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Author Topic: Art Wolfe's article  (Read 9677 times)
jenbenn
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« on: April 07, 2010, 03:20:20 AM »
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Dear Art,
I am a great fan of your photography. With great interest I read the earlier "deconstruction" of your image of the chinese cormoran fisherman. This time I am slightly underwhelmed. Why did you choose  such a boring image, that many tourists bring home form their visit to Ankor? On your website you display a lot of images that are much more intersting, with better light, better expression, stronger composition and more unusual subjects. As an example the three images that appear on your homepage, are really expectional and would make a much more interesting learning experience ( at least for me personally). I wish you would discuss some of these images here.  
Thanks and looking forward to reading more from you
 Jens
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stamper
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2010, 03:36:05 AM »
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Does it matter if the image is boring? That is your opinion that others may agree with, or not? I found the explanation very good and it illustrated the process of making an image extremely well. Some advanced photographers may think it was preaching the obvious but others will find it useful. Dare I say it? I found it to be better than Michael's image and thoughts from a few weeks ago concerning the street scene and lamp post. Remembering all of this and putting it into practice is the problem?
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jenbenn
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2010, 03:56:55 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Does it matter if the image is boring? That is your opinion that others may agree with, or not? I found the explanation very good and it illustrated the process of making an image extremely well. Some advanced photographers may think it was preaching the obvious but others will find it useful. Dare I say it? I found it to be better than Michael's image and thoughts from a few weeks ago concerning the street scene and lamp post. Remembering all of this and putting it into practice is the problem?
Of course its my opinion. What else? If I was the elected president of the photography world I would have made my statement in that capacity.  This thread was purely meant as feedback for Art, telling him from which type of article I, as a photography "student", would enjoy the greatest learning experience  . If  you disagree thats very fine. This is what the thread is there for: to find out what people want to read and what is usefull for them. Constructive crisitsim and a poll. Nothing more and nothing less. I am not claiming that my views are shared by anybody else unless people post statements to this effect here.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2010, 04:07:25 AM »
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I actually find the 'final' image to have two almost equal sides which clash horribly for attention. Hardly a showcase for composition. Flame suit on...
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stamper
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2010, 04:16:15 AM »
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Quote from: jenbenn
Dear Art,
I am a great fan of your photography. With great interest I read the earlier "deconstruction" of your image of the chinese cormoran fisherman. This time I am slightly underwhelmed. Why did you choose  such a boring image, that many tourists bring home form their visit to Ankor? On your website you display a lot of images that are much more intersting, with better light, better expression, stronger composition and more unusual subjects. As an example the three images that appear on your homepage, are really expectional and would make a much more interesting learning experience ( at least for me personally). I wish you would discuss some of these images here.  
Thanks and looking forward to reading more from you
 Jens

Possibly one of the reasons that he chose the image is because it is one that can be easily captured by a tourist or anybody for that matter. It is one that a lot of people can relate to? If he had chosen one of his exceptional ones then most people would possibly thought I haven't a chance of taking that and would have failed to follow the thrust of the article? Attacking it as boring before addressing the merits of the article was - imo - poor judgement. Not a flaming war as the previous poster suggested but an opinion.
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jenbenn
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2010, 04:21:46 AM »
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Quote from: Ben Rubinstein
I actually find the 'final' image to have two almost equal sides which clash horribly for attention. Hardly a showcase for composition. Flame suit on...
I fully agree.

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jenbenn
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2010, 04:32:49 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Possibly one of the reasons that he chose the image is because it is one that can be easily captured by a tourist or anybody for that matter. It is one that a lot of people can relate to? If he had chosen one of his exceptional ones then most people would possibly thought I haven't a chance of taking that and would have failed to follow the thrust of the article? Attacking it as boring before addressing the merits of the article was - imo - poor judgement. Not a flaming war as the previous poster suggested but an opinion.

This is were our views differ. I love a challenge. I want to have something to look up to. I want to say: "wow, this is an image I would want to take". I am not a tourist but a photographer. If I go travelleing I spend much time on photography. I dont submit to the given circumstances but put much effort in getting the best image I possibly can.

