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Author Topic: Profile: Fine Art Photographer Benjamin Riley  (Read 2240 times)
aboudd
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« on: January 22, 2012, 02:05:03 PM »
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I have just posted a profile on Philadelphia fine art photographer Benjamin Riley. His "Walls" series is something to behold. Please visit www.everything-foto.blogspot.com
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2012, 04:00:29 PM »
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Nice pictures, but where does the photographer enter into the equation?

So much of this genre - and it is of a genre - falls into this area of doubt, just as (for me) does landscape. Yes, you have, as photographer, to recognize that something's there, but then what, where the contribution, the creative extra from the man?

This isn't to knock the stuff, just to wonder about the purpose in the shooter's head at the time. Maybe he felt a hugely high sense of something; maybe he just followed a pattern that he fell into by chance; I find it very easy to do this myself, as I have with the discovery of the cellphone as camera: once something pleasant appears, then it's so simple to continue along the path for a while. But does it, can it, sustain, be more than a little of just more of the same?

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 04:03:08 PM by Rob C » Logged

aboudd
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 06:56:31 AM »
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As it says in the article Mr. Riley came to photography as the process to record events, people and places. This isn't an abstract series of photographs, it is a record of decay, caught beautifully in my opinion in his choice of subject, composition and technique.

I would love to see your cellphone pictures. Would you kindly post them?
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jalcocer
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 08:01:25 AM »
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Those are really nice pictures! good post!
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 08:14:11 AM »
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Brings to mind this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia.html
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 09:42:04 AM »
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...but where does the photographer enter into the equation?

Really? That's such an unfair response and relegates these fine images to the level of simple snapshots. I see a definitive point of view although, IMHO, there are a couple of photos that don't probably don't belong in this narrative. That nitpick aside, I really like the images.

(edited to expound upon my deep and sensitive thoughts)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 11:55:01 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

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

Chuck Kimmerle
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 11:57:00 AM »
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As it says in the article Mr. Riley came to photography as the process to record events, people and places. This isn't an abstract series of photographs, it is a record of decay, caught beautifully in my opinion in his choice of subject, composition and technique.

I would love to see your cellphone pictures. Would you kindly post them?


http://www.roma57.com/cellpix.html


Ignore the first one - that's just a time-capsule.

The majority of the abstracts, though, are from strolls through the local marina, where I gaze at the boats up on the hard, feeling smug and grateful that I'm too poor to be able to afford such an exciting set of invoices as the owners of the piccie-subjects have to face every year! (Believe that and you'd believe anything!)

But the reality, with reference to the wall set, is that once the first shot offers something, then it's simplicity itself just to go do the same-thing-but-different over and over again; pick a theme and it runs forever, or until you get bored. As per my cellphone abstracts.

This ain't an attack; just an observation about the ARAT syndrome, and that it can extend way beyond ARAT to include any genre you play over and over again. Try boogie-woogie, if you don't believe me. And as with the latter, one can still love it.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 11:59:00 AM »
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Really? That's such an unfair response and relegates these fine images to the level of simple snapshots. I see a definitive point of view although, IMHO, there are a couple of photos that don't probably don't belong in this narrative. That nitpick aside, I really like the images.

(edited to expound upon my deep and sensitive thoughts)




But Chuck, I like them too, as I wrote at the very start; that has nothing to do with it.

Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 01:43:05 PM »
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Rob,

With all due respect, saying "nice pictures" followed by the insinuation that there is no artistic point of view or no creativity by the photographer is a somewhat hollow compliment. It's like using the term "pretty" to describe a work of art, which none of use want to hear  Cry
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 02:50:33 PM »
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Rob,

With all due respect, saying "nice pictures" followed by the insinuation that there is no artistic point of view or no creativity by the photographer is a somewhat hollow compliment. It's like using the term "pretty" to describe a work of art, which none of use want to hear  Cry




Okay, Chuck; this is familiar territory for the two of us and we know, from experience in this place, that we simply can't see the same things in the same images.

Maybe you can indicate exactly where the artistic quality lies in those images? I see them as competent photographs of what's in front of the man's camera. I see absolutely no personal input beyond camera technique. I feel reluctant to get into the same old loop yet again, but for me, shooting something that exists, that will exist whether or not a photographer is present, holds no honour for the photographer when he catches it.

One (okay Ė I) can shoot a wonderful sunset, the foggiest of foggy days, the most stunning of breaking waves, but one hasnít created a hot damned thing. Exactly like HC-B, he has recognized something and had the camera ability to catch it. Thatís not art; thatís not creativity. Thatís experience. In the case of HC-B; I never thought of Henri as a creative photographer at all; I always thought of him as one of the worldís most efficient opportunists with the eye of a hawk. He didnít create anything; he captured what was about to happen, and would have happened with or without him being around.

