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Author Topic: Figure Work  (Read 76065 times)
Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2008, 12:19:25 PM »
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This started out as a very interesting discussion and has quickly deteriorated.  Let's get back on track eh!

The reason that quotes like "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" have been around so long and are well known is because they're true.  Beauty is not some Hollywood standard but means something different to everyone.  As a portrait photographer, ie. not models, it is my job to bring out the beauty and/or character in every subject that crosses my camera.  Do I succeed every time?  Probably not.  But...

Quite a few years ago, I 'took' a photograph of a friendly old man in Nova Scotia along with his two oxen.  A friend of mine and I found them in the front yard of this humble country home on a backroad off a backroad.  He came out to offer his help and bring the oxen closer for us to photograph them.  You could see the pride in his face of his 'babies'.  He crouched out of the way as to not be included in the photo, but I had my wide-angles lens on and captured him kneeling before these huge beasts, looking up at them.

A few weeks later, after having the film processed (remember, this was quite a few years ago), I sent him a copy to thank him for his assistance.  About 6 weeks later, I received a letter from his son.  Shortly after the portrait was taken, he had a complication with an operation and passed away.  The letter went on to say that this was the ONLY photograph they ever had of their father (he was easily in his 60s) and, quote, 'if any one picture could sum up his life, this was it'.  He had raised these oxen since calves and they were his pride and joy... all captured in 1/30 sec (or there about's.. no metadata to check!)

My point is that YOU may not see the character or beauty in the portrait, but someone who knows the person will.  I believe that Karsh summed it up quite well in that quote.  Even if you photographed 1000 beautiful women, I'm sure only a handful would stand out over the rest.  This happens when you capture that moment.

It is not up to us to decide what is beautiful or not... it is to capture, as much as possible, the essence of our subject.  You can quote me on that!
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Sunesha
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« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2008, 02:46:17 PM »
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I think they was interestning. I think they reflect the time we live in. People have seen "beauty" women so much.

In Sweden nowdays it is very popular to just use "ordinary" woman in ads. As it gets more attention than the more stereo typical beauty models.

Actually it turned my head a lot more on town nowdays. One off biggest sports stores chain in sweden just used "ordinary" women in their swimsuit collection. Somehow I look more on those girls as I relate more to them. As they look as the women I know. They where thin girls but normal weight girls not BMI <17 girls you are so used to see. Somehow I feel they are more attractive . As they seem more accessible  and real.

I guess this will spread. I heard that in some countries in Europe they have forbidden models to do modelling if they have to low BMI.

I really agree that beauty is in the eye off beholder. Somehow when you seen 200 photoshopped girls just by browsing your own day. There is something fascinating with looking photos off women with different shapes and looks.

I think what the whole commercial beauty bussiness lack is personality. But I guess they probaly dont need that to sell their products.

My feel that women shoots especially nude ones has the same body type. I feel it just gets to saturated.

I saw show my local town off nude males. Off all ages and shapes. It was interestning they just posed normally. But just to see humans in there fit/fat/hairy and so on state. Was very interesting. Especially as a heterosexual male I rarely think or look on male humans so it was new experience.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 02:50:09 PM by Sunesha » Logged

Daniel Sunebring, Malmoe, Sweden
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« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2008, 02:54:37 PM »
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My point is that YOU may not see the character or beauty in the portrait, but someone who knows the person will.

It is not up to us to decide what is beautiful or not... it is to capture, as much as possible, the essence of our subject.  You can quote me on that!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197060\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I will thank you, as you made the same point I was going to make to Rob C about his daft idea, that you simply cannot capture character/personality in a photograph. Your poingant story certainly indicates you can and when I photograph people I like to chat to them and get a sense of who they are as that makes for much better portraits, IMHO. This also reduces any 'performing' for the camera, but even then, how they perform/act is determined by their character.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 02:58:46 PM by jjj » Logged

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Sunesha
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« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2008, 03:01:18 PM »
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My point is that YOU may not see the character or beauty in the portrait, but someone who knows the person will.  I believe that Karsh summed it up quite well in that quote.  Even if you photographed 1000 beautiful women, I'm sure only a handful would stand out over the rest.  This happens when you capture that moment.

