Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?  (Read 61933 times)
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6208



WWW
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2009, 04:58:21 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
Fair enough, Russ, but that wasnīt my experience of darkroom work, at least, not of the stuff that I really wanted to shoot.

Well, I'll have to admit that it was grunt work I enjoyed. Had I not enjoyed it, I'd not have done it. But as far as I'm concerned the creative part of the whole process takes place when you release the shutter. If I'd had the support structure HCB had I'd probably have turned over my film for someone else to print, as he did. Of course I never did much studio work, bit I did enough to know that was a different story.

Quote
And as importantly, before computers there wasnīt this urge to go on and on until one lost sight of the original shot.

This is what I've been preaching against on User Critiques ever since I discovered LLS. As far as I'm concerned, if you have to do more than a bit of sharpening and possibly a small color shift if the lighting was difficult, then you've blown the shot, and it doesn't really belong on the web. To me, routine cropping indicates the work of a novice. It particularly galls me to see someone take a perfectly good photograph and make drastic changes in Photoshop in order to create "drama." If the drama wasn't there the moment you tripped the shutter, no amount of Photoshopping is going to introduce real drama. What the Photoshopping usually introduces instead of drama is fabrication for anyone with eyes to see.

On the other hand, I'm not convinced the computer has made that much difference. There were people who went on and on in the darkroom too -- especially in pictorialism's heyday. Seems to me the only real difference is that with a computer you don't have to do all that messy wet work and cleaning up.
Logged

tom b
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2009, 11:03:37 PM »
ReplyReply

The real advantage of digital photography and Photoshop is the undo button. Ah, the number of times that I have wanted an undo key when I am painting. Quite often a history palette would be useful too.

One other major problem is that when you paint you only create one painting. If you sell a painting it is gone forever. You can't click the print button and make another identical painting.

The last thing that is challenging about painting is the battle between real and imagined tones. The painting that I am working on at the moment has a wave washing over a rock late afternoon. I started painting the wash and kept having to increase the tone. I used the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to pick up the colour. It is so much darker that the white water my brain interprets it as being.

[attachment=14776:painting.jpg]

Cheers,
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 11:09:52 PM by tom b » Logged

dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2009, 09:33:56 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
.....As far as I'm concerned, if you have to do more than a bit of sharpening and possibly a small color shift if the lighting was difficult, then you've blown the shot, and it doesn't really belong on the web.
.....On the other hand, I'm not convinced the computer has made that much difference.

Shortly before he passed on, my dear old dad said to me "I don't see the usefulness of computers - what can they do we didn't already do before that?"  It's really difficult to believe people still ponder these questions.  I mean, "....it doesn't belong on the web" ??  The Web is the storehouse of computer creations.  I'm sure there's a valid point in there somewhere, but it's surrounded by so many absolutes that it's difficult to find.
Logged
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1258


« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2009, 03:07:15 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
I don't know, Rob. I spent a lot of time in darkrooms, pulling prints from the dish, and I can't really see much difference between that and what happens on the computer. Given a fully equipped darkroom and enough time, I'd venture to say you can do just about anything to a photograph you can do with Photoshop.

Try to fix spherical aberration in a darkroom...or adjust perspective...or substitute one color for another, but only that color and nothing else...in fifteen seconds.

Painting and photography are radically different; their only common ground is that they're visual. However, people who say they can't draw usually haven't tried hard enough -- most drawing professors will tell you that if you can write sentence with a pencil, you can learn to draw quite well indeed. But it takes persistence and practice and you have to go through quite a bit of time when you're bad at it. A famous artist, Jim Dine, decided after he was already famoius that he didn't draw well enough, and took several years off to learn...and it took him several years to get where he wanted to go. It's like playing the piano -- you're not a good piano player after two weeks of lessons. And that's not necessarily true with a camera. If you give somebody a camera, and two week's worth of lessons (say, a two-week workshop at Santa Fe), that person could probably take a credible photograph, in the technical sense. That doesn't make him Ansel Adams, but, unlike other art forms, the technical aspects of camera use are pretty easy to get.

As for great drawings by children, what you usually have is great drawings by children. If you think your kid has a great talent (and I can assure you that he/she doesn't,) ask him/her to draw an accurate picture of a simple pine cone. Won't be able to do it. That's why drawings by children usually aren't found in museums.

