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Author Topic: develop ones own style...  (Read 39232 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #60 on: September 25, 2013, 11:27:39 AM »
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Why would anyone make such an assumption?  There is no restriction allowing only those with any given knowledge to post.  Moreover, having some specific knowledge doesn't mean using it either.

Suggesting that photography is not art, is nothing more than an absurdity posted to get attention.

Suggesting that there are no styles of photography, or that some specific type of photography such a studio work, cannot really have distinct styles is the same.  It attracts attention and allows an assertive personality to brow beat a less assertive personality.  It's a psuedo-effective style of rhetoric.  Which of course means that it is a substitute for valid commentary.



Hi Floyd, welcome to the asylum.

1. It strikes me as a natural expectation; why ever wouldn't one imagine respondents to have some interest and understanding of the topic at hand?

2. Well, in that case, your own reply has achieved the same. Some tiny volume of photography might be viewed as having attained some level of art, most simply represents some degree of technical skill, or lack of same.

3. Again, that seems to be a perfectly valid point of view - for you, but clearly not a universally held one. The same equal opportunities ethic remains: it’s everyone’s opinion and nothing much else.

All of these arguments/discussions come and go, and only lack of much else to do allows them to run their course. I, for one, would far prefer to have something real and creative actually awaiting my attention, but I do not presently have the luxury. I sort of hope the boredom ain’t quite terminal  - just yet. But it might become so: the BBC is changing its satellite signal focus/footprint… I suppose that means that those English language viewers living in Europe will now lose BBC 4, the last crumb of intelligent tv on offer. Yes, I known: copyright. So why don’t they expand their license system and offer it to other nations that are within the existing footprint? There are so many individuals already buying packages from alternative UK-based companies – yes, buying – so the money would certainly flow into the Beeb’s coffers from those desperate expats still capable of some thought!

;-)

Rob C
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #61 on: September 25, 2013, 11:37:20 AM »
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Ansel simply didn't have a "style."

Okay, you've got people's attention.

In every article where you mention style you define it, always differently and overly narrow with specifics that might well be part of a style but are never the definition of a style.  Call it "cherry picking" logic if you will, it isn't valid.

Style is the mode of expressing thought or of presenting information.  Art is a style of communications.  Photography itself is a style or art.  BW is a style of photography.  Landscapes are a style, rocks are a style, full tonal range is a style, all composition choices are style, print size is style, paper choice is style.  All together they define a photographer's style, but none of them alone do that.

And Ansel Adams quite normally exhibited what at the time was a unique style, that of course has since been copied by many to greater or lesser degrees.  His style was so finely honed and technically well done that Adams is of course today considered the best American photographer in the 20th century.

Even old people can learn, and perhaps an understanding of the style of Ansel Adams would help.  The same is true for understanding Picasso, Winogrand, or others that get mentioned in these threads.  Understanding does not necessarily mean any attempt to copy either, but it is true that being able to reproduce any given style at will (most particularly your own) is a terrific exhibition of artistic as well as technical talent.

You mock yourself with any claim that what Adams did didn't have any "style", because absurd proclaimations seem to be your style of writing!
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #62 on: September 25, 2013, 12:10:06 PM »
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[...] why ever wouldn't one imagine respondents to have some interest and understanding of the topic at hand?

While  "some interest" is obvously valid. that is not what  wmchauncey mentioned and not what I commented on.

There is no requirement and should be no expectation of "understanding of the topic", and indeed one might expect many with an interest to post questions simply because they are well aware that they lack understanding.

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[...] your own reply has achieved the same. Some tiny volume of photography might be viewed as having attained some level of art
Absurd statements, no matter how often repeated,  are not facts.

The fact is that photography is by definition art.  That has been recognized for many decades now.  The fact is that every Fine Art museum of signficance in the country includes the collection and exhibition of photography as a Fine Art.

That is not "Some tiny volume of photography" any more than it would only be true of some tiny volume of music, painting, sculpture or other form of art.   You want to define "art" as "good art" (and probably define "good" as what you happen to like).

Personal definitions are fun, but not in a "serious" discussion where people expect to learn about photography and style.

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3. Again, that seems to be a perfectly valid point of view - for you, but clearly not a universally held one.

There are no universally held opinions, and the distinciton is a Non Sequitur. What matters is if it is a valid and reasonable opinion.  That would be, for example, as opposed to the idea that photography is not art, that style does not exist in photography, and a number of other "Drama Queen" opinions being stated here.

