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Author Topic: Soooooooo  (Read 2331 times)
Chris Calohan
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« on: May 13, 2012, 12:24:03 PM »
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I shot this because I liked the clarity of the word Believe jutaposed against scratched glass, a vague interior and shadowy reflection, none of which invited me to understand what it was I should believe.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 07:43:06 PM by chrisc » Logged

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John R Smith
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 12:54:09 PM »
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Chris

I hope you won't mind me saying so, but just an observation -

You seem to be flooding us with a host of pictures here, but they feel as if they could have been taken by about six different photographers. There does not seem to be any focus or cohesion of style or subject matter at all. Nothing to make us say "Ah! Another great shot from Chrisc!" just at first glance.

Whereas the practitioners here who make me sit up and take notice, like Timo for example, have a look and style and subject matter which are so personal and distinctive as to be like handwriting or a speaking voice.

John
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 12:56:19 PM »
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I know someone on another forum who does almost exclusively reflections in glass and/or water. Itís a really great genre for artistic results that forces the viewer to ponder.

The one you did is interesting as a member of that genre. Definitely do more!
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 01:51:56 PM »
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Chris

I hope you won't mind me saying so, but just an observation -

You seem to be flooding us with a host of pictures here, but they feel as if they could have been taken by about six different photographers. There does not seem to be any focus or cohesion of style or subject matter at all. Nothing to make us say "Ah! Another great shot from Chrisc!" just at first glance.

Whereas the practitioners here who make me sit up and take notice, like Timo for example, have a look and style and subject matter which are so personal and distinctive as to be like handwriting or a speaking voice.

John

Interesting question with a most likely non-plussed answer: I am exploring what I like, without the necessity of defining myself to a genre, style, or theme as it might be. I am not redefining in the sense, I do not know who I am or could be; I am in that stead coming to grips with new potentials. I am putting out bits and pieces of that quest as ill-defined as I have currently described myself.

Right now, I am in full production mode. I am shooting everything, anything, any time of day or night...just exploring. I am having fun for the first time in a long time. Bear with..that side of me whom I think you will come to appreciate will re-emerge from a rather oddly self-imposed chrysallis.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 01:55:50 PM »
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This could work as a part of a body of work (on reflections, metaphorical meaning, religion...), but not strong enough to stand on its own.

Since you are teaching photography, it is possible that you already know Andy Ilachinski and his essay: The Eightfold Path Toward Self-Discovery Through Photography, about eight stages in developing your own style. Quite an enlightening read.

EDIT: Upon reading your reply to John, looks like you are at his stage #1: Joyful snapshots of anything and everything.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 01:59:31 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 04:23:12 PM »
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I'm reading Al Weber's, The Next Step. I've attended several workshops with Al and David Vestal and like their philosopical approach to shooting. Now, to practice said philosophy.
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shutterpup
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 05:52:07 PM »
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Since you are teaching photography, it is possible that you already know Andy Ilachinski and his essay: The Eightfold Path Toward Self-Discovery Through Photography, about eight stages in developing your own style. Quite an enlightening read.


Slobodan,
Thank you for the link; creatively speaking, I needed this shot in the arm today.
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Timprov
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 10:23:51 PM »
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I can see why you felt that way when you were there, but to me outside the context, it's too clear.  The word doesn't look real and it draws the eye so hard that I'm finding it difficult to figure out what's going on in the darker areas.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 10:28:54 PM »
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I can see why you felt that way when you were there, but to me outside the context, it's too clear.  The word doesn't look real and it draws the eye so hard that I'm finding it difficult to figure out what's going on in the darker areas.

That was exactly what I was trying to convey...such clarity in a pool of uncertain crap.
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William Walker
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 12:41:53 AM »
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This could work as a part of a body of work (on reflections, metaphorical meaning, religion...), but not strong enough to stand on its own.

Since you are teaching photography, it is possible that you already know Andy Ilachinski and his essay: The Eightfold Path Toward Self-Discovery Through Photography, about eight stages in developing your own style. Quite an enlightening read.

EDIT: Upon reading your reply to John, looks like you are at his stage #1: Joyful snapshots of anything and everything.

If I could add a link, courtesy of a link I found on Kirk Tuck's site, not only for Chris - I am sure most people will find it a mighty fine read.

http://www.fotocommunity.com/info/Helsinki_Bus_Station_Theory

William
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Mjollnir
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 01:20:48 AM »
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Chris

I hope you won't mind me saying so, but just an observation -

You seem to be flooding us with a host of pictures here, but they feel as if they could have been taken by about six different photographers. There does not seem to be any focus or cohesion of style or subject matter at all. Nothing to make us say "Ah! Another great shot from Chrisc!" just at first glance.

