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Author Topic: Something To Smile About  (Read 1184 times)
seamus finn
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« on: February 21, 2013, 05:14:12 AM »
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....Or Not.

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David Eckels
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 08:42:02 AM »
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Well done! Fun.
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amolitor
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 08:45:19 AM »
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Nicely seen! I enjoy these things where we have another artist's interpretation of a thing juxtaposed with the thing. Having the grinning artist in the frame is a real treat. A little nice ambiguity in the subject of the drawing, too, why does he look like that? One feels that there's a couple stories here, but we don't know what they are. Victory!
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Jaffy
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 01:21:20 PM »
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I like the way you've focused on the easel and subject and kept the artist out of focus, rather than all 3 in focus.
I'm intrigued by the white star to the right of the artist.
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RSL
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 01:52:13 PM »
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Good, Seamus. It was the decisive moment.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 01:56:57 PM »
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Fun indeed! Well seen, well captured.

On a side note, and not a criticism of the OP photograph, I can see how a bad bokeh can impact a photograph. Just above the sitting guy's head there is that harsh rendering of OOF areas that I find rather distracting.
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 01:58:27 PM »
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....Or Not.


This is expressive and interesting. And the photographer is being revealed a bit too. That's a good 1-2 punch for me. Something to say, and something about the speaker. The timing here is the key to this photograph. The expression of the artist would be going through various phases and this particular devilish smile was chosen as the moment to snap. That's where you see the photographer behind the photograph. To my eyes, he is sharing the joke with the artist, and he wants me to share it with them both.

I am not crazy about the framing here, but this is what happens on the street. It's luck once more. I feel that stepping to the right would have been more interesting. It might eliminate the pole in front of the seated fellow, and it might make the layers of the three faces tighter and more in line. Might work, might not. If I was super picky, I might like the artist's hands to be in sharp focus.

I think this is a good product of taking your camera out on the streets where the people are. I could care less if it looks like a Cartier-Bresson, or any other previous practitioner of photography. Nothing about this photograph depends on its taxonomy in that way. It is lively, stimulating, life-like, dynamic, content-filled, and truth telling. It therefore takes advantage of what this medium does best. I can't detect any software gimmicks in the photo, and for me that is a part of its authentic feel. A joy to look at.

EDIT: I also didn't consider the time it took to produce it as any important aspect of the photograph. It might have taken 1-second, or 40 hours. It doesn't have any influence on my assessment. Nor do I care what camera was used. Is it a "snapshot," as a few people love to say here, or a "photograph?' Who knows and who cares, and how does that affect anything? Maybe the photographer spent a week in software manipulation, maybe 20 seconds. None of that matters to my impression of it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 02:03:46 PM by RedwoodGuy » Logged
amolitor
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 02:07:50 PM »
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I would like to know what you consider this photograph to reveal about the photographer, if you could take a few moments to write a couple lines. It is a subject of some interest to me.
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 02:18:38 PM »
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Andrew, I think you're dreaming if you expect "a couple of lines" from RG, though I'd be pleasantly surprised if it happened.

I'll tell you what this picture tells me abut Seamus. It tells me he's done enough street photography to understand how it works. He's not being sneaky. He's obviously working with something close to a "normal" lens. He's also facing his subjects. I'd guess he hung around for a while, popped off a couple shots of something else, maybe chatted these guys up a bit, swung his camera around, everybody smiled about that, and he made the shot. Something like that anyway. This is more environmental portraiture than street photography, but you do effective environmental portraiture the same way you do street.
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 02:26:17 PM »
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I would like to know what you consider this photograph to reveal about the photographer, if you could take a few moments to write a couple lines. It is a subject of some interest to me.
Since it is a subject of some interest to you, I think a better idea would be for you to write about the subject as a response to what I said.  Then, I will know more about the meaning of your question and can address it more clearly. Being a subject of some interest, you must have a lot of thoughts about it.
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amolitor
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 02:51:23 PM »
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I do have a lot of thoughts about it, and I can sketch them out here. I was hoping you could simply expand on what you meant when you said "And the photographer is being revealed a bit too." but that is evidently not to be.

I think that when people say things like that one of a couple of things is going on, sketched out here in a list of of overlapping possibilities:

1) they are responding to an apparent style. What they mean is 'I think the photographic choices made here are distinctive, and I feel I would recognize other work by this photographer'
1a) If the photographer is well known, this expands to a sensation that the photograph carries information about the photographer, but this is an illusion. The style connects the work to the photographer, and memory connects the photographer to things known about the photographer. All the photograph has is the style, nothing more about the photographer.

2) the photograph, somehow, evokes a response in the viewer that feels like "knowing" the photographer. There's a bunch of ways this might happen. None of them actually carries any information about the photographer, the sensation of "knowing" is illusory.

