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Author Topic: Recognition vs Execution?  (Read 2430 times)

Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2017, 02:22:05 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 1.  (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.
2.  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 :)


1.  They also serve who only stand and wait...

2.  Maybe your monosyllabic comment, had it been made had the visit been a cold one, was on the money.

I love the Dordogne... which little town were you in?

Rob

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2017, 02:23:30 PM »

Quote
"...message is not what goes down in photographs."

Messages or any form of communication is intrinsic within photographs or paintings or any framed object that show a human made an image and thus attempt to say something as to why they made the image. The photographer has no say in preventing communication or conveying a message. The viewer determines what is being communicated and it happens constantly by habit.

Quote
"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."

I agree about not being able to control certain aspects of what sets up a photograph worthy arrangement of lights, darks and colors. I just react according to past lighting arrangements I've encountered in similar scenes.

For instance the image below was my reacting to the color of my mini blinds in the morning inside my apartment that were a fiery golden yellow. I thought there was a fire blazing outside. Opened my front door to find everything was glowing golden yellow and immediately knew from living in Texas all my life this was weather related. I saw the clouds forming and ran into the nearby saw grass field and started shooting a couple of shots and was going to go back to my apartment and have my breakfast when I noticed the sun rising higher and affecting the shape and color of the clouds where you can see the second shot.

In those two shots I can't help but communicate to the viewer that the scenes are a once in a lifetime shot and that I was lucky enough be patient and wait there possibly risking getting struck by lightning. 

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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2017, 04:23:59 PM »

1.  Messages or any form of communication is intrinsic within photographs or paintings or any framed object that show a human made an image and thus attempt to say something as to why they made the image. The photographer has no say in preventing communication or conveying a message. The viewer determines what is being communicated and it happens constantly by habit.

I agree about not being able to control certain aspects of what sets up a photograph worthy arrangement of lights, darks and colors. I just react according to past lighting arrangements I've encountered in similar scenes.

For instance the image below was my reacting to the color of my mini blinds in the morning inside my apartment that were a fiery golden yellow. I thought there was a fire blazing outside. Opened my front door to find everything was glowing golden yellow and immediately knew from living in Texas all my life this was weather related. I saw the clouds forming and ran into the nearby saw grass field and started shooting a couple of shots and was going to go back to my apartment and have my breakfast when I noticed the sun rising higher and affecting the shape and color of the clouds where you can see the second shot.

In those two shots I can't help but communicate to the viewer that the scenes are a once in a lifetime shot and that I was lucky enough be patient and wait there possibly risking getting struck by lightning.


1.  "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."

Quoting myself, above, I think we are looking at the same thing from opposite sides of the window. We are bound to see a different thing. You think that you see and state, whereas I think that I see but have absolutely no idea about what's being said. I can see it but not hear it, if only because I don't invent it: I come across it - it's already there, with or without me.

Obviously, I'm not writing here about staged professional or amateur work. In such cases there's often copy which has to coincide and make common sense with the image. Images like that can be or say anything the team wants them to be or to declare.

Rob

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2017, 06:25:22 PM »


We are bound to see a different thing. You think that you see and state, whereas I think that I see but have absolutely no idea about what's being said. I can see it but not hear it, if only because I don't invent it: I come across it - it's already there, with or without me.

Rob

Seeing differently doesn't guarantee reacting differently. When one photographs something that strikes them, they are reacting to it. Seeing OTOH requires one to purposely go looking for something that is worthy to photograph but can't be foreseen unless they are familiar with where ever they decide to go seeing. Anyone can go looking to see. Reacting is what makes one photographer different from another in what they capture.

An example of this is Eggleston's shooting habits mentioned in this thread which look like he's not even thinking or seeing but just reacting to whatever his eyes land on. Some of his images wind up looking as if an insurance adjuster took them and others look hauntingly surreal and mysterious. But is that me interpreting them as such or is that the result one gets shooting the way he does? Did Eggleston learn this or come upon it by accident and just went with it the rest of his photographic career?

You take two photographers, one just takes his camera for the first time and waves it around pointing everywhere and anywhere and randomly trips the shutter over and over without looking through the viewfinder. No chimping to check if any of his images look acceptable.

The other photographer does the same which he's done several times in the past and so he knows what the results will be and the effects he will get if he changes up his timing and speed of where he points and then decides to trip the shutter.