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All of these arguments/discussions come and go, and only lack of much else to do allows them to run their course. I, for one, would far prefer to have something real and creative actually awaiting my attention, but I do not presently have the luxury. I sort of hope the boredom ain’t quite terminal  - just yet.

Since you are clearly stating that you aren't treating this discussion realistically, I do hope you don't mind that I've brought that up.

I'm not bored with photography, or with the philosophy of photography.  Assisting young people with understanding the philosophy as well as the technical parts of photography is quite real, and requires creativity to accomplish well. The older I get the finer my understanding becomes.  I don't see that as a reason to inject confusion into discussions with younger people.  In the world where I live the purpose of being an elder is to provide guidance and assistance to those with less experience.

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But it might become so: the BBC is changing its satellite signal focus/footprint…

Off topic.
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Rob C
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« Reply #63 on: September 25, 2013, 01:38:59 PM »
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Amazing personality, Floyd; perhaps your blinkers are Gucci too...

;-)

Rob C
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #64 on: September 25, 2013, 05:05:09 PM »
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Amazing personality, Floyd; perhaps your blinkers are Gucci too...

;-)

Rob C

I'm sure you know about yours.

But that isn't the topic of discussion.
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wmchauncey
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« Reply #65 on: September 25, 2013, 05:24:55 PM »
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Who are the "celebrated/finically successful photographers" that are well know for their multiple styles?
Unless I misread, which is entirely possible, you guys are indicating that multiple styles are missing in the repertoires of the celebrated/ finically successful photographers.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #66 on: September 25, 2013, 06:55:29 PM »
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Unless I misread, which is entirely possible, you guys are indicating that multiple styles are missing in the repertoires of the celebrated/ finically successful photographers.

Off hand the only one that pops into my head is Joel Meyerowitz. He's been successful working in multiple genres and developed a distinctive style for each.

On the other hand, there are celebrated successful photographers who are not well known for their multiple styles, but certainly had them! 

The most obvious is Ansel Adams, known almost exclusively for landscape photography with a large format view camera.  Yet Adams, until 1941 and "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" made a living from commercial photography and was never sure if he would ever be a success!  One photograph changed all of that.  But it is also true that he did "people pictures", and  that towards the end of his life the camera he used the most had changed to a Hasselblad.  Note that in 1943 Adams was commissioned to photograph the Manzanar Relocation Camp, and shot landscapes, street photography, and portaits using at least five different cameras ranging from his well known 8x10 format down to a Kodak Medalist using 620 roll film.

The question really is not so much if any given photographer can produce work in multiple styles (as virtually any very competent photographer can), but whether many are able to become well known for more than one style.  And the answer seems to be not many ever accomplish that.
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GrantLB
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« Reply #67 on: September 25, 2013, 10:06:23 PM »
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Thank you Floyd for a breath of fresh air. Ansel honed his technical ability doing commercial work and he didn't do his landscape photographs to become "famous". He did them because he loved the mountains and the landscape he was in. Oh and I guess he kinda loved photography, which is what it's all about.

You can be creative with a machine because all a brush is, is a crude machine. The medium you work in is not creative, you are. Lots of people take photographs but few are photographers. Visualizing on a sensor is no different than visualizing on an emulsion. Each reacts differently. I still try to get what I'm seeing in front of me onto the sensor just like I tried to get it onto film in the past. No difference there.

The technical process is far easier than exposing film ever was. Now the real problem is seeing. What do you see? How do you see it and how do you show it?

Yes you can teach creativity. There is a process and it's damned hard. Takes work and a lot of it and self-doubt is the worst thing to overcome. I try and sell my work and hope to increase what I sell. But if nothing sells.... I'll still be shooting. I'm not shooting to become famous or wealthy ( a nice income would be OK but who knows) but I'm a photographer and I like to take photographs. I like the process of visualizing and being surprised at some of the results. I like to amaze myself, I oddly enough I have after all these years.

Oh and please don't refer to Ansel as a saint. He wasn't one, but he was a great guy and one of the most gifted people I've ever met. A very generous man. If you were in Carmel and he was there, he would receive guests at 4:30 pm every day. Floyd, I have a shot in Ansel's house showing the Half Dome (which I believe was the photo that changed everything for him) hanging on his wall and a Hassie laying on the table with a couple of lenses and of course a spot meter. It was after that shot that he turned full time attention to photography instead of piano of which he was also very gifted. Here's the URL to my website with the shot;

http://www.grantballphotography.ca/california.html

Look at my stuff and see if there's a style. I'm too close to it to tell what it is, but I love photographs and photography. And this is definitely a golden age of photography.

