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Author Topic: Of Cameras and Art  (Read 17519 times)
psyberjock
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« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2006, 03:00:37 AM »
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Alain Briot writes in Of Cameras and Art:

For me the real issue here is that the result of such an experiment would very likely not be as decisive as one might expect. It presumes the other person involved would actually see any qualitative difference between the two prints. Quite possibly the other person would notice a significant difference in detail and/or acutance - but even then there are differences in near vision that can make or break even this perception.

'Way back in my college days (which happened to be at the height of the hippy era), a very common occurrence was for a person to have a particular epiphany upon ingesting a psychoactive chemical. I heard this any number of times: "It's as if I never really saw colour before. Everything I see is just so incredibly vivid. The colours are all so sensual." These people were not referring to a temporary distortion induced by the chemical agent. The effect was usually permanent, persisting long after the moment and day of the awakening. It almost seems as though most?/many? people have a sort of unconscious de-colourizing filter happening in their visual cortices. My guess is such a person simply isn't paying much attention to colour (or line or form or texture) but instead uses vision as a means to various practical ends, and not as an end in itself.

When I show a portfolio of photographic prints to a sympathetic but non-artist individual I can pretty well predict in advance that the viewer will be looking through the print as if it were a window to the original scene. His/her interest is almost entirely focused on the subject matter. If someone is fishing in the picture and the viewer does fishing, the overriding question will be: what rod was the person in the picture using? What kind of motorboat is that? Where is that scene located? Certainly, there is some recognition that the scene is "pretty". If the colours happen to be esp. vivid, then the colours will be "pretty" too.

Adults normally bring a set of expectations to any new situation to use as a starting point. A photograph does not particularly suggest that the visual fine art mindset is appropriate. Most photographs are vacation snaps or advertisements or newspaper illustrations - these are all cases when the photograph is meant as a transparent window onto the original subject: i.e. documentation. A colour photograph is all the more realistic; and a sharp, detailed colour photograph yet more so. In contrast, a painting with evident brush strokes is rarely assumed to be anything other than a work of art, so the mindset (often including liberal helpings of inferiority and apprehension) a typical viewer brings to it will prepare him to give at least some attention to the painting as a physical object as well as to the subject matter (if any) it references. In my experience, to expect the typical viewer to approach any realistic colour photograph with the mindset she reserves for painting is to set oneself up for disappointment.

That takes us to the special case of the non-artist viewer who is also a photo hobbyist. The typical profile of such an individual seems to be a male who loves machinery/gadgets for their own sake, and who may in fact use his camera ... if at all ... to take pictures of other gadgets, such as cars, trains, and planes. This is what Peripatetic nicely calls the related hobby of photo gadgeteering. Nevertheless, it is surprisingly common for the photo gadgeteer to cross-dress into the art microcosm, motivated by a real enthusiasm for all things pretty. Now prettiness might seem to be the naural domain of the human female; and one might expect gender insecurity from keeping gadgeteer males from crossing the line here. In fact, males are engineered such that a fairly large minority have at least the rudimentary appreciation of prettiness it takes to admire the nubile female form. This in turn occassionally bleeds over on to sunsets, mountains, and lakes ... with the usually disastrous results (forgive my parochial prejudice) we are all familiar with.

So the case that Alain reports of the photo gadgeteer who is convinced that the camera makes the picture is just one symptom of the more general case of the photo gadgeteer who has not yet gotten sucked into that vortex whose maw is Pretty, whose funnel is Beauty, and whose end point is that black hole of Pure Art from which no ego escapeth.
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Oh my god. I can't believe I just read all of that. What a load. Can we say overanalyzation?

I've been watching this site for a while and I love it. It really inspires me as a photographer, even though the landscape style is so different from the somewhat more modern/post-modern style of artistic photography here in Japan.

Alain's previous posts have given me a good idea what it is to be an enterprising photographer in the US, and since I'm from the US I found the information useful. But this recent article is just a bunch of self absorbed, egotistical ranting. I mean seriously, those little endings of sections. "I used a good camera" "I used the best CF card money can buy" and such. Jesus. Get off your high horse and try to learn to do something more than take pictures of rocks in the desert.

