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Author Topic: Motivation  (Read 26754 times)
Rob C
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« on: August 01, 2010, 12:16:29 PM »
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I have thought about this quite often but hesitated to post for fear some might take it the wrong way. It is not my intention to mock, hurt feelings or be a smart-ass in any way; I can do that number quite intentionally so take my word for it, this is not such an instance. I think it has been motivated (the question) by the huge number of tourists here at the moment, all armed at arm's length and doing the same callisthenic of snapping something invisible to me. Is it a conspiracy?

My thought/question, basically, boils down to this: why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, town halls, lakes, tourist 'attractions' or, even that LuLa favourite, icebergs? I can understand the professional travel photographer having to do this - well, there used to be a branch as such in the profession - where some commercial gain might be had, but for the amateur, however good, where lies the motivation?

I can understand a little more clearly why a dedicated landscape photographer might be moved by a scene of outstanding natural beauty and be motivated by a wish to preserve that experience and do something decorative with it; I can perhaps catch on to the family snap ethic too - just - but mostly, I couldn't get into that either and not for want of an array of cameras or family members.

The theme of 'street' has been raised in this connection earlier, and there I can grasp fully the possibly illicit thrill of the hunt, as it were, but going beyond that moment as far as actually working to produce a print is also several steps further than I'd go. The question would be, as with the other disciplines, what good would such prints be to one? No doubt some have followed the Arbus wagon and done well (commercially, as in art photographer) out of it, but for the rest who don't seek money, what are they seeking?

Bringing it down to concrete, I can see the value (to me) of some of stamper's shots insofar as they served a real purpose (to me) in showing me things about my old town that I was interested to learn; I'd imagine that such direct benefits/uses seldom exist in most experiences. Of course I could be wrong, I'd be the first to admit that.

It's a wide question - any focussed explanations?

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 12:27:18 PM by Rob C » Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 04:06:40 PM »
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I'll give it a whirl, Rob, since I am aware of sometimes being a tourist (often) and (at other times) a "Photographer" ("Of which title I am very proud" -- Edward Weston).

When I am in "tourist" mode, I want souvenirs of places that I have enjoyed being (whether it's because I had a memorable experience there, or am merely proud that I managed to get there -- such as the top of a mountain). Looking at my snapshots later on helps me to relive the experience (and sometimes bores the hell out of friends and relatives).

Commercial postcards may often be of higher quality than the snapshots I can take myself, but they lack the sense of "I was there; that's how it looked to me." Thus I try to take my own snaps so I can relive past pleasures.

I'll admit that some tourist pix by others sometimes interest me, if they are of places that I have also visited, or places that I wish I could get to. I do a fair amount of vicarious mountain climbing to images of both Bernard L and Lisa N (but there "tourist" pix have a good bit of the "photographer" to them.

As for "Street Photography": It generally leaves me unmoved unless it displays some significant relationship between persons and setting or between persons and others (such as Henri C-B was a master at.)

As for icebergs: If I ever got to meet one up close I would want to study it from many angles and see if I could find one where the shapes and forms, slight and shadows come together to make an image that says more than "This is an iceberg, and I took a picture of it." I have seen a few such iceberg photos from some of LuLa-ers who have done one or more of the Antarctic trips. Not many, but a couple.

I think it's hard for us mortals to spend time and money on something (expensive equipment, expensive trips to exotic places, etc.) and have to face up to the fact that the results may be so-so.

But as old geezers, you and I are getting to the point in life where we have seen too many clichés in too many types of photography. Try to remember when each new image was a discovery!

I hope some others will take up your bait and respond, too.




Cheers,

Eric

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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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fredjeang
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 04:57:48 PM »
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Rob,
Wide question.

I think it has many ramifications and explainations, not so much photographic but social.

We basically are living in a culture of consuming. This is not new, but what changed is the grade of perfection. In other words, we consume much more than our parents and our parents than their parents.
We consume everything, and basically most of the things we don't really need. It is consuming for consuming.
When we are tired, and we are very fast... we just purchase another gadget.
We consume cars, sex, relashionships, travels, cars, house...and of course pics. There is IMO no other motivation that consuming pictures. Nothing profund just the act in itself.

It's funny, in a very recent thread I remember the Cooter's post saying that people would be surprised how old are the gear and devices in professional studios. That's logical, they are working.
But...is there anybody here that is still working with a good 6MP camera?
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2010, 05:50:13 AM »
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Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
I'll give it a whirl, Rob, since I am aware of sometimes being a tourist (often) and (at other times) a "Photographer" ("Of which title I am very proud" -- Edward Weston).

