Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Street Showcase => Topic started by: Chris Kern on June 02, 2018, 09:11:09 PM

Title: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 02, 2018, 09:11:09 PM
Nor is it a street photograph.  Nor even a photograph of a street.  And it's certainly not a pipe.

It's a photograph of the skyline above a street—what I would call a "cityscape"—specifically, the view looking north along Broadway this morning from our room in the Times Square hotel where my wife and I currently are staying in New York City.

But the forum category subhead reads "not landscape," and I'm fairly sure it would be a stretch to call it one.  Plus I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy in this category.  So I figure it's appropriate to post it here.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: OmerV on June 02, 2018, 09:33:43 PM
Not sure why but there's something in that picture that I find unsettling. Claustrophobia perhaps. If that's what it is meant to convey, it works. Well done.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: degrub on June 03, 2018, 12:14:59 AM
or vertigo.
My uncle was an ironworker putting the facade support on skyscrapers. Some of the stories of weather and near misses he would tell...sheesh.

Nice contrast between the base blues and the red tones.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Ivophoto on June 03, 2018, 02:50:01 AM
Sure it’s not real street?

Nice image. Could hang large printed on the wall.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 06:05:33 AM
Nor is it a street photograph.  Nor even a photograph of a street.  And it's certainly not a pipe.

It's a photograph of the skyline above a street—what I would call a "cityscape"—specifically, the view looking north along Broadway this morning from our room in the Times Square hotel where my wife and I currently are staying in New York City.

But the forum category subhead reads "not landscape," and I'm fairly sure it would be a stretch to call it one.  Plus I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy in this category.  So I figure it's appropriate to post it here.


Hi Chris,

I, for one, hope that you're mistaken about everything morphing into the same genre: street, as the convenient bucket for everything that doesn't have ARAT or formal portraiture as motif.

Your shot is very good, and as with much of Slobodan's work, fits very well into cityscape/architecture - he's even won awards for exactly that.

Street is distinct, and has several subgroups which appeal to different minds. To take away subgroups is, at a stroke, to force folks to look at stuff they may find leaves them cold. As example: I love looking at editorial fashion shoots but have no interest in looking at dress catalogues, no matter how well photographed. Equally, underwear and swimwear ads do nothing for me; I'm not eleven anymore, I know what's there and how well it wears or not. The same with street: after an overdose of Klein, Moriyama or anybody else, there are other things that street also offers that tickle different corners of the psyche - assuming always, that the psyche isn't spherical.

A lazy photographer is usually a lousy photographer. Is it too much to hope that the same discipline can be extended that tiny inch further, into everyone selecting the most appropriate slot for their work?

Rob


Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: KLaban on June 03, 2018, 06:26:36 AM

Hi Chris,

I, for one, hope that you're mistaken about everything morphing into the same genre: street, as the convenient bucket for everything that doesn't have ARAT or formal portraiture as motif.

Your shot is very good, and as with much of Slobodan's work, fits very well into cityscape/architecture - he's even won awards for exactly that.

Street is distinct, and has several subgroups which appeal to different minds. To take away subgroups is, at a stroke, to force folks to look at stuff they may find leaves them cold. As example: I love looking at editorial fashion shoots but have no interest in looking at dress catalogues, no matter how well photographed. Equally, underwear and swimwear ads do nothing for me; I'm not eleven anymore, I know what's there and how well it wears or not. The same with street: after an overdose of Klein, Moriyama or anybody else, there are other things that street also offers that tickle different corners of the psyche - assuming always, that the psyche isn't spherical.

A lazy photographer is usually a lousy photographer. Is it too much to hope that the same discipline can be extended that tiny inch further, into everyone selecting the most appropriate slot for their work?

Rob

Problem seems to be that my appropriate slot is not necessarily your appropriate slot or for that matter anyone's appropriate slot. I tend to be rather suspicious about slots in general and in particular slots preceded by real or followed by art.Too much time spent here arguing about appropriate slots, including my own.

I'm happy to view any work here on LuLa anywhere except perhaps - rather ironically - landscape.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 07:19:37 AM
Keith, you must be getting your system ready for lunch. I've just finished mine - at home, because I got stuck at an awkward part of varnishing a bathroom shutter, and as it poured for about an hour, I couldn't desert the place in such vulnerable condition and neither could I rehang the shutter.