Now you're probably thinking, who the hell is this guy? Well, I'm a nobody. I take pictures of things I like and I try to have fun doing it. You'll probably never hear of me in any amazing way. I just don't like when people start to put themselves on a pedastel. Yes, you take better pictures than 90%, hell 98% of the population. So what? That's your job. I know a plumber who fixes pipes better than 98% of the population, but you don't hear him announcing how wonderful he is.

Do what you do and enjoy it. Help others who like to do the same thing and who aren't as good as you. Its a nice thing to do. Just don't diefy yourself in the process.
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aksundevil
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« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2006, 12:31:38 PM »
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psyberjock, I really think you missed the point because you act as though Alain is the point of his own article. Just because he uses his own experiences as examples doesn't mean the article is all about him. Did you notice the times that he said, "After talking to other photographers and learning that they received the same comments," or, "And you will find yourself in such a situation if you exhibit your work." Have you noticed how many people on this forum have had similar experiences and felt the same way. The article is about a public misperception of photographic artists, not a public misperception of Alain Briot.

I don't think that if I had the expensive tools of a plumber, I could fix all the plumbing problems in my neighborhood without years of study, years of practice, and a lot of attention to plumbing to the best of my ability. Why should someone believe that money/tools/a camera is the only difference between them and a person who makes their living selling photos as art?  

P.S. Maybe the one-liners about expensive CF cards are a little smug, but they're also just a joke.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2006, 12:37:45 PM »
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psyberjock, I really think you missed the point because you act as though Alain is the point of his own article. Just because he uses his own experiences as examples doesn't mean the article is all about him. Did you notice the times that he said, "After talking to other photographers and learning that they received the same comments," or, "And you will find yourself in such a situation if you exhibit your work." Have you noticed how many people on this forum have had similar experiences and felt the same way. The article is about a public misperception of photographic artists, not a public misperception of Alain Briot.

I don't think that if I had the expensive tools of a plumber, I could fix all the plumbing problems in my neighborhood without years of study, years of practice, and a lot of attention to plumbing to the best of my ability. Why should someone believe that money/tools/a camera is the only difference between them and a person who makes their living selling photos as art?  

P.S. Maybe the one-liners about expensive CF cards are a little smug, but they're also just a joke.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77160\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That's exactly what I wanted to say. Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
aksundevil
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« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2006, 12:39:38 PM »
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On a totally different subject, some people find the use of the name "Jesus" as an expletive equally or more offensive than profanity. I'm pretty sure this forum discourages the use of four letter words, so without getting too "religious", I'd ask that you please be more respectful of other peoples belief systems. Thank you.
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wynpotter
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« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2006, 12:55:58 PM »
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Enjoyed the article Alain.  What has occurred to me is that the people that approach any of us at an event want to be able to speak our language, but they don't know how. The next best thing is to place ones self in a pecking order, either above or below the artist, most choose below.
I believe this is the translation of "you must have a great camera, etc". In my field, people say, "I tried making a pot once, I could never do it". They enjoy the right brain experience but speak out of the left brain.
There was an experiment once, placing a cat on a tile floor that optically appeared to be 3-D. The cat jumped from one perceived high point to the next. This was the only rational way the cat made sense of the room.
If you and I were to meet and I asked you to "show me your secrets", that implies that  I don't understand what I'm seeing: the same as the cat.
If someone were to see either of us at a show, most are overwhelmed by the sensory attack that a show provides and the brain shuts down to a core functioning level, survive, survive. We on the other hand have another set of mental problems that the customers don't deal with., the show,setup, weather. them, etc.
We are dealing with a subset of the same issues here on this forum, only we have somewhat better language skills based on our collective experiences.
Wyndham
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Rob C
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« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2006, 03:48:27 PM »
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Enjoyed the article Alain.  What has occurred to me is that the people that approach any of us at an event want to be able to speak our language, but they don't know how. The next best thing is to place ones self in a pecking order, either above or below the artist, most choose below.
I believe this is the translation of "you must have a great camera, etc". In my field, people say, "I tried making a pot once, I could never do it". They enjoy the right brain experience but speak out of the left brain.
There was an experiment once, placing a cat on a tile floor that optically appeared to be 3-D. The cat jumped from one perceived high point to the next. This was the only rational way the cat made sense of the room.
If you and I were to meet and I asked you to "show me your secrets", that implies that  I don't understand what I'm seeing: the same as the cat.
If someone were to see either of us at a show, most are overwhelmed by the sensory attack that a show provides and the brain shuts down to a core functioning level, survive, survive. We on the other hand have another set of mental problems that the customers don't deal with., the show,setup, weather. them, etc.
We are dealing with a subset of the same issues here on this forum, only we have somewhat better language skills based on our collective experiences.
Wyndham
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psyberjock

