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Author Topic: What's Photography For?  (Read 3834 times)

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2017, 04:08:20 PM »

And I stand by that sentence, Tim. With a camera you can't express your own ideas about what reality should look like, but you can express your own grasp of the beauty of reality. What kind of reality? Well, it depends. Landscape can be pretty. Sports and reportage can be fun. But with a camera, real art comes with catching the relationships between people and people and their surroundings.

OK, now I can see you're just rearranging the furniture to win an argument. I'm a fair minded individual who understands logic, plain talk and the ego of humans. When the telltale speech patterns of rationalization appears, it's now become a personal issue having nothing to do with providing new information.

Nice essay, Russ. I concede I'm not going to say anything new to you.
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2017, 04:10:16 PM »

Rob, I'm sure you would hope that your transparencies depicted how you intended reality to look.

Keith, reality was the last thing I wanted!

It took me a lot of messing about to get away from reality as she came out of the Niks and Hassies! I have to make a confession: I sometimes used a Softar filter! The worst insult I offered an image was a trial with one of those split Cokin tabac filters: Kodachrome sky looked like nicotined fingers. What was I thinking! That was decades ago: today - well, not today but since a few years ago - that Cokin holder holds a bit of plain glass that can be smeared with Vaseline... never dump anything!

It's been my experience that I should always hang on to useless things. Twenty-five or more years ago we had a cherry tree planted outside the office window, and as it was just a sapling, I bought a metre or two of plastic mesh, part of which I made into a roll and fitted around the base of the tree's trunk. This wasn't a Dali moment at all: it was an effort to foil our legion of cats! The little sods would approach anything woody and use it to sharpen their claws. They did look very tiger-like and sleek stretched out like that, tearing the bark off whatever, but very destructive. The remainder of the plastic mesh I rolled up and stored away in the garden where I used to stack my ton of wood.

As I recently had this bout of anger at the gardeners' neglect; I cleaned up as best I could, and threw the remains of that roll into the recycle bin before starting on the main business of ripping creepers from the hedges.

Sod's Law: today, thinking of a recently-seen Peter Lindbergh video where he employed a music stand as blurred foreground shape, I thought ha! mesh! Naturally, it's no longer available, is it? This has happened to me in different ways so damned often... should I ever manage to sell this pad, the clearing out I have to do!

;-)

Rob

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2017, 04:59:58 PM »

That's not been my experience especially shooting and post processing in Raw. I do agree the camera is a tool, but it's the user of that tool that controls and determines how they make reality look different when photographed, different meaning enhanced, mysterious, colorful, strange, off kilter, disturbing, etc.

If all a photographer is doing is shooting to record what's in front of them be it a landscape or macro shot of broken glass then I'ld say they have a different kind of sensitivity to the awareness of this power to express them self by telling a different story photographing reality.

This is becoming hard for me to try and answer more clearly. As I wrote in my first post on this topic, I think folks are not picking up on the sense of what Russ wrote, but are arguing about something entirely different.

As I see it, nobody is claiming that photographers are not sometimes creative beings; as the accentuated part of your post indicates, you are taking the concept of creativity outwith the camera and on into the realm of retouching and playing variations with the score, the score being what the camera is able to give you before you start making love with it. The argument, as I understand it, is about what the camera does, not what the photographer may be able to do. All that box and bit of glass does is record what you have pointed it at in the way that your settings allow. How you set it up is only a small part of what photographic creativity can be, and reality is still all that's there in front of the camera, and all it sees, applied artistic distortions notwithstanding. It's just applied mechanical and optical manipulation at the camera stage, and all the camera is doing is recording your manipulations of the light coming off that reality.

The thread, and I expect the discussion that Russ may have been hopěng to encourage has yet to begin, it seems; that discussion being what photography might be for, not what cameras do, which is where this has become bogged down.

The creative bit, the bit that counts, is the photographer's mind. Because one slaps on a super-wide and distorts the hell out of somebody doesn't mean the camera has done anything creative - it is still just recording what's there before the lens in the manner that lens forces. Interpose objects to create blur and the camera still just records the reality of what your camera setting and your use of external devices permit it to see. It simply records your inputs via light, just like a microphone does via sound.

Rob

« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 05:04:31 PM by Rob C »
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2017, 05:01:31 PM »

Rob, exactly my point!

