Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: 32BT on January 12, 2019, 08:59:04 am

Title: Evolution
Post by: 32BT on January 12, 2019, 08:59:04 am
Interesting article on the homepage of LuLa about Adam Krawesky. Opinion about the merit of his images is divided. If you haven't read it by now, make sure you do:

On of the images was this one. I didn't immediately "get it" at first. It has interesting rhythmic elements like some of his other images, but it appeared a bit out of balance, and it wasn't until I spotted the bird in the upper right hand corner that it formed a complete image for me...


(image by Adam Krawesky).

And it makes one think. What does it mean that we dive off of a large structure like that? What are we trying to accomplish? Where's the pleasure in that? Diving off of a structure directly into the water and starting over again. The pleasure, of course, is in that short moment of feeling free from gravity, suspended in mid-air, as close as we will get to flying without additional means.

Evolution however, didn't favour us with wings though, and so we are bound to splash back to earth, swim to the ramp, crawl out of the water, crawl back up the ramp, and straighten ourselves for the next jump, start over again, because we keep trying to fly. Evolution? Didn't we crawl out of the water at some point in time, according to evolution? Crawling up the land, slowly straightening up till we walked upright? But we weren't meant to fly though, because evolution didn't bestow upon us any wings.

There is a certain rhythm to that progression. That progression then is so perfectly depicted on the left half of the picture. We see one person diving elegantly off of the ramp almost as if flying. We see people swimming in the water towards the ramp, we see someone crawling up the ramp in half hunched pose on four legs. All in one beautiful moment of circular rhythm. The rhythm that just happens to coincide with that idea of evolution.

But it also is a rhythm of life. We can totally empathise with these people diving off that ramp for sheer pleasure, to feel free, to fly for a brief moment. It tells us in essence also that life is exactly like that: we keep jumping, falling, and crawling back up, because that is what life is, a series of successes and failures that forms us humans.

And why are we reminded of flying? Because right up there in the righthand corner of this image we see a bird in a clear blue sky, doing exactly what the diver is trying to replicate against the background of that same clear blue sky, with an elegance that immediately reminds us of the elegance with which some birds manage to roam the skies in total freedom.

That then is some beautiful, narrative, thought provoking image.

Note that this is merely my opinion and thoughts based on my observations. Did the photographer really want to allude to evolution or the cycle of trial and error? Did the artist have a similar feel about it? Who knows. It certainly is clear that the bird and diver are both an integral part of the image and it makes the image a complete, more balanced composition. A balance that I didn't see without the bird. The fact that the bird is right there at the edge of the frame which may not be considered good framing, and is perhaps a result of being limited by a fixed lens and position, but at the same time, it is also the position where it draws our attention most, being as small an element as it is. Just think about how easy it is remove that element and replace it with clear blue sky? It is certainly there for a reason.

Personally, if I were there, I'd probably try to capture just the diver and the bird, and then feel totally stoked about having captured a simile. Thank god there are real artists out there...

Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Rob C on January 12, 2019, 01:08:53 pm
Oscar, you wrote all that whilst suspended in space?

Personally, I imagine the bird is either a fluke, that there were dozens of birds flying all over the place only to be cloned to oblivion, or that the snapper couldn't have noticed it creating a mess in his sky because his attention was riveted on the guy doing the stunt for the umpteenth time that day. A decisive moment, sort of moment.

The only reason I can imagine anyone diving there is to impress the chick up on the walkway. Sadly, she doesn't seem too moved, reminding me of those great natural history documentaries where birds of rare plumage strut and preen, erecting their feathers (yes, shaking their tail feathers too) and wasting a great proportion of their day in fanciful mating dances that more often than not end with the lady raising her eyes to the sky and flying briskly away to engage with another idiot on heat. This lady seems to have made the more sensible decision to keep a couple of bicycles nearby, just in case. The moment she vanishes, the wingless wonders will sit down and wait for another bird, or just have a hamburger.
Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: 32BT on January 12, 2019, 01:50:51 pm
Oscar, you wrote all that whilst suspended in space?

Careful, Rob, or Slobodan will ask for the bong again...

Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: amolitor on January 12, 2019, 02:10:06 pm
The intention of the artist should neither be taken as gospel, nor ignored entirely.

It is not at all clear to me that the bird was photographed intentionally, although it seems likely that the photographer shot many similar frames at this spot and, later, selected the one with the bird. Why did the photographer select this frame? Was the bird instrumental in that choice? Did the photographer even notice the bird? Unknown, and probably unknowable at this point - the photographer himself probably cannot be trusted on this point at this late date.

The bird makes it work for you, regardless of the authorial intent, and that is a fine thing.

Personally, I can discern no evidence of your reading in what I guess to be the authorial intent. The bird, if indeed it was important, strikes me as likely to be simply a balancing graphical element -- this based on the rest of the photographs we've seen, the photographer seems to be more interested in strong graphical content than anything else.

But one can legitimately say "so what? Who cares what the author intended?" and to that I have no good answer. I  do care, but I have no particularly robust basis for so caring.
Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 12, 2019, 02:14:49 pm
... it also is a rhythm of life... life is exactly like that: we keep jumping, falling, and crawling back up, because that is what life is, a series of successes and failures that forms us humans...

Yes, Oscar, I also feel elated every time I encounter that circle of life: people get on a ski lift, up the mountain, ski down, fall, get up, get into that chair lift again, up the mountain... ;)

On a more serious note, I like how the jumper achieved that perfect straight pose and the photographer captured it.

On a less serious note, of course the picture works, as it follows the rule of thirds ;)
Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on January 13, 2019, 12:47:48 am
I would have removed the bird. Itís just a bit too clever for me. Jumping off a high board isnít about trying to fly. Itís the adrenaline rush of overcoming an instinctive fear of falling.

Thatís my take.
Title: Evolution
Post by: Ivophoto on January 13, 2019, 05:42:01 am
Only my opinion:

Itís much simpler. 
The real power of the images is not in the intellectual masturbation of the viewer. It is in the observation of the  frame.
Trying to out discuss the so called Ďreal streetí adepts and what they try to see and feel in a Ďstreetí photo doesnít justify this kind of photography. It is much more than a frame with cheesy maniťrisme or far fetched romantisme.

This image is about the social circumstances of the location. Young peoples gathering around a challenging contraption of steel and amusing themselves.
Young bulls trying to impress the girls and each other with the highest dive, the most daring jump and the most testosterone dripping attitude.

Where is this town,... this makes me want to see more, photos of the guy in the air, a series about his home, where he lives, who are this youngster, etc etc.

This is the real power of this image. For me, it provokes questions.

Itís about humanism.
Title: Re: Evolutio
Post by: Jonathan Cross on January 13, 2019, 12:28:11 pm
This image pulls me two ways.  The diver really makes the image; superb timing to grab the moment.  Perhaps it was taken using burst mode, but so what, it is very effective.  Apart from that it does not excite me... But in some years it may become to be regarded as social comment on the first quarter of the 21st C so it is worth keeping.

What I personally find not so good are the edges. The more I look at the image, the more I am distracted by what is visible, the bird top right, the head and shoulders in the water bottom left, limb along the bottom and the half bike on the right.  if those could be removed I would find the image much more satisfying, but that is just me.

Best wishes,
Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Telecaster on January 13, 2019, 04:48:23 pm
I like all the stuff at the edges of this photo.  :)  Different tastesÖ

Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Rob C on January 20, 2019, 12:46:09 pm
Were it mine, I'd try a Jim Dandy by cloning out the people at the base, cropping the image a bit to the right of the girl on the walkway, producing a more square shot closing in to the action, which I think is the point of it all.

As it is, it looks as if the shooter is just stuck with the frame as it came; as for the bird, pure chance or bad luck, depending on how you see it.

Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: faberryman on January 20, 2019, 12:53:33 pm
Looks a little shallow to be diving from that height.
Title: Re: Evolution
Post by: Rob C on January 20, 2019, 01:05:40 pm
Looks a little shallow to be diving from that height.

Might be one of those dummies they use for movie falls... or a male inflatable doll with wide open arms.