I can guarantee you the second photographer will have more keepers than the first. Both did not know what subject or scene composition they were going to get so there was no thinking or picturing in the mind.

But a stranger comes along and looks at the first photographer's shots and compares to the second and is not aware they've photographed in that matter and decides he likes the first one's better than the second.

Clearly there's no accounting for taste because now the viewer is the third creative collaborator.
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2017, 04:33:22 AM »

I take you argument, but it's not quite the same as mine, and in some ways totally different, accepting beliefs that I do not.

For instance, hosepiping a camera is not the same as simply going out with an open mind and, more importantly, an open pair of eyes, though I'm sure even one would do: witness Albert Watson.

Mr Egg. I can't stand, but I do go with his idea of shooting the first impression that triggers one's interest. It's often the best, and if it isn't, both in his case and mine, it's of no consequence, one way or the other.

But my opinion remains the same: going out with open eyes is not tantamount to going out wired to a directional mike! I post below a pairing of images that, for me, hang together well, but neither separately nor married do they tell me anything. My only cerebral intelligence on them is that Leiter inspired their making from the grave. But he didn't tell me anything, and neither do they.



"Clearly there's no accounting for taste because now the viewer is the third creative collaborator."

Indeed, he is a third party, but he is still not being told anything; he may imagine what he likes to imagine, but that's within his psyche and not the photographer's and certainly not of the lifeless subject. Because people often hear voices in their heads does not signify that voices are actually speaking to them.

Rob C



« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 04:52:34 AM by Rob C »
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opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2017, 07:57:37 AM »


1.  "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."


First of all, the situation was entirely avoidable, that alone makes it a conscious effort.

Secondly, by most definitions "the message" is not limited to language or words. In fact, the transfer of an impression of one mind's take on reality through a photograph, is exactly the kind of communication I would be referring to, especially when landscape is concerned.

You attempt to capture a certain mood. You at least need to be able to experience (or have experienced) the mood, in order to be able to recognise a scene that conveys a similar mood (for you personally). Fortunately, because we are humans with a certain innate sensory equivalence, we can transfer a mood or impression, and can reasonably expect that mood or impression to be received at the other end.

I have never claimed it would be exactly the same, but in abstract it should evoke an equivalence, otherwise no form of communication would ever be effective. Obviously, the more apt photographer will be able to combine several pictoral elements into a single photograph to convey even more than just a mood, in a similar manner that pictograms, icons, and emoticons can convey more than mood alone.

Note also, that I never claimed that this is how all photographers should operate or that it is some higher state that one should attempt to achieve, but the whole idea about "shooting to please oneself" on the other hand, is bordering Tourette syndrome, and exactly the kind of immature thinking that feeds terrorism. Terrorists also shoot to please some figment of their own imaginary making, but that hardly leads to constructive equivalence on the receiver's side.
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Oscar

opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2017, 08:29:36 AM »

Interestingly, I have a new project in the back of my mind for a series of pictures called "Determination".

Some of the intended images currently exist in my imagination only. They are entirely realisable in real life. The returning theme involves a small child. I don't have a small child readily available in my suitcase, so I talk to mothers. I explain the picture, the intended clothing, the setting, the props etc...

Fortunately, they immediately "get it", and when they bring me some of the props, not only am I convinced that they get it, but it can bring an additional input. So I'm confident that the project could successfully produce images where the intended "message" will be reasonably conveyed. The intended message being "determination". Of course, these will be staged photographs.

I also explained one of the images to family living in the US. I want one of those "endless highways" in a landscape of those slightly ominous vulcanic remnants as backdrop. I wanted to know where in the US those exist. I know they exist, I can transfer the idea of that picture, and they got it.

They tell me Utah.

Unfortunately, now I need to find a photographer who can do the shoot for me, short of starting a kickstarter funding project to go there myself, since I don't life anywhere near there. The advantage though is that the image is easily transferred in language to be conceived by (in)direction, and, moreover, I might be able to come home with a better picture, because it will be quite easy to find a better photographer than myself...

Speaking of direction: wouldn't all movies fail miserably if it weren't for a director with a vision and a story and the ability to transfer at least one of these to a lot of people involved in production?

