Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Chris Calohan on October 02, 2016, 07:53:03 pm

Title: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 02, 2016, 07:53:03 pm
And aren't you glad she isn't your daughter?
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 03, 2016, 03:12:36 pm
Look on the bright side: they might be on honeymoon.

;-)

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 03, 2016, 08:56:23 pm
Look on the bright side: they might be on honeymoon.

;-)

Rob
Or maybe they just met, and . . .    ;)
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 03, 2016, 10:12:58 pm
I liked the clothing strewn about with little care, an aftermath of what might have taken place earlier.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: GrahamBy on October 04, 2016, 10:28:10 am
I don't have a daughter, but if I did I might be happy for her to be enjoying her life.

Then I might have some concerns about the level of invasion of privacy involved in this photo: yes, most street photography is voyeuristic, but this one is starting to make me uncomfortable.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: graeme on October 04, 2016, 10:29:21 am
I don't have a daughter, but if I did I might be happy for her to be enjoying her life.

Then I might have some concerns about the level of invasion of privacy involved in this photo: yes, most street photography is voyeuristic, but this one is starting to make me uncomfortable.

+1
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 04, 2016, 10:52:32 am
+1

They are laying on a public beach in full sight of the whole world. If they didn't want their actions scrutinized by anyone, they should have gotten a motel room. Is it any different than a couple kissing at an outside cafe or strolling down the avenue?

I wonder if your daughter were 15 and this was her, would you have those same emotions?
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: GrahamBy on October 04, 2016, 12:07:46 pm
The celebrated photos of kissing couples by eg Doisneau were staged, using student actors. Teenagers are in a vulnerable position since they typically can't afford to "get a motel room". Teenage girls, and women in general, are subject to "slut shaming" by their peers and by supposed guardians of moral values: putting a photo like that into the public domain risks creating repercussions for the subjects.

Of course that's not the case for the famous victory day parade photo... but we now know that was a sexual assault: fortunately the woman was not easily identifiable.

Returning to Doineau, he noted that "any couple kissing like that are unlikely to be married... to each other."

I have a very close friend with 16 yo daughters and she'd be far more concerned about them being photographed in the arms of a boy than about them being in the arms of a boy... right or wrong.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Otto Phocus on October 04, 2016, 12:44:17 pm
Normally, I find that shadows add a lot to a photograph.  However, in this instance, I find the shadows distracting.  But, when using natural light, you have to use what you have.   ;D
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 04, 2016, 04:13:48 pm
The celebrated photos of kissing couples by eg Doisneau were staged, using student actors. Teenagers are in a vulnerable position since they typically can't afford to "get a motel room". Teenage girls, and women in general, are subject to "slut shaming" by their peers and by supposed guardians of moral values: putting a photo like that into the public domain risks creating repercussions for the subjects.

Of course that's not the case for the famous victory day parade photo... but we now know that was a sexual assault: fortunately the woman was not easily identifiable.

Returning to Doineau, he noted that "any couple kissing like that are unlikely to be married... to each other."

I have a very close friend with 16 yo daughters and she'd be far more concerned about them being photographed in the arms of a boy than about them being in the arms of a boy... right or wrong.


Changing mores, but Eisie was fast, nonetheless!
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: GrahamBy on October 06, 2016, 10:51:52 am

Changing mores, but Eisie was fast, nonetheless!

Indeed. There was one WW2 photo, of a soldier kissing a nurse, where the photographer knew that one or both were married elsewhere: he embargoed the photo until after the likely death of the participants (and their spouses). I can't remember if it was one of Eisenstadt's penn Station series, or from somewhere else entirely. Can anyone help me out?
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on October 06, 2016, 12:03:55 pm
A few thoughts:

1. I live near a beach, and I see a few young people in such poses when I go out shooting early in the morning. Clearly, they spent the night in the beach. As long as they are consenting adults, and have the required protection, it's all good.

2. For some reason or other, I never take a photo of them, I would be intruding. Also, I see no interest, other than as a potential documentary series of some sort. The fact that they are in a public place, does not mean that necessarily one has to take a photo.

3. The OP photo may tell a story, and is open to interpretation. That is good, a photo with people on it should tell a story.

4. I would think hard before publishing the photo publicly, as the folks in it may get into trouble. At the minimum, try to identify them and tell about your intentions. People can easily get labelled these days... even the OP was almost called "voyeur" for taking the shot, which has a negative connotation.

5. I have a 16y old daughter, I would have no trouble with such a behaviour from her, she is entitled to enjoy life. She is a healthy and balanced young adult. I would have trouble of a similar photo depicting her being published, I would contact the photographer and ask for a bit more detail about potential harmful uses of the photo.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 06, 2016, 12:35:09 pm
It's always a judgement call for such a shot. Had I of titled it something more toward the voyeuristic side, possibly some social gaffing toward me. Public spaces are open to pretty much anything. My thoughts are if you don't want the public prying into your actions, then get a room. The shot of the lady and her naked child is also a judgement call. She was on a public beach and I was exceptionally careful not to show anything close to a frontal view. For that shot, it was all about the careful allowance of freedom for the baby. This shot was because it seemed almost like a cut from a movie scene where there is a frenzied disrobing to get down to the nitty gritty. They were pretty much fully clothed, best I could tell, but the haphazard placement of clothes spoke to the movie shot; so I took it. That's the filmmaker in me.

Almost any street shot is invasive and to a large degree holds to the sense of voyeurism. It is that which makes the shot interesting. True, there are scenes where there is a more juxtaposed scenario of man and object but still, making shot invades that person's persona and personal space.

That one might hold me in some sort of accountability for making the shot, I go back to the first tenet of being in the public eye: don't do anything you don't want others to see....especially in the time of digital cameras, phones, etc.

I should note that I find Europeans have a much less concerned view on the behavior of their young people. I agree with it but I still try to stay within a reasonable band of American mores in how I approach these kinds of shots. I would have my daughter's hide for such a public demonstration. Fortunately, she is now 43 and not my worry in that realm any more.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 06, 2016, 04:26:16 pm
Chris, I think you're reading slightly more into the comments here than is meant (or I'm going the other way!). Any concerns I have are that it can get you slightly tarred, even though there appears no clear reason to do that. The problem is that children are children and vulnerable, and young people are in a kind of limbo state where they are neither one thing nor the other, so best leave 'em alone and avoid the mines. This ain't the 40s nor the 50s. New rules; less open today, even in Europe.

