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Author Topic: This needs to be read  (Read 14890 times)
Isaac
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« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2013, 12:03:35 PM »
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Art is creative
Putting sausages in a frame isn't creative sorry it's just not!

Seems like "[p]utting sausages in a frame" is beyond what already existed and beyond what you had previously imagined. If that isn't what you mean by "creative" what do you mean?
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fike
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« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2013, 12:26:52 PM »
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Seems like "[p]utting sausages in a frame" is beyond what already existed and beyond what you had previously imagined. If that isn't what you mean by "creative" what do you mean?

I think we are talking about aesthetics instead of creativity.  Art needn't be pretty, uplifting, or pleasing in any way to be creative.  It is in these back alleyways of artistic and creative expression that we challenge ourselves and our society.  This normally isn't what we are trying to do in landscape photography, but excellent journalism can be art, it can be creative, and it can definitely be challenging. 

The aesthetic of the Banff stuff seems to be one that tries to romanticize the mountain culture through adventure photos and cliched representations of "struggling" native peoples. This might be pleasing to them, but it can certainly become pretty formulaic.
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R. Morris
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« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2013, 09:36:07 PM »
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Having spent some years interning at the Banff Centre in a field other than photography, I would posit that the article represents no more than it contains.
A bunch of photos were submitted, they were all quite pedantic in nature, and none were worthy of the notice receipt of the prize would result in.

Banff is easy to put down, usually by people who have never been.
The bottom line is that the Banff Centre holds their standards high, and they speak a language that honors all art, regardless of the medium, or the origin of the artist.

In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.

It's not complicated.
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Isaac
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« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2013, 10:27:37 AM »
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It's not complicated.

When the article talks about more than 500 entries but the media release tells us one hundred and forty-seven photo essays were submitted -- it's not simple.
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BJL
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« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2013, 10:29:55 AM »
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In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.
You are ignoring the facts noted by Isaac that
(1) the rules changed just a couple of years ago, to require "photo essays" rather than single photos
(2) that change caused a dramatic reduction in the number of entries
(3) the judges acknowledged that some of the individual photos were excellent, and that their problem was solely with the "story telling" aspect, which is a new requirement since just 2011.

With those changes, it is futile to use this as basis for comparing "the current crop of the very best mountain photographers" to previous generations of such photographers.
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R. Morris
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« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »
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For those inclined, a quick note to the Festival expressing displeasure, and requesting clarification on the numbers might be in order.

I'm more than comfortable with the concept that when the rules change, if you want to place or win, you follow the new rules.

Within the confines of the rules, there were no photographers or entries of note this year.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 12:28:14 PM by Blair Morris » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2013, 05:05:48 PM »
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This should be the golden age of the photo essay.

E-books, custom-print physical books, websites - all readily accessible to those who want to try their hand at the essay form. No longer is the essay an art restricted to a few photojournalists and a few student photographers working on school assignments.

I think that many photographers are looking for the one photo to print and hang. Most competitions are not portfolio or essay competitions but are single-shot competitions. Perhaps there is a certain lack of confidence, or a lack of attention span, or what?
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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2013, 03:11:56 AM »
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Maybe photography, on its own, without word journalism attached, can't do meaningful essay.

It's been very popular to lionise the Life/Magnum ethic as the bee's knees, but that's only one way of looking at pictures, and a remove from the concept of visual art as a strong image per se.

Let's face it: the essay mags all died. There was a reason. Attempting to turn back the clock today is pretty useless: there's no commercial outlet for the product, and why would photographers want to waste their time chasing dead dreams? Far better to attempt the great single image - you could get lucky, find a Klondike. Perhaps the new rules defeat the whole idea of contemporary photography.

Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2013, 07:58:20 AM »
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Having spent some years interning at the Banff Centre in a field other than photography, I would posit that the article represents no more than it contains.
A bunch of photos were submitted, they were all quite pedantic in nature, and none were worthy of the notice receipt of the prize would result in.

