Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: MatthewCromer on January 13, 2013, 06:22:30 PM

Title: Eric Meola article
Post by: MatthewCromer on January 13, 2013, 06:22:30 PM
That was refreshing.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: ysengrain on January 14, 2013, 12:44:23 AM
Michael, introducing today's paper writes: "Many observers (myself included) see the mainstream of photography as somewhat constipated, endlessly self-referential, and boringly repetitious."

I've been involved during my pofessional life in medicine (nephrology, dialysis, kidney transplant) and lute-making (viola da gamba). For these topics I've always been an extreme reader and a "congress attender".

Michael, if you switch the word photography of your sentence in medicine/lute making, you're ready to talk about these topics.

Maybe truth is sel referential and this is a pity
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: SunnyUK on January 14, 2013, 04:49:14 AM
Refreshing article, and the pictures Eric chose to illustrate the article were both gorgeous and inspiring. What a lovely way to start a Monday morning!
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Fips on January 14, 2013, 07:05:12 AM
Great article, especially with all the links provided!
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Stephane Desnault on January 14, 2013, 12:05:13 PM
I really liked the abundant reference. Stephen Wilkes Day to Night (http://www.stephenwilkes.com/fine-art-gallery.php?g=7&t=fineart) series is amazing - quite an inspiration.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: MatthewCromer on January 14, 2013, 12:49:02 PM
I thought the photographic work was refreshingly different.

I really like it.

Going back and reading the article a bit more closely, it seems that Eric is very unhappy with what a lot of other photographers are up to.  Sounds painful.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: John R on January 14, 2013, 04:13:25 PM
A most interesting gentlemen and I really like the sample works.

JMR
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: MatthewCromer on January 14, 2013, 06:55:42 PM
A friend of mine forwarded me his website.

His landscape images are among the best I have seen.  Check them out (http://www.ericmeola.com/).
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: JohnBrew on January 14, 2013, 09:30:35 PM
Frankly I find these images boring and uninspiring. When I see work such as this it drives me further and further to find solace in black and white.
I also have found in the past that Eric Meola is quite creative and stretches the boundaries of color photography in a good way. However, I find this article self-serving and a blatant attempt to plant himself as some sort of avant-garde color photographer for the 21st Century. Baloney. I know others who have done similar work and dismissed it as a mere phase and moved on to different projects.
Just my two cents.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: markd61 on January 14, 2013, 10:03:34 PM
I take his points about landscape.
As much as I like the work of the artists he references I can't help but note that this has its roots in the work of Eggleston, Friedlander, and others working in the 60's and 70's. Moreover, the gags are  repeated ad nauseum without generating any new insights.

Wilkes' "Day and Night" work is wonderful but becomes a schtick through the repetition.

The "New Topographics" group included Robert Adams, Joe Deal, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore, Frank Gohlke and a couple of others but not the three listed. They were part of the 1975 show at George Eastman House that established (or I should say, publicized) that ironic, indifferent realist approach to landscape.

The real challenge is being the one who creates a new direction in art. The first image plants the stake of discovery the next few enlarge and  expand on the concept and the rest tend to create the cliche.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 15, 2013, 10:27:03 AM
The real challenge is being the one who creates a new direction in art. The first image plants the stake of discovery the next few enlarge and  expand on the concept and the rest tend to create the cliche.


That's the eternal probem of all visual two-dimensional representations of the world. The same could be said of all other photo genres too; it's principally by seeing someone else's work and being inspired by it that we take up the craft ourselves. Then what? It's all been done before, and anything different can only come from the absurd, and who needs to go there? So it's ever more of the same.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 15, 2013, 08:04:09 PM
The "New Topographics" group included ... but not the three listed.

And yet Eric Meola is still free to refer to [Edward Burtynsky, Nicholas Nixon and Andreas Gursky] as "the New Topographers". Perhaps he wishes to draw attention to the photography that influenced them.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: LJLRenner on January 15, 2013, 09:33:23 PM
Michael:  Eric (a Canon Explorer of Light) presented at our Newport (RI) Photo Guild last season and was a great hit.  He is not only a great photographer, but also an excellent presenter as well as a really interesting and fun person with which to spend time.  My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  Thanks for spotlighting him on LuLa!

Jack
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: HSway on January 16, 2013, 10:57:46 AM
Yet the definition of “landscape” is constantly changing, and as it evolves, and as our society becomes more urban, photographers are all participants in the search for the architecture of a new landscape.  As our cities become more futuristic, as architectural fantasy becomes reality, our very landscapes are defining a new architecture.  It is for photographers to not only document that architecture, but to use it to find a new way of seeing, and to embrace photography as another, valid means of expressing an abstract vision.

Very true.

... valid means of expressing an abstract vision.

The last words froze my mind a little: I'd say that the concreteness, physical forms and human vision is one infinite Abstract with no fixed, existing boundaries where spirit of man determines its own, unique and very concrete outlines including the forms within that hold essential significance to him, like they held in the past and will continue to hold in the future. I think the spirit of man looks like the keyword here, as is the power of mind and the pulsing, streaming Life with all its idealism, pessimism and realism that was always difficult to generalize, define, arrange into stable structures or control. it just occasionally reflects from a surface that just happened to be at a certain angle. Just like that wild, wide open eye. Yeah, photographers actually should understand.

Hynek
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 17, 2013, 04:27:28 AM
Yet the definition of “landscape” is constantly changing, and as it evolves, and as our society becomes more urban, photographers are all participants in the search for the architecture of a new landscape.  As our cities become more futuristic, as architectural fantasy becomes reality, our very landscapes are defining a new architecture.  It is for photographers to not only document that architecture, but to use it to find a new way of seeing, and to embrace photography as another, valid means of expressing an abstract vision.

Very true.


Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally arificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

The soft shapes of clouds, and trees, and rivers and streams, sometimes contrasting with the harder edges of rocks, cliffs and mountains, create a certain peace and harmony within the human soul. A Landscape is a refuge from the turmoil of the city; a place where one can quietly contemplate, relax, and feel at-one with nature.

A photograph of such a landscape, in order for it to have a similar emotional impact of actually being there, has to capture some essence of that spiritual quality one experiences when one is in harmony with nature.

I admit there's a strong urge for artists in general to be innovative, whether they are painters, writers or musicians, but modern, serious, atonal music, for example, has not been a success because it tends to lack a recognisable melody.

Prior to the introduction of the camera, art tended to be very representational. There's strong evidence that a number of Renaissance artists used mirrors and lenses to project an image onto their canvas, so they could paint it with greater realism. They tended to keep their technique a secret, though.

When the camera was more developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of artists, including Picasso, saw no point in labouring for hours or days trying to compete with the realism of the camera. So they moved towards a less realistic or less representaional style that we now call Impressionism and Cubism etc, against which the camera could not compete.

I get the impression that Eric Meola is now trying to follow or imitate, with the camera, that artistic movement which headed towards abstractionism as a result of the influence of the camera.  ;)


Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 06:37:20 AM
http://www.ericmeola.com

Eric's been one of the leading lights in true stock photography, as in when stock photography meant something.

An eye for colour, contrast, design, the usual rendered unusual etc. etc. is the stock-in-trade (pardon the pun) of good stock shooting.

That some (photography) does or does not fit into preconcieved notions of landscape is not really the pro's problem, more that of the afficionado who needs to create within or, at the very least, live within tight definitions of genre in order to legitimise his own tentative ventures into photographic seeing; it allows him an artificial structure within which to toil, rather than face the more difficult road to discovery of his own path.

I often think that without some great personal need/drive, recognized very early by the individual himself, there really is no point to buying cameras, especially if it's only to ape others.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 17, 2013, 08:14:27 AM
That some (photography) does or does not fit into preconcieved notions of landscape is not really the pro's problem, more that of the afficionado who needs to create within or, at the very least, live within tight definitions of genre in order to legitimise his own tentative ventures into photographic seeing; it allows him an artificial structure within which to toil, rather than face the more difficult road to discovery of his own path.

That seems very confused reasoning to me, Rob. I've never come across a "need" to create within tight definitions. That sounds like an oxymoron. The "need" is simply to create in a manner which is meaningful. As I mentioned previously, I can understand completely that any painter who is skilled in accurate representational work, as Picasso was in his youth, could feel foolish spending days painting something which was very similar to a photograph which could be produced in an hour or so in the darkroom.

Quote
I often think that without some great personal need/drive, recognized very early by the individual himself, there really is no point to buying cameras, especially if it's only to ape others.

You should know by now, Rob, that people don't buy cameras to ape others, they buy cameras to photograph themselves.

I've recently returned from a trip to Cambodia, and in particular Angkor Wat. The number of tourists wandering around these temples has increased enormously since my previous visit, especially Chinese tourists.

Almost without exception, every tourist I encountered was primarily interested in photographing themselves in front of some amazing sculpture or edifice.

Occasionally I'd see someone with a tripod, and I'd think, "Ah! a real photographer." Not so. The purpose of the tripod was so the individual, without a partner, could set up his camera and using time-delay could dash in front of the camera and photograph himself standing in front of something interesting.

Often one would encounter groups of tourists, and each member of the group would require their own portrait in front of the interesting background of the moment. The whole process could take 15 minutes or more, then immediately another group would take its place and the same process would be repeated, again and again.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: GrahamB3 on January 17, 2013, 09:49:50 AM
I'm a fan of William Neill's work, especially his Impressions of Light series http://www.williamneill.com/store/books/impressions-of-light-hardbound.html (http://www.williamneill.com/store/books/impressions-of-light-hardbound.html).

Mr. Meola's images are beautiful, but they're not "new landscape", as they didn't (examples posted here) originate in nature. I don't think many would identify a carousel, the basis of the first image, as a landscape if it was presented as a realistic interpretation, why should it be identified as such in the abstract?

If one has to label interpretive photography as "landscape", let it originate in nature, as Mr. Neill illustrates. Mr. Meola's images may be fine art, but landscape, new or otherwise, they're not.

Graham
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 10:44:42 AM
That seems very confused reasoning to me, Rob. I've never come across a "need" to create within tight definitions. That sounds like an oxymoron. The "need" is simply to create in a manner which is meaningful. As I mentioned previously, I can understand completely that any painter who is skilled in accurate representational work, as Picasso was in his youth, could feel foolish spending days painting something which was very similar to a photograph which could be produced in an hour or so in the darkroom.

You should know by now, Rob, that people don't buy cameras to ape others, they buy cameras to photograph themselves.

I've recently returned from a trip to Cambodia, and in particular Angkor Wat. The number of tourists wandering around these temples has increased enormously since my previous visit, especially Chinese tourists.

Almost without exception, every tourist I encountered was primarily interested in photographing themselves in front of some amazing sculpture or edifice.

Occasionally I'd see someone with a tripod, and I'd think, "Ah! a real photographer." Not so. The purpose of the tripod was so the individual, without a partner, could set up his camera and using time-delay could dash in front of the camera and photograph himself standing in front of something interesting.

Often one would encounter groups of tourists, and each member of the group would require their own portrait in front of the interesting background of the moment. The whole process could take 15 minutes or more, then immediately another group would take its place and the same process would be repeated, again and again.

Now, now, Ray, you know perfectly well where I’m pointing my prow!

There’s no contradiction about it at all:  the ‘tight definitions’ are what, for example, this forum tries to be abut: landscape on the one hand, pro work on the other, and some varied bits of ‘different’ stuff suspended from the shoulder on whichever side in a tiny sack: cars, boats, street etc.

People get excited by a sunset and want to shoot that; they sometimes get lucky and manage to make something pleasing; at other times they fail, and then the incentive becomes to do it again until they can get it right. That achieved, they either become happy to make more similar images or, better, they move across the spectrum to something new: portraits, cityscapes, everything that’s already an established genre. So, voilà, working within a definition.

