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Author Topic: Recognition vs Execution?  (Read 6647 times)

RSL

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2017, 09:03:43 AM »

And so the question remains:
is it easier to recognise images with that certain universal appeal, than it is to recognise a scene with universal appeal?

Depends on whether or not you've learned to throw a mental crop around the parts of scenes that make images. That's one reason using, say, a 50mm lens almost exclusively, as HCB did can help with instant recognition of a worthwhile image within a scene. The ability to crop images from scenes comes from extensive practice and experience, but also from careful and extensive study of what's gone before in visual art.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2017, 09:56:52 AM »

Hi,

As a photographer, you transform a scene to an image.

To get a worthwhile image you need to find a worthwhile subject that you transform into that image. Doing that transformation takes som experience an knowledge.

There are tools, like composition rules that can help. Composition rules don't make a good picture, but they offer some help.

Best regards
Erik


I am not sure I understand.  Could you please share an example of an image with "universal appeal"?  That way we would have a common understanding of what you are asking.

GrahamBy

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2017, 10:15:45 AM »

I am not sure I understand.  Could you please share an example of an image with "universal appeal"?

A cute kitten, or a sunset with exaggerated colours.

That's the problem, "universal" will typically mean something extremely cliché. In comparison, pick a random person off the street which probably means somewhere in India or China and show them a Cartier-Bresson, or an Ansel Adams. I'd guess the response will be "Black and white, kind of boring..."

Art is always looking for a niche audience.

Partly that means one that recognises that some things are too easy and that one will quickly tire of them, so some level of education, some experience of trying to do, in order to appreciate that it's difficult. The same is true of cooking and getting beyond adding lots of sugar. Or sport: it's hard to appreciate golf if you haven't tried playing it (and even then...)

Partly it means that one feels important because one is of the "select" group sophisticated enough to understand the art... and so we have the self-perpetuating absurdity of conceptual art, and the admiring reviews of the Emporer's new clothes.

Of course one wishes to appeal to those in the first part, and not so much to those in the second, although that may not be where the money is. And then Dunning-Kruger applies...
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RSL

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2017, 10:32:57 AM »

Very well said, Graham. Bravo!

Otto Phocus

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2017, 11:18:11 AM »

A cute kitten, or a sunset with exaggerated colours.

That's the problem, "universal" will typically mean something extremely cliché.


Exactly the problem.  I don't think there is any image that has universal appeal when it comes to humans. That's why I was struggling with the question.

Quote
In comparison, pick a random person off the street which probably means somewhere in India or China and show them a Cartier-Bresson, or an Ansel Adams. I'd guess the response will be "Black and white, kind of boring..."

I am sure there have been all sorts of studies where they show people photographs taken by famous people but conceal the names and record their reactions.

I know for a fact that I can't produce a photograph that has universal appeal.  I also know that I have not personally seen a photograph that I would even imagine would have universal appeal.  But in the best Black Swan tradition, maybe there is such a photograph.  At least I can't prove that it does not exist.  :)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 06:31:42 AM by Otto Phocus »
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opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2017, 12:51:18 PM »

"the curmudgeons' corner"

I'm imagining a picture with black crows picking at a karkas in the corner of a fenced field. The corner is a useful opportunity for a triangular composition. The scene is bleak in saturation. Beyond the fence there is something of beauty, with selectively more saturation, perhaps "greener grass".

On the other hand, i possibly was ineffective at formulating the question.
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Oscar

JNB_Rare

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2017, 02:20:54 PM »

There are hundreds of photographs (taken by others) that have significant emotional impact and relevance for me. These images may or may not have the same impact or relevance for other viewers. We each bring a unique set of personal experiences, education and predilections to bear.

I strive to take photographs of similar, high "quality". I find that, when "what resonated within me in the seeing", also resonates in the finished image, then I have been personally successful, and the image stands a better chance of having impact and relevance for others. There are no guarantees, of course.

Creating such an image is challenging. One only has so much control. I can research locations and weather reports and tides and such, but I get what I get on any given day and any given hour. A key aspect for me is being "open" to an opportunity. All too often my mind is cluttered with thoughts that distract from "seeing". Sometimes I have to walk for a couple of hours before I find myself "in the zone". Sometimes it doesn't happen at all that day. Sometimes there is serendipity.

