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Author Topic: Is it the New Art?  (Read 4610 times)

John R

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2016, 09:35:21 PM »

John, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed viewing your website, the stories and anecdotes, and its many fine images.

JR


...
I remember reading about the massive 20 x 24" Polaroid camera, and thinking "Man, I could produce some real ART with that baby."

Probably not.

John.
JBurnett.ca
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JNB_Rare

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2016, 04:08:56 PM »

John, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed viewing your website, the stories and anecdotes, and its many fine images.

JR

Thank-you so much, John. I'm just an amateur enthusiast who got back into photography in 2003 after a long hiatus. At the time, I deliberated over picking up a good film camera, or trying digital. During my film days as a young man, I experimented with lots of different equipment (almost all of it used and beat up): Leica IIIC and M3, Rollieflex, Hasselblad 500C, Linhof Technika 4x5, Nikon F, and Olympus OM. So, when Rob pines for his 'Blad, I have some empathy. Beautiful machines. Alas, aside from the Nikon and Olympus, I usually hadn't the money to afford additional lenses. That might have been a good thing, though, because I worked for a long time with just the standard focal length. Anyway, I would trade in one beat up system to purchase a different beat up system. My darkroom was the bathroom – a real crapper. So, although I know what a beautiful wet darkroom print can be, I wasn't really producing them. Not enough time in the crapper, I guess.

In 2003, Canon released the Digital Rebel, and I could afford it. Compared to my film cameras of old, it felt cheap and 'bloated' for what it gave me. And the digital aspect was like a whole new confusing and frustrating world. At first, I tried very hard to 'recreate film'. Gradually, however, I thought less and less about that, and turned my attention to what I enjoy about photography – the creative outlet that it affords. I call it my 'therapy'.

So, like other non-professionals, I wonder what to do with the results of my therapy. There's only so much room on my walls, and the prints have to compete with other art that I'm fond of. I've sold a small number of prints, and I've given many away. I have a Flickr account, but that seems like a bit of a dumping ground. And so, recently, I decided to work on a photo blog. Why? Just another creative outlet, I guess. More therapy!

Rob C

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2016, 05:15:09 PM »

"I have a Flickr account, but that seems like a bit of a dumping ground. And so, recently, I decided to work on a photo blog. Why? Just another creative outlet, I guess. More therapy!"

Quoted from JNB_Rare.

John, beware therapy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqNUdtCwkU

;-)

Rob

JNB_Rare

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2016, 07:11:30 PM »

John, beware therapy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqNUdtCwkU

;-)

Rob

Ah, yes. The Woodmans. I ran across Francesca's work before I knew anything about her, and I found them very intriguing. There are times when the context – the back-story – enhances the art. But sometimes I'd prefer to look at the images alone, and to make of them what I will. I still like her photos. There are some distasteful aspects to this film, however, not the least of which is the family lens.


Rob C

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2016, 04:33:21 AM »

Ah, yes. The Woodmans. I ran across Francesca's work before I knew anything about her, and I found them very intriguing. There are times when the context – the back-story – enhances the art. But sometimes I'd prefer to look at the images alone, and to make of them what I will. I still like her photos. There are some distasteful aspects to this film, however, not the least of which is the family lens.


You have a point there - that internal lens.

I have difficulty accepting a paternal presence in nudity. As father of one girl and granddad to two, I couldn't handle that at all. I'm not sure if it's a moral stance based on some kind of cultural/religious conditioning, or whether it's just a natural and genetic-level disapproval beyond conscious thought. It simply feels all wrong. My two granddaughters both have good figures and faces, but I have never felt able to photograph them even in their swimsuits. I simply won't go there; I'm so glad they never came to me saying shoot me, I want to try modelling! Maybe they would have felt the same barriers, too. I hope so. Sally Mann comes to mind; maybe it's different for a mother.

