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Author Topic: Eric Meola article  (Read 20292 times)
Dan Glynhampton
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« Reply #120 on: January 24, 2013, 07:38:31 AM »
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What's Rule No. 2?


In my copy of the book it says

(Rule No. 2) See Rule No.1

 Smiley
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Rob C
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« Reply #121 on: January 24, 2013, 08:04:19 AM »
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Rob, with respect, you have been pushing your point of view pretty strongly.
You can move along anytime at your discretion.

Tony Jay


True, Tony; but I'm hardly going to push a point of view with which I disagree, am I, or lapse into silence because of possible/probable disapproval of the good and the great, or is that the new politic you are proposing? I'll save you effort: I'll move on down the line as suggested.

Hast la vista.

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #122 on: January 24, 2013, 12:09:59 PM »
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... Look: you are a photographer; you do some fantastic cityscapes and also some very pleasing pics of your daughter. I think those of your girl are art...

Not sure if my photography has much to do with the debate.

I consider myself, as you said, a photographer. I never referred to my work as art, and definitely not as Art. Or to myself as an artist. I participate in this discussion not to defend my "artistic" status, but mostly out of intellectual curiosity.

However, I do try to be creative, I think I am creating something, even with my landscape photography, whatever that something might be, and whatever the degree of that creativity might be.

Being creative is a necessary component of any art, but creativity doesn't make art in and by itself. You can be creative in robbing banks, for instance, but that won't make you an artist. Unless, of course, you define a new genre as the Art of Robbing Banks  Wink In that respect, it is really irrelevant if HCB is an artist or if he considered himself so. But I do consider him creative.

I do consider landscape photography capable of producing art, just like landscape painting is (hence my Cézanne reference, given his "photographic" approach). I think Andreas Gursky is an artist photographer (i.e., artist first, photographer second), and Rhein II a fine example of landscape photography art.
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« Reply #123 on: January 24, 2013, 12:15:16 PM »
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[re-arrangement of the objects in the scene into a composition] -- Taking your question at face value, often dangerous, I say yes...

You were right to take my question at face value.

I don't see a way to dispute that there is a difference in-kind between the creation of a scene for our photographic purpose and the "nice capture" of something that already exists.

Sketching out the elements of a landscape composition, and then tracking down locations where something like that composition might be found, has some very slight similarities to what you mean by photographic creativity -- but really isn't the same.
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Isaac
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« Reply #124 on: January 24, 2013, 12:24:22 PM »
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Rob, with respect, you have been pushing your point of view pretty strongly.
With respect, so have you.

You can move along anytime at your discretion.
So can you :-)
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #125 on: January 24, 2013, 12:28:03 PM »
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Vermeer and others, according to David Hockney, painted directly over an image created on canvas by a camera obscura (See here for a very interesting documentary discussing this). Vermeer was undeniably a great and creative artist, an old master in fact. But it seems he was in actual fact a very early photographer, only using paint instead of pixels or film to capture exactly what the camera provided for him.

That's why my photographs are so Vermeer-esque!  Grin
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« Reply #126 on: January 24, 2013, 02:02:05 PM »
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With respect, so have you.
So can you :-)

I am not being dismissive of the various viewpoints being presented.

Tony Jay
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Isaac
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« Reply #127 on: January 24, 2013, 03:30:17 PM »
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I am not being dismissive of the various viewpoints being presented.

As I didn't say that you were being: I suppose that's meant to suggest that someone else was being dismissive, without straightforwardly showing us the words so we can decide whether or not we agree with your characterization.

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Isaac
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« Reply #128 on: January 26, 2013, 12:25:46 PM »
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By that standard, even Cezanne wasn't creative. He often did "just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point." In other words, if you would go today to the places he painted, find his vantage point and snap a photograph, you would see that Cezanne was very faithful to reality, almost photorealistic (in placement of elements, not technique).

(Disclaimer: I don't know anymore about Cezanne than I've read in a couple of art books.)

I think that reference to photorealism gives a wrong impression of what Cezanne was trying to achieve -- "He was not out to distort nature; but he did not mind very much if it became distorted in some minor detail provided this helped him to obtain the desired effect."
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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Don't mistake lack of talent for genius.


