Am I crossing the line?

Discussion in 'Dark Side Gallery' started by ddelplato, Apr 10, 2015.

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Is this crossing the line?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. ddelplato

    ddelplato TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I am a student and I am studying photography. As a freshman I have a lot to learn.

    Recently—for a critique class—our assignment was to illustrate a story prompt with our images. I created a very dark set of images entitled "Schizophrenia" (which was extensively researched). My professor loved the images, and said that they were "unexpected and have a great amount of depth". Later on, I showed them to another professor, who said they were "unprofessional" because I am not mentally ill. He went on to further tell me that if I want to produce images about mentally illness i should "give the camera to someone who is mentally ill and claim the images as my own". I also showed this series to a group of professors for my portfolio review. At first when I told one professor about the concept she thought it was an incredible idea. However, once she saw that I was the subject she said that I should "not be producing work like that" and that if i want to create a series about mental illness, my subject would have to be mentally ill.

    I can't explain how thoroughly confused I am about this series now. I have received multiple mixed reviews and I am looking for any closure to tell me whether these images are crossing a line or not. I think the thing i can't comprehend the most is the fact that filmmaker/writers/actors have done the same thing I did with this series (direct/write/act out a mental illness and the issues that follow). What's the difference between me creating a fictional narrative about mental illness through images and filmmakers creating a fiction film about a mental illness.

    the series can be found here:
    Behance


     
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  2. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    I think it's a decent set. The photos make me feel uncomfortable, which is the end goal. To me, the set works and is good. Listen to your critique class professor.
     
  3. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree.

    I would most certainly not give my camera to someone else - mentally ill or otherwise - and have that person take pictures that I would then take credit for. That seems quite unethical to me.

    Artists interpret the human experience all the time, sometimes having lived those experiences and sometimes not. I don't think the photographer or the subject (and in this case, they are one and the same) needs to be mentally ill for this body of work to be considered valid.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Seems to me that you have one enlightened professor, and two strict constructionist idiots with basically, worthless ideas about art, and in general a really bad outlook toward you and your work. The idea that only a schizophrenic could create images about mental illness? That in order to make any kind of statement about mental illness, the photographer must actually BE certifiably mentally ill? OMG...really? And then the idea of claiming another person's photographs as your own? WOW--that to me is advocating artistic plagiarism...and a professor who advocates plagiarism is, in my book, unworthy of teaching, anywhere. I mean that.

    And the paternalistic idea that you, a young woman, ought not use yourself as a subject, a model, to explore an idea through art? Has Bozo The Professor ever heard of Cindy Sherman? I'd wager NOT! No wonder you are confused; you have one person giving decent feedback, and two others giving incredibly stupid "advice". I put advice in air-quotes because what they are spewing is just...really dumb talking, really dumb hang-ups that they suffer from and are putting onto you.
     
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    FWIW: I think this series is perfect!

    No, I'm not a licensed clinical psychiatrist, and I don't play one on the internet, but I see a very well-done series. One that is quite understandable by the average lay person.

    I would give you an "A".
     
  6. Didereaux

    Didereaux Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You did fine. Ask the idjit professor that said you should have given the camera to a real schizophrenic in order to get the 'real' view if he felt that the psychiatrist should lie on the couch and the mentally ill do the probing?
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Life and indeed photography is about learning who to and who not to listen to. Don't just listen "because they've got a degree" or "because they are your teacher" or "because they are family" have actual reasons.

    Thus learn to use the most powerful word you have - WHY.

    Never just accept an answer; make them justify it. Make them earn their money educating you by giving you clear answers. That will give you information from which you can decide to agree or disagree with what they say.

    So he suggested that:
    1) You Plagiarise your work which is basically you throwing away your whole education up to that point - and also making it very hard to get into any serious place of education there after.

    2) That you ignore copyright and claim works that are not your own whilst benefitting from them - pretty much illegal

    3) That mentally ill people do not have the same copyright rights as normal people.


    Which to my mind suggests that he either gave you a stupid remark to be critical just to be critical because he couldn't think of anything else and, for some reason; didn't want to compliment. Or he's just a first rate fool. However it goes he's marked himself as one to be cautious when listening to since he might have poor understandings in very key areas!
     
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  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    POINT

    I've been thinking on that statement more so:
    and I wonder if its been badly phrased - either originally or here where the OP has maybe taken the wrong meaning or repeated it wrongly. Thinking on it more it seems like a very odd statement for a teacher to make; that is until I considered that artists/photographers have done projects in the past where they have given cameras to other people as part of their creative project. The photos belong to those who take them; but the overall project and focus is that of the photographer.

    Could be this was what was being suggested by the professor instead of simply "stealing" photos which we have all jumped to concluding.


    (this - by the way - highlights the importance of asking why and clarifying things)
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The images have a dark, moody quality and seem well done from both a technical and artistic standpoint, but unfortunately, I do not know enough about the condition of Schizophrenia to make any sort of even remotely accurate assessment of their relevance.
     
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  10. ddelplato

    ddelplato TPF Noob!

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    I remember that statement pretty clearly. I asked him for some clarification, but he was pretty stern about finishing the critique and moving on. There is a possibility that we have all misinterpreted what he said.
     
  11. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    I don't play on this forum anymore, but there was a note left on my crypt door to come check this out. It actually inspired me enough to log in and reply. :biglaugh:
    I love what you have done. It also made me feel uncomfortable, uneasy and tense(which is a good thing). I like the edginess to your photos, how you used the simplicity of your subjects to get your ideas across and the black and white really made it too. I dont think you crossed the line at all, but explored your ideas on a subject on how you see it. I bet if this subject was given to 10 different photographers, they would all have 10 different versions on how they portray it none being really right or wrong. This is your take on it, and if I was your teacher, I would have given you a 10 outa 10.
    I have always said that a camera is like any other artists tool. Once you learn how to use it, then you put your vision to work. Like a guitar for a guitar player. The guitar is only the instrument, but it is up to him/her to be creative and make the music. :guitar: Too many teachers and other photographers expect it to be done their way, or it is wrong. It is your camera, your vision and your rules.

    Just wanted to really say....well done.

    Take care.....:headbang:
     
  12. crzyfotopeeple

    crzyfotopeeple TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    yes
     

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