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Author Topic: What's Photography For?  (Read 5863 times)

RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2017, 04:39:19 PM »

Tim, you seem to be having trouble with logic. How can you jump from the statement that the camera only records what's in front of it (or only records reality) to "the camera limits self-expression?" Whether or not what you're doing with a camera represents self-expression depends on what you choose to point the camera at, how you choose to handle depth of field, how you choose to handle motion, and how you choose to light what the camera's pointing at. Self expression even depends on what you do in Photoshop, or in the darkroom. And I'm not talking about dubbing in a starry sky, enhancing a pair of boobs or other tawdry Photoshop activities. But when that camera clicks it only records what's in front of the camera. No more. No less. If you think it records something else, please tell me what you think that is.

Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2017, 05:48:33 PM »

...
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.
This is complete bullshyte!
I do not know any photographer who would ever believe that - landscape photographer or not.
This stupid, narrow-minded, and bigoted representation of people who may not agree with your stance says nothing about them but says plenty about you, Russ.

Frankly, this completely vindicates my position that your OP was never a call to a debate about the artistic significance of photography but rather a narrow-minded opinion piece designed to shut down debate and exclude dissenting views.

That article may have been a clarion call for the sycophants but was never meant to be a call to a reasoned debate!
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2017, 05:53:47 PM »

Tim, you seem to be having trouble with logic. How can you jump from the statement that the camera only records what's in front of it (or only records reality) to "the camera limits self-expression?" Whether or not what you're doing with a camera represents self-expression depends on what you choose to point the camera at, how you choose to handle depth of field, how you choose to handle motion, and how you choose to light what the camera's pointing at. Self expression even depends on what you do in Photoshop, or in the darkroom. And I'm not talking about dubbing in a starry sky, enhancing a pair of boobs or other tawdry Photoshop activities. But when that camera clicks it only records what's in front of the camera. No more. No less. If you think it records something else, please tell me what you think that is.

Russ, you seem to be having trouble with comprehension. I'm addressing what you said here and in your essay about the camera limiting self expression.

Or maybe you're just messing with me. I can't tell, now.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2017, 05:56:48 PM »


This stupid, narrow-minded, and bigoted representation of people who may not agree with your stance says nothing about them but says plenty about you, Russ.

Frankly, this completely vindicates my position that your OP was never a call to a debate about the artistic significance of photography but rather a narrow-minded opinion piece designed to shut down debate and exclude dissenting views.

That article may have been a clarion call for the sycophants but was never meant to be a call to a reasoned debate!

I totally agree. Couldn't have said it better. Really, I couldn't.
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RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2017, 07:19:53 PM »

Russ, you seem to be having trouble with comprehension. I'm addressing what you said here and in your essay about the camera limiting self expression.

Or maybe you're just messing with me. I can't tell, now.

Tim, You're not telling me what you think the camera records. You obviously don't think it records "reality," or what's in front of the lens.

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2017, 05:53:09 PM »

1... 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. 2... 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.


1.  Nope, that's included with the framing, the presentation of whatever reality that the poor old box of tricks get shown.

2.  Memory has nothing to do with it; in fact photographer memory would probably get in the way of later creativity, and for the sake of this particular chat, whether that reality that the camera saw and recorded is some definitive reality or not matters zilch: it's what the thing recorded.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 05:56:13 PM by Rob C »
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2017, 06:00:11 PM »

This is complete bullshyte!
I do not know any photographer who would ever believe that - landscape photographer or not.
This stupid, narrow-minded, and bigoted representation of people who may not agree with your stance says nothing about them but says plenty about you, Russ.

Frankly, this completely vindicates my position that your OP was never a call to a debate about the artistic significance of photography but rather a narrow-minded opinion piece designed to shut down debate and exclude dissenting views.

That article may have been a clarion call for the sycophants but was never meant to be a call to a reasoned debate!

Say hello to one photographer who believes at least one half of that statement.

;-)

Rob

Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2017, 06:41:44 PM »

Say hello to one photographer who believes at least one half of that statement.

;-)

Rob
I am sorry Rob - completely inadequate answer.
At least have the courage to put your cards on the table.
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2017, 03:46:56 AM »

I am sorry Rob - completely inadequate answer.
At least have the courage to put your cards on the table.

