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Author Topic: Abstraction Advice  (Read 3480 times)
jerrygrasso96
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« on: December 13, 2007, 10:37:45 AM »
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I have read with great interest and thought the Abstraction In The Landscape thread in Discussing Photographic Styles here. As a result I have started a new series called Abstractions Of The Night. Defocused images are not for everyone, but it would help me if someone who is into this could give me some pointers with what I have included so far...

I like a sense of mystery with my images. Along with this, I tried to use color to enhance the mood created by the image. The patterns and shapes are supposed to work together with the image backgrounds to produce the final image impression. The link to my gallery is here....

What do you think??
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jule
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2007, 08:57:01 PM »
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I have read with great interest and thought the Abstraction In The Landscape thread in Discussing Photographic Styles here. As a result I have started a new series called Abstractions Of The Night. Defocused images are not for everyone, but it would help me if someone who is into this could give me some pointers with what I have included so far...

I like a sense of mystery with my images. Along with this, I tried to use color to enhance the mood created by the image. The patterns and shapes are supposed to work together with the image backgrounds to produce the final image impression. The link to my gallery is here....

What do you think??
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=160368\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Thanks Jerry for posting your images for comment.

I have been experimenting with night photographs - more with street lights, and have yet to produce anything which I consider a really strong image.

I don't think your images which are identifiable really work for me; the ones of the ski park, water/bridge, shop front. I personally wouldn't even call these abstract images.

I find the ones where there is only colour and shape a lot more interesting and would classify as abstract. They are - 8089,8087, 8114, 8246. If these were all together on a wall, I think they could work . I have made a sample of how I would arrange these images in pairs, and perhaps even print them really big.

[attachment=4259:attachment]

[attachment=4260:attachment]

Julie
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 10:52:59 PM by jule » Logged

russell a
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 11:01:51 AM »
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Everyone will have a different take.  I think it's a direction worth pursuing.  If you take a couple hundred it may allow you to figure out what works for you and begin to hone in on an aesthetic.  In analyzing the batch you can separate them into hits, misses, and near misses.  The latter, near misses, are what will allow you to clearly set the boundaries of what works and what doesn't.  I find 8256 and 8257 the most interesting.  I agree with julie that these images will work best printed LARGE.  It communicates that, out of focus or not, you mean them.  Proceed.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 11:02:25 AM by russell a » Logged
jerrygrasso96
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 12:35:30 PM »
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Thanks, Russell, for the words of encouragement. I think you are right: I need to try a variety captures to see what will work and what won't. My problem is, I am finding it hard to differentiate between what will work and what won't...

Jule, thank you for taking the time to respond to me also. I have been to your site and I am in awe of your many fine images. Your artistic background certainly comes out in the work you have done. I can learn much from your artistic eye.

Thank you both for being specific about the images YOU like since this gives me a clue as to what seems to work from genuine artists.
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jerrygrasso96
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 12:38:19 PM »
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Below is a rough draft artist statement I am developing for this series. Does anyone have any thoughts about the words I have chosen?

What’s missing?

My favorite toys when I was growing up were clothes pins and empty toilet paper rolls or empty aluminum foil rolls. The clothes pins became my fleet of air planes supporting my toy soldiers. The empty rolls were fashioned into rockets that explored the deepest recesses of Space. I had “men” to the stars before NASA had them on the moon.

I didn’t have the Nintendos or the Game Boys to occupy all those idle young hours. Instead, I was forced to cultivate an active imagination and many colorful dreams.

Today’s kids have been robbed of this priceless treasure. Yes, they are often a lot smarter and pick things up faster than perhaps I did or even still do. And these kids have become the next generation emerging in charge of our perilous present. Their plans are very clever and often well-conceived.

But today, many more people lack a sense of soul which is nurtured by a crucial missing ingredient: imagination!

Without imagination, things are built methodically. We often live in a sterilized environment: the perfectly built house with the perfect color choice and the perfect décor. Today kindergarteners begin to learn the basics of reading and math, but what about the joy of finger painting?

In photography, the debate rages on between the perfect picture and whether or not it has been manipulated. The average person seems only interested in the perfect pretty picture, that true representation of what they saw or where they have been.

My current mission is to try to encourage people to use their imagination, to reconnect with their child-like sense of wonderment by asking questions. And maybe these are questions which cannot be answered. But that is alright, since my goal is to get you to begin to ask those questions once again, rather than merely allowing your eyes to record what has so precisely been recorded and validated…
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russell a
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 01:20:12 PM »
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Jerry:  The only utility of an artist's statement is if it provides someone who plans to market your work with input into a sales pitch.  In the practice of criticism there is a tenet know as the intentional fallacy or intentionalist fallacy which, put simply and bluntly, translates to the fact that artists may not be the best judge of what they intend by their work. Some would say that the artist is the last person one wants to ask.  Your statement has the important feature that it doesn't interfere with the viewer's experience.  The equation is not, in my view, that the artist communicates to the viewer through the work, but rather the artist communicates by creating the work, the viewer communicates with the work and any relationship between the resulting two "narratives" is purely coincidental, except perhaps in the case of identical twins raised together (some research is indicated.) If artist's statements are mandatory, they are best fashioned to be obscure, devotedly poetic in nature, or obviously designed to mislead.