;-)

And exactly mine: my point being it's not what I believe Russ to have been writing about, but where the argument has led.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 05:08:20 PM by Rob C »
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Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2017, 07:10:28 PM »

In response to Rob's less than subtle suggestion that I did not understand Russ' article I went back and read it again from go to woe.
After reading it again I am led to the same conclusions - not all articulated in my first response.
The overwhelming impression is that Russ has a very limited view on what comprises art and what has spiritual and emotional significance, especially pertaining to images created by the photographic process.
In the sense that this article very adequately explains Russ' views on art in general and photography in particular it is both well written and well constructed.
This article very adequately explains Russ' biases as well as his photographic interests - it most emphatically cannot stand as a final word on photography's standing in relation to the other visual arts.

An essential component of Russ's argument that photography as applied to any other genre apart from street photography not qualifying as art or having emotional or spiritual significance is that it is a mere static recording of a scene.
In the sense that he is highlighting an inbuilt limitation of the medium I am in agreement with him.
However, to then make an extraordinary leap of logic and claim that as a result of this genres such as landscape, wildlife and bird photography etc are devoid of artistic merit or spiritual and emotional significance, merely because they simply record reality, really just exposes his biases.

One of the greatest challenges in photography is to introduce an element of dynamism, of movement, and change, into a static medium. In this respect Ross is correct that photography has its limitations compared to other visual arts media. However any artistic medium has its limitations and it is not hard to construct an argument about the "limitations" of the paint brush as an example.
The key is to either turn the limitations of the medium into a virtue or explore creative ways of circumventing these limitations.
Some of the most successful photographic images ever taken  have managed to successfully introduce the illusion of dynamism into the image.

However, many very successful and artistically acclaimed images are static and so the illusion of dynamism is not crucial or mandatory.

The presence or absence of people in a photographic image is also neither here nor there as a discriminator for artistic significance. Russ' argument that street photography having credibility as artistic expression because of the presence of people in the images that allow viewers to emotionally identify with the story the image is telling is valid as it stands. However, the absence of people in an image does automatically exclude that image from having artistic, emotional, or spiritual significance - the fact that this is true for Russ (apparently) does not mean it should be extrapolated to others.

Neither the tools used nor the genre (in photography) exclude the images created as having artistic significance.
There is good art and there is bad art - neither the tools themselves nor the specific medium to which they are applied are ever the discriminator.

Tony Jay
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2017, 08:53:50 PM »


As I see it, nobody is claiming that photographers are not sometimes creative beings; as the accentuated part of your post indicates, you are taking the concept of creativity outwith the camera and on into the realm of retouching and playing variations with the score, the score being what the camera is able to give you before you start making love with it. The argument, as I understand it, is about what the camera does, not what the photographer may be able to do. All that box and bit of glass does is record what you have pointed it at in the way that your settings allow. How you set it up is only a small part of what photographic creativity can be, and reality is still all that's there in front of the camera, and all it sees, applied artistic distortions notwithstanding. It's just applied mechanical and optical manipulation at the camera stage, and all the camera is doing is recording your manipulations of the light coming off that reality.

I didn't say Russ said photographers can't be creative beings. I said the use of the camera by a photographer can be a creative tool and I did later indicate that it's an entire process from framing compositions to post processing. You are putting words into others mouth. I don't think you have a true grasp of what Russ said in his essay.

Quote
The creative bit, the bit that counts, is the photographer's mind.

Russ did not emphasize this. He went off on a tangent with references to paintings, landscapes, wildlife. No mention of what photography is for or why we photograph. It's that simple. You don't have a monopoly on common sense, Rob.

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Because one slaps on a super-wide and distorts the hell out of somebody doesn't mean the camera has done anything creative

No one said that a camera is being creative. No one here personified the camera. They did say it is a creative tool in the hands of someone who is sensitive to seeing it and using it as such both in front and back of the camera. Russ's essay reads as if he is not aware of this.

Tony Jay gives a more accurate synopsis of what Russ wrote. I stopped reading the essay because it was not providing new information for me. Tony Jay confirmed everything I didn't have to read.
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JNB_Rare

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2017, 09:52:27 PM »

But my point was his use of distorted linear perspective to make a point -- something you can't do with a camera. I stand by what I said about his device giving me the feel of the mountains.