Voyeurism is absolutely at the heart of street; it has to be, or why would anyone want to do it? It's really just a sort of urban hunting with a little thrill of getting caught, but probably not of being eaten or trampled to death. That's the single most obvious reason why people feel so disappointed when they discover some iconic photograph that they wish they'd made turns out to have been staged. She-it! Death of another dream.

The other good reason for doing street is that it sharpens your reflexes. (I bet few Leica M3 stars knew that; never mind, it wasn't that good.)

Personally, I'm a bit too chicken for it, and living in a tourist zone, don't find many visually interesting people to photograph. They mostly look alike, dress boringly badly, are lumpy, almost never beautiful and not what I want to sit in front of a monitor to play with. Were I in Rome, Milan, Paris, London, Cannes, New York, who knows. At least there would be hope! Even a plain woman but with bags of style is hugely interesting material. Men, I never find interesting. Artists and musos are excluded, though, as they have something else that can make them worthy of the trouble: possibly if they are already well-known, their aura rubs off onto your pics. And an impresive instrument (musical) aways lends glamour.

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 12, 2016, 03:09:12 pm
I'm too chicken for street as well. Yes this photo makes me a little uncomfortable from the voyeur standpoint and the content. But that's just me an not a criticism at all. After all, I love Sally Mann's work and it also makes me uncomfortable.

On the other hand, completely agree: public beach, broad daylight, etc etc. Further, this generation is, or should be, utterly at ease with the notion that every aspect of their lives is being recorded digitally. My kids are 22 and 25. I told them both in high school that they need to understand that virtually anywhere they go and anything they do they will be recorded whether they are comfortable with the idea or not. That's just life in the 2010s.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 12, 2016, 04:31:52 pm
Hi George, Hate to say it because I often like Chris's work, but what you're seeing here isn't good street. Good street isn't voyeuristic. That's why pictures of sleeping hoboes simply aren't good street. To be good street there simply has to be something going on. Here there's nothing going on except two kids lying in the sand. It's pure reportage.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 12, 2016, 05:03:31 pm
I will take some umbrage with that, Russ. There is eye contact and they are in an embrace. There is a hint of a hurriedness to get where they are evidenced by the haphazard placement of clothing and shoes. Had I shot them through curtains in the privacy of their home, I would wholeheartedly agree, but these kids were in full open view with obvious lack of care as to who or what was around them. For me, it was a capture of their time in their space. Maybe it is the word, voyeur that has me a bit testy as to me that represents an invasion of privacy; in that context there would be that peeping Tom element which really doesn't exist here - well, in my mind, it doesn't. I am open for further discussion.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: stamper on October 13, 2016, 04:51:54 am
Personally speaking I don't regard this as Street. Then again Street is difficult to define. I think there is a voyeuristic element in the image but I am not going to criticize the taking of the image. The members who think they are chicken don't need to practice Street using a prime lens and getting close up to people and possibly annoying them. If every Street photographer done this then all the the images would look similar. Joel Meyerowitz realised this early on in his career and stopped mingling with the crowd and let them pass him by. A small good quality zoom on a mirrorless camera can be used and standing a little way back from the flow of people is possible. However Street purists will argue that you are being furtive. I disagree. At the end of the day it isn't about how you do it. It is the end product that counts.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 13, 2016, 08:52:40 am
I will take some umbrage with that, Russ. There is eye contact and they are in an embrace. There is a hint of a hurriedness to get where they are evidenced by the haphazard placement of clothing and shoes. Had I shot them through curtains in the privacy of their home, I would wholeheartedly agree, but these kids were in full open view with obvious lack of care as to who or what was around them. For me, it was a capture of their time in their space. Maybe it is the word, voyeur that has me a bit testy as to me that represents an invasion of privacy; in that context there would be that peeping Tom element which really doesn't exist here - well, in my mind, it doesn't. I am open for further discussion.


Yeah, Chris, but the eye contact is between the chick and his shades, not with you.

They are in an embrace, indeed, but that makes it possibly less reason to invade, though of course I understand that ˇs the prime motivator in going click!

Thing is, this sort of photography is double-edged: it's fun to do but also not really very kind.

That other guys got famous for doing it is not justifiction, either. For one thing, they were doing something then new and had the justification of that, but today...

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 13, 2016, 08:56:30 am
Chris, I think an image can look voyeuristic even when the intent is not. For me, the voyeuristic feel of this image comes from the perspective. It looks like it was taken from a standing position above two reclining figures. To me that has a voyeuristic feel to it. This does not imply you did anything wrong from a moral perspective.

In fact, I can see her eyes and there is no doubt that she could see you. She does not seem concerned with you.

Russ, I have no real strong opinions regarding street photography since I don't like doing it and am not particularly fond of it anyway, but your criteria seem a little stringent for a style as broad as street photography. On the other hand, to say that this photo is not 'street' is not really a criticism either. So not being 'street' for whatever reason is fine. There is no requirement for a candid outdoor photo to be 'street'. In my mind that classification neither elevates or demeans an image. In this regard, I agree with stamper, its the image that counts, not how we classify it.

I think this is a timely, well executed image, but in the end its only real appeal to me is my own voyeuristic impulse when I look at it.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Patricia Sheley on October 13, 2016, 09:12:31 am
"At the end of the day it isn't about how you do it. It is the end product that counts." (Quote Stamper)

Machiavelli, turns out, informs more than discomforts with humanity. Who knew? While I find this particular stance of "observer/recorder" discomfiting,as a mother, grandmother and child advocate, certainly has triggered consideration of societal "norms" and self justified permissions~
p.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: GrahamBy on October 13, 2016, 09:18:28 am
its the image that counts, not how we classify it.

Plus one.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 13, 2016, 09:48:32 am
Sorry you're offended, Chris. We probably need another lunch at Beef 'o' Brady's. This time I'll buy the beer.

But I stand by what I said. I'm not going to get into an extended argument about what street photography is and what it isn't. To find out what it is you need to look and look and look at the pictures of people like HCB -- especially his early work where he was doing straight street rather than photojournalism. You can't quite wrap words around this stuff. It's like Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography. "I know it when I see it," adding that he couldn't give it a precise definition. And, as Stamper points out, classification doesn't matter. It's the image that  counts.

One thing you'll find in the work of the masters of street: there's very little voyeurism. You almost never come across a picture that says, simply, "See the kind of crap this person or these people are doing." For instance, I can't think of a single "hee hee hee" picture by Elliott Erwitt. On the other hand, he did plenty of really funny stuff that was street at its best. There are plenty of "hee hee hee" shots around by people who think they're doing street, but don't really know what it is. There are books by these people. A classic one  is The World Atlas of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins, who besides coming up with an over-the-top, self-congratulatory title, evidently thinks a picture of a street is street photography.