Hi and welcome

No, I don't think you missed any points at all; the problem with your post is that you shouldn't challenge any of the established gurus - it makes other people uncomfortable because they either cannot see the reality for themselves or, worse, they do but can't help themselves out of a misplaced sense of respect for someone with whom they have a tenuous contact.

Alain's work: yes, he does what he does very well; for a native French speaker he has a remarkable command of the English language - after five or six years spent studying French in school I am ashamed at how little of it remains in my reach - and he is worth a lot of respect for that quality if nothing else. As for his photographs, they are good, but so are those of many many other photographers who are visible on the web. Alain's advantage, in this context at least, is that he is allowed the space on this forum to air his views and to indulge in as much self-promotion as he likes. And that's fine by me: he's in the business of selling photographs as is our host - a little mutual back-rubbing never hurt anybody!

Perhaps the problem with Alain's writing (on this site) is that it is difficult for him to aim accurately enough at his target audience. I'm a professional photographer and whilst I enjoy the work of many of my peers (and betters too, for that matter) and buy monographs whenever they impress me enough to persuade me to put my hand in my pocket, I have never bought a photograph from any one of them. Why would I? Their skill is taken for granted and a single image means zilch to me. What is important is to have something that is representative of a man's entire oeuvre, something that can be re-read time after time and through that familiarity something new about the man's personality can be learned (it isn't always a positive thing - you can also grow to dislike a former favourite too) and that has to be a book.

So, on a site such as this, a mix of pro and am and probably most shades of life in between, how can Alain ever hope to be sure of whom he is addressing? For me, it seems absurd that a pro spends time complaining about audiences; for somebody else it might be an eye-opener instead. In the final analysis, it is perhaps the best argument that can be made for selling one's work through an agency or gallery: you can avoid the contact if you want to.

But in any respect, bitching about it is not productive.

Ciao - Rob C
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Scott_H
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« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2006, 05:10:59 AM »
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Perhaps the problem with Alain's writing (on this site) is that it is difficult for him to aim accurately enough at his target audience.

Or perhaps it is the contempt that he seems to hold for his customers.

I don't think it matters what your medium is, there are always going to be those people that do not understand the process of art making.  There are going to be comments about how your art is too expensive, or I could do that, etc, etc...  That is a reality of dealing with the public at large.

Personally, I just try to ignore it.  I spend some time with real artists (some photographers and some not), and people that do understand the process, and I am assured again that I am on the right path.
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psyberjock
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« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2006, 09:34:04 AM »
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I don't think that if I had the expensive tools of a plumber, I could fix all the plumbing problems in my neighborhood without years of study, years of practice, and a lot of attention to plumbing to the best of my ability. Why should someone believe that money/tools/a camera is the only difference between them and a person who makes their living selling photos as art?  

P.S. Maybe the one-liners about expensive CF cards are a little smug, but they're also just a joke.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77160\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, on this first point, I think you also missed my point. I was not defending the idea that anyone can take a wonderful picture if they have the right equipment, I was trying to say that humility is the best policy. Just as a plumber does not grandstand about his job, neither should a photographer.

On the second point (ie the P.S.), you got it exactly right. It is very smug. I did catch onto the sarcasm that makes it into a joke, but I feel that it is a joke in very bad taste. It's like grinding the faces of his customers in the dirt for not giving him his due. The joke simply makes it that much worse.

Quote
psyberjock

Hi and welcome

No, I don't think you missed any points at all; the problem with your post is that you shouldn't challenge any of the established gurus - it makes other people uncomfortable because they either cannot see the reality for themselves or, worse, they do but can't help themselves out of a misplaced sense of respect for someone with whom they have a tenuous contact.