When I am open to an opportunity (recognition), I begin to "previsualize", and then execute the exposure. Previsualization includes a general idea of how I might treat the shot with post processing, and also directs such choices as focal length, aperture and shutter speed. This is not a precise process for me. Sometimes I need to explore several compositions, and perspectives.

Somewhere inside my head are all those "great" images from others, too. I can't escape having seen them. Though I may benefit from having viewed them and understood what made them impactful and relevant for me, it's often counterproductive when they bubble up too closely to the surface of my consciousness.

The amount of post processing differs from image to image. Sometimes it's minimal. But I'm not afraid of applying whatever techniques I might need in order to try to replicate "what resonated within me in the seeing". I don't feel obliged to retain the "purity" of the original image (obviously I'm NOT talking about journalistic, nature or commercial work where accurate representation is required).

In the end, there are precious few personal photographs that achieve my goal of a continued "resonance" for me. I used to find that a bit dispiriting, but I don't anymore. I simply enjoy the pursuit.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 09:44:52 PM by JNB_Rare »
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riverrat373

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2017, 03:22:44 PM »



When photographing, all we can do is work to please ourselves

I think that you have found the most important reason why those of us who are not professionals photograph!
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opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2017, 03:37:33 PM »

There are hundreds of ...

In the end, there are precious few personal photographs that achieve my goal of a continued "resonance" for me. I used to find that a bit dispiriting, but I don't anymore. I simply enjoy the pursuit.

Thanks for a clear and concise answer.
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Oscar

opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2017, 04:23:13 PM »

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/01/arts/fan-ho-photography/

Quote
"[Ho] thought that if you experienced a feeling when you saw a particular scene, you could capture it in a way that meant the photograph's viewer could also feel that emotion -- that's what he considered important. His pictures have a very strong emotional character. It's not dry, objective photography."
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Oscar

JNB_Rare

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2017, 09:27:10 PM »

Quote
"[Ho] thought that if you experienced a feeling when you saw a particular scene, you could capture it in a way that meant the photograph's viewer could also feel that emotion -- that's what he considered important. "

I agree completely. But I find it challenging as a casual (meaning every now and then), amateur photographer. Fan Ho, HCB, and others who have earned their place among the greats of photography were/are wonderfully talented. But they were also dedicated and disciplined professionals (for the most part). The considerable work they did honed their skills of "recognition and execution".

Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2017, 05:44:12 AM »

I think I understood Oscar's original question, and I feel the chat's drifted well away from it, as I think has Oscar's own view of his question.(?)

But reverting to my original take: no, there is no way of making universally appreciated images, because even the type selected in this thread as being 'universal' fails: it doesn't caress my G spots. So it can't be trully universal. I am cold to kittens and pups, in snaps, but not in life: I have shed tears at the kittens that died on our terrace during the 80s when we had about twenty-three or more semi-wild cats mostly dependent upon us to feed them. My wife and I tried fruitlessly to help some weaker kittens suckle as the mothers just lay there, looking at us with patient sadness at our lack of understanding of Nature, why some kittens found a teat where others could not. (Jesus, if ever there was a practical demonstration about people not being created equal, it's found right there, in the cat world.)

I think that as photographers, we confuse the issue every day. We grow, develop this arrogance that it's about us, when the truth is that no, it's about our abilty to recognize what's been created and exists already, our part to play being nothing deeper than the seeing of that whatever. Then, and only then, can our photographic skills make or break the situation. I can't tell you how many times I have read well-known photographers admit to the same thing: that they can't go out to make pictures, only to find them. (I exclude paid photography from what I describe above, which is mainly about the different faces and forms of street.) Also, though I'm no fan of Mr Eggleston, I have read that he will only shoot his first impression of whatever; in that, I think he makes a strong point: it's recognition of essence that matters most.

And going a little deeper into it, touching upon Oscar's reference to the grammar of photography, without which the language can't exist and, consequently, the means to formulate meaning, education is key. As the illiterate can look at a book and grasp nothing, so it is with photographs.