It is not up to us to decide what is beautiful or not... it is to capture, as much as possible, the essence of our subject.  You can quote me on that!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197060\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I think you just expressed what I was thinking. Somehow when you leave out the "perfect" state off a person and are presented you as "real" person. My head always go, wonder who they are. Wonder who there friends are and so on. Then I start to looks for clues and imagine.
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Daniel Sunebring, Malmoe, Sweden
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« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2008, 03:03:13 PM »
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In Sweden nowdays it is very popular to just use "ordinary" woman in ads. As it gets more attention than the more stereo typical beauty models.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
One of the most well known beauty campaigns in the UK is the Dove one which makes a point of featuring 'normal' women.  

This video also got them a lot of attention, when it shows how many of today's 'beauties' are manufactured.
[a href=\"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U[/url]

And you know you've done well, when the parrodies start appearing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-kSZsvBY-A&NR=1
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 03:05:47 PM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2008, 03:30:15 PM »
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One of the most well known beauty campaigns in the UK is the Dove one which makes a point of featuring 'normal' women. 

This video also got them a lot of attention, when it shows how many of today's 'beauties' are manufactured.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

And you know you've done well, when the parrodies start appearing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-kSZsvBY-A&NR=1
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197100\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
 

Man, hadn't seen the parody before. At least even that Dove is milking the political correctness approval. I love the ads. Especially since my little sister(aged 26) had no idea how much retouching goes into a beauty shoot. Until Dove showed it. So nowdays she actually feel a lot better about herself.

I have friend that live on beauty ads stuff. I helped him out sometimes. I always surprised how much work it is behind just make beutiful women appear even more beutiful

The good part I liked about our Sport chain "Stadium", they just threw in the "normal" girls in ads without making a whole campaign surrounding it. It kinda always creep a bit inside me when I see companies milking out good will in return for more dollars.

Our media presents us a distortion off reality. We buy it to be a part off , they earn money.

Thats what I like about art. It is presented from the artist point off view off reality. Media is presented what they think we think about world.
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Daniel Sunebring, Malmoe, Sweden
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« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2008, 03:45:51 PM »
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The good part I liked about our Sport chain "Stadium", they just threw in the "normal" girls in ads without making a whole campaign surrounding it. It kinda always creep a bit inside me when I see companies milking out good will in return for more dollars.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197109\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Dove may be milking it, but at least it's going against the beauty fascism that is otherwise around us and allowing others to feature real people without an issue.
People photography seems to be of two kinds these days, people looking impossibly beautiful or looking like complete shit. One part of the media fakes beauty and the other part delights in paparazzi snaps of stars/models etc looking awful. Like there's a skill to getting a bad shot of someone! Even so, I've even seen shots where people who look awful, have been retouched to make them bad.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 03:46:54 PM by jjj » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2008, 03:52:38 PM »
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Quote from: jjj,May 21 2008, 07:54 PM
I will thank you, as you made the same point I was going to make to Rob C about his daft idea, that you simply cannot capture character/personality in a photograph. Your poingant story certainly indicates you can and when I photograph people I like to chat to them and get a sense of who they are as that makes for much better portraits, IMHO. This also reduces any 'performing' for the camera, but even then, how they perform/act is determined by their character.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197096\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
[/quote

Wish I could accept your interpretation, jjj, but the little story of the man and the beasts hardly convinces me that you can capture character via portraiture. In fact, all the photograph in question shows is that there is nothing new under the sun, being nothing more than a typical ´executive in his office, craftsman with his tools´ kind of shot, where the concatenation of man, equipment and location gives a visual clue to his world. That does not show whether the executive is honest, a rogue or even loves his wife any more than one can tell whether the man with the beasts is shy, modest, vain, generous, mean, a glutton or a saint.