Perhaps, Russ, it's a matter of degree. Advertising photogs used to use (do they still?) tilts, swings and shifts to get just the right perspective to make their product (say a car) look appealing (along with lighting and perhaps one of Rob's girls  ;)). An illustrator can go farther, of course, but it will always be an illustration. If the illustrator pushes too far, the distorted perspective becomes obvious -- as obvious as a poor PS job. But the camera doesn't lie -- or does it? Which is the more compelling image? Which does a better job of making my pupils dilate? How many illustrations of automobiles do we see these days?

Of course, you may not feel that advertising illustrations (or photographs) are art, but do they do have a similar purpose -- to give you the sensation of owning/driving that car. To grab you and shake you -- perhaps not in a transcendent or spiritual way, but certainly in a visceral way (i.e. relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect).

For me, the debate about recording instruments is moot. In many circumstances, a pencil, or paints, or clay could be regarded as "recording devices" – slow, yet flexible ones. The camera has its own advantages and disadvantages. But, in the end, it's the result that matters to me. Is a painted portrait or bronze bust of Winston Churchill any better than Yousef Karsh's photographic portrait of him? Who challenged the world more about sensuality, sexuality and eroticism -- Gustav Klimt or Helmut Newton? (Perhaps each in his own era).

Russ, I think you have a very personal idea of what art is; it seems that part of what you look for is that ability to be transcendent and spiritual. Some street photography almost takes you there, but you seem to have concluded that the medium of photography can't quite do it; that "the camera is just a recording device" seems so obvious to you. There's nothing wrong with your opinion, and I respect it. But I see things from a slightly different "perspective".

BTW, I'd take T. S. Elliot over Dylan Thomas, and I prefer most music without voice.  :)

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2017, 05:10:55 AM »

Then the article has failed in that it is unclear what it is Russ has been writing about.

Surprising; it seemed clear enough to me!

I write having also just looked at Tony's response, and he feels offended by the suggestion that he, along with almost every other responder, has 'misunderstood' what Russ wrote. Reality is that I may be just as mistaken, but that's not the point I was making either. The point I make is that what I think Russ alluded to is something quite separate from the point others seem to believe was being made.

In other words, at least two different interpretations of the proposition made by Russ are being written about here, rather than what Russ actually expressed within that frst paragraph.

It also seems to be the case that some think Russ has made a statement for the entirety of art appreciation which, again, seems not to be what I draw from the OP. I read him to be outlining the aspects of photography that appeal to his sensibilities - nothing more threatening than that.

And at the end of the day, his purpose, as with any person staring a thread, is to encourage debate if, IMO, for no better reason that it lifts the boredom of Mr Bloody Trump and his divisive influence on this website.

Maybe nobody enjoys debate anymore, and everything has to be confrontation and a meeting behind the bicycle shed. If so, fuck the lot; I'll look after my fingers instead and stop typing whilst there's still circulation getting down to the frozen, painful, Reynaud-cursed blue tips.

Rob C

Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2017, 06:52:49 AM »

I think the biggest issue was not necessarily that Russ asked a question (sotto voice) but that he nailed his colours to the mast in a fashion analogous to the ending of the 1812 overture (apologies for mangling metaphors and similies).

Had he but asked a question and left it at that I think Russ and Rob may have got the sort of debate that they both apparently were seeking.
However, as a summary statement, his article basically dismissed most of the photographers on this forum and their work because they happen to shoot landscape, wildlife and birds.
Before anyone protests go read the whole article - Russ believes that street photography may qualify as art for the reasons that he lists, as for the rest...

If Russ had said that it is hard to make a meaningful photograph in any genre I would wholeheartedly with that.
If he had defined "meaningful" in terms of emotional and spiritual significance - perhaps even achieving a transcendent quality - no issue with that either.
If he had then gone on to clearly list the limitations that photography has as a medium of artistic expression (they certainly are there) but then posed the question - how then does one attempt to make a meaningful photograph (attempt because one never really quite knows what the result will be, or how that result will be judged) in general and perhaps also in different genres - he may have got a different response.

Tony Jay
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JNB_Rare

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2017, 08:41:58 AM »

I read him to be outlining the aspects of photography that appeal to his sensibilities - nothing more threatening than that.

Rob C

I think Tony expressed it well in the above post.

Russ makes the case that exploring the human condition is, for him, perhaps the most noble and suitable pursuit of photography. It is within this genre that he sees images that are meaningful in a way that landscapes and other genres of photography are not. Along the way, he posits reasons for why the camera is perhaps "a lesser medium", because of its limitations (at least that is what I read/interpreted).

