Fred and Alain,
I understand what you are both saying about skills. As my ability as a writer has progressed, I've found that my writing has improved greatly when reading the "great authors." It's not so much dissecting how to say this or that; rather it's being influenced by an author's sense of rhythm, phrasing, contextual use of creating imagery. I haven't copied an author's subject matter or his words at all; I've internalized successful ways of putting words on the page.
May this be what you both speak of; may it be the result of acquainting oneself with the masters? The internalization of skills which can free one to concentrate, not on method, but on expression of an inner vision?
I am a very visual person. I make word images of those pictures I cannot seem to resolve with my camera. I've never thought of myself as being a visual arts creator, nor have I wanted to be successful at that until now. It makes sense to me that just as I've immersed myself with the great authors and felt their influence in my writing, I also need to do that photographically.
Thank you both for pointing this out.
Yes, this is what we (Fred and I) are talking about. I believe that we desire to create that which we admire. We want to learn how someone made something that enthralls us, something that gives us pleasure, or excitement, or crates any other emotional response.
Learning takes place when we admire and study works that have an emotional impact upon us. But this takes longer than studying with a master, someone who is where we want to be, because when studying on our own we have to "decipher" the work, figure out how it was created. Deconstruct it in a way. As Jacques Derrida explains in his deconstruction theory, by deconstructing a text (and any work of art by extension) we engage in a "reconstruction" of this text, in a rewriting of the "text", in our own words, in our own images, in our own way. By studying with a master, we receive help in deconstructing the work. Because the master already knows how the work was created, he can explain how we can go about creating it ourselves. We save time, lots of time.
I asked once one of my teachers, when studying at the Beaux Arts in Paris, why I needed to be in a school where all we did all day was painting and drawing, something which I could do at home just as well. the answer I received was that, indeed, I could do all this at home. However, it would take me many more years to get where I would get in a couple of years working at the beaux arts with the help of teachers and with the examples of other students. The same can be said, by extension, about photography workshops or other schools of art.
This is, in a nutshell, the process we go through when we learn how to copy the work of the masters. We have to get rid of the guilt assotiated with creating a copy of someone else's work. We are not creating a copy. We are deconstructing then reconstructing a text, an image, or any work of art we want to learn how to create.