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Author Topic: Eric Meola article  (Read 36840 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #120 on: January 28, 2013, 10:28:57 PM »

Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

On a related note, do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).* Rob is simply front-loading creativity, i.e., accepting it only in the beginning of the process, on what is in front of us. Photographic creativity is back-loaded, i.e., kicks in at the end of the process (or even in the middle of it), in the end-result stage, be it in-camera or in post-processing. We do not create what is in front of us (in terms of landscape), but we do create an image, end-result. We do not re-arrange objects in front of us (neither did Cézanne), but we do re-arrange those objects in the image (via view-point selection, angle of view, lens and all other photographic elements, in-camera and in post-processing).

*Rob, that was purely for rhetorical purposes, no offense meant

Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #121 on: January 28, 2013, 11:41:17 PM »

I agree with Slobodan here. There is a processing chain which involves varying degrees of creativity from the first conception to the final print.

The landscape photographer may not be able to rearrange the elements in the composition at the stage of the initial concept, but he certainly can do so later in post-processing, without even offending the sensibilities of Alain Briot.  ;)

Furthermore, if one is adverse to changing the position of trees and mountains in post processing, then the exercise of getting the concept right in the first instance, by walking around for the best vantage point, or even lying flat on one's stomach or climbing a tree, or returning at a different time of day when the lighting best fits one's concept, whilst more cumbersome and time-consuming than rearranging kitchen utensils, or persuading one's model to smile like she's never smiled before, is surely not less creative.


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opgr

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #122 on: January 29, 2013, 01:37:04 AM »

Creativity when making a photograph of a still life or a studio shot etc, can be said to be in front of the imaging process, it is what you do first. Whereas creativity within landscape work or architectural or street shooting etc, is at the back of the process, it is what you do last, it is ‘creative exclusion’ as opposed to ‘creative inclusion’, but none the less it is still photographic creativity.

Dave, I can't believe I am telling you this since I thought of you as one of the more intuitive photographers, non-scientist types, but for the sake of a more thorough treatment:

Art is not Mathematics!

Landscape photography is just as much a "creative inclusion" process as any other type of photography because it is all about waiting for all the elements to combine into a picture that best represents that particular landscape with the intended message. Since you do a lot of photography of your nearby locale you no doubt have imaged in your mind several pictures of the landscape which just happen to be possible only on a few occasions and particular times. Mist coming in from the sea, lower cloud base, blooming heather, whatever.

Rob is massaging his models into a smile and waits for the exact right pose and expression. Then he triggers.

A landscape photographer scouts the landscape and waits for the exact right light and climatic conditions. Then he triggers.

If anything, the landscape photographer most likely has to wait a lot longer, and therefore it is a more creative process… ;-)

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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #123 on: January 29, 2013, 12:36:12 PM »

...an answer that fully satisfies me.

Perhaps there's a flaw in your reasoning.


Yet by selectively removing what I did not want within the scene, I had to exclude what was already there by framing out the rest of the scene to get the shot I wanted.

That seems no different than what you concluded in a previous paragraph was "not the same as creativity".

Just insert "or framing out the rest of the scene" after "selection of view point we use" --

...we could not claim to have added anything creatively to the shot, however we shoot it or the selection of view point we use, because we had nothing to do with the creation of subject and so could only take shots of what we had been presented to us.
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #124 on: January 29, 2013, 02:02:10 PM »

We do not re-arrange objects in front of us (neither did Cézanne)...

"When [Cézanne] painted a landscape he pushed and reconciled two typically independent aims: to present the motif's structure and sensuous tone clearly, and to create an object with a rich, inner coherence." p1 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

"The composition, while adhering closely to the motif, is both more stable and more dynamic. Cézanne achieves stability by shifting the plane of the path at the bottom to a near horizontal, and creates tension by giving the forms a push to the left, not only by building up the patches, but also by tilting the trees gently leftward. He even straightens out the edge of the rock so as to make it participate in this movement." p102 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

Interesting book, thanks for mentioning it.


"A painter freed from the constraints of his imagination -- to reverse the more common metaphor -- has an infinity of visual realities to explore." p83 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

A smaller infinity :-)
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #125 on: January 29, 2013, 03:54:55 PM »

...do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).

He seems to be using words in an ordinary way and expressing a straightforward quite-modest distinction -- but maybe you think Rob is indulging in curator speak :-)

Quote
A useful approach to the pictures in this exhibition is to see them as made, not taken. A picture is "taken" by discovering or selecting an already-existing subject and accurately transcribing it, revealing and exploring a fragment of the real world. The result is essentially a record and commemoration of a specific time and place -- e.g., a "decisive moment" (Henri Cartier-Bresson) or a "supreme instant" (Edward Weston) of reality. This so-called straight or pure photograph bears with it the presumption of truth, in part because of photography's scientific origin as light traced on paper, its reaffirmation of Renaissance perspective, and our widely shared cultural proclivity to believe in the verifiable objectivity of photographs. This credibility is ultimately based on the photographer's seeming lack of interference with the subject.
...
In "made" pictures, the photoartists ... creates or otherwise affects the subject photographed. This activity takes a variety of forms. He or she may arrange or fabricate objects or environments specifically for the camera ... Others subvert traditional (portrait and landscape) styles, often inventing new ones ... Still others photograph themselves or others in highly stylized or fictive roles, involving allegory, genre, myth, ritual, fantasy, and illusion. ...

The Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980s p9-11
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 04:14:13 PM by Isaac »
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #126 on: January 30, 2013, 03:12:14 PM »

Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

Thanks Slobodan - and can I say your Vermeer(esque) image of your beautiful daughter (I believe) is remarkable..!

Dave, I can't believe I am telling you this since I thought of you as one of the more intuitive photographers, non-scientist types

Yes I agree it is odd of me to feel that I needed do this, but I have this weird thing you see, whereby I've always found it difficult to remember things. I found the only way I could keep something in my head, is if I fully understood it. I soon realised at school, that if I needed to know something to pass an exam for instance, then I needed to fully understand how it worked and why it worked, rather than just being able to rely on my memory telling me what did what, as everyone else seemed able to do.

My wife tells me that I analyse everything to death..

Dave
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 07:13:53 PM by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #127 on: January 30, 2013, 11:33:25 PM »

Curator-speak. There's lots of it about. It's often much more entertaining or even, dare I say it, creative than the artwork; perhaps it is the atwork.

Without curators whispering their words of commercial magic into the ears of the half-opened chequebooks, would art survive? Would there even still be such a concept? Probably not. Cave drawings? Nobody knows why - maybe even they had curators...

Rob C
International Art English is the phrase you are looking for.
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #128 on: January 30, 2013, 11:39:40 PM »

I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.
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markd61

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #129 on: January 31, 2013, 12:22:39 AM »

I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.

I did not read all the posts here as it seemed to be a lot of noise not moving anyone in any particular direction.

My bit of noise:
Creativity can be found almost anywhere but cannot be put on like  a hat. It is the natural consequence of the process of problem solving. Some activities seem more creative than others but that almost always stems from the surprise to the observer.

I like to make photographs and I hope the next will be better than the last. The struggle to do that is the creativity and that is what makes it fun. Drawing a box around what we do through rules reduces the endeavor to a contest.
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #130 on: January 31, 2013, 11:35:47 AM »

I did not read all the posts here as it seemed to be a lot of noise not moving anyone in any particular direction.

Perhaps if you had read all the posts you might be better able to judge whether or not anyone moved in any particular direction ;-)

As it happens, I changed my opinion.

Rob C. has expressed similar views on other occasions but I didn't take the trouble to question him and understand what he was saying. This time I did -- he's being quite literal about the difference between bringing something new into existence, and selecting and recording (however skillfully) something that already exists.

tl;dr make(+take) versus take

In the context of landscape photography, we should ask whether Andy Goldsworthy's photographs show what Rob means by photographic creativity.


Creativity can be found almost anywhere ...
Doesn't that very much depend on what you mean by creativity?
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #131 on: January 31, 2013, 12:35:58 PM »

Rob C. has expressed similar views on other occasions but I didn't take the trouble to question him and understand what he was saying. This time I did -- he's being quite literal about the difference between bringing something new into existence, and selecting and recording (however skillfully) something that already exists.
tl:dr make(+take) versus take
Creativity can often be spurred on by limitations. Here's a landscape, I can't alter it, but what can I do to make it interesting or different is one such limitation. Here's a studio with a single lighting setup is another limitation. And the fact that some people can produce stunning images within those limitations and others cannot shows a creative/artistic skill in that arena.

Photographs where you can add whatever you want into the frame is to my mind simply another type of creative skill, a very different skill certainly. Some people are very good at that yet not so hot when faced with a stunning vista. And vice versa. Not too many excel at both. I recently saw a portrait photographer who does very complex composite images where everything is brought into the frame, admit he cannot capture landscapes to save his life

One could takes Rob's idea elsewhere and also argue that people who photograph stunning models who are nicely made up in exotic locations [ahem Rob] are not as creative as those who produce beautiful pictures of ordinary people without the aid of a MUA or a Jamaican beach.  ;)

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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #132 on: January 31, 2013, 03:10:00 PM »

One could takes Rob's idea elsewhere and also argue that people who photograph stunning models who are nicely made up in exotic locations [ahem Rob] are not as creative as those who produce beautiful pictures of ordinary people without the aid of a MUA or a Jamaican beach.  ;)

Please show how you would make that argument, here's "Rob's idea" --

The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #133 on: January 31, 2013, 05:25:35 PM »

Please show how you would make that argument
In the first sort of situation I mentioned, the art director may well have arranged the shoot, the MUA would have titivated the girls, who were chosen by art director/casting agent. The photographer merely captured what was then placed in front of him.  :P
But my point was more about the fact it's a lot easier to create a pretty picture under those conditions than for someone photographing an ordinary person in a dismal location with no MUA. And more creativity may well be required by the photographer as a result to get a good shot.