But as old geezers, you and I are getting to the point in life where we have seen too many clichés in too many types of photography. Try to remember when each new image was a discovery!

I hope some others will take up your bait and respond, too.


Cheers,

Eric


I hope folks do, too. It's possible that it's an age thing, with some of us, but that wouldn't explain why I spent so much blood, sweat and tears getting myself into the profession yet never shared the general amateur ethic of why. Whatever that really is, which is what I hope this thread might partially reveal.

http://www.artkane.com  is a site I rediscovered yesterday. To my surprise, I realised that some of his shots mirror those in early Pirelli cals, not least some of the Francis Giacobetti ones; I am unable, without actually looking at dates, to say which was the chicken and which the egg, but there sure is a huge family resemblance running through there! Accident? Influence? Happenstance?

Several of the Kane images are credited to publication in Pop Phot, their two Annuals being my principle inspiration at that period after the usual fashion magazine suspects that corrupted me the rest of the year.

In this age of digital manipulation it is sobering to see how little that works is new.

Perhaps it's the fascination with Kane, Haskins, Moon et al that has meant that virtually no amateur motifs, in a non-pejorative sense of the term, have seriously entered my head as possible directions of interest. I suppose I would be accurate in saying that it was those photographers' pro work that turned me on - I do believe that many of them, like myself, considered pro and personal to be exactly the same thing. This has never struck me as a slightly pretentious stance, but an honest description of what some actually do with their camera and life.

Tribe needs transportation to a food source! It's a local patron saint's holiday weekend - God knows if we'll find a table.

Rob C


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KLaban
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2010, 07:49:04 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
...why do people take cameras with them on holidays and shoot local buildings, museums, town halls, lakes, tourist 'attractions' or, even that LuLa favourite, icebergs...

For some it's the proof of their existence and for others it's the photographic equivalent of I was 'ere.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 08:29:03 AM »
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Quote from: KLaban
For some it's the proof of their existence and for others it's the photographic equivalent of I was 'ere.
But they where not there Keith.

Because if you want to be there, with your presence, the last thing you want to have with you is a camera.
Go to a wonderfull place with your camera and you loose the reality, because all that matters is suddenly the good picture to take.
And the expertienced was the damn good pic, not what was happening at this moment.
Some will say, but to take good pics yopu have to be present, you pay more attention. But if we look closer, that is not what is happening,
in fact we pay attention in order to gain something (the pic) not attention to what is for what is.

We consume gear, so we consume pics, and if we consume pics, we will consume gear.
Does someone can go to a wonderfull place on hollidays and NOT bring the camera? I'm almost sure that there will be 99% of No.
And why? just in case...the motivation is pic consuming, then after the consuming, the diffusion, and after the diffusion in the best case, the whaos and bravos expected.
There is no other motivation Rob, basic. Rarelly a strong process, message or whatever. Pics for pics like sex for sex.

Just in my street, there is the Mali consul. Every morning I walk in front the Mali consul to go to the bar and have my ritual coffee.
The Mali consul is one door and one 10m2 room. My dressing-room is bigger than the Mali consul...this is all what a country like Mali can afford. One 10m2 room.
It breakes my heart and makes me think really about our standards. So huge differences!
In the forums you see many members doing fences and trees pics barking because of DR and stuff like that.
It makes you think...

Then, no surprise to see these tourist buses in an indian reserve with their fashionable 15mp cameras with face detections and now smile detection (don't laugh it is not a joke).

Sure that if they will shoot this Mali consul, they would feel embarassed somewhere.

Something's wrong Rob. Something's wrong.


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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 09:01:48 AM »
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Living in a tourist Mecca (Bangkok and greater Thailand) my observations lead me to believe "because it's there" and "marketing is telling us to.. so we must."

At Angkor Vat not so recently I was mildly to greatly annoyed when my serenity and thought processes were interrupted by large tourist buses of mainly ethnic Koreans and Chinese.. who universally appear to have little respect for this great sites religious and/or spiritual significance.  The noisy and loud (not to mention stinky diesel fumes) extra large tour buses pull up one after the other, the cattle call is sounded, hundreds of tourists disembark with cameras in hand, and then proceed to loudly shout amongst one another while climbing on artifacts to have their photo taken.. often while "signing" like hip-hop artists.  The cattle call sounds again, they rush inside the giant tin cans, and an amazing amount of empty water bottles, food wrappers, and what not is left behind.  I often join in with the locals cleaning the area to help make it suitable for being photographed once again before settling back into thought.. at which time another set of extra large tour buses appear...