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« Reply #129 on: January 28, 2013, 07:46:42 PM »
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I have been thinking long and hard about the direction that this thread took and the ensuing discussion regarding the creativity or lack of it within landscape photography, and having now given it a lot more thought, I have to conclude that whether I like it or not, Rob does seem to have a point, but only up to a point I think.

Taking or should I say making a photograph, a landscape photograph in this particular instance, does not at first appear to include any creativity on behalf of the photographer, only good observation and the skill to replicate what happens to be there in front of you, no more and no less.

But can this really be true?

We discussed and identified creativity in terms of comparing the act of assembling a still life image and making a photograph of it as being creative, against the replication of a scene via a landscape photograph as not being creative. It was suggested that by the act of moving objects around into a satisfactory composition within a still life setting and then shooting the resulting scene, that creativity was being achieved simply through the act of moving the objects around. Creativity having now been added to the image, via the choices being applied to make something that had not existed before the photographer made it exist. I now accept and agree that creativity has indeed been applied to the still life image.

Non creativity can also be as easily described by sticking with the still life analogy, because if we shoot a still life that someone else had created but with no design choices or input from ourselves, then we could not claim to have added anything creatively to the shot, however we shoot it or the selection of view point we use (assuming the still life is kept central within the scene and is set against a negative space backdrop), because we had nothing to do with the creation of subject and so could only take shots of what we had been presented to us. We could skilfully use observation to find the best vantage point and take many different shots of the same still life, but all the images would be of someone elses creation, albeit from different angles and skilful observation is not the same as creativity. I also find no problem agreeing with that.

So what is photographic creativity? Creativity in this context it seems, is achieved through the input of the photographer in creating something new or by changing something within that thing that is to be photographed, in other words, to make what is being photographed physically different than what it would have remained, if the photographer had not been creatively involved with the subject. Again I have no problem agreeing with this.

So having agreed with the above, what would happen if we came across a still life scene prepared and left for us by another photographer, but we didn’t like the composition and so removed one of the objects. In doing so, haven’t we then created a different composition than the one that had previously existed? Haven’t we changed the scene by interacting with the elements within it and been creative by removing something, so that now any image we take of the still life setup is a creative image for us? We have been creatively involved with the image, not by altering the composition, or by the addition of objects or even by moving objects around, but by the act of removing an object? The still life is virtually the same as it was before I grant you, but now that an item has been removed from what we had originally found, the design of the scene has changed as a direct result of our creative choice and input to it.

And that is where the nub of the problem lays, or should I say the nub of the solution lays. In a landscape photograph such as you see below, this scene was not visible to me as it now is to you (not taking into account the fact that it is a black and white). Yes all of what you see in the image below was already there in front of me when I made the shot and I agree I couldn't creatively move any part of it around, nor did I wish to add anything to it, but crucially, the image you now see here was not visible to me (or anyone else for that matter). What you are looking at, was buried and hidden within plain view you might say. It was completely surrounded with the rest of everything else I could see in front of me and which I had no choice other than to see, sky, clouds, sand dunes and rolling waves etc. There was no delineation or separation between what I wanted within the image and what I did not want within the image. Yet by selectively removing what I did not want within the scene, I had to exclude what was already there by framing out the rest of the scene to get the shot I wanted. I was creatively removing what was already there but that I did not want to be there, to create something new and never seen before. Someone standing right beside me, with the same kit and the same setup and settings, would not and could not have made exactly the same image, yes it might have been very similar, but not exactly the same. In fact the shot you see below is totally unique as are all human made photographs and can never be repeated exactly ever again, it exists only in this one instance and was the result of my creatively removing what was already there to extract what could not be seen, into what can now be seen by anyone who wishes to look at it. I did not change anything within what was already there, yet I did decide what I wanted to photograph and how I wanted to photograph it, but more importantly, I also creatively selected out what was not to be in the photograph - and this is where the true creativity in landscape photography lays. Yes you need good observation skills to see an image hidden within the full complexity of everything you can see in front of you, but you also need to apply creativity to exclude and remove what you do not want within the image, in essence you are removing objects to the outside of the frame and away from the viewer for whom they will never exist, just as much as you are doing when you physically remove an object from a still life composition.