That a relative sees something precise is no surprise: of course he does, he sees what he knows, not what the photographer shot, which serves only as reminder, the key to the deeper values being firmly in the lock within his own (the relative´s) memory.

All these types of picture have been the staple diet of photo clubs since photography began; even in my own time I recall the fisherman in his heavy sweater, knurled hands clasped before him, his eyes peering out to the horizon. Bloody hell, he was no fisherman, he was just the guy who ran the local newspaper shop. No character there, just games and stereotyping at work.

But there you go, you are happy to believe one thing and I another. Fair enough, matters little to either of us.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: May 21, 2008, 03:58:31 PM »
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Sooo...  What exactly is this fat broad beauty that models cannot attain?  Or it just models in full bulimic-heroin-revlon mode who cannot achieve it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197058\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hey, Mr P!

I hope you weren´t really expecting a direct answer to a direct question, were you?

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: May 21, 2008, 04:01:01 PM »
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Well: having read this, I suspect I am not a real woman at all, and certainly unfit to be a model. I never wear makeup and am very plain to look at, as well as middle-aged, and not terribly concerned about fashion except for comfort.

So perhaps I shouldn't comment - but I do find some of the remarks in this thread patronising. I also find photos of surgically-enhanced and airbrushed bodies of either sex to be boring - but what do I know?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197059\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

A hell of a lot, actually.

Rob C
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jjj
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« Reply #50 on: May 21, 2008, 04:18:58 PM »
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Wish I could accept your interpretation, jjj, but the little story of the man and the beasts hardly convinces me that you can capture character via portraiture. In fact, all the photograph in question shows is that there is nothing new under the sun, being nothing more than a typical ´executive in his office, craftsman with his tools´ kind of shot, where the concatenation of man, equipment and location gives a visual clue to his world. That does not show whether the executive is honest, a rogue or even loves his wife any more than one can tell whether the man with the beasts is shy, modest, vain, generous, mean, a glutton or a saint.

That a relative sees something precise is no surprise: of course he does, he sees what he knows, not what the photographer shot, which serves only as reminder, the key to the deeper values being firmly in the lock within his own (the relative´s) memory.
Yet so many people take pictures that don't do that, only some will capture something of the person, something that will happen more often with a good [people] photographer.
Rob you strike me as being like a blind man who vehemenantly denies that green exists, simply as he cannot see it. Though as you correctly say, we each have different belief systems. Yours seems to work well for you and I doubt anything wil change it!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 04:19:43 PM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2008, 04:23:15 PM »
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Hey, Mr P!

I hope you weren´t really expecting a direct answer to a direct question, were you?

Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197114\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Nope.  I'm guessing it is probably the same thing that's driving the GF cell phone photo and MILF industries.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #52 on: May 21, 2008, 11:09:21 PM »
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Wish I could accept your interpretation, jjj, but the little story of the man and the beasts hardly convinces me that you can capture character via portraiture.  That does not show whether the executive is honest, a rogue or even loves his wife any more than one can tell whether the man with the beasts is shy, modest, vain, generous, mean, a glutton or a saint.
Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197112\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That's why I said 'to capture, as much as possible'.  One portrait may not capture every facet of a person, but to capture even a part of of that character can be a success.  This is why we have photo essays.  People do not display every emotion, every look or every side of their personality all at once.  Depending on the person, it could take a book of images to explore every character trait of any particular individual.  Others, one portrait may sum it up.
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That a relative sees something precise is no surprise: of course he does, he sees what he knows, not what the photographer shot, which serves only as reminder, the key to the deeper values being firmly in the lock within his own (the relative´s) memory.
He indeed sees 'what the photographer shot' and recognizes his father for what he was, hard working and prideful of his accomplishments.  If this one photo triggers a memory which helps a son remember his father - I consider it successful.  It's not up to us to decide what he was, only to try to capture a glimpse of that and preserve it for someone who recognizes it.