This is standard throughout South East Asia, but it's especially irksome at such sites of religious or spiritual significance.

However, it is "the thing to do" as evidenced by repetitious advertising from large billboards to television ads mind bending the viewer into believing no vacation is complete, no visit to an attraction fulfilled, no experience meaningful, without pulling out the newest most feature laden electronic toy to document their invasion.

I can't wait until they start marketing individual robotic trash collectors and make them the 'toy of choice' at each site..

Don't get me wrong, I don't want the place to myself.  I've long realized most compositions in this area aren't complete without people in the scene.  It's more the method of encroachment and lack of respect.  Because it's there and marketing tells us we must..
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 11:47:38 AM »
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Fred, I think you are right and I think you have also probably answered my current dilemma about France: to go or not to go.

As you know, I've driven through many times, mainly in a general north/south axis, with, always, an end purpose in mind - getting back to Ecosse to see family. En route, I'd take lots of Velvias with a sort of unclear idea of putting them into stock later on. So now, without either set of parents to spend six weeks with, nor wife with whom to enjoy the trip, there is suddeny no real sense of either destination or purpose beyond more of what were incidental photographs accompanying the private reliving of Route 66 without Corvette. So... why, exactly, to go? Man with no name, just driftin' thru? I don't even have a big hat.

South-east Asia. Well, I can understand the feeling of anger. I expect anyone living in a tourist area who does not have a tourist-based business will feel much the same. Tourism is basically a curse and one of the most corrupting influences I have ever seen at work. Today is a local holiday. I took the family out to lunch and we ended up back home (without eating anything) where we had pasta and were glad to be there enjoying it. Wherever we looked had doubled prices (at least) and cut choices. Worse, the acrid stench of vomit and bleach from last night's festivities in honour(?) of the patron saint were all-pervasive despite early morning efforts of the sanitation department. Today it continues, not for the saint but for the Moors and Christians, an annual epic where they stage mock street fights to re-enact the eviction of the Moors from Mallorca some centuries ago. The sanitation department will have, if not exactly enjoy, much more overtime tomorrow.

But there we are - I have never, in all these decades, gone to shoot either event.

It's an interesting thought: does having a camera actually distance you from the reality around you? Fred, I think it does; I think it creates an ersatz one of its own, giving you the same quality of the experience as enjoyed by the waitress at a wedding. You are there but you are not there. When I was just starting out I was asked to shoot my cousin's wedding for her. That's a job which really takes you out of the main event! I can remember nothing about it, but I'm sure my wife and daughter would have been able to tell you everything that went down, not that it would have thrilled you, I don't think.

Consumerism may really be the reason, as has been suggested, that people obey this ritual, nothing more profound than that.

Perhaps not directly connected, but it sort of makes me think about an old theory of mine: prices have rocketed because so many wives/girlfriends work. They did or did not do this largely from choice up until around the late 60s, and then with the explosion of boutiques, temptation parlours everywhere, it became a necessity for many women in a relationship to bring in some money so that the family could simply stand still. The annual holiday abroad seems, to me, to carry much of the responsibility for that thirst for money. And to what end? To be mugged by everyone in the chain.

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 12:24:46 PM »
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Rob,

I think there are three classes of reasons why people make photographs or paint or make prints (etchings, lithos, etc.). I was going to say "make visual art," but introducing the term, "art" begs the question. People make images (1) to record or (2) to create or (3) to "be."

The tourists, including the asses described by Steve (ask me about a trip I once made to the Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor), like all tourists, are shooting to record. They think that someday they'll go back to the pictures and say, "Ah, wasn't that a wonderful trip to Angkor," or they plan to impress their friends with a slide show that will demonstrate their multiculture-appreciation credentials, and probably bore their possibly soon-to-be-ex friends into catatonia. Happily for their friends, in most cases neither plan will be carried out. The pictures will disappear into limbo until their descendents run across them while cleaning out the house after the funeral, and wonder "Where the hell is that?"

People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three.