(Now you may be writing with a bit of well concealed sarcasm and if so, I appreciate you bringing up this topic because I would like to expound on this point. If you are not being sarcastic and you really think this way (which wouldn't surprise me after some of the things I've read(though not yours in particular)), thanks anyway. (Hard to tell sometimes with just text. Also, thanks to the guy that pointed out to me that this may be a clever ploy to agree with me.))  <-- sorry for all the nested parentheses it's tough to write a disclaimer for a rant after the rant has been written. Heh heh.

I shouldn't challenge the established gurus? Why not? Are you saying that accountability is a bad thing? Where would we be if people had not challenged the established gurus thousands of times throughout the course of history? The world would most likely be flat, you certainly wouldn't have any camera with which to take pictures (it would probably be satanic witchcraft), and even more interestingly (for all you christians out there (yes I mean you aksundevil)) Jesus would probably still be a Jew. He was the ultimate established guru challenger.

Furthermore, historically art is the medium by which established gurus have been challenged. Look at 80% of the authors in the world whose works have come to be considered literature. Thomas Payne and Jonathan Swift for example. Right now there is even a professor of the University of Arizona who is being held captive in Turkey for writing a FICTIONAL book which challenged the established gurus.

Not only is it ok to challenge the established gurus, you should feel obligated to do so. If you don't, you're concedeing 90% of your rights as an artist and furthering the stagnation of our world culture.

Sorry for getting off on that tangent, I just don't feel this is a valid argument.

Quote
Alain's work: yes, he does what he does very well; for a native French speaker he has a remarkable command of the English language - after five or six years spent studying French in school I am ashamed at how little of it remains in my reach - and he is worth a lot of respect for that quality if nothing else.

Well by this reasoning, I'm certainly worth your respect as I speak English, Japanese, Spanish, and even a conversational amount of Portuguese.

Again, this is a poor argument. Language ability does nothing to justify Briot's article. If you claim that his English is a liability and he wasn't trying to come off that way, look at the sarcasm. It was used quite skillfully and with a purpose. If you try to say that he can get away with it because he's cool because he speaks more than one language, I say get real. Don't be swooned so easily by parlor tricks. Given ample time, anyone can learn a second, third, forth, or however many'th language.

(Please insert previous rant disclaimer here ^ and here v)

Quote
For me, it seems absurd that a pro spends time complaining about audiences; for somebody else it might be an eye-opener instead. In the final analysis, it is perhaps the best argument that can be made for selling one's work through an agency or gallery: you can avoid the contact if you want to.

But in any respect, bitching about it is not productive.

Ciao - Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77180\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Exactly. That's why I dislike his article so much. So much even, that I joined the forums and added a new perspective to the discussion. I'm glad that we agree on this at least.

Quote
Or perhaps it is the contempt that he seems to hold for his customers.

I don't think it matters what your medium is, there are always going to be those people that do not understand the process of art making.  There are going to be comments about how your art is too expensive, or I could do that, etc, etc...  That is a reality of dealing with the public at large.

Personally, I just try to ignore it.  I spend some time with real artists (some photographers and some not), and people that do understand the process, and I am assured again that I am on the right path.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77244\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I knew I couldn't be the only to see the contempt for his customers. Thank you.

---------------

Now to aksundevil: I'm sorry you find certain words profane. I really feel bad that your idea of language has been poisoned so deeply by your environment. Language, like a camera, is a tool by which we communicate our thoughts and emotions. If I am told to withhold certain thoughts and emotions because they disagree with another, I feel that much more compelled to let them out. Strong language describes strong emotions. There is nothing bad about any word. There is only the social programming that causes you to react in preprogrammed ways. Please, take some language classes while you're at ASU (assuming you're still there). Tell Prof. Adams, Norman Dubie, Prof. Nilsen, and all those other crazy English teachers that I said "Hi." Oh, and take the Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology. Its a real eye opener.