Quote
here's "Rob's idea"
The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.
My quick answer to that is Rob doesn't really understand the term.  :)
Or he has his own definition, that suits his own particular world view. Rob to my mind, has quite a narrow view of of what art/creativity is from discussions in both in this discussion and previously in other threads.

That aside, the mere fact of taking a photograph is active interference, as you decide where to stand, what settings to use, what composition etc, let alone post processing work - all that is altering how the final product will look/be perceived as what you are doing is giving your perspective on what you photographed. But I don't think Rob meant that.
Basically it would seem according to Rob's argument, that unless the photographer had a hand in placing things in front of the camera, there is no creativity involved as you are simply recording the scene as it is. And in doing so dismisses most photography as snapshots it would seem.

[Besides at the end of the day whoever is viewing the shot will rarely give a toss about the story of making the picture, as it's not relevant most of the time. Is it a good photo or is is not a good photo? That's all that counts to the person viewing the image.
Photographers all too often favour photos that were difficult to take and that can bias them regarding a shot's worth.]
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #134 on: January 31, 2013, 07:25:17 PM »

The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.

My quick answer to that is Rob doesn't really understand the term.  :)
Or he has his own definition, that suits his own particular world view.

Rob C. said very clearly, that was his sense/understanding of the term.

Yet you accuse him of not understanding what it means, without saying what you understand that term or "creativity" to mean.



And in doing so dismisses most photography as snapshots it would seem.

Only if you think snapshots require "acute observational and technical skills" --

I own several different books on landscape, and I do accept that it takes a helluva lot of skill to produce what some do; but creativity? I don't think so, just acute observational and technical skills.
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #135 on: January 31, 2013, 08:38:41 PM »

Snapshots can be technically good you know. Mine usually are.  ;D
Snapshots to most people are simply reminders of where they've been or what they did and for most people they are the most important photos as they are their memories. And by Rob's definition landscapes are snapshots as they are just records of where the photographer stood as there is no creativity in them.

What do I think demonstrates photographic creativity? It's like musical creativity, it expresses itself in different ways.
Some people can write music; some people can sing and transform a written piece of music into something quite wonderful; some people can improvise with others amazingly, yet not be much cop at sitting down and writing on their own.
Regardless of process all take a bunch of notes and move us in some way with the end result.

Some photographers can take beautiful shots; some can take what other simply see as insipid looking raw files or negatives and transform them into stunning images/prints; some do still life; some see little details on the street that everyone else misses; some create entire tableaus from scratch including the lighting.
Regardless of process all take a bunch of photons and move us in some way with the end result.

But what muddies things slightly with photography is that almost every one takes photographs and numerous people without talent foist their photography upon the world. This dilutes the view of photography being a process that requires ability. Particularly as you can now simply apply a preset that an actual person with some skill has devised to give you a funky retro styled photo.

As for landscape simply showing observational skill, well I'd say that it a very important part of being creative. Observing the world in ways others do not and then putting your own stamp on it.
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jjj

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #136 on: January 31, 2013, 09:02:37 PM »

As it happens I came across some landscape shots after reading this thread earlier.
So are these creative or not? After all they both look very different from each other, one being very high key and the other being very low key. Both are B+W and as we know the world is actually in colour so straight away they look quite different to real life.






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Tony Jay

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #137 on: February 01, 2013, 02:50:13 AM »

As it happens I came across some landscape shots after reading this thread earlier.
So are these creative or not? ...






No argument from me!

Tony Jay
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #138 on: February 01, 2013, 11:54:52 AM »

Snapshots can be technically good you know. Mine usually are.  ;D
Snapshots to most people are simply reminders of where they've been or what they did and for most people they are the most important photos as they are their memories.

Let's remember that you are the person who started talking about "snapshots" and you are the person who suggested it would be dismissive to describe most photography as "snapshots".


And by Rob's definition landscapes are snapshots as they are just records of where the photographer stood as there is no creativity in them.

No, "Rob's definition" said nothing about "snapshots"; and the usual definitions of "snapshots" don't mention "creativity" -- "a casual photograph taken quickly with a small hand-camera".


What do I think demonstrates photographic creativity?

No -- What do you understand "photographic creativity" or "creativity" to mean?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 12:18:12 PM by Isaac »
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #139 on: February 01, 2013, 12:13:36 PM »

So are these creative or not?
Depends what you mean by "creative".




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