Finally, there are the people who want to "be" an "artist." I saw this in my college days when I was planning to become a professor of English Lit. I constantly ran into people who wanted to "be" a writer, but didn't particularly want to bother with the hard work of writing. I saw the same thing again when my wife had her gallery: people who wanted to "be" an artist, but didn't want to bother learning the chemistry and mechanics of painting, or learn the history of the genre they wanted to pursue. It seems to me that this is the kind of thing the "fine art" community survives on. Somebody like, say, Christo, has managed to acquire the credential: "artist," even though what he does strikes most people as anything but "art." I could name several "fine artists" who sell paintings at phenomenal prices even though it's clear to anyone with eyes to see that their "art" is crap, though if I name them there's going to be an uproar that's beside the point. It's the Barnum principle at work.

I need to make one point about street photography before I leave the discussion. Eric hit the nail on the head when he said, "It generally leaves me unmoved unless it displays some significant relationship..." That's exactly what good street photography does, and when it does, it's what I call "art." Good street photography conveys information about the human condition that you can't put into words -- unless, possibly, you're a very, very good novelist or poet. I think it's difficult almost to the point of impossibility to do that in any other photographic genre.
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2010, 12:32:19 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Because if you want to be there, with your presence, the last thing you want to have with you is a camera.
Go to a wonderfull place with your camera and you loose the reality, because all that matters is suddenly the good picture to take.

Quote from: Rob C
It's an interesting thought: does having a camera actually distance you from the reality around you? Fred, I think it does; I think it creates an ersatz one of its own, giving you the same quality of the experience as enjoyed by the waitress at a wedding. You are there but you are not there.

Can't agree.

Over the years my camera has been a passport into the lives of people I would have otherwise never have met and has resulted in opportunities not afforded to others. This has nothing to do with being professional or amateur and everything to do with being there, looking and seeing, and above all connecting with people.

One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.

Rant over.

For now...
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fredjeang
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2010, 12:54:24 PM »
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I toatally agree with both Eric and Russ about what good street photography is about.
Actually, it does not necessary leads to a human meeting in the sense of Keith is talking.

Yes, the camera, as everything can be wisedly used and be a passport, I agree with that. But if you think about it, this attitude does not depend on the camera.
What I mean is that I know lovely people who have been able to have these kind of meetings a camera in hands, but I realised that their nature
leads them to wonderfull meetings even without the camera, others even with a camera never succeed to approach other human beings. It can even be hostile.

In the moment one is busy making picture he experiments the making of an image.

The reasons why this act occurs are diverse. I rarelly see a professional photographer, I even know some real artists, that use their cameras when it is not for work or create their art.
Except if street or land is your art, that's another story, but then your behaviour will be very different from a tourist.
But very very few that I know go out and shoot all the bloody time whatever is in front of them and certainly less the pyramides or temples if there is not a deep reason for it.

If someone can not go on hollidays without shooting, he is in slavery state. To be in bondage, better to have a good reason. It can be art, it can be human experience or whatever.

I doubt that most the tourists are thinking about these, they are in auto pilot.

I bet you anything if that could be verified, that what would happen if we where forced to not bring a camera in a 1 month trip would be anxiety. I don't have my toy. I may miss pictures.
Rarelly it will be I may miss human experience or meeting. No, I will come home without pics.
Then back, another anxiety and frustration state that these trip was fantastic and if I had a camera, what great pictures I would have taken.

The lost pics are always the better aren't they?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 01:04:20 PM by fredjeang » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2010, 03:49:52 PM »
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For the vast majority of P&S shooters it's just the thing marketers have convinced them is the thing to do. Same for most self-described amateurs with expensive cameras, but slightly different reasons - perhaps justifying their gear lust, bragging rights, showing off?

There's a small group who shoot because they enjoy it, and have no driving external reason for it. I would call them amateurs or perhaps hobbyists - they can be found in all other hobbies, from stamp collecting to sailing.

Quote from: Rob C
Fred, I think you are right and I think you have also probably answered my current dilemma about France: to go or not to go.

As you know, I've driven through many times, mainly in a general north/south axis, with, always, an end purpose in mind - getting back to Ecosse to see family. En route, I'd take lots of Velvias with a sort of unclear idea of putting them into stock later on. So now, without either set of parents to spend six weeks with, nor wife with whom to enjoy the trip, there is suddeny no real sense of either destination or purpose beyond more of what were incidental photographs accompanying the private reliving of Route 66 without Corvette. So... why, exactly, to go? Man with no name, just driftin' thru? I don't even have a big hat.