Perhaps it was the script - should there have been one - but it made me feel that both parents were quite removed, emotionally, from their child(ren). I also worked in the arts as a photographer, had a studio outwith the home which I eventually closed, only to feel obliged to build another several months later, alongside the family home, when studio-based work returned to me. The kids were in and out of the second one as they saw fit, often finding themselves obliged to stand in front of a roll of paper holding cards with 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 etc written on them as I checked out flash meter and film realities. Sometimes they modelled for young fashion and back-to-school work. Result? They made some pocket money, the job got done, and nobody got hurt. I would never have dreamed of having family in any of my calendar work, even had they been old enough and talented enough to do it at the time - would have felt all wrong. You have to be able to feel totally removed from any personal connection - or at least, that's my take.

One video I saw about Francesca made the statement that she flew off that roof because she couldn't get into fashion magazines. With her style and treatment of whatever she or her friends wore, it's hardly surprising. Even fairly way out editiorials of the time did offer a crumb of comfort to the manufacturers and editors; it's too easy to think back to editorial photography and imagine it was all an ego trip; on the contrary, I think it was very brilliantly designed to cover both sides of the pitch: art and sales, the reason d'κtre for all such magazines. She should have known that and made a portfolio to suit. Looking at videos can never really tell one enough about the artist: are the pictures chosen because they happen to fit within the genre for which that person becomes known? Did she also make other, commercially viable pictures? One can't really tell, so any opinion has to be a tentative one at best.

But, at least it lets us learn about other artists, and anything's better than an emotional/cultural vacuum.

Really liked your site and the work therein, by the way; nice clean design with both. Clean is a damned good quality to have.

Rob C

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2016, 09:05:08 AM »

I feel the same way Rob. As I mentioned in another post, one of my favorite photographers is Sally Mann (all film by the way). At the same time her work makes me uncomfortable and I do not own any of it, even in books.

I also have a daughter, now grown, who I used to photograph. Never had any desire to produce images of the sort we are referring to and primarily took pictures that she asked me too. One day, we were at the beach, she was 15 or so and asked me to take pictures of her. She was in a swimsuit. I declined.

It is sad in a way, but socially and culturally justifiable to feel the way we do.

Sally Mann's photos of her often nude children attracted a lot of negative attention. My wife and I were discussing this when she brought up a number of issues related to double standards and the passage of time and how they relate to Brookgreen Gardens.

Brookgreen

One of my favorite places on earth is Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. It is a sculpture garden of figurative sculpture a lot of which is done in classical styles and mostly from the late 1800s to mid 1900s. There are any number of these sculptures featuring children of all ages in the nude. Not an eyebrow is raised and these are seen by millions of tourists regularly.
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sailronin

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2016, 09:37:01 AM »

IMHO many of the "film photographers" today are trying to differentiate themselves from the masses of digital photographers as noted above. Unfortunately they seem to believe that light leaks, poor processing and other flaws we worked so hard to avoid in the "old days" are now somehow indicative of "Art".

After a hard disc crash and changing computers ("rated" work was saved) resulting in the loss of thousands of images I looked fondly at boxes and sleeves of 15-40 year old negatives which are perfectly usable wonder about the progress of digital.  I've begun shooting more film as I enjoy the medium and like having a tangible negative instead of zero and ones on a magnetic plate. I'm not retiring the digital cameras but it's nice for a change and using film presents limitations which can be interesting while shooting.
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Rob C

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2016, 10:13:43 AM »

IMHO many of the "film photographers" today are trying to differentiate themselves from the masses of digital photographers as noted above. Unfortunately they seem to believe that light leaks, poor processing and other flaws we worked so hard to avoid in the "old days" are now somehow indicative of "Art".

After a hard disc crash and changing computers ("rated" work was saved) resulting in the loss of thousands of images I looked fondly at boxes and sleeves of 15-40 year old negatives which are perfectly usable wonder about the progress of digital.  I've begun shooting more film as I enjoy the medium and like having a tangible negative instead of zero and ones on a magnetic plate. I'm not retiring the digital cameras but it's nice for a change and using film presents limitations which can be interesting while shooting.

