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Author Topic: Hanging It Out  (Read 1684 times)

Rob C

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2019, 05:37:26 pm »

Now with Peter Fiore's approval.

Peter Fiore on breaking the rules, his life and history as an artist. From his early days to his current work, influences and philosophy on painting. Interviewed by Christopher Libertino.

Peter Fiore


Yeah, I remember enjoying that interview several times in the past; sadly, it underlines again my feelings of the inadequacy of photography in comparison to painting.

That aside, Peter has an honesty coming through that makes everything hang so beautifully together.

An excellent example of what I'd love to see this series build up to shelter.

Rob

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2019, 11:44:43 pm »

If it makes you feel better, Rob, I can guarantee that my painting is inferior to my photography.

Eric
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KLaban

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2019, 03:40:13 am »


Yeah, I remember enjoying that interview several times in the past; sadly, it underlines again my feelings of the inadequacy of photography in comparison to painting.

That aside, Peter has an honesty coming through that makes everything hang so beautifully together.

An excellent example of what I'd love to see this series build up to shelter.

Rob

I was fortunate enough to have both in my life from an early age and throughout my career, often used in combination, which is perhaps why I don't make that clear-cut distinction. One just flowed into the other. 
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2019, 04:53:57 am »

Interesting Rob. I love painting and have travelled thousands of Km to visit great art museums and galleries. As much as that has amazed, impressed and touched me I get more from photography.

Perhaps itís sacrilege but I would rather look at a Salgado than a Picasso. An Adams before a Turner and a Weston before a Bacon.

To each his own.
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petermfiore

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2019, 06:34:28 am »

Thanks Kevin for posting my interview. Lots of things go into making one's life, it seems most are not by choice. Which is a good thing.


Peter

amolitor

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2019, 01:09:31 pm »

I'm a snob, and while I am not especially proud of that, I have come to terms with my snobbishness. Allow me to elaborate.

I've been mashing shutter buttons off and on for something like 40 years. I've been making a stab at Serious Photography for something like 30 years. I did my time as a wannabee Ansel Adams, and read the Trinity and spent a lot of time dorking around in darkrooms. I've read history, and I have aspired to be Stieglitz, and Steichen, and all those blokes. Along the way I have taken a fair number of pictures, and learned a fair number of things about taking pictures. I haven't taken as many as a lot of you probably have, but I've taken a pretty goodly number.

Along the way I figured out enough about Ansel Adams style landscape photography to know that I could probably, by applying myself diligently for a year or two, get good enough to churn out black and white landscapes of a certain caliber more or less at will. Perhaps not Adams, but anyways Picker and a whole lot of other acolytes. Pick up a copy of LENSWORK and you'll see a lot of this stuff. This is not because I am special, it is because I am a normally competent human being. Almost anyone can learn this. There are 1000s, maybe 10s of 1000s of people out there banging out this material on a regular basis.

Luminous Landscape has a long tradition of teaching anyone who cares to apply themselves exactly these skills, and they have been quite successful at it.

Basically, I am lazy. I don't want to do all that hiking, and I don't want to arrange my life such that I would be able to do all that hiking. It takes more than normal abilities with the camera, it takes a commitment and a lifestyle that I found unappealing.

The same story can be applied to, say, photographs of models. Again, I learned enough along the way to see that if I applied myself for a year or two I could get Quite Good at it and then I could churn out Fashion Styled photographs, or Figure Studies, or whatever. Would I be Rob Campbell? Perhaps not, but I could certainly be the equivalent of any number of people making amiable and competent pictures of beautiful girls. Again, the skills necessary to grind out the pictures are a minor part of it, it's the business of rearranging my life to make room for a lot of hired models and lights and enormous octoboxes that I found uninteresting.

Ditto macro photography. I never did make a serious attempt at wildlife photography, but by now I see the pattern. I could buy the gear, devote some time to learning some skills, and then I could rearrange my life, and lo, I could churn out endless Birds In Flight or whatever.

The question arises naturally: if I am so damned serious about photography, why am I so unwilling to rearrange my life a bit in order to do it better, to produce better photographs?

