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Author Topic: Pondering woman  (Read 9650 times)
Andres Bonilla
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« on: October 26, 2007, 02:03:21 PM »
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I saw this lady on a side street of Bogota and I thought she would make a nice painting out of my photograph. What do you think?
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blansky
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2007, 12:05:13 PM »
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Not to be negative but it doesn't do much for me. As for the pondering part, on first impression, to me, it looks like a grandmother sitting watching her grandson/granddaughter playing baseball/soccer etc.

As for making paintings out of photographs, I've rarely seen any that impress me. They just look like pictures photoshopped to hell.

In all, not a very strong image, in my humble opinion.

I'm sure others may like it though.


Michael
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2007, 09:57:06 PM »
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Michael

Michael your opinion is well taken but it leaves me with the impression that this is definitively NOT the type of work you like. The basis of your critique starts with a disdain for digital paintings than in your view are nothing more than Photoshop gimmicks. The lady was a humble street vendor but  I guess that did not come thru in the piece. I guess she could be viewed as a soccer grandma?
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2007, 03:30:14 PM »
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Andres -

Forgive me if I misunderstood what you wrote, but I get the impression that you are not at all happy about Michaelīs lack of liking for your picture. Well, if you insist in posting on a photgraphic site, then you have to be able to accept the views that others have.

For my part, I have no respect for that sort of photographic oeuvre either - it is neither hare nor hound. It took me ages to get into a frame of mind where I could think of digital photography without a metaphorical sneer coming unbid to my lip. It started with picture libraries, where images appeared of people windsurfing over huge waterfalls, something which is so obviously impossible that it offends me in some way I canīt quite figure out. Visual lying, perhaps.

Now, thatīs not to say I donīt respect very clever use of digital work in movies etc. (Matrix?). But for still pics - not really. Even cosmetic and fashion photography seems to have gone that one degree beyond the very fine line between convincing and just becoming a joke. Of course the world of fashion is illusion; the trick, though, is surely that the viewer/potential purchaser should not feel too patronised.

Your pic doesnīt fall into that category, of course, but where would you yourself think it fits? Itīs very easy to knock pigeonholes, but life tends to be more free of stress that way!

Notwithstanding my own aversion to early digital, I have embraced it these last few years as a huge step forward. Perhaps it does, to some extent, put photography into the hands of the masses with predictable consequences, but then, so did the Box Brownie, something which did not stop stars from being born - I almost said created, but that could be a touch cruel. However, I might be pigeonholed myself as a traditionalist, but I think digital offers more than enough scope for honest work which does, at the end of the day, have an identity as a photographic work.

So, no, not my cup of tea at all, but thatīs just my mind and the world is full of many others!

Ciao - Rob C
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dandeliondigital
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2007, 04:24:10 PM »
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I saw this lady on a side street of Bogota and I thought she would make a nice painting out of my photograph. What do you think?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148879\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Andres,
Very interesting use of textures.

I think the flesh tones of the face are too much like the background in color (too similarly colored), (the color in the hands are more like it), so I'd play around with the design by trying different variations in the skin tones. Think subtle, but you will find something that works better.

She is floating. You need to ground her. There isn't anything to anchor her (except a very subtle background graduation of tone that doesn't do it. She needs at least a bit of shadow on the ground. That would also make her look more three dimensional. Patterns tend to have the effect of flattening out 3D sculptural forms which I think is happening also. It's hard to tell what is going on with her feet, imo.

Also the strong use of the outline as graphic enhancement is very much out of advertising, and it has an effect on the tone (as in gimmicky versus inspired). Personally I'd reduce the contrast of it.

IMHO, as far as real (old time film) photography or digital, or photoshop manipulations. It's the same as it ever was. Namely, you cannot expect to please everyone. Sometimes pleasing yourself alone is the ticket (as in let's say Vincent Van Gogh).

I hope these comments help you tweak your original vision.