Banff is easy to put down, usually by people who have never been.
The bottom line is that the Banff Centre holds their standards high, and they speak a language that honors all art, regardless of the medium, or the origin of the artist.

In other words, the current crop of the very best mountain photographers are lousy at making pictures that mean anything.

It's not complicated.

Blair, with respect, your thoughts may be clouded by loyalty to the Centre.

I've been to Banff.  Many times.  It is an utterly banal, soulless, tourist trap of a town.  It's laudable that the Centre is trying to stand out in the mountain of shit that is Banff.  But the Globe essay is an exercise in curmudgeonly elitism.

If entrants didn't adhere to a set of revised rules, that's one thing.  And if so then not awarding a winner is the right decision.  But to suggest that not adhering to the rules means that all the entries were as banal and soulless as the town is a bit of a stretch.

The article itself is interesting and does raise some valid points.  I think it is true that, for many, technique means more than content.  Technique is important but it shouldn't be all there is.  More people seem to be trying to Photoshop their way to a good photo.  Or maybe it should be more people seem to be trying to Instagram filter their way to a good photo.  Or Topaz their way to a good photo.  Or OnOne their way to a good photo.  Or Nik their way to a good photo.  Or.... The old adage still applies - GIGO. 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 08:02:51 AM by BobFisher » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #49 on: July 03, 2013, 09:54:01 AM »
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Rob C, the National Geographic magazine is still going strong. Lots of "coffee table books" are still being sold. But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.
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BJL
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« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2013, 10:41:48 AM »
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This should be the golden age of the photo essay.

E-books, custom-print physical books, websites - all readily accessible to those who want to try their hand at the essay form.
I agree: for amateurs at least, everything from Facebook posts and photo blogs upward encourage the short photo essay form. For example, I find that my photo blog posts that generate the most interest are usually ones based on a short, thematically connected selection of images.

That this one contest attracted only 147 entries (maybe with a total of over 500 images, with each entry being a multiple image essay) is a minor mystery: maybe it is just that many of the people who traditionally entered this contest are oriented to single images, not essays, while not many "nature photo essayists" found out about it. (Maybe they should advertise the contest on Facebook!)


Going from this incident to "the sky is falling and it's all digital's fault" seems a bit of a leap.
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Rob C
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« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2013, 11:46:41 AM »
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Rob C, the National Geographic magazine is still going strong. Lots of "coffee table books" are still being sold. But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.


Nancy, I haven't seen a Nat Geog in years, so I won't attempt to make a guess at its content/format today. However, it's not going to be able to provide a home for the number of shooters who'd like to get under is roof!

I'm glad that lots of coffee table books sell - most of what I seem to find advertised on the web are not really landscape - there's lots of semi-porn or, worse, the real deal. A few travel books still exist, but the chances of getting someone to publish one's work are remote. I haven't come across anything that's particularly 'documentary' in style for quite a while, but that might be because the town's book shop had to close its doors...

Rob C
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2013, 01:06:11 PM »
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Maybe photography, on its own, without word journalism attached, can't do meaningful essay.

It's been very popular to lionise the Life/Magnum ethic as the bee's knees, but that's only one way of looking at pictures, and a remove from the concept of visual art as a strong image per se.

Let's face it: the essay mags all died. There was a reason. Attempting to turn back the clock today is pretty useless: there's no commercial outlet for the product, and why would photographers want to waste their time chasing dead dreams? Far better to attempt the great single image - you could get lucky, find a Klondike. Perhaps the new rules defeat the whole idea of contemporary photography.

Rob C

Um, there are scores of photographers out there doing fantastic storytelling, regardless of the commercial viability Here's a random example. The straight landscape style is certainly struggling under a flood of Photoshop and GAS- driven mediocrity, especially in the parallel universe of competition photography, but I see no drop in creativity, and also not that much of the correlation you're implying between (photographic) dreams and money. 