Whereas the practitioners here who make me sit up and take notice, like Timo for example, have a look and style and subject matter which are so personal and distinctive as to be like handwriting or a speaking voice.

John

So what?  Having a recognizable style doesn't make for good or great photographs.

Good or great photographs make for good or great photographs.
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John R Smith
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 03:40:58 AM »
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So what?  Having a recognizable style doesn't make for good or great photographs.

Good or great photographs make for good or great photographs.

Firstly, I would disagree - good or great photographers make for good photographs.

Secondly, I would say that there is nothing wrong with eclecticism as long as you can make it your own.

And Slobodan and William - thank you for the links.

John
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 03:49:41 AM by John R Smith » Logged

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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 05:51:24 AM »
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I also have to disagree as to which came first: the great photographer or the great shot. In doing so, I have to tell you I just recently read Arno Rafael Minkkinen's Bus Station Theory, though admittedly in a totally different context - God save me for quoting him.

I was recently interviewed pending my upcoming retirement by our supplier of fish monger wrappings and was asked what I hated most about teaching. Everyone always asks you what you like most, or they try to pin you down by telling you what you liked, then make you squirm through an answer. This reporter was a bit more savvy. Bless him.

To him, I answered: "I hated changing buses every year. Minkinen, a rather astute photographer suggests the way to absolute enlightenment as a photographer is to stay on the effing (they struck this word in favor of a more parent oriented word) bus from its starting point to its ending point. Learn along the journey and learn about yourself as you travel its uncertain route. As teachers, each year you will find us all standing on the corner, heads turned down the path of the buses' route, waiting for it to emerge from a dense fog of dead air with some great anticipation this will be THE BUS; the bus which takes us from mediocrity to excellence. Every single year I've taught, I've stood on that very same corner, only now, I don't care what bus comes along because I know there will be a new one next year and I'll have to embrace someone else's malarky for another year.

I came to embrace, "This too shall pass."

I was on the right bus and working my way through its route when I became a teacher - and quite by accident as there was never any intent to teach. But, there I was, a classroom of bored to tears kids who had also embraced, "this too shall pass," only we're here to make it pass best for us, not for you attitiudes. It took me awhile to understand what they wanted, and how to get them to their own route, many of whom are still riding their same buses and quite successfully, I might add, even if the bus has changed colors, veered off an intended path, gone from sunlight to haze; they're still there and I'm still here wallowing in mediocrity with 1500 other bored to tears teachers.

Soon, I get to climb back onto a bus of my own choosing, one not to be determined by the circumstance I chose, but one whose route I get to choose. In the meantime, I am narrowing down my choice of routes to take. We shall see, shan't we?

A great photographer to me is one who defines his work by the quality, clarity, and intensity of his/her work through self-attainment-attunement, not by who stands on the corner awaiting the arrival of his bus.

And, I love Harry Callahan and am intensely jealous of Minkinen for having such an opportunity.
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John R Smith
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 06:58:07 AM »
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Thank you, Chris, all of that is an excellent reply to my original obsevation. In particular, the two sentences below -

Soon, I get to climb back onto a bus of my own choosing, one not to be determined by the circumstance I chose, but one whose route I get to choose. In the meantime, I am narrowing down my choice of routes to take. We shall see, shan't we?

All I would say is, don't leave it too long before you choose the 'bus. Not all of us are going to make 82 and still be shooting good stuff, like Russ  Wink

John
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 09:28:34 AM »
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Trouble with buses is you get to require a timetable.

Anyone can stand at the bus stop all day long looking for the right number to come along - megapixels today? b/W sensor today or tomorrow? - but the answer isn't about that: the answer is about original sin: the first thing that attracted you to the making of images. The problem, if you want something a little esoteric out of photography rather than the mundane, is manufacturing the opportunity for sinning all by yourself; but you've got to do it or you'll spend the rest of your life chasing second-best - at best! I can vouch for that first-hand post-retirement, and it sucks. The wiser plan would have been to think of something totally else than photography with which to fill time after work, but I wasn't that wise - a bit of a foolish virgin, if you like. So, how about golf? Ummm... thanks, but I'd rather tennis, but as I'm far too old and knackered now, I feel safe in suggesting it!

Buses, like photography, can also kill you if you're not careful.

Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2012, 10:24:43 AM »
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Chris, I don't understand your problem. You've been teaching photography, and you obviously have a grasp of the history of photography. Why should retirement change your approach to your own photography? Your statement that you're "coming to grips with new potentials" sounds a bit overly-dramatic to me. Anyone who stops coming to grips with new potentials might as well just hang it up and move on into the great unknown. If you're alive you come to grips with new potentials every day.