---------------

Now, I would like to say that I feel bad about some of the personal attacks that I made. So far, no one has commented on them, but I want to talk about it. I was caught up in the heat of the moment, and I should have toned it down and thought it all out a bit more. Granted, I do think that Briot takes a lot of pictures of the same things, and given his comment on his own article as being "variety" and the "spice of life", I would love to see him apply that to his photographs. I think he could do many more interesting things with his camera than he allows himself. But again, my wording was harsh and I apologize.

What it all boils down to is that I feel this article has comprimised the integrity of a site that I cherish and check on a daily basis and have done for almost a year now. The front end of this site is typically very useful and objective. This last post of Briot's would have been best kept in the forums.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2006, 10:44:58 AM by psyberjock » Logged
aksundevil
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« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2006, 01:32:24 PM »
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Jesus would probably still be a Jew. He was the ultimate established guru challenger. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77267\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Please don't call me a Christian and then act like, because I am, I probably don't know the realities of the life of Jesus. I guarantee you I've spent a great deal more time learning and thinking about his life, agenda, and death than you probably ever will. Obviously the single most influential person in the history of the world did not get that way by following the crowd.

Quote
Now to aksundevil: I'm sorry you find certain words profane. I really feel bad that your idea of language has been poisoned so deeply by your environment. Language, like a camera, is a tool by which we communicate our thoughts and emotions. If I am told to withhold certain thoughts and emotions because they disagree with another, I feel that much more compelled to let them out. Strong language describes strong emotions. There is nothing bad about any word. There is only the social programming that causes you to react in preprogrammed ways. Please, take some language classes while you're at ASU (assuming you're still there). Tell Prof. Adams, Norman Dubie, Prof. Nilsen, and all those other crazy English teachers that I said "Hi." Oh, and take the Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology. Its a real eye opener.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77267\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You think my ideas are the ones being poisoned by my environment? What makes you so sure, since I'm sure you don't claim to live in a vacuum devoid of any contact with influencing factors? I would point out that you are the one using language to try and make other people feel inferior or shamed (you call it personal attacks and admit to feeling bad). Yes, language is a tool by which we communicate our thoughts and emotions...to OTHER PEOPLE. Language/words is absolutely nothing without an audience. Isn't that exactly the reason you decided to post on this topic in the first place; because you felt the article was written in a way that is offensive to you, the audience? You contradict yourself when you tell me that I don't matter as an audience when I read your use of the name "Jesus" as an expression of frustration. The word does tell me that you are clearly put out by the sentiment of the article you just read, but it also tells me that you do not consider the most important person in my life to be worth any reverence.

I've moved on from college, but I did take classes in Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Religion classes that challenged traditional Christian beliefs. By the same claims you use to discard my response as nothing but social programming, I could choose to deflate the importance of your opinions to the point that they're not worth responding to. It seems that you thought your opinions on the article were important for other people to hear in order to increase their perspective, but you think that the ideas I express to you are of no relevance because they are influences controlling me and not my own opinions. I'm sorry, but you cannot have it both ways, and I would suggest taking the path of being more open minded.

-------------
I'm pretty sure that we've long since crossed the line on what is appropriate for this thread/forum section. If anyone would like to continue this part of the conversation, I think it would be best to move it to the Coffee Shop section or personal emails. I'm willing to discuss further if you email me at tkmphoto@gmail.com
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aksundevil
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« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2006, 01:53:48 PM »
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Back to the original topic of how good the essay was (or whether it was good at all), I'd like to say that psyberjock has a very legitimate point about this article. It is a little harsh in some places, and it makes it sound like individuals are doing a photographer a disservice by not understanding them. Some people might feel that it's encouraging us to respond to with contempt to the ones asking the "annoying questions". The more we think and talk about how much we don't like questions/comments about expensive gear, the more likely we are to respond to people making those comments with inappropriate or mean comments of our own. I had a similar feeling when I first read the article, but since I don't know Alain personally, I chose to believe he had uplifting motives for writing the article. It is possible that the article was written without the self-righteous attitude that can be envisioned. Still, I would at least agree that this article walks a fine line, and we should be careful not to let any unintended negative overtones from the article affect the way we treat other people.
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Rob C
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« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2006, 03:45:58 PM »
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Well, on this first point, I think you also missed my point. I was not defending the idea that anyone can take a wonderful picture if they have the right equipment, I was trying to say that humility is the best policy. Just as a plumber does not grandstand about his job, neither should a photographer.

