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Author Topic: What it is 'n' what it ain't.  (Read 48057 times)
Rob C
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« on: February 15, 2013, 10:59:14 AM »
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Seems to me that much confusion and ill-will arises from whatís become a sort of contemporary disease of the altered meaning of words.

As a result, I have decided to return to the (another!) golden era where words mean what they had pretty much always meant, at least within living memory.

In this new/old lexicon, and for those too young to recognize present corruption and semantic confusion Ė this is how it works.


Photographer: one who earns his living from the practice of photography.

Amateur photographer: one who enjoys the making of photographs as hobby, relaxation or self-expression.

Shamateur photographer: one who would like to earn his living from photography but lacks the courage to take the risk of putting his money and future where his pretences lie. He also likes to devalue the living of certain genres of professional photographer by doing weddings and supplying images for stock, working on the basis that it isnít the money (really?) but the imagined Ďgloryí. That it isnít the money makes the inevitable careless collateral damage the more reprehensible, especially as it is far from unrealised.

Artist
: One who earns his living from the painting of pictures.

Commercial artist: one who earns his living from the production of commissioned illustrations and drawings.

Amateur artist: one who enjoys the pleasures of putting paint on paper or canvas, and also drawing and sketching, financial reward not playing the least part in the motivation.

Painter: sometimes artist or amateur artist, but more often a person who paints buildings, bridges and other existing structures without having any responsibility for their creation.

Sculptor: one who creates three-dimensional works from solid lumps of rock; from welding things together so that they represent something other than their rude parts; one who makes decorative artistic constructs with no visible purpose other than to fill a void. This can sometimes be art, but often itís gravestones.

Musician: sometimes considered artist, I have doubts about the suitability of the appellation.  An undoubted talent, I think that it reaches beyond the more normal limits of art; I believe it to reside on a higher plane. Few images or written words have the power to reduce me to tears, but music certainly can, repeatedly. Like a certain beverage, it can reach parts that the others canít.

Artwork: a piece of work that has its basic meaning as simple illlustration in various media. A draughtsmanís drawing of a building would not be considered artwork; however complex it might inevitably be, it would remain a draughtsmanís drawing. A common, if broader word within the advertising industry to denote parts of a project that can be photographs, drawings, etc.

Art: a somewhat nebulous word often used to describe anything thatís beyond the ability of the average person to produce within the same, broadly graphic medium, usually a medium such as painting. Some forms of photography can fairly be termed art, but, more often, the word simply doesnít fit the facts. Some cars from bygone eras were certainly works of art, their designers industrial artists.

Talent: an unusual, inborn ability to perform exceptionally well within a given genre, whether one considered artistic or otherwise. Some blessed souls have this ablity across several disciplines.

Guru: no longer exclusively an Indian teacher or guide in matters spiritual, but a term commonly applied to almost anyone with the chutzpah to self-proclaim himself teacher or expert in any (or many Ė helps to broaden the sucker base) of a variety of different disciplines, but very often in the world of contemporary art. It currently carries subliminal connotations of fraud.

Curator: from simple keeper or custodian within a gallery or museum, the job appears to have grown into that of creating a new Ďartí langage offering fresh meanings and values to a variety of works that might or might not really have any intrinsic value whatsoever if seen without benefit of curatorial input. A large part of this new language consists of the putting together of ideas that would previously have been considered unrelated and even incompatible; the sprinkling of uncommon words plays a very marked rŰle in this new form of expression, possibly developing it into an art form of its own, more interesting and amusing than some of the associated art for which, essentially, it provides crutch.

Creativity: the talent for taking disparate elements and reorganizing them into a new thing that would not have otherwise existed. Examples of this can range from the work of an interior designer through that of some forms of photography, art and certainly music. Writers, film-makers; people who produce interesting product out of nothing, some engineers with great imaginations; even some curators - many have the creative element within them.

Statement: even in the world of art, it used to mean a monthly reminder sent to a client or patron to show how much the artist was still owed. Currently, it appears to be a statement of political/artistic intent, often written by the artist in an embarrassing attempt to give the impression that the statement has been written by another person. This seems to fool some of the people some of the time. Generally, itís a motivational sentiment expressed in a harmless form of written, low-key curatorial-speak.

Now I feel so much lighter of spirit. Any further misunderstandings are not upon my head.

Rob C

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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 11:47:44 AM »
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I'd point out that very often 'talent' is shorthand for 'worked his/her arse off studying/practising to make it look that easy', rather than simply innate ability.
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KLaban
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 11:55:20 AM »
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Ah, the world according to Rob C.

;-)
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Isaac
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 12:18:33 PM »
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Where's your definition of photographic artist ? :-)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 01:48:30 PM by Isaac » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 02:47:43 PM »
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Where's your definition of photographic artist ? :-)





I don't do paradox.

