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Author Topic: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.  (Read 1718 times)

Chris Kern

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Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« on: June 02, 2018, 09:11:09 PM »

Nor is it a street photograph.  Nor even a photograph of a street.  And it's certainly not a pipe.

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

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

OmerV

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 09:33:43 PM »

Not sure why but there's something in that picture that I find unsettling. Claustrophobia perhaps. If that's what it is meant to convey, it works. Well done.

degrub

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 12:14:59 AM »

or vertigo.
My uncle was an ironworker putting the facade support on skyscrapers. Some of the stories of weather and near misses he would tell...sheesh.

Nice contrast between the base blues and the red tones.
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Ivophoto

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 02:50:01 AM »

Sure it’s not real street?

Nice image. Could hang large printed on the wall.
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Rob C

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 06:05:33 AM »

Nor is it a street photograph.  Nor even a photograph of a street.  And it's certainly not a pipe.

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

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


Hi Chris,

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

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

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

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

Rob


KLaban

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 06:26:36 AM »


Hi Chris,

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

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

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

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

Rob

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

I'm happy to view any work here on LuLa anywhere except perhaps - rather ironically - landscape.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 06:57:01 AM by KLaban »
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Rob C

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 07:19:37 AM »

Keith, you must be getting your system ready for lunch. I've just finished mine - at home, because I got stuck at an awkward part of varnishing a bathroom shutter, and as it poured for about an hour, I couldn't desert the place in such vulnerable condition and neither could I rehang the shutter.

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

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

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

Rob

KLaban

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2018, 07:34:31 AM »

But, Rob, I see Street as a section rather than a slot within a section.

;-)
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Rob C

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2018, 08:11:16 AM »

But, Rob, I see Street as a section rather than a slot within a section.

;-)

Dangerously close to loving all women...

:-)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2018, 09:57:21 AM »

... I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy...

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

Chris Kern

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2018, 10:23:00 AM »

I gather we're now moving toward a genre neutral policy in this category.

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

Finally someone acknowledges the pun.

Chris Kern

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2018, 10:52:26 AM »

Actually, I tend to agree with Russ and Rob that it’s possible to make a reasonably clear distinction between street photographs and other pictures made in public locations.  However, while it undoubtedly is useful to be familiar with the origin of the genre—or, more accurately—the origin of the label, I don’t think the pioneering street photographs made in the few decades after the introduction of small portable cameras should rigidly constrain our understanding of the genre today, or that it is all that useful to define street photography by pointing out examples of what it is not.

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

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

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

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

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2018, 11:09:58 AM »

The whole-paragraph definition!? As opposed to one word (landscape, portrait, people, architecture)?

Ivophoto

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2018, 11:18:36 AM »

Again with risk of pitch and feathers:
Why not a sub : Contemporary Photography.

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

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

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


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Rob C

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2018, 11:44:22 AM »

Actually, I tend to agree with Russ and Rob that it’s possible to make a reasonably clear distinction between street photographs and other pictures made in public locations.  However, while it undoubtedly is useful to be familiar with the origin of the genre—or, more accurately—the origin of the label, I don’t think the pioneering street photographs made in the few decades after the introduction of small portable cameras should rigidly constrain our understanding of the genre today, or that it is all that useful to define street photography by pointing out examples of what it is not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rob

Chris Kern

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2018, 11:45:10 AM »

The whole-paragraph definition!? As opposed to one word (landscape, portrait, people, architecture)?

Well, it's a definition, not a label.  The label is street photography, and it's both well-established and widely-used.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2018, 12:06:34 PM »

Well, it's a definition, not a label.  The label is street photography, and it's both well-established and widely-used.

I get the distinction, but in the examples I provided, the label is the definition, no verbose essay needed, as everybody instinctively understands what is meant by it. In the case of street photography, the definition goes to great lengths (literally) to fight the instinctive understanding of the term.

Chris Kern

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2018, 12:43:25 PM »

the definition goes to great lengths (literally) to fight the instinctive understanding of the term.

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

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

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

That's not an irrational approach, I suppose, but as the Court later discovered, its decision only served to provoke additional litigation because there always will be edge cases where the lack of a clear, explicit definition leads reasonable people to disagree.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2018, 01:21:05 PM »

I think two genres are quite sufficient:
"Pipe"
and
"Not a pipe."    8)
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Ivophoto

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Re: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2018, 01:30:43 PM »

I think two genres are quite sufficient:
"Pipe"
and
"Not a pipe."    8)

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

After all, a pipe is a pipe.
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