For me, exploring the human condition is one of the important pursuits of ANY medium. I would argue that photography is at least as successful a medium for this genre and, for our generation, perhaps it has superseded more traditional art media. But I also find other genres of art, and other goals of art no less valuable. A landscape which is soothing, peaceful, tranquil, is just as important (perhaps more so for me) as one that is stirring.

I don't qualify art or meaning by its medium. So, for me, a photograph, in any genre, is not intrinsically lesser or less successful than other forms of art. That photography can be a powerful medium for exploring the human condition (HCB, Eugene Smith, Lange, others), I wholeheartedly agree.

Anyway, this is the "coffee corner". To me, Russ's essay is like the start of a conversation we might have over a coffee after seeing an Ansel Adams or W. Eugene Smith exhibit together. The Internet has given us the opportunity to have a "coffee and conversation" that would be impossible any other way. I have no interest in being right or proving others wrong. I enjoy the debate, learn things, and perhaps give others something new or different to consider.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 09:40:11 AM by JNB_Rare »
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2017, 10:19:41 AM »

Okay, I try one more time.

Image 1 is what the camera sees as the real world. It can do nothing else.



Image 2 is what the photographer chose, later, with no malice aforethought, to do with the camera's recording of reallity.



I hope this makes clear the differencs between the reality a camera records, and the projections of another reality that a photographer may wish to inflict upon the world at large.

The camera only provides a frame around content. Which I believe to be what the OP was stating.

Rob

RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2017, 10:26:10 AM »

I think Tony expressed it well in the above post.

Russ makes the case that exploring the human condition is, for him, perhaps the most noble and suitable pursuit of photography. It is within this genre that he sees images that are meaningful in a way that landscapes and other genres of photography are not. Along the way, he posits reasons for why the camera is perhaps "a lesser medium", because of its limitations (at least that is what I read/interpreted).

For me, exploring the human condition is one of the important pursuits of ANY medium. I would argue that photography is at least as successful a medium for this genre and, for our generation, perhaps it has superseded more traditional art media. But I also find other genres of art, and other goals of art no less valuable. A landscape which is soothing, peaceful, tranquil, is just as important (perhaps more so for me) as one that is stirring.

I don't qualify art or meaning by its medium. So, for me, a photograph, in any genre, is not intrinsically lesser or less successful than other forms of art. That photography can be a powerful medium for exploring the human condition (HCB, Eugene Smith, Lange, others), I wholeheartedly agree.

Anyway, this is the "coffee corner". To me, Russ's essay is like the start of a conversation we might have over a coffee after seeing an Ansel Adams or W. Eugene Smith exhibit together. The Internet has given us the opportunity to have a "coffee and conversation" that would be impossible any other way. I have no interest in being right or proving others wrong. I enjoy the debate, learn things, and perhaps give others something new or different to consider.

Thanks, John,

I think most of the posters with heartburn failed to read the first sentence in the article: "Or, to put it a another way, what does photography do best in comparison with other visual art forms?" (emphasis added) I'm far from suggesting the camera is a "lesser medium." In the case of street photography it does something no other visual art medium can do as effectively. Oh, there's Degas's painting "Absinthe," of a believably stoned woman in a café. But since it's a painting no one can be sure Edgar didn't take liberties with her portrayal. In something like Bierstadt's paintings of the Rockies, the viewer expects him to take liberties with reality -- to enhance reality.

I've attached an example of what I mean. I've posted this picture before, and it was the first picture in my essay, "On Street Photography," which LuLa published a year or so ago. Anyone can look at this picture and be reminded what it was like to be a kid and to dream. I don't think a painting of this scene would be nearly as effective as an image produced by the camera. The painting would come across as maudlin.

As I said, I think people are more interested in other people than they are in Half Dome, which is why Cartier-Bresson was the most influential photographer of the early to middle twentieth century, and why Robert Frank was the most influential photography of the latter part of the century.

I'd agree with you that exploring the human condition is one of the important pursuits of any art medium, which is exactly why I brought up Dylan Thomas. But the camera has something that no other tool has: instant believability. Sadly, in the age of Photoshop, that believability is beginning to wane. It's true that even without Photoshop Trotsky was made to disappeared from pictures of Bolshevik gatherings early in the twentieth century, but most people aren't aware of that.