;-)

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 02:49:34 PM »
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I'd point out that very often 'talent' is shorthand for 'worked his/her arse off studying/practising to make it look that easy', rather than simply innate ability.



Nope, what you suggest is just practice attempting to make perfect. Looking easy has nothing to do with it.

Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 03:48:56 PM »
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Bravo, sir.
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petermfiore
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 03:54:09 PM »
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I like.

Peter
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 04:06:49 PM »
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Nope, what you suggest is just practice attempting to make perfect. Looking easy has nothing to do with it.

Rob C

Jimi Hendrix practised & practised. He didn't just magically get good at playing a guitar.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 04:35:16 AM »
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Jimi Hendrix practised & practised. He didn't just magically get good at playing a guitar.



Undoubtedly, but that doesn't deny him native talent, does it?

I tried for years and couldn't get beyond strumming EADGBE, hitting all six strings every time! Why didn't practice help me? Exactly: I had no talent for it.

Rob C
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kencameron
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 06:47:16 AM »
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I am afraid that trying to restrict "photographer" to the professionals is a bit like trying to keep "doctor" for people with doctorates. Correct, but futile.

I don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living? I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.

One interesting omission from  your list: craft (or craftsman). I wonder how you would define the Craft of Photography. It might be infra dig for some. I think it a heroic aspiration and one which this forum honors in various ways.

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 07:49:02 AM »
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Ah, the good old days!

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
RSL
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 08:31:00 AM »
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Seems to me that much confusion and ill-will arises from whatís become a sort of contemporary disease of the altered meaning of words.

Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2013, 08:41:02 AM »
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I am afraid that trying to restrict "photographer" to the professionals is a bit like trying to keep "doctor" for people with doctorates. Correct, but futile.

I don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living? I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.

One interesting omission from  your list: craft (or craftsman). I wonder how you would define the Craft of Photography. It might be infra dig for some. I think it a heroic aspiration and one which this forum honors in various ways.




Hi Ken,

I didnít set out to write an encyclopedia! To be frank, craft never entered my head because it applies as basis to all the skills; itís the foundation from which people depart for that encounter with their destiny in art, housebuilding, building of roads, commerce, everything. Itís a given, as it were. Without it nothing works.

1. ďI don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living?  I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide.

2. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.Ē

...

1. I know that Iíve posted on this Ďother jobí stuff elsewhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having two jobs if you need the money; what is wrong, however, is marketing your tiny input into a market where established rates of reward were long-established and then murdering all that hard work because of vanity and precious little else. The individual amateur is but an insect on the body professional, but when the entire world joins in the blood-letting it becomes terminal, as we have seen. So who gains from  that? The twit selling for a couple of cents on the dollar? The agencies? Neither, is the answer; even the agencies are having problems. It was ever true that paying peanuts attracts mostly monkeys. As I wrote before, a level playing field is all anyone asks. Competition isnít a worry; cut-throat pricing is.


2. I think Iíve indicated whatís amiss with the concept: itís the same argument as blaming guns rather than their irresponsible users.

Rob C


« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 08:45:17 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rocco Penny
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2013, 09:17:33 AM »
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hmmm
big stuff going on- you don't know what to do sometimes,
Here in California, on the fringes of several large population centers we've had people providing more and more for less and less.
Believe it.
Same wages for 25 years.
$25 an hour or so.
$10 bucks more for a really good hand.
There are dispatching agencies that provide good hands on a per diem.
$25 an hour, 5 guys, go like heck, 14G turns to 9G
All profit for a contractor.
Been going down steadily since it is pretty easy to watch tv and get the idea you could run your own job and hire out the labor from the parking lot of the local lumber yard.
It is hard to compete in a market that rewards results not rhetoric.
So more and more men watch me run my game and think they can compete.
There's no competition in my market.
Competitors are shut out.
Because my clients and I have worked out a relationship based on trust and longstanding traditions.
Being a freelancer means being able to transform oneself in a way that precedes desireable outcomes.
CARPING was my specialty until I decided I wasn't having it.
TYhat's when people started wanting my photographs.
I call myself a charlatan.
You could call me an imposter.
I need a good nickname.
Fake phony assistant regional bullshit producer?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 09:19:07 AM by Rocco Penny » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2013, 09:30:38 AM »
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Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.


Hi Russ,

Iím afraid you are right, but mistakenly optimistic: I donít think that it will get any better even in a long time.

My son once brought a schoolteacher girlfriend out for a holiday here; we fell out over the word alright which, obviously, doesnít exist, the correct form of the expression being all right. She didnít believe me at first, and then felt that she had to defend her impossible position. Folks get through university, teacher-training colleges and still donít know whatís correct? My son went for another beer.