So long for now, TOM
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russell a
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2007, 04:33:53 PM »
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Michael

The lady was a humble street vendor but  I guess that did not come thru in the piece. I guess she could be viewed as a soccer grandma?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149113\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Andres:  First of all, your expectation that your back-story/narrative will be the same for a given viewer is unrealistic  

As far as Photoshop "paintings" go, there is a general misunderstanding among those who may neither have actually painted nor trained in art as to the level of decision making that is required to be successful.  Dialing in Photoshop filters, etc. yields a lot of automatic effects and artifacts that are not intentionally executed by the maker.  If these are left in the "finished" work, it seriously dilutes the expectation that the whole work and its complex inter-relationships has been consciously executed.  However, given the various publics, you can probably sell this work at the average crafts fair.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2007, 01:02:05 PM »
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I would like to thank you for taking the time to express your opinion about my post. You have dissected what I have been observing for a while in the photographic community. That is the metaphorical sneer about different approaches to what some consider a pristine art form. I encountered this frame of mind recently at an art gallery in Palm Springs. The artist was  a good landscape photographer but he had in his bio that his work was only God's light, no darkroom gimmicks and then he wrote in capital letters " Do not insult my intelligence asking me if this are digital photos !! " To him Photoshop was the antichrist and it was a tool to help mediocre photographers. I beg to differ since I had the opportunity to see Amsel Adams photographs at LACMA in L.A and they had the before and after  originals. That is the photo straight out of the camera and the ones he worked on his darkroom. Two very different photos, yet at the little museum in Yosemite one critic once said the Adams was not a honest photographer and that his work was a visual lie.
Sounds familiar? Which brings me to your comment about Michael post, no Robert I have been posting photos and artwork in the net for a while and I know that some photos succeed while some others do not. You get the Good ( DandelionDigital) the bad ( Michael ) and the ugly ( Russell ) . My only comment about Michael's post was that he did not care for this type of approach period. I felt that this type of point of view hindered his objective perception of the image. I know that this a primordially a landscape forum but I was expecting more visual critique than- this type of work is dishonest, undefined and generally trash

Nevertheless I have enjoyed your post since it has pinpoint the attitudes to this type of work from some people. I appreciate your honesty as I respect Michael's.

Andres
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2007, 01:04:05 PM »
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Sorry the previous post was for Robert
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2007, 01:20:03 PM »
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Sorry the previous post was for Robert
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Yes, but it reminded me of the comment Edward Weston once made to the effect that he would print on a doormat if it gave him the effect he wanted.

I haven't commented on your portrait before this because I haven't been able to clarify my own reactions yet. I do find it intriguing, but something doesn't feel completely "right" to me yet. Is it the background color? Perhaps partly. Is it the sense of "floating"? Maybe, be that may also be a strength.

To me it "works" in the sense that I keep coming back to it, trying to figure out just how to "read" it. The fact that I don't want to dismiss it out of hand says that it has its own kind of strength.

Do keep trying.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2007, 02:45:48 PM »
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Iīve mainly resisted replying to posts where comment is actually requested; perhaps I should have stayed in that mode. But anyway, genie is out of bottle, so letīs go.

First, I donīt think that somebody saying they donīt like something should be taken so seriously; secondly, why should anyone be expected to react with greater enthusiasm and offer comment other than that which they feel? Personally, the shot you posted IS representative of something for which I feel a great emptiness - not of longing, just of nothing. There is no other "visual" form of criticism I can offer you - I just donīt enjoy that sort of thing. I do believe it might have use as a form of caricature - something for newspaper cartoonists to experiment with, perhaps - as art it leaves me disinterested.

This is called the LuLa right enough, but I certainly have no great interest in landscape photography. I dial into this site because I enjoy some of the posters a great deal; I think there is a great amount of tech information available here which, to somebody living in the middle of the Med is not that easily accessed in other, direct and personal ways; best of all, nobody is really trying to sell me anything, neither product not attitude. Thatīs rare and I like it.