I photographed the man and his oxen for myself...  but it had far more value for the son.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 11:10:55 PM by Mike Guilbault » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: May 22, 2008, 02:49:56 AM »
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That's why I said 'to capture, as much as possible'.  One portrait may not capture every facet of a person, but to capture even a part of of that character can be a success.  This is why we have photo essays.  People do not display every emotion, every look or every side of their personality all at once.  Depending on the person, it could take a book of images to explore every character trait of any particular individual.  Others, one portrait may sum it up.

He indeed sees 'what the photographer shot' and recognizes his father for what he was, hard working and prideful of his accomplishments.  If this one photo triggers a memory which helps a son remember his father - I consider it successful.  It's not up to us to decide what he was, only to try to capture a glimpse of that and preserve it for someone who recognizes it.

I photographed the man and his oxen for myself...  but it had far more value for the son.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197171\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

All of which seems to sum up (to this green-denying one) that all the photographer can do is record what´s there, not at all the same as "showing character" as per the self-promoting bullshit of the Karsh dictum!

If another person, other than the photographer, sees something in a photograph by virtue of greater familiarity with the subject, then it´s a little OTT for the photographer to claim the credit! That is the in the gift of the viewer, not any mystical skill of the camera operator.

I note that to capture photographically even one aspect of a person is now considered success - how low can the bar go?

But let´s face it, there are entire industries now existing to part punters from their money by peddling the same dream: follow me and I shall show you the way! I think they call them cults, magazines or even workshops...

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 02:52:44 AM by Rob C » Logged

Sunesha
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« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2008, 03:54:50 AM »
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Dove may be milking it, but at least it's going against the beauty fascism that is otherwise around us and allowing others to feature real people without an issue.
People photography seems to be of two kinds these days, people looking impossibly beautiful or looking like complete shit. One part of the media fakes beauty and the other part delights in paparazzi snaps of stars/models etc looking awful. Like there's a skill to getting a bad shot of someone! Even so, I've even seen shots where people who look awful, have been retouched to make them bad.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree, It is good.

Never thought about it in that way. You are right.

How we photograph people maybe tells how we want people to be ?

I am not big protrait photography guy(meaning I doesn't shoot people myself). Most off the photography people shoots I look at is more travel photography mostly showing off cultural features like clothes and hairstyles.

I think it is trends, hopefully the BMI <17 girls are soon not the trends. Hopefully we see more "normal" looking girls doing the fashion stuff.

I liked the artificial american ads from the 40s - 50s. More the look off the ads.

HM a big clothes brand here in Sweden used old models that was popular in 80s. But heavy retouched so they didnt look 50-60 years.

Anyway I enjoy laughing at funny retouching at:
[a href=\"http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/]http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/[/url]'

Strange part that I saw ad in Sweden with Nippleblock trend. I feel very strange when people remove body parts...
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 04:02:58 AM by Sunesha » Logged

Daniel Sunebring, Malmoe, Sweden
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #55 on: May 22, 2008, 06:19:02 AM »
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I note that to capture photographically even one aspect of a person is now considered success - how low can the bar go?


Actually, that bar is quite high.  It certainly doesn't happen with every portrait.  It's rare, and when it happens it's a wonderful thing and becomes successful.  Success, as with anything else comes in varying degrees and success to one is as beauty or character to another.  Some photographers have the ability, insight and fortitude to increase their percentage of successes - like Karsh did.  

This brings me back to the original post and the work we've been discussing (which I think has been lost in the discussion).  As I said, I only viewed about 50 of over 200 images.  The display could have been easily pared down which I believe would have made it more interesting and possibly more successful.  Was all of the photographer's work a success?  I don't think so.  Is marketing, self-promotion and the power of the internet a factor in this success?  Obviously.  Is it Art?  That is for the individual to decide, just as beauty, character and success is.
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« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2008, 08:14:58 AM »
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One of the most well known beauty campaigns in the UK is the Dove one which makes a point of featuring 'normal' women. 

