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Author Topic: Another one: Elizabeth Novick  (Read 2235 times)

Rob C

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Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« on: February 17, 2018, 07:45:12 am »

http://www.elisabethnovick.com/BEAUTY.html

At the end of the day, I have to conclude that earlier suspicions have finally been proven correct: in fashion photography, women just inhabit a superior space...

:-(

RSL

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 11:46:52 am »

Let's call it a "different" space, Rob. After all, in spite of all the recent attempts to obfuscate the difference, there's a difference. Viva that!

Rob C

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 03:23:45 pm »

Let's call it a "different" space, Rob. After all, in spite of all the recent attempts to obfuscate the difference, there's a difference. Viva that!


No quibble over different, but to me, that difference is also one of quality.

I feel that despite my own desire at the time generally to keep sex out of the formula, that male photographers find it almost inconceivable that one can make a fashion snap without some allusion to breasts or bums, much as was de rigueur with calendar art of my time. As I perceive it, women photographers can treat these zones as a given, not requiring any sort of visual amplification... if anything, the female emphasis might appear to be one of spirituality. And certainly of facial expression a million miles from the vapid, open-mouthed look of perpetual surprise beloved of many guys shooting today; I do not like fierce, threatening women at all. Without doubt, there are other women, such as Ellen von Unwerth, who compete with males in the sexually provocative sort of image, but I find that doesn't really work very well, though that hasn't prevented the lass from making it very big over many years!

Yes, females snappers are just as capable of pushing cleavage and nudity where it helps - which seems counter-intuitive, when we are selling frocks - but then to me, that's perhaps because they see themselves in direct competition with their male counterparts, whereas I'd be very surprised to learn that any of the women I've recently spotlighted have been given assignments that would ever have gone to a man. But then, I went this morning for my now yearly medical to retain my driving licence, and I was stunned to realise that after reaching eighty, you also have to suffer the indignity of an interview with a shrink! I must have said something right in Spanish, because she gave me a clean bill of health, as did the manager of the next stage of the process, who found my reading of the lightbox letters perfectly good. I now await my renewed licence... I'm not entirely sure about the relevance of this little anecdote, but I'm sure it has something to do with the shrink and women photographers and their attitudes.

:-)

RSL

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 10:49:27 am »

Well, I think a female photographer sees the world differently from a male. I think that in general women see the world differently from men. It's a part of there being two sexes. (There also are two genders, but that has to do with language, not sex.)

The question I'd have for you is this: Would a female photographer agree with you about the question of quality? That comes down to la difference (viva that). In other words, when it comes to art, do women evaluate quality differently from men?

Bet you haven't an answer to that any more than I have.

32BT

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 12:16:12 pm »

Makes one wonder: would a good enough photographer of either sex be able to mimic the work of a photographer of the opposite sex?

come to think of it: is there such a thing as gender-neutral photography???

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Telecaster

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 04:49:58 pm »

I suspect there's more intrinsic difference between one individual photographer and another than between female and male 'togs as groups. Now when it comes to photographers' styles a whole host of extrinsic stuff comes into play: societal norms and current photo fashions, to name two. That stuff makes it hard to say what in a particular photographer's approach is innate and what is learned. You might guess at it but you won't know. Most likely neither will the photographer.

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 05:23:29 am »

Well, I think a female photographer sees the world differently from a male. I think that in general women see the world differently from men. It's a part of there being two sexes. (There also are two genders, but that has to do with language, not sex.)

The question I'd have for you is this: Would a female photographer agree with you about the question of quality? That comes down to la difference (viva that). In other words, when it comes to art, do women evaluate quality differently from men?

Bet you haven't an answer to that any more than I have.


I was going to do all manner of wonderful things this morning, but made the mistake of tuning to LuLa first!

Well, I think that the main difference between male/female photographers could well be one of sensitivity. That sensitivity may be down to nurture; perhaps basic hormonal differences between genders; the natural "care" ethic which I think escapes most men - perhaps even motherhood (experienced or expected) may play pivotal rôles in the way the female mind functions and, therefore, expresses itself.

But more specifically, since we are thinking within the context of female photography just now, maybe one important feature that marks a difference (which I do believe there is) comes from the photographer's attitude towards other women. Unless we have a gay female snapper, there will probably be no temptation to use obvious sex as a tool in making a visual statement about clothes, and it's the marketing of clothes that's the commercial raison d'être of fashion photography.

Of course, there is another factor here that can slip beneath  the radar, though it becomes obvious when it strikes one: the women photographers who have gripped my respect so strongly are also artists and, in the main, appear to do their own thing and not really follow trends at all. I have not researched this in any detail, so I have not the answer to my own question, but if there is similarity in places between the work of Sarah Moon and of Deborah Turbeville, has one consciously aped the other, or do the styles spring from within the female condition and its consciousness of style and of what constitutes femininity?