 
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #47 on: June 07, 2017, 08:49:42 AM »

1. First of all, the situation was entirely avoidable, that alone makes it a conscious effort.

Secondly, by most definitions "the message" is not limited to language or words. 2.  In fact, the transfer of an impression of one mind's take on reality through a photograph, is exactly the kind of communication I would be referring to, especially when landscape is concerned.

You attempt to capture a certain mood. You at least need to be able to experience (or have experienced) the mood, in order to be able to recognise a scene that conveys a similar mood (for you personally). Fortunately, because we are humans with a certain innate sensory equivalence, we can transfer a mood or impression, and can reasonably expect that mood or impression to be received at the other end.

I have never claimed it would be exactly the same, but in abstract 3.  it should evoke an equivalence, otherwise no form of communication would ever be effective. Obviously, the more apt photographer will be able to combine several pictoral elements into a single photograph to convey even more than just a mood, in a similar manner that pictograms, icons, and emoticons can convey more than mood alone.

Note also, that I never claimed that this is how all photographers should operate or that it is some higher state that one should attempt to achieve,
4.  but the whole idea about "shooting to please oneself" on the other hand, is bordering Tourette syndrome, and exactly the kind of immature thinking that feeds terrorism. Terrorists also shoot to please some figment of their own imaginary making, but that hardly leads to constructive equivalence on the receiver's side.

1.  Irrelevant, in that avoiding doing anything doesn't mean that anything specific is being said, even in a figurative manner. It's (the snap one may make) no more than a pleasing (to the snapper), silent shape. Getting out of bed in the morning means little beyond the requirement that one faces before having breakfast. Now, had I been a supermodel in the 80s, I'd allow that 10,000 dollars makes a pretty good message for getting up; best reveille yet!

2.  Again, I think you confuse a pleasing shape with the totally different concept of a message. A shape is just that, and it may or may not please somebody. A message is a precise thing, unless from an illiterate. In fact, it's unfortunate that you cite landscape as a prime example, for it's the very genre that says almost nothing to me unless very far removed fom the normal range of human vision; it at least needs to go into black/white, but still no message...

3.  That's the very danger facing society today! Equivalence is imprecise and open to interpretation, resulting in Chinese whispers, where after a couple of stages it becomes nonsense vis-à-vis the original idea, (if there was one, when we translate this into images rather than words.) I reiterate: we sometimes take too much credit for what we do, rationalising after the event to our greater glory - we'd like to think.

4. Now I know you're joking!

;-)

Rob

Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #48 on: June 07, 2017, 08:51:46 AM »

Interestingly, I have a new project in the back of my mind for a series of pictures called "Determination".

Some of the intended images currently exist in my imagination only. They are entirely realisable in real life. The returning theme involves a small child. I don't have a small child readily available in my suitcase, so I talk to mothers. I explain the picture, the intended clothing, the setting, the props etc...

Fortunately, they immediately "get it", and when they bring me some of the props, not only am I convinced that they get it, but it can bring an additional input. So I'm confident that the project could successfully produce images where the intended "message" will be reasonably conveyed. The intended message being "determination". Of course, these will be staged photographs.

I also explained one of the images to family living in the US. I want one of those "endless highways" in a landscape of those slightly ominous vulcanic remnants as backdrop. I wanted to know where in the US those exist. I know they exist, I can transfer the idea of that picture, and they got it.

They tell me Utah.

Unfortunately, now I need to find a photographer who can do the shoot for me, short of starting a kickstarter funding project to go there myself, since I don't life anywhere near there. The advantage though is that the image is easily transferred in language to be conceived by (in)direction, and, moreover, I might be able to come home with a better picture, because it will be quite easy to find a better photographer than myself...

Speaking of direction: wouldn't all movies fail miserably if it weren't for a director with a vision and a story and the ability to transfer at least one of these to a lot of people involved in production?

 


Have you heard of the phrase, moving the goalposts?

;-)

Rob

opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #49 on: June 07, 2017, 10:05:08 AM »

2.  Again, I think you confuse a pleasing shape with the totally different concept of a message. A shape is just that, and it may or may not please somebody. A message is a precise thing, unless from an illiterate.

Message = intent, the intent to transfer an emotion or sensory experience. In this case "pleasing", but as mentioned previously, the experience may have nothing to do with pleasure or beauty.