And "essay mags" haven't died, they involved. Try this for example: www.theinspiredeye.net/.

I don't see much of a push there towards the "hero" great single image. Of course, there are people who's aim is just to win whatever competition, including photography. But that doesn't define photography. Perhaps you should spend a little less time on this forum, and a little more refreshing your apparently jaded palette? There's endless amounts of inspiring photography to be found.
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Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: July 03, 2013, 02:28:30 PM »
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And "essay mags" haven't died, they involved. Try this for example: www.theinspiredeye.net/.




Involved - evolved - who knows; all I can say is that I don't take any great positive message from the content of your link. I certainly don't see any commercial outlet there for anyone hoping to earn his keep out of photography - unless they start another similar 'web mag'... Of course if you are just talking about shooting stuff and airing it, that's something quite else. You can do that yourself.

Not a substitute for Life, I'm afraid.

Rob C
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R. Morris
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« Reply #54 on: July 03, 2013, 11:36:25 PM »
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Blair, with respect, your thoughts may be clouded by loyalty to the Centre.


No doubt you are completely correct Bob, I did live there and attend the Centre for a couple of years, and the imprint remains.

I wasn't referring to the town of Banff directly in my post (using the terminology "Banff" only to refer to the "old days" at the Centre), and although I'd not go as far as you with negative feelings towards the townsite proper, it's a tourist town as all tourist towns are.......tacky, expensive, crowded, etc.

There's definitely magic in Banff to be found, but it's around the edges, not anywhere near the shops of Banff Avenue.....a place usually avoided by us folks "up the hill" like the plague.
When you live there, the tourists become invisible and there is a small town underneath. And in winter, when the tourists leave, it's just another mountain ski town.

......and the photo opportunities are some of the finest in the world.
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Isaac
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« Reply #55 on: July 04, 2013, 02:10:13 AM »
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But yes, television has taken over the multiple image format for most people.

"...in the last quarter of 2011, the birth of iPhones alone (at the rate of 4.37 per second) exceeded the birth of human babies on this planet (which came in at a rate of 4.2 births per second)."

p19 The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Apkon, 2013.


"Pick up any of the newspapers or magazines you currently read and you will find an online version, and that version will undoubtedly offer a rich array of video content. The journalists who survive will be those who adapt to this powerful storytelling medium."

p156 The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Apkon, 2013.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 11:24:41 AM by Isaac » Logged
RFPhotography
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« Reply #56 on: July 04, 2013, 08:15:21 AM »
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......and the photo opportunities are some of the finest in the world.


Absolutely no argument there.  Grin

I actually saw one of the most stunning scenes ever while playing Banff Springs.  It was a cold, wet and sometimes snowy July day.  Standing on the tee waiting to play and heard this roar behind us.  Turned around to see a meltwater fall coming down off the mountain.  It fell through a layer of low-hanging clouds before disappearing behind the trees.  There was a hint of sunlight peeking through the clouds as well as the weather was just starting to clear up.  Who knows how long it would last or if it would be back in the same way the next year?  Had no camera with me.  Roll Eyes
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2013, 09:55:30 PM »
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To my own embarrassment, my shooting of 25 years did not improve until I starting working as a corporate photographer on products and events some 12 years ago.  My feedback went from family and friends whom outright lied to me: "Oh. That's nice, Pete." To honest directors and managers whom would comment:  "What is this?", "What are you trying to convey?" and "Shoot it again!"  While my friends were trying to be nice, my co-workers and clients had their jobs on the line, and I damn well better listen if I wanted to keep mine, and get paid.

I stopped shooting things because for the sake of awards and a prints on the wall, and shot to document or describe an event or thing.  Some of the shots in my early days that hit the reject pile for not being artsy, actually wound up being the best received.  I was amazed when I used Face Book for this, not for the narcissism, but to see what others liked vs. what I thought was the winner.  The shots that described emotion, especially when folks were not aware of the camera, was the hammer that rings peoples bells.  For those of you whom crave the feedback, consider the quality of that feedback.  Is it honest and genuine? 