On the second point (ie the P.S.), you got it exactly right. It is very smug. I did catch onto the sarcasm that makes it into a joke, but I feel that it is a joke in very bad taste. It's like grinding the faces of his customers in the dirt for not giving him his due. The joke simply makes it that much worse.
(Now you may be writing with a bit of well concealed sarcasm and if so, I appreciate you bringing up this topic because I would like to expound on this point. If you are not being sarcastic and you really think this way (which wouldn't surprise me after some of the things I've read(though not yours in particular)), thanks anyway. (Hard to tell sometimes with just text. Also, thanks to the guy that pointed out to me that this may be a clever ploy to agree with me.)) <-- sorry for all the nested parentheses it's tough to write a disclaimer for a rant after the rant has been written. Heh heh.

I shouldn't challenge the established gurus? Why not? Are you saying that accountability is a bad thing? Where would we be if people had not challenged the established gurus thousands of times throughout the course of history? The world would most likely be flat, you certainly wouldn't have any camera with which to take pictures (it would probably be satanic witchcraft), and even more interestingly (for all you christians out there (yes I mean you aksundevil)) Jesus would probably still be a Jew. He was the ultimate established guru challenger.

Furthermore, historically art is the medium by which established gurus have been challenged. Look at 80% of the authors in the world whose works have come to be considered literature. Thomas Payne and Jonathan Swift for example. Right now there is even a professor of the University of Arizona who is being held captive in Turkey for writing a FICTIONAL book which challenged the established gurus.

Not only is it ok to challenge the established gurus, you should feel obligated to do so. If you don't, you're concedeing 90% of your rights as an artist and furthering the stagnation of our world culture.

Sorry for getting off on that tangent, I just don't feel this is a valid argument.
Well by this reasoning, I'm certainly worth your respect as I speak English, Japanese, Spanish, and even a conversational amount of Portuguese.

Again, this is a poor argument. Language ability does nothing to justify Briot's article. If you claim that his English is a liability and he wasn't trying to come off that way, look at the sarcasm. It was used quite skillfully and with a purpose. If you try to say that he can get away with it because he's cool because he speaks more than one language, I say get real. Don't be swooned so easily by parlor tricks. Given ample time, anyone can learn a second, third, forth, or however many'th language.

(Please insert previous rant disclaimer here ^ and here v)
Exactly. That's why I dislike his article so much. So much even, that I joined the forums and added a new perspective to the discussion. I'm glad that we agree on this at least.
I knew I couldn't be the only to see the contempt for his customers. Thank you.

---------------

Now to aksundevil: I'm sorry you find certain words profane. I really feel bad that your idea of language has been poisoned so deeply by your environment. Language, like a camera, is a tool by which we communicate our thoughts and emotions. If I am told to withhold certain thoughts and emotions because they disagree with another, I feel that much more compelled to let them out. Strong language describes strong emotions. There is nothing bad about any word. There is only the social programming that causes you to react in preprogrammed ways. Please, take some language classes while you're at ASU (assuming you're still there). Tell Prof. Adams, Norman Dubie, Prof. Nilsen, and all those other crazy English teachers that I said "Hi." Oh, and take the Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology. Its a real eye opener.

---------------

Now, I would like to say that I feel bad about some of the personal attacks that I made. So far, no one has commented on them, but I want to talk about it. I was caught up in the heat of the moment, and I should have toned it down and thought it all out a bit more. Granted, I do think that Briot takes a lot of pictures of the same things, and given his comment on his own article as being "variety" and the "spice of life", I would love to see him apply that to his photographs. I think he could do many more interesting things with his camera than he allows himself. But again, my wording was harsh and I apologize.

What it all boils down to is that I feel this article has comprimised the integrity of a site that I cherish and check on a daily basis and have done for almost a year now. The front end of this site is typically very useful and objective. This last post of Briot's would have been best kept in the forums.
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Cyberjock

Hi - my opening paragraph was, indeed, written in as restrained a form of sarcasm as I was able to summon; my reference to Alain's command of English did NOT have nor was it intended to have, any bearing on either his photographic skills or his treatment/attitude vis a vis clients.