For me great art reminds me that I'm human. I'm reminded of being human when I'm triggered to engage my mind, especially doing so without prejudice. Or more emphatically; especially doing so while overcoming prejudice. And if a photographer attempted to capture "just beauty" I will attempt to perceive the beauty. Sure, I may not succeed, and most certainly it will be a different perception of beauty, but it doesn't mean that, because of that difference, everything we shoot is now fair game and we no longer need to "engage our mind" while actually producing a picture, even if it is just beauty we're trying to capture...

And for the record: yes, I do believe that even beauty has a universal element, even though it exists of course more in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't mind seeking that elusive universal element of beauty my entire life like a modern-day Don Quichot. In fact, I may even consider it a prerogative if photography was my occupation. And at the end of my life I may well find that it was never there, and that life itself was the beauty that needed to be captured. But then, I am not occupationally burdened by being a photographer, nor am I Don Quichot, so WTH do I know...
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #50 on: June 07, 2017, 11:01:16 AM »

Message = intent, the intent to transfer an emotion or sensory experience. In this case "pleasing", but as mentioned previously, the experience may have nothing to do with pleasure or beauty.

For me great art reminds me that I'm human. I'm reminded of being human when I'm triggered to engage my mind, especially doing so without prejudice. Or more emphatically; especially doing so while overcoming prejudice. And if a photographer attempted to capture "just beauty" I will attempt to perceive the beauty. Sure, I may not succeed, and most certainly it will be a different perception of beauty, but it doesn't mean that, because of that difference, everything we shoot is now fair game and we no longer need to "engage our mind" while actually producing a picture, even if it is just beauty we're trying to capture...

And for the record: yes, I do believe that even beauty has a universal element, even though it exists of course more in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't mind seeking that elusive universal element of beauty my entire life like a modern-day Don Quichot. In fact, I may even consider it a prerogative if photography was my occupation. And at the end of my life I may well find that it was never there, and that life itself was the beauty that needed to be captured. But then, I am not occupationally burdened by being a photographer, nor am I Don Quichot, so WTH do I know...

WTH does anyone know?

;-)

Rob

GrahamBy

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #51 on: June 07, 2017, 12:05:40 PM »

Warning, off topic :)


I love the Dordogne... which little town were you in?


We stayed two nights in Mensignac, with a foray into Périgueux. The Museum/Crazy house was at St Médard d'Excideuil... there is 75km between them via the scenic route, so I handed the car to Claire and rode the bicycle via minor roads through the forest... lovely :)
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #52 on: June 07, 2017, 04:06:04 PM »

Quote
"Clearly there's no accounting for taste because now the viewer is the third creative collaborator."


Indeed, he is a third party, but he is still not being told anything; he may imagine what he likes to imagine, but that's within his psyche and not the photographer's and certainly not of the lifeless subject. Because people often hear voices in their heads does not signify that voices are actually speaking to them.

Rob C

I was hoping you'ld reframe what you consider lifeless subjects and other random acts of capturing a scene by the photographic process as providing a moment of enrichment for the viewer and not just voices in their head. Some folks find this world fascinating no matter where they're located on the planet.

I guess a photographer would have to hang around enough of these people to actually see how their work is of value in this regard. A lot of these untapped audiences can't get to a gallery to view them.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #53 on: June 07, 2017, 04:22:44 PM »

Note also, that I never claimed that this is how all photographers should operate or that it is some higher state that one should attempt to achieve, but the whole idea about "shooting to please oneself" on the other hand, is bordering Tourette syndrome, and exactly the kind of immature thinking that feeds terrorism. Terrorists also shoot to please some figment of their own imaginary making, but that hardly leads to constructive equivalence on the receiver's side.

"To Please Oneself" is a loaded and complex statement which I don't feel can be simply summed up by comparing it to what a terrorist does. "Pleasing" is a subjective term made that way by the self. It feels like you're implying that if that's the only motivation then it is the same for everyone as some kind of broad brush on the aesthetic tastes of each who operates within this type of deceptively impulsive motivation. Not everyone is pleased by the same things which can produce some interesting looking POV's.
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opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #54 on: June 07, 2017, 05:21:36 PM »

"To Please Oneself" is a loaded and complex statement which I don't feel can be simply summed up by comparing it to what a terrorist does. "Pleasing" is a subjective term made that way by the self. It feels like you're implying that if that's the only motivation then it is the same for everyone as some kind of broad brush on the aesthetic tastes of each who operates within this type of deceptively impulsive motivation. Not everyone is pleased by the same things which can produce some interesting looking POV's.