Itís a similar thing with race: we have a lot of people in Britain who originate from Pakistan, a legacy of the hurried politics of 1947. In a discussion about recent dramatic changes to the look of the population of our old neighbourhood in Glasgow, my daughter and one of her children were quite upset when I referred to people of such ethnic origins as Paki; they took that as a form of insult! Being British, I am totally used to being referred to abroad as a Brit, and take no offence from that at all. Itís only an abbreviation of Briton, and accurate. Paki is only an abbreviation of Pakistani, but for some absurd reason probably dreamed up in some leftist race-relations boardroom, it has become taboo!

We used to have a very popular musical tv show in Britain called the Black and White Minstrel Show. (I shot promotional studio pix for one of the star singers: a Scottish girl called Margaret Savage; for some reason I never quite grasped, she called me Jumpiní Jack Flash.) The show had dancers dressed up in old-fashioned minstrel costume, their faces done up with black/white makeup, a happy-go-lucky show that brought lots of smiles and a general feel-good emotion to anyone watching. Amazingly, that, too, was ultimately seen to be an insulting form of entertainment. Why? Would it have been a different story if the actors had actually been black? Even the term negro spiritual is now seen as oh my goodness! I guess that where people seek to find offence, they will always manage to find it or, failing that, construct it.

The world has gone sweet, barking mad.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2013, 09:36:37 AM »
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hmmm
big stuff going on- you don't know what to do sometimes,
Here in California, on the fringes of several large population centers we've had people providing more and more for less and less.
Believe it.
Same wages for 25 years.
$25 an hour or so.
$10 bucks more for a really good hand.
There are dispatching agencies that provide good hands on a per diem.
$25 an hour, 5 guys, go like heck, 14G turns to 9G
All profit for a contractor.
Been going down steadily since it is pretty easy to watch tv and get the idea you could run your own job and hire out the labor from the parking lot of the local lumber yard.
It is hard to compete in a market that rewards results not rhetoric.
So more and more men watch me run my game and think they can compete.
There's no competition in my market.
Competitors are shut out.
Because my clients and I have worked out a relationship based on trust and longstanding traditions.
Being a freelancer means being able to transform oneself in a way that precedes desireable outcomes.
CARPING was my specialty until I decided I wasn't having it.
TYhat's when people started wanting my photographs.
I call myself a charlatan.
You could call me an imposter.
I need a good nickname.
Fake phony assistant regional bullshit producer?


Rocco, the Mafia has a point.

;-)

Rob C
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Rocco Penny
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2013, 10:13:09 AM »
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 I'm proud of my generational history here in the land of the Ohlone, of my Father's Father and his family before that.
It is no inoculation, but at least I haven't been genocided on.
There should be a guild and union.
Man people are so short sighted.
You'll be glad to know I'm holding out for cash green money not a split,
and if I sell any I use the money to maintain a certain lifestyle the goats have become accustomed to.
If I had to make a living off of smoke and mirrors I'd die of starvation.
I also think anyone would.
Downloading your images to be manipulated by others in a market that pays pennies if anything?
No way man.
I only sell prints,
framed my way,
and if I make anything it's usually just friends.
I got a few personally signed cards from Carol Sideman and her husband Bernard yesterday.
Told Mr. Sideman his wife's paintings of the coast around where I live are brilliant.
He brought a few cards for me.
How nice.
Wish he'd bring me one of those 36x48 inch landscapes of Bean Hollow...


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Isaac
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2013, 11:09:30 AM »
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...were quite upset when I referred to people of such ethnic origins as Paki; they took that as a form of insult!

Paki British slang offensive OED


Being British, I am totally used to being referred to abroad as a Brit, and take no offence from that at all. Itís only an abbreviation of Briton...

Yes, Brit is only an abbreviation of British, a phrase often used by Brits abroad to describe themselves.

No, Paki is not only an abbreviation of Pakistan, not a phrase used by people of Pakistani descent to describe themselves but a phrase used by British racists to mark out the other.

But you knew that.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 11:22:28 AM by Isaac » Logged
KLaban
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2013, 03:56:09 PM »
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Yes, Brit is only an abbreviation of British, a phrase often used by Brits abroad to describe themselves.

No, Paki is not only an abbreviation of Pakistan, not a phrase used by people of Pakistani descent to describe themselves but a phrase used by British racists to mark out the other.

But you knew that.

Rob has been pedalling this line for as long as I've known him and every time I tell him it's a matter of context. Time and again I've said if his grand-daughter calls him granddad it's a term of endearment but if some punk spits it in his face it's anything but.

Words evolve, always have done. "Contemporary, nah.

Alright?

 
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