unless the moderator kicks me out, I think I will stay and ponder all your fabulously ambiguous "street photography."

Your real name isn't Dale Thorn by any chance is it?
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 08:18:30 PM
If this tirade is in response to my comments (where I said in specific response to your remarks about 'ambiguity' -- emphasis now added: "...one of the most interesting features is very often ambiguity"), then I must lower my estimate of your ability to read simple English. What is it about "one of" or "very often" that you don't understand?

When you complained about ambiguity, I addressed the value of ambiguity. Nowhere did I drop the slightest hint that ambiguity is the only way a photograph may engage a viewer.

I can only feel a kind of sorrow for anyone who can so misread the comments of others.

Oh hogwash. Read the flow of comments. I didn't complain about ambiguity, I asked why everyone assumed every photo had to be ambiguous. Your response had nothing to do with any other qualities of photographs except your silly explanation of the importance of ambiguity. I am fully convinced by the full context of your comments that until I pointed out otherwise, you were convinced all photographs had to have ambiguity in order to engage the viewer in - what did you call it? - "creative work." Then you went into a whole additional paragraph about how ambiguity serves those who prefer variety and so on. Clearly, you have assume that "ambiguity" is the central theme of a good photograph!

Ambiguity is by no means the central point of interest in even most of the world's most influential photographs. It deserves nothing but a mention in a long list of possible qualities in a photograph. So no, I haven't misread anything. You simply aren't all that happy now with how those comments in retrospect.

And rebutting your argument about ambiguity isn't a tirade. That's just how many words it happens to take.  You two need to get off your high horses and stop all this pretense about things you can't even explain.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 09, 2013, 08:27:27 PM
I can only feel a kind of sorrow for anyone who can so misread the comments of others.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: nemo295 on February 10, 2013, 02:07:39 AM
I'm really just here for the pictures.
Title: Re: Street View Photography
Post by: kencameron on February 10, 2013, 02:55:46 AM
Returning for a moment to "Courthouse" (and thereby straying off topic, de facto if not de jure), what struck me about it was the impact of the title. Without it, a snapshot of a couple singing, of interest only to their friends and relatives. With it, maybe not quite "ambiguity", but at least, for me, a frisson of curiosity. Against another variety of photographic purist, I do like a good title.