No, I certainly don't want to imply that. I sense however, that some people like to imply this as a result of their own limitations in effectively communicating through their pictures. Clearly, if you're in a group of some kind, and you intentionally go out to shoot something individually appealing or with only egocentric appeal, you may end up with interesting and useful coffeetableconversation. At least it is a conscious choice and a preconceived intent within a certain context.

If, however, people start to advocate this type of motivation on the feeble excuse that the audience is some kind of chaotic and random receptor, then we are getting dangerously close to narcissism.
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #55 on: June 07, 2017, 06:15:15 PM »

I'm somewhat bemused by the direction this thread's taking. It started off with the promise of a certain fecundity, that it would lead to an interesting exchange of MOs whereas, to my disappointment, it seems to me to have drifted into that no-mans land just this side of attacksville.

To make my own position crystal clear:

a. when I was working, it was pretty much always a matter of making the best of the situation with which I found myself presented. Sometimes I had choice of model or location and sometimes not; when my instincts were frustrated like that, I just did my best to produce as good a technical end result as I was capable of producing - I didn't want to lose clients and I needed the work. My head was seldom filled with preconceived notions of what the images were going to look like: I simply winged the whole thing. To my joy, many years later, I listened to a David Bailey interview where he was asked if he planned his portaits well in advance. He said no, never; he just spent an hour or so chatting, and that gave him an inkling of how the subject might function. He went on to say that were he to pre-plan, he'd just hand the job over to somebody else to shoot for him. I know exactly what he meant;

b. now that I'm not working, I continue in the manner to which I've always been accustomed to work: I wing it. Totally. Digital makes that oh, so very easy and safe. The thought of having a shooting plan would cross my mind once or twice, in my early days of retirement, and almost always meant that I came home without making a single shot - not one exposure. Which in film days, was a brilliant piece of fiscal self-censorship! Today, I eshew plans of any sort - not just photographic ones. So the very idea of setting out at some time during the day intent on doing x, y or zee is absolutely alien to me.

When I do make a click, it's because something has appealed to me, and I feel I'd like to look at it again and, with luck, transform it into something more than itself. That's the second huge plus of digital for me: I can start with the probably mundane, and sometimes turn that around into an interesting (to me) picture after the event. But hey, Adams did no less. On some rare - very rare - occasions I will find a caption come into my head, right out of the blue, and then find something that sort of fits. But by the time I've finished with the thing, the caption probably vanishes into that deep pit of good intentions.

So there it is: I shoot without a plan, guided only by an instinct which, maybe, can be called an eye or, perhaps, luck, depending on how charitable one feels.


opgr

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #56 on: June 07, 2017, 06:44:50 PM »

To make my own position crystal clear:

...

So there it is: I shoot without a plan, guided only by an instinct which, maybe, can be called an eye or, perhaps, luck, depending on how charitable one feels.

I don't feel charitable at all, as you may have noticed...     ;-)

two questions come to mind:

1. Was there never a time that you stumbled upon a scene but wanted to wait for better circumstances to capture whatever you sensed in the gut? Say, better weatherconditions (not necessarily meaning better weather) or whatever. So you had to wait a couple of days and pass on the opportunity?

2. What are you trying to achieve combining your life's work into a book? What will be explained in the accompanying text?


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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2017, 03:14:58 AM »

I don't feel charitable at all, as you may have noticed...     ;-)

two questions come to mind:

1. Was there never a time that you stumbled upon a scene but wanted to wait for better circumstances to capture whatever you sensed in the gut? Say, better weatherconditions (not necessarily meaning better weather) or whatever. So you had to wait a couple of days and pass on the opportunity?

2. What are you trying to achieve combining your life's work into a book? What will be explained in the accompanying text?


1. Insofar as pre-planning goes: weatherwise, yes, I have often wished it would rain or, better yet, snow just so I could get some effects I can't get in the normally dryish weather of Mallorca. I've also wished that I could win the lottery. Such thoughts are simply desires for a different set of opportunities to see something different to the usual things that I now almost can't see anymore because of over-familiarity. I don't see that as any form of previsualisation, though - just as wanting to play a different sport.