3) the photograph is shot in a way that feels somehow "first person" and places the photographer/viewer in some scene with some evocative material in it. A photograph might reasonably be, one imagines, about "sorrow" let us say. A first person point of view constructed through camera angles and some placement of objects in the frame might make the photograph evoke a notion of "the photographer's sorrow" and thereby lead one to imagine that the photographer is sorrowful. This sort of thing can happen by accident or by design. Regardless, again the sensation of "knowing" the photographer is an illusion.

4) some 4th, 5th, and so things which I have not yet apprehended.

Note that in no case that I have been able to determine does a piece of art in any meaningful way reveal the artist beyond the relatively trivial statement that "I chose to make this".

There is of course one more possibility, which is that talking about how the work "reveals the artist" is a smart-sounding bit of nonsense that sometimes will get the rubes thinking that you're a clever fellow, if they're dim enough.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 02:55:55 PM by amolitor » Logged

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Tony Jay
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 02:52:09 PM »
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I would like to know what you consider this photograph to reveal about the photographer, if you could take a few moments to write a couple lines. It is a subject of some interest to me.

Seamus chose to focus in on the portrait itself.
The artist and the "model" are slightly out of focus but recognizable.
The rest of scene is also recognizable but increasingly out of focus from front to back.
Of some interest to me is the fact that the portrait itself does not appear to do justice to the model (arguable I suppose).
The artist is smiling (chuckling) about something but we are not sure what.
As I focus in and out and then back in on this image it is like peeling an onion, it is full of layers, but ambiguous, it is like an onion but does it really taste like an onion!
My suggestion is that Seamus has captured a mighty fine image that is full of parallel storylines the exact interpretation of which is certainly open to debate.
I would further suggest that the serendipity captured by Seamus is in fact not arbitrary - Seamus seems to have the ability to truly see and capture and recognize the moment.
The image is like a full juicy fruit with a wonderful taste and texture - I'm just not sure what it is yet!

Tony Jay
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 04:08:53 PM »
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I do have a lot of thoughts about it, and I can sketch them out here. I was hoping you could simply expand on what you meant when you said "And the photographer is being revealed a bit too." but that is evidently not to be.

I think that when people say things like that one of a couple of things is going on, sketched out here in a list of of overlapping possibilities:

1) they are responding to an apparent style. What they mean is 'I think the photographic choices made here are distinctive, and I feel I would recognize other work by this photographer'
1a) If the photographer is well known, this expands to a sensation that the photograph carries information about the photographer, but this is an illusion. The style connects the work to the photographer, and memory connects the photographer to things known about the photographer. All the photograph has is the style, nothing more about the photographer.

2) the photograph, somehow, evokes a response in the viewer that feels like "knowing" the photographer. There's a bunch of ways this might happen. None of them actually carries any information about the photographer, the sensation of "knowing" is illusory.

3) the photograph is shot in a way that feels somehow "first person" and places the photographer/viewer in some scene with some evocative material in it. A photograph might reasonably be, one imagines, about "sorrow" let us say. A first person point of view constructed through camera angles and some placement of objects in the frame might make the photograph evoke a notion of "the photographer's sorrow" and thereby lead one to imagine that the photographer is sorrowful. This sort of thing can happen by accident or by design. Regardless, again the sensation of "knowing" the photographer is an illusion.

4) some 4th, 5th, and so things which I have not yet apprehended.

Note that in no case that I have been able to determine does a piece of art in any meaningful way reveal the artist beyond the relatively trivial statement that "I chose to make this".

There is of course one more possibility, which is that talking about how the work "reveals the artist" is a smart-sounding bit of nonsense that sometimes will get the rubes thinking that you're a clever fellow, if they're dim enough.

An very high word count there. I guess it's ok when you do it? Part of the double standard?

Let me deal with the 'dim rubes', as you call them, first. Many very accomplished, famous and respected photographers have all commented on the principle of the artist always revealing himself in the photographs. In spite of your claim, I don't think they all view their audience as rubes.

Next let me say that in fact I did share my meaning of seeing something of the artist in the art. I said it right here: "That's where you see the photographer behind the photograph. To my eyes, he is sharing the joke with the artist, and he wants me to share it with them both. "  I don't find that hard to understand, do you?

Three things need to be clear in this discussion - art, artist, and the meaning of revealing something of the artist. If there is no art, and no artist, then the discussion is moot. I assumed an artist and a work of art in my comments. That means I assumed that the artist had a purpose to express an idea, or make some form of statement. It might be anything from propaganda to religious zeal to humor. What matters is the attempt to use a medium as a means to communicate. If someone tells a joke, they are revealing their sense of humor. If someone tells a story about compassion, they are revealing their sense of compassion. If someone writes a love poem, they are revealing their longing for another. The purpose of art is to communicate, and what is communicated is a position, feeling, thought, or story of the communicator - - the artist.