Therefore I am bored by step-by-step processes were you are supposed to learn a tiny aspect of composition from an image that executes only this tiny aspect well and falls short of being an overall convincing photograph.  Again, my opinion, but maybe  I am not part of the target audience for the article anyway. But this is for Art to decide. Giving him this type of feedback will enable him to see who actually IS his audience as opposed to who was supposed to be the audience. So its not poor judgment. Its an opinion. Posting an opinion is called freedom of speech. Please respect this as much as I repect your differing opinion.
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stamper
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2010, 04:42:57 AM »
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Quote

I am not part of the target audience for the article anyway.

Unquote

Correct! You are obviously an advanced photographer who isn't in need of advice - I looked at your website - in regards to composition. The article was aimed at others that - including myself - who haven't progressed as far. This is what you failed to appreciate with your first post? Time to reflect?
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jenbenn
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2010, 05:09:15 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Quote

I am not part of the target audience for the article anyway.

Unquote

Correct! You are obviously an advanced photographer who isn't in need of advice - I looked at your website - in regards to composition. The article was aimed at others that - including myself - who haven't progressed as far. This is what you failed to appreciate with your first post? Time to reflect?
I am merly telling ART that I as an "adavanced photographer", as you call me, would like to learn something from him, too. I am telling him that there are advanced photographers reading the LL.  The idea is to see how many beginners vs. advanced photographers are visiting this website in order to give Micheal and ARt  a guideline which articles are of interest to their readers and which are not. So please lets end the discussion right here. I have given my opinion you have given yours.  It may well be that there are many people who like this type of articles and learn a lot from them. The question is: are they here on the LL? And if so, how many of them are visiting this site compared to the number of people who would like to read something else. Lets sit back and listen to comments. We'll soon find out.

( This is not meant to be saying that Michael has to publish certian types of articels. Its a free site, so as reader we cannot expect anything. But I detect that Micheal is quite ambitious with this site, therefore I believe feedback like this can help him in keeping the site interesting to his readers)
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 05:28:13 AM »
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Which all goes to prove (to my satifaction) that all of these types of posts, articles, magazine features etc. are a gigantic waste of paper and space or whatever other medium is used.

If you want to improve your own work, you shouldn't read a damn thing at all because that will just be an attempt by some self-styled guru to mess with the purity of your own vision as you conceptualize it in your own words in your own head.

What will help you no end, and take you forward, is the looking at many many published pictures, either photos or paintings or drawings - whatever - where your sensibilities will be drawn to the features or moods that interest you personally, and based upon your own inner promptings. Then, you will be in a position to absorb the very nature of the beast that makes it work for you; you'll finally recognize what's your own thing. Use your eyes and keep your ears firmly stuffed with Walkman.

Photography is a visual game; you learn from looking and trying. If you want to be a writer, on the other hand, then read all you can.

Rob C
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jenbenn
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2010, 05:48:11 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Which all goes to prove (to my satifaction) that all of these types of posts, articles, magazine features etc. are a gigantic waste of paper and space or whatever other medium is used.

If you want to improve your own work, you shouldn't read a damn thing at all because that will just be an attempt by some self-styled guru to mess with the purity of your own vision as you conceptualize it in your own words in your own head.

What will help you no end, and take you forward, is the looking at many many published pictures, either photos or paintings or drawings - whatever - where your sensibilities will be drawn to the features or moods that interest you personally, and based upon your own inner promptings. Then, you will be in a position to absorb the very nature of the beast that makes it work for you; you'll finally recognize what's your own thing. Use your eyes and keep your ears firmly stuffed with Walkman.

Photography is a visual game; you learn from looking and trying. If you want to be a writer, on the other hand, then read all you can.

Rob C
Hm, you are making a good point here. Maybe Michael could ask some photographers to publish a portfolio on the LL instead of writing lengthy articles? Or publish every week or so a link to a site with particularly good photographs? Many photographer webites are scattered around in the web, unnoticed by anybody. Bringing them to people's attention on the LL would be great.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2010, 10:36:04 AM »
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For what it's worth, I do like the final image, and I did think the article worthwhile.  I'd appreciate more articles similar to this one.  YMMV!

