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Author Topic: Abstract Photography  (Read 34465 times)
Mike_Kelly
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2009, 10:50:44 PM »
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Ken,

I have wrestled with a conflict I have with modern gallery owners and  jurors. Your comments illustrate my problem clearly. The conflict is between the content creators and photographers. I am a photographer and observer of the world. I don't create content and I am not interested in being "liberated" to do so. Like Nat, I find the abstracts in the world around me beautiful and interesting. The subjects are endless and I am never bored. I celebrate the beauty in the world around me.

I am a little tired of, as Dave Barry calls them, the "Serious Art People" being obsessed with the nouveau. I really have nothing against self expression and if you have something to say and you want to do it with a can of paint and a sewing machine and tape and cardboard fine. If you want to take a photograph of it afterwards to remember it that is fine also. But that IMHO is not photography. Photography is the art of seeing.

The juried photographic world seems to be dominated and controlled by those who think art is only done by content creators. Somebody point out to me the shows that are open only to photographers? The comparison is between apples and oranges and you cannot judge a group of submissions by criteria that is suitable for content creators and photographers both. A recent well known installation artist judging a local show admitted that he did not always photograph his installations himself. Sometimes he hired a photographer. Another from Aperture Magazine commented that she was glad the submissions were, for the most part, "beyond landscapes."

By the way, I am not a writer either and the work I select to show must stand alone because it is visual art not something requiring a small book to explain. If I had to provide a narrative for my work I would consider it an abject failure.

I am insulted by your suggestion that for my work to have value and for me to be other than a technician I must create content. I am proud to struggle to become a better craftsman in the art of photography, an activity rich with a tradition of technicians like Ansel Adams.

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Theresa
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2010, 12:41:12 PM »
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I too am inspired to photograph by other's writings.  I think the opposite is true about your assertion that there is no such thing as photographic art.  There has been and still an evolution of photography into art.  In the early 1900s pictorialism was the dominant school of photography.  They sacrificed photography's unique ability to portray the atmosphere and presence of reality in order to emulate painting in a superficial way.  Glamour and fashion photography does this today with heavily photoshoped models who are unnaturally made up with heavy makeup and is closer to pornography than anything else.  This is still one of the most profitable types of photography.  But there are also artists who use the characteristics natural to photography to make art.  There are also those who "paint with photography," but I believe they are more painters than photographers.  One elderly photographer I knew in the early '70s who was also legally blind used karo syrup sandwiched between glass that was then exposed unto photo sensitive paper to make abstract pictures.  While unique and creative I never considered his work photography.  Some use a neo-documentary photography while others use the natural landscape or found objects to evoke or equivalency as their technique for art.  But lets be honest and admit that most photography is simply of family and friends and its intention is to do nothing but document their children's development and their pets "cuteness."  I have taken hundreds of such pictures but I would never consider it art.  Technique, despite the availability of tools such as Photoshop, has become a minor consideration, with extremely poor quality sensors in cell phones and point and shoot cameras becoming the greatest source of photographs.  Horizons are not even corrected because no one cares.  There are a multitude of uses for photography, some of which is art, some is just thoughtless snapshots and some is just a professional trade.  Some aspire to and achieve art in their photography, most couldn't care less.  When I go to the art building at the Minnesota State Fair I spend hours appreciating the photography that is on display.  It is something to aspire to that incorporates technique but isn't limited by it.
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stamper
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2010, 04:45:33 AM »
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I have read through this thread hoping to get some "inspiration" and understanding of the meaning of art in photography. For several months I have been pursuing this and have even went as far as buying books from George Barr to Alain Briot. I am awaiting a book in the post by Freeman Patterson. To be honest I ended up depressed rather than inspired reading the posts. I get the distinct impression that some posters are seeing things that aren't there or searching for things that aren't there? I was a member of a camera club for several years and one thing that was conveyed to me was that at the beginning people take images of what surrounds them and after doing so go on to specialise on something that is more focused. No pun intended. That is good advice. The problem is that there are some - won't mention names - posters on here who seem to go to extreme lengths to get images that  - imo - are not worth the bother because they aren't photographs but some kind of graphic art, such as the first "image" on this thread. There has to be some boundary where photography ends and art work and graphics start. I fear that some have strayed over the boundary because they have became bored with everyday shooting and they don't realise it. I think that Rob C had the best comments in the thread in regards to the original post. In a nutshell overcomplicating what is essentially a good hobby for a lot of people?
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John R
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2010, 07:05:39 PM »
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Quote from: stamper
I have read through this thread hoping to get some "inspiration" and understanding of the meaning of art in photography. For several months I have been pursuing this and have even went as far as buying books from George Barr to Alain Briot. I am awaiting a book in the post by Freeman Patterson. To be honest I ended up depressed rather than inspired reading the posts. I get the distinct impression that some posters are seeing things that aren't there or searching for things that aren't there? I was a member of a camera club for several years and one thing that was conveyed to me was that at the beginning people take images of what surrounds them and after doing so go on to specialise on something that is more focused. No pun intended. That is good advice. The problem is that there are some - won't mention names - posters on here who seem to go to extreme lengths to get images that  - imo - are not worth the bother because they aren't photographs but some kind of graphic art, such as the first "image" on this thread. There has to be some boundary where photography ends and art work and graphics start. I fear that some have strayed over the boundary because they have became bored with everyday shooting and they don't realise it. I think that Rob C had the best comments in the thread in regards to the original post. In a nutshell overcomplicating what is essentially a good hobby for a lot of people?
Which Freeman Patterson book did you order? Although he has one strictly about impressionistic and creative images, the book I would recommend by him is, "Photography and the art of seeing." In the meantime, I suggest that you have a peak at this site http://www.stephenpatterson.com/ to see some outstanding abstract and creative work. All of it was done before digital photography using slides, but there may be one or two new digital images. As to what is abstract, what does it matter, it all non-representational, and should in some way relate to people or no one will look at it.