And George, I'm sorry to hear you don't like street. To me it's photography's main raison d'ętre. When you get away from the relationships between people and other people and their artifacts you're better off putting away the camera and taking up brush and canvas.

And Chris, from a technical point of view the picture is fine.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 13, 2016, 10:14:57 am
But I stand by what I said. I'm not going to get into an extended argument about what street photography is and what it isn't. To find out what it is you need to look and look and look at the pictures of people like HCB --

Maybe I'm not taking this the right way. But I would never say to someone that they need to know Ansel Adams through and through in order to define what landscape photography is. I think anyone aspiring to landscape photography should study Adam's work but I would not suggest that his work defines it even though I am a great fan of it.

And for the record, I like HCB's work. And I do appreciate street photography. But at the end of the day it is not what I'm drawn to. Simply a matter of preference and my preference holds no weight in regard to the 'legitimacy' of any genre.

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And George, I'm sorry to hear you don't like street.

Don't be sorry. I find other genre's to be quite fulfilling both as one who appreciates and participates in photography.

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To me it's photography's main raison d'ętre. When you get away from the relationships between people and other people and their artifacts you're better off putting away the camera and taking up brush and canvas.

I'm assuming this is meant to be intentionally provocative and would indeed be great fun to discuss.  :) And, it is qualified by "To me..." ;)

But it is also interesting how you described 'street' photography: "relationships between people and other people and their artifacts"

That is pretty dang broad a description there and conflicts with your much narrower criteria above. Portrait photography would qualify here. There is always a relationship between the portrait subject and the photographer. And then there are the artifacts. I'm fond of industrial landscape photography. The machinery and architecture implicitly show aspects about how people relate. But I suspect you did not intend these two genres to fall within your criteria and I would certainly not call a portrait of a person or an old mill 'street' photography.

As for all other forms needing to be abandoned for the brush and canvas, well, provocative as it may be surely cannot be seriously defended. But again, a wonderful starter for a good conversation.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 13, 2016, 10:18:06 am
Sorry you're offended, Chris. We probably need another lunch at Beef 'o' Brady's. This time I'll buy the beer.

But I stand by what I said. I'm not going to get into an extended argument about what street photography is and what it isn't. To find out what it is you need to look and look and look at the pictures of people like HCB -- especially his early work where he was doing straight street rather than photojournalism. You can't quite wrap words around this stuff. It's like Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography. "I know it when I see it," adding that he couldn't give it a precise definition. And, as Stamper points out, classification doesn't matter. It's the image that  counts.

One thing you'll find in the work of the masters of street: there's very little voyeurism. You almost never come across a picture that says, simply, "See the kind of crap this person or these people are doing." For instance, I can't think of a single "hee hee hee" picture by Elliott Erwitt. On the other hand, he did plenty of really funny stuff that was street at its best. There are plenty of "hee hee hee" shots around by people who think they're doing street, but don't really know what it is. There are books by these people. A classic one  is The World Atlas of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins, who besides coming up with an over-the-top, self-congratulatory title, evidently thinks a picture of a street is street photography.

And George, I'm sorry to hear you don't like street. To me it's photography's main raison d'ętre. When you get away from the relationships between people and other people and their artifacts you're better off putting away the camera and taking up brush and canvas.

And Chris, from a technical point of view the picture is fine.

That says it all for me. It's people that count, and that can be commercial, hobby, whatever it takes or you can reach. People are alive and part of what each of us is; the rest is just habitat. We are the interesting bits.

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 13, 2016, 10:59:54 am
Right on, as usual, Rob.

And George, a relationship between portrait photographer and subject isn't part of the photograph. It's like something I wrote long ago about poetry and "Piss Christ." http://www.russ-lewis.com/Poetry/Preface.html. Once the image is complete the creator of the image is out of the picture (to coin a phrase), and the results is the result is the result.

And yes, I almost always intend to be provocative. It's what leads to discussion, which, in turn, leads to enlightenment. I agree that my definition of street was too broad. Unfortunately, as I said, words can't quite wrap around what we're trying to discuss. There's nothing wrong with a picture of someone standing alone. Seamus recently did an informal portrait that's a splendid piece of work. But it's not street, and I'm sure he'd agree. Machinery standing alone can be interesting, but it's a long way from street. It's usually reportage, though Charles Sheeler could turn it into art.

In street photography I always come back to ambiguity. Though I don't think a picture absolutely has to have ambiguity to be street, I do think a picture has to have ambiguity to be really good street. There has to be a story there. But that's true of the pictures in your newspaper. What takes a picture over the edge into good street is when there's a hint -- maybe even more than a hint -- but you have to provide "closure."

No, other forms don't need to be abandoned for brush and canvas, but other forms almost always fall short if they're in competition with someone who really knows what he's doing with brush and canvas. Problem is, with a camera you're constrained by the subject. When you're painting you're only constrained by what's in your head.


Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 13, 2016, 11:14:00 am
I am rarely offended though I occasionally do get miffed - sniff, sniff. I think what you've said as to ambiguity does take this shot out of the context of HCB Street by whatever or whoever coined the definition. I shall endeavor to grow closer to a more indefinite approach and less toward street journalism.

Thank you and everyone for your comments, suggestions and for helping me to define this odd genre called, "street."
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 13, 2016, 12:16:13 pm
New category: Sand photography (or Beach photography, if you prefer.)

In its category, it's perfectly acceptable.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 13, 2016, 12:16:38 pm

And George, a relationship between portrait photographer and subject isn't part of the photograph.

I couldn't disagree more. Just because the photographer is unseen does not diminish evidence of the relationship. Besides, there is no rule that street photography contain more than one person right?

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Once the image is complete the creator of the image is out of the picture (to coin a phrase), and the results is the result is the result.
Okay, I was wrong. I can disagree more and do so here. To me one of the defining aspects of what good art is, is the perfectly presented intent of the artist whether it be obvious, obscure or even cryptic. This is not to say that people will see every image the same way, but the high mark of art is beauty and intent in perfect harmony. And where intent is perceived the artist remains present.

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And yes, I almost always intend to be provocative. It's what leads to discussion, which, in turn, leads to enlightenment.

And it is a pleasure.

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I agree that my definition of street was too broad. Unfortunately, as I said, words can't quite wrap around what we're trying to discuss.

I disagree here too. I think words can do the job. Not saying words are limitless...nothing is...but the right person can usually get the job done. But those are special people just like all good artists.

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In street photography I always come back to ambiguity.

