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Author Topic: Touching Strangers  (Read 4840 times)
Patricia Sheley
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« on: June 22, 2013, 08:32:25 PM »
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Photography as perceptual work...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aperturefoundation/touching-strangers-photographs-by-richard-renaldi
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 04:14:11 AM »
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This leads me to "About This Site" where John Camp posts a thread: This needs to be read.

Touching Strangers makes me feel that I don't want to go outside. Worse, it strikes me in the same way as an earlier recent link to the work of a lady making 'installations' consisting of a huge gang of uninteresting (and somewhat distressing) mostly naked humans gathered together in extreme embarrassment and striking modes of equally extreme pretentiousness.

To me, and I stress it's just my personal and totally biased opinion, it is a measure of the desperation of the so-called art movement within photography. In the case of the mass murder display of human carcasses, it's not even oiriginal in that some guy whose name I forget did more or less exactly the same thing, years ago, to great 'artistic' acclaim in cities all over the world: hundreds of nude people littering public spaces. Really? Wow! Must be Art!

I hate this sort of tripe.

HC-B, come back! There was nothing to forgive! Ansel, you too if I must!

Rob C
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2013, 06:14:37 AM »
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Reminds me of the performance artist, a woman, who did an installation where she sat at a table and people were invited to sit for a minute and stare.  It's been done, and done better than this.  This interests me not at all.  As art it fails because it requires the explanation to know what he did.  Without the description, there's no way to tell these are strangers.
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 06:59:54 AM »
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As art it fails because it requires the explanation to know what he did.  Without the description, there's no way to tell these are strangers.

I'm pretty sure both Velasquez "Meninas" and Veronese's "Wedding at Cana" would fail your "Art" litmus test.

The few groupings I saw communicate a fair amount about what I take to be the photographer's expectations, but that didn't make them interesting.
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2013, 07:36:51 AM »
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I'm pretty sure both Velasquez "Meninas" and Veronese's "Wedding at Cana" would fail your "Art" litmus test.

The few groupings I saw communicate a fair amount about what I take to be the photographer's expectations, but that didn't make them interesting.

No, they wouldn't.  The historical references for both are pretty well known.  Not all art has to convey a message, but when the artist intends a message, that message should be clear.
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RSL
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2013, 10:25:58 AM »
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Artists who want to send a message really should consider twitter.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 02:32:57 PM »
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Well, SOMEONE has to dissent!  Grin I think being bound in a photobook presents the context of the contained images so that the viewer is automatically drawn to ask him/herself how s/he would respond to such a situation, to personify at least some of the people represented in the book.  This is especially true in touch-phobic societies like the US.  In some countries it's quite common for men to walk down the street hand in hand, whereas a man and a woman are forbidden to do the same.  Two men walking hand in hand in the west are automatically considered to be gay, and then that spirals out its own connotations.

Marcia and I do our own version of 'touching strangers' a few times a year, although not for a photo project: Free Hugs



Yes, I recognize that publicly admitting this irrevocably removes my 'curmudgeon' status.  Oh well...  Tongue
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
nemo295
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 03:15:43 PM »
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Kudos to Richard Renaldi for raising more than twice his Kickstarter goal--and with 42 days yet to go! Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and obviously there was no shortage of people who thought his project worthy of their hard earned cash. The marketplace has spoken.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 03:18:02 PM by Doug Frost » Logged
louoates
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 03:46:29 PM »
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I love to visit Kickstarter and see all the neat projects there. I'm always scratching my head when looking at the photography projects as few of them are very attractive to me. But the presentations seem honest enough and they do draw lots of attention and cash. I have a project with them I'm going to launch soon. It's not so much about the money I'm asking for but the marketing feedback. If folks pony up enough cash I'll probably upgrade the quality of the photo book product and maybe add more pages.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2013, 05:32:55 PM »
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Kudos to Richard Renaldi for raising more than twice his Kickstarter goal--and with 42 days yet to go! Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and obviously there was no shortage of people who thought his project worthy of their hard earned cash. The marketplace has spoken.

Indeed.  No shortage of people whose taste is all in their mouths.