Self-portraits. But you hardly need to buy a separate camera for that: cellpix do perfectly well, and in many cases, better. The same can be said for landscape too, unless you have become a fairly sophisticated snapper and know very clearly what you’re trying to achieve.

Male jewellery? Possibly, but I imagine that’s falling slowly out of fashion.

http://youtu.be/mQBKpV9emKc

Some things never go out of style; only the beat changes.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: HSway on January 17, 2013, 11:24:44 AM
Hi Ray,

I think a lot will depend on how one defines the nature, artificial and natural to oneself. There is quite a scope for this.

Either way, my wife knows  :) cities and towns were always sort of forest to me (that term). With its colourful range of matching attributes and in most various aspects. I am strongly bent towards the non-urban one thinking of the landscape. The alternatively spirited views come natural to me, though. Things may appear material but it’s the human mind that gives them their life, meaningful existence and makes them open to experience. To me it’s about perception of the artefacts in the surrounding and that is dramatically relative to a particular mind, concept and expression. A certain sort of them seems to meet in one river for me. I guess it’s their character. And there is more stepping in between the extremes, and more and smoother transitions.
Now all this would be a separate thing to how I view questions about our civilization heading directions and related affairs. and certainly more complicated for me to talk about.

Hynek




Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally arificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

The soft shapes of clouds, and trees, and rivers and streams, sometimes contrasting with the harder edges of rocks, cliffs and mountains, create a certain peace and harmony within the human soul. A Landscape is a refuge from the turmoil of the city; a place where one can quietly contemplate, relax, and feel at-one with nature.

A photograph of such a landscape, in order for it to have a similar emotional impact of actually being there, has to capture some essence of that spiritual quality one experiences when one is in harmony with nature.

I admit there's a strong urge for artists in general to be innovative, whether they are painters, writers or musicians, but modern, serious, atonal music, for example, has not been a success because it tends to lack a recognisable melody.

Prior to the introduction of the camera, art tended to be very representational. There's strong evidence that a number of Renaissance artists used mirrors and lenses to project an image onto their canvas, so they could paint it with greater realism. They tended to keep their technique a secret, though.

When the camera was more developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of artists, including Picasso, saw no point in labouring for hours or days trying to compete with the realism of the camera. So they moved towards a less realistic or less representaional style that we now call Impressionism and Cubism etc, against which the camera could not compete.

I get the impression that Eric Meola is now trying to follow or imitate, with the camera, that artistic movement which headed towards abstractionism as a result of the influence of the camera.  ;)



Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 12:07:35 PM
Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally arificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

A completely natural environment? I think you just excluded two thousand years worth of pastoral landscape paintings.

A completely natural environment? I think you just excluded most places on Earth for the last several thousand years (see for example, "Australia’s Original Landscape Gardeners (http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/australias-original-landscape-gardeners/371/)").

However, I am struggling to understand why we would describe some image as a landscape if the intention was not to express the 'intellectual and emotional' essence of a place. (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sutherland-welsh-landscape-with-roads-n05666)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 12:16:56 PM
I think the term landscape can be used in a way that has nothing to do with subject matter and more to do with the feel or scope of a photograph.

Do you mean more than a broad view rather than a narrow view?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 12:42:48 PM
@Eric Meola "...nearly always accompanied by tepid images of golden mesas, moss on trees, and fields of flowers—all with horizons cutting through the middle of the frame."

None of that! Luminous Landscape forums are strictly rule-of-thirds! :-)

@Eric Meola "The giraffe loping across a violet and iridescent red landscape in Pete Turner’s 1963 breakthrough image..."

Here's that image -- “The Giraffe” (http://www.peteturner.com/Classics/images/01.jpg)


Quote
"A whole world lies before us, we feel its heartbeat, it pulsates with life, beauty and strength -- we can't have people simply telling us: this is as far as art goes."   Edward Steichen

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Andy Ilachinski on January 17, 2013, 12:48:44 PM
What about (as I've posted on a parallel thread) using photography to transform a decidedly "non-natural" reality - in my example, a "colored wine glass" - into an apparently "natural" one, such as a traditional landscape, or seascape, or desert, or...?

Here are some snippets from an ongoing series I call "synesthetic landscapes" (a few links below). Synesthesia refers to "crossed senses", as in "tasting" what one sees, and is a very effect, now well documented with MRI scans. I had a visual-color form when I was young, seeing numbers and letters in different hues. More recently, I've started playing with using "color abstractions" to evoke a synesthetic experience of "landscape." So it seemed quite apropos given the discussion swirling around the recent color essay.

Examples:

1: http://www.sudden-stillness.com/Portfolio/SynthWarm/index.html

2. http://www.sudden-stillness.com/Portfolio/SynthCool/index.html

Story behind the series:

http://tao-of-digital-photography.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-else-thing-is.html
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 12:56:44 PM
What about...

Isn't that about "what a thing is, is-not, and may-be", rather than about some place?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Andy Ilachinski on January 17, 2013, 01:02:55 PM
Isn't that about "what a thing is, is-not, and may-be", rather than about some place?

I certainly agree, its about all three of those things, as well as just about anything else the creative mind can conjure as an alternative "interpretation." There is no more one "type of photograph" than one "reality" or one "idea." I've always believed in White's credo to *start* with finding ways to express "what else a thing..."
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 01:09:55 PM
I think using the term "landscape" when it is not a traditional landscape photograph can be part of the artistic expression.

Irony?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 01:29:27 PM
Curator-speak. There's lots of it about. It's often much more entertaining or even, dare I say it, creative than the artwork; perhaps it is the atwork.

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

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 02:00:16 PM
Curator-speak.

Which are the words you wish to say are curator-speak?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 03:08:51 PM
Which are the words you wish to say are curator-speak?



To quote directly would be invidious; just reread the thread.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: David S on January 17, 2013, 03:10:45 PM
Mmm...I don't agree. I think the term landscape can be used in a way that has nothing to do with subject matter and more to do with the feel or scope of a photograph. I am working on a series of photographs of natural objects that I think of as portraits. That is the feel they have.

Sharon

Others would appear to agree with your feeling-definition.

Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as (ice-capped) mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of land use, buildings and structures,...
-from Wikipedia.

Now one might like or not like where he is apparently going but it does seem to fall under a general use of landscape or "cityscape" if you must.

Dave S

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 17, 2013, 03:36:18 PM
To quote directly would be invidious; just reread the thread.

Not to quote directly is invidious -- your remark may be applied more widely than you intended.

Please just be clear instead of hiding behind obscure remarks.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 03:55:55 PM
Not to quote directly is invidious -- your remark may be applied more widely than you intended.

Please just be clear instead of hiding behind obscure remarks.


But that would then make me obvious. Hiding isn't the name of the game; observation is. If someone feels they fit the cap, then by all means, please wear it.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 17, 2013, 06:24:21 PM
A completely natural environment? I think you just excluded two thousand years worth of pastoral landscape paintings.

A completely natural environment? I think you just excluded most places on Earth for the last several thousand years (see for example, "Australia’s Original Landscape Gardeners (http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/australias-original-landscape-gardeners/371/)").

However, I am struggling to understand why we would describe some image as a landscape if the intention was not to express the 'intellectual and emotional' essence of a place. (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sutherland-welsh-landscape-with-roads-n05666)

The word "completely" may not have been the best choice of words in the context. To express it another way, I'd say that for me, the completely natural elements in a landscape, that is, those elements in the scene that have not been created by man, are the elements that tend evoke the emotional essence of that place, if it is defined as a landscape.

If the main feature in a landscape is a building, for example, then there would be good reason to use the term architecture rather than landscape to describe the scene.

Words have to have agreed meanings for us to communicate, or confusion reigns.

For example, if I were to ask my wife to buy a few landscape photos or paintings to decorate the walls of our new house, and after a day's shopping she returned with a handful of works that looked like Eric Meola's abstract patterns of neon lights, I would exclaim that those were not landscapes. I would probably say, "Don't you know what a landscape is?", whereupon she would probably slap my face.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 18, 2013, 04:09:48 AM
For example, if I were to ask my wife to buy a few landscape photos or paintings to decorate the walls of our new house, and after a day's shopping she returned with a handful of works that looked like Eric Meola's abstract patterns of neon lights, I would exclaim that those were not landscapes. I would probably say, "Don't you know what a landscape is?", whereupon she would probably slap my face.




Brave lady! I would never slap the face of the hand that stroked the tiger!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 18, 2013, 07:40:01 AM


Brave lady! I would never slap the face of the hand that stroked the tiger!

;-)

Rob C

But what if the lady also strokes tigers? Anyway, sometimes tigers are just like big, soft pussy cats.  ;D



Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 18, 2013, 08:08:58 AM
But what if the lady also strokes tigers? Anyway, sometimes tigers are just like big, soft pussy cats.  ;D






I'm thunderstruck: there is no answer that allows the retention of my dignity!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 18, 2013, 08:29:50 AM

I'm thunderstruck: there is no answer that allows the retention of my dignity!

;-)

Rob C

Well, you could pose the question whether or not this is a landscape.  The tigers are enclosed in a small canyon with steep walls.  ;)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave Millier on January 18, 2013, 10:38:54 AM
That's a striking image!

I've not seen that before (I remember another Turner image, a primary colour plastic waste bin on a beach).  It's pretty good.

However... if that image started a Flickr craze, there'd soon be 20,000 similar shots and variations, plugins to reproduce the effect, and before you knew Pete Turner would be the new HDR. 

There's no avoiding it, you can make well composed traditional landscapes forever and while nobody may think of them as high art, they won't complain either, but if you go down the route of something striking and different like this, it can only be done a handful of times (maybe once?) before it becomes derivative and derided....

@Eric Meola "...nearly always accompanied by tepid images of golden mesas, moss on trees, and fields of flowers—all with horizons cutting through the middle of the frame."

None of that! Luminous Landscape forums are strictly rule-of-thirds! :-)

@Eric Meola "The giraffe loping across a violet and iridescent red landscape in Pete Turner’s 1963 breakthrough image..."

Here's that image -- “The Giraffe” (http://www.peteturner.com/Classics/images/01.jpg)



Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 18, 2013, 10:47:09 AM
But that would then make me obvious.

That would be a welcome change from schoolboy innuendo.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 18, 2013, 10:57:12 AM
I'd say that for me, the completely natural elements in a landscape, that is, those elements in the scene that have not been created by man, are the elements that tend evoke the emotional essence of that place, if it is defined as a landscape.

Which elements not created by man would, for you, evoke the emotional essence of farmed land?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 18, 2013, 02:12:41 PM
That would be a welcome change from schoolboy innuendo.



I was a wonderful schoolboy; always wore my blazer correctly, my tie in place (if with a Windsor) and now you arise from the depths, kraken-like, to cast aspersions.

Woe is me!

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 18, 2013, 07:01:02 PM
Which elements not created by man would, for you, evoke the emotional essence of farmed land?

The trees in the gullies around the borders of fields, and the grass and wild flowers, and the animals such as cows or horses gathering in small groups under the shade of a tree, or drinking from the stream which flows across the farmland, and the flocks of birds sometimes taking their share of whatever crop is in season.

The soft shape of the undulating hills which can be very relaxing on the eyes and the mind, and the yellow blaze of Canola or Rapeseed in full bloom etc etc.

However, I think I can anticipate your response. You will probably claim that it was man who cleared the foreststs to reveal the undulating hills, and it was man who planted the Rapeseed which is so spectacular when in full bloom.