You will probably not be surprised that I probably value ambiguity a good bit less than you seem to. I don't dislike it, but it has to be used precisely and in very small doses in my opinion. I think your use of the word 'hint' is what I'm getting at.

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No, other forms don't need to be abandoned for brush and canvas, but other forms almost always fall short if they're in competition with someone who really knows what he's doing with brush and canvas. Problem is, with a camera you're constrained by the subject.

And why would street photography be immune from this constraint?

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When you're painting you're only constrained by what's in your head.

True. But that can lead to Pollack and other pointless drivel. And it is quite possible to present abstraction in photography which though still limited by subject matter is not significantly more limited than the physical constraints imposed by the medium like canvas and paint.

Wonderful talking with you about this. I am enlightened. Don't misinterpret lack of replies with disinterest but I'm off to my cabin in the woods with no internet and then off to the race track with no time for internet....though I may have time for a few motorsports shots when I'm not in the car.............maybe some paddock shots will approach the context of street photography. ;)
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 13, 2016, 04:10:13 pm
Well, we obviously disagree on many points, George, and on several of them we'll just have to disagree. But I'll have to respond to some of this.

I just checked my web logs for today and I can see you didn't click on the web link I gave you. So with reference to the relationship between an artist and his art let me quote myself from the preface to my poetry collection:

"During a debate in the mid nineties I remember being informed that Piss Christ, a taxpayer-subsidized photograph of a crucifix-in-a-jar-of-urine fobbed off on the public as a 'work of art,' would become understandable, even agreeable if only I could take into account the emotional state and intent of the 'artist' at the time he produced the 'work.' To which I replied that the effectiveness of a work of art has no more to do with the artist’s intent and state of mind than the effectiveness of a human has to do with the umbilical cord that sustained him before birth. The result is the result is the result. If it hasn’t a life of its own then it’s dead and ought to be buried. And I suspect Piss Christ had begun to smell even before it was born."

I'll say it again. The "intent of the artist" has absolutely nothing to do with what's in the art. Oh, the intent of the artist is what creates and shapes the work, but once the work is "born" the artist and his "intent" are out of the picture.

The reason street is immune from the rule I laid down about the difference between photography and painting is that though a painter can do wonderful work in the same vein as the street photographer (Degas's "La Absinthe" for example) the immediacy of the image as a reflection of reality is lost.

And as far as Pollack is concerned, if you've read the stuff I've written on here you'll know I agree with  you one-hundred percent. What comes out of a painter's (or in this case, a dripper's) head depends on the head, and it's quite possible to have rattles on canvas from a rattling head. Unfortunately, wealthy buyers seem not to understand the difference.

I agree, George. This kind of discussion is a pleasure -- unlike some of the political "discussions" on LuLa. I, too, become enlightened from this kind of thing.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 18, 2016, 10:06:34 am

"During a debate in the mid nineties I remember being informed that Piss Christ, a taxpayer-subsidized photograph of a crucifix-in-a-jar-of-urine fobbed off on the public as a 'work of art,' would become understandable, even agreeable if only I could take into account the emotional state and intent of the 'artist' at the time he produced the 'work.'

I agree that this is a weak justification for that piece of art, which I well remember. But that is because it was a poorly executed work of 'art', not because artistic intent is irrelevant.

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To which I replied that the effectiveness of a work of art has no more to do with the artist’s intent and state of mind than the effectiveness of a human has to do with the umbilical cord that sustained him before birth. The result is the result is the result.

I understand your point but that's not really an apt analogy. It is too complex. A child can be conceived and born with no intent at all. A child can be conceived, born, raised, shaped, nurtured and developed with varying levels and effectiveness of intent.

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If it hasn’t a life of its own then it’s dead and ought to be buried.

Completely agree. But there is no rule that says artistic intent renders a work of art any less alive or that the intent dies at conception. In my opinion, if intent is rendered irrelevant that is just one among many characteristics of a lesser work.  And I think that is the heart of our disagreement.

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I'll say it again. The "intent of the artist" has absolutely nothing to do with what's in the art. Oh, the intent of the artist is what creates and shapes the work, but once the work is "born" the artist and his "intent" are out of the picture.

And I will say again that this is a sign of a lesser work. And it is clear that we will not change one another's mind on this approach to art. And I will admit that my view is informed more by literature and music than visual art, but I would never hold visual arts to a lesser standard than music and literature.

But here is something to think about. Your view is constrained compared to mine. You have removed the significance of intent. In my view you have both. There is no constraint. The artist has something to say, he says it well (which usually means with subtlety and nuance and in a way that is immune to time and relativism) AND the work is broadened by what the viewer brings to it. In my view, the work is not diminished by sophistry but it is elevated by the informed viewer. Its intent is never lost. The great paintings bear this out. Can you look at a Goya and NOT see what he was trying to tell you? You certainly can't read Faulkner or Flannery O'Conner and miss their intent. If you have, you might as well be reading the back of a cereal box and assigning it whatever meaning you wish.


The reason street is immune from the rule I laid down about the difference between photography and painting is that though a painter can do wonderful work in the same vein as the street photographer (Degas's "La Absinthe" for example) the immediacy of the image as a reflection of reality is lost.

And as far as Pollack is concerned, if you've read the stuff I've written on here you'll know I agree with  you one-hundred percent. What comes out of a painter's (or in this case, a dripper's) head depends on the head, and it's quite possible to have rattles on canvas from a rattling head. Unfortunately, wealthy buyers seem not to understand the difference.

I agree, George. This kind of discussion is a pleasure -- unlike some of the political "discussions" on LuLa. I, too, become enlightened from this kind of thing.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Otto Phocus on October 18, 2016, 11:41:49 am
New category: Sand photography (or Beach photography, if you prefer.)

In its category, it's perfectly acceptable.

Sand photography?   A little too gritty for me.   ;D
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 18, 2016, 01:20:56 pm
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But here is something to think about. Your view is constrained compared to mine. You have removed the significance of intent. In my view you have both. There is no constraint. The artist has something to say, he says it well (which usually means with subtlety and nuance and in a way that is immune to time and relativism) AND the work is broadened by what the viewer brings to it. In my view, the work is not diminished by sophistry but it is elevated by the informed viewer. Its intent is never lost. The great paintings bear this out. Can you look at a Goya and NOT see what he was trying to tell you? You certainly can't read Faulkner or Flannery O'Conner and miss their intent. If you have, you might as well be reading the back of a cereal box and assigning it whatever meaning you wish.

First, I'd say that there's very little immune to time and relativism. Twenty some years ago I wrote an essay for a discussion group that deals with that point among others: http://www.russ-lewis.com/essays/acrisisofsoul.html.