It is, essentially, because I perceive the kinds of pictures I could have made down any of those paths as not worth the trouble. They would have been fine pictures, but they would have been just like a lot of other pictures put out there by a lot of other normally competent people who applied themselves rather more diligently that I am willing to apply myself. Having no desire to make a career out of it, I had (and still have) the luxury of picking and choosing what to do in just as finicky a way as pleases me.

It's a bit like making a good quiche. Lots of people never make a quiche at all. Quite a few people make lousy quiche. Some people make excellent quiche. To make good quiche there's a bunch of skills you need to have: you should be able to handle a pie crust, you need to have a rough grasp not only of how to reliably crack eggs without getting shell bits everywhere but also some grasp  of how eggs cook, etcetera. The point is that the ability to make a good quiche is perfectly teachable. A few people may have some mental block which renders them incapable of learning these skills, but almost anyone could learn to do it. Most people don't.

It happens that I  have learned it, and that furthermore I am perfectly happy to bang out a good quiche more or less on demand, despite the fact that there isn't anything particularly special about a good quiche. I am not a quiche snob, at least not in the sense that I refuse to do it because it's something that anyone could do. I am perfectly happy to be an everyman who happens to have and to exercise the relevant quiche making skills.

Where photography is concerned, however, I am a snob.

The fact that my quiche exists does not mean that the restaurant French Laundry does not exist, and the existence of French Laundry does not make my quiche non-existent, or even bad.

Neither could I pretend that a dinner I prepared of my quiche and a salad is equivalent to dinner at French Laundry. These are not the same thing, at all. Almost anyone could, by applying themselves with a little diligence, produce the former. The latter is rather more involved and, in very real ways, a superior thing. My quiche dinner would be excellent, I assure you, but it would not be in any way equivalent.

If the French Laundry dinner included quiche, the quiche would not be much better than mine. That, however, is not the point. French Laundry is doing something other than sticking a slice of good quiche on a plate.

Where photography is concerned, rather than quiches, I am much more interested in the French Laundry version of the thing than the homemade quiche version. The analogy could be stretched a bit more to note that it is not the quiche which makes the dinner ordinary or great, it is the way the quiche is contextualized. But that is maybe a bridge too far.

Do I do the French Laundry version? No, of course not. But it's what I am interested in. It's what I want to do. It is my aspiration. I am a snob!
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KLaban

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2019, 02:19:09 pm »

Do I do the French Laundry version? No, of course not. But it's what I am interested in. It's what I want to do. It is my aspiration. I am a snob!

May I ask, do you feel the same way about your words?

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Rob C

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2019, 02:27:38 pm »

The problem is, then, that through putting intellectual handcuffs on your photography, you are probably denying yourself some serious pleasure, especially as you don't need your efforts to make you money.

I suspect that most of us are snobs, even if we perhaps fail to realise it. What else is the football fan, who is conditioned to look down upon all the others of his kind for having exactly the same complex as himself, but simply allied to a different god?

My own snobbery is within the world of the boat: I would no more want a small boat that I could actually afford to buy right now and possibly enjoy for a summer or two - with luck - than would I want to eat my fingers. The only boats I might enjoy are all light years removed from the reality of my telescope, and so I ignore the lot of them now, especially today, walking past them on a freezing, drizzle-sodden day; how clever I was to have held my impoverished hand and not bought into such nonsense!

I think a difference between your photographic yearnings interests and mine is easy to see: your mind is still thinking alternative genre possibilities whereas I never wanted any: focus.

Quiche. Indeed, I was married to such an expert and could demolish an entire one (quiche, not expert) intended to feed four, all by myself. Today, I have strict medical limitations on such delights: no cheese.

amolitor

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2019, 02:34:59 pm »

May I ask, do you feel the same way about your words?

Of course you may ask ;) I am "Hanging It Out!"

It depends on what you mean. If you mean the actual sentences, no,  my writing is not as good as my quiche, and it suits me adequately. If I can produce a workmanlike, albeit common, sentence with every now and then a poetic turn of phrase, I am pleased as anything.

If you mean the ideas I try to communicate, well, again I aspire to more of the exceptional, the French Laundry ideal. I like to imagine that every now and then I do produce something that flirts anyways with the edges of the exceptional.

