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Author Topic: Sunday Morning discussion  (Read 5055 times)
AWeil
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« on: October 28, 2002, 02:31:51 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Well, this is just what I would reply to that too. 'Taking' a picture is always interpretation. Every single person will 'see' something different and that is quite allright. Because otherwise, all those photos would be extremley boring - to me this variation of individual truth is what makes imagery and people so exiting. In all art, be it photo, painting, drawing or sculpture - its the personal point of view that will make the interpretation worth it - the stronger the better. It all depends on the purpose of the image, on what the author wants to express. In this spirit - let's crop!
A.Weil[/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2002, 06:40:55 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I don't think Mike was being literal. He was just expressing how cropping for him can feel "less true" at times than "uglier" shots. It's a good lesson to keep in mind, and a nice counterpoint to his previous article on editing. In one's fervor to cull slides, it's good to keep in mind that you shouldn't automatically edit out your "uglier" shots -- they have the possibility of beauty in their imperfections.[/font]
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Mark Ward
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2002, 06:34:06 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I'd just sent an email mentioning how pleased I was to have found that I'm developing a personal 'style', when I read Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column 'Impressions of the ... past'. As usual, very interesting.

I've been taking photos for a couple of years now and by editing I've recently realised that I like certain kinds of shots. It's been a way for me to find out about myself, and I've been thankful for that. I was thinking of this (choice of subject matter) as a 'style', but maybe style is more about introducing some commonality into whatever you photograph?

I'm just starting to think about the point I think Mike made of using photography's unique strengths (e.g. recording something close to reality), and how that let's it serve a different but equally important purpose from e.g. painting.

Finally if this isn't too rambly, I think some photos tell us about how we would like the world to be (at least if we reflect on how we respond to them), and some photos tell us about how the world really is. (And some sell cars, etc.)[/font]
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BDH
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2002, 11:07:00 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Regarding Mike's question about either "showing something in a way that is beautiful but false, or ugly but honest", it all depends on what your purpose for the photo is, of course.  If it's for art that pleases people - photo books, calenders, decorative photos, or for your own enjoyment, then you typically make the most beautiful photo you can, regardless of the 'truth' of the actual scene.  If the photo is for documentary purposes or a more 'realistic' art feel, then you usually include the non-beautiful and non-idealistic elements, but still try to get a pleasing photo.  (If you're getting photo's that you nor anybody else likes to look at, I'd recommend a different hobby.)

As far as his assertion that zooming and cropping is a 'trick' or that it's untruthful, is ridiculous.  Everyone zooms or crops, unless they always shoot with a super-wide angle lens.  How is showing the buildings and either side of the barn more truthful?  Because it's not on the lone prairie?  That's just one interpretation a viewer might have gotten.  Maybe one viewer thought it was a barn in the horse pasture next to someones' house, because they have one similar by theirs.  Maybe one thought it was a scene from a movie set.  Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation.  How is showing the adjoining buildings more truthful compared to shooting the picture with a super-wide from a mountain top so you can see truth of where the town is located, and then a satilite photo of where the whole region is located.  Each photo lets the viewer see a different perspective, but none is any more or less truthful than another any more than taking a shot inside the barn doesn't tell you anything about what's outside of it.


BDH[/font]
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Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2002, 06:55:13 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']"showing something in a way that is beautiful but false, or ugly but honest". I guesss I qualify for the former: see www.modernpictorials.com. A lot of my shots are in the fog; points of view and in camera cropping are to hide the "ugly". I porefer the "beautiful", and apparently those that purchase my work do also.
Regards...carpe diem!
Dave[/font]
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2002, 01:34:54 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hmmm....

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
  Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

I was never comfortable with this couplet in high school; now at twice the age Keats died at I know why. On photo(sig) a few weeks back someone posted a landscape with an eerily beautiful sunset cloud formation over it. In the caption he explained that the "cloud" was actually massive billows of smoke from a forest fire. Mother Nature once again had roasted thousands of Bambis and Thumpers alive to stage one of Her grand spectacles. When you think about it, all life could be viewed as a veneer of beauty masking a core of toil, suffering, and death. A heart of darkness. ;)

In my own art I concentrate solely and knowingly on the veneer and ignore the darkness. Beauty makes me happy and I prefer happiness; truth makes me sad and I shun sadness. Thus I polish the outside of my cup and ignore the scum within. Others, being unable to ignore the scum, have a truth-focused aesthetic to which they are welcome.

That said, beauty is not the same thing as Hallmark cuteness or a Thomas Kinkade fantasy or a Victorian Just-So story. Beauty can be organic, messy, and vital. The example photo (oops I almost said "image"!) Mike used to illustrate his zoom/crop rant worked for me. Looked at in the abstract the diagonal wire and fluff of leaves on the right are simply design elements that add energy and rhythm to the composition.

One day someone with the impeccable credentials of an Ansel Adams will start doing the same thing, then all the wannabees will suddenly start telling each other how expressive it is and imitate. If I'm alive at the time I'll take every opportunity to point out that Mike Johnston was there first![/font]
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