That is true, but I would claim there is a clear distinction to be made between clearing and planting, and creating. Those soft and pleasant undulations and shapes were likely not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and the Rapeseed plant, whilst possibly genetically modified, is a natural plant which has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: wolfnowl on January 19, 2013, 01:22:44 AM
A new blog post from William Neill (still hanging out on the forums here?)  Several of the images put me in mind of Eric's article.

http://www.williamneill.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/my-favorite-images-from-2012-2/

Mike.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: HSway on January 19, 2013, 09:57:35 AM

Australia’s Original Landscape Gardeners (http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/australias-original-landscape-gardeners/371/)


Great link and a very enjoyable read. Thanks for posting it.

Aborigines and ancient populations all over the world excelled at what they were doing in a similar way we excel at our stuff today. It’s just hard to imagine it and hard to see all aspects of it, quite naturally.
They were using the landscape to interact in the broadest sense, adapting it with ways of their lives maintained, responsive to changeability of the environment, short or (very) long term.
I think it's safe to say that in practice there was a varying degree of this influence alone with suitability for it. But the wilderness and people interacted actively where the conditions were right. I presume the wilderness that way, containing these man brought-in elements, had to be even better, if that makes sense :) (and on a somewhat idealistic note). Some rather vast areas in Tasmania I have been to, e.g., Dempster Plains in Tarkine Forest, feature landscapes strongly influenced by this character of land keeping and are actually protected for its unique environment (species composition) because of it as a reserve.

Hynek
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 19, 2013, 12:58:46 PM
You will probably claim that it was man who cleared the forests to reveal the undulating hills, and it was man who planted the Rapeseed which is so spectacular when in full bloom.

In short, the emotional essence of farmed land has everything to do with it being farmed.


That is true, but I would claim there is a clear distinction to be made between clearing and planting, and creating. Those soft and pleasant undulations and shapes were likely not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and the Rapeseed plant, whilst possibly genetically modified, is a natural plant which has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions.

In that vein, the seven hills of Rome were not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and building stone is a natural material transformed over millions of years. (And once you include GM Rapeseed, you also include Roman concrete.)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 19, 2013, 07:39:48 PM
In short, the emotional essence of farmed land has everything to do with it being farmed.

For you, maybe, but not for me. The essence of anything and everything we see lies within our own minds. That which exists externally can evoke a certain emotional and thoughtful response as the reflected light from the external objects passes through our eyes. However, such a response, whatever it is, does not exist as an objective, external reality, like an apple on a tree that can be plucked by anyone, whatever his opinion.

It is my view that farming tends to destroy what I find beautiful about landscapes. Stripping the land of all its trees, and depleting the soil of most of its carbon content through continual tilling, and removal of mulch and crop residue, reduces biodiversity and contributes significantly to the effects of flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

If anyone reading this is seriously worried about the effects of human-induced climate change, you might like to know that the problem could be fixed by changing our agricultural practices so that more carbon would be sequestered in our soils resulting in more fertile soils with greater biodiversity, including worms and bacteria which are necessary to break down the nutrients to a form that the plants can use.

I've heard reports, from those who have studied the issue, that the relatively infertile soils of Australia alone, could contain or sequester all the carbon emitted world-wide from power stations and industrial processes, if a deliberate effort were made to enrich our soils by increasing their carbon content.

In short, if I were to experience the emotional essence of a landscape of farmland as being everything to do with it being farmed, it's very likely that I would not like such a landscape and would not hang it on my wall, although I would admit that the photograph could still fit into the very broad genre of landscape.

When I go out with my camera with the intention of capturing some landscape shots, I try to stay clear of farmland, preferring natural wilderness, rainforests and mountainous areas which are not suitable for farming.

There are always exceptions of course. For example, a field of Canola in full bloom, perhaps surrounded by a few trees or shrubs, and a few taller trees in the background, can be quite eye-catching and make an interesting landscape photo. However, I'm not aware that the appearance of the plant and flower is significantly changed as a result of genetic modification, and the fact that the Canola has been planted by a farmer does not mean that the essence of the landscape has to do with it being farmed.

You must surely know that many plants and trees in their natural environment are growing at their precise location because a bird or animal planted the seed there.

When you see a Brazil Nut tree, impressive with its towering height of 50 metres, do you descibe its essence in terms of the farmer who planted it, or the squirrel or rodent which carried the seed to a particular location in the forest, if that's the tree's location?

C'mon! Be sensible, Isaac!  ;D


Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 20, 2013, 12:45:56 AM
In short, if I were to experience the emotional essence of a landscape of farmland as being everything to do with it being farmed, it's very likely that I would not like such a landscape and would not hang it on my wall, although I would admit that the photograph could still fit into the very broad genre of landscape.

Well that's the point -- not very natural, pastoral landscapes are landscapes; and originally were all there was to the genre of landscape.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2013, 05:27:25 AM
Well that's the point -- not very natural, pastoral landscapes are landscapes; and originally were all there was to the genre of landscape.

Ah! So that's what you are talking about, the Pastoral Landscape, or Bucolic; that excessively romantic depiction of the arduous and uncomfortable rural lifestyle, for the benefit of city audiences who know no better. Why didn't you say so before?  ;D

If we separate the Landscape genre into 3 subgenres, Pastoral, Picturesque and Sublime, I would say I'm more interested in the Picturesque and the Sublime which are for me the true landscapes. The pastoral I associate with idealised and politicised 18th and 19th century paintings which often attempted to celebrate man's dominion and control over nature. I'm more interested in truth and realism.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: dreed on January 20, 2013, 06:31:58 AM
Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally artificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

Really?

And what about landscaped gardens?
If I went to Hyde Park, London or Central Park, NYC, would a photograph of that park taken inside the park fit your definition of landscape given that both are work of men and not nature?

What about the fields of farmers?

Or man made lakes, damns, rivers, hills, etc?

Is street photography a subset of landscape photography?
If not, where and what is the overlap between the two, if there is one?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 20, 2013, 07:00:16 AM
Hi dreed,

In my opinion, anything shot with the intention of ‘landscape’ in manufactured places such as stately homes, public gardens etc. is absolutely excluded from any valid definition of the landscape genre.

Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardy creative but certainly a good use of judgement. To do that within a context where an architect (of sorts) has already arranged everything to its best advantage is but a joke, a hollow play on creativity and just a happy snap, however technically perfect that snap may be.

Neither would I claim  that doing the world’s best PS job on the original capture, film or digital, makes any difference other than to the condition of that capture; it is still another person`s invention. You might as well photograph Donatello’s David and rate yourself along with Donatello.

Street photography. It depends on whether you refer to it as the shooting of humans wandering about on their normal business, or if you mean images of city thoroughfares, buildings, and/or the juxtaposition of the one with the other. You might define such images as cityscapes, but hardly landscape which pretty much by definition means representations of the land, the natural thing. Concrete canyons do not landscapes make.

Or so I see it.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2013, 08:52:30 AM
Really?

And what about landscaped gardens?
If I went to Hyde Park, London or Central Park, NYC, would a photograph of that park taken inside the park fit your definition of landscape given that both are work of men and not nature?


Where did you get the idea that a landscaped garden is the work of men and not of nature?

It is the work of both men and nature. However, without nature there would be no garden. Without man there would still be a garden, albeit an unkempt, free-growing and natural garden, so the aspect of nature is always by far the more significant aspect in any landscape, even a cultivated garden.

Most plants in any location grow in such a location because they were planted there by some animal, whether by Homo Sapiens (being objective here), a rodent, a squirrel or a bird crapping out an undigested seed, or simply by the wind blowing the seed there.

There are always exceptions I guess. It is claimed that the Antarctic Beech trees in Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, got there, not through some animal carrying or dropping the seed, but as a result of continental breakup and drift.

About 100 million years ago or more, when Australia didn't exist and was part of a massive super-continent called Gondwana, those Antarctic Beech trees were growing in the same location. They regenerate through a process known as coppicing, whereby new shoots are sent out from the trees roots. How those trees originally began growing in that particular location in Gondwana Land, I don't think anyone knows. Perhaps the seeds were deposited there by a dinosaur.

Quote
Is street photography a subset of landscape photography? If not, where and what is the overlap between the two, if there is one?

Common usage defines the meaning of common words. Most people, I think, would not describe street photography as a type of Landscape. They might use the term Cityscape, though.

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 20, 2013, 09:26:02 AM
Why didn't you say so before?

I did -- it's just another thing you chose to ignore in your quest for truth and realism.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 20, 2013, 09:32:58 AM
Without man there would still be a garden, albeit an unkempt, free-growing and natural garden,... Common usage defines the meaning of common words.

Garden (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/garden?q=garden).

Countryside (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/countryside?q=countryside).

Landscape (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/landscape_1?q=landscape).
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2013, 10:26:35 AM
Garden (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/garden?q=garden).

Countryside (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/countryside?q=countryside).

Landscape (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/landscape_1?q=landscape).

All almost totally dependent on nature. A rose is a rose, whether planted my man or planted from a bird dropping.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 20, 2013, 07:35:12 PM
Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardly creative but certainly a good use of judgement.

Rob C


Can't say I agree with any of that statement Rob, there is so much more to creating good landscape images than what you are suggesting, and I'm surprised that you think it is simply a matter of finding the most favourable vantage point to produce nothing more than a photocopy of nature.

In fact I think landscape is arguably the most difficult type of photography to get right, as you have no control over the weather/light or the environment and the objects placed within it, you are by default trying to abstract (frame) a pleasing/satisfying compositional subset from the huge and sprawling mess of nature.

Landscape photography is more akin to hunting than it is to shopping.

I think Eric Meola's images are colourful and pleasant to look at but definitely nothing new or special, Tony Sweet (http://www.youtube.com/embed/aI4aKDq5r9w?rel=0&autoplay=1) and Bryan Peterson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WcfEglSNAw&list=PLC807CCF3F5186201&index=2) have been creating this kind of imagery for years.

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 20, 2013, 09:58:58 PM
I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: dreed on January 21, 2013, 12:33:07 AM
I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D

Similar restrictions when photographing a man made landscape...

The impact of weather and lighting in an uncontrolled environment is really the distinction between landscape and model/studio photography.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 21, 2013, 04:04:15 AM
I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D



Absolutely, and the greater difference is that without the two of you interacting, the moment would never have existed: it had to have been created.

It's an active rather than passive concept.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 21, 2013, 04:18:59 AM
Can't say I agree with any of that statement Rob, there is so much more to creating good landscape images than what you are suggesting, and I'm surprised that you think it is simply a matter of finding the most favourable vantage point to produce nothing more than a photocopy of nature.

In fact I think landscape is arguably the most difficult type of photography to get right, as you have no control over the weather/light or the environment and the objects placed within it, you are by default trying to abstract (frame) a pleasing/satisfying compositional subset from the huge and sprawling mess of nature.Landscape photography is more akin to hunting than it is to shopping.

Dave


Indeed, I agree with all of that. But hunting isn’t creating.

Difficulty isn’t a measure of creativity; if anything, that flies in the face of the concept of simplicity providing the finer art.

I never meant this as a put-down of any sorts: I know from personal trial and almost constant error in the genre that it doesn’t come easily or for free. However, I also realised to my own (dis)satisfaction that it wasn’t a creative pursuit: Even my very rare success didn’t bring the feeling of wow, look what I did, Mum! If anything, it made me happy to have been at the right place at the right time and to have had a camera along for the ride. And that’s the rub: it’s all  beyond the photographer’s ability to make happen; that being so, how can he claim authorship of something for which he can but wait, in hope of it happening all by itself?

Just my experience, and all I have to go on upon which to base personal opinion.

