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Author Topic: Listen, and never ask again.  (Read 12017 times)
Rob C
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« on: March 15, 2013, 10:46:37 AM »
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I find that over recent years I've made returns to this site (linked below) at times when the batteries feel a little worn, that there's a fear that the charge might perhaps have gone for ever. Then, listening to several voices in a row, the truth of the matter comes through loudly and clearly again, confirmation of what's been known to me for all of my life.

Should you have the interest, it can make you understand why you do what you do and, perhaps as importantly, whether you should be doing it in the first place.

http://www.pixchannel.com

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 12:15:18 PM »
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Great grab, Rob. Good for Elliott: "It's not about thinking. It's about discovering." Exactly! Thanks.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 12:21:00 PM »
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... the truth of the matter comes through loudly and clearly again, confirmation of what's been known to me for all of my life....

Sorry to ask again, but what is that "truth of the matter"? Or, at least, what is it for you?
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Slobodan

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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 12:37:56 PM »
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The truth of the matter is I do what I do because I love and need to do it. Loose that and I'd move on.
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Ray Cox
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 01:27:17 PM »
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Great insight Rob! Thanks for the link. It really is all about the discovery, the adventure of life.
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WalterEG
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 03:48:13 PM »
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Dear old Ruth, She does it for me every time.

"You're ALWAYS a photographer ...... even if you don't have a camera with you."

Thanks fopr thew link Rob!!
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 05:28:18 PM »
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Sorry to ask again, but what is that "truth of the matter"? Or, at least, what is it for you?


Two truths: first, I received an e-mail from my accountant chap this evening and realised I had to do something pretty damned quickly and, consequently, itís a quarter to eleven at night, my brain is scrambled and I just realised Iíd become so engrossed with sums that Iíd forgotten to switch on the blanket to heat the goddam bed; the other truth?

Well, the other truth is borne out in the collective sentiment expressed in the interviews: you do it because you have no option, you just have to do it regardless of the chances, the penalties and financial risk to everything in your life and almost that of the others you love more than yourself.

Retirement? Yes, you do and probably have to retire from active service in a business sense, if only because you start to look out of context within an ever younger working group unless you have become an icon at the Avedon level, in which case it matters not a jot: age then looks like added gold, the sum of the glories heaped upon the star. (Like rich old guys with yachts and Italian sports car, thereís some magic at play, regardless of the cynicism of those without the goodies.) But thatís just the photographic business: the love continues, and with the change of status arrive fresh problems. Money makes a lot of photography possible; do you want to blow back what the work already brought you?

You certainly could, but then youíd still lose the validation: itís the assignment that hits the spot just as much as being there in the Bahamas or wherever the thing takes you. Thereís the joy of landing the big fish and then the absolute magic of shooting the shoot and seeing what you did printed big and hanging on an office wall. That somebody thought enough of you to spend all that money with you is really a buzz all of its own: the only sort of positive ď+1Ē that really counts.

As Iíve quoted before, the difference between pro and am status is huge: like Terence Donovan said, the most difficult thing for the amateur is finding a reason to make a picture. Iím now that amateur and from that perspective, I can only agree: itís the greatest photographic problem I face. Unlike the amateur, there isnít this drive, the hope of improving, doing something good. Regardless of how this sounds, I donít believe ex-pros suffer from any of that: ability is taken for granted, especially the ability to do the things one wants to do, which if your pro work was also what you wanted, itís probably still what you want to do, but without clientsÖ

If you have the patience to read interviews, there are some great ones in Frank Horvatís site:

http://www.horvatland.com

I just tried to check the Horvat site: I got a danger warning of infection: maybe now's not the best time to try it!

Ciao Ė and good night!

;-)

Rob C

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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 12:58:16 AM »
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Great grab, Rob. Good for Elliott: "It's not about thinking. It's about discovering." Exactly! Thanks.

And lunch. Had myself a chuckle there.

Thanks for sharing Rob.
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Corvus
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 08:14:09 AM »
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"why you do what you do [so far as your interest in photography is concerned]"

Because, at least fleetingly, photography allows me an escape from the ordinary concerns of life which, in the main, I find mundane, banal and more or less meaningless.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2013, 02:07:13 PM »
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"why you do what you do [so far as your interest in photography is concerned]"

Because, at least fleetingly, photography allows me an escape from the ordinary concerns of life which, in the main, I find mundane, banal and more or less meaningless.



I understand perfectly. Except that now I do it as 'amateur' most of the so-called buzz has gone, and I'm experiencing the dull every day.