I suppose that if it means enough to us, we delve deeply into the genre that appeals most, and through this exploration provide our own education; we discover nuances, styles and even formulae that together constitute a language, perhaps never so clearly defined as in the world of fashion photography where you can find trends, famed name immitating other famed name, the incestuous love being made everywhere within the genre. After a couple of years of immersion you realise that yes, you too can understand what's going down, because you learned the language! And better yet, the local dialect that does or does not get you preference.

As you require an educated photographer, so do you need an educated public to get what he/she is doing.

Does this mean anything? Perhaps it does, and that may be nothing more than that both parties must learn the rules of the game. Hence, it's pointless having a landscape shooter judge a fashion photography show. And probably just as pointless reversing the roles; a referee needs to know the game and its rules; a spectator, to be more than a simple fan and to enjoy the game, has to know both the rules and when the game is being played well. Omit any part, and its chaos that you see.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 05:50:50 AM by Rob C »
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opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2017, 06:43:51 AM »

Maybe I should have used the word "evocative" which better refers to language?

Is it easier to recognise an evocative photo, than it is to recognise an evocative scene?

To me appeal isn't necessarily about beauty. An evocative photo may transcend beauty, as many pulitzer images show. So, I believe there certainly is something like universal appeal in images, considering Nik Ut's napalm image for example. It's not pretty, but if that leaves you unstirred, you'd better visit a shrink.

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Oscar

opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2017, 07:15:14 AM »

We have a tv program that is meant to promote museum and gallery visits. They select two reasonably well known individuals (not celebs) and have them visit a museum. One episode was about a photomuseum. They selected a photographer and a presenter. The photographer is of playboy fame, and obviously familiar with nudity. Halfway through the program they enter a room where there is an image of a nude woman in a loungechair situated in a library with a small kitten on the ground next to the chair. Here private parts are prominently visible.

playboy photographer immediately dismisses the image as vulgar, claiming he at least tried to keep his images within a certain decency, and moves right on to the next image.

I'm like: what?

If that picture is in a museum, not generally known to be controversial, apparently the image contains something more than what is immediately obvious. So, after taking some time to think it through, I get it: the image is showing us the difference between a "pussy" and a "thinking human being with a rich emotional and intellectual background". (Unfortunately Google isn't your friend when trying to find that image as I've forgotten the photographer. I believe it was a self-portrait.)

Bottomline of this short anecdote: apparently shooting images within a certain frame of mind for too long, can also make you deaf...

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Oscar

Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2017, 04:08:38 AM »

Oscar,

Taking your reference to the Ut photograph first: that's not a picture that is governed by any form of aesthetics or regulatory parameters; that's simply a picture of a terrified, suffering child. It's the perfect example of the fabled "f8 and be there". The photographer will surely admit to no input beyond being on the spot and having the presence of mind to do his job. It's not about creativity in any language or use of an aesthetic grammar by which to express. It's a pure recording of a moment within a chain of them, of shock and disgust, and as such, removed from artistry. It doesn't share space with "Piss Christ" which, on the other hand, is intentional, also shocking and because intentional, hateful.

Playboy photographer. I don't know if you mean Playboy as in literally or metaphorically speaking. Either way, I share his sentiment. As I've said here often, I bought Playboy for years. I used to feel perfectly happy to have it lying around the house for the kids to look at if they chose to do so; I can't remember them ever thinking about it. However, came the sad time that Playboy felt under pressure from Penthouse and the scumbag press, and they began to go vulgar just to retain market share. I stopped buying, both for the sake of my developėng childen and because it wasn't where I wanted to feel myself drifting either, especially as I was photographing women for a living. There is a chasm between beauty and charm and its opposite: vulgarity and pornography.

You write: "I'm like: what?"  I have to write: I'm so sorry you don't understand there's a difference.

As to deafness: are you then suggesting we really do live in a world where anything goes, and are you advocating that we should?

Rob

opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #35 on: June 05, 2017, 05:28:22 AM »

Taking your reference to the Ut photograph first: that's not a picture that is governed by any form of aesthetics or regulatory parameters; that's simply a picture of a terrified, suffering child. It's the perfect example of the fabled "f8 and be there". The photographer will surely admit to no input beyond being on the spot and having the presence of mind to do his job. It's not about creativity in any language or use of an aesthetic grammar by which to express. It's a pure recording of a moment within a chain of them, of shock and disgust, and as such, removed from artistry. It doesn't share space with "Piss Christ" which, on the other hand, is intentional, also shocking and because intentional, hateful.