That this project is overfunded and a project to produce a book from the historically significant work of Prokudin-Gorskii went unfunded says all that need be said about Kickstarter and its cultural (in)significance.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 02:12:06 PM by BobFisher » Logged
Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 08:56:14 AM »
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It was innocent enough... Bicycling home I had passed a town green, triangular, granite benches defining the space. Every bench was occupied. Each person faced outward, not toward the center of the green. Each person was folded over a cellphone screen. I thought about this as I continued home. I remember a Playboy article in the sixties predicting some of the imagined outcomes of the rapidly increasing speed of life.

Later I smiled at the essence of "Storm Chaser" and it's message of hope for elevation of human consciousness. Aperture arrived and a consideration of "Strangers" triggered the memory of the "strangers" on the green earlier in the day. The post was not intended as a comment on "great art", rather on the disappearing landscape of human consciousness and the interdependent nature of life...

I accept my failure. Wrong place to post, in atmosphere of egocentric mind's distorting darkness. Emerging into any awakened state requires effort, work... hard to do when the space left by sleep walking minds is but scorched air.
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 10:14:55 AM »
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No, they wouldn't.  The historical references for both are pretty well known.

What percentage of (insert your grouping of choice here) could tell _anything_ about either of the two paintings I mentioned given only their titles?  What percentage could explain what is being depicted if shown images of the paintings?

Based on my experience, I would say that fewer than one in a thousand of the people I meet could answer informatively.  To put this somewhat in perspective, I would guess (that's all I can do) that about 50% could identify the Mazda logo as belonging to a car manufacturer, and betwen 5 and 10% could correctly identify it as "Mazda".
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nemo295
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 11:00:05 AM »
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Indeed.  No shortage of people whose taste is all in their mouths.

That this project is overfunded and a project to produce a book from the historically significant work of Prokudin-Gorskii says all that need be said about Kickstarter and its cultural (in)significance.

In your expert opinion. You forgot to add that part.

I'm not sure what your point about Prokudin-Gorsky is, but if you think he's been unfairly slighted by the books and exhibitions about him that have already been produced why don't you put your money where your mouth is and start a Kickstarter project about him instead of whining about contemporary art?
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Isaac
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 11:21:13 AM »
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Each person faced outward, not toward the center of the green. Each person was folded over a cellphone screen.

In bygone decades, each person may have been folded over a celebrity gossip magazine, or a supermarket tabloid, or War and Peace.

(Perhaps each person folded over a screen was looking at celebrity gossip or tabloid news or War and Peace.)
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2013, 02:11:26 PM »
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In your expert opinion. You forgot to add that part.

I'm not sure what your point about Prokudin-Gorsky is, but if you think he's been unfairly slighted by the books and exhibitions about him that have already been produced why don't you put your money where your mouth is and start a Kickstarter project about him instead of whining about contemporary art?

Get the pickle out of your ass.

My point is there was a project on Kickstarter that just expired.  The people seeking funding were producing a book of his images from the original plates.  They had worked with the U.S. Library of Congress (which owns his collection).  He was an historically significant photographer.  Far more so, I think, than this tripe will ever turn out to be.  I think it's a shame that project went unfunded and this one is overfunded.  Personal opinion?  Yes.  So what?  And no, I didn't forget to state that.  I don't feel the need.  I don't feel the need because it should be, and is, obvious that my comments, just as yours, are opinions.  And, apparently unlike you, I give people credit for having the intelligence to know it and don't feel the need to smack them upside the head with the patently obvious.

WRT my comments on modern art or the merits of the Touching Strangers project vs. the Prokudin-Gorskii, or the cultural position of Kickstarter, when you get to be some sort of Orwellian Big Brother, then maybe you can tell me what to think.  Until then, sod off.

It was innocent enough... Bicycling home I had passed a town green, triangular, granite benches defining the space. Every bench was occupied. Each person faced outward, not toward the center of the green. Each person was folded over a cellphone screen. I thought about this as I continued home. I remember a Playboy article in the sixties predicting some of the imagined outcomes of the rapidly increasing speed of life.