Rob C

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 21, 2013, 04:44:07 AM
Rob, the reasons you put forward highlight the challenges of landscape photography.
But to imply that just being there at the right time and place and just pointing the camera will deliver the requisite masterpiece is well wide of the mark.
It is still very easy to shoot rubbish in the most glorious light, with the most photogenic cloud formations, and the most iconic landscape features you can imagine (been there, done that, enough times to know).
Teasing out the right compositions, understanding the light, levering all the components of the shot, knowing all the time that minute-by-minute, or even second-by-second, everything is changing, whatever you say this takes a lot of imagination and creativity and anticipation.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 21, 2013, 08:27:18 AM
Rob, the reasons you put forward highlight the challenges of landscape photography.
But to imply that just being there at the right time and place and just pointing the camera will deliver the requisite masterpiece is well wide of the mark.
It is still very easy to shoot rubbish in the most glorious light, with the most photogenic cloud formations, and the most iconic landscape features you can imagine (been there, done that, enough times to know).
Teasing out the right compositions, understanding the light, levering all the components of the shot, knowing all the time that minute-by-minute, or even second-by-second, everything is changing, whatever you say this takes a lot of imagination and creativity and anticipation.

Tony Jay
[/quot


Tony, I never expected to change your opinion, nor that of anyone else; it's just my honest take on the genre. If I were to write otherwise, I'd be lying - at least, to myself. I own several different books on landscape, and I do accept that it takes a helluva lot of skill to produce what some do; but creativity? I don't think so, just acute observational and technical skills. Along. of course, with the mutual support of a huge band of similar shooters.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 21, 2013, 01:14:14 PM
Garden (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/garden?q=garden).

Countryside (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/countryside?q=countryside).

Landscape (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/landscape_1?q=landscape).
All almost totally dependent on nature. A rose is a rose, whether planted my man or planted from a bird dropping.
You say "Common usage defines the meaning of common words" but you choose to disregard the common meaning of the words garden, countryside and landscape.


If gardens are "almost totally dependent on nature" then so is man; and your shouting-down HSway --

Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally arificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

-- has concluded in nothing more than incoherence.


Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 21, 2013, 04:05:22 PM
Indeed, I agree with all of that. But hunting isn’t creating.

Difficulty isn’t a measure of creativity; if anything, that flies in the face of the concept of simplicity providing the finer art.

I never meant this as a put-down of any sorts: I know from personal trial and almost constant error in the genre that it doesn’t come easily or for free. However, I also realised to my own (dis)satisfaction that it wasn’t a creative pursuit: Even my very rare success didn’t bring the feeling of wow, look what I did, Mum! If anything, it made me happy to have been at the right place at the right time and to have had a camera along for the ride. And that’s the rub: it’s all  beyond the photographer’s ability to make happen; that being so, how can he claim authorship of something for which he can but wait, in hope of it happening all by itself?

Just my experience, and all I have to go on upon which to base personal opinion.

Rob C



Hi Rob, no put down taken, in fact I think you have inadvertently set in-motion a quite interesting topic of discussion, to which I would like to rejoin with the following regarding the creative, skilful and artistic aspects of landscape photography:

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines art simply as “a visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination.” In other words, anything created by a conscious being, for any or no purpose, can potentially fit the definition of art.

So as a photograph is the result of a consciously motivated process, logic would dictate that it must also be open to the definition of being art - although I grant you, as with all artistic endeavours, there can be both good and bad photographs, but you must agree that by this definition, good landscape photography can be regarded as art?

From Wikipedia: A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. In other words the abilities that one possesses. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

So to make something (a landscape image in this instance) that has no useful purpose other than to create an emotional response (stimuli) within the viewer, is a quantifiably skilful process. Quantifiable by the fact that some people are much better at doing it than others (therefore more skilful). So you must also agree that by this definition, good landscape photography requires skill?

From Human Motivation, 3rd ed., by Robert E. Franken: Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. (page 396).

From Creativity - Beyond the Myth of Genius, by Robert W. Weisberg: ..."creative" refers to novel products of value, as in "The airplane was a creative invention." "Creative" also refers to the person who produces the work, as in, "Picasso was creative." "Creativity," then refers both to the capacity to produce such works.. All who study creativity agree that for something to be creative, it is not enough for it to be novel: it must have value, or be appropriate to the cognitive demands of the situation." (page 4).

Good landscape photography is a way to communicate with others (the audience) as well as entertain, it is the production/creation of a 'novel' product that if done well can certainly have value, so again I think you must agree that by this definition, landscape photography is creative?

Ergo, Landscape photography is artistic, skilful and creative..

I rest my case.

Dave   ;D
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 21, 2013, 04:40:30 PM
... Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardy creative but certainly a good use of judgement. To do that within a context where an architect (of sorts) has already arranged everything to its best advantage is but a joke, a hollow play on creativity and just a happy snap, however technically perfect that snap may be.

Neither would I claim  that doing the world’s best PS job on the original capture, film or digital, makes any difference other than to the condition of that capture; it is still another person`s invention...

Rob,

By that standard, even Cezanne wasn't creative. He often did "just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point." In other words, if you would go today to the places he painted, find his vantage point and snap a photograph, you would see that Cezanne was very faithful to reality, almost photorealistic (in placement of elements, not technique). As a matter of fact, there was a guy who did just that, and made a book (http://www.amazon.com/Cezanne-Landscape-into-Pavel-Machotka/dp/0300067011/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358804271&sr=1-4) of it.

Now, what makes Cezanne Cezanne is, of course, his technique. But how different is that from your second tenant of non-creativity: photoshopping?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 21, 2013, 04:49:50 PM
... Ergo, Landscape photography is artistic, skilful and creative..

I rest my case...

Dave, as much as I agree with you that landscape photography can be artistic, skillful and creative, I think that it is too early to "rest our case." It appears to me that your arguments amount to a "skillful and creative" construction of a straw man, where you cherry pick dubious (even if coming from the EB) definitions to suit your conclusions.

I think we would need much stronger arguments to persuade Rob at al. Though I also think that changing Rob at al's opinion (or anyone's opinion for that matter) is a gargantuan, Herculean, even Sisyphus task in itself  ;)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 21, 2013, 05:29:57 PM
Dave, as much as I agree with you that landscape photography can be artistic, skillful and creative, I think that it is too early to "rest our case." It appears to me that your arguments amount to a "skillful and creative" construction of a straw man, where you cherry pick dubious (even if coming from the EB) definitions to suit your conclusions.

I think we would need much stronger arguments to persuade Rob at al. Though I also think that changing Rob at al's opinion (or anyone's opinion for that matter) is a gargantuan, Herculean, even Sisyphus task in itself  ;)

Yes of course I agree with you Slobodan, I just posted my reply to Rob as a bit of fun, even though I truly and completely believe every word of it myself.

Sisyphus - From Wikipedia: Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the Underworld, Attica black-figure amphora (vase), ca. 530 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen museum (Inv. 1494). In Greek mythology Sisyphus (pron.: /ˈsɪsɪfəs/;[1] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísyphos) was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

Slobodan, you know you are the only person on this forum who repeatedly makes me search for the definition of some of the terms you use, you are a wise man indeed to know such things. If you could see me now, you would observe that I have just taken my hat off to you  ;)

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 21, 2013, 06:05:00 PM
All almost totally dependent on nature. A rose is a rose, whether planted my man or planted from a bird dropping.

You say "Common usage defines the meaning of common words" but you choose to disregard the common meaning of the words garden, countryside and landscape.


If gardens are "almost totally dependent on nature" then so is man; and your shouting-down HSway --

-- has concluded in nothing more than incoherence.


Well, Isaac, I guess we'll just have to leave it there. If you think that I don't understand the common meanings of garden, countryside and landscap after all these posts, and you generally find that I'm being incoherent, then I see little possibility that I would ever get my point across to you.

I've done my best. I admit defeat. Let's leave it at that.

Ciao!
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 21, 2013, 07:19:11 PM
... Sisyphus...

Just check our friend armand's (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=50887) avatar :)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 22, 2013, 04:13:43 AM
Yes of course I agree with you Slobodan, I just posted my reply to Rob as a bit of fun, even though I truly and completely believe every word of it myself.

Sisyphus - From Wikipedia: Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the Underworld, Attica black-figure amphora (vase), ca. 530 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen museum (Inv. 1494). In Greek mythology Sisyphus (pron.: /ˈsɪsɪfəs/;[1] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísyphos) was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

Slobodan, you know you are the only person on this forum who repeatedly makes me search for the definition of some of the terms you use, you are a wise man indeed to know such things. If you could see me now, you would observe that I have just taken my hat off to you  ;)

Dave



Dear me, you didn't need Wiki: you need just have lifted the lid on my Biscuit Tin!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: stamper on January 22, 2013, 04:27:07 AM
... Sisyphus...

My dictionary says it is a sexual disease....or have I got the wrong definition? :-\ :-[
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 22, 2013, 08:59:37 AM
... Sisyphus...

My dictionary says it is a sexual disease....or have I got the wrong definition? :-\ :-[


Well, not if you are thinking in terms of trying to get rid of said disease, which can indeed be quite a s.... task. (I'm told - I don't know.)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 22, 2013, 07:42:42 PM
Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardy creative but certainly a good use of judgement. To do that within a context where an architect (of sorts) has already arranged everything to its best advantage is but a joke, a hollow play on creativity and just a happy snap, however technically perfect that snap may be.

Does "Still Life, San Francisco, California (c.1932)" (http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/LargeImage.aspx?image=/lotfinderimages/d19787/d1978794x.jpg) show what you would accept as creativity?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 04:11:34 AM
Does "Still Life, San Francisco, California (c.1932)" (http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/LargeImage.aspx?image=/lotfinderimages/d19787/d1978794x.jpg) show what you would accept as creativity?


I have stated several times in the past, here on LuLa, that I consider still life a creative form of photographic art. I'd go as far as to say I think it's far more difficult than working with models, where the human element of response creates its own excitement and progression to a successful image.

I have no idea about the genesis of the image you linked, but if it consists of elements put together by the photographer in order to make a picture, then yes, it's a creative event, but whether a good one or not is a matter of the scale of success, not of definition.

The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo. That's why I can't accept the simple act of picking a pleasing viewpoint or moment in time as being the defining qualities of creativity; it takes more than that: the photographer has to have made the difference.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: 32BT on January 23, 2013, 04:46:02 AM
... is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.

Doesn't that kind of negate the multitude of variables that affect the final representation?
Influencing any of those variables by conscious effort in order to influence the final outcome can be considered an act of creativity, no?

And additionally, since I am personally a proponent of Art = Communication, there is an aspect of a broader message in the entire process that makes the act a conscious form of creativity. It's not merely about selecting a "pretty" view, it can also be about selecting a view congruent with a specific emotion that the artist wants to transfer to the audience.

A landscape IRL can be absolutely boring. Then if you want to convey the boredom, you come up with Rhein II...
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: stamper on January 23, 2013, 05:08:32 AM
All kinds of images can be boring so picking out a landscape is wrong?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: stamper on January 23, 2013, 05:33:50 AM
 Why not? A lot of high brow musings in this thread. A tendency to over analyse will mean that there won't be a consensus regarding a worthwhile meaning of creative. Now what is the consensus of opinion on the meaning of art? ;)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 23, 2013, 05:33:56 AM
..The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo...

Lets enlarge a bit on this statement and its implications.
My very presence disturbs the status quo in the sense that what I see and what I think is a "pretty picture" is an intrusive selection of a wider vista and requires interpretation and by definition must be a creative purpose.
There is absolutely nothing passive about the decision-making and creativity about landscape photography, and by extension other outdoor photography, since none of us are passive recorders of what was there.
In fact photography also allows us to shoot what cannot be perceived directly - there are many examples of this but a simple example would be using long exposures to blur moving water.
Let loose several individuals with cameras corralled in a small space but able to shoot whatever is around them - the likelihood of a similar image being shot is small, identical, well almost impossible. The differences would not be random and asking each photographer why they shot what they shot would immediately betray much thought and creative intent. What is more many of the rationales given would not necessarily occur to the other shooters.