On the other hand it can be a useful tool for you as you develop your approach to this body of work.
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jerrygrasso96
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 01:58:50 PM »
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Russell,
Thanks again for responding...I'm not sure I understand your stand on Artist Statements, but, as you say, one of my intensions IS to develop an "approach to this body of work" and help guide my vision themeatically, helping me to stay on topic and to resist making this a series of unrelated images that are grouped under some other prefabricated pretense. This is clearly a difficult task, and one that a fellow photographer friend likes to call the "BS syndrome" of statements and photographic goals...

I think that in order to show a body of work, there must be some sort of a unifying theme, isn't there?
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russell a
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 02:28:46 PM »
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I think that in order to show a body of work, there must be some sort of a unifying theme, isn't there?
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There are two senses of a "body or work".  One would be sense of a photographer's work over several years of his/her career.  The other is the sense that a given exhibition or monograph should present a unified theme of some sort (subject, treatment, point of view, etc.).  The latter is arguably an artificial requirement of the marketplace that museums, critics, and art historians have constructed.  The conventional wisdom is that narrowness = seriousness.  Even better when it can be demonstrated that obsessiveness = seriousness.  A room full of great photos is not sufficient.  What the art community (of whom the artist is the least important component - just follow the money if you doubt this) wants are nice clean narratives, simple sales pitches, cogent theories.  The artist interested in traction in the marketplace or posterity is well advised to pay attention to this demand.  

Now, from a personal growth/pursuit standpoint the extended solving of a particular limited set of problems is a great process.  Just be aware that, a series that also results in a room full of great photos may take time.  I am most respectful of a body of work that has taken 20 years to assemble.  I am less so of, what one sees frequently, one that took two or three weekends.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 01:41:51 AM by russell a » Logged
jule
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 04:42:41 PM »
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Below is a rough draft artist statement I am developing for this series. Does anyone have any thoughts about the words I have chosen?

What’s missing?


Today’s kids have been robbed of this priceless treasure.

But today, many more people lack a sense of soul which is nurtured by a crucial missing ingredient: imagination!

Without imagination, things are built methodically. We often live in a sterilized environment: the perfectly built house with the perfect color choice and the perfect décor. Today kindergarteners begin to learn the basics of reading and math, but what about the joy of finger painting?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=160875\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jerry, personally, I would be very careful making generalised statements such as the ones I have quoted from you above. The wording tends to portray you as some sort of higher authority making moral judgments  about all 'today's kids' and society....which is I'm sure not your intention.

When you refer to 'Today's kids', you must remember that your work and expression is seen all across the globe, and your generalisation may not apply worldwide. To strengthen your credibility of your observation and experience, it is necessary to narrow and quantify your observation by referencing to the community upon which you make your inference.

Stating that 'many more people lack a sense of soul which is nurtured by a crucial missing ingredient; imagination' are very strong words, and could be read as 'many more people lack a sense of soul', which is an extremely judgmental statement and will leave you open to criticism for arrogance.

"but what about the joy of finger painting?'...well we here still do finger painting and as an ex-teacher, imaginative and creative play is a very important part of early childhood curriculum in the Queensland education system, so for me... your generalised statement is not true and therefore weakens the premise for your work. If however you had narrowed it down to an observation of a particular community that you had been observing or researching, your premise would retain its' strength.

As an artist myself, I have given a great deal of consideration to the purpose of my art...and why I do it. I have been in the place where I have thought that I could somehow 'right the wrongs' of the world through my art, and try to 'encourage people to use their imagination', but I have been gently guided - and come to realise that it is not my place to judge what it is that another person needs. I now offer my experience and observations.... and leave to the viewer what is necessary for them to learn or experience from my work.

Therefore... my mission is not to get people to do anything...just to offer.

Just some thoughts anyway, which may help with the creation of your artist statement and philosophy for your practice.

Julie
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 07:42:34 PM by jule » Logged

jerrygrasso96
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 10:29:24 PM »
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Jule, You are exactly right and it is not my intention to pass judgement or point fingers at all. An I apologize if I sound that way...

My only purpose is to point out that there is a need to explore the joys of imagination.
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jule
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 02:21:38 AM »
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Jule, You are exactly right and it is not my intention to pass judgement or point fingers at all. An I apologize if I sound that way...

My only purpose is to point out that there is a need to explore the joys of imagination.
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Jerry, no need to apologise to me at all.

When you say that your "only purpose is to point out that there is a need to explore the joys of imagination.", are you referring to the purpose of your artist statement?

Julie
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 04:37:27 AM by jule » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 05:21:49 AM »
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For what it´s worth, I have to admit to a total dislike of the so-called Artist´s Statement. I find that it practically always comes over as very pretentious indeed; that it takes away any sense of modesty (a somewhat pleasant characteristic in small doses); that it raises my hackles immediately.

That galleristas need to create such a monster is obvious: how else will they have something to sell beyond the image, which is hanging up there on the wall; heaven forbid that the would-be purchaser might be permitted to make up his own mind about visible value! On the other hand, when no such value exists, then hype becomes the marketing salvation, the exchange of one embarrassment for another via the fingering of some pieces of silver.

Naked Emperors seem to be everywhere these days.

Rob C
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jerrygrasso96
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 08:21:28 AM »
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Thanks, Jule, again for your support. And yes, I am referring to my artist statement...

Rob, you are correct. The Artist Statement does come across as pretentious and often "bigger than life".  I have examined many statements from many artists on many websites/gallery opennings and everyone seems to take a different approach in trying to address the contents of what it is that they are trying to accomplish.
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