Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by eydryan, Sep 24, 2005.
and so i did. my reply lower.
first of all i must admit that what i do is art naive, i have not really studied the history of photography cuz my parents decided economy is more important that photography. who knows? anyway, i am starting to piece up the list at the beginning of this forum with the favourite photographers so, if you have the time, please explain what those moments are about...
about the closed mind and looking at a photo again for details: pre-judging is what advertising is all about and as i see it the money in this art comes from adverts, pics in magazines which impress the viewer instantly either with cliches or with stunning new cliches photographical art does not sell. or does it? this debate i believe would go on forever but fmpov it doesn't sell as good as adverts. free your mind is a good thing but i am afraid you cannot do it without proper...training. a free mind is something hard to define so it is also hard to obtain. i personally have no idea how to free my mind and i admit it...
there are some things which keep coming up when critique is involved. those are mainly the rules i speak about. however you mentioned three rules. which are they?
and also, i have a big problem and don't know how to cope with it: when i am on the street mainly doing nothing without my camera i see all kinds of brilliant shots, however when i take the camera it all fades away, my inspiration is nullified. also happens when i am on a vacation, i usually have to choose between photos and vacation... it's quite a conundrum...
A lot of the problem boils down to why you are taking pictures.
Do you do it because others pay you to do it - or do you do it for your own personal satisfaction?
If you take pictures that need to be commercial then they do have to conform to type - the people who commission them have a pretty clear idea of what they want and what your picture should look like. In fact, when I worked in Advertising the Art Director quite often presented you with a sketch of the picture and the photographer's job was to re-create the image as a photograph.
Taking pictures for yourself means just that - taking pictures that satisfy you and do what you want them to. You shouldn't worry if no-one else likes them though as you are not taking them for them.
'Art' Photography is the problem area. Once you start wanting people to buy your pictures you can't help but try to take pictures that people like. We have had a discussion about this before, though, so I'm not going to resurrect it. Those interested can mine the archives for it.
As far as looking at pictures is concerned, I have had countless arguments with people over the years who hold the belief that looking at Photographs is second nature and an ability we all have from birth. They are prepared to accept that you have to learn how to read and how to look at a painting but they don't think that this extends to looking at a photograph.
To quote Sherlock Holmes 'we all see but very few of us observe'.
Take a simple thing like subject matter. Every picture has to have a subject - but what constitutes a subject? The usual belief is that it should be a solid object that can be identified and is the picture's focal point. Preferably it should jump off the page at you.
Equally valid as subject material is mood, emotion, feeling. These are not solid objects but you can still photograph them - or at least embody them in a photograph. And then there is Landscape.
If you have one object in a landscape that stands out and is a focus of interest then the picture ceases to be a landscape. It becomes a picture of that object.
In a landscape it should be the landscape as a whole that is the subject matter.
The majority of what are considered to be great pictures are ones that don't immediately grab you. They are ones that you have to work at to find out what they are all about. You explore them and find new things to enjoy.
Take a look at this image by the legendary Eugene Atget
What is the focus of this image? Take your time and really look. What do you see?
If you are looking right you should see one thing...that leads you to see another...that leads you yet further...
The picture has many layers and subtleties. Perhaps they were not all originally intended but you can never know. I find it hard to believe that someone who spent their life taking pictures was not aware of what was going on in there, but that is just my view. It doesn't matter because inteded or not they are there.
As you look and see each successive layer your attitude and feelings towards the image should change as well. I still get a kick every time I look at it and as the real focal point of the image appears I always smile. See if you do.
This image typifies Photography. Many people would give it a couple of seconds of their attention if that, and write it off as just another old photo. It has historical importance, true. But it has so much more and the photographer still speaks through it. You just have to listen.
Oh, come on! No-one got a comment about the Atget photo? It's one of my favourite pictures of all time and is a work of genius.
If you really can't see it PM me and I'll talk you through it.
um well, i can only see three layers: the building, the grassy knoll reflected in the shop windows and the shop employees staring through. and it looks like a good picture but maybe i'm not actually seeing all the layers? i didn't reply because i am tired and can't quite think straight right now and earlier i wasn't in the mood, but surely there is much more to discuss here. tomorrow or latest monday i promise to really reply like i should, ok?
maybe you can also suggest a little project for my outing tomorrow? it has to be urban, and i really need a theme, the bad weather is draining all my inspiration. got an idea?
The reflection on the shop door and the folks inside looks stunning. I do have doubts that the man on the right may be the reflection of a passerby... don't know for sure.
Seemingly a simple image, but it draws me in more, the more I view it.
First you see the shop with all the railings and moulding. Fascinating in it's own right and worth a lot of your time to eamine it. I think you can actually read the signboard on the left of the door in the original.
Then you see the trees reflected either side in the windows - which leads you into the windows themselves and what is in there.
Then you see the two people in the shop doorway looking at you through the glass.
Then you see that there is something reflected in the door glass.
It's the camera that took the picture.
To the right of it you see.... the photographer (Atget) standing there.
You move up to look at his face and see.....
NOW do you see the joke?
I don't think theres any right way to look at a photo. ANd if there is a natural narative offocus points, if you don't see it then the picture could be more successful.
Of course there is a right way to look at a picture - with an open mind and on it's own terms.
If you don't see things that are in a picture it doesn't mean that they aren't there, it may mean that you don't know how to look. That's where the open mind comes in.
But I do have an open mind, I know none of the rules of photography except make sure the lens cap is off.
Also the sequence of seeing things doesn't apply to everyone. It isn't the sequence I noticed things in. Maybe this picture is too small but I don't get the joke and find it hard to make things out.
I totally agree with that. 99% of the photos I take are 'easy to digest' especially the landscape ones I take. The images that I pride myself for taking are far less dramatic but can be interpreted many ways outside of the realm of 'pretty picture'. Unfortunately, I have been inspired to take a very few of these types of shots, and when i do show them to most folks the response I always get is that 'I like your landscapes better!' :mrgreen:
The shot from atget is quite inspiring, thanks for posting that!
Can you see the faces of the people in the shop door window?
Can you see the reflection of the photographer in the shop door window?
Who's head is on the photographer's shoulders?
Of course some people see things in different ways and in different orders, but the order I gave things in is the order which the majority of people discover things in the picture. This statement is, of course, based on my own observations and experiences over years of teaching photography. It is the order in which most of my students have found their way around the photo (with no help or direction from me, I might add) - and I have shown this image to many hundreds of students. I thought it reasonable to assume that most people here would see it in the same way. It isn't important though.
Separate names with a comma.