As far as intent is concerned, suppose the artist intends to sculpt a horse but the result looks like a cow. At that point his intent is meaningless. On the other hand the cow may be a very good cow, and if the artist is smart, he'll tell the world he intended to sculpt a cow. What I'm saying, again, is: the result is the result is the result, and once the result is there the artist's intent is out of the picture.

I'd go further with what the viewer brings to the work. Once the artist has spoken he's either made his case or he hasn't, and whether or not he has depends almost entirely on the viewer. The effectiveness of any work of art will vary from viewer to viewer, or in the case of music listener to listener. It all depends on your background. And yes, I think you can read Faulkner or look at a Goya and miss the point. The situation's probably clearer in music. Somebody who's background is rock probably is going to miss the point of Wagner or Chopin or Rachmaninoff. The reader who buys magazines at the grocery story checkout probably is going to put down Faulkner after the first paragraph and move on to cereal boxes.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 18, 2016, 03:59:09 pm
First, I'd say that there's very little immune to time and relativism.

Again, I disagree. I'm not claiming that there is no effect, but neither time nor relativism can alter truly good art. That is yet another measure of what is good. Is it timeless? There is much good art that remains so.

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As far as intent is concerned, suppose the artist intends to sculpt a horse but the result looks like a cow.

Then he is a poor artist and has produced poor art. You can claim that someone might find 'goodness' in what they see as a cow. That's valid. But I could write you a perfectly rational argument on the merits of the cross in the jar of urine too. And you'd be forced, by your logic to accept that as equally valid.

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At that point his intent is meaningless.

No, the meaning is that he did not have the talent, skill or vision to artfully express his intent.

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On the other hand the cow may be a very good cow, and if the artist is smart, he'll tell the world he intended to sculpt a cow.

This is problematic in several ways. First, if intent is meaningless the artist has no reason to tell what his intent was. Second, it is dishonest. And in reality, even in this fanciful example, no matter how cow-like the work is, that dishonesty will be apparent. And this is another marker of inferior art.

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What I'm saying, again, is: the result is the result is the result, and once the result is there the artist's intent is out of the picture.

You keep saying that but you have not shown why it is true. There are ton's of examples of how it is not true. Particularly in literature but as much so in photography as well. You can choose to ignore intent, but that does not mean it isn't there or that it does not matter. And it is similar to the examples you cite below in regard to someone missing the point of Faulkner or Goya. That viewer or reader has made a mistake.

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Once the artist has spoken he's either made his case or he hasn't

No, no , no. You cannot have it both ways. You say intent is meaningless. Any attempt at making a 'point' is artistic intent. By your view the artist cannot make his case since his intent is, by your reckoning, irrelevant.

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and whether or not he has [made his case] depends almost entirely on the viewer. The effectiveness of any work of art will vary from viewer to viewer

Yes. Art without the viewer, listener, reader is in a vacuum and is not art. But this does not absolve the viewer from making incorrect or unsupportable assessments of the art. There is a burden on the artist AND the viewer to get things right. If I read Faulkner and find that his theme is the pattern of global plate tectonics then I have got it wrong. That is largely my point.

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It all depends on your background.

Yes. But that approach all devolves into mere opinion. And we all know the value of mere opinion.

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And yes, I think you can read Faulkner or look at a Goya and miss the point.

Thank you. Again, that is what I'm trying to say. Without intent there is no point.

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Somebody who's background is rock probably is going to miss the point of Wagner or Chopin or Rachmaninoff. The reader who buys magazines at the grocery story checkout probably is going to put down Faulkner after the first paragraph and move on to cereal boxes.

Correct. They are getting it wrong. If intent does not matter you cannot say this. If every opinion from every varied background carries the same weigh and legitimacy then all of them are valid. Thus, my expose extolling the glories of a jar of pee with a cross in it or social commentary of Pollack's inebriated half psychotic dribbles is just as valid as the cereal box reader dismissing Faulkner as "too hard to read".

(I'm sure we're boring the OP and others to death. Maybe there is a better place for this discussion?)
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 18, 2016, 04:21:03 pm
Again, I disagree. I'm not claiming that there is no effect, but neither time nor relativism can alter truly good art. That is yet another measure of what is good. Is it timeless? There is much good art that remains so.

I can see you didn't check the reference I gave you. That reference dealt with poetry and changes in language, but the same thing's true of visual art. The significance of the symbolism in visual art from many generations ago is forgotten, and without that, much if not all of the meaning is lost. In the reference we saw that the significance of the word, "tree" in the thirteenth century has been completely forgotten, and the result is a loss of meaning. To a lesser extent the same thing's true of human experience. Elliott's cab-horses and gas lamps in his preludes at least can be understood by people nowadays, but the experience simply isn't there and much of the meaning is lost.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 18, 2016, 05:17:19 pm
I can see you didn't check the reference I gave you. That reference dealt with poetry and changes in language, but the same thing's true of visual art. The significance of the symbolism in visual art from many generations ago is forgotten, and without that, much if not all of the meaning is lost. In the reference we saw that the significance of the word, "tree" in the thirteenth century has been completely forgotten, and the result is a loss of meaning. To a lesser extent the same thing's true of human experience. Elliott's cab-horses and gas lamps in his preludes at least can be understood by people nowadays, but the experience simply isn't there and much of the meaning is lost.


I remember - I think! - men going up ladders and turning on gas street lights; it seems to be at the end of WW2. I also remember 60s smog and getting home in the car by following tramlines; when you knew their route they were perfect guides when five feet marked the limits of your vision.

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: drmike on October 19, 2016, 02:22:19 am
I remember a pea souper fog in Windsor 20 miles from London where I bumped into someone who I simply couldn't see it was so thick. People forget what it was like and I just can't communicate how bad it could be to my grown up kids. To be fair it would have been one of the last I expect.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 19, 2016, 09:23:44 am
I guess then, given all the rhetoric pro and con, it still comes down to a judgement call. Is it art or is it "something" else? Art has challenged the social mores of every generation since the first depiction of Adam and Eve as I would be quite surprised to think they donned fig leaves in an attempt to be modest..since they were born without sin, modesty would not be an issue to them, only to the viewers of that art. Artists over the years have fought censorship and as a result, art has evolved. Social mores today, at least in the US lean more toward protecting the rights of children from undue exposition or exploitation and I have no issue with that concern. However, I think there comes a post prepubescent age when avoiding exposition becomes the responsibility of the person, not guaranteed by an implied right to privacy.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 19, 2016, 10:01:31 am
I can see you didn't check the reference I gave you.