This could be explained away as age, lack of interesting exercise, poor health, but I really think that the fact of the matter is that it's just as you described. I believe there always has to be something more than just the self if one seeks balance; otherwise, you only find it by spinning very quickly like a top and you know what happens when the momentum dies. That's why many people live through parties, discos and all of that stuff (even the Internet, perhaps) and don't dare face slowing down. I know a couple of ex-alcoholics: they struggle every day with avoiding the fix to forgetting it all. It's seldom an easy ride, not even for the rich who have so many other problems to face.

Several famous photographers have rung the curtain down when photography was no longer enough to sustain them. I guess it's the sense of having been cheated, mostly by themselves to have thought they'd stumbled upon the Fountain of Life. I think you need love to hack it, not obsession.

Sombre times, if you let yourself think.

;-)

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2013, 07:59:26 PM »
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.. you do it because you have no option, you just have to do it regardless of the chances, the penalties and financial risk to everything in your life and almost that of the others you love more than yourself.



That sounds just awful, Rob. Who would want to be like that! That's pure slavery, or complete addiction.

Freedom is having the choice to do something because it give one pleasure, is entertaining or interesting or meaningful in some way.

One may find many examples of artist-types who are unable to sell their work and who choose to live in poverty rather than get a boring job which would pay the bills and raise their material standard of living, but which would also prevent them from continuing with their unpaid work, whether artistic or not, which they presumably find much more satisfying and meaningful than alternative employment.

If such people continue in their plight of poverty, one would hope it's because they choose to do so, not because they have no option. Time is a valuable resource. One may choose to make money, or one may choose to do something more meaninglful. Of course, to make money whilst simultaneously doing what is most meaningful and interesting is an ideal situation that most people fail to reach.

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like Terence Donovan said, the most difficult thing for the amateur is finding a reason to make a picture. Iím now that amateur and from that perspective, I can only agree: itís the greatest photographic problem I face. Unlike the amateur, there isnít this drive, the hope of improving, doing something good. Regardless of how this sounds, I donít believe ex-pros suffer from any of that: ability is taken for granted, especially the ability to do the things one wants to do, which if your pro work was also what you wanted, itís probably still what you want to do, but without clientsÖ

You've seem to have contradicted yourself in the above statement, Rob. You begin by agreeing that the most difficult thing for the amateur is finding a reason to make a picture, then you describe your own situation in retirement as not having the drive of the amateur, the hope of improving, of doing something good.

The meaning I'm getting from this is that the prime motivation of the professional photographer is to produce a picture which pleases the client to the extent that the client pays for the job. Remove that motivation and the professional photographer, like yourself, struggles to find an alternative motivation to continue taking pictures.

I think a distinction has to be made between the amateur who has always taken pictures to record events, subjects and situations simply because they are personally interesting and meaningful, and the professional who finds himself in the position of the amateur, after retirement, without that strong motivation to take photos to earn a living.
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Corvus
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 04:22:43 AM »
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To paraphrase:
you need love not obsession.
;-) Rob C

A "pro" in any field is primarily a social definition made by others and not an individual one made by you alone for your purposes alone.
If so then, perhaps, your task now is to think long and hard about what is truly deserving of love.
Perhaps you need to redefine your relationship to photography in an entirely new and novel way, at least for you, or failing that, move on to something else.
It's one of those painful bumps in life we have to get through now and again but not fatal.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 04:54:23 AM by Corvus » Logged
Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 04:27:30 AM »
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The meaning I'm getting from this is that the prime motivation of the professional photographer is to produce a picture which pleases the client to the extent that the client pays for the job. Remove that motivation and the professional photographer, like yourself, struggles to find an alternative motivation to continue taking pictures.

I think a distinction has to be made between the amateur who has always taken pictures to record events, subjects and situations simply because they are personally interesting and meaningful, and the professional who finds himself in the position of the amateur, after retirement, without that strong motivation to take photos to earn a living.


I am still the working photographer, and hopefully will be until I reach my 70's (because I'll need the money).  But because I genuinely love the work I do, photographing people, I feel sure I could fill my days photographing even if no money were needed or offered.  That is because my clients are mostly families, and there are no shortage of them who cherish good photographs of their loved ones.  I can see the difference though if your clients are purely commercial - as I believe Rob's may have been.  I have had my pictures occasionally used in national press, and do have quite a lot of work used in brochures and the like, but these have a much shorter shelf life usually and soon after appearing they quickly drift into obscurity.  Unless of course you have one of those iconic images.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 04:53:33 AM »
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Ray,

ďThat sounds just awful, Rob. Who would want to be like that! That's pure slavery, or complete addiction.Ē

I could not agree more; and thatís where I found myself in my teens. Thatís the place I imagine pretty much all professional painters (art), writers and similar professional types find themselves: it isnít driven by rational thought or fear but out of mindset. The simply is no choice other than in theory. Thatís why I claim there is no viable or acceptable option. Itís the choice of doing something other than the art thatís the self-inflicted slavery.