Yes, longevity of original capture is a worry. It's one of the reasons I have a website. I don't imagine any monetary value to any of it really - more it's a hope that after I'm gone the kids may feel like keeping it alive for a couple of years longer. It's the only way they're going to have memories left. I have old stuff of theirs from my grandparents' day - but after I turned pro in 1960 all of my own stuff stopped pretty much dead, to be replaced with commercial work that, when I moved countries, I decided to sell back to clients and/or destroyed where there were no takers. How I regret that today. But hindsight's wonderful; there were no galleries, Internet, anything like that on my horizons. What to do with all of that stuff?

In a way, a website represents a convenient way of accessing material without having to hunt old hard drives or negative wallets. It's easy enough for the casual visitor, so he/she may care enough to have a browse now and again.

One of my most treasured possessions is a tiny headshot I made of my wife for her International Driving Licence when she was about 40... negative vanished, never thought of any value. Now, with wife also lost, it's the one thing I look at first every morning and say goodnight to as I switch off the bedside light. Thank God for that tiny silver print.

Rob

sailronin

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2016, 11:14:21 AM »

Rob, I'm sorry for your loss. Glad you have that tiny print.
Your web site is lovely.
Dave
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Rob C

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2016, 03:29:45 PM »

Rob, I'm sorry for your loss. Glad you have that tiny print.
Your web site is lovely.
Dave


Hey, thank you for your comments, Dave!

Ann lost her BigC fight almost 8 years ago; it feels and seems like yesterday: I could run the movie without missing a frame. They say time heals all things, but not always: I think what it does do is allow you to move from almost physical mental pain to a state where you eventually accept the new reality if for no better reason than that you realise there's nothing you can really do about it. Then, with luck, you are able to move on to include other things in your mind, and learn to accommodate several different things in the same little space. I suspect that bereavement is a different thing if you are still working; the daily pressures of that will certainly add to the problems you face, but also distract you a bit more from emotional ones related to loss. Until you close your eyes. Either way, there are huge problems in trying to run one's life as a single person when before it was split into separate areas of responsibity borne by two people; suddenly you have to learn how to do all sorts of things you noticed everyday but never thought to learn for yourself. And not having much aptitude for many of them doesn't help!

Now, I'm at a stage where I can talk out loud to her (I live alone - nobody hears me!) and tell her all sorts of inconsequential stuff I wouldn't have thought of doing before. You know, there's a sort of intimate happiness in doing that. ( I'm not yet making up replies. ;-) ) I suppose that each individual finds his/her own way to handle these situations. Best advice is to avoid them for as long as anyone possibly can!

Having said all that, I must add that photography has not only given me a reasonable and interesting way of earning my keep, but is still saving me today as it does its bit to prevent vegetation and a very rapid degeneration.

Again, thank you for your kind remarks.

Rob

JNB_Rare

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Re: Is it the New Art?
« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2016, 05:11:01 PM »

Rob, I hear you on the "family" perspective. I have a daughter and granddaughter and I can't imagine doing Sally Mann with them, although I respect her work. And I really don't understand Woody Allen's relationship with his adopted daughter, or John Phillips (Mamas & Papas) incestuous relationship with his daughter, or the relationship portrayed in "La Luna", Bertolucci's 1979 film. On the other hand, I have no problem at all with tasteful nudity or erotica.

My wife's mother passed away recently, the last of her generation in our immediate families. We've already had one of our generation pass -- a sister-in-law, to cancer. My own mortality stared me right in the face a few years back. Still, I can't imagine losing my soul mate, or a child. In older times, family, friends and the community would step in to provide support. Sometimes that still happens, but in our modern world, friends and family are often far-flung and busy, and the community isn't always known or tight-knit. This is one area where the internet -- and a community built from shared interests -- can at least provide a distraction and intellectual stimulation.

Best regards,

John.

P.S. Thanks for your comments about my navel-gazing blog.



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