The truth is that it is vanishingly rare to achieve an image of any value to anyone without a lot thought and decision-making processes. To deny that this a creative process...
(Interestingly, right at the beginning of my photographic journey I did take a very striking sidelit portrait of an elephant in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi in South Africa that was a fluke in the truest sense of the word. I recognized immediately that this was a fluke, but that image remains as a catalyst for my creativity because, although I have not since returned to Africa, the desire to produce noteworthy images that incorporate my creativity and anticipation and the fickle beauty of nature has only grown.)

My $0.02 worth.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Wim van Velzen on January 23, 2013, 06:07:49 AM
As in all genres, landscape photography can be art - but often isn't (or not of a quality to be recognized as art as it is generally understood).

In Rob C.'s own experience landscape photography is nothing more than being there at the right place at the right time. I can see that if he that is experience in landscape photography, that his landscape photographs probably wouldn't classify as art.


For me landscape photography is so much more than being at the right time and place. But when I would try to do the genres Rob C is good in, I would probably don't make art either...
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 23, 2013, 08:31:40 AM
Rob, how about my Cezanne comment?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 08:40:45 AM
Could it be that creating an image that didn’t previously exist, however it is created, could be...hmm...let me think for a moment...well...perhaps...creative?



Yes, if that new image exists because of how the 'artist' actually changed the status quo; as I write so often, chosing a viewpoint, for me, on its own, isn't creating anything and neither does it change anything that already existed; all that's changed is what the viewer sees, not what actually is, and the logical consequence of that would be that going to the Sphinx and shooting what is there, from a dozen angles, means you've created a dozen pictures. I don't think you've even created one in that process. Would looking at and shooting something in a miirror be considered art if the introduction of said mirror is the extent of the 'artist's' added value? I think you are (possibly mischievously?) suggesting that taking a picture is the same as creating a picture, and there lies our fundamental bone.

Regarding your comparison of your life in illustration with that in photography: only you can decide how you choose to view it; all I claim to do is state how I look at these things. I'm clearly in a tiny minority here, but that`s okay - doesn't bother me at all as, I hope, my views shouldn't bother anyone else. I only offer them becaues of the place, the circumstances and the fact that people appear happy to discuss these things and a busy LuLa is more satifying to me than a moribund one. As regards illustration and how it affected me: I can remembner being knocked out by the guys who used to illustrate the stories in Woman and Woman's Own, which my wife-to-be used to buy as a teenager. I also envied Vargas his skills. And how!

As also said before, I mean no put-downs to anyone: do and please think as you all wish, and that's perfectly fine by me: just allow me to interpret what I see in the manner that it strikes me.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 09:14:24 AM
Rob, how about my Cezanne comment?


Sorry, Slobodan, my two dyslexic typing fingers make life slow!

I don't see any painter as being relevant to this chat: a painter starts of with a blank canvas and an idea - I trust - and then tries to give that life in a medium that takes huge skill to do it well and that's the first difference you encounter with photography: a monkey can (and probably has) do it. Hell, the friggin' camera can do it, never more so than today! And no, starting with a fresh film or card isn't the same thing at all. If you want to limit this to Cezanne and his confrères, you could be forgiven for suggesting he and they were not even particularly great artists. Their 'thing' was that they were new, and whether this was a by-product of lack of traditional skills and/or simply the timely acceptance of their styles is a moot point. Were they no more than early examples of living in the right time at the right time? Don't misunderstand me: I love Vncent, Degas, Dali, lots of artists of not so long ago. What I love is fheir interpretation, I don't claim to admire their technique as being superior to their ancestors' except in the case of Dali, that is.

Take Canaletto: his paintings of Venice often show views that are physically impossible and inaccurate. Can anyone claim that his skills are on the level of Photoshop or vice versa? The intended results may be vaguely similar, but Canaletto is incontrovertibly artist whereas the PS specialist is technician. Getting to similar positions with a programme isn't art - it's technique.

There are those of us who admire Avedon, Penn, Watson; does the same group of us honestly admire the two Richardsons? That never hindered the latter pair!

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Walt Roycraft on January 23, 2013, 09:26:44 AM



I don't see any painter as being relevant to this chat: a painter starts of with a blank canvas and an idea - I trust - and then tries to give that life in a medium that takes huge skill to do it well and that's the first difference you encounter with photography: a monkey can (and probably has) do it. Hell, the friggin' camera can do it, never more so than today!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073204/Monkey-artist-Pockets-Warhol-uses-hands-feet-tail-create-paintings-worth-250.html

 And no, starting with a fresh film or card isn't the same thing at all. If you want to limit this to Cezanne and his confrères, you could be forgiven for suggesting he and they were not even particularly great artists. Their 'thing' was that they were new, and whether this was a by-product of lack of traditional skills and/or simply the timely acceptance of their styles is a moot point. Were they no more than early examples of living in the right time at the right time? Don't misunderstand me: I love Vncent, Degas, Dali, lots of artists of not so long ago. What I love is fheir interpretation, I don't claim to admire their technique as being superior to their ancestors' except in the case of Dali, that is.

Take Canaletto: his paintings of Venice often show views that are physically impossible and inaccurate. Can anyone claim that his skills are on the level of Photoshop or vice versa? The intended results may be vaguely similar, but Canaletto is incontrovertibly artist whereas the PS specialist is technician. Getting to similar positions with a programme isn't art - it's technique.

There are those of us who admire Avedon, Penn, Watson; does the same group of us honestly admire the two Richardsons? That never hindered the latter pair!

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 23, 2013, 11:26:30 AM
Monkey-artist-Pockets-Warhol-uses-hands-feet-tail-create-paintings-worth-250

"We cannot guarantee the artist or colors, but all art is done by the lemurs (http://lemur.duke.edu/lemurs-finger-paints-and-lots-of-mess/) here at the Center."



Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 23, 2013, 12:25:37 PM
The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.

If we push to an extreme, there seems something a little strange about that as a criterion -- the difference between a photograph of a tulip in a florist's and a photograph of a tulip outside the florist's after purchase; the difference between a Morning Glory flower on the vine and a Morning Glory flower on a wire support.


"He told us we were charming, and asked if we could [kiss] again for the camera," ... "Monsieur Doisneau took us to three different places for the picture," ... First he took some pictures on the Place de la Concorde, then on the Rue de Rivoli, and finally the Hôtel de Ville."

Presumably, if Robert Doisneau had photographed the first un-posed kiss that would not show photographic creativity -- but the second, third and fourth sets of photos would?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 02:08:49 PM
Rob, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, whatever it is!

No offence taken, I'll just go hide away in a corner somewhere and dwell on the fact you think my life's work as a photographer has lacked creativity ;-)


I'm willing to make exceptions: that's how life works. And possibly art, too.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 02:10:40 PM
If we push to an extreme, there seems something a little strange about that as a criterion -- the difference between a photograph of a tulip in a florist's and a photograph of a tulip outside the florist's after purchase; the difference between a Morning Glory flower on the vine and a Morning Glory flower on a wire support.


"He told us we were charming, and asked if we could [kiss] again for the camera," ... "Monsieur Doisneau took us to three different places for the picture," ... First he took some pictures on the Place de la Concorde, then on the Rue de Rivoli, and finally the Hôtel de Ville."

Presumably, if Robert Doisneau had photographed the first un-posed kiss that would not show photographic creativity -- but the second, third and fourth sets of photos would?


Yes, I'd go with that; you're getting the picture!

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: 32BT on January 23, 2013, 02:42:18 PM
There was a documentary shown here just recently about Gregory Crewdson.
He would be right up your alley then, Rob. He looks upon the photographic process as a kind of movie-story-telling without the burden of finishing the entire plot by character development and whatever. He creates a single (defining?) picture from a non-existing movie and the entire image is completely and totally staged, and where necessary digitally manipulated to boot. It was interesting to see, and he did indeed look more like a movie-director then a photographer. In fact, I don't think he actually even touched the camera.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 23, 2013, 03:23:45 PM
... I consider still life a creative form of photographic art...

The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo. That's why I can't accept the simple act of picking a pleasing viewpoint or moment in time as being the defining qualities of creativity; it takes more than that: the photographer has to have made the difference.

So, you are basically saying that rearranging a few apples and pears, or peppers, or whatever, on a tabletop is creative, wheres the whole HCB opus (of capturing a decisive moment in time) is not? Or that Steve McCurry's Afghan Girl, another example of just picking a "pleasing viewpoint or moment in time," is not?

If that is indeed creativity, then I do not really care much about it anymore.

I think that the essence of our different views on art/creativity is that you see Art = Object. It starts with objects (peppers or models), rearranged by the photographer, and ends as an object in itself. The viewer then can admire that (newly created) object, and the original objects in it... or not.

If, however, we assume that Art = Communication (as Oscar already mentioned), then the origin of that communication (the initial object) becomes much less important, and even less important whether that object was rearranged or "merely" selected.

In such a case, simply selecting a can of soup becomes art. Or even elephant turd. In both cases it initiates a communication with the viewer. And that is the bases of much of modern art, as much as I acknowledge that many people wouldn't consider it so.

In such a case, simply selecting a "pleasing viewpoint or moment of time" in landscape photography is not an end in and by itself (an object), but a beginning of a communication with the viewer, conveying a certain emotion or state of mind. Hence Art.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: petermfiore on January 23, 2013, 05:27:06 PM
While this is all very entertaining it is almost useless banter for those that make Art.
There is nothing new under the sun, but that is not the point. It's the artist's interpretation what makes it art , never the subject.



Peter
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 23, 2013, 05:33:37 PM
...It's the artist's interpretation what makes it art , never the subject...

Hallelujah!

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 23, 2013, 05:59:59 PM
[Robert Doisneau] Yes, I'd go with that; you're getting the picture!

Let's develop the picture further: I seem to remember that in one of Tim Fitzharris' books, he'd used a reflector to light a yucca plant in the foreground of his landscape photo -- does that active interference show photographic creativity?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 06:06:49 PM
Premature congratulations, Tony.

I think I can resolve this to everyone's satisfaction by quoting one of my heroes, Jean Loup Sieff: there is no art, only artists.

Slobodan. Not even HC-B claimed that his photography was art; he did though, think of himself primarily as painter/pencil artist. In fact, that was the love to which he returned at the close of his life. If you watch any of the later interviews, you can't but help realise that photography was something he eventually found very boring, if not quite as boring as the questions about it that he constantly found himself fielding. (An extreme example of that boredom can be found in his interview by a queasily sycophantic Charlie Rose.) That his photography is art was something foist upon it/him by the world of curators, publishers and television  crews, and their influence has informed most of the voices I hear here. At the most, from what I can glean from his own words, he thought of his photography as geometry, and I can see the relevance and appropriateness of that thought.

Take consolation from Sieff, as quoted above: we can all think of ourselves as artists, regardless of the cream or the crap that we may or may not produce: everybody wins! True democracy at its very best! I love it.

Rob C

P.S. Afghan Girl. I have no way of knowing how he did the shot; whether he directed her, caught her on the hop or bought her photographic favours. How could I, then, possibly judge?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 06:07:45 PM
Let's develop the picture further: I seem to remember that in one of Tim Fitzharris' books, he'd used a reflector to light a yucca plant in the foreground of his landscape photo -- does that active interference show photographic creativity?


It shows technique.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 23, 2013, 06:08:40 PM

...I don't see any painter as being relevant to this chat: a painter starts of with a blank canvas and an idea - I trust - and then tries to give that life in a medium that takes huge skill to do it well and that's the first difference you encounter with photography...