If you could have got it all into a shot, I think that would have made a terrific image depicting the social degradation and deterioration of our culture.  The message would have been pretty clear.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 04:11:00 PM by BobFisher » Logged
KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2013, 03:30:58 PM »
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If you could have got it all into a shot, I think that would have made a terrific image depicting the social degradation and deterioration of our culture.  The message would have been pretty clear.
The enormous expansion and lowered cost of people interacting with each other is, ipso facto, emblematic of a degraded society and deteriorated culture?  Pickle, meet close-sphincter'd mind.  Paralleling our unprecedented access to others, is the explosion in information that we can -- and  do -- record and share.  The "terrific image" that you imagine, would be -- imho, obviously -- marvelous if it showed the several and varied ways of absorption and attention being paid to others by this random spatial nexus of strangers.  Artistically, we may be moving from a shared language of body gesture to one based much more on smaller forms, particularly the face and hand.  (TV, technically coarse as it is, has lead the way.)  Socially, I think we are living through an overlay of _additional_ social opportunities, not a displacement.  Just the other day my footman brought me the first new calling card I've had the pleasure to finger in over a decade -- a rare occurrence I immediately tweeted!

Now that I think on it, perhaps one way to raise the level of civility on these wildly-accessible Internet forums -- and here I beg your forgiveness for applying the lessons you would draw from your imagined terrific image to our LuLa local -- would be to require a live feed of each typist, and show them in a moving banner across the top of the forum pages.  I'm not sure how keen one would be to type "Get the pickle out of your ass" knowing that one's recipient and one's pub-mates were observing.
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 03:54:11 PM »
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The enormous expansion and lowered cost of people interacting with each other is, ipso facto, emblematic of a degraded society and deteriorated culture?  Pickle, meet close-sphincter'd mind.  Paralleling our unprecedented access to others, is the explosion in information that we can -- and  do -- record and share.  The "terrific image" that you imagine, would be -- imho, obviously -- marvelous if it showed the several and varied ways of absorption and attention being paid to others by this random spatial nexus of strangers.  Artistically, we may be moving from a shared language of body gesture to one based much more on smaller forms, particularly the face and hand.  (TV, technically coarse as it is, has lead the way.)  Socially, I think we are living through an overlay of _additional_ social opportunities, not a displacement.  Just the other day my footman brought me the first new calling card I've had the pleasure to finger in over a decade -- a rare occurrence I immediately tweeted!

You assume that they were interacting with others on their phones or tablets.  They may not have been.  They may have been.  The point; however, is that we now spend more time 'interacting' with people we don't know or don't know well who are, potentially, thousands of miles away.  We pay less and less attention to what's going on right in front of us.  Distracted driving, anyone?  We (well some) feel the overwhelming compulsion to be connected 24/7 and, yes, I do feel that isn't a good thing for society.  Just because we can doesn't mean we should.  We're losing the ability to actually communicate face to face with people, to interact with people on a one to one, human level.  And, yes, I do feel that is a deterioration of our culture.  That you think of it as being closed-minded is your problem.  I have really no issue with technology, used properly.  But unplugging can also be beneficial.  Being human isn't a dirty concept.  What's wrong with just watching and taking in the fresh air of the green space?  What's wrong about giving a simple nod or 'hi' to someone on the bench beside you who may be enjoying the same thing you are?  We (well some) have become so wrapped up in ourselves and our own sorry existence that they can't get outside their bubble.  It's all 'me, me, me' and 'I want it and I want it now'.  Today's mid-wo somethings and younger are collectively the most narcissistic generation with a completely unjustified sense of entitlement I've ever encountered.  And on top of 'me, me, me' and 'I want it now', they don't have a flying, flipping clue how to get it for themselves.  They want someone to give it to them.  So yes, I think it would make a terrific image and that it would be a perfect illustration of one of the deterioration of society and sociability.  You don't think so?  Fine.  That's the subjectivity of art.  

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Now that I think on it, perhaps one way to raise the level of civility on these wildly-accessible Internet forums -- and here I beg your forgiveness for applying the lessons you would draw from your imagined terrific image to our LuLa local -- would be to require a live feed of each typist, and show them in a moving banner across the top of the forum pages.  I'm not sure how keen one would be to type "Get the pickle out of your ass" knowing that one's recipient and one's pub-mates were observing.

No different from my standpoint.  I'm not a coward.  I won't say something on an internet board that I wouldn't say to someone's face.  Now, of course you'll come back and say that it's all bluster and B.S.  And that's fine.  That's your viewpoint.  I couldn't care less.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 04:08:56 PM by BobFisher » Logged
nemo295
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 04:09:49 PM »
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Get the pickle out of your ass.

I'm sure you're quite the expert on rectal cucumbers, too.