Is it art.... who cares!
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2013, 12:30:56 AM »
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Thank you Floyd for a breath of fresh air.

Thank you!  And I really enjoyed reading your perspective on it too.
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jjj
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« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2013, 06:04:40 AM »
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Hi jjj, Yes, I think you can develop a style in studio work. You can concentrate on a particular type of model, a particular type of background, a particular type of lighting, etc., etc., etc., all of which can create a feeling I'd be willing, barely, and very reluctantly, to call a style. Reluctantly because none of that comes close to the individualism of the brush strokes rendered by a painter like Van Gogh.

But outside the studio there's no such thing as a photographic style. Concentrating on a particular subject -- southern U.S. poverty, for instance, in the case of Walker Evans, or Parisian street scenes, in the case of HCB, or rocks and trees in the case of Ansel Adams -- doesn't constitute a style. Yes, Ansel was a superb printer, but so were, and are, a lot of other people, so, Eric Meola and Isaac to the contrary notwithstanding, Ansel simply didn't have a "style."

Shakes head in despair.
That last paragraph is one of the daftest things ever posted on LuLa and that's saying something.
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jjj
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« Reply #70 on: September 26, 2013, 06:13:40 AM »
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The fact is that photography is by definition art.  That has been recognized for many decades now.  The fact is that every Fine Art museum of signficance in the country includes the collection and exhibition of photography as a Fine Art.

That is not "Some tiny volume of photography" any more than it would only be true of some tiny volume of music, painting, sculpture or other form of art.   You want to define "art" as "good art" (and probably define "good" as what you happen to like).
When people take about good or real art, what they usually mean is things they personally like. And there seems to be no understanding with those who talk about such things, that other people may have very different tastes. Tastes that are equally valid.



The question really is not so much if any given photographer can produce work in multiple styles (as virtually any very competent photographer can), but whether many are able to become well known for more than one style.  And the answer seems to be not many ever accomplish that.
That's because many people like to pigeonhole others because lazy categorisation makes their life simpler.
I recall once whilst showing my book around to various magazines that one person complained that I had too many styles. This person was an underling as it happened, not the actual art editor and in her mind she wanted a photographer who would do one very specific style of imagery that could be commissioned safely. And that's the key word - safe. Other magazines saw I could do several different styles and rather than shove me in a particular style box, realised I was a photographer who could take interesting pictures and that was good enough for them.
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wmchauncey
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« Reply #71 on: September 26, 2013, 07:12:02 AM »
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The fact is that photography is by definition art
I would submit, that is too broad a generalization.  I take a fair number of, what I consider, good photographs, but sadly
very few would cross that line into the "object d'art" category.
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petermfiore
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« Reply #72 on: September 26, 2013, 07:39:44 AM »
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"The fact is that photography is by definition art." 


Thats like saying a painting using oil paint and canvas to make an image of some sort is Art by definition. However you will succeed in the making art work, but precious few become a Work of Art. Any medium is a means to a purpose. The purpose and it's execution makes the Art.


Peter
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #73 on: September 26, 2013, 09:27:52 AM »
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"The fact is that photography is by definition art." 
Thats like saying a painting using oil paint and canvas to make an image of some sort is Art by definition. However you will succeed in the making art work, but precious few become a Work of Art. Any medium is a means to a purpose. The purpose and it's execution makes the Art.

It is exactly the same as saying a painting using oil paint (canvas or otherwise) is art by definition! That is true by all reasonable definitions. 

But you are rather clearly using your own personal definitions, hence "Art", which you capitalize in 3 out of 4 instances.  But it is only the uncapitalized, standard definition, that is important.  It is impossible to carry on a sensible discussion unless everyone accepts standard definitons and talks about the same thing.

Merrian-Webster defines art as "something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings".  Other dictionaries are even less ambiguous, "n 1: the products of human creativity" is from Wordnet.