South-east Asia. Well, I can understand the feeling of anger. I expect anyone living in a tourist area who does not have a tourist-based business will feel much the same. Tourism is basically a curse and one of the most corrupting influences I have ever seen at work. Today is a local holiday. I took the family out to lunch and we ended up back home (without eating anything) where we had pasta and were glad to be there enjoying it. Wherever we looked had doubled prices (at least) and cut choices. Worse, the acrid stench of vomit and bleach from last night's festivities in honour(?) of the patron saint were all-pervasive despite early morning efforts of the sanitation department. Today it continues, not for the saint but for the Moors and Christians, an annual epic where they stage mock street fights to re-enact the eviction of the Moors from Mallorca some centuries ago. The sanitation department will have, if not exactly enjoy, much more overtime tomorrow.

But there we are - I have never, in all these decades, gone to shoot either event.

It's an interesting thought: does having a camera actually distance you from the reality around you? Fred, I think it does; I think it creates an ersatz one of its own, giving you the same quality of the experience as enjoyed by the waitress at a wedding. You are there but you are not there. When I was just starting out I was asked to shoot my cousin's wedding for her. That's a job which really takes you out of the main event! I can remember nothing about it, but I'm sure my wife and daughter would have been able to tell you everything that went down, not that it would have thrilled you, I don't think.

Consumerism may really be the reason, as has been suggested, that people obey this ritual, nothing more profound than that.

Perhaps not directly connected, but it sort of makes me think about an old theory of mine: prices have rocketed because so many wives/girlfriends work. They did or did not do this largely from choice up until around the late 60s, and then with the explosion of boutiques, temptation parlours everywhere, it became a necessity for many women in a relationship to bring in some money so that the family could simply stand still. The annual holiday abroad seems, to me, to carry much of the responsibility for that thirst for money. And to what end? To be mugged by everyone in the chain.

Rob C

With the threat of derailing the discussion, I need to point out that tourism is a vital industry for many places, including entire countries, such as Thailand mentioned earlier. Clearly there are externalities (both positive and negative), but suggesting that tourism is a negative-sum industry is ill-informed at best.

Secondly, your theory about prices "rocketing" because women have entered the workplace is an unnecessarily simplified explanation and doesn't survive even cursory scrutiny: there was rampant inflation (and deflation) before women's suffrage or rise of feminism. Women also increase global productivity, something which has a strong multiplying feedback loop.

I would even go as far as saying prices rocketing is plain wrong. If one looks at inflation or buying power time series it can be a rather depressing exercise. This becomes even more dismal if we allow for the constant tweaking to the definition of inflation by politicians to make it look better than it is; quoting "core inflation" being the latest sleight of hand trick. But when we look at what the money today buys it's a whole different story. Even poor western families can afford goods which kings would have literally killed just a few generations ago, such as air conditioning, refrigeration, cars, or TVs. Buying power is a moving target, and comparing just the value of a dollar doesn't even scratch the surface.
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2010, 05:17:13 PM »
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Quote from: KLaban
One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.




Not at all, Keith, it results in an exchange of views and an interesting insight into other psyches and even one's own, if with a different eye. I think that 'getting out there and doing it' really needs to be qualified a little. I've seen folks doing exactly that every summer for too many years to buy into the value of the experience they are having. Damn, I imagined the same dream was going to be a realistic way of life myself, and for the first couple of months we lived here I did spend most of it on the beach. Soon, I couldn't bear the discomfort and blinding monotony of it. In fact, last week, when I took the girls off to the sailing school, it marked the first time in years that my feet have hit a beach - couldn't wait to get off it and shake the stuff out of my shoes.

It's routine; its the doing of the expected. That's all the beach holiday can be. I ask myself why did I want to have a tan? Why did I want to lie in all that uncomfortable muck best left to the building site (okay, I do know you shouldn't build using sand that has salt in it) and the crabs? I can't give a sensible reply to my own question - how can I expect one on behalf of others?  City holidays - the same thing with a different theme, that's all. Go to Rome, walk the walks, see the columns and toss the cents into the Trevi and make the wish. Like everybody else. Follow the footsteps of a zillion million others. And record it all in the camera.

But, that's not a condemnation that I'm attempting. What I'm trying to discover is the unwritten why of shooting it at all. Or if there is, indeed, one to reveal.