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My point is there was a project on Kickstarter that just expired.  The people seeking funding were producing a book of his images from the original plates.  They had worked with the U.S. Library of Congress (which owns his collection).  He was an historically significant photographer.  Far more so, I think, than this tripe will ever turn out to be.  I think it's a shame that project went unfunded and this one is overfunded.  Personal opinion?  Yes.  So what?

I'm delighted that you finally acknowledge that your opinions are not, in fact, facts. So when you make flat statements such as calling Kickstarter "insignificant" and Rinaldi's work "tripe", you are admitting that you are stating your opinion rather than something tantamount to a papal missive regarding matters of art. I think we are making progress here.

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...when you get to be some sort of Orwellian Big Brother, then maybe you can tell me what to think.  

Excuse me, I didn't realize we were talking to the chair of the Orwellian Big Brother Club.

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Until then, sod off.

Or what?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 04:23:20 PM by Doug Frost » Logged
RFPhotography
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2013, 05:09:28 PM »
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I'm delighted that you finally acknowledge that your opinions are not, in fact, facts. So when you make flat statements such as calling Kickstarter "insignificant" and Rinaldi's work "tripe", you are admitting that you are stating your opinion rather than something tantamount to a papal missive regarding matters of art. I think we are making progress here.

I never said otherwise. 

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Excuse me, I didn't realize we were talking to the chair of the Orwellian Big Brother Club.

I've not told anyone how to think.  Unlike you. 

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Or what?

Grow up. 
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 05:41:45 PM »
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You assume that they were interacting with others on their phones or tablets.  They may not have been.  They may have been.  The point; however, is that we now spend more time 'interacting' with people we don't know or don't know well who are, potentially, thousands of miles away.  We pay less and less attention to what's going on right in front of us.  Distracted driving, anyone?  We (well some) feel the overwhelming compulsion to be connected 24/7 and, yes, I do feel that isn't a good thing for society.  Just because we can doesn't mean we should.  We're losing the ability to actually communicate face to face with people, to interact with people on a one to one, human level.  And, yes, I do feel that is a deterioration of our culture.  That you think of it as being closed-minded is your problem.  I have really no issue with technology, used properly.  But unplugging can also be beneficial.  Being human isn't a dirty concept.  What's wrong with just watching and taking in the fresh air of the green space?  What's wrong about giving a simple nod or 'hi' to someone on the bench beside you who may be enjoying the same thing you are?  We (well some) have become so wrapped up in ourselves and our own sorry existence that they can't get outside their bubble.  It's all 'me, me, me' and 'I want it and I want it now'.  Today's mid-wo somethings and younger are collectively the most narcissistic generation with a completely unjustified sense of entitlement I've ever encountered.  And on top of 'me, me, me' and 'I want it now', they don't have a flying, flipping clue how to get it for themselves.  They want someone to give it to them.  So yes, I think it would make a terrific image and that it would be a perfect illustration of one of the deterioration of society and sociability.  You don't think so?  Fine.  That's the subjectivity of art.  

No different from my standpoint.  I'm not a coward.  I won't say something on an internet board that I wouldn't say to someone's face.  Now, of course you'll come back and say that it's all bluster and B.S.  And that's fine.  That's your viewpoint.  I couldn't care less.

Bob I think you have perfectly and succinctly illustrated your complex.  I wish you luck with treatment.

You seem to live on the Internet, fishing for interaction, rudely engaging strangers with hostile posts and parrying their replies instantly.  You complain about others not being aware of the present while they spend time "interacting" (the quotes are yours) with distant strangers while you do _exactly_ that.  Presented with actual discussion points, you tell me (and others) that since I disagree with you I am close-minded, and then you veer off to a straw argument about "unplugging being beneficial" when no one has ever suggested otherwise.  Ditto the rather off-topic "being human isn't dirty".  And then you follow that with a passive accusation that someone has suggested that "just watching and taking in the fresh air" is in some way bad or disapproved.  For all either of us knows, all those imagined people frozen in that "terrific image" nodded to each other when they sat down.  Half of them may have said, "Nice day to be out in the sun" before they shifted their attention to their personal communicators.  And yet you seem sure that every imagined participant was insular, aggressive, mean, boorish.  In short, you imagine that everyone is a close-minded shit with their head in a glow-box, avoiding reality, but you are the one acting like one.  Your behavior is far more exemplary than the strangers on the public green.

As I said, I wish you luck.
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