I think that if you apply the same frame of mind (mine) to the rest of my post you will see where my sympathies lie!

My computer keeps dying - this is my second, shortened attempt at a response.

Cheers - Rob C
« Last Edit: September 22, 2006, 03:50:47 PM by Rob C » Logged

psyberjock
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« Reply #51 on: September 22, 2006, 06:29:14 PM »
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Isn't that exactly the reason you decided to post on this topic in the first place; because you felt the article was written in a way that is offensive to you, the audience?
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That's exactly why I decided to post. Then you felt this way and decided to reply to my post. Now I'm doing the same again.

As for the rest of your post, I would love to take the time to reply to all of your proclaimations. Some of them were pretty presumptuous, but you are right that this isn't the thread for that, and you clearly enjoy believing the way you do. Ignorance is bliss.
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Rob C
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« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2006, 04:45:42 AM »
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That's exactly why I decided to post. Then you felt this way and decided to reply to my post. Now I'm doing the same again.

As for the rest of your post, I would love to take the time to reply to all of your proclaimations. Some of them were pretty presumptuous, but you are right that this isn't the thread for that, and you clearly enjoy believing the way you do. Ignorance is bliss.
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Hi folks

It's a funny thing, but almost as soon as one concludes that equipment has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality or otherwise of a photograph, the obvious opposite comes immediately to mind.

Not only do better optics allow superior drawing and colour, but format, too, plays a not insignificant role in how a photograph eventually looks. Take any of the greats in our profession/hobby/art and their choice of format accounts for a great deal of what you see in their work; even a propensity for a particular focal length shows its mark in the work. So, whilst it's nice and comforting to claim that it is all in the eye/hand of the photographer, that is an oversimplification too far, since money and opportunity do indeed control much of what goes on in our little world.

Is this not so?

Ciao - Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2006, 05:33:16 AM »
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Hi folks

It's a funny thing, but almost as soon as one concludes that equipment has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality or otherwise of a photograph, the obvious opposite comes immediately to mind.

Not only do better optics allow superior drawing and colour, but format, too, plays a not insignificant role in how a photograph eventually looks. Take any of the greats in our profession/hobby/art and their choice of format accounts for a great deal of what you see in their work; even a propensity for a particular focal length shows its mark in the work. So, whilst it's nice and comforting to claim that it is all in the eye/hand of the photographer, that is an oversimplification too far, since money and opportunity do indeed control much of what goes on in our little world.

Is this not so?

Ciao - Rob C
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This is indeed so.

Why else do master craftsmen tend to use the finest tools available to them?

There is also the aspect of using 'quality' gear where, simply by knowing that you are using the best tools available, you are able to take your vision even further.  By definition a master craftsmen appreciates the fine subtleties of his craft and therefore to be limited in the execution of the craft by inferior tools is intolerable.

Therefore the best craftsmen tend to use the best tools. The two go hand in hand.

The point of this thread is that the tools themselves do not, and can not, create a master craftsman - but in combination it is a clear case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
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« Reply #54 on: September 24, 2006, 01:14:25 PM »
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This is indeed so.

Why else do master craftsmen tend to use the finest tools available to them?

There is also the aspect of using 'quality' gear where, simply by knowing that you are using the best tools available, you are able to take your vision even further.  By definition a master craftsmen appreciates the fine subtleties of his craft and therefore to be limited in the execution of the craft by inferior tools is intolerable.

Therefore the best craftsmen tend to use the best tools. The two go hand in hand.

The point of this thread is that the tools themselves do not, and can not, create a master craftsman - but in combination it is a clear case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
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Rob C
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« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2006, 01:19:22 PM »
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This is indeed so.

Why else do master craftsmen tend to use the finest tools available to them?

There is also the aspect of using 'quality' gear where, simply by knowing that you are using the best tools available, you are able to take your vision even further.  By definition a master craftsmen appreciates the fine subtleties of his craft and therefore to be limited in the execution of the craft by inferior tools is intolerable.

Therefore the best craftsmen tend to use the best tools. The two go hand in hand.