My personal love and past pro experience is/was all about fashion and calendar photography and design. So really, whether or not this is LuLa does not impinge, as a factor, upon the sort of criticism offered when so requested. I donīt think that my professional life would have suited me to the salon type of photographic establishment either, so youīre a little adrift there if equating my mindset with some archetypal club-circuit ethic.

Sorry if you expected praise, but where I donīt see call for it I remain free of duplicity.

Ciao - Rob C
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kikashi
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2007, 06:00:37 PM »
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I felt that this type of point of view hindered his objective perception of the image.
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There's no such thing as an "objective perception"!

We can talk about maximum resolution, sharpness, colour fidelity: those are (or can be) objective. But perception isn't - it's about impression, emotion, the subjective response to an image.

Criticism of the image can then be detailed and sympathetic, or it can be dismissive. Some forms are more helpful to the proposer than others, and maybe (only maybe) an out-of-hand aversion to a particular form isn't worth expressing when comments are sought.

For my part, I found speculating about the technique used to produce it more interesting than the final image. As one of my old teachers used to say, "the feasibility of an operation is no indication for its performance".

Jeremy
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jule
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2007, 07:46:56 PM »
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Andres, I can't quite put my finger on why - but this image doesn't do anything for me. I really liked your previous processing of "Giggles" but this one just leaves me with a ho-hum feeling. I agree with other comments about her being suspended in space - something just doesn't feel quite right. I think the dark line around her is also too strong.
Julie
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2007, 10:13:03 PM »
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Hello Tom! Yes, I think the floating aspect of the picture has bothered a few photographers, they all seem to focus on that aspect and also on the fact that the outline of the lady is too strong, too comic book to go with the rest of the natural media look. Actually the outline has a pastel texture to it but the jpg compression reduced it to a strong black line. Obviously people comment on what they see and perhaps I should have tweaked the web version a bit. I thought of a shadow but I was not sure how it would play with no floor.

I really appreciate your input which is the type of feedback I was expecting. You pointed out several things that did not work with this post and I am using that for this piece and future ones.

Thanks,

Andres
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2007, 10:25:37 PM »
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Eric thanks for your comment, yes this is perhaps the most ambiguous, unclear post I have ever done. Some people like it a lot ( Digital painting forums of course ) others are intrigued by it and others downright hate it! Even at the painters forums I got the same feeling from them, too much similarity in the  tonality and the floating aspect of the lady.

I had the same "missing" feeling about the work, which is why I posted it here, there are lots of great photographers or at least very visual people that I hoped would help me pinpoint some of the weaknesses of the piece.I did not mentioned since I wanted a fresh output from the viewers.

Thank you very much again,

Andres
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2007, 10:56:18 PM »
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Jeremy
Hola Jeremy! Yes, we all have some type of prejudice toward things one way of another; specially in art where the first reaction is usually visceral. But as photographers or designers or visual people sometimes an open mind is not all that bad. In my work I had the opportunity to meet a very influential film critic, his out of hand aversion was fantasy or science fiction films. His thing was Truffaut, Vittorio de Sica etc. He said to me that from the first frame he knew he was going to hate Pan's Labyrinth, he could not believed that with the all the human richness the civil Spanish war has to offer, the director has opted for a darn fantasy fable!!! I could not point out to him the cinematography, the art design or nothing because the man just simply hated that type of film.

So maybe not objective perception but perhaps less rigid or speculative as my honesty as a photographer-painter.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2007, 11:00:27 PM »
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Andres, I can't quite put my finger on why - but this image doesn't do anything for me. I really liked your previous processing of "Giggles" but this one just leaves me with a ho-hum feeling. I agree with other comments about her being suspended in space - something just doesn't feel quite right. I think the dark line around her is also too strong.
Julie
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Thanks Jule, this one seems to have that I don't know feeling; this is why I post images on different forums, you get a average of what works and what does not. You got to filter some of the posts but in general it is very helpful.