They're there: try reading them.

;-)

Rob

Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2017, 04:28:15 AM »

They're there: try reading them.

;-)

Rob
So, I am forced to guess what you mean then.
And Russ is completely lost in action.

Seems to me Rob you are really tap-dancing here - just come out an be explicit.
I don't think that you can defend Russ' stance except by avoiding the truth of what Russ wrote - not once but twice.

Frankly, I think that Russ can and should explain himself.
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RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2017, 07:04:56 AM »

Hi Keith. I just checked your web. You do some really pleasant tourist photography.

RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2017, 07:06:14 AM »

Frankly, I think that Russ can and should explain himself.

I've already explained everything, Tony. It's all there in my essay.

RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2017, 08:16:09 AM »

Oops. I just realized that a change I made on my web yesterday made the article inaccessible. Sorry about that. It's reachable again for those who'd like to re-read it so they can understand it better.

Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #53 on: February 28, 2017, 10:22:46 AM »

So, I am forced to guess what you mean then.
And Russ is completely lost in action.

Seems to me Rob you are really 1. tap-dancing here - just come out an be explicit.
2. I don't think that you can defend Russ' stance except by avoiding the truth of what Russ wrote - not once but twice.

Frankly, I think that Russ can and should explain himself.

1. So dance to this one:

You got to know when to hold them,
Know when to fold them;
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.

2. Interesting concept: on the one hand I am supposedly defending him (as if he needed that!); on the other hand I'm avoiding the truth? But as I believe the point he made and have repeatedly tried to explain - and illustrate - what I see that point to be, that it's what I believe (regardless of who articulated it first, he or I), and why, there's not a lot more I can try to do to help.

Guess we both have to live with that.

Rob


Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2017, 10:48:26 AM »

I'm sorry, (actually I'm not) but I believe that to be one of the most disingenuous posts I've ever read here on LuLa.

But, just to be clear, I'm far from being a fan of landscape photography, in fact I'd go as far as saying I've a dislike and or indifference for almost all I've seen, including my own.

And, Lord only knows what real photographic art is.

Keith,

I share your attitude to landscape snaps, and have come across very few that I have grown to respect. I wish I'd looked a bit longer here:

http://www.chuckkimmerle.com/

before commenting too inclusvely wide and negatively on landscape a few years ago. I feel I short-changed Chuck and I regret it. But that's about where it stops.

The problem with/for landscape photographers is that they work in a medium where they have minimal control. Of course, all the usual camera operator tricks are available, but style, personality, is woefully absent in most cases. The pictures can be tack sharp, selectively focussed, all the stages in-between, but at the end of the exrcise, they are just frames around whatever was there, which is a fate shared by most of photography. I'm afraid that it almost inevitably takes the human touch within the frame - either as a person or a person's traces - to make it connect. Without that, at the very best, it's great stock material and ready-made for travel posters and calendars. In the latter case, almost interchangeable with kittens and dogs with tartan bows.

I do enjoy Michael Kenna, but even there, as with his many clones, seen one pic you've seen 'em all. Just like a good pair of tits, regardless of their distinct personalities.

That's why I find good fashion photography so interesting on so many different levels: it has the ability to be used as a creative medium. It's also the appeal of some versions of street, as distinct from the in-your-face sort of street.

Inevitably I have to assume it (photography) is a very minor art.

Where the photographer with the oomph of a Francis Bacon?

Rob
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 10:53:47 AM by Rob C »
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Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2017, 05:56:58 PM »

I've already explained everything, Tony. It's all there in my essay.
Actually Russ it is not!

Who are all those individuals, those stupid and arrogant landscape photographers, who believe that all they need to do is point their camera over the back fence and snap the shutter to produce great art.
How about naming some of them - I would love to know who you are referring to!
For lots of reasons I don't believe any names will be forthcoming - not least because it was actually meant as broad insult to landscape photographers in general.

Personally, I know of no photographer - amateur or professional, whatever they shoot, who believes they will produce great art just merely by pressing the shutter. Nowhere even close!

That characterisation of landscape photographers is way, way out of line, it was clearly meant to be insulting and dismissive. And that on a forum, primarily, but admittedly not exclusively, devoted to landscape photography. As I said before that comment says a lot about you, but nothing really about landscape photographers.
Are we really to believe that your views on art and photographers are so narrow-minded and bigoted.