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amolitor

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2019, 02:39:57 pm »

You know, Rob, I think it comes to me not actually liking the doing of photography that much. I don't hate it, but I mash the button only so that I will have a picture I can maybe make some sense of later, not because there's any real love of the mashing or the stuff that surrounds the mashing.
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Rob C

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2019, 03:18:02 pm »

You know, Rob, I think it comes to me not actually liking the doing of photography that much. I don't hate it, but I mash the button only so that I will have a picture I can maybe make some sense of later, not because there's any real love of the mashing or the stuff that surrounds the mashing.


Then I completely understand the love of the great quiche: it delights on several levels!

:-)

KLaban

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2019, 03:53:48 pm »

Of course you may ask ;) I am "Hanging It Out!"

It depends on what you mean. If you mean the actual sentences, no,  my writing is not as good as my quiche, and it suits me adequately. If I can produce a workmanlike, albeit common, sentence with every now and then a poetic turn of phrase, I am pleased as anything.

If you mean the ideas I try to communicate, well, again I aspire to more of the exceptional, the French Laundry ideal. I like to imagine that every now and then I do produce something that flirts anyways with the edges of the exceptional.

Perhaps trying to match the French Laundry's quiche is wasted effort, even if successful you'll end up with third party, mass-produced. Better to spend the time improving your own.

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amolitor

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2019, 06:33:35 pm »

My point is not that I am attempting to match FL's quiche.

A shorter way to state this thing is:

There are things which are excellent, but not exceptional, not rare. I like quiche and many many other things which are excellent, but not exceptional. It happens that I don't much care for the same in a photograph.
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D Fuller

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2019, 09:49:57 pm »

You know, Rob, I think it comes to me not actually liking the doing of photography that much. I don't hate it, but I mash the button only so that I will have a picture I can maybe make some sense of later, not because there's any real love of the mashing or the stuff that surrounds the mashing.

Iíve mentioned this series before, but your post brings it again to mind. The Netflix series Chefís Table does an excellent job of shedding light on what it takes to get to the top of ones field. In the case of that series, itís the restaurant business, but it applies equally to any other. Much is sacrificed in the rest of ones life to achieve greatness in one chosen arena, because it requires near-total commitment.

Most anyone with a modicum of talent can get to a level where they produce passable images in any genre, and maybe even make a living at it, but it usually does take rearranging your life to get to the virtuoso level. There are lots of good life reasons for not doing thatóperhaps you like your wife, or want to be around for your kids, or feel you need to take care of your sick mother. Those are all valid life choices, but they wonít make you an extraordinary artist. I know this because they are the choices Iíve made, and Iíve seen the result.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2019, 01:35:20 am »

Donít like quiche. Love taking photographs. The entire process is a joy to me. Iím not talking about commercial stuff. Commercial photography is a job and it beats working in a foundry, carrying a gun or digging a trench, but itís not a joy.

I have noticed amongst some photographers that what appears to drive them is a desire for status, a competitive motivation. Mostly they want to succeed at photography but they are not driven by what they are trying to say. They are not amazed by what they see and are not driven by any desire to communicate. They may produce some very successful images and may indeed succeed at a certain level but more frequently they spend a lot of time trying to find a suitable genre or subject to show off their abilities as a photographer.

I believe the best work is produced by people that are first captivated by the subject and the message and secondarily by photography. Great chefs love food and feeding people above cooking.
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petermfiore

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2019, 01:38:54 am »

I believe the best work is produced by people that are first captivated by the subject and the message and secondarily by photography. Great chefs love food and feeding people above cooking.

Yes indeed. A reason to make something is the artist's journey.

Peter

Ivophoto

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Hanging It Out
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2019, 04:26:59 am »

About snobbery

A love fly fishing.

I love a good pair of wading shoes, waders, reliable wading stick, decent modern rod and reel, home made flies, etc.
I fish on local water and local species. Occasionally I will hop in the car and drive 12h to explore and fish a foreign river.
I have friends who are happy to invest in Rockhopper workshops style to fish Alaska waters dropped from a water plane into a rafting boat while sleeping with bears.