Artist-->desire to say something---->artwork---->message received and interpreted by viewer. If we assume all artists want to be successful, it means they'd love the viewer to "get" something of the message they "sent." Example: when I laugh at the fellow's joke, I am saying, "You have revealed yourself to be a funny fellow." When I cry over the compassionate story written by the artist, I am saying, "You have revealed your interest in compassion." And so on. Is photography an art? Yes. Is it created by artists? Yes. Do they want to communicate something? Yes. If I see something of what the photographer was trying to communicate, have they revealed something of themselves? Yes. Is it mandatory for the viewer to get the right message? Well, no it isn't.

The other day, your mentor Slobodan, asked this revealing question (paraphrase): "Ok, if you can see the artist, tell me what books I have read." Now that summarizes for me the void of understanding about art, artists, and communication. Talk about missing the point!

My take is you also disdain art, artists and really anything connected, as some kind of con job on the 'dim rubes', as you call them. You love craft, you appreciate long hours spend on photoshop, or other decorations, and from what I can see, you never see anything in photography beyond the most surface level of the image. That's my assessment of why you constantly ask questions like this in the way you do. You don't trust the idea that art exists, and might be visible here, and not visible there. You reject the notion that one can judge the difference between a crafted piece and a vision of art. I am not surprised - there is very little talk here of art in photographs. There is plentiful talk of craft. Craft can easily be rationalized - - "I worked 46 hours on this piece!" Ahhh, it is worthy of admiration. OTOH, a magnificent piece of art created by two brilliant slashes of a brush, or some instantaneously grabbed photograph is something you can't trust.

 

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amolitor
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 04:21:07 PM »
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I understand, I think, what you mean about revealing the artist, thank you for expanding your thoughts. I disagree that this is actually revelatory of the artist, however. The artist is not the message, nor is anything about the artist reliably contained in the message. A body of work can usefully inform a portrait of the artist, the things we say in our life are interesting to the biographer. I know of no biography composed of quotations, however.

Your characterization of me in the last paragraph is completely wrong. I don't even have photoshop, and typically spend less than 20 minutes making adjustments to any image. Usually quite a bit less. It's not at all clear to me why you even included this material. While I disdain a certain amount of Fine Art, I do not disdain art. I can't imagine where you even came up with the idea that I do.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 04:23:38 PM by amolitor » Logged

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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 04:27:10 PM »
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I can't imagine where you even came up with the idea that I do.


From your vicious comment about the "dim rubes" being deceived by anyone cleverly talking about the artist being revealed. This is such a standard part of art, that voicing it in that way certainly projects a disdain for both art and those who might appreciate it. As always, it is an opinion. But not without evidence from which to form it.
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amolitor
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2013, 04:31:03 PM »
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That's a lot to read into a few words there.

I considered leaving that part out, since I was pretty sure you'd fixate on it and jump to some sort of idiotic conclusion based on it. Still, I could not with any intellectual honesty leave out the fact that there are blowhards who bloviate on about "art" using a bunch of canned phrases and words, to create the impression that they're well informed. These people exist, there's simply no denying it, and pretending that they do not would have left out a real slice of the population that talks about how art reveals the artist.

There really IS no talking to you, is there? I'm done with it.
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David Eckels
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2013, 05:01:51 PM »
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I can see how a bad bokeh can impact a photograph.
Question from a rube: Is this (red outline) what you're talking about SB? It almost looks like banding. Good bokeh should be smooth?
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2013, 05:08:38 PM »
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... Is this (red outline) what you're talking about SB? It almost looks like banding. Good bokeh should be smooth?

If you expand that outline slightly to the left (up to the guy walking away) and up to the edge, than yes. And yes, a good bokeh would be smooth.

EDIT: Quick googling revealed this example of good vs. bad bokeh (scroll down to Matt Laur's post).
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 05:14:29 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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David Eckels
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2013, 05:18:07 PM »
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If you expand that outline slightly to the left (up to the guy walking away) and up to the edge, than yes. And yes, a good bokeh would be smooth.

EDIT: Quick googling revealed this example of good vs. bad bokeh (scroll down to Matt Laur's post).
Another in an endless stream of rube questions Wink and then I'll stop! Would you consider it cheating to Gaussian Blur that area? And I will check the link thanks!
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2013, 05:25:30 PM »
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Another in an endless stream of rube questions Wink and then I'll stop! Would you consider it cheating to Gaussian Blur that area? And I will check the link thanks!

No need to stop asking questions, and no need to refer to them as coming from a "rube." You see, I learn from those exchanges too -- I learned the word "rube" today Smiley

Yes, you can mitigate the effect by blurring the area. But before PS (hmmm, sounds positively primordial, doesn't it?) the only way to get a good bokeh was to select a lens with it. It still matters, if you have a choice. 

 
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