Lisa
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image66
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2010, 10:50:08 AM »
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I found the article instructional, even though the image itself wasn't exactly what I would consider world-class. But that doesn't matter. What I believe Art was doing was just using the photographs to illustrate the process and only the process.

The same thing could have been done with a set of styrofoam blocks and studio lights.

I choose to look at these "compositional thinking articles" in the same way that we teach algebra. There are students who get all hung up over why they should learn how to figure out what "x" is in k*x=y. It's not at all about the image (or numbers), but the theory.  Art was teaching operational theory--as such the actual set of photographs really doesn't matter.

Most importantly, which Art didn't mention, is the fact that a professional photographer must start out immediately by getting "something in the can". You start out getting something usable right away and then you can tweak and perfect the composition shooting each step of the way.

Ken
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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 12:18:11 PM »
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Art choose a very difficult location.
This place is simply a hell for composition.

Composition can be acheived by many ways,
- colors and lack of colors
- lights and lack of lights
- lines and points
- action and still
- full and empty
- patterns and tint area
- story told and untold
- information and lack of information
- inside - outside
etc...

The way all these are distributed in a measurable area (finite) determines a composition.
And composition is a choice.
A "choice" between what is in and what is not in.

This place is very difficult because there is a lot of informations (stimulations).
It is a mess in itself. The light is not great often. Colors are practically inexistents.
This is one of the most challenging environement for composition.


Fred.


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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 02:41:07 PM »
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Quote from: jenbenn
Hm, you are making a good point here. Maybe Michael could ask some photographers to publish a portfolio on the LL instead of writing lengthy articles? Or publish every week or so a link to a site with particularly good photographs? Many photographer webites are scattered around in the web, unnoticed by anybody. Bringing them to people's attention on the LL would be great.



We started this some time ago:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/in...showtopic=13879

There were a couple of other similar starts, but once you get into it there are links that take you places you might want to go. Only problem I find is that one can easily end up a totally passive photographer, browbeaten into submission by so much splendid work.

Rob C
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2010, 03:18:28 PM »
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Some of you totally missed the point of Art's article. It wasn't about the final image (or any of the others), it was about his PROCESS of thought. Get over yourselves, folks. Art didn't write his article hoping for critiques, he wrote it to help us become better photographers by opening our eyes to, perhaps, other possibilities we may not have considered.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 03:21:03 PM by ckimmerle » Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2010, 03:35:58 PM »
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Quote from: image66
.....
The same thing could have been done with a set of styrofoam blocks and studio lights.
.....
Quote from: ckimmerle
Some of you totally missed the point of Art's article. It wasn't about the final image (or any of the others), it was about his PROCESS of thought.  
.....


+1
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fredjeang
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2010, 03:43:33 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
Some of you totally missed the point of Art's article. It wasn't about the final image (or any of the others), it was about his PROCESS of thought. Get over yourselves, folks. Art didn't write his article hoping for critiques, he wrote it to help us become better photographers by opening our eyes to, perhaps, other possibilities we may not have considered.
I do agree.
The articles are usefull, some may be aimed to beginners, others to more advanced etc... but the images that illustrate them are not
made for art critics or pro exhibitionism.
The writters have their own web-sites for that purpose.
Ok, it's always nice when pics are top, but the reason of these articles is IMHO, first pedagogic.
I think we should look at these that way.
I've been learning very usefull things here, and not specially when a picture was "Whao"!
If one day I can make whao pics, part of these acheivement will be thanks to many articles like this one,
so I tend to give them value, even when I'm not interested.

I think we forgot too often that all this are given things to us, and for free.

Fred.
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LKaven
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2010, 12:11:40 AM »
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Proofreaders Anonymous is sitting up sleepless tonight because of the usage problem in the lead-off sentence.  Linotype tigers and bears, ohmy.

"Every successful image is comprised of several key elements that define its character"
would be
"Every successful image comprises several key elements that define its character"

The whole "comprises" the parts.
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2010, 12:40:41 AM »
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Quote from: LKaven
Proofreaders Anonymous ... blah, blah, blah, something not very important, blah, blah, blah...

On a photography forum, proofreaders should be anonymous.

It doesn't change the meaning or understanding of the article, so who cares (other than the not-so-anonymous proofreaders).
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