On fly fish fairs I meet peoples who say they have transcended all this and their boots donít touch water anymore. They enjoy a travel to Scotland staying in a hotel close to a legendary salmon river theoretically ready to fish to meet a few old fly tying and fishing masters. Sitting at the crackling fire, drinking Lagavullin from a quaich, discuss the finest Hardy reel on earth and petting each otherís hand made split canes with golden engraved butts.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 04:55:38 am by Ivophoto »
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KLaban

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2019, 05:16:26 am »

...There are things which are excellent, but not exceptional, not rare. I like quiche and many many other things which are excellent, but not exceptional. It happens that I don't much care for the same in a photograph.

I've known artists and photographers with a modicum of talent and even those without talent who have worked hard and made a living. I've also known artists and photographers with an *inborn talent, a few of whom have produced the exceptional and others who have produced nothing.

As Martin and D Fuller have suggested, the path to the exceptional is to be passionate about both the subject and the message and to be prepared to make many sacrifices along the journey. Those who I admire **worship have almost without exception taken this path but they are very few and far between. Anyone can get lucky and make an exceptional photograph but few can make an exceptional body of work.

*a talent that cannot be explained by experience or education.

**sadly I can't think of a single photographer who meets the criteria - perhaps Rob is right ;-)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 06:06:07 am by KLaban »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2019, 09:22:56 am »

Andrew, have you tried photographing quiche? Seems like a perfect combination for your lack of passion for both  ;)

bcooter

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Re: Hanging It Out
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2019, 12:23:32 pm »


snip

it requires near-total commitment.

it usually does take rearranging your life to....

snip



In a way the 10,000 hour rule applies.  To reach a high level itís not your job, itís your calling.   You go to bed thinking and working on photography, wake up doing the same.   

The way I started I was a very young art director in a medium sized agency.   I hired good photographers, but then as our agency picked up larger accounts, photo agents from around the U.S. would come in with huge portfolios.

For the first time I got to see great photographerís personal work and I fell in love, until one day walked into the agencyís President and said I quit Iím going to be a photographer.  My job paid me well and actually at that time I had low overhead so leaving was a chance, but I did, got a gig in a catalog house, then went on my own.

Early own I thought I was pretty good, sometimes was, because at that stage you have an unencumbered mind.   Youíre not thinking about clients or genres, your just shooting what you like and I love photographing people.   Scenics, Still Life (though I did them from time to time) didnít interest me, though I have respect for people that are good at it.

Then work came in I stayed busy and thatís when the creativity starts to drop, because you start accumulating things and your life changes, you have to listen to the client because you want to get paid and you donít have the experience to explain your way around a challenging idea (good or bad).  Then you hit a point that youíve worked for some many different people you can find a better solution and explain it, so my work improved.   Communication with people; clients, crew, suppliers, subjects, (unknown or famous) because unless you get the best out of everyone, the image suffers.

The one thing I never wanted to do was be locked into one single genre.   Most photographers like to specialize, but I had no interest in just shooting one thing in one style over and over.   Everyone said it would hurt my business, but I always stayed busy and it was a great learning experience and I could apply hanging out of a helicopter on the border to shooting fashion in Milan, or a sports star in Barcelona.

To me itís always just story or creative brief, subject, lightiing and composition. 

Our business flew when I met my wife who is uber talented as a producer and stylist.  Everything she puts in front of the lens is perfect, her planning is off the scale.   That allowed me to really free up and work on my side on the job.

We also learned motion capture early on (I hate the word video) learned to edit and grade and since I was in LA it was easy to buy and own movie lights and grip, whether it be for stills or motion.   

Dave is right, you have to be careful because life can get in the way.    We recently went through some tragic family issues that lasted a few years and itís consuming and this is such a competitive business, anytime you take away from your goals, networking, moving forward, it will effect your work.   (thankfully that part is over).

I have and still am very fortunate, usually have lived in two places simultaneously which also broadens our horizons.

Iíve been asked a trillion times by assistants and swings how do you make it in image making (I guess thatís the new term).   My modest advice is  1. Do no quit and weather the ups and downs   2. Look at your life as if have perpetual homework that youíll never complete.   3.  Also be fair and kind not only to clients, but to all the people you work with, crew, suppliers, talent agents, location finders, drivers, everyone.  This last suggestion will save you so many times.   

If itís not special in front of the lens itís damn hard to make it interesting in the camera.







IMO

BC
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