I'm sorry (actually I'm not) about the high-flying balloons I've punctured, carrying photographers who believe that if they step out the back door and snap a picture of the landscape beyond the fence it's great art. But that's life. As I've explained, I do landscape too. I do sports too. I do reportage too. I do still life too. You can see all that on my webs. But to me, where the camera excels is with street photography, and that's where you'll find real photographic art.

JNB_Rare

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2017, 11:01:41 AM »

Image 2 is what the photographer chose, later, with no malice aforethought, to do with the camera's recording of reality.

Of course, the camera cannot record what's not there, whereas as a painter might create something that he sees only in his "mind's eye".

And, yet, there is much that can be done about a photographic image before, and with conscious forethought. Adams called it visualization. It's a talent that perhaps I'll never be all that good at. And the modern digital camera and colour files do make it easier for many to explore and choose later.

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2017, 11:10:51 AM »

I think Tony expressed it well in the above post.

Russ makes the case that exploring the human condition is, for him, perhaps the most noble and suitable pursuit of photography. It is within this genre that he sees images that are meaningful in a way that landscapes and other genres of photography are not. Along the way, he posits reasons for why the camera is perhaps "a lesser medium", because of its limitations (at least that is what I read/interpreted).

For me, exploring the human condition is one of the important pursuits of ANY medium. I would argue that photography is at least as successful a medium for this genre and, for our generation, perhaps it has superseded more traditional art media. But I also find other genres of art, and other goals of art no less valuable. A landscape which is soothing, peaceful, tranquil, is just as important (perhaps more so for me) as one that is stirring.

I don't qualify art or meaning by its medium. So, for me, a photograph, in any genre, is not intrinsically lesser or less successful than other forms of art. That photography can be a powerful medium for exploring the human condition (HCB, Eugene Smith, Lange, others), I wholeheartedly agree.

Anyway, this is the "coffee corner". To me, Russ's essay is like the start of a conversation we might have over a coffee after seeing an Ansel Adams or W. Eugene Smith exhibit together. The Internet has given us the opportunity to have a "coffee and conversation" that would be impossible any other way. I have no interest in being right or proving others wrong. I enjoy the debate, learn things, and perhaps give others something new or different to consider.


Indeed, but my original response to the OP was to quote that telling line about camera function within the wider scope of the medium.

As several folks instantly leaped in contradicting, and saying that of course photography can be creative (which was not denied either by Russ or moi), it appeared clear to me - still does - that the point was being mistaken for something nobody had claimed, until they did that themselves.

As for the question, what's photography for? then the answer is rather wide, and the best one can do is reply from a personal persepective, devoid of preaching or suppositions. So here we go.

For me, photography was an interest that began when I was very young. It grew in tandem with a love for art, especially the later schools of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. I would visit galleries whenever I could, and a cousin and I used to blow pocket money buying postcards there, and trying to paint the same things ourselves. He went on to art school and spent/is still spending a lifetime as a professional, fine art painter. I realised I'd never make it because the native talent was far too thin, and as bad, art education had been precluded due to school attitudes that relegated art class attendance to the "lesser student", so the alternative co-existing love of photography grew to replace the other one. The school had never even considered photography could be a career... all fine intentions, but so misplaced.

So I started with love of it, then followed up living the career, and now, retired, I'm still doing it when I can muster up the drive. But what's it for, is the question. It is a means to an end, a way of fulfilling what artistic/creative urge one might have when the more noble arts are beyond one. It's a way of making money - sometimes a helluva lot of it - and a way of starving slowly without really being aware of the fact. It's a way of spending your day in the more pleasant company of pretty girls instead of with some sadistic, miserable old sod in a glass office, the door of which you better knock before entering. It's a way of keeping one's sorry ass off the production line, of avoiding an early death from the industrial smog of a machine room full of turning- and grinding-fluid vapour and the noise levels that turn you deaf too soon.

It's a fine way of seeing the world at a level only a client's deep pockets would allow. It's for providing the space to stop, relax, breath some air and spend pretty much 24/24 with your wife if you want to do that - which I did, which is why I married.

In short, it's for living a life that makes one happy, even if the other rewards may or may not ever materialise.

What it may represent for other people I can only guess. But that's their job to state, not mine to attempt to state on their behalf.