I think it's important to distinguish between facility and talent -- facility is pretty much a matter of eye-hand coordination, and some people have quite a good facility, and some children are better at it than other children. They are not necessarily talented, because talent involves a whole complex of learned qualities, plus a cultivated way of looking at the world. Cezanne was one of the world's great artists -- a great talent -- but didn't draw as well as many contemporaries who were not nearly as talented, possibly because he didn't care about it enough. He didn't have an easy facility, but he did have a great talent.

The fact that a child can sometimes draw better than an older person need not be particularly surprising -- probably the kid practiced more. That's usually the case. If you look at most "prodigies," the thing that really distinguishes them is that they began working very hard at their skill at a very young age. (Tiger Woods, Mozart, etc.) I think one of the greatest gifts you can give a kid is that when they show a particular ability, in which they are interested, to then go out of your way to really *appreciate* what they're doing. The more approval they get for a particular activity, the more they're likely to work at it, and the better they'll get compared to their peers, and this can snowball into real talent; of they eventually go in a different direction, it can nevertheless remain an interesting and serious pasttime for the rest of the kid's life.

Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6208



WWW
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2009, 05:10:29 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John Camp
Try to fix spherical aberration in a darkroom...or adjust perspective...or substitute one color for another, but only that color and nothing else...in fifteen seconds.

John, I didn't say you could do it fast. I said you could do it. Yes, there are some lens problems you can't deal with in a darkroom, but I said "almost." Reminds me of the story about the art director who told his employee, who was late with an assignment: "I didn't say I wanted it to be good. I said I wanted it by Thursday."

Quote
Painting and photography are radically different; their only common ground is that they're visual. However, people who say they can't draw usually haven't tried hard enough -- most drawing professors will tell you that if you can write sentence with a pencil, you can learn to draw quite well indeed. But it takes persistence and practice and you have to go through quite a bit of time when you're bad at it. A famous artist, Jim Dine, decided after he was already famoius that he didn't draw well enough, and took several years off to learn...and it took him several years to get where he wanted to go. It's like playing the piano -- you're not a good piano player after two weeks of lessons. And that's not necessarily true with a camera. If you give somebody a camera, and two week's worth of lessons (say, a two-week workshop at Santa Fe), that person could probably take a credible photograph, in the technical sense. That doesn't make him Ansel Adams, but, unlike other art forms, the technical aspects of camera use are pretty easy to get.

Well, I agree that almost anyone can learn to draw with enough practice. I did it, and I'm as klutzy with a pencil as anyone around. I don't agree about photography. Superficially, what you're saying is true, and most of what I see on User Critiques are those "credible" photographs you're talking about. You're right. The technical aspects are pretty basic and easy to master, but although you have to master the technical aspects to make fine photographs, the technical aspects are not what make photographs that reasonably can be called art.  

Quote
As for great drawings by children, what you usually have is great drawings by children. If you think your kid has a great talent (and I can assure you that he/she doesn't,) ask him/her to draw an accurate picture of a simple pine cone. Won't be able to do it. That's why drawings by children usually aren't found in museums.

I think it's important to distinguish between facility and talent -- facility is pretty much a matter of eye-hand coordination, and some people have quite a good facility, and some children are better at it than other children. They are not necessarily talented, because talent involves a whole complex of learned qualities, plus a cultivated way of looking at the world. Cezanne was one of the world's great artists -- a great talent -- but didn't draw as well as many contemporaries who were not nearly as talented, possibly because he didn't care about it enough. He didn't have an easy facility, but he did have a great talent.

The fact that a child can sometimes draw better than an older person need not be particularly surprising -- probably the kid practiced more. That's usually the case. If you look at most "prodigies," the thing that really distinguishes them is that they began working very hard at their skill at a very young age. (Tiger Woods, Mozart, etc.) I think one of the greatest gifts you can give a kid is that when they show a particular ability, in which they are interested, to then go out of your way to really *appreciate* what they're doing. The more approval they get for a particular activity, the more they're likely to work at it, and the better they'll get compared to their peers, and this can snowball into real talent; of they eventually go in a different direction, it can nevertheless remain an interesting and serious pasttime for the rest of the kid's life.