The use of your personal definitions amounts to a false appeal to authority simply because you are not an authoritative source.  We can use a valid appeal to authority here that trumps all silliness in claims that photography isn't art, that something you don't like isn't art, or whatever other personal restrictions any random person wishes to put on the definition in one more way to narrow the field and boost their own stature...  We can repeat what someone else did, they asked Pablo Picasso "What is art?"  He actually was an authority!

Picasso:  "What isn't?"

If you want to use personal definitions, we should stick with the personal definition of someone who can be demonstrated to have significance.  Your personal definitions and mine are worthless.

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jjj
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« Reply #74 on: September 26, 2013, 09:28:44 AM »
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I would submit, that is too broad a generalization.  I take a fair number of, what I consider, good photographs, but sadly
very few would cross that line into the "object d'art" category.
Yet if you do a painting, nobody would say it isn't art. They may say it's not very good, but not that it isn't art.
However with photography, there are two types of photographers/photography. People who take pictures because they are into photography and those who take photos to simply record bits of their life and have no real interest in the process of photography itself. The blurred line is when people who are into photography take 'snapshots' and now people who aren't interested in photography can now add an 'art' filter to their images in instagram or whatever.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 09:30:45 AM by jjj » Logged

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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #75 on: September 26, 2013, 09:46:28 AM »
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I would submit, that is too broad a generalization.  I take a fair number of, what I consider, good photographs, but sadly
very few would cross that line into the "object d'art" category.

But, but... I said nothing at all about an "object d'art", and have no specific idea what you mean with that  terminology!

The standard definition of "art" is indeed that broad!

As previously suggested, "art" is not what you personally like, nor is something you don't like excluded.  And "art" is not defined by any degree of how "good" it is.  Note that the least likeable "object d'art" might well be a classic example of bad art.  It is still art.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  And we should not mistake beauty for art because beauty is merely one possible characteristic of art, but is not what defines art.

A good thought to keep in mind as you sort through a new batch of exposures looking for an Object D'art is that most, and maybe all, of the images you reject are just as much "art" as are the ones not culled.  The reject you find unattractive today, if not deleted, might be the basis for a work you are proud of 20 years from now when your tastes have changed!

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jjj
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« Reply #76 on: September 26, 2013, 10:22:15 AM »
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A good thought to keep in mind as you sort through a new batch of exposures looking for an Object D'art is that most, and maybe all, of the images you reject are just as much "art" as are the ones not culled.  The reject you find unattractive today, if not deleted, might be the basis for a work you are proud of 20 years from now when your tastes have changed!

I think some folks tastes ossified a long, long time ago.
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RSL
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« Reply #77 on: September 26, 2013, 10:30:23 AM »
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Shakes head in despair.
That last paragraph is one of the daftest things ever posted on LuLa and that's saying something.

That, of course, ignores your own posts of, lo, these many years.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #78 on: September 26, 2013, 11:17:39 AM »
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That, of course, ignores your own posts of, lo, these many years.

Have you posted anything to this particular thread that was not nonsense?  Has jjj posted anything that was nonsense?

You and Rob C seem intent on just injecting rhetorical confusion into what could be a very productive philosophical discussion that might help "new" photographers (you know, folks with 20 years of experience as a camera operator who are just beginning to understand what it really is about a "good" image that gets them excited).

outside the studio there's no such thing as a photographic style[...] Ansel simply didn't have a "style."

Is anyone here misled by such comments?  We might all be a bit confused... as to why you would say such absurd things and act just as if you believe them!  I don't for a second think you are so poorly educated that you think what you said is true.  I have no idea why you need the get attention with dramatically false statements.

Whatever, lets not be blaming jjj when you made the daffy posts.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 03:13:14 PM by Floyd Davidson » Logged

Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #79 on: September 26, 2013, 11:41:13 AM »
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I think some folks tastes ossified a long, long time ago.

How true, and so unfortunate too.

A couple days ago I went looking through my archives for an image shot a dozen years ago.  It was the "pick" of the crop from a couple dozen exposures taken at the same time, and it seemed the perfect shot to illustrate a commercial brochure for a customer.  But when I found the intended image I also looked at all the others... and one of the original "rejects" just reached out an bit me!  It had compositional features that were a significantly better match for my current project.

Fortunately I had not even considered deleting it way back when it wasn't chosen as the "right" shot.

Every time folks suggest that they delete all but the best shots, I cringe.  The definition of "best" can't be known in advance... it's not a fixed target, and ossified tastes today make it necessary to cram square pegs into round holes tomorrow.
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