Correct.

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The significance of the symbolism in visual art from many generations ago is forgotten, and without that, much if not all of the meaning is lost.

That assumes that no effort is made to apprehend the meaning. I do not believe art can be appreciated beyond pop culture without effort. And it is rather absurd to suggest that 'much' meaning is lost in great art like the statue of David or the Pieta. Has some meaning been lost? Maybe. Much of it? Obviously not. He who has eyes, let him see.

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Elliott's cab-horses and gas lamps in his preludes at least can be understood by people nowadays, but the experience simply isn't there and much of the meaning is lost.

This assumes that we can't understand things we have not experienced. If that is true art is useless.

But Elliott is an interesting example for you to use. Elliott's work may be the best example in poetry of authorial intent. His poetry is impossibly cryptic but he expects you to decipher it and know what he wanted you to know. Now, I don't particularly like Elliott's poetry. But I do like his literary criticism. In that regard he is akin to the New Critics (Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren) and the Agrarian Poets. Intent and the author's ability to express it is everything. So if Ezra Pound and Elliott carry any weight in the world of poetry (and they do of course), it will be difficult to use them as examples against the importance of intent and meaning. They are the poster children for artistic intent and its precise and skillful use that transcends time.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 19, 2016, 11:17:11 am
Hi George,

Since you didn't want to go to the source, here's the poem I used as reference for the loss of meaning since the thirteenth century:

Nou goth sonne under wode—
Me reweth, Marie, thi faire rode.
Nou goth sonne under tre—
Me reweth, Marie, thi sone and the

I'll admit that if you do some research and get a reasonable translation of that poem into more contemporary English you can "understand" the poem. But that's not the same thing as reading it and feeling the result it had in the thirteenth century.

As far as cab horses and gas lamps are concerned, there's a huge difference between "understanding" things we haven't experienced in our lives and responding to a work of art which, for its full effect, requires things embedded in our life experience. Understanding and experience are two very different things.

Let me use a simple and perhaps inadequate example: When I was in high school and wanted to make a phone call I'd pick up the phone, the operator would say "Number please," and I'd recite the number. If the line was open it would ring. If not, the operator would say, "The lion is busy," and I'd have to hang up and try later. Now, you can read about that in a novel and understand it, but unless you lived it you don't really get the full effect. The same thing's true of gas lamps and cab horses, but to an infinitely greater degree.

Yes, Eliot is cryptic, but I don't think for a minute that he wants you to "know" something. Like any real poet he wants you to feel something. He wants to give you an experience. What do you know from "Prufrock?" I can recite that poem from memory, and as I do that I don't learn anything, but I always experience something. Here's a line from the reference you passed up: " People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem." And yes, Eliot's criticism is excellent, but as far as I'm concerned his poetry is even better.

For this kind of discussion I tend to steer away from visual art because -- at least to me -- visual art hasn't the same power to give me what I'll call a transcendental experience that music or poetry has. As far as the Pieta is concerned, I don't know how much power it's lost. I'm very sure that to an atheist the Pieta is just a chunk of marble with some nice figures carved in it, and I'm quite sure that to a gay man the David means something different from what it means to me. I should confess that I've never been much taken by sculpture. I think most sculpture criticism has to do with technique rather than subject.

But this is becoming too long, so I'll stop here.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 19, 2016, 04:42:11 pm
Hi George,

Since you didn't want to go to the source, here's the poem I used as reference for the loss of meaning since the thirteenth century:

Nou goth sonne under wode—
Me reweth, Marie, thi faire rode.
Nou goth sonne under tre—
Me reweth, Marie, thi sone and the

I'll admit that if you do some research and get a reasonable translation of that poem into more contemporary English you can "understand" the poem. But that's not the same thing as reading it and feeling the result it had in the thirteenth century.

Even if I agree with this it does not mean that it cannot convey meaning which the author desired it to convey. We can understand, with a little effort, what Chaucer wanted us to know. You just can't get past that.

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As far as cab horses and gas lamps are concerned, there's a huge difference between "understanding" things we haven't experienced in our lives and responding to a work of art which, for its full effect, requires things embedded in our life experience.

That's absurd. Melville did not expect any of his readers to have sailed on a whaling ship much less to have been in an epic battle with a great white whale in order to understand what he was trying to say. Tolkien did not expect his readers to encounter a dragon or an elf to understand what he intended for them to understand. To say otherwise is simply indefensible.

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Understanding and experience are two very different different things.

Of course they are but it is simply not possible to even suggest that one must have had an experience to understand it, process it and learn from it when it is presented in art. Again, if this is true then experience cannot be related from one person to another. And yes, having an experience and having an experience explained to you are not the same. No one says they are. But at the same time this constraint is not a significant limitation for good art. Again, the ability to transcend this IS what makes good art.

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Now, you can read about that in a novel and understand it, but unless you lived it you don't really get the full effect. The same thing's true of gas lamps and cab horses, but to an infinitely greater degree.

Okay. But the constraint you put on this is: "the full effect". I do not get the full effect of being stabbed by an orc if I have never been stabbed by an orc. But that presents no significant limitation to my ability to understand what that means when someone describes it. I can understand what they are trying to tell me. Easily.

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Yes, Eliot is cryptic, but I don't think for a minute that he wants you to "know" something.

Then you do not know Elliott and might need to spend some time with his critical works. Intent was everything. The fact that his poetry is "cryptic" is the evidence. If it is encrypted then there is meaning to be discovered. Meaninglessness does not require encryption.

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Like any real poet he wants you to feel something.

Sigh.

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He wants to give you an experience.

You just made my case. Better than I have so far. If he wants to give me an experience that is his intent! Pure and simple. And you can rest assured that with Elliott his intent is not just any old free form experience. That is what his whole poetic body was against!

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I can recite that poem from memory, and as I do that I don't learn anything,

Then you got it wrong.

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" People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge.

Which is exactly what Elliott wants you to do. What is the alternative to poetry not meaning anything? Meaninglessness. Your arguments are putting you in a self made trap.

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And yes, Eliot's criticism is excellent, but as far as I'm concerned his poetry is even better.

Fine. But Elliott's criticism informed his poetry. His critical ideals are presented in his poetry. And Elliott's poetry, more than any other, is a form of critique. As such, it has something to say, and in Elliott's case what he has to say is well said and quite concrete. Again, he is the poster child for my point of view. That's why i brought him up to begin with.

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As far as the Pieta is concerned, I don't know how much power it's lost.

That's not relevant. It could have just as easily gained power. What we don't know we can't really apply.