Depends on what you mean by "better." What I was talking about earlier is the kind of fresh vision you see in kids' art work. Yes, some museums do hang kids' work. I know of at least two -- one in Florida, the other in Colorado. True, the stuff doesn't stay up long, but when a bunch of the other stuff in the museum is the kind of self-conscious, self-absorbed "art" being hung nowadays, the kids' stuff can be much more interesting than the "adult" stuff.
Logged

John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1258


« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2009, 08:06:50 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
Depends on what you mean by "better." What I was talking about earlier is the kind of fresh vision you see in kids' art work. Yes, some museums do hang kids' work. I know of at least two -- one in Florida, the other in Colorado. True, the stuff doesn't stay up long, but when a bunch of the other stuff in the museum is the kind of self-conscious, self-absorbed "art" being hung nowadays, the kids' stuff can be much more interesting than the "adult" stuff.

Of course, it always depends on what you mean by better. But much of what is produced and shown as adult art isn't very good. I read somewhere that during the period of roughly 1860 to 1900 there were 25,000 practicing professional artists in Paris.  I doubt that anyone other than an art historian could name more than 50 or 100. That's because most of the "art" was junk, as it still is, and probably always was. Historians write about how somebody like Michelangelo was the outstanding pupil in so-and-so's studio, which leaves open the question, what happened to the others? Well, the others weren't very good, even though they were genuine "renaissance painters," and so disappeared.

I have no problems with kids working at art, producing it, having it hung around, admired and praised, I just don't think it's great, or even very good (as art.) It's kid's art. It might lead to something serious, but probably not. Sounds cynical, but it's really just statistics.

JC  
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6208



WWW
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2009, 08:50:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John Camp
Of course, it always depends on what you mean by better. But much of what is produced and shown as adult art isn't very good. I read somewhere that during the period of roughly 1860 to 1900 there were 25,000 practicing professional artists in Paris.  I doubt that anyone other than an art historian could name more than 50 or 100. That's because most of the "art" was junk, as it still is, and probably always was. Historians write about how somebody like Michelangelo was the outstanding pupil in so-and-so's studio, which leaves open the question, what happened to the others? Well, the others weren't very good, even though they were genuine "renaissance painters," and so disappeared.

I have no problems with kids working at art, producing it, having it hung around, admired and praised, I just don't think it's great, or even very good (as art.) It's kid's art. It might lead to something serious, but probably not. Sounds cynical, but it's really just statistics.

JC

John,

I heartily agree with everything you just said. Children's art is interesting because it's fresh and free. But children haven't the life experiences that translate into work that gives you the transcendental flash essential to what I'd call "fine art." Then there are the "artists" you mentioned who have neither the unconstrained approach of a child nor the informed but intuitive approach of a master. 25,000 is a statistic I hadn't run across, but it's fascinating to think of it. That group included the artists who were supported by the French art establishment at the same time that establishment was turning up its nose at the Impressionists. I said it earlier on one of these threads and I'll say it again: Time is the filter that ultimately defines art.
Logged

Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2009, 04:10:00 AM »
ReplyReply

I don't aspire to be an artist.  Fortunately that still leaves room for being creative - for thinking, saying and doing things that surprise and delight me.

My point isn't about the relative merits of photography and painting/drawing.  Rather, it's about expressing one's vision.  I don't aspire to create art but I do aspire to express my vision - my way of seeing things.  Part of the urge to do so is that seeking to express my vision quickens my spirit and makes me engage more with life.  

I can only imagine what it would be like to express my vision through paints/pencils etc because I have never taken the time, and now don't have the time, to develop any technical competence.  So for the moment, I do what expressing I can through photography.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2009, 09:31:06 AM »
ReplyReply

All very convincingly written, chaps, but I cannot accept that "anyone" can learn to draw, paint or photograph well just by dint of repeated attempts.

Of the three, Iīd say that photography is the easy option and, in practice, sheer technique has saved the day for me when given a lousy model and absolutely hideous clothes. The ability to light the thing, focus, shoot and print it has been enough. But was it good, did it approach any artistic level at all? Nope. Just a technically good image.

Perhaps itīs what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new. One of my favourites is old Vincent; would he be a great artist? I find it difficult to say yes and as difficult to deny him the mantle. But, he had something which has become something other than his work, something created over and above it by myth, other peopleīs writings and, eventually, our own expectations. Perhaps the child, whose innocence we sought as progidy, might be the better critic, the true analyst.