ďI think a distinction has to be made between the amateur who has always taken pictures to record events, subjects and situations simply because they are personally interesting and meaningful, and the professional who finds himself in the position of the amateur, after retirement, without that strong motivation to take photos to earn a living.Ē

No distinction needs be drawn: the distinction is so self-evident that it removes that category of snapper from the discussion. That category is not an amateur photographer at all; heís a snapshot merchant and removed from the level of commitment at which the people in the original link were operating, and to which the logic of the thinking applied.

ďThe meaning I'm getting from this is that the prime motivation of the professional photographer is to produce a picture which pleases the client to the extent that the client pays for the job. Remove that motivation and the professional photographer, like yourself, struggles to find an alternative motivation to continue taking pictures.Ē

You understood my point. Itís very easy to make photographs, and when you know perfectly well that you can make any photograph that you wish to make, then you have no doubts about your capability. With that doubt removed, had it ever existed, there has to be something more to drive you to do it. Were it otherwise, youíd be like a car speeding down an empty motorway with an unconscious driver at the wheel; like a heavyweight boxer unable to stop fighting his own shadow all day long. There has to be something more. Art/skill needs motive beyond expression of ability: it requires purpose. And itís the lack of realistic purpose that creates the difficulty to which Donovan referred, and which I now unfortunately share.

Photography, of itself, is not enough; it cannot and will not sustain your spiritual life.

Rob C
 
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Ray
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 10:43:47 AM »
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ďI think a distinction has to be made between the amateur who has always taken pictures to record events, subjects and situations simply because they are personally interesting and meaningful, and the professional who finds himself in the position of the amateur, after retirement, without that strong motivation to take photos to earn a living.Ē

No distinction needs be drawn: the distinction is so self-evident that it removes that category of snapper from the discussion. That category is not an amateur photographer at all; heís a snapshot merchant and removed from the level of commitment at which the people in the original link were operating, and to which the logic of the thinking applied.


I must admit you've got me confused here, Rob. Why have you presumed that someone who records events, subjects and situations is a mere 'snapper'? Doesn't a professional wedding photographer record events? Doesn't a news photographer or a sports photographer record events? Doesn't an advertising or glamour photographer, who may arrange a scene in a creative way, record a 'situation'?

The distinction I'm making is between people who engage in those activities at least partly for monetary gain and/or fame, and those who are sufficiently motivated to do them solely for the meaning and the pleasure and the interest they derive from the activities.

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You understood my point. Itís very easy to make photographs, and when you know perfectly well that you can make any photograph that you wish to make, then you have no doubts about your capability.

It's not necessarily very easy to make photographs that are to one's complete satisfaction, Rob. That's the challenge, surely.

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Photography, of itself, is not enough; it cannot and will not sustain your spiritual life.

Photography doesn't have to exist in a vacuum, Rob. As mentioned before somewhere, being motivated to take photographs can, or should, result on one looking and observing more carefully than one otherwise might. There's a whole lot of assocated activities involved in photography that can have a spiritual dimension.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 02:45:50 PM »
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You understood my point. Itís very easy to make photographs, and when you know perfectly well that you can make any photograph that you wish to make, then you have no doubts about your capability. With that doubt removed, had it ever existed, there has to be something more to drive you to do it. Were it otherwise, youíd be like a car speeding down an empty motorway with an unconscious driver at the wheel; like a heavyweight boxer unable to stop fighting his own shadow all day long. There has to be something more. Art/skill needs motive beyond expression of ability: it requires purpose. And itís the lack of realistic purpose that creates the difficulty to which Donovan referred, and which I now unfortunately share.

Photography, of itself, is not enough; it cannot and will not sustain your spiritual life.