The point of this thread is that the tools themselves do not, and can not, create a master craftsman - but in combination it is a clear case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
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Hi Nick

Yes, you have encapsulated the position in a sentence and, really, there is little further that the thread can go other than to add that, not only are you able to take your vision further, as you write, you actually FEEL better using the best available tools.

Ciao- Rob C
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pobrien3
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« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2006, 07:50:59 PM »
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If ever I'm pressed on the subject of the equipment being the reason for good photos, I use the analogy of creating music.  You can put the most finely crafted Stradivari violin in the hands of a beginner and you will produce nothing of value.  A master player will make beautiful music with a second-hand battered instrument, but marry the Stradivari with the virtuoso and you get the finest result.

Don't forget the role of craft here.  Tools are used in the craft, mastery of the craft is what permits art to be made.  To stretch our violinist analogy further, the art cannot be produced from the tool until the player has mastered high proficiency and dexterity with the physical components of the creative process.

Now in photography, the craft is different to what it was in the days of our pioneering heroes but not necessarily easier.  I would argue it's more convenient, but still requires skill with the tools.

As you say, Rob, the tool of course makes a difference which is why we buy the expensive choices - if they weren't better, they would fail in the marketplace.  For me, I couldn't produce quality prints from low-light stage performances without the superb low noise of my 1DsII and the great optics of my fast lenses.  I couldn't do that with a point and squirt.
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« Reply #57 on: September 25, 2006, 04:43:11 AM »
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As you say, Rob, the tool of course makes a difference which is why we buy the expensive choices - if they weren't better, they would fail in the marketplace.  For me, I couldn't produce quality prints from low-light stage performances without the superb low noise of my 1DsII and the great optics of my fast lenses.  I couldn't do that with a point and squirt.
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The devil's advocate in me screams: "This is ridiculous!" - what's the point of photography: to capture emotion? or to produce quality prints? If you can't do the former with a P&S, what makes you think that you can do it with a 1-series? Even if you consider yourself a master craftsman.

The whole "master craftsman" thinking is typical for mediocre artists. To stretch the analogy a bit further, remember the entire school of chinese violinists that could play the notes *exactly* on the most expensive strads?

The best performers seem to read the notes ones or twice, then they play the piece... by heart that is.

But that was just the devil's advocate in me, who also says that current thread participants seem somewhat self-absorbed, as in: maybe you all try to combine all disciplines in a single person, but there is no reason a true artist can not hire the expertise and equipment from elsewhere.
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Regards,
Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #58 on: September 25, 2006, 05:59:26 AM »
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The whole "master craftsman" thinking is typical for mediocre artists. To stretch the analogy a bit further, remember the entire school of chinese violinists that could play the notes *exactly* on the most expensive strads?


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Nonsense.

The gist of the previous posts is that the best tools do not make a master craftsman, but, conversely, a master craftsman is able to better make use of superior tools.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #59 on: September 25, 2006, 06:05:13 AM »
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Oscar, I AM a mediocre-to-poor artist (though I'm not sure how you knew, never having seen my work), and NOT a master craftsman - I wasn't talking about me.  I do however take a decent photo from time to time, and the area I do commercially is events photography.  In a theatre lit only with stage lights (not designed for photography) and no permitted flash, most shots are at ISO800-1600 and at wide apertures, with moving subjects.  Largest I need to print (and yes, I DO think that's part of the photographer's craft although as you rightly say you can outsource that bit if you want / can afford to) is the occasional 24x36" poster, but more normally at A3 and A4.  I stand by my comment - I can't do those prints (I did NOT say create the 'art') with a noisy digicam.

Not all photography is for pure 'art' however we choose to define that.  Often it is the recording of an event, a memoir.  Even so, the ability to reproduce it as well as we can (I guess that's craft rather than art) will be limited or enabled by the tools available.  The Director of a recent play wanted an ensemble photo of the cast taking their end-of-show curtain call, which was to be printed up into a poster.  I needed it sharp, a lot of pixels with low noise - I needed my 1DsII and a decent lens.

Thank you, Nick - my point precisely.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 06:06:53 AM by pobrien3 » Logged
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