Perhaps removed from artistry, but at least we can agree that it has "universal appeal" (where appeal doesn't necessarily refer to beauty).

Piss Christ may be less universal, since it requires one to be at least somewhat educated and broadminded about (other people's) religion to understand. But maybe that is the point: "appeal" may require one to engage the mind.

How do you figure the latter as shocking and hateful?

As far as the image is concerned without prejudice, it has exactly that certain representation of "Christ = the light" that its religious proponents like to believe. Further taking into account the emersion, one can both relate to the idea of commercialised symbolism, as well as perhaps a more or less universal struggle that most religious people go through at some point in their lives.

Playboy photographer. I don't know if you mean Playboy as in literally or metaphorically speaking. Either way, I share his sentiment. As I've said here often, I bought Playboy for years. I used to feel perfectly happy to have it lying around the house for the kids to look at if they chose to do so; I can't remember them ever thinking about it. However, came the sad time that Playboy felt under pressure from Penthouse and the scumbag press, and they began to go vulgar just to retain market share. I stopped buying, both for the sake of my developėng childen and because it wasn't where I wanted to feel myself drifting either, especially as I was photographing women for a living. There is a chasm between beauty and charm and its opposite: vulgarity and pornography.

You write: "I'm like: what?"  I have to write: I'm so sorry you don't understand there's a difference.

As to deafness: are you then suggesting we really do live in a world where anything goes, and are you advocating that we should?

Rob

Yes, i meant "Playboy the magazine" photographer. 

No, I wouldn't suggest anything goes, in fact, especially where artistry is concerned we need to (be forced to) engage our mind, but shock doesn't help at all in that regard. It turns people away from the message, instead of enticing them in to a new way of thinking. It is the equivalent of Ad Hominem name-calling and cursing in language, instead of weaving a story that actually makes you wonder and think.

But then, the level of shock is different for all people, I will readily agree with that. Nudity being one obvious example (although in the Netherlands we're not quickly offended). The point though is this: you go to a museum exactly because it allows you to engage the mind. You can't just dismiss a piece of art on the basis of gut-feeling alone.

I know you're an advocate of gut-feeling, and I can understand how you can judge beauty, composition, and balance e.a. using gut-feeling alone, especially if it has become second-nature to a (former) professional photographer (or artist). But clearly, just as with language, we are also obligated to use our mind as we try to convey and articulate a message as sender, or perceive and understand a message as receiver.

Seeing an image and recognising its evocative aesthetic, is sometimes hard. Recognising (or even creating) an evocative aesthetic in real life and being able to capture it, is equally hard, apart from the skill factor. The skill factor just is the difference between "understanding a new language" and "producing a new language". Understanding people in a new language usually comes sooner than being able to converse with people in a new language, but we are certainly able to explicate what we want to convey in our native language. In fact, we are probably using our native language sooner for messaging, than for understanding. And yes, that is because our gut-feeling tells us about our own understanding, but that is, at least initially, only for very self-centered intuition.

Hence, being stuck in the "I shoot only to please myself" is just a self-centered initial stage to grow to a more engaging interactive maturity.
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2017, 09:06:53 AM »

Perhaps removed from artistry, but at least we can agree that it has "universal appeal" (where appeal doesn't necessarily refer to beauty).

1. Piss Christ may be less universal, since it requires one to be at least somewhat educated and broadminded about (other people's) religion to understand. But maybe that is the point: "appeal" may require one to engage the mind.

How do you figure the latter as shocking and hateful?


2.  As far as the image is concerned without prejudice, it has exactly that certain representation of "Christ = the light" that its religious proponents like to believe. Further taking into account the emersion, one can both relate to the idea of commercialised symbolism, as well as perhaps a more or less universal struggle that most religious people go through at some point in their lives.

Yes, i meant "Playboy the magazine" photographer. 