Rob C


Rob, I enjoy photography both as a professional and as an amateur, and I don't think I feel the same as you on this point.  While I consider myself competent, I never tire of trying to improve my photography (some might say I have plenty of scope).  It was only when first starting out as a keen amateur 30 years ago that I would struggle to think of what to photograph.  Now, even if I never had to make another penny from photography, I would never run out of motivation, inspiration or ideas.  I am more excited now by photography than I have ever been.  It has to come from the heart though, and I can quite understand how some loose motivation.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 05:18:42 AM »
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Rob, I enjoy photography both as a professional and as an amateur, and I don't think I feel the same as you on this point.  While I consider myself competent, I never tire of trying to improve my photography (some might say I have plenty of scope).  It was only when first starting out as a keen amateur 30 years ago that I would struggle to think of what to photograph.  Now, even if I never had to make another penny from photography, I would never run out of motivation, inspiration or ideas.  I am more excited now by photography than I have ever been.  It has to come from the heart though, and I can quite understand how some loose motivation.

Jim



Indeed, and loss of motivation isnít as simple as my post might make it appear. In fact, motivation doesnít come alone: it comes accompanied Ė or not Ė by possibility, at least when sanity is an official referee.

Thatís my personal slough of despond: the prime mover/motivator for me is sharing the creative experience with a wonderfully talented model. What that can do for the psyche is without compare. But there lies the rub: when such a person, a vital part (the most vital part?) of the equation canít be bought, whatís left? Whatís left is frustration, aimless wanderings around the place carrying a cellphone camera. And, if there is anything worse, itís finding oneself in the desperate position of working with a model who hasnít the slightest idea of what her rŰle is supposed to be. I know: I have been forced there sometimes.

In attempts to shatter that grim status quo and take turnings off in other directions, I have bought this lens and the other, and yesterday I collected yet a further such item from the post office. It boils down to trying to buy oneself out of stagnation. And who knows: it might just work!

Thatís why I discount the ability to make images as being the solution, and the attempt at reaching that position of abilty as being the possible/probable motivation that drives some others along their path. But, once thereÖ? Once there the problems begin. Itís much like owning that beautiful car and finding yourself with nowhere that you honestly want to go.

Saw an item on the news at breakfast about the psychological problems associated with lack of sunlightÖ winter has a lot for which to answer.

;-)

Rob C
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 10:46:33 AM »
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Rob, may I humbly suggest that you go and chat up some attractive woman, doesn't have to be a supermodel, and say you would love to make some beautiful pictures of her.  Show some of your portfolio, (perhaps not the naked/topless ones, that might come later) and I'm sure you will be taking pictures in no time.  You get a model and subject, she gets some great pictures, and you both get the satisfaction of having purpose.  I almost always photograph non professional models, and they are really appreciative of flattering pictures.

But I detect a general dispirited feeling from you, and I'm sure that's not good.  You remember the glory days and they can't be re-created, only remembered. You just have to find a new direction.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 02:32:27 PM »
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Rob, may I humbly suggest that you go and chat up some attractive woman, doesn't have to be a supermodel, and say you would love to make some beautiful pictures of her.  Show some of your portfolio, (perhaps not the naked/topless ones, that might come later) and I'm sure you will be taking pictures in no time.  You get a model and subject, she gets some great pictures, and you both get the satisfaction of having purpose.  I almost always photograph non professional models, and they are really appreciative of flattering pictures.

But I detect a general dispirited feeling from you, and I'm sure that's not good.  You remember the glory days and they can't be re-created, only remembered. You just have to find a new direction.

Jim


Jim, you have unintentionally given me the best laugh of the year and last year, and the year before that... you have no idea about Mallorcan island mentality. In Sicily their brother would shoot you, here they just look the other way if you approach, and, if cornered say yes, never show up and studiously avoid you ever after as some sort of freak. Shall I send you the T-shirt? The T-shirts?

I currently have a single wench interested - she is, I am not - and that is problem enough because though she lives safely sixty kliks away, our mutual friend who made the pitch lives in my own little town. Now I shall have to avoid him in order to avoid offending his sense of taste in women and hers by being rejected. A video link I was sent was all it took to ruin my day...

Matchmakers!

;-)

Rob C

To cheer you up:

http://youtu.be/1k9Ncs5YSPw
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 05:22:51 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rocco Penny
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 08:13:10 PM »
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Obviously this is a call for help...
THE KILLER!!!
AGAIN?!!
yeah Rob,
Bukowski was resplendent in his older if somewhat less genteel persona,
warts, balding, object of emasculating forces,
the guy had just about had it in his sixties-
his tombstone epitaph reads:
"Don't Try"
the guy was pure brain set adrift
not unlike many artsy types he was so a product of his relevance;
My fascination with self destructive poet types only begins there
I mean Jerry Lee is in fact a great no doubt'
but I far prefer Brautigan's early if less composed demise...
The cowboy drifter, spirit of this world -one foot in the next...
racing toward glory
At least you got a whiff...



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