Thanks so much.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2007, 11:17:41 PM »
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Russell two things: One,  90% of the work was done in Painter out of a photograph with a Wacom Tablet, no dialing automatic effects or canned actions from the Net. Right or wrong what I posted is what I intended. It may not work for you but you are wrong in your speculation of how this piece came about. Second, I wish my artwork could be shown at and Art Fair like Pageant of the Masters or Sawdust, in fact I bought a beautiful mask at an " average crafts fair " from  a French artist and after visiting his website I found out that his mask are also  own by Harry Belafonte, Harvey Keitel and many others including the curator of a modern art gallery. I guess the assumption that only "untrained" average artists go there is also a little bit off field.
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russell a
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2007, 04:58:48 PM »
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Russell two things: One,  90% of the work was done in Painter out of a photograph with a Wacom Tablet, no dialing automatic effects or canned actions from the Net. Right or wrong what I posted is what I intended. It may not work for you but you are wrong in your speculation of how this piece came about. Second, I wish my artwork could be shown at and Art Fair like Pageant of the Masters or Sawdust, in fact I bought a beautiful mask at an " average crafts fair " from  a French artist and after visiting his website I found out that his mask are also  own by Harry Belafonte, Harvey Keitel and many others including the curator of a modern art gallery. I guess the assumption that only "untrained" average artists go there is also a little bit off field.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149490\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Fair enough on your methods and my comment regarding art fairs was unnecessarily snide.  I wouldn't have made some of your choices, such as the strongly continuous "buzzy" line around the figure's jacket, hat, and head, which I took then to be a selection/isolation artifact.  

One thing I am wondering.  It's often problematic when printing simulated texture such that appears in the background of your image, in that the actual flatness of inkjet rendering can introduce a false note. Some color/paper combinations seem more successful when presented with this situation than others. How do you handle this in your printing, or do you see it as a problem?  Russ
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2007, 01:12:02 PM »
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Hi Russ, yes the actual printing is usually a challenge, I can only print 13x19 inches, I have had good results with canvas because it allows me to go back and highlight with real paints the print. I got a couple of labs in L.A where they advise me to the different types of watercolor paper. When inkjet printing was done mainly with IRIS printers it was more complicated for me. Now lots of people use the big format Epson printers and is easier to predict the outcome. Several well known artist do inkjet prints or Giglees ( The fancier term ) and then they use "enhancements" or " Highlighting" where they go back and use real oils to give texture to their work. The real successful ones use other artists to do this. I have been told that if the giglee is retouched by the artist himself it costs more money. The late Earl Wind used serigraph and his galleries still do only that process, or so I was told in Carmel. James Coleman used Cibachrome but I think he is finally using giglees.

Andres
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2007, 03:43:17 PM »
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Hi Russ, yes the actual printing is usually a challenge, I can only print 13x19 inches, I have had good results with canvas because it allows me to go back and highlight with real paints the print. I got a couple of labs in L.A where they advise me to the different types of watercolor paper. When inkjet printing was done mainly with IRIS printers it was more complicated for me. Now lots of people use the big format Epson printers and is easier to predict the outcome. Several well known artist do inkjet prints or Giglees ( The fancier term ) and then they use "enhancements" or " Highlighting" where they go back and use real oils to give texture to their work. The real successful ones use other artists to do this. I have been told that if the giglee is retouched by the artist himself it costs more money. The late Earl Wind used serigraph and his galleries still do only that process, or so I was told in Carmel. James Coleman used Cibachrome but I think he is finally using giglees.

Andres
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=149840\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Andres -   Giclée is nothing more than a fancy bit of French terminology for spray; it applies to all inkjet printers. It is also now somewhat outmoded as an art-enhancing description used in the recent past by galleristas to add value to a common or garden, non-silver, machine-printed picture.

Your scepticism of the art world - if I read you correctly - is possibly the healthiest attitude to have!

Ciao - Rob C
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