Rob

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »

Of course, the camera cannot record what's not there, whereas as a painter might create something that he sees only in his "mind's eye".

And, yet, there is much that can be done about a photographic image before, and with conscious forethought. Adams called it visualization. It's a talent that perhaps I'll never be all that good at. And the modern digital camera and colour files do make it easier for many to explore and choose later.


Thank you! That's what I was trying to say all along, and thought so painfully obvious it mystified me that it escaped others.

Rob

JNB_Rare

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2017, 11:25:40 AM »

As I said, I think people are more interested in other people than they are in Half Dome, which is why Cartier-Bresson was the most influential photographer of the early to middle twentieth century, and why Robert Frank was the most influential photography of the latter part of the century.

I had to smile at that one, because it seems like a value judgement from an extrovert:)

Years ago a 'pop' psych profile put me at the far end of the introversion scale. When I go photographing, people recede from my consciousness almost entirely. I don't notice those around me unless they become impediments to my ability to achieve what I want (stepping into the frame, etc.). That's not to say that I don't value my relationships (wife, family, friends), or enjoy, learn from, or take inspiration from the images of HCB, Frank, Smith and others. But I connect with artists such Wynn Bullock, Minor White, Paul Caponigro etc., just as much.

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2017, 12:11:33 PM »

In short, it's (photography) for living a life that makes one happy, even if the other rewards may or may not ever materialise.

One can't ask for much more, Rob.

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2017, 12:53:54 PM »

I had to smile at that one, because it seems like a value judgement from an extrovert:)

Years ago a 'pop' psych profile put me at the far end of the introversion scale. When I go photographing, people recede from my consciousness almost entirely. I don't notice those around me unless they become impediments to my ability to achieve what I want (stepping into the frame, etc.). That's not to say that I don't value my relationships (wife, family, friends), or enjoy, learn from, or take inspiration from the images of HCB, Frank, Smith and others. But I connect with artists such Wynn Bullock, Minor White, Paul Caponigro etc., just as much.


Hey - you are in good company!

I know at least three of us on this site who would rather stay home and wash dishes (exaggeration here?) than go out shooting with another photographer; it would feel the most unnatural, counterproductive thing that one, as a snapper, could ever do.

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2017, 03:20:00 PM »

Okay, I try one more time.

Image 1 is what the camera sees as the real world. It can do nothing else.

Image 2 is what the photographer chose, later, with no malice aforethought, to do with the camera's recording of reallity.

I hope this makes clear the differencs between the reality a camera records, and the projections of another reality that a photographer may wish to inflict upon the world at large.

The camera only provides a frame around content. Which I believe to be what the OP was stating.

Rob

You left out the multitudes of split second, micro-fine, emotionally driven decision making in the photographer's mind and spirit that settled on the composition within the frame and later interpreted by the viewer.

A photograph like any other image regardless how it was made tells more about the creators thinking, state of mind, mood, philosophy and even politics that can't be removed from the image to dissect and analyze as just a mechanical recording of reality in this case by a camera.

At least I don't look at photos and images that way.

And don't be too sure you or anyone else knows exactly what reality looks like rendered in a photo. The eyes can fool the memory especially when the eyes have to adapt to similar scenes of non-neutral white balance and varying contrasts. Reality looks pretty bland and flat when viewed out of context of the frame. Any darkened movie theater will show this when the lights go on at the end of a movie.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2017, 03:52:04 PM »

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I'm far from suggesting the camera is a "lesser medium."

Russ, you keep accusing us of not reading or misinterpreting the first line in your essay. OK, that's your interpretation.

But I'm going to have to keep correcting you on your statement that we said you said the camera is a lesser medium. You did say the camera limits self expression as just a machine that records reality. That does not say it's a "lesser medium". The camera is just as capable a tool as any other image creation tool in enabling the creator to express them self. In fact it's used to resurrect the dead going by how many cameras they used for Peter Cushing to reprise his role in the last Star Wars: Rogue One movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMB2sLwz0Do

The act of creativity with any medium can't be compartmentalized to reveal its limitations of its use for self expression because the creative process has WAY TOO MANY other properties, motives, thoughts, emotions, decision making processes, before, during and after the final results that influence the entire creation event making it impossible to just point to one aspect of the process (i.e. medium used) in determining a work of art as original and having emotionally deep and meaningful qualities.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 03:56:30 PM by Tim Lookingbill »
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