2. No, I've tried the book idea and it got nowhere; my interests are not those of any popular press as such, and I imagine would not tempt any publisher into spending vast sums of money in the hope of making even more off my efforts. I did try a couple but to no avail: one was polite and the other not quite on the wrong side of brusque! But then, as Harry Potter also had a very long gestation period, I don't take offence that easily. But the bottom line is that I've pretty much run out of time- or so it feels.

What I am doing - have done - is start a sort of magazine (virtual!). Where I supply the content. I think Issue 1 is about to be published somewhere - will keep you posted if it flies. I have begun Issue 2, which will be a refined version (with different material) of the original issue which is basically a flying test-bed of visual structural ideas - and having got this first one out of the way, I feel a greater certaintly about direction. I can tell you one thing: it is a damned sight more difficult to put together than any calendar design ever was!

Rob
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 03:42:28 AM by Rob C »
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GrahamBy

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2017, 08:42:32 AM »

I fear that the notion of communication is almost as vague as that of art. I find little interest in images that are secondary to words, while pretending not to be: that is what I think would be achieved if I had a pre-conceived notion of an idea I wished to communicate. If the image is explicitly to illustrate text, so be it, but that sounds more like technical illustration of a car repair manual.

What interests me are ideas that are captured within an image, more or less by chance, so that the image is primary. The image is what it is, and it stimulates ideas in the mind of the viewer (whether that be the photographer or painter or someone just viewing the result). It will likely stimulate different ideas in different individuals, or in the same person on different days, wherein the interest of an image rather than a description of what the image is "supposed" to be about. Further information may stimulate other ideas, but they are still coming from the image. For example, I saw a portrait of Isabelle Huppert by Eduard Boubat a few days ago. I adore the photo as it is; I am more interested because it gives me a little more info about the style of Boubat; the fact that Huppert is quite young makes me wonder if it was very early in Huppert's project of being photographed by a long list of famous photographers. Maybe even it was the first, or outside the series? Looking at the photo also suggests something to me about the interaction (or brief relation) between photographer and subject, and I can think about that relative to the other photos in the series.

So there is lots of information arriving in my head because of the photo, but it is being towed behind the photo, rather than pushing the photo from behind.

Then to turn this around, writing is itself far less ambiguous than we often realise: the meaning a reader gives to a word is rarely the result of looking it up in a dictionary, but comes from the reader's experience of hearing that word in certain contexts, bits of which remain stuck to it. It's a huge problem for writing across languages, but even across languages with nominally the same language. Those who've written technical or educational documents will have had the realisation that in many cases the words are never read, but replaced with what the reader imagines you wrote. Moreover, the same questions arise: does one lay out a plan for what one will write, or does one let characters create themselves in the writing, which then steer the narrative? My attempts of fiction have followed the second option, which seems to align with the way I take photos. That may not be coincidence.
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Rob C

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Re: Recognition vs Execution?
« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2017, 09:59:15 AM »

Very nice statement, Graham, and beautifully put.

In essence, it all brings me back to one of my own prime tenets: the only truly interesting photography is about people, individuals, and/or what they produce. It also echoes much of what Russ writes here, too. Today, you find it only in some street and fashion - slightly in the latter and probably not at all in the realm of PR where one actress is a clone of the one beside her. And models fare no better. Obsessed as I may be with them, unlike during the 60s I find it impossible to identify them with any certainty; maybe Laetitia Casta still cuts it as an individual, a distinct personality. The rest have all been metaphorically merged in Layers, many Layers. Quite why the sytem doesn't twig that only distinct characters have much chance of continuity, I honestly don't know - Marilyn is remembered for being Marilyn, the character she invented and played for the rest of her life. In all kindness, who recalls Jayne or Mamie when the topìc of iconic blondes comes along?

The Isabelle photograph is so much in the vein of the many great shots I've seen of Françoise Hardy, all, in their turn, memories of Juliette Gréco. It was an era thing: 50s followed by the younger girls in the 60s and the start of Swingin' London.

Your writing style is, I'm sure, directly related to your photography, as I think is my own. These things are a product of our wiring, and I doubt we carry that many different platforms up there under the hair - or remnants therereof. So in conclusion, no, I don't think just coincidence.

Rob
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