JMR
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stamper
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2010, 03:43:16 AM »
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Quote from: John R
Which Freeman Patterson book did you order? Although he has one strictly about impressionistic and creative images, the book I would recommend by him is, "Photography and the art of seeing." In the meantime, I suggest that you have a peak at this site http://www.stephenpatterson.com/ to see some outstanding abstract and creative work. All of it was done before digital photography using slides, but there may be one or two new digital images. As to what is abstract, what does it matter, it all non-representational, and should in some way relate to people or no one will look at it.

JMR

That was the one thanks . I will also look at the site that you suggested. It is frustrating sometimes to see an image on here that some posters think is great and you don't "see" what they are seeing? You then begin to wonder if you are lacking in imagination and ability or is it they don't really "see" anything and are merely praising it for the sake of it? I know that this sounds paranoid but there are a handful of posters who seem to post the same replies to every image they comment on, as if it is a mutual backslapping club? I will obviously try and improve my vision of images and then I can "see" what they are "seeing".
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John R
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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2010, 06:15:43 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
That was the one thanks . I will also look at the site that you suggested. It is frustrating sometimes to see an image on here that some posters think is great and you don't "see" what they are seeing? You then begin to wonder if you are lacking in imagination and ability or is it they don't really "see" anything and are merely praising it for the sake of it? I know that this sounds paranoid but there are a handful of posters who seem to post the same replies to every image they comment on, as if it is a mutual backslapping club? I will obviously try and improve my vision of images and then I can "see" what they are "seeing".
I too belonged to a camera club in the slide film days. I won many awards, and I can tell you when it comes to anything "abstract" or non-representational subjects, many judges simply did not like the images unless it struck a chord with them in some way. I don't think this will change. Anything that is not obvious, must in some way strike a chord with people, either through its colours, shapes, forms, lines, play of light and shadow, whatever, it has to appeal psychologically to the viewer, or it will be rejected or ignored as junk. However, whether abstract or not, a good image still has to have the basic components of good visual design, and hopefully that is what you will learn from his books.

JMR
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 08:30:13 PM by John R » Logged
erick.boileau
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« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2010, 06:58:03 AM »
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Nat I like abstract painting or photography, and your photo works for me

« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 08:40:18 AM by erick.boileau » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2010, 11:14:46 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
It is frustrating sometimes to see an image on here that some posters think is great and you don't "see" what they are seeing? You then begin to wonder if you are lacking in imagination and ability or is it they don't really "see" anything and are merely praising it for the sake of it?
Ever consider that people simply have different tastes?
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Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless.   Futt Futt Futt Photography
braeburnboy
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2010, 08:00:56 PM »
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Quote from: Nat Coalson
Time will tell if my approach is "valid" but I'd be very interested to hear your viewpoints.


Nat

I have a great idea

get a good Macro lens - it will not only give you a new 2-D perspective on 3-D objects, it will also show you beautiful forms and colors hidden in simple ordinary objects which are right in front of you now
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Braeburnboy
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