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I'm very sure that to an atheist the Pieta is just a chunk of marble with some nice figures carved in it,

Only if by atheist you mean heartless, inhuman and motherless. At its basest level the Pieta is a grieving woman holding a dead man. It is no leap to see that it is her son. This can be ascertained with virtually no foreknowledge of the story or its religious background. It embodies 'pity'. It did so centuries ago. It does so now. It is heart rending in addition to being a staggering accomplishment in its medium. He wanted to show pity and sorrow. He did so in a way that is timeless and universal. Thus its status.

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I think most sculpture criticism has to do with technique rather than subject.

Not so.

Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 19, 2016, 05:15:29 pm
Even if I agree with this it does not mean that it cannot convey meaning which the author desired it to convey. We can understand, with a little effort, what Chaucer wanted us to know. You just can't get past that.

Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something. He didn't want the poem to describe an experience. He wanted it to give you an experience. And you can't really feel what he wanted you to feel or have the experience he wanted you to have because of the changes in language. There's no "know" involved in this poem. Everybody already "knew" exactly what this poem told them.

I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem." Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion. I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg. The point isn't that hard to understand.

Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 19, 2016, 05:40:03 pm
Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something. He didn't want the poem to describe an experience. He wanted it to give you an experience. And you can't really feel what he wanted you to feel or have the experience he wanted you to have because of the changes in language. There's no "know" involved in this poem. Everybody already "knew" exactly what this poem told them.

I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem." Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion. I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg. The point isn't that hard to understand.

That's a proposition that I accept and find worrisome; I suspect I feel like that about my own photographs, and I think I may use captions simply as anchor, to engage myself more clearly with what I've made. And certainly as attempt to guide any viewer in the direction I think I might have been headed myself. That a quite different emotion  - or none at all - may register in that fresh eye is also perfectly okay in my mind. After all, we're not all fluent in all languages; one person's great speech may, to another person, be nothing but random noise. I think I've found a lot of deaf people in my life, but maybe it's just that there have been very few great speeches.

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 19, 2016, 10:16:14 pm
Hi George,

That's the point I don't seem to be able to get across. The author (there's no indication it was Chaucer) didn't want you to know anything. He wanted you to feel something.

You're parsing words. If the author intended the reader to feel something then he had an intent that he intended his words to accomplish. That, again, is my point. If the author's goal is for me to feel something and I felt what he wanted me to feel then he achieved his intent. Bravo! If he wanted me to feel anything and I felt something, so what? Anything that can stimulate a sensory response can do that. This is what Faulkner meant about writing not of the heart but of the glands. And again, this is counter to Eliot (my apologies for repeatedly misspelling his name previously) who said:

[good poems constitute] 'not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion


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I'm going to repeat my reference from Archibald MacLeish's book, Poetry and Experience: "People often want poetry to 'mean' something that they can carry away with them as knowledge. But, as MacLeish says, what we know we know only in the poem."

Russ, I think you are misappropriating MacLeish. I strongly suspect, as he was sympathetic with Eliot and the New Critics, that what he was saying is that when you approach a poem, you approach it, to the best of your ability, without your own baggage. This is the mantra of the New Critics. The work is all. Don't psychoanalyze it or deconstruct it. And again, this speaks to my point. It is not all about reception. it is equally about intent.

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Until you can grasp that point about poetry and about art in general, there's no point going on with this discussion.

That's a rather dogmatic approach to a topic as broad as "art" wouldn't you say? It sets this principle up as the rosetta stone through which art must be interpreted. Do you really believe there is any such a thing? It is also pretty much saying that if I don't look at art the way you do then we can't discuss it, no?  I've already benefited from the discussion so I'm sorry you feel that way.

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I'm beginning to suspect you're pulling my leg.

Why? What have I said that is not cogent? What have I said that is indefensible? You might not agree but I haven't said a single outlandish thing.

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The point isn't that hard to understand.

It is quite simple to understand. It's not that I have a problem understanding it, I just reject it as too constraining and relegates art to nothing more than the eyes of the beholder. And let's put things into perspective. Your's is the narrower view. And it is the constraint that I disagree with. Of course people react and relate to art differently. Of course time and circumstance shape that. but for you that is where it ends. I simply say there is something else and that something is that what the artist intends to say is important. If you reject this idea, you do so against the letters, writings and criticisms of many great authors. Flannery O'Conner's letters make it concretely clear that she intended to say certain things in her stories and it amazed her how wrong poorly equipped readers often got her work. Faulkner was a little more demur in this regard but it is still there. Robert Penn Warren (our second greatest critic and once poet laureate) is quite clear that artistic expression of intent is critical to a work.

But there is a larger problem with your position. It is a bit of a logic trap. If the only thing that is important in art is the viewer/reader's feelings then clearly, anything goes. And if every opinion is as valid as the next, then by definition there can be no dogma. No rule. No constraint. Which means that your criticism of the jar of piss is no more valid than my seeing it as the pinnacle of artistic expression. And if all experiences are equal, there is no room for real criticism and only popularity remains. And that is called "Pop".

We truly don't seem to be getting anywhere here and it seems like it is getting heated, which is a shame, but I have benefited from the discussion. Any time I have to think hard about and reconsider my beliefs, it is a good thing.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 20, 2016, 10:31:18 am
Okay George. It appears I was a bit loose with my use of the word "feel." Let's substitute "experience," which is a more accurate description of what a good artist wants. He wants you to experience something. That something usually comes in a flash that I tend, off the top of my head, to call "feeling," but it goes way beyond feeling. It's what I define as a transcendental experience. It's not descriptive, and it has nothing to do with "knowing," at least in the sense that it's knowledge we can carry away with us.

And since you seem unwilling to go to the essay I referenced early in this discussion, I'll give you this quote from it:

--------------

"Cognitive processes are essential to human life. They let us grow up, make a living, avoid head-on collisions on the highway, balance our checkbooks, write computer software, design buildings, manufacture airplanes, manipulate genes, blow each other up: survive. But the essential quality of a human being extends through dimensions of creation far beyond the “real” world we deal with through cognition. Christ knew it. Moses knew it. Mohammed knew it. The avatars that appeared over the centuries to Buddhists knew it. Shakespeare knew it. Deep down we all know it.

"Most of us call the dimension of human existence that lies outside the intersection of cognition the soul. I also sometimes call it the “seer” because it seems to me that behind the apparatus of human cognition — the brain and the mind that processes what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and perceive as the passage of time — lies a still point to which the results of these processes are delivered. It is not brain nor is it mind. Hindus call it something that seems to translate best as “self,”. . .