This video also got them a lot of attention, when it shows how many of today's 'beauties' are manufactured.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

When I first saw that video I was impressed, as I imagine a lot of people were.  Dove also created a 'Campaign for Real Beauty' and website.  Then I read this:

[a href=\"http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/12/080512fa_fact_collins?currentPage=all]http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05...currentPage=all[/url]

"I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

Showing the mileage but not looking unattractive. That's Dove's idea of 'real beauty'? It's a shame they were unwilling to use 'real photographs' of 'real women'.

I started this thread showing the Sanders McNew work as a counterpoint to that as this body of work does show 'real photographs' of 'real women'.  Is it art?  Some of the images don't work for me, but I think all of the women in them are beautiful in their own way...

Mike.

P.S.  The information from the Gangin article was sent to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty forum, but they didn't post it.
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« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2008, 01:02:39 PM »
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When I first saw that video I was impressed, as I imagine a lot of people were.  Dove also created a 'Campaign for Real Beauty' and website.  Then I read this:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05...currentPage=all

"I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197236\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I remember reading about this quite recently. The chap in question had worked for Dove,  and he was a bit annoyed that  that he appeared to discredit someone he had worked for.
Now if you think about it, if he had indeed retouched those images, you'd have to be a complete idiot to admit to it. Why? Because you are burning bridges with that client and possible many others. But people want to believe even those images are PSed and so now that will become the truth, even if it isn't.
 
Dangin said: "The recent article published by The New Yorker incorrectly implies that I retouched the images in connection with the Dove 'real women' ad.

"I only worked on the Dove ProAge campaign taken by Annie Leibovitz and was directed only to remove dust and do colour correction -- both the integrity of the photographs and the women's natural beauty were maintained."

At the time of publication, the New Yorker online article was unchanged.
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« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2008, 01:16:22 PM »
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I think it is trends, hopefully the BMI <17 girls are soon not the trends. Hopefully we see more "normal" looking girls doing the fashion stuff.
The thing is some garments simply look much better on a woman with curves, than on a coat hanger with legs, so there needs to be a variety of shapes in order to best display the clothes anyway. People are also very varied in size/shape and mostly they are not so stupid as to think that the outfit on the anorexic model will look as good on the size 12/14/16.. they are.

Quote
HM a big clothes brand here in Sweden....
and somewhere I tend to visit when in your fine country to save packing so much on way out.
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« Reply #59 on: May 22, 2008, 01:28:56 PM »
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Actually, that bar is quite high.  It certainly doesn't happen with every portrait.  It's rare, and when it happens it's a wonderful thing and becomes successful.  Success, as with anything else comes in varying degrees and success to one is as beauty or character to another.  Some photographers have the ability, insight and fortitude to increase their percentage of successes - like Karsh did.
My sneaking suspicion is that this is an area that Rob isn't good at and therefore pooh poohs it. You get the same from people who decry PS, when the reality is, they simply don't know how to use it. I'd be really interested to see some of the work Rob has done, as he seems to have worked during interesting times, but sadly there's never any evidence of it.
One of the things I lke on this forum is the lack of anonymity with most posters and the fact you can you can usually link a photographer to his work.  Rob C is all words and no images, as far I can can see, which is a shame really. So show us what you've got Rob!

Quote
This brings me back to the original post and the work we've been discussing (which I think has been lost in the discussion).  As I said, I only viewed about 50 of over 200 images.  The display could have been easily pared down which I believe would have made it more interesting and possibly more successful.  Was all of the photographer's work a success?  I don't think so.  Is marketing, self-promotion and the power of the internet a factor in this success?  Obviously.  Is it Art?  That is for the individual to decide, just as beauty, character and success is.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=197212\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Initially, I wasn't sure about the amount of shots, mainly because viewing a large no. online is more painful than in a book or on a wall. But, then the more I looked, the more variety I saw and that becomes interesting in itself. I think it would work better as a collection on the wall than within the constrains of an online gallery.
As for the is it art question, plenty of old masters out there that are apparently art, even if they do nothing for me. And I wouldn't argue they weren't. It's an iffy premise to deny the label of art to anything that one dosen't like. In my opinion.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 01:29:31 PM by jjj » Logged

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