Rob C

Hi Rob,

In the past I have given and occasionally sold some of my landscape images to artists/painters (one artist in particular who ran art classes and who became quite a regular customer), he and his class then created oil paintings and water colours fully based on my images. I am sure the artist/painter thought he was being creative when he and his students produced these works, which he then occasionally sold and for which I was happy for him to do so, do you think he was being creative when he painted these pictures based on my images?

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: petermfiore on January 23, 2013, 06:12:40 PM
Hi Rob,

In the past I have given and occasionally sold some of my landscape images to artists/painters (one artist in particular who ran art classes and who became quite a regular customer), he and his class then created oil paintings and water colours fully based on my images. I am sure the artist/painter thought he was being creative when he and his students produced these works, which he then occasionally sold and for which I was happy for him to do so, do you think he was being creative?

Dave
If they copy it no. If they interpret it, yes. Same goes for painting from life.

Peter
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 23, 2013, 06:24:16 PM
Hi Rob,

In the past I have given and occasionally sold some of my landscape images to artists/painters (one artist in particular who ran art classes and who became quite a regular customer), he and his class then created oil paintings and water colours fully based on my images. I am sure the artist/painter thought he was being creative when he and his students produced these works, which he then occasionally sold and for which I was happy for him to do so, do you think he was being creative when he painted these pictures based on my images?

Dave



As a kid, I used to trawl art galleries and buy postcards of Monet, Manet, Vincent, Cezanne, Renoir, Dali, the lot of them. I'd then copy those to the best of my ability because I enjoyed doing that. I remember with affection a particularly accurate one of Christ of St John on the Cross. Do you think that I was making art? I don't think that I had that delusion, but it was all so long ago and perhaps I did...

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 23, 2013, 06:32:14 PM
If they copy it no. If they interpret it, yes. Same goes for painting from life.

Peter

I refer you to Slobodan's question regarding Cézanne..  :)

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 23, 2013, 06:51:46 PM
[a reflector to light a yucca plant] -- It shows technique.

So, by active interference, you mostly mean re-arrangement of the objects in the scene into a composition?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 23, 2013, 06:52:19 PM
So, back to Cézanne. I know there are people who hate to click on provided links. As a public service, I am attaching the cover of that book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300067011/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1J7BTVQ7J657WRZ0MXWX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846)

What do we see there? If just glancing casually, and without enlarging, we see, of course, a Cézanne. But look closer, and you'll see that the left third is actually a photograph. The rest of the book is full of such examples, of almost photorealistic representation of found reality (again, in terms of viewpoints and elements, not technique). In other words, and as Peter already has pointed out, art/creativity is not about the subject, but its interpretation, and the connection it creates with viewers (i.e., communication).
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: petermfiore on January 23, 2013, 08:22:30 PM
Cézanne invented the deconstruction of form which opened the door for cubism. I think that qualifies for a new vision!!!!!

Don't you think?

Peter
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: petermfiore on January 23, 2013, 08:29:20 PM
Since I am an artist i would like to share an artist's statement. It's the why an artist's paints.
In this case it's mine.

Peter




Artist's Statement
I am interested in making the simple profound, always searching for that universal moment in the world around us. I draw inspiration for my landscape paintings from many places, but most of it comes from the fields and meadows near my home in rural Pennsylvania along the Delaware River. I used to think that I had to travel far to find interesting motifs, but now I just walk out my door and it's all there.
The abstract marks that I make are used to interpret nature's tangle. Making visual sense and constructing order by structuring shape, form, tone, color and rhythm to create a palpable reality.

I like to visit a motif over and over again. I am especially drawn to the winter landscape. It is a time when the earth loses its leafy covering and reveals it's true self. Covered in snow, the world reflects light and creates a spectrum of colors that are both dramatic and beautiful.

The true subject in any of my paintings is light and how it defines and endlessly changes the landscape around us. For me, light is more than a visual tool, it is an emotional subject. It is through the manipulation of light – how it falls, changes, sculpts, colors and creates various moods on a subject – that intrigues and inspires me.


Peter Fiore
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 23, 2013, 09:46:59 PM
The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.
Lets enlarge a bit on this statement and its implications. ...

Just to take your comment as an example of the responses made over the last few days, I think there's a failure to address the point.

I think it will be hard to successfully argue that a landscape photographer is able to exert as much artistic control as Andy Ilachinski when he photographs color-infused reflections from a glass.

I think it will be hard to successfully argue that Ansel Adams was able to exert as much artistic control when he photographed landscapes as when he photographed "Still Life, San Francisco, California (c.1932)".

But it would be nice if someone at least tried, instead of failing to distract Rob C. with issues that are beside the point ;-)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 24, 2013, 03:07:20 AM
Take consolation from Sieff, as quoted above: we can all think of ourselves as artists, regardless of the cream or the crap that we may or may not produce: everybody wins! True democracy at its very best! I love it.

Not everybody wins.
Everybody can produce art - that is not difficult.
Not everybody can produce good art - that is much more difficult.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 24, 2013, 04:18:36 AM
So, by active interference, you mostly mean re-arrangement of the objects in the scene into a composition?


Taking your question at face value, often dangerous, I say yes; but I also add this: you can distort any argument to its absurd limit in pursuit of a point.

I do not look upon changing the camera position, if that's the total photographic input, as being 'creative'; as indicated ad nauseam, I see that as fine-tuning what's already there. I've also stated several times that the ability to do that is what I call having a good eye. The two, a good eye and creativity do sometimes run together but not always. I would attempt to illustrate this difference by quoting the ability of the interior designer with that of the discerning client who knows what he wants to achieve, but not how to do it.

In the case of the still life example, I read a certain dismissiveness in some quarters about the simple(?) act of rearranging given objects. That can be a simple matter for a gifted photographer but impossible for one devoid of the gift. And there we touch upon one of the forbidden fruit: few like to accept that much of the ability to be creative (in an artistic sense) is inborn, As someone wrote: poets are born, not made.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 24, 2013, 04:24:29 AM
I've just dusted off the heavy tome 'Art. The Rule Book'.

I quote

(Rule No. 1) There are no rules.

Right, I'm off to Ye Olde Coffee Corner for even more fun.



Hi Keith,

What's Rule No. 2?

;-)

Rob
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 24, 2013, 04:28:27 AM
Not everybody wins.
Everybody can produce art - that is not difficult.Not everybody can produce good art - that is much more difficult.

Tony Jay


Inevitably, Tony, it depends on whose definition one is applying. By some, your statement is absolutely correct; by mine, it's flawed if not downright mistaken. Ping, pong; ping, pong; ping - point!

Heysoos this gets tiring!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 24, 2013, 04:42:41 AM
So, back to Cézanne. I know there are people who hate to click on provided links. As a public service, I am attaching the cover of that book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300067011/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1J7BTVQ7J657WRZ0MXWX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846)

What do we see there? If just glancing casually, and without enlarging, we see, of course, a Cézanne. But look closer, and you'll see that the left third is actually a photograph. The rest of the book is full of such examples, of almost photorealistic representation of found reality (again, in terms of viewpoints and elements, not technique). In other words, and as Peter already has pointed out, art/creativity is not about the subject, but its interpretation, and the connection it creates with viewers (i.e., communication).


More like simulacra, Slobodan. I'm sory, but I think I'm missing the point you want to make here.

Regarding Peter, that's a red herring: as a painter, Peter can hardly avoid being creative by the mere fact of the tools and where he starts and where he goes. That was one of the very first objections against photography-as-art from its beginnings. That much opinion has changed is more to do with conditioning from interested quarters than from any freshly found value intrinsic to the craft of the snap!

Look: you are a photographer; you do some fantastic cityscapes and also some very pleasing pics of your daughter. I think those of your girl are art but those of the city are acute observation. That's not to diminish them in the least - but that I had your eye for city - it's simply that the two fields are different and require different abilities. One is not inferior to the other, just different. Technique, in both genres, is a given.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 24, 2013, 05:01:38 AM
...Heysoos this gets tiring!

Rob, with respect, you have been pushing your point of view pretty strongly.
You can move along anytime at your discretion.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 24, 2013, 05:25:04 AM
Vermeer and others, according to David Hockney, painted directly over an image created on canvas by a camera obscura (See here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMdHrokZZG4) for a very interesting documentary discussing this). Vermeer was undeniably a great and creative artist, an old master in fact. But it seems he was in actual fact a very early photographer, only using paint instead of pixels or film to capture exactly what the camera provided for him.

No longer tryig to win or lose points in this discussion, but I just thought I would add this final thought into the mix and for everyones edification - and whilst I am at it, here's an enjoyable but brief passage on "The Truth in Landscape" regarding photography written by Robert Adams. (http://arts260.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/radams_tinls1.pdf)

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dan Glynhampton on January 24, 2013, 08:38:31 AM

What's Rule No. 2?


In my copy of the book it says

(Rule No. 2) See Rule No.1

 :)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Rob C on January 24, 2013, 09:04:19 AM
Rob, with respect, you have been pushing your point of view pretty strongly.
You can move along anytime at your discretion.

Tony Jay


True, Tony; but I'm hardly going to push a point of view with which I disagree, am I, or lapse into silence because of possible/probable disapproval of the good and the great, or is that the new politic you are proposing? I'll save you effort: I'll move on down the line as suggested.

Hast la vista.

Rob C
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 24, 2013, 01:09:59 PM
... Look: you are a photographer; you do some fantastic cityscapes and also some very pleasing pics of your daughter. I think those of your girl are art...

Not sure if my photography has much to do with the debate.

I consider myself, as you said, a photographer. I never referred to my work as art, and definitely not as Art. Or to myself as an artist. I participate in this discussion not to defend my "artistic" status, but mostly out of intellectual curiosity.

However, I do try to be creative, I think I am creating something, even with my landscape photography, whatever that something might be, and whatever the degree of that creativity might be.

Being creative is a necessary component of any art, but creativity doesn't make art in and by itself. You can be creative in robbing banks, for instance, but that won't make you an artist. Unless, of course, you define a new genre as the Art of Robbing Banks  ;) In that respect, it is really irrelevant if HCB is an artist or if he considered himself so. But I do consider him creative.

I do consider landscape photography capable of producing art, just like landscape painting is (hence my Cézanne reference, given his "photographic" approach). I think Andreas Gursky is an artist photographer (i.e., artist first, photographer second), and Rhein II a fine example of landscape photography art.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 24, 2013, 01:15:16 PM
[re-arrangement of the objects in the scene into a composition] -- Taking your question at face value, often dangerous, I say yes...

You were right to take my question at face value.

I don't see a way to dispute that there is a difference in-kind between the creation of a scene for our photographic purpose and the "nice capture" of something that already exists.

Sketching out the elements of a landscape composition, and then tracking down locations where something like that composition might be found, has some very slight similarities to what you mean by photographic creativity -- but really isn't the same.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 24, 2013, 01:24:22 PM
Rob, with respect, you have been pushing your point of view pretty strongly.
With respect, so have you.

You can move along anytime at your discretion.
So can you :-)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 24, 2013, 01:28:03 PM
Vermeer and others, according to David Hockney, painted directly over an image created on canvas by a camera obscura (See here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMdHrokZZG4) for a very interesting documentary discussing this). Vermeer was undeniably a great and creative artist, an old master in fact. But it seems he was in actual fact a very early photographer, only using paint instead of pixels or film to capture exactly what the camera provided for him.

That's why my photographs are so Vermeer-esque!  ;D
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on January 24, 2013, 03:02:05 PM
With respect, so have you.
So can you :-)

I am not being dismissive of the various viewpoints being presented.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 24, 2013, 04:30:17 PM
I am not being dismissive of the various viewpoints being presented.