Rob C
Logged

dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2009, 10:54:36 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
Perhaps itīs what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new.
Rob C

I once asked some jazz musicians in Santa Barbara how they can sit down with people they haven't played with before, and jump right in to a difficult tune and pull it off convincingly.  They said "It's a language - once you learn it, you just converse with the other musicians.  A different tune is just a different topic, but all part of the conversation."
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6208



WWW
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2009, 09:06:59 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
All very convincingly written, chaps, but I cannot accept that "anyone" can learn to draw, paint or photograph well just by dint of repeated attempts.

Of the three, Iīd say that photography is the easy option and, in practice, sheer technique has saved the day for me when given a lousy model and absolutely hideous clothes. The ability to light the thing, focus, shoot and print it has been enough. But was it good, did it approach any artistic level at all? Nope. Just a technically good image.

Perhaps itīs what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new. One of my favourites is old Vincent; would he be a great artist? I find it difficult to say yes and as difficult to deny him the mantle. But, he had something which has become something other than his work, something created over and above it by myth, other peopleīs writings and, eventually, our own expectations. Perhaps the child, whose innocence we sought as progidy, might be the better critic, the true analyst.

Rob C

Rob, I don't think anyone's saying you can learn to draw or paint well just by dint of hard work. I can draw, and I learned to do that by hard work. But I can't say I learned to draw "well." I haven't done it for a long time now. I always loved photography and I guess I can say I've always been serious about my photography, but though my drawing resulted in some pretty fair woodcuts, drawing always was purely for fun. I never really took it seriously.

I understand what you're saying about studio photography. My pro friends both say the same thing you're saying, and then they say: "I wish I could do what you do and just go out and shoot what I want to shoot." But they can't, because they need to feed their families, and you can't make a buck doing what I do in photography. Oh, I sell prints all right, but what I end up netting is pocket change. I'm sure that at least one of those friends is quite capable of producing serious photographic art, but he has to do weddings instead. What do weddings require? They require Cliches. Brides don't want anything "different." They want what they see in their married friends' wedding albums.

And, yes, I think what we're all saying is, if you want art, technique is not enough. On the other hand, technique is essential. As I've said before, during the ten years my wife had her gallery I saw an awful lot of "art" by people who succeeded in the inspiration department but failed because they never bothered to learn the technique necessary to give wings to their inspiration. I think you can learn photographic technique -- and I'm not talking about f stops and shutter speeds now -- by spending a lot of time looking at the work of the masters. But when it comes to making art, you're pretty much on your own.
Logged

tom b
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2009, 10:19:59 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: RSL
I'm sure that at least one of those friends is quite capable of producing serious photographic art, but he has to do weddings instead. What do weddings require? They require Cliches. Brides don't want anything "different." They want what they see in their married friends' wedding albums.

Not all brides want cliches. Have you seen the work of John Michael Cooper:

http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06...el-cooper-alt-f

http://altf.com

Like all endeavors some people will find a way to show their artistic vision.

Cheers,
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2009, 04:51:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: tom  b
Not all brides want cliches. Have you seen the work of John Michael Cooper:

http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06...el-cooper-alt-f

http://altf.com

Like all endeavors some people will find a way to show their artistic vision.

Cheers,


Some interesting shots, Tom, but Iīd suggest it depends more on the couple than the photographer, not the actual photography but the location/treatment possibility.

In the UK I havenīt seen many Cadillac-in-the-desert shots, mainly Rolls-Royce in the hotel gardens ones...

Rob C
Logged

Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2009, 08:34:52 AM »
ReplyReply

I recently realised that one thing I value about photography is being able to gain different perspectives on the world around me as it is, rather than "making it up" with paints.  Sometimes - maybe even usually - something surreal or unusual emerges from a photo as I'm looking at it later.  It may be part of a photo, or the whole thing.  Who knows whetherI  actually noticed it at any level when I took the photo.  Maybe I did notice something unconsciously.

So amid all the happy snapping and the "catching a moment", I suspect what I am after is creating shots that have a certain magic - the mojo.  I want them to be "technically" good in terms of focus, sharpness, noise etc, but without the mojo they're just my versions of gazillions of photos that others have taken.  

Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2009, 09:11:35 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Stuarte
I recently realised that one thing I value about photography is being able to gain different perspectives on the world around me as it is, rather than "making it up" with paints.  Sometimes - maybe even usually - something surreal or unusual emerges from a photo as I'm looking at it later.  It may be part of a photo, or the whole thing.  Who knows whetherI  actually noticed it at any level when I took the photo.  Maybe I did notice something unconsciously.

So amid all the happy snapping and the "catching a moment", I suspect what I am after is creating shots that have a certain magic - the mojo.  I want them to be "technically" good in terms of focus, sharpness, noise etc, but without the mojo they're just my versions of gazillions of photos that others have taken.


A refreshingly honest take on what is the constant condition of the amateur photographer. I mean no slur here - I am in exactly the same "amateur" position as anybody else today. Donovan summed it up well when he said, and I paraphrase: the amateurīs biggest problem is finding a reason to take a photograph.

In the days of assignments it was a breeze: one simply went out to create the best shots one knew how to create; the motivation was ego, money and, above the others, retention of client at the cost of another rival.

As an amateur, the inevitable questions: does it matter a damn? Wonīt tomorrow do just as well?

So yes, you have it nailed. But the mojo plays by its own rules and bides its own time.

I envy the motivation that drives James and the others still doing it for real.

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 09:12:15 AM by Rob C » Logged

Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2009, 09:23:08 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Rob C
So yes, you have it nailed. But the mojo plays by its own rules and bides its own time.

I envy the motivation that drives James and the others still doing it for real.

Rob C


Someone recently saw some party photos I had taken - which contained some real good ones - and asked me if I would do it professionally.  I said no, because I couldn't guarantee the quality.  And perhaps more to the point, financially it wouldn't be worth the time or investment to get to a point where I could guarantee the quality.  I earn far more doing commissioned writing "for real".  

The paradox is that while I do paid writing, the thought of writing for pleasure (except in places such as this) fills me with horror.  I very much like taking photos, for a variety of reasons, but I very much doubt that I would like to do it as a profession.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2009, 02:11:51 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Stuarte
Someone recently saw some party photos I had taken - which contained some real good ones - and asked me if I would do it professionally.  I said no, because I couldn't guarantee the quality.  And perhaps more to the point, financially it wouldn't be worth the time or investment to get to a point where I could guarantee the quality.  I earn far more doing commissioned writing "for real".  

The paradox is that while I do paid writing, the thought of writing for pleasure (except in places such as this) fills me with horror.  I very much like taking photos, for a variety of reasons, but I very much doubt that I would like to do it as a profession.


When I was still in school and about to sit my Highers - English equivalent probably A-Levels - I had this urge to write and photograph and travel seemed the perfect combination. But life had other plans, and the writing took a holiday until about six or seven years ago when I started getting interested in the internet and retirement provided the time to explore some of it.

But, in the end, there doesnīt seem to be much space about (or I have yet to find it) where anything really brings much sustained conversation or discussion; everything seems to degenerate into argument or outright hostility. What a shame it has to end like that.

Rob C
Logged

dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2009, 02:52:23 PM »
ReplyReply

If I were the one organizing a wedding or party shoot, I'd have at least two separate photographers - one strictly for the formal shots, and one for candids with no particular rules.  That way there's no question about the pro fees for the formal stuff, and whatever comes out of the candid shots is pay by the slice.
Logged
popnfresh
Guest
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2009, 03:43:09 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Stuarte
Lately I find myself wondering whether I would have spent so much money, time and attention on photography if I could paint to express my vision.  Or putting it another way, if it were possible, would I be willing to trade all the photographic equipment I now own and have ever owned for the ability to paint pictures to a standard comparable to my photographs?
Why should the ability to paint brilliantly be be conditional on giving up your camera gear? Why not keep the gear and learn how to paint?
Logged
Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2009, 03:59:47 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: popnfresh
Why should the ability to paint brilliantly be be conditional on giving up your camera gear? Why not keep the gear and learn how to paint?

It was more like one of those mythical choices - a forced choice, if you will.  In due course I may well learn how to paint and definitely keep the gear.  But at the moment, with three teen/pre-teen kids, a wife away at med school all week and a family income to earn I'm a bit short of time.
Logged

Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad