Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Rob C on October 19, 2019, 03:44:20 pm

Title: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 19, 2019, 03:44:20 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/12/wim-wenders-interview-polaroids-instant-stories-photographers-gallery

Rob
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: RSL on October 19, 2019, 03:56:56 pm
Took me a while to stop laughing when I got the climate panic notice. They're so subtle about their political leanings. I'd never have guessed where they stand.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 19, 2019, 05:23:15 pm
Took me a while to stop laughing when I got the climate panic notice. They're so subtle about their political leanings. I'd never have guessed where they stand.


You got me there: what climate was Wenders talking about? Can't find it in the interview. All he seems to be talking about is photography, Polaroids, photographers and actors who also took photos, and how things were better back then...

Rob
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: RSL on October 19, 2019, 07:42:53 pm
No, I got to that. When I first brought up the page the bottom half was covered with a wild cry about the end of the world coming through climate change. It disappeared as soon as I clicked again.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Ivo_B on October 19, 2019, 11:50:17 pm
It’s not the first time you can not stop laughing about something you don’t understand.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on October 20, 2019, 03:30:59 am
It’s not the first time you can not stop laughing about something you don’t understand.

Ivo, if you have something useful to contribute, do it. Simple abuse is not acceptable.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Ivo_B on October 20, 2019, 05:57:00 am
Ivo, if you have something useful to contribute, do it. Simple abuse is not acceptable.

Jeremy

Can you also give this kind of comments in threads where more complex abuse is displayed?

🧐🤐
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 20, 2019, 08:01:58 am
Come on guys, the thread offers a lot more opportunity for appraisals and reappraisals of the photographic world we are currently living through than derailment into personal rancour, which is pointless, because everybody thinks themselves right, always, even if proven otherwise.

If this shit continues it will mean we will have reached and dipped into the vanishing point, the black hole of resignation, both of interest and from the forum.

Can we give photography and the subject a chance?

Rob
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: rabanito on October 20, 2019, 09:15:34 am

Can we give photography and the subject a chance?

Rob

+1
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: D Fuller on October 20, 2019, 10:38:02 am
Quote from: Wenders
“It’s not just the meaning of the image that has changed – the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, it’s about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image. The image for me was always linked to the idea of uniqueness, to a frame and to composition. You produced something that was, in itself, a singular moment. As such, it had a certain sacredness. That whole notion is gone.”

Was it, for Wenders, ever essentially about the image?

For me, as a filmmaker, Polaroids were a kind of journaling—references to which I could return as I thought about how to craft a scene. The iPhone now does that for me, but in that context it is still about showing (others) and remembering (myself). (Sending is just a way of showing.)

I think what’s gone (and what I miss) is the artifact. Giving someone a Polaroid, or having a stack of them to peruse was very different from emailing an image or viewing a web gallery. But none of those are essentially about the image in the way photography as art or photojournalism or even advertising is.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on October 20, 2019, 10:59:49 am
Some people like stuff and they like to collect it. I stream all my music, read books on a kindle and stream all movies and shows. I’m not sure about meaning in artifacts. It can be quite interesting I guess but it seems to me it’s mostly just nostalgia, another mental affliction. We collect stuff we don’t really need and think it our stuff then we die and our stuff moves on to a new owner. Who owns and who is owned.

We enter with nothing and a few later we exit with nothing. I see no sense in accumulating stuff as a way of giving meaning to life.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: rabanito on October 20, 2019, 12:41:58 pm

We enter with nothing and a few later we exit with nothing. I see no sense in accumulating stuff as a way of giving meaning to life.

Memento ergo sum.
My surroundings help me to remember -> to be.
At least this is how I perceive it
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: KLaban on October 20, 2019, 12:57:09 pm
I'm not a collector but have a passion for stuff. My areas of interest are eclectic, ranging from Moroccan and Algerian pottery, twentieth century Cornish ceramics and ethnic, tribal and outsider art. None of the artifacts I own impart meaning to life, but rather their physical presence enhance said life.

Unlike the ancient Egyptians I have no intention on taking my artifacts with me.

;-)   
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 20, 2019, 01:29:40 pm
I'm not a collector but have a passion for stuff. My areas of interest are eclectic, ranging from Moroccan and Algerian pottery, twentieth century Cornish ceramics and ethnic, tribal and outsider art. None of the artifacts I own impart meaning to life, but rather their physical presence enhance said life.

Unlike the ancient Egyptians I have no intention on taking my artifacts with me.

;-)

Stuff: living the past three or more years intent on moving home, all my stuff is regularly - every six months or so? - examined with an eye to being dumped. Instead, I always end up just like Lucy Jordan: rearranging the flowers cupboards, everything inside still retained.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 20, 2019, 01:48:17 pm
Was it, for Wenders, ever essentially about the image?

For me, as a filmmaker, Polaroids were a kind of journaling—references to which I could return as I thought about how to craft a scene. The iPhone now does that for me, but in that context it is still about showing (others) and remembering (myself). (Sending is just a way of showing.)

I think what’s gone (and what I miss) is the artifact. Giving someone a Polaroid, or having a stack of them to peruse was very different from emailing an image or viewing a web gallery. But none of those are essentially about the image in the way photography as art or photojournalism or even advertising is.

Yes, but showing a print is a quite different experience for both the person showing and for the viewer. A print is and feels real, just like a transparency or negative feels real and a digital file never will. For that matter, I never felt a Polaroid was worth showing. I never produced one that didn't suck, the best coming as tests on the back of a 'blad. I felt they were so poor I stopped testing.

It's exactly what you say later, when you refer to the artifact. I feel you are in some dispute with yourself there, or I have just not understood you properly.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Peter McLennan on October 20, 2019, 03:25:59 pm
Yes, but showing a print is a quite different experience for both the person showing and for the viewer. A print is and feels real, just like a transparency or negative feels real and a digital file never will.
Rob

Absolutely. 

I challenged a group of high school students with that topic recently: "What is a photograph?"  They agreed (eventually) that a screen image had less photographic value than a print.

Polaroid cameras were tremendous fun in those dark ages before images magically appeared on the back of the camera. I once worked with the famous American cinematographer Michael Chapman.  Since Polaroid (usually SX-70) cameras were omnipresent on film sets for record-keeping reasons, they were always available for less forensic and more experimental uses.  Mr Chapman and I used them continually to entertain ourselves during down-time moments on set. 

"The last bastion of real photography", he called them.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: D Fuller on October 20, 2019, 04:50:48 pm
Yes, but showing a print is a quite different experience for both the person showing and for the viewer. A print is and feels real, just like a transparency or negative feels real and a digital file never will. For that matter, I never felt a Polaroid was worth showing. I never produced one that didn't suck, the best coming as tests on the back of a 'blad. I felt they were so poor I stopped testing.

It's exactly what you say later, when you refer to the artifact. I feel you are in some dispute with yourself there, or I have just not understood you properly.

Rob

Well, you may have misunderstood me, or for that matter, I may have misunderstood Wenders, but I don’t feel in dispute with myself.  :D

I take Wenders to mean that a photo today is a way to show someone something—an idea, a place, a costume, or to remember it yourself. The digital image is just a medium to that end. But really, so was the Polaroid in the way a filmmaker used it. (At least this filmmaker.) It was just a form of journal. The photo had no importance; only the information mattered.

But when i look back, as I do from time to time, it is much more pleasurable to look at a box of photos or polaroids than a folder of digital images. So I agree with you that the experience is different with the “real” photo. That’s what I meant in talking about the artifact. But in the way we used Polaroids in the course of filmmaking, that only seems true in reflection, when the artifact becomes important for different reasons than the original purpose of the image.

An aside—when I was a young man, I was a designer and photographer. I did good work, but made very little money. I was hired to do a year-long television project, and produced some award-winning work, but at the end of it, coming back to my studio, I had nothing I could hold in my hands. I missed the prints or the stack of annual reports one got at the end of a job. So I swore off television for a time. The printed work was just more satisfying. (At least until I was offered three times what I was making to go back to doing TV)
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: RSL on October 20, 2019, 07:43:21 pm
All this is exactly why for a couple decades I've printed my better stuff on 8 1/2 x 11 double-sided sheets and comb-bound the prints in books. I've framed a lot of my stuff. In fact, the house is full of 17 x 22 prints in 23 x 28 inch frames, but once we move into assisted living the comb-bound books will be what's left. My kids have most of the earlier books, but I have the ones dealing with our history, and the current stuff I'm shooting. The books are easy to work with.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Peter McLennan on October 20, 2019, 07:51:58 pm

... but at the end of it, coming back to my studio, I had nothing I could hold in my hands. I missed the prints or the stack of annual reports one got at the end of a job. So I swore off television for a time. The printed work was just more satisfying. (At least until I was offered three times what I was making to go back to doing TV)

Heh.  I know just what you mean.  Many years working as a camera operator and second unit DP has left me with little but a dated demo reel. (and a healthy bank balance)  Now in retirement, it's prints that give me the most satisfaction.  And now, most recently Blurb books. Now, that's fun!  Pays even less than landscape. :)

Love your work.  The Osram PR piece is marvelous.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Peter McLennan on October 20, 2019, 07:54:56 pm
All this is exactly why for a couple decades I've printed my better stuff on 8 1/2 x 11 double-sided sheets and comb-bound the prints in books. ...The books are easy to work with.

I just reached that exact conclusion a few days ago, Russ. Comb-bound small print books.
What's your favourite double sided media?  My Epson L805 would love to know.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: D Fuller on October 21, 2019, 12:04:19 am
Heh.  I know just what you mean.  Many years working as a camera operator and second unit DP has left me with little but a dated demo reel. (and a healthy bank balance)  Now in retirement, it's prints that give me the most satisfaction.  And now, most recently Blurb books. Now, that's fun!  Pays even less than landscape. :)

Love your work.  The Osram PR piece is marvelous.

Thanks! The OSRAM and OSRAM/SYLVANIA work as some of the most fun of any I’ve been privileged to do—mostly because the Creative Director I worked for was brilliant.

I need to try making a Blurb book. Thanks for the nudge.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: RSL on October 21, 2019, 12:49:02 pm
I just reached that exact conclusion a few days ago, Russ. Comb-bound small print books.
What's your favourite double sided media?  My Epson L805 would love to know.

Hi Peter, I use what Epson currently calls "Premium Presentation Paper Matte, double-sided." That paper has had at least two other names over the years, and my Epson Stylus Pro 3880 calls it something else. But it works. I have books going back many years and they still seem to have their full original color.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on October 23, 2019, 08:04:42 am
Interesting. I think that looking back 40 years in the past brings nostalgia into the table. But really, polaroids back then served the same role as social media sharing these days - sharing the image for immediate consumption. They were popular because they could be, well... immediately shared?

Nostalgia fast forward to today - mu daughter likes her Fuji Instax a lot.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: RSL on October 23, 2019, 10:21:22 am
Right, Paulo. Polaroid brought instant gratification (and often less satisfactory instant reactions) to photography. Being able to show a subject what you just shot was a “wow” thing. The really great thing about it was that if you were using type 55 you could hand your subject a print and still have the negative. You can’t do that with digital, but you can show your subject the picture, get an email address, and email the picture.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: John Camp on October 23, 2019, 02:18:19 pm
My take on Wenders is that he's gotten old. He doesn't feel just that his time has passed, he feels that *everybody's* time has passed -- things just aren't as good as they used to be.   I'm old, and I feel some of the same things he apparently does, but I reject them. I think his photos are valuable, and that similar and just as valuable photos can be taken today. And, for that matter, are being taken. What's critical is that they reflect life and culture, and aren't some auto-wanking "art" produced by a bad photo of trees and six minutes with photoshop. IMHO. 8-)
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: KLaban on October 23, 2019, 02:49:48 pm
My take on Wenders is that he's gotten old. He doesn't feel just that his time has passed, he feels that *everybody's* time has passed -- things just aren't as good as they used to be.

We hear this on LuLa and elsewhere all too often.

I'm old, and I feel some of the same things he apparently does, but I reject them.

We don't hear this often enough on LuLa and elsewhere.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Ivo_B on October 24, 2019, 03:42:21 am
My take on Wenders is that he's gotten old. He doesn't feel just that his time has passed, he feels that *everybody's* time has passed -- things just aren't as good as they used to be.   I'm old, and I feel some of the same things he apparently does, but I reject them. I think his photos are valuable, and that similar and just as valuable photos can be taken today. And, for that matter, are being taken. What's critical is that they reflect life and culture, and aren't some auto-wanking "art" produced by a bad photo of trees and six minutes with photoshop. IMHO. 8-)

Hear hear.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 24, 2019, 01:48:21 pm
It's somewhat simplistic to tie personal age with what any individual likes or dislikes as style within any given genre. Not all people start their photographic trip at the same age; the different influences that an individual absorbs are always varied.

Somebody a decade older than I am might not have begun to feel any particular interest in photography because of what was in vogue when he was a teen, and may have come to the thing in his fifties or sixties, with retirement in mind, and the sudden thought of hey, what will I do with my days? His tastes may be coloured by what he sees as contemporary work when he is at that point, or, perhaps, he might be looking at pictures on the Internet and discover the wonders of the old masters and old techniques from before his own youth, and therein see his future hobby.

On the other hand, myself, ten years younger, became addicted to the camera as a very young teen, and the ideals in mind were absolutely not about the f64 group, the influence of the Sierra Club (of whom I had never heard) nor of the works of St Ansel, about whose elevation I was just as uninformed. I was straight in at the cutting edge of the times, which is not to pretend that I was there doing my razor thing: I was simply in love with the work of those who were.

The condensed version of the above: people do whatever they do because they like it.

That they have those different views doesn't, of itself, alter the fact that there are and have always been recognized "boxes" into which everything falls, more or less. Call yourself the most free of the free spirits, and unless that freedom is expressed by electing to do nothing, your output cannot avoid falling into one of those little containers, or be uncomfortably suspended across the edges between one or two of them; a hedged bet of a style, then.

For myself, I think I have come to the natural end of my outdoor photographic trip. An experience on Wednesday of this week saw me hustled by a woman around twenty-five or so years of age who came out of nowhere from behind me on a quiet street in this little town, asked me the way to a bus stop, made some meaningless chat about nationalities and then came up close to hug me, as if in gratitude for telling her where the stops are. I was uncomfortable from the start, but when she made this proximity move I pushed her away as hard as I could, feeling I was being set up for a fake sex assault charge. Her hands all over me, I got away and a few seconds later discovered there was no longer a Rolex on my wrist.

There was no woman to be seen either, when I turned to look for her. The following three hours were spent sitting around in the Guardia Civil offices wondering if my third heart event was cutting in. Anyway, the point that became clear to me was that old guys, nice things and the street do not mix. I consider I was lucky it was a woman and I did not get punched, stabbed or shot for a pretty bauble.

Once lucky, the idea of doing it all again with cameras seems silly. Age fixes everything.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: rabanito on October 24, 2019, 05:32:40 pm

There was no woman to be seen either, when I turned to look for her. The following three hours were spent sitting around in the Guardia Civil offices wondering if my third heart event was cutting in. Anyway, the point that became clear to me was that old guys, nice things and the street do not mix. I consider I was lucky it was a woman and I did not get punched, stabbed or shot for a pretty bauble.


And possibly she was not that alone, only you didn't notice.
Hope you had an insurance 8)
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Peter McLennan on October 24, 2019, 08:29:28 pm
Hi Peter, I use what Epson currently calls "Premium Presentation Paper Matte, double-sided." That paper has had at least two other names over the years, and my Epson Stylus Pro 3880 calls it something else. But it works. I have books going back many years and they still seem to have their full original color.

Thanks, Russ.  What colour of comb binding do you use?  I'm assuming you're using the plastic stuff that's either white or black.  Do you make separate weight items for the covers?  Or just use the regular Epson material?

I've just tried a test document and the production process is definitely non-trivial!  :)
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Peter McLennan on October 24, 2019, 08:34:55 pm
Her hands all over me, I got away and a few seconds later discovered there was no longer a Rolex on my wrist.

How horrible for you, Rob.  My sympathies.
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 25, 2019, 12:52:53 pm
How horrible for you, Rob.  My sympathies.

Thank you, Peter; if there's any consolation, it can't happen twice!
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: Rob C on October 25, 2019, 12:55:41 pm
And possibly she was not that alone, only you didn't notice.
Hope you had an insurance 8)


Insurance is only for while cameras and jewellery are at home; here, at least way back when we accepted the policy, they won't offer cover for outside risks. Guess that's warning enough...

Rob
Title: Re: Is it art, but is it also dead?
Post by: rabanito on October 25, 2019, 02:26:09 pm

they won't offer cover for outside risks. Guess that's warning enough...

Rob

I guess you live in a dangerous place then.
Sorry about that  :(