Staying within this blessed loop, Iím forced to reiterate: creativity is the power of being able to create. In my head, thatís the ability to make something appear from components that, without the authorís input, would never have been juxtaposed, pitted against one another, fused, allowed to kiss in the framework of the photograph.

Thatís why I hand it to the guy in the studio who starts off with just a bottle of scent or a lipstick, and goes on to make an image that spells out luxury, lust, femininity, love, sex, the generally unattainable. Thatís why I also revere the iconic fashion photographer, the stylist whose work I can spot in a heartbeat; it is signature, handwriting, anything that makes a guyís work his, and not just an interchangeable product from any number of guys for rent.

It would be wonderful to be able to buy creativity; it would make life so easy and so happy for us all. But it ainít so, Iím afraid, as I know only too well myself. There are good days and there are days of the other sort. Your mojo can be running as dry as a stick, but when you have a job to do you just have to fly on hope and, at the very worst, rely on nothing more than technique to get you through. Then thereís the session where the model and you just click: you canít go wrong, and the problem then becomes when to stop. That little session, that different one, is where the creative juices are present and flying. Then, put down the camera, wipe off the face and its all over unless you subscribe to Blowup. Only human interchange can produce that; it doesnít come from nature.

But as I wrote, weíve been here before and canít convince one another. And thatís fine by me: I donít hold a grudge because somebody thinks me wrong. They may even be right, though I am blind to it. Perhaps itís a semantic deceit. Maybe nothing is creative and yet everything is, by virtue of nothing more than someone having gone click.

Just by chance, and in an effort to distract myself form this circular trap, I switched on to the website of one of our better shooters here on LuLa.

http://www.jameshaefner.com

Go into Etcetera and see what I was trying to put into words. Known as a specialist car guy, he can do anything else he damned well wants to do just as brilliantly. Thatís where I was trying to take the talk: some have it and can do it, and their creativity just leaps off the screen at you.

Rob C


« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:31:47 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 02:58:08 PM »
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Rob,

With all due respect, saying "nice pictures" followed by the insinuation that there is no artistic point of view or no creativity by the photographer is a somewhat hollow compliment. It's like using the term "pretty" to describe a work of art, which none of use want to hear  Cry



What we want and what we get are not always the same things.

;-(

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 02:59:40 PM by Rob C » Logged

aboudd
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 03:28:50 PM »
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Interesting thought, but not convincing Rob. You think that building a lipstick ad is creative? Doesn't the input of the art director negate the creativity of the photographer? After all he is only shooting what he is told. Annie Leibovitz does wonderful illustrative photography, but there is a cast of characters, assistants, set designers, art directors, prop masters, - who is the most relevant creative source? Ansel Adams would sit on one spot ( FYI he was a landscape photographer) for two days to find the perfect perspective and light for a landscape. Finding the right elements, as what you call walking by and snapping the shutter, to create a mood or capture a particular light isn't part of the creative process? What of his printing technique coupled with the zone exposure system he conceived, not creative?

What do you think of photo-realistic painters like Richard Estes or Yigal Ozeri? Estes street scenes could be Kodachrome exposures and Ozeri's young women could be Joel Meyerowitz photographs. I'm sorry, Meyerowtiz also shoots things that exist, so I guess his work isn't art either.

I took a look at your cellpix, while you are right in that many of them are drive by images, some of them are art whether you recognize it or not. When something draws you in, like decaying paint on a boat, and you move in tight to isolate the element,   use light and shadow to give it shape, you are being creative, I hate to break it to you. ;-)
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 03:46:32 PM »
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Interesting thought, but not convincing Rob. You think that building a lipstick ad is creative? Doesn't the input of the art director negate the creativity of the photographer? After all he is only shooting what he is told.



Where's the conflict?

All of them are being creative, just as in the example of the model and photographer. Creativity is very often a shared thing; that's how it usually has to be unless you have the good fortune to work as I used to do: mainly without the clients or anybody else around other than, when it suited us, my wife. I don't share your definition of the photographer "only shooting what he is told." Who'd need him? Cheaper just hiring a camera assistant and having the AD say yes, shoot it like that, now! But then, that takes us back to the photographer and a visible input, doesn't it?

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:49:07 PM by Rob C » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 03:16:42 AM »
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I like the coolness here. These pictures are documentary, of a era, and will be more valuable over time as a record of a society at that time.

Bit like Stephen Shore on downers.  Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 01:53:53 PM »
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I like the coolness here. These pictures are documentary, of a era, and will be more valuable over time as a record of a society at that time.

Bit like Stephen Shore on downers.  Grin



Nailed it!

Rob C
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