Camera as social passport. Well, it does open a few doors, but also closes others just as firmly. Was a time when being a fashion photographer was a passport all right, and to more than foreign ports. Even ugly guys got laid! Now, rich ugly guys get laid.

Again, Fred has it right: whether desirable doors open to you or not is more something in your own character than in your job/hobby or whether you tote a camera.

"People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three."  - Russ.

This can lead into a different direction altogether. In fact, I think that you have chosen to miss the greater part of the function of the three types of work you quoted, Russ; devilish advocacy, perchance? Recording is far from being the motive for fashion and even for product: glamorization is closer to it since there is ever the selling aspect, even for a bottle of detergent. As for weddings - I couldn't wait to dump them - even did so at about the fourth such assignment before I knew if I could make it doing anything else. Why? Simply because there was no interest in those people's lives, their spouses-to-be nor any part of them. But then, I wasn't really driven by money, strange to say. The driver was the work that I wanted to do; a quick, painful failure at fashion or girls would have been far better than a lifetime of brides and grooms, even with a big reward in the bank. Back to that biblical thing I mentioned some days ago: what would it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

Yes, you are right that some achieve this creativity where many don't, but that's also a measure of the components as much as of anything else. It's no accident that some models get all the work! But creativity is core to those jobs - it's part of why some get them and others never will.

"The reasons why this act occurs are diverse. I rarelly see a professional photographer, I even know some real artists, that use their cameras when it is not for work or create their art.
Except if street or land is your art, that's another story, but then your behaviour will be very different from a tourist.
But very very few that I know go out and shoot all the bloody time whatever is in front of them and certainly less the pyramides or temples if there is not a deep reason for it." - Fred.

Once more, Fred, you might be sitting in my head. You are writing the story of my life. And of any other pro pho that I personally know. Most have no love at all for taking the damn thing around with them without a reason; for ages I thought that my own reluctance to take my stuff walkies was somehow tied up with the loss of physical energy, stamina and pure strength that follows a heart incident. I would think about this body married with this lens - even fantasize about the M9 (just fantasize) when I realise, in my heart of hearts, that the problem is what this thread is about: motivation, not camera type, not physical ability. (Hence my doubts about the sense of taking a drive around France, thinking a camera can even begin to replace a wife in that equation.)

That's not the same thing as not having anything photographic you want to do, it's that for me, those things become unattainable without a huge client structure that is long gone. And there comes the Terence Donovan quotation re. the amateur. He never has that structure/experience, so where will he find that key which evades some of us much of the time? Now, uncomfortably wearing the am shoes, I see his point ever so much more clearly!

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 05:21:10 PM by Rob C » Logged

KLaban
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 02:23:46 AM »
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At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.

I was referring to the fact that at least these tourists are getting off their backsides, getting there, and making images rather than sitting around talking about getting there and talking about making images.

Anyways...whatever...I now give up.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2010, 05:49:59 AM »
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Can't agree.

Over the years my camera has been a passport into the lives of people I would have otherwise never have met and has resulted in opportunities not afforded to others. This has nothing to do with being professional or amateur and everything to do with being there, looking and seeing, and above all connecting with people.

One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.

Rant over.

For now...
1.  In the context you're using a camera is just an object like any other object.  You could say "my bicycle is a passport....." and it would be just as true.  

2.  It's unfortunate that you think discussion and thought results in absolutely nothing.  Did you really mean to say that?

3.  It's not necessary to travel as a tourist to capture meaningful images or create art.. I'd go so far as to say those who travel in the tour buses and tour packages I observed and referred to are LESS likely to create meaningful images or art than if they walked ten minutes from their home and quietly observed their environment.  The travel needs to be part of a targeted mindset to be productive to good photography.
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2010, 05:56:47 AM »
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With the threat of derailing the discussion, I need to point out that tourism is a vital industry for many places, including entire countries, such as Thailand mentioned earlier. Clearly there are externalities (both positive and negative), but suggesting that tourism is a negative-sum industry is ill-informed at best.
I wouldn't say tourism is "vital" to Thailand anymore than we can say its vital to America or the UK or anywhere else.  It's just another industry like any other.  Thailand is hardly the third world country hungry for any tourist dollar that comes along that people think it might be.  And considering the caliber of 'tourist' so common to this country.. I'd dare say Thailand would be far better off without tourism.  But then this becomes a very complicated discussion.  I just wanted to point out that Thailand has a huge export economy which is doing quite well and it's not living off tourist dollar handouts..
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2010, 06:23:30 AM »
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Steve

Quite right on all points - and as far as tourism and the dependency it does or does not create, that must vary according to the number of irons any country can stick into the fire.