As I didn't say that you were being: I suppose that's meant to suggest that someone else was being dismissive, without straightforwardly showing us the words so we can decide whether or not we agree with your characterization.

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 26, 2013, 01:25:46 PM
By that standard, even Cezanne wasn't creative. He often did "just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point." In other words, if you would go today to the places he painted, find his vantage point and snap a photograph, you would see that Cezanne was very faithful to reality, almost photorealistic (in placement of elements, not technique).

(Disclaimer: I don't know anymore about Cezanne than I've read in a couple of art books.)

I think that reference to photorealism gives a wrong impression of what Cezanne was trying to achieve -- "He was not out to distort nature; but he did not mind very much if it became distorted in some minor detail provided this helped him to obtain the desired effect."
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 28, 2013, 08:46:42 PM
I have been thinking long and hard about the direction that this thread took and the ensuing discussion regarding the creativity or lack of it within landscape photography, and having now given it a lot more thought, I have to conclude that whether I like it or not, Rob does seem to have a point, but only up to a point I think.

Taking or should I say making a photograph, a landscape photograph in this particular instance, does not at first appear to include any creativity on behalf of the photographer, only good observation and the skill to replicate what happens to be there in front of you, no more and no less.

But can this really be true?

We discussed and identified creativity in terms of comparing the act of assembling a still life image and making a photograph of it as being creative, against the replication of a scene via a landscape photograph as not being creative. It was suggested that by the act of moving objects around into a satisfactory composition within a still life setting and then shooting the resulting scene, that creativity was being achieved simply through the act of moving the objects around. Creativity having now been added to the image, via the choices being applied to make something that had not existed before the photographer made it exist. I now accept and agree that creativity has indeed been applied to the still life image.

Non creativity can also be as easily described by sticking with the still life analogy, because if we shoot a still life that someone else had created but with no design choices or input from ourselves, then we could not claim to have added anything creatively to the shot, however we shoot it or the selection of view point we use (assuming the still life is kept central within the scene and is set against a negative space backdrop), because we had nothing to do with the creation of subject and so could only take shots of what we had been presented to us. We could skilfully use observation to find the best vantage point and take many different shots of the same still life, but all the images would be of someone elses creation, albeit from different angles and skilful observation is not the same as creativity. I also find no problem agreeing with that.

So what is photographic creativity? Creativity in this context it seems, is achieved through the input of the photographer in creating something new or by changing something within that thing that is to be photographed, in other words, to make what is being photographed physically different than what it would have remained, if the photographer had not been creatively involved with the subject. Again I have no problem agreeing with this.

So having agreed with the above, what would happen if we came across a still life scene prepared and left for us by another photographer, but we didn’t like the composition and so removed one of the objects. In doing so, haven’t we then created a different composition than the one that had previously existed? Haven’t we changed the scene by interacting with the elements within it and been creative by removing something, so that now any image we take of the still life setup is a creative image for us? We have been creatively involved with the image, not by altering the composition, or by the addition of objects or even by moving objects around, but by the act of removing an object? The still life is virtually the same as it was before I grant you, but now that an item has been removed from what we had originally found, the design of the scene has changed as a direct result of our creative choice and input to it.

And that is where the nub of the problem lays, or should I say the nub of the solution lays. In a landscape photograph such as you see below, this scene was not visible to me as it now is to you (not taking into account the fact that it is a black and white). Yes all of what you see in the image below was already there in front of me when I made the shot and I agree I couldn't creatively move any part of it around, nor did I wish to add anything to it, but crucially, the image you now see here was not visible to me (or anyone else for that matter). What you are looking at, was buried and hidden within plain view you might say. It was completely surrounded with the rest of everything else I could see in front of me and which I had no choice other than to see, sky, clouds, sand dunes and rolling waves etc. There was no delineation or separation between what I wanted within the image and what I did not want within the image. Yet by selectively removing what I did not want within the scene, I had to exclude what was already there by framing out the rest of the scene to get the shot I wanted. I was creatively removing what was already there but that I did not want to be there, to create something new and never seen before. Someone standing right beside me, with the same kit and the same setup and settings, would not and could not have made exactly the same image, yes it might have been very similar, but not exactly the same. In fact the shot you see below is totally unique as are all human made photographs and can never be repeated exactly ever again, it exists only in this one instance and was the result of my creatively removing what was already there to extract what could not be seen, into what can now be seen by anyone who wishes to look at it. I did not change anything within what was already there, yet I did decide what I wanted to photograph and how I wanted to photograph it, but more importantly, I also creatively selected out what was not to be in the photograph - and this is where the true creativity in landscape photography lays. Yes you need good observation skills to see an image hidden within the full complexity of everything you can see in front of you, but you also need to apply creativity to exclude and remove what you do not want within the image, in essence you are removing objects to the outside of the frame and away from the viewer for whom they will never exist, just as much as you are doing when you physically remove an object from a still life composition.

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

I am not challenging anyone or asking anyone to reply to this post, nor am I trying to re-light this discussion or pronouncing what anyone has said is wrong and that I am right. This is simply me thinking aloud and trying to understand what creativity is within landscape photography and why it bugged me until I came up with an answer that fully satisfies me.

I can only thank Rob for having given me the chance to have a really good think about this.

Hasta la vista – and don’t anyone say to me after reading this that I really need to get out more, I am a landscape photographer remember, I am already out there in all weathers and at all times of day, day after day and I love it..  ;D

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 28, 2013, 10:28:57 PM
Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

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

*Rob, that was purely for rhetorical purposes, no offense meant
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on January 28, 2013, 11:41:17 PM
I agree with Slobodan here. There is a processing chain which involves varying degrees of creativity from the first conception to the final print.

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

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


Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: 32BT on January 29, 2013, 01:37:04 AM
Creativity when making a photograph of a still life or a studio shot etc, can be said to be in front of the imaging process, it is what you do first. Whereas creativity within landscape work or architectural or street shooting etc, is at the back of the process, it is what you do last, it is ‘creative exclusion’ as opposed to ‘creative inclusion’, but none the less it is still photographic creativity.

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

Art is not Mathematics!

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 29, 2013, 12:36:12 PM
...an answer that fully satisfies me.

Perhaps there's a flaw in your reasoning.


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

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

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

...we could not claim to have added anything creatively to the shot, however we shoot it or the selection of view point we use, because we had nothing to do with the creation of subject and so could only take shots of what we had been presented to us.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 29, 2013, 02:02:10 PM
We do not re-arrange objects in front of us (neither did Cézanne)...

"When [Cézanne] painted a landscape he pushed and reconciled two typically independent aims: to present the motif's structure and sensuous tone clearly, and to create an object with a rich, inner coherence." p1 Cézanne: Landscape into Art (http://books.google.com/books?id=z1H8sjkIywAC)

"The composition, while adhering closely to the motif, is both more stable and more dynamic. Cézanne achieves stability by shifting the plane of the path at the bottom to a near horizontal, and creates tension by giving the forms a push to the left, not only by building up the patches, but also by tilting the trees gently leftward. He even straightens out the edge of the rock so as to make it participate in this movement." p102 Cézanne: Landscape into Art (http://books.google.com/books?id=z1H8sjkIywAC)

Interesting book, thanks for mentioning it.


"A painter freed from the constraints of his imagination -- to reverse the more common metaphor -- has an infinity of visual realities to explore." p83 Cézanne: Landscape into Art (http://books.google.com/books?id=z1H8sjkIywAC)

A smaller infinity :-)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 29, 2013, 03:54:55 PM
...do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).

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

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

The Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980s (http://books.google.com/books?id=Nm7-QwAACAAJ) p9-11
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on January 30, 2013, 03:12:14 PM
Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

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

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

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

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

Dave
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 30, 2013, 11:33:25 PM
Curator-speak. There's lots of it about. It's often much more entertaining or even, dare I say it, creative than the artwork; perhaps it is the atwork.

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

Rob C
International Art English (http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/jan/27/users-guide-international-art-english) is the phrase you are looking for.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 30, 2013, 11:39:40 PM
I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: markd61 on January 31, 2013, 12:22:39 AM
I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.

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

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

I like to make photographs and I hope the next will be better than the last. The struggle to do that is the creativity and that is what makes it fun. Drawing a box around what we do through rules reduces the endeavor to a contest.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 31, 2013, 11:35:47 AM
I did not read all the posts here as it seemed to be a lot of noise not moving anyone in any particular direction.

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

As it happens, I changed my opinion.

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

tl;dr make(+take) versus take

In the context of landscape photography, we should ask whether Andy Goldsworthy's photographs (http://www.goldsworthy.cc.gla.ac.uk/photography/) show what Rob means by photographic creativity.


Creativity can be found almost anywhere ...
Doesn't that very much depend on what you mean by creativity?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 12:35:58 PM
Rob C. has expressed similar views on other occasions but I didn't take the trouble to question him and understand what he was saying. This time I did -- he's being quite literal about the difference between bringing something new into existence, and selecting and recording (however skillfully) something that already exists.
tl:dr make(+take) versus take
Creativity can often be spurred on by limitations. Here's a landscape, I can't alter it, but what can I do to make it interesting or different is one such limitation. Here's a studio with a single lighting setup is another limitation. And the fact that some people can produce stunning images within those limitations and others cannot shows a creative/artistic skill in that arena.

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

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

Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 31, 2013, 03:10:00 PM
One could takes Rob's idea elsewhere and also argue that people who photograph stunning models who are nicely made up in exotic locations [ahem Rob] are not as creative as those who produce beautiful pictures of ordinary people without the aid of a MUA or a Jamaican beach.  ;)

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

The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 05:25:35 PM
Please show how you would make that argument
In the first sort of situation I mentioned, the art director may well have arranged the shoot, the MUA would have titivated the girls, who were chosen by art director/casting agent. The photographer merely captured what was then placed in front of him.  :P
But my point was more about the fact it's a lot easier to create a pretty picture under those conditions than for someone photographing an ordinary person in a dismal location with no MUA. And more creativity may well be required by the photographer as a result to get a good shot.


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

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

[Besides at the end of the day whoever is viewing the shot will rarely give a toss about the story of making the picture, as it's not relevant most of the time. Is it a good photo or is is not a good photo? That's all that counts to the person viewing the image.
Photographers all too often favour photos that were difficult to take and that can bias them regarding a shot's worth.]
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on January 31, 2013, 07:25:17 PM
The essence of photographic creativity, in my sense/understanding of the term, is that the photographer has put together something that did not and would not have existed without his active interference in the status quo.

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

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

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



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

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

I own several different books on landscape, and I do accept that it takes a helluva lot of skill to produce what some do; but creativity? I don't think so, just acute observational and technical skills.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 08:38:41 PM
Snapshots can be technically good you know. Mine usually are.  ;D
Snapshots to most people are simply reminders of where they've been or what they did and for most people they are the most important photos as they are their memories. And by Rob's definition landscapes are snapshots as they are just records of where the photographer stood as there is no creativity in them.

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

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

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

As for landscape simply showing observational skill, well I'd say that it a very important part of being creative. Observing the world in ways others do not and then putting your own stamp on it.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 09:02:37 PM
As it happens I came across some landscape shots after reading this thread earlier.
So are these creative or not? After all they both look very different from each other, one being very high key and the other being very low key. Both are B+W and as we know the world is actually in colour so straight away they look quite different to real life.

(http://www.swanseacameraclub.co.uk/international/awards2012/Mono/England%20David%20Byrne%20AFIAP%20BPE1%20The%20Copse%20Judges%20Cert%20-%20Guy%20Davies%20-%20Open%20Mono.jpg)

(http://www.85mm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Two-Towers-21.jpg)


Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Tony Jay on February 01, 2013, 02:50:13 AM
As it happens I came across some landscape shots after reading this thread earlier.
So are these creative or not? ...
(http://www.swanseacameraclub.co.uk/international/awards2012/Mono/England%20David%20Byrne%20AFIAP%20BPE1%20The%20Copse%20Judges%20Cert%20-%20Guy%20Davies%20-%20Open%20Mono.jpg)

(http://www.85mm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Two-Towers-21.jpg)



No argument from me!