Creativity when making a photograph of a still life or a studio shot etc, can be said to be in front of the imaging process, it is what you do first. Whereas creativity within landscape work or architectural or street shooting etc, is at the back of the process, it is what you do last, it is ‘creative exclusion’ as opposed to ‘creative inclusion’, but none the less it is still photographic creativity.

I am not challenging anyone or asking anyone to reply to this post, nor am I trying to re-light this discussion or pronouncing what anyone has said is wrong and that I am right. This is simply me thinking aloud and trying to understand what creativity is within landscape photography and why it bugged me until I came up with an answer that fully satisfies me.

I can only thank Rob for having given me the chance to have a really good think about this.

Hasta la vista – and don’t anyone say to me after reading this that I really need to get out more, I am a landscape photographer remember, I am already out there in all weathers and at all times of day, day after day and I love it..  Grin

Dave
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #130 on: January 28, 2013, 09:28:57 PM »
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Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

On a related note, do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).* Rob is simply front-loading creativity, i.e., accepting it only in the beginning of the process, on what is in front of us. Photographic creativity is back-loaded, i.e., kicks in at the end of the process (or even in the middle of it), in the end-result stage, be it in-camera or in post-processing. We do not create what is in front of us (in terms of landscape), but we do create an image, end-result. We do not re-arrange objects in front of us (neither did Cézanne), but we do re-arrange those objects in the image (via view-point selection, angle of view, lens and all other photographic elements, in-camera and in post-processing).

*Rob, that was purely for rhetorical purposes, no offense meant
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« Reply #131 on: January 28, 2013, 10:41:17 PM »
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I agree with Slobodan here. There is a processing chain which involves varying degrees of creativity from the first conception to the final print.

The landscape photographer may not be able to rearrange the elements in the composition at the stage of the initial concept, but he certainly can do so later in post-processing, without even offending the sensibilities of Alain Briot.  Wink

Furthermore, if one is adverse to changing the position of trees and mountains in post processing, then the exercise of getting the concept right in the first instance, by walking around for the best vantage point, or even lying flat on one's stomach or climbing a tree, or returning at a different time of day when the lighting best fits one's concept, whilst more cumbersome and time-consuming than rearranging kitchen utensils, or persuading one's model to smile like she's never smiled before, is surely not less creative.


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« Reply #132 on: January 29, 2013, 12:37:04 AM »
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Creativity when making a photograph of a still life or a studio shot etc, can be said to be in front of the imaging process, it is what you do first. Whereas creativity within landscape work or architectural or street shooting etc, is at the back of the process, it is what you do last, it is ‘creative exclusion’ as opposed to ‘creative inclusion’, but none the less it is still photographic creativity.

Dave, I can't believe I am telling you this since I thought of you as one of the more intuitive photographers, non-scientist types, but for the sake of a more thorough treatment:

Art is not Mathematics!

Landscape photography is just as much a "creative inclusion" process as any other type of photography because it is all about waiting for all the elements to combine into a picture that best represents that particular landscape with the intended message. Since you do a lot of photography of your nearby locale you no doubt have imaged in your mind several pictures of the landscape which just happen to be possible only on a few occasions and particular times. Mist coming in from the sea, lower cloud base, blooming heather, whatever.

Rob is massaging his models into a smile and waits for the exact right pose and expression. Then he triggers.

A landscape photographer scouts the landscape and waits for the exact right light and climatic conditions. Then he triggers.

If anything, the landscape photographer most likely has to wait a lot longer, and therefore it is a more creative process… ;-)

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« Reply #133 on: January 29, 2013, 11:36:12 AM »
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...an answer that fully satisfies me.

Perhaps there's a flaw in your reasoning.


Yet by selectively removing what I did not want within the scene, I had to exclude what was already there by framing out the rest of the scene to get the shot I wanted.

That seems no different than what you concluded in a previous paragraph was "not the same as creativity".

Just insert "or framing out the rest of the scene" after "selection of view point we use" --

...we could not claim to have added anything creatively to the shot, however we shoot it or the selection of view point we use, because we had nothing to do with the creation of subject and so could only take shots of what we had been presented to us.
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Isaac
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« Reply #134 on: January 29, 2013, 01:02:10 PM »
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We do not re-arrange objects in front of us (neither did Cézanne)...