Anyway, even on an abused digestory note, I still believe it helps to stack stuff where it makes some logical sense to do so. It doesn't take genius to see pretty clearly where things might fit - unless part of contributing in LuLa is just part of a broader, more disruptive game.

Failing that, as somebody else pointed out, we might as well just scrub the whole damned exercise and stick street back amongst the ARATs and hope for the best.

Interestingly enough, the "street" section appears to be relatively active in comparison with some others, so I have to conclude that it has potential.

Rob
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: KLaban on June 03, 2018, 07:34:31 AM
But, Rob, I see Street as a section rather than a slot within a section.

;-)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 08:11:16 AM
But, Rob, I see Street as a section rather than a slot within a section.

;-)

Dangerously close to loving all women...

:-)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 03, 2018, 09:57:21 AM
... I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy...

Right. Just like gender-neutral toilets. Anything goes in. And out. With a triple flush  ;)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 03, 2018, 10:23:00 AM
I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy in this category.

Right. Just like gender-neutral toilets. Anything goes in. And out. With a triple flush

Finally someone acknowledges the pun.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 03, 2018, 10:52:26 AM
Actually, I tend to agree with Russ and Rob that it’s possible to make a reasonably clear distinction between street photographs and other pictures made in public locations.  However, while it undoubtedly is useful to be familiar with the origin of the genre—or, more accurately—the origin of the label, I don’t think the pioneering street photographs made in the few decades after the introduction of small portable cameras should rigidly constrain our understanding of the genre today, or that it is all that useful to define street photography by pointing out examples of what it is not.

Having taken that position, I propose—admittedly with some hesitation—an explicit definition:

Street photography documents ephemeral, unposed interactions in public spaces between people, or between people and their surroundings, in a way that implies a narrative instead of simply depicting what was in front of the camera’s lens.  The narrative may be explicit or implicit, obvious or subtle, literal or ironic, and subject to varying interpretations by different viewers.  Animals or objects may take the place of people if their relationship with other elements in the photograph contributes to the narrative.  Similarly, the interaction need not take place in a street or an urban environment or even outdoors.

No doubt this definition could be improved upon, so please feel free (I know how shy all of you are about expressing your opinions) to do so.

As long as you acknowledge that whatever you think street photography is, it is not a pipe.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 03, 2018, 11:09:58 AM
The whole-paragraph definition!? As opposed to one word (landscape, portrait, people, architecture)?
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Ivophoto on June 03, 2018, 11:18:36 AM
Again with risk of pitch and feathers:
Why not a sub : Contemporary Photography.

I learned in the academy, years ago, ‘contemporary art’ is not yet defined by existing definitions.
There will be a day every contemporary art looses that status. The on-liner: “Every Art was contemporary” is very true.

By starting the Topic ‘Contemporary Photography’ I didn’t have in mind to make a showcase of so called ‘art’ only to have a place to show photos not defined by existing definitions.

If you look at it from inside definitions it is disturbing, when you look at it from outside definitions it is liberating.


Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 11:44:22 AM
Actually, I tend to agree with Russ and Rob that it’s possible to make a reasonably clear distinction between street photographs and other pictures made in public locations.  However, while it undoubtedly is useful to be familiar with the origin of the genre—or, more accurately—the origin of the label, I don’t think the pioneering street photographs made in the few decades after the introduction of small portable cameras should rigidly constrain our understanding of the genre today, or that it is all that useful to define street photography by pointing out examples of what it is not.

Having taken that position, I propose—admittedly with some hesitation—an explicit definition:

Street photography documents ephemeral, unposed interactions in public spaces between people, or between people and their surroundings, in a way that implies a narrative instead of simply depicting what was in front of the camera’s lens.  The narrative may be explicit or implicit, obvious or subtle, literal or ironic, and subject to varying interpretations by different viewers.  Animals or objects may take the place of people if their relationship with other elements in the photograph contributes to the narrative.  1.  Similarly, the interaction need not take place in a street or an urban environment or even outdoors.

No doubt this definition could be improved upon, so please feel free (I know how shy all of you are about expressing your opinions) to do so.

As long as you acknowledge that whatever you think street photography is, 2.  it is not a pipe.

1. I would agree with most of your definition, but exclude the bit accentuated.

Shots indoors, fitting the general lines you drew, could perhaps just be thought of as candids?