If you look at the Balearics, you see islands that were once somewhat independent if not exactly living high on the hog. Now, particularly since the advent of the EU, that has changed dramatically. Just over the hedge to our place is what used to be cultivated land - each time the grain was due to be harvested it looked like a golden sea as the breeze would turn the plants into waves. When it was harvested, the farmer's few cows, a couple of goats, sheep and several pigs and chickens were given free range and it was a lovely sight to see. Then he was paid by the European powers to destroy all of that, stop growing cereals, keeping animals. The land is now abandoned and reverting to scrub with a few pines catching hold here and there.

You could drive through the island and see farm after farm. Now, you see some potatoes still grown and a few fruit and almond trees - the latter mostly abandoned because of the cost of gathering the nuts and turning them into what you buy in the market. There was a great shoe industry which has also declined with many factory closures. What happened? In short, what seems to have happened is the BMW and the Mercedes. The current generation has seen the money from abroad, sniffed the fruit of the disco and drug trade, sold the farm to a foreigner bearing gold and now he discovers that the land he sold is forever out of his ability to repurchase. Then, as is always going to happen, the tourist trade got hit by economic downturns and altered expectations and destinations. Suddenly, the winter tourism (that I used to do brochures for) is as dead as the dodo and has been these past ten or twenty years. The net result is that when the building of apartments, villas and bus trips to the local versions of the 'Disneyland' industry fade, the people suddenly find themselves without anything left to do. You can't run an economy on nothing more than sun and sand and drunken sex in an alley. And when there is no motivation beyond that of easy money from rock'n'roll, sex and drugs and poor, expensive food, you end up with no silver left to sell, a morality that loses itself in unreality and the ability to blame it all on the people that no longer come to throw their hard earned around.

I stand by my observations: tourism is a poison that kills without you noticing.

Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2010, 08:37:37 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I stand by my observations: tourism is a poison that kills without you noticing.
Rob C
Most often, but not always, tourism is just another tool of the rich to exploit those who are not rich.

Don't get me wrong, I've spent most of my adult life "traveling" first courtesy of our armed services and then living as an expat overseas.  I love the adventure and feeling of visiting a new country and meeting the people.. but perhaps because I started "touring" at a single location for 2-3 years at a time, I never got into the 2 week vacation thing.  I'd go live in a country, learn the language, study the history and experience the culture.. each time I moved on I'd take a small piece of 'something better' with me.  Sometimes I feel I was born a few hundred years too late, no more frontiers to explore, no more unknowns to amaze.. but then I stop and think how lucky we are to live in our current time where we can chat with people from other countries so easily via the internet (I used to do it via ham radio), share images from around the world the same way, and travel so easily to almost anywhere on the planet..

I'm on the road 7-12 days a month somewhere inside SEA.. and with each trip I grow more rich.  When I feel I've seen it all.. I'll move to another country and start over for as long as the body will allow.
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2010, 08:48:41 AM »
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Quote from: Steve Weldon
1.  In the context you're using a camera is just an object like any other object.  You could say "my bicycle is a passport....." and it would be just as true.

Well, I'll give it a try, but I do have to wonder how many folk are going to welcome me into their lives and homes because of my bike.

Quote from: Steve Weldon
2.  It's unfortunate that you think discussion and thought results in absolutely nothing.  Did you really mean to say that?

Yup. It seems that there are those, who despite years of discussion cajoling and encouragement, cannot be helped. I'm now trying tough love but don't hold out too much hope.

Quote from: Steve Weldon
3.  It's not necessary to travel as a tourist to capture meaningful images or create art.. I'd go so far as to say those who travel in the tour buses and tour packages I observed and referred to are LESS likely to create meaningful images or art than if they walked ten minutes from their home and quietly observed their environment.  The travel needs to be part of a targeted mindset to be productive to good photography.

At last we agree on something. This is precisely what I've been encouraging certain folk to do for years but seemingly without success. As I've said, I'm even trying tough love, but now I'm at the point where I should probably just accept that, at least for them, discussion and thought is all that's left. I really hope I'm wrong.



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KLaban
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2010, 09:07:37 AM »
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BTW, Steve, do you get the sense that perhaps you've walked in on a cryptic and personal discourse?

lol
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