No, I wouldn't suggest anything goes, in fact, especially where artistry is concerned we need to (be forced to) engage our mind, but shock doesn't help at all in that regard. It turns people away from the message, instead of enticing them in to a new way of thinking. It is the equivalent of Ad Hominem name-calling and cursing in language, instead of weaving a story that actually makes you wonder and think.

But then, the level of shock is different for all people, I will readily agree with that. Nudity being one obvious example (although in the Netherlands we're not quickly offended). The point though is this: you go to a museum exactly because it allows you to engage the mind. You can't just dismiss a piece of art on the basis of gut-feeling alone.

I know you're an advocate of gut-feeling, and I can understand how you can judge beauty, composition, and balance e.a. using gut-feeling alone, especially if it has become second-nature to a (former) professional photographer (or artist). But clearly, just as with language, we are also obligated to use our mind as we try to convey and articulate a message as sender, or perceive and understand a message as receiver.

Seeing an image and recognising its evocative aesthetic, is sometimes hard. Recognising (or even creating) an evocative aesthetic in real life and being able to capture it, is equally hard, apart from the skill factor. The skill factor just is the difference between "understanding a new language" and "producing a new language". Understanding people in a new language usually comes sooner than being able to converse with people in a new language, but we are certainly able to explicate what we want to convey in our native language. In fact, we are probably using our native language sooner for messaging, than for understanding. And yes, that is because our gut-feeling tells us about our own understanding, but that is, at least initially, only for very self-centered intuition.

3.  Hence, being stuck in the "I shoot only to please myself" is just a self-centered initial stage to grow to a more engaging interactive maturity.



1.  Piss.

It takes a very isolated individual not to understand the significance of the photograph. And the significance is this: the man has sold his soul to commerce. It matters not whether one believes or does not believe in Christianity, any more than it does in the case of Islam, Hinduism or any other 'ism. The point is that millions do believe, and causing them gratuitous offence is not an artistic choice but a flagrantly commercial one, blame and guilt shared equally by himself and his promoters; for myself, I trust they rot in hell. It doesn't take a whole lot to understand the Charlie Hebdo situation, does it? Difference? Christians roll over more easily.

2.  No, that's just spurious rationalization that comes, as ever, after the fact.

3.  I don't agee with you on that. Being self-centred is a prerequisite to the life. In fact, that's borne out by the many famous artistic couplings that have ended in total disaster. Almost every star you can think of has been through a portfolio of partners; it's the also-rans who, being a little less self-centred, generally stay faithful, their personal lives, on balance, considered more important than their commercial ones. It's probably about choices, on one level, but I tend to believe that those choices are not real: we are what we have been designed to be with much of choice but an imaginary conceit.

What you are proposing is to become everyone's best friend, a situation unpleasant enough when you are at a stage of your career where you have no choice other than to be exactly that or starve. If you are an "amateur" then you need never accept such a situation. Should you imagine that you really can do everything, need to please everyone, then you're either crazy or have low standards. Regarding maturity: with maturity, normally, comes the realisation that one, if lucky, is perhaps good at one "creative" thing: the one that brings the most pleasure, which is perhaps why one's good at it.

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2017, 05:42:00 PM »

Maybe I should have used the word "evocative" which better refers to language?

Is it easier to recognise an evocative photo, than it is to recognise an evocative scene?

To me appeal isn't necessarily about beauty. An evocative photo may transcend beauty, as many pulitzer images show. So, I believe there certainly is something like universal appeal in images, considering Nik Ut's napalm image for example. It's not pretty, but if that leaves you unstirred, you'd better visit a shrink.

I'm having to assume you're restricting the photographer as the only one recognizing an evocative scene when he/she sees it, and not a random viewer who may or may not later recognize it in a photographer's finished image.

A photographer's location would have a large influence on presenting more opportunity of coming across a variety of evocative scenes. Some photographers can travel across the world to exotic places they've never been to and shoot the typical tourist shot while another photog might go behind, around the top or sides of the scene at different times of the day under more evocative lighting and capture something no one would recognize as even coming from the same location but make the viewer see something totally out of this world and quite evocative.

That photographer would have to know from past experience that evocative scenes can be found this way anywhere on the planet.