There might be a difference (in the history) of the appellations in Europe and the US; my own experience of the thing began mid-fifties, and was featured a few times in the British magazine, Photography, edited by the late Norman Hall. It's where I first encountered the work of Frank Horvat, and I'm sure it was being referred to as photojournalism, interchangeably with documentary. The magazine was a hugely different beast to the staid, but useful, Amateur Photographer, where I picked up some photographic how-to stuff. (Photography saw my very first published shot: a girl, in a feature that was dominated by Peter Sellers and one of his then loves. I was over the moon, but of course, saw not a penny - but the thrill was worth more than any penny. That's why I understand the urge of those who have ruined the professional stock market: for them, money doesn't count. In the case above, it was nothing to do with professional illustrations, advertising, marketing, but of readers' efforts.)

2.  No dispute or reservations about that: agreed, 100%!  Just a reproduction.

Rob
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 03, 2018, 11:45:10 AM
The whole-paragraph definition!? As opposed to one word (landscape, portrait, people, architecture)?

Well, it's a definition, not a label.  The label is street photography, and it's both well-established and widely-used.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 03, 2018, 12:06:34 PM
Well, it's a definition, not a label.  The label is street photography, and it's both well-established and widely-used.

I get the distinction, but in the examples I provided, the label is the definition, no verbose essay needed, as everybody instinctively understands what is meant by it. In the case of street photography, the definition goes to great lengths (literally) to fight the instinctive understanding of the term.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 03, 2018, 12:43:25 PM
the definition goes to great lengths (literally) to fight the instinctive understanding of the term.

My intention was to try to come up with an explicit description which could take the place of the somewhat varying "instinctive understandings" that different forum participants appear to have—one that could be applied without indulging in excessive genre-bending.  If it seems to contradict your instinctive understanding, obviously my effort doesn't work for you.  If it is inconsistent with everybody's instinctive understanding, then it just doesn't work.

But there is a problem with relying on instinct as a substitute for definition.  In an often-cited U.S. Supreme Court case in which the judges unsuccessfully attempted to agree on a legal definition of obscenity (Jacobellis v. Ohio, 1964), Justice Potter Stewart metaphorically shrugged his proverbial shoulders and said:

Quote
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it . . .

That's not an irrational approach, I suppose, but as the Court later discovered, its decision only served to provoke additional litigation because there always will be edge cases where the lack of a clear, explicit definition leads reasonable people to disagree.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on June 03, 2018, 01:21:05 PM
I think two genres are quite sufficient:
"Pipe"
and
"Not a pipe."    8)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Ivophoto on June 03, 2018, 01:30:43 PM
I think two genres are quite sufficient:
"Pipe"
and
"Not a pipe."    8)

Somehow I feel the ‘not a pipe’ genre will be more fun to look at.

After all, a pipe is a pipe.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 01:36:20 PM
Somehow I feel the ‘not a pipe’ genre will be more fun to look at.

After all, a pipe is a pipe.

But not when in a dream - unless of peace, when it is indeed not a pipe...
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Telecaster on June 03, 2018, 03:17:28 PM
In other LuLa photo sub-forums we seem able to manage a balance between anything goes and preachy dogmatic rigidity. Surely we can do this here too…

-Dave-
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: KLaban on June 03, 2018, 03:49:35 PM
In other LuLa photo sub-forums we seem able to manage a balance between anything goes and preachy dogmatic rigidity. Surely we can do this here too…

-Dave-

Yes, I think Street Showcase - not landscape - ... told us everything we needed to know.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 03, 2018, 04:13:10 PM
Except for what is not street, that otherwise is included, as we have clearly seen.

There's a helluva lot of different territory between street and landscape!

Why is it such a problem to allow some sense of focus rather than of chaos? You wouldn't go onto a field and pick up a ball, run with it in your hands to the other end, and then scream goal. If something as basic as kicking or running holding a ball requires differentiation, how much more in the case of more spiritual matters?

Rob
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 03, 2018, 04:18:52 PM

... You wouldn't go onto a field and pick up a ball, run with it in your hands to the other end, and then scream goal. If something as basic as kicking or running holding a ball requires differentiation...

AND it requires a referee. Which is what I suggested earlier, but you said I am not nice ;)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 03, 2018, 04:20:46 PM
My intention was to try to come up with an explicit description ...

Just to make it clear, I didn't have you and your efforts specifically in mind. More in general terms.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on June 03, 2018, 04:45:08 PM
So why not have an "Open" section, or "General Photos" section, or "undefined", or "uncategorised" etc, etc, etc...