"When [Cézanne] painted a landscape he pushed and reconciled two typically independent aims: to present the motif's structure and sensuous tone clearly, and to create an object with a rich, inner coherence." p1 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

"The composition, while adhering closely to the motif, is both more stable and more dynamic. Cézanne achieves stability by shifting the plane of the path at the bottom to a near horizontal, and creates tension by giving the forms a push to the left, not only by building up the patches, but also by tilting the trees gently leftward. He even straightens out the edge of the rock so as to make it participate in this movement." p102 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

Interesting book, thanks for mentioning it.


"A painter freed from the constraints of his imagination -- to reverse the more common metaphor -- has an infinity of visual realities to explore." p83 Cézanne: Landscape into Art

A smaller infinity :-)
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Isaac
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« Reply #135 on: January 29, 2013, 02:54:55 PM »
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...do not let Rob suck you into his semantic vortex, where he's the proverbial judge, jury and executioner (i.e., both creates definitions and then determines how they apply to various genres).

He seems to be using words in an ordinary way and expressing a straightforward quite-modest distinction -- but maybe you think Rob is indulging in curator speak :-)

Quote
A useful approach to the pictures in this exhibition is to see them as made, not taken. A picture is "taken" by discovering or selecting an already-existing subject and accurately transcribing it, revealing and exploring a fragment of the real world. The result is essentially a record and commemoration of a specific time and place -- e.g., a "decisive moment" (Henri Cartier-Bresson) or a "supreme instant" (Edward Weston) of reality. This so-called straight or pure photograph bears with it the presumption of truth, in part because of photography's scientific origin as light traced on paper, its reaffirmation of Renaissance perspective, and our widely shared cultural proclivity to believe in the verifiable objectivity of photographs. This credibility is ultimately based on the photographer's seeming lack of interference with the subject.
...
In "made" pictures, the photoartists ... creates or otherwise affects the subject photographed. This activity takes a variety of forms. He or she may arrange or fabricate objects or environments specifically for the camera ... Others subvert traditional (portrait and landscape) styles, often inventing new ones ... Still others photograph themselves or others in highly stylized or fictive roles, involving allegory, genre, myth, ritual, fantasy, and illusion. ...

The Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980s p9-11
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #136 on: January 30, 2013, 02:12:14 PM »
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Dave, that is a damn fine photograph and a great example of photographic creativity.

Thanks Slobodan - and can I say your Vermeer(esque) image of your beautiful daughter (I believe) is remarkable..!

Dave, I can't believe I am telling you this since I thought of you as one of the more intuitive photographers, non-scientist types

Yes I agree it is odd of me to feel that I needed do this, but I have this weird thing you see, whereby I've always found it difficult to remember things. I found the only way I could keep something in my head, is if I fully understood it. I soon realised at school, that if I needed to know something to pass an exam for instance, then I needed to fully understand how it worked and why it worked, rather than just being able to rely on my memory telling me what did what, as everyone else seemed able to do.

My wife tells me that I analyse everything to death..

Dave
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« Reply #137 on: January 30, 2013, 10:33:25 PM »
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Curator-speak. There's lots of it about. It's often much more entertaining or even, dare I say it, creative than the artwork; perhaps it is the atwork.

Without curators whispering their words of commercial magic into the ears of the half-opened chequebooks, would art survive? Would there even still be such a concept? Probably not. Cave drawings? Nobody knows why - maybe even they had curators...

Rob C
International Art English is the phrase you are looking for.
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« Reply #138 on: January 30, 2013, 10:39:40 PM »
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I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.
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« Reply #139 on: January 30, 2013, 11:22:39 PM »
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I notice the word Sisyphean was used earlier, well this debate is a fantastic example of that kind of task as pushing a boulder uphill would be more productive than debating art with Rob.

I did not read all the posts here as it seemed to be a lot of noise not moving anyone in any particular direction.

My bit of noise:
Creativity can be found almost anywhere but cannot be put on like  a hat. It is the natural consequence of the process of problem solving. Some activities seem more creative than others but that almost always stems from the surprise to the observer.

I like to make photographs and I hope the next will be better than the last. The struggle to do that is the creativity and that is what makes it fun. Drawing a box around what we do through rules reduces the endeavor to a contest.
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