I really think a real explanation and an apology to this community is in order!
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RSL

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2017, 06:25:59 PM »

There's an old saying, Tony: "If the shoe fits, wear it." Frankly, I think you're a bit overexcited. You probably need to grab a beer and relax.

Tony Jay

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2017, 08:21:24 PM »

My post stands.
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Ray

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2017, 08:27:09 PM »

I'll always remember the first computer exhibition I attended in the early 1990's where suppliers were showing off their latest monitors, desk-top computers and inkjet printers. This was around the time I was becoming fascinated by the possibility of getting my 30-40-year-old slides scanned by Kodak and recorded on a CD so I could either see my slides on TV, and/or print them, using the latest inkjet printer and a computer I hadn't yet bought.

But what grabbed my attention most was a section of the exhibition where someone sitting at a desk in front of a monitor, was showing off the capabilities of Photoshop.
At the time I was rather dismayed that current monitors did not have the resolution to display all the detail in a Kodak scan of my slides, when I wanted to view the full composition, so I was interested in the facility of Photoshop to enlarge or diminish the size of any image according to my preferences.

I asked the operator behind the desk to demonstrate for me the maximum enlargement that was possible. I was amazed that at the maximum enlargement I could clearly see each individual pixels. I then asked him if it was possible to change the color of any individual pixel. Sure, he replied, and proceeded to turn one blue pixel, within a small patch of blue on the image, into a red pixel, then downsized the enlargement to its normal size.

In the image at its normal size on the monitor, I could clearly see in that same patch of blue, a very tiny red speck that wasn't there before. Wow! The thought immediately occurred to me, that theoretically, through a process of changing each individual pixel, one could change any photographic image of anything into a completely different image. One could theoretically begin with an image of a house or a car, and gradually turn it into an image of a sexy lady, using the same pixels, just changing their color.

Of course, using such a meticulous process as changing the color of each individual pixel in order to change the over all composition, would be very tedious and time-consuming, especially in view of the much higher resolution of modern images. I'm not suggesting this is a sensible approach. However, there are many useful techniques in Photoshop that allow one to change various sizes of groups of pixels, through a process of selection and feathering.

Lightening a face, brightening an eye, darkening a sky, raising the shadows, and so on, are all part of the creativity involved in processing an image.

The difference between a painter and a photographer is, the painter begins with a blank canvas and adds to it, using paint and a paint brush, whereas the photographer already has all the paint he needs, which has been provided by the camera. He can be as creative as he wants using a much more sophisticated tool than a paint brush. His tool is Photoshop, which allows him to rearrange the paint on the canvas endlessly and repeatedly according to his patience, skill, motivation and innate creativity. Okay!  ;D
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Rob C

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Re: What's Photography For?
« Reply #59 on: March 01, 2017, 05:03:59 AM »

Ray,

I think you've put your finger on the reality of photography as it is today.

Your post reflects the way I find myself approach pictures these past few years. Was a time I tried to select, set up, change position and so on, all in an attemt to make something that felt interesting to me and did what I hoped the clients had expected from me.

Now, I have changed my MO quite a lot. I hardly think of a thing when (if) I take the camera out, and simply wait for that brief spark of recognition as I'm wandering about. (And that very free act of wandering about, that mindset, is why the company of another snapper, anyone, would be anathema to me at such times.) Strange as it may seem, that recognition happens a great deal, but when you move in a small area, the same damned things keep springing up to wave hello again, almost like folks you know. Some day, I may sit down and buy one of them a coffee. Then, once I make the exposure, I forget all about it until it's up on the monitor and I see if for the first time. I hardly ever chimp at all - unless in severe back-lighting.

At that point I decide if there's really anything there worth the hassle of the game. And I mean hassle. There is little fun in sitting around getting cramped legs and a rigid hand unless the ultimate image promises satisfaction.

So edited down, it shows me that photography has changed, for me, from something I thought about before going out to do it, to a process consisting mainly of afterthoughts.

But the poor old camera remains just what it ever was, only cheaper to run than it used to be. I guess that, in a way, that makes photography even less valuable, and ultimately just another disposable.

Rob
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