---------------------

If you haven't grasped that fact then you'd certainly believe what I'm doing is nothing but "parsing words." What effective art gives you is a flash from those dimensions beyond what we see as the "real" world.

Eliot was correct in the quote you posted, but I don't think it means what you think it means. Seeing with the part of you that extends through dimensions of creation beyond the "real" world is precisely what he called it: "an escape from emotion." It has nothing to do with emotion.

And before you accuse me of "misappropriating MacLeish" You'd better read Poetry and Experience. You may be astonished at what you find.

Yes, I've enjoyed this discussion too. And I agree, it's probably time to end it.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 20, 2016, 12:15:40 pm
Russ,

On behalf of all of us who have been too busy to follow your link to the essay, I thank you for providing that excerpt. To me that says very clearly what I feel (sic) that Art is all about.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: N80 on October 21, 2016, 08:09:03 am
Russ, I appreciate the quote too. And I agree with it. Many with have issues with any ideas regarding transcendence, but I certainly do not.

But let me just throw out one final, concrete example. Flannery O'Conner's short story "The Artificial N-". She has written in private (now public) letters that her entire effort was to demonstrate grace and how it comes from unexpected sources. If you are familiar with this story you will be aware of the pivotal moment in which she demonstrates this idea. And the thing is, with this moment you get just exactly what you have described above. I get physical chills when I read it. The same is true in her novel "Wise Blood". In her private letters she not only states her purpose but describes the methods she used to arrive at it. She expresses her dismay that many people don't get it. So there is no confusion here. She had something extremely specific that she wanted to say and wanted the reader to know (experience, feel, whatever) and she is duly famous for the fact that she deftly and beautifully accomplishes this. So there is that very intentional delivery of both that transcendental moment AND the expression of intent. This is all I have been talking about.

(I initially agreed that this thread has run its course but I did notice that the OP put it in the "But Is It Art" forum..............so I don't feel as bad now. ;-) )
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 21, 2016, 09:43:37 am
Thanks, George. Looks to me as if we both can wander away from this smiling.

Best regards.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Patricia Sheley on October 21, 2016, 12:15:36 pm
Well performed, carefully threaded encouragements to magical thinking/seeing. Glad I was able to sneak in at the half, and well worthy of standing room only~

Thank you both for the willingness to reveal some of your layers.
Lumine!
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 21, 2016, 02:52:03 pm
Well performed, carefully threaded encouragements to magical thinking/seeing. Glad I was able to sneak in at the half, and well worthy of standing room only~

Thank you both for the willingness to reveal some of your layers.
Lumine!
+1.
Thanks to both of you.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: RSL on October 22, 2016, 09:30:45 am
Thanks Rob, Eric, and Patricia. It was fun. I love that kind of argument. Beats politics hands down.
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Rob C on October 22, 2016, 11:17:54 am
Thanks Rob, Eric, and Patricia. It was fun. I love that kind of argument. Beats politics hands down.


Tiny, tiny problem: it's easy to join in but difficult to remain active... I would blame my memory, but that would be fibbing.

;-)

Rob
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Jim Pascoe on October 28, 2016, 06:31:23 am
Having only just come this topic I did enjoy the sometime heated but informative discussion about art.

But back to the OP and how would I feel if this was my daughter?  Am I missing something or do some people, the photographer included, see this scene as something very undesirable?  If it were my daughter, and I have two of my own and two stepdaughters - I would be very pleased to see her so happy and relaxed.  Why should they get a hotel room?  They are just laying on the beach in a world of their own and doing nothing inappropriate - at least by the evidence of this picture.  It is a scene one can see any day in good weather along the coast where we live (southern England).  Would I photograph them this close - up?  Probably not because I feel it is intrusive.  What it does evoke are memories of that age when the thrill of laying next to a loved one on a beach could feel so exhilarating.  There is nothing furtive about them - as I said, just in a world of their own.

I am lucky enough to have a wife and we often sit on the beach, sometimes lie on the beach - perhaps not quite as engrossed in each other as the young couple - but close enough that we are very obviously enjoying each others close company.  I wouldn't overly object if we were photographed - but then we're probably not worthy of being drooled over.........

I cannot really see a problem with taking this picture other than the implied meaning of the photographer in the question - "Aren't you glad she isn't your daughter?".  The young couple are doing something unsavoury in the photographers eyes - 'she' is risking all loss of control over the situation and before you know it she will become one of those awful girls who have sex before marriage.....  My title would be "Oh to be young again...."  Chris's post in No3 indicates he thinks the scene implies the couple had sex in the sand earlier.  To me they just look as if the have flopped down on a beach for a kiss and cuddle.

I see the picture as a perfectly innocent scene - the intent of the photographer is to show how a personal moment in a public place can be seized on as fair-game and exploited to illustrate their own narrative.  But then that is the nature of photography as an expressive medium.  It can also be very misleading and sometime dangerously so.

So from Russ's point of view I can view this as a perfectly innocent picture, but to George it helps if we would know Chris's intent when taking the picture.  I'm with George in that I like to know the intent - but I prefer to enjoy this picture without knowing.  Am I allowed to contradict myself?

Likewise and alluding to another picture by the same author with a naked child as an example.  I have pictures of my own children naked on a beach when they were young, and I have seen other pictures of naked children and let's face it - they have beautiful little bodies.  But If I saw a picture and was then told that the photographer had an 'unhealthy' interest in naked children it would certainly change my enjoyment of seeing their pictures - even though on there own they could be perfectly innocent.  This is sadly where we have come to in this awful time of suspicion on anyone who photographs children.  One person's innocent picture is to another an altogether different proposition.  Just to be clear as well - I am only discussing normal pictures and not any illegal type of imagery - that is quite obvious and would need no clarification on implied meaning.

Chris's picture of the mother and child I see as completely innocent and again - I can see why Chris might choose to take it.  I would not photograph a child naked in this sort of context now - I think to do so, even if it is within ones rights, is to be inviting unpleasant questions to come from anyone who sees you taking such pictures.

Personally I think art is a two-way street - the intent is an important element and personally helps me to better appreciate a work.

Jim
Title: Re: Young Love, Sweet Love
Post by: Chris Calohan on October 28, 2016, 11:59:16 am
From my perspective as to being glad it isn't my daughter is the perception of others and how they might view this innocent, or perhaps not so innocent scene. And my concern comes from her eyes to his...maybe that's just my own paranoia but my daughter at that age got into a similar situation and damn near got date raped....innocence can take a turn at the drop of a hat with hormones that young.

I just saw it as a possible prelude to something less desirable.