The other thing I learned was that photography is a recording tool that places a viewer in that moment.  When you consider the audiences perspective...  like shooting a rock band, not in the pit with a wide lens as most do, but ten rows back, including heads, hands and arms of the spectators -they're a part of the event, too.  It was a hard lesson to learn, and a new habit I needed to adopt if I wanted to eat.  Smiley

In short, I stopped shooting for me, and started shooting for... you.



yes, if you are in this to make a living, you often are forced to shoot to satisfy someone other than yourself.  Many of us have experienced that throughout our careers.  But many of us continue to also shoot for ourselves ... they are not mutually exclusive.  Without that, it's just a job, and while it  may be financially rewarding, it may not be fulfilling.  There are certainly some that shoot what they love the most and have managed to figure out how to make that pay.  Many shoot for themselves, and choose to do something else for financial support ... there are many talented and outstanding photographers who are not professionals.  And it seems for some reason we forget the appeal that made us get into photography, and can't understand why so many try to do what we do.  Nothing has changed other than the cost of entry and of learning has dropped dramatically so many more can afford to try their hand at it.

If you are only shooting for others, and really only care about what those you shoot for think that's fine. But just because you are making them happy doesn't mean anything at all about the quality of your work other than to them.  sure it's important, but this feedback is of pretty limited value. And if that's all you care about, then it  doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, and I'm not sure why you bother showing your friends the work anyway (maybe you don't anymore).  but if you are shooting to try and be a better photographer and shooting work you love as well, then it's pretty easy to tell when your friends are just being "nice" ... you call it lying which is pretty disrespectful, and when they are sincere.  Certainly judging the impact and appeal of your work to a group such as this has some value.  As far as competition, each to their own.  Some competitions are judged by talented and skilled people, ones without any agenda other than the merits of each image they see.  Others not so much (as is the case of this "competition" which turns out not to be a photography competition anyway so the entire premise of the authors article really doesn't apply and just exposes his own personal opinion and agenda). As an example, I see the work that Josh Holku does, and it's obvious to me he's extremely talented and has a great eye ... I really like what he does.  I also notice he's won many awards from a couple of groups.  To me this means those groups are judging the work in the way I appreciate. It doesn't make them right or wrong, but if that's the type of work a person does, entering a competition like that would have some value and decent feedback.

I was a portrait photographer for many years and while it payed the bills, I really lost passion for it.  Now that I've retired, I can do what I love, which is landscape work, and am constantly trying to improve both my craft and my eye. I actually enjoy photography immensely now, and since I no longer need it to support myself and my family I can shoot just for myself (that doesn't mean I no longer earn income with it).  I think that plus freedom from the restrictions of film have made the past several years my most enjoyable since I became a professional photographer back in 1975.
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Isaac
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« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2013, 05:02:55 PM »
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... So when a small group of judges write about their frustration in not finding any "winners" in their contest?  I do understand what they're coming from. ...  It's a fairly good guess that such attitudes were reflected in their shots, lacking anything of merit and attention to detail, and that's why the issue.

No -- "Our jury gazed upon any number of beautiful images: astonishing pictures of the aurora borealis, climbers in Peru, mountains in China, of bears and bobcats and birds both here and abroad. We saw technically brilliant photographs, superbly (or, more often, overly) Photoshopped. But none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories."
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« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2013, 06:12:08 PM »
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But none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories."

And therein lies the problem.  This notion that every picture has to tell a story is utter nonsense.  It's a contrivance dreamed up by effete art snobs to try and justify having an interest in a piece.  Because, of course, being the cognoscenti, they couldn't just like something that didn't tell a story, that didn't have some meaning.  That would be unfathomable.  What a pantload.
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