This also brings to mind the important aspect a photographer can communicate which is intent, anticipation and expectation, all elements that are immediately understood no matter the language one speaks just by looking at a rectangle/square crop object hanging on a wall or flipping through a book. First there is expectation from the viewer that the photographer is saying something (without words), then there is anticipation that it will be clearly understood as the image speaks to the mind maybe in emotion and/or words after which intent will make a connection between the viewer and photographer.

No one can determine how this will unfold. It will be different depending on what the photographer communicates and the viewer is able to interpret. Some viewers will read more evocative meaning and ideas into an image a photographer never intended. That's the magic of image making and why it's such a rich and satisfying way to communicate to another human being.
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2017, 04:44:36 AM »

I'm not sure about communication at all. To me, communication implies message, and also for me, message is not what goes down in photographs. What goes down are impressions of one mind's take on reality as found, or fantasy as derived from/imposed upon the unavoidable situation which confronts the tumescent photographer, hot little camera clasped to eye.


Most of the time my own non-pro (it's been so long since I was one, that I'll soon be able to get over that and not even mention the past as distinction of intent!) work is a surprise to me. Far fom having message or being a word from a wise mind, the snap is nothing more than the realisation of something out there that's trying to cach my attention for its own reasons, of which I know nothing. In short, making the shot is all back to gut, which might not cause Oscar a lot of joy. I can't qualify that need to click, and it's when people try that we end up with those absurd, hilariously pretentious artists' statements.

Unavoidably, it's again one of those factors that distances landscape photography from "meaningful" photography. Those beauty shots of Mama Nature without her knickers are saying nothing at all: they are just the holding up of mirrors. If the photographer enjoys the concept of being a mirror's frame, so well and good, but it's hardly much of a job. It's the guy who eschews her lipstick, powder and paint and goes into the storm, finds the rain on the windows and the snow in the streets that's doing some writing about something.

I agree with Tim's view:

 " while another photog might go behind, around the top or sides of the scene at different times of the day under more evocative lighting and capture something no one would recognize as even coming from the same location but make the viewer see something totally out of this world and quite evocative"

or at least the first part of it; I cannot fully agree with the second part about what the viewer may be led into seeing, but the truth of the first is my own situation. I have shot for most of the past few years within the confines of two little towns, between which I live. I don't really care about the lighting at all, because it remains out of my control as much as does seeing the picture in the first place. Only when I do see the possible snap does it exist for me, so how can I plan for the position of the sun and even if I could, how would that make what's now fortune my slave? If anything, control like that, of subjects like that, would kill them.

I may have mentioned this before, but if not I have certainly been thinking it: as photogaphes we make too much of ourselves, and reverse-engineer our snaps into our own childen, when all we're doing is standing outside looking in at where the game's already in full swing. It all goes on without us.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 02:10:56 PM by Rob C »
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GrahamBy

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2017, 01:08:55 PM »

Sunday night I stayed at a property owned by the parents of a friend, in the Dordogne. It was once a grand home (built 1830); more recently a school for young ladies to learn household skills (including, reputedly, some rather carnal ones courtesy of the husband of the Directrice), before Alain and Moniqa bought it in 1995. They have since turned it into a crazy museum of "habitable art", of the contemporary-conceptual type. There is so much piled up that it could be easily mistaken for the sort of accumulation of rubbish found in the houses of old mad people.
Had I walked in cold, I would have walked out again with a one-word description.

However, the connection meant I got the explanations... and while the objects have really zero interest for me, the strings they pull or anchor for the owners are fascinating: so many ties to the history of their families, immigrants who came from Italy, who were treated like foreign dirt, imprisoned during the war by the gendarmes under Vichy, narrowly avoided being executed, transported to Dachau, marriages to obtain citizenship, citizenship refused because of illness despite fighting in the resistance, the history of the school and the women students and how the directrice came to be there... and what does it have to do with the story of sleeping beauty and the 7 dwarfs?

So it is still a pile of crap (with maybe one or two exceptions), but it's crap that tells stories... and so maybe it becomes art. Nothing much has absolute or universal value, but it is pregnant with meanings that are still relevant in a society that likes to forget that it was a fascist state under Petain. The construction of most of the objects... would have varied between trivial and painstaking.

A citation that stuck:
"The role of art is to remind us that life is more interesting than art"
Take that whichever way you will :)
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