We used to have endless discussions (read heated arguments) in the photo club I was once a member of, about correctly categorising work for competitions etc, and in the end I put forward the idea that we should just have "Open" competitions, where anything goes and all we had to do was to comment on the validity and/or quality of each individual piece of work, not on whether it conformed to someone else's opinion on what category it should be shoe horned into, but just on the creativeness and ability shown within it.

It lasted for a little while, until some of the old guard started to feel lost and unable to focus on a specific subject, unless they were given a subject and told what to shoot, so they wanted their standard categories back and that is about the same time when I went off to do my own thing.

Dave
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Ivophoto on June 04, 2018, 01:01:13 AM


Why is it such a problem to allow some sense of focus rather than of chaos? You wouldn't go onto a field and pick up a ball, run with it in your hands to the other end, and then scream goal. If something as basic as kicking or running holding a ball requires differentiation, how much more in the case of more spiritual matters?

Rob

Photography is not playing the game. It is observing it. And only looking to the movements according certain rules  excludes the holistic view on the game.
It’s like only looking to the penalty part of soccer.

Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: KLaban on June 04, 2018, 01:17:11 AM
Except for what is not street, that otherwise is included, as we have clearly seen.

There's a helluva lot of different territory between street and landscape!

Why is it such a problem to allow some sense of focus rather than of chaos? You wouldn't go onto a field and pick up a ball, run with it in your hands to the other end, and then scream goal. If something as basic as kicking or running holding a ball requires differentiation, how much more in the case of more spiritual matters?

Rob

If I call it Street it's Street, if you call it Street it's Street.

What's wrong with that? Surely that's all we need here?
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Rob C on June 04, 2018, 03:58:23 AM
So why not have an "Open" section, or "General Photos" section, or "undefined", or "uncategorised" etc, etc, etc...

We used to have endless discussions (read heated arguments) in the photo club I was once a member of, about correctly categorising work for competitions etc, and in the end I put forward the idea that we should just have "Open" competitions, where anything goes and all we had to do was to comment on the validity and/or quality of each individual piece of work, not on whether it conformed to someone else's opinion on what category it should be shoe horned into, but just on the creativeness and ability shown within it.

It lasted for a little while, until some of the old guard started to feel lost and unable to focus on a specific subject, unless they were given a subject and told what to shoot, so they wanted their standard categories back and that is about the same time when I went off to do my own thing.

Dave


Dave, that already exists: it's called the critiqes section where you can post anything you like.

But anyway, I'm done here: it's turned into nothing but another pissing contest with most of us pissless before we even began.

Rob
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: RSL on June 04, 2018, 09:42:01 AM
If I call it Street it's Street, if you call it Street it's Street.

What's wrong with that? Surely that's all we need here?

Right, Keith. And when I posted a nautilus shell on Landscape Showcase and called it landscape, that converted a picture of a nautilus shell to landscape. Correct? It's magic. Right?
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 04, 2018, 09:52:07 AM
...when I posted a nautilus shell on Landscape Showcase and called it landscape, that converted a picture of a nautilus shell to landscape. Correct? It's magic. Right?

Nope. Just shows that we, the landscape people, who prefer our shots sans people, are much more tolerant of humans and their shenanigans than the street people, who claim it is all about people ;)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: KLaban on June 04, 2018, 10:26:06 AM
Right, Keith. And when I posted a nautilus shell on Landscape Showcase and called it landscape, that converted a picture of a nautilus shell to landscape. Correct? It's magic. Right?

Russ, if you want to exhibit a nautilus in the Landscape Showcase and call it landscape, well, you go for it, you surrealist devil you, but I wouldn't hold your breath on others following suit.

Personally I trust the contributors here to not abuse the Street Showcase and expect and accept that other's opinions on Street may well differ from my own.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on June 06, 2018, 07:59:56 PM

Dave, that already exists: it's called the critiqes section where you can post anything you like.

But anyway, I'm done here: it's turned into nothing but another pissing contest with most of us pissless before we even began.

Rob

Sorry Rob, but I was trying to be ironic and trying to say that no matter how many sections we have, there will never be enough. But hey if it made you feel "pissless" just by reading it, then obviously I didn't do the irony very well did I?

Dave  ;)
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Chris Kern on June 06, 2018, 08:39:13 PM
I was trying to be ironic

There can be no place for irony in a forum thread titled Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Title: Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on June 07, 2018, 12:11:53 AM
There can be no place for irony in a forum thread titled Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
Unless your pipe (or non-pipe) is made of iron.   8)