I suspect that women do more reading than do men. It appears that books of the historical fiction type sell well, and I think that might go back to such literature speaking to a sense of highly structured female "correctness" of different codes of conduct and presentation of the female self. Harsh reality in the world of today precludes most of the sartorial pomp and flamboyance from being achieved, but within the little rich world of designer fashion those dreams can be played out to some degree, even when the designers know full well that specific clothes are simply loss-leading advertisements for the brand's creative spirit. Lucky the people who get to do their photography around those theatrical extravaganzas rather than depressing trouser suits or thick Shetlands!

But, would those female photographers I esteem agree with me? I have no idea, as you suggest, but even more odd might be if they give the question much thought at all. I believe that they just do their thing, consciously or otherwise, probably otherwise. And that's where the answer has to lie: within their mental make-up.

"I suspect there's more intrinsic difference between one individual photographer and another than between female and male 'togs as groups. Now when it comes to photographers' styles a whole host of extrinsic stuff comes into play: societal norms and current photo fashions, to name two. That stuff makes it hard to say what in a particular photographer's approach is innate and what is learned. You might guess at it but you won't know. Most likely neither will the photographer.

-Dave-"

This is all true, but note that I am not really thinking in terms of an entire world of photographers, but of those very few that have grabbed my mind so strongly. In fact, the vast majority fail to have identity, and ape one another continaully. How can it escape them that the stars are stars because they are different, that this one or the other one already exists, and is there to be hired by magazines for next to no money because payment is often in terms of prestige and not big money? Advertising brings the cash, not editorial, unless you are able to get a massive exclusivity contract, but few ever attain that!

Trying to copy another photographer's style is bound for failure. Rankin did a series of ape shots a while ago, and in my opinion, he couldn't pull it off, and he was aping specific photos, not the more difficult task of assimilating and using another's style on new work! You are you, and that's both your best card and your worst.

;-)

RSL

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 04:12:39 pm »

I'd certainly agree that there's a difference in sensitivity. My experience with that, though, is outside fashion photography. I've never done fashion, and I don't look at much fashion photography -- other than having a laugh at the men's clothing shown in some of the Wall Street Journal ads that obviously have been designed by fairies. I certainly would expect fashion work done by women to be different from fashion work done by men -- even by homosexual men. I think each would be sensitive to different things.

But let's look at a couple comparisons outside the fashion sphere. First, check the differences between Garry Winogrand and Helen Levitt. Levitt was 15 years older than Winogrand, but both photographed extensively in New York City in a similar time frame. I can't imagine Levitt shooting THIS picture, and I can't imagine Winogrand shooting THIS  picture.

Then there were Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange both working for the Farm Security Administration at the same time and in the same areas of the U.S. I can't imagine Dorothea shooting THIS picture, and I barely can imagine Walker shooting THIS picture.

Now it's quite true that comparing a single picture to a single picture doesn't tell you much about the sensitivities of the photographers, but believe me, Rob, I've spent more than half a lifetime looking at the work of these four people, and the differences, with them working in the same milieu, simply are there.

In short, as you say, they each do their thing; but by nature the thing men do is different from the thing women do. I saw it even in the military. As you probably know, since I think you've read my essay on the subject, I don't think women belong in combat units. But I've gotta admit, having had women in some of my units, they sometimes see things the men around them miss. It's a different kind of sensitivity.

   

Alan Klein

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 04:20:08 pm »

Women aren't concerned with technical stuff like what we argue about here.  They focus on the artistic, spiritual and sensual. 

RSL

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2018, 07:49:23 pm »

Right, Alan, but you might have noticed that Rob doesn't get into technical stuff and neither do I. As HCB pointed out, all the technical stuff you need to know to do photography is there in the book that comes with the camera. People who get involved in technical stuff are people who've been conned by the camera company's folks.

fredjeang2

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 12:55:11 pm »

As HCB pointed out, all the technical stuff you need to know to do photography is there in the book that comes with the camera. People who get involved in technical stuff are people who've been conned by the camera company's folks.
Absolutly Russ.
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Rob C

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Re: Another one: Elizabeth Novick
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2018, 04:33:33 am »

Absolutly Russ.

And with each new product, each shortened life-cycle of that product, the more manufacturer need and incentive to drive the wheels of wishful thinking.

It may be no bad thing, but I do think it a bit crazy. Camera and lens makers did perfectly well back in the film days when nobody expected to buy something new every year or two; the current sales stagnation and, worse, fall, may be a product of their own greed and subsequent desperation. They created this monster with the voracious appetite, and now discover they need to feed it but can't find the fodder.

Rob
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