I've retired twice too. I spent 26 years in the Air Force, retired as a full colonel, and started a small, sometimes two-or-three, but usually one man corporation doing software engineering. Over a course of 30 years I did all sorts of interesting things for outfits like Cirrus Logic, the state of Colorado, and local clients, even taught the C programming language for a while at Colorado Tech. I closed the company at the end of 2008.

But since Korea in 1953, when I was flying F84s out of Taegu, I've been photographing more or less constantly, as you say, "everything." Actually, not "everything," but everything that strikes my fancy: people on the street and elsewhere, abandoned farms, dying western towns, abandoned goldmines in Colorado, birds on the wing in Florida, landscapes, though I'm not awfully good at that, but improving with Slobodan's help. As you saw, I even occasionally break a personal rule and shoot flowers (but only when they're part of a larger scene). You can see what I consider some of my best from the past 59 years at www.FineArtSnaps.com and a more extensive and less carefully culled collection in the photo gallery at www.russ-lewis.com.

So I guess I don't really understand the quest for a "personal style." John's right, Timo does marvelous work and has a personal style. But part of the reason Timo has such a recognizable style is that Timo confines his work to a very limited range of subject matter. How about Ansel? Did his "recognizable style" extend to pictures like "Woman Behind Screen Door?" How about Henri? Did his recognizable style extend to his pictures of wooded areas? How about Elliott? He's probably my favorite photographer, but does he even have a "recognizable" style. Some -- I'd even stick my neck out and say most -- great photographers have (sometimes behind the scenes) been eclectic shooters.

Yet all the greats do have what I'd call a recognizable style. You might miss the fact that a single picture is by Robert Frank, but put three or four together and you can't miss it. The styles come from the fact that these people all shot what struck their fancy, and each fancy was a bit different.

So, my advice is this: go on making "joyful snapshots of anything and everything," but learn to cull with a passion. Never, never, never show anything that doesn't jump out at you after it's been tucked away unviewed for at least a couple weeks. (As the long-time LuLaers know, I break this rule from time to time, but I always regret it.)

Welcome aboard, Chris.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2012, 11:20:44 AM »
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Most likely, Russ, my bus will be the same...La-la, the Magical Mystery Tour...is Coming to Take You Away...fulfull of surprises and eager to take me wherever I want to go. What I really meant by "coming to grips with new potentials" was that I would finally be able to escape high school photography...to anyone who's never taught it, it is a daunting and challenging endeavor, far more difficult than at the community or higher college level...thus, I have to come back to where I left off...

I will take your advice and learn to let my work permeate a few weeks until I can look at it again through fresh eyes and determine what will improve it, should I discard, or let it stand as a decent statement about my work.

Thanks for your understanding. It is nice to be welcome.

PS I am located in Florida as well.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2012, 11:23:57 AM »
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Trouble with buses is you get to require a timetable.

Anyone can sand at the bus stop all day long looking for the right number to come along - megapixels today? b/W sensor today or tomorrow? - but the answer isn't about that: the answer is about original sin: the first thing that attracted you to the making of images. The problem, if you want something a little esoteric out of photography rather than the mundane, is manufacturing the opportunity for sinning all by yourself; but you've got to do it or you'll spend the rest of your life chasing second-best - at best! I can vouch for that first-hand post-retirement, and it sucks. The wiser plan would have been to think of something totally else than photography with which to fill time after work, but I wasn't that wise - a bit of a foolish virgin, if you like. So, how about golf? Ummm... thanks, but I'd rather tennis, but as I'm far too old and knackered now, I feel safe in suggesting it!

Buses, like photography, can also kill you if you're not careful.

I shall endeavor to look both ways before stepping off the curb...Thanks all for the very sage thoughts.

Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2012, 11:42:50 AM »
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Chris, I'm only located in Florida in the winter. I just got back to Colorado where my beloved mountains are.
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 11:44:31 AM »
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Rob,

FWIW, you might look into volunteering at any of a number of local non-profit organizations (npos). With your photography skills alone, there are a wide variety of things you can do to help out. Other, additional skills are also desired. My experiences with npos going back about 25 years is that they use a lot of photographs for promotional work. I have no knowledge of your goals or desires but in the event you donít want to do photography any longer, there is still a wide number of things that npos do that are interesting, challenging, and which generally help the community.

Volunteering can go a long way to making one a happier person. With your skill set, you may be able to make some $$ from your photographic work, if that is a goal. Iíve seen a number of people come on as volunteers and end up doing paid assignments.

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