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 01, 2013, 11:54:52 AM
Snapshots can be technically good you know. Mine usually are.  ;D
Snapshots to most people are simply reminders of where they've been or what they did and for most people they are the most important photos as they are their memories.

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


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

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


What do I think demonstrates photographic creativity?

No -- What do you understand "photographic creativity" or "creativity" to mean?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 01, 2013, 12:13:36 PM
So are these creative or not?
Depends what you mean by "creative".




Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on February 01, 2013, 10:58:32 PM
You entirely missed the point of all 3 things of mine you quoted above.
And then you post this.....

Depends what you mean by "creative".
By creative I mean, the photographer sacrificed virginal albino stoats to Beelzebub in order to produce a photograph that so moving, it would melt the heart of long dead Stalin. After first bringing him back to life of course.  ::)

On a related note, do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).
Looks like the vortex is exactly where you ended up.

This conversation is a brick wall, against which I have no further desire to batter my head.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on February 01, 2013, 11:03:48 PM
I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.
or Issac it would seem.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 02, 2013, 12:12:38 AM
... Looks like the vortex is exactly where you ended up...

Huh!?
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: OldRoy on February 02, 2013, 05:00:00 AM
...Both are B+W and as we know the world is actually in colour so straight away they look quite different to real life.

"Real life is in colour, but black and white is more realistic"
Sam Fuller in Wim Wenders' little-seen "State of Things"

Not that I agree, but it's a great quote - apply as required.

Roy
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 02, 2013, 12:37:19 PM
[... Looks like the vortex is exactly where you ended up...] -- Huh!?

jjj probably intended that your comment be applied to me, not you -- just read say what you mean as semantic vortex.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 05, 2013, 02:34:40 PM
Both are B+W and as we know the world is actually in colour so straight away they look quite different to real life.

afaik the world is actually awash in electromagnetic radiation across a wide spectrum of frequencies; a very small part of which we sense as visible light, a tiny part of which we sense as heat on our skin, and a tiny part of which we sense as sun burn.

"B+W" photography is no less a transcription from the world, because it does not differentiate frequencies in the visible spectrum.

Infrared photography is no less a transcription from the world, because it records EM radiation at a frequency we do not see.


What do I think demonstrates photographic creativity? It's like musical creativity, it expresses itself in different ways.

"However 'creative' a photographer may be, he is ultimately dependent upon what physically exists in the world: no filter made will transform a frog into a prince. On the other hand, music, as Stravinsky stated, expresses only itself -- its laws, its forms, its -- not the world's -- reality. Consequently, the composer is, in an absolute sense, 'freer' than the photographer; so, too, in the framework of picture making, is the traditional artist."

Paul Caponigro quoted in The Wise Silence (http://books.google.com/books?id=OHERPwAACAAJ) p180.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 05, 2013, 03:03:33 PM
The landscape photographer may not be able to rearrange the elements in the composition at the stage of the initial concept, but he certainly can do so later in post-processing, without even offending the sensibilities of Alain Briot.  ;)

Wouldn't that be photoshop creativity rather than photographic creativity ?

Wouldn't that be when the description changes to digital painting collage (http://spruethmagers.com/artists/andreas_gursky@@viewq12)  rather than photograph?

In a similar vein -- "Now it is easier than ever to take your own photographs and digitally transform them into works of art that engage and mystify the viewer. The latest software programs on the market today are so sophisticated in their capabilities and so easy to use that anyone can be an artist and create their own style for their body of work." p7 The Art of Digital Photo Painting (http://books.google.com/books?id=DXOzKmfIpNcC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA8#v=snippet&q=%22Now%20it%20is%20easier%20than%20ever%22&f=false)
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 05, 2013, 03:29:20 PM
Wouldn't that be photoshop creativity rather than photographic creativity ?

I resolve that conundrum by calling myself a photoshoppographer™  ;D
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Ray on February 05, 2013, 06:36:11 PM
Wouldn't that be photoshop creativity rather than photographic creativity ?

I prefer to use the original concept behind the term 'photography', a word which is based upon two Greek words, 'light' and 'draw' (or write). The process of Photography is sometimes described as 'painting with light'. Do we need to quibble over the words, paint, draw and write?

The original exposure using a lens and camera can be considered as a very detailed type of note-taking, more detailed in many respects than the extensive notes that some painters would make in the past when hiking in the mountains or countryside, but perhaps not as detailed in other respects. The camera may record the hues, shades and detail more precisely than a written record, but not necessarily the emotional experience felt at the time.

The creative process doesn't end until the final print, or processed electronic image, has been made. The role of Photoshop in the processing chain is just another tool, like the camera is a tool, or the pen or the paintbrush.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: LesPalenik on February 05, 2013, 07:24:26 PM
Sometimes, you can end up with something completely different than what you expect or experience, and the final outcome can still be pleasing.

I remember one early morning in Northern Ontario when I was photographing a pair of trumpeter swans at a beaver lodge, surrounded by vibrant fall colours reflected in the still water (I used wide 6x17 format film camera and concentrated on the section with the beaver lodge), and after I got the film back from the lab, I discovered on the opposite shoreline two stately bucks with nice set of antlers looking in my direction. The swans were nice, but after I lightened slightly the deer in Photoshop, they definitely added the right ingredient to the scene.
 
Another time, I was paddling on a small creek, and noticed an upset adult beaver who didn't pay too much attention to me.
Anticipating that he was looking for his mate or a young one, I took out the camera from my waterproof case, only to discover a black bear saw with a cub behind the next bend who made a terrible racket behind the bushes just a few meters from my canoe. I suspect that the saw caught the young beaver, but rather than to investigate, I threw the camera back in the case, and started to paddle quite vigorously upstream.
 
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on February 06, 2013, 12:58:04 AM
afaik the world is actually awash in electromagnetic radiation across a wide spectrum of frequencies; a very small part of which we sense as visible light, a tiny part of which we sense as heat on our skin, and a tiny part of which we sense as sun burn.

"B+W" photography is no less a transcription from the world, because it does not differentiate frequencies in the visible spectrum.

Infrared photography is no less a transcription from the world, because it records EM radiation at a frequency we do not see.
Except that is of no relevance as you missed the point. Yet again.
We see in colour not B+W, not IR, nor any other par of EM spectrum. So by not shooting in a normal colour space you are changing how reality as seen by humans is depicted.
B+W is only accepted as 'real' as it came before colour photography and thus became accepted as the norm. However if it had been invented afterward colour, then it would possibly be along viewed with other looks such as HDR or hyper saturation as unreal and therefore not acceptable in photojournalism competitions.


Quote
"However 'creative' a photographer may be, he is ultimately dependent upon what physically exists in the world: no filter made will transform a frog into a prince. On the other hand, music, as Stravinsky stated, expresses only itself -- its laws, its forms, its -- not the world's -- reality. Consequently, the composer is, in an absolute sense, 'freer' than the photographer; so, too, in the framework of picture making, is the traditional artist."
John Caponigro quoted in The Wise Silence (http://books.google.com/books?id=OHERPwAACAAJ) p180.
Oh yes, you're right people who write music can make up new notes and other  of music all the time. Oh wait they don't do that at all.
They use the same few notes and the majority of the time in contemporary music at least, they also use the same structure [4/4 time] on which to hang the notes. With the rare dabble into 3/4 or 5/4 time.
So composers are just as constrained, albeit in a different way.
Besides photographs can be expressed in other ways with their own laws and realities by such photographers as for example.....let me think, oh yes - John Caponigro with his gravity defying flying rocks.  :P
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: jjj on February 06, 2013, 01:28:21 AM
The creative process doesn't end until the final print, or processed electronic image, has been made. The role of Photoshop in the processing chain is just another tool, like the camera is a tool, or the pen or the paintbrush.
Absolutely.

All too often I've seen photographers criticise using Photoshop as cheating and not real photography, yet would happily accept artificial lighting, filters or cross processing.

 
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 06, 2013, 10:21:50 AM
The camera may record the hues, shades and detail more precisely than a written record, but not necessarily the emotional experience felt at the time.

Choose an appropriate medium to express the emotional experience -- try poetry.


The role of Photoshop in the processing chain is just another tool, like the camera is a tool, or the pen or the paintbrush.

Thus -- photographing, drawing, painting; and now photoshopping1.
Hence -- photographer, drawer, painter; and now photoshopper2.

1,2 "The Photoshop trademark (http://www.adobe.com/misc/trade.html) must never be used as a common verb or as a noun."
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 06, 2013, 11:33:23 AM
We see in colour not B+W, not IR, nor any other par of EM spectrum. So by not shooting in a normal colour space you are changing how reality as seen by humans is depicted.

"To satisfy yourself that rods do not mediate color, get up on a dark moonlit night and look around. Although you can see shapes fairly well, colors are completely absent. Given the simplicity of this experiment it is remarkable how few people realize that they do without color vision in dim light."

Eye, Brain and Vision, Chapter 4 "Color Vision", page 7 (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:Sfc-vkBJPYIJ:hubel.med.harvard.edu/book/ch8.pdf+human+vision+monochrome&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjEGjPnw73zKdum3pUEy2duaH3B6aSqms1MSRbWzcCt615sxlmVq1wOnEIttmPdxMemIlSUviZfg1CssMJ3nL1gonjILBtoV24AWiRpaISjjdCKDOhssxg6w0AZdovuxjSZj9OR&sig=AHIEtbSznEirRzh8mE8RZ1vwjX73jMqMEw)

(And then there's color constancy, and... By "shooting in a normal colour space you are changing how reality as seen by humans is depicted" because what cameras record is not what people see.)


B+W is only accepted as 'real' as it came before colour photography and thus became accepted as the norm.

March 1514 -- Portrait of the Artist's Mother at the Age of 63 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/D%C3%BCrer_-_Bildnis_der_Mutter.jpg) -- Charcoal+W


Oh yes, you're right people who write music can make up new notes and other  of music all the time. Oh wait they don't do that at all.

It wouldn't be me that was right or wrong -- it would be Stravinsky; and he didn't say "people who write music can make up notes" that's just a strawman you put in his mouth.


... by such photographers as for example.....let me think, oh yes - John Caponigro with his gravity defying flying rocks.  :P

To be charitable, you didn't notice my typo -- the quote was from the father not the son.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: Isaac on February 08, 2013, 02:02:13 PM
If that is indeed creativity, then I do not really care much about it anymore.

Compared to the denial expressed by other responses, I think that's a sensible beginning.

Pete Turner (a photographer mentioned in Eric Meola's article) saw the difference between make and take, and did both; and pushed into fake (for want of a less perjorative term) long before Photoshop made it so so easy.

tl;dr make(+take) vs take vs (take+)fake

make(+take)

take

fake(+take)

(Quotations from Pete Turner: Photographs (http://books.google.com/books?id=moZrQgAACAAJ).)


Let's say make is about what Rob C. means by creativity, and take is about acuity; then even though fake is not creative in that sense, it can still be imaginative. Eric Meola's article seems to make a stronger complaint -- current landscape photography is neither creative nor imaginative.
Title: Re: Eric Meola article
Post by: AreBee on July 05, 2015, 06:28:31 AM
Rob C,

Quote
...I consider still life a creative form of photographic art...

...if it consists of elements put together by the photographer in order to make a picture, then yes, it's a creative event... (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=74139.msg593162#msg593162)

Still life = epacsdnaL