Aesthetics? Whazzat?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Torus34, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [Disclaimer: I own and use both film and digital cameras. I occasionally write stuff.]

    We often overlook aesthetics in our daily lives. We zero in on what we're about and, like blindered horses, become oblivious to the wider view around us. You can find an extreme example of this in the current tendency in the US to view all the facets of our lives within the framework, the straitjacket-like mental confines, the reductio ad absurdum of economics.

    But there's far more to living than we find if we view our existence as a balance sheet. Consider the following situation:

    You have the opportunity to take a short airplane flight. The length of the flight, the cost [affordable], the pilot and the course to be flown are predetermined. You do have a choice of aircraft, though: a modern Piper Arrow or an open-cockpit Stearman biplane. Think about your choice and why you would make it.

    Aesthetics does matter, doesn't it? Which brings me to sharing one of my little photographic quirks with you.

    We're all involved in making pictures through photography. That's a given. But when pursuing the goal of a good print it's sometimes pleasant to consider the little extras -- the aesthetic experiences -- which can be had within the overall picture-making activity. I believe we sometimes fail to see that they're even there to enjoy.

    One we overlook is the 'feel' of the process. We can enhance this through various choices we can make. The camera we decide to use is one such choice. Specifically, I find considerable pleasure in b&w 'street' photography while using an old rangefinder rig. For me, there's a sense of continuity with the past that's different from making street pictures with a modern digital camera. I do both, but I find that I don't think of Cartier-Bresson and his ilk when shooting digital. I don't feel their presence. The whole experience is, somehow, one 'dimension' less rich.

    Now, let's face it -- there will be little difference in the finished print, whether film- or digitally-captured. Viewed from a normal distance, it's quite difficult to distinguish between digital and film 'street' prints. The final goal, the picture, is going to be almost identical regardless of the camera I use, within reasonable limits.

    But I still like the thought of wearing a leather helmet and goggles -- and feeling the wind tugging on my white silk scarf as it flutters behind me in the slipstream.

    Don't you, too?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2009
  2. bjorkfiend

    bjorkfiend TPF Noob!

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    ...
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hopefully we all have miles to go before we sleep. Whether we choose to travel them with the smell of horse sweat and leather or Naugahyde and gasoline or simply pine needles and oak mulch will still make all the difference on the trip.


    And none at all when we're done.
     
  4. Solthar

    Solthar TPF Noob!

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    The question, though, is not what impact you can have on the trip - but what impact the trip can have on you.

    One order of pine needles and oak mulch, please.
     
  5. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    And I ran, I ran so far away!
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Praphrasing an old Bruce Lee conversation:
    "In the beginning, I learned to punch and to kick. In those days, a punch was a punch and a kick was a kick. As I learned and evolved, and I learned the wisdom of the arts, I discovered that a punch was much more than a punch and a kick was way more than a kick.

    After acheiving a higher plane of knowledge, I today know with conviction that a punch is a punch, and a kick is a kick".



    When I was younger, I loved making EVERYTHING complicated, analyzed everything, disected life to it's smallest components.

    Today, I just pick up my camera, go out and enjoy taking photographs. The precise mechanics of how I do it is not really any more important to me than a simple tool... a means to reach an end as long as I am happy with the results.

    The true pleasure of "the trip" to getting that photo... now that is the heart of the matter for me. The less time I spend over-analyzing the small points means the more time I have to be out there enjoying myself.

    Chocies? We can spend life banging our heads against a wall trying to figure it all out... or be like water... flow with life in whatever direction it takes us, yet over time, mold even rock to the shapes that we desire.

    To me, aesthetics mean little... it is a direction to to choose and we all know that there are many directions possible to get to the same place. Some long, some short. Time is not important... enjoy the trip.
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The thrust of my IP was that experiences in life can be uni- or multi-dimensional depending on our perceptions of them. I chose to use a photographic situation -- something we on this forum share -- to focus [sorry!] on a specific example.

    There's a marvelous line from the play Auntie Mame: "Life is a banquet, and most poor s--'- of b------ are starving to death. Live!"

    Or, to use another photographic reference, whilst I often 'work' in b&w, I'm always aware of the vibrant colors which are the raiment of real life.
     

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