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Author Topic: develop ones own style...  (Read 36671 times)
amolitor
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« Reply #200 on: October 04, 2013, 11:35:59 AM »
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No, while I am somewhat bossy, I am able to "wrap their minds around the idea that they might be in the presence of people who are as smart or smarter than they are, who have thought through some of the same issues at least as thoroughly, and who have arrived at different conclusions." it turns out.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #201 on: October 04, 2013, 11:42:06 AM »
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That's nice, Floyd, and I like the work of most of them though I can forego Gilden, Sherman and Gursky. But you didn't try to explain what it is about any of their work that constitutes a "style." Without that, we're nowhere. "Quality of work" doesn't constitute a style.

Russ, you just answered the question you ask! 

There is no doubt at all that every single one of them has a distinct style... which even you can recognize.  You don't like the style of Gilden, Sherman or Gursky.

Unless you've got another of those daft ideas of yours, and want to claim they don't produce high quality work.  Keep in mind that quality is not measured by whether Russ likes it...  All three of them are widely aclaimed for the quality of their work.  And it is equally true that you are hardly alone in not particularly caring for their style of photography.  (I rather like Gursky's work, but agree with you about Sherman and in particular don't care for Gilden.)
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Isaac
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« Reply #202 on: October 04, 2013, 11:46:59 AM »
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No, while I am somewhat bossy, I am able to ...

In that case, the characterizations you made seem no more than personal insults.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #203 on: October 04, 2013, 11:51:07 AM »
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No, while I am somewhat bossy, I am able to "wrap their minds around the idea that they might be in the presence of people who are as smart or smarter than they are, who have thought through some of the same issues at least as thoroughly, and who have arrived at different conclusions." it turns out.


Your descriptions can only apply to yourself.

You post Ad Hominem comments with gratuitous personal attacks on others that use descriptions where the only person you could know that about would be yourself.  You certainly cannot have that knowledge of others.  Hence it is pretty clear you've provided a description of exactly how you view yourself, and then attempt to project that onto others.

It's not exactly uncommon.  Most personal attacks have to be fabricated simply because the person making them knows nothing of substance about the person they want to insult.  What they find insulting enough is what they don't like about themselves.  (Another odd characteristic is that often enough the person it is directed at isn't even insulted by whatever it is the other guy doesn't like about himself.)
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 11:56:01 AM by Floyd Davidson » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #204 on: October 04, 2013, 11:59:46 AM »
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Isaac, I find your quotations peculiar. Do you intend them simply as additional commentary? They seem to bear no particular relation to the text of mine you quote with them. Well, that's not quite right. They're talking about style.

That's not quite right. They're talking about style.

It's good stuff, although I tend to discount an artist's commentary on his own work a few points, for well-understood reasons...

Your reasons for discounting an artist's commentary on his own work may be well understood by you, but unknown to other people.
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RSL
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« Reply #205 on: October 04, 2013, 12:02:34 PM »
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Your reasons for discounting an artist's commentary on his own work may be well understood by you, but unknown to other people.

Are you kidding? Isaac, you need to go to the nearest art museum and read the "artists' statements." You might want to take a camera along.
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Isaac
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« Reply #206 on: October 04, 2013, 12:04:26 PM »
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Andrew's reasons may be well understood by Andrew, but still unknown to other people.

Your assumptions are your own.
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amolitor
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« Reply #207 on: October 04, 2013, 12:07:46 PM »
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By stating that they are "well understood" I thought I was being clear that I meant the reasons everyone knows, as opposed to some secret reasons of my own?

Honestly, all you have to do is assume that I am not an idiot and that I probably meant something sensible, and then go work out what that sensible thing ought to be. Insisting that I dot every i, cross every t, and remove all possible ambiguity is perhaps OK when you're marking up a draft of my thesis, but this is an internet forum.

I do you the courtesy of assuming that you mean something sensible, and the further courtesy of trying to work out what it is. Perhaps you could extend me the same courtesy.

Also, Isaac, you could extend us all the courtesy of expanding on what you actually intend, when directly and politely asked to do so, rather than simply making more terse and inscrutable side remarks. ETA: Ya know what, do what ya want, you're going on ignore too. Sorry, but you're just not saying anything interesting whatsoever, and you're deliberately irritating. Consider my request for clarification withdrawn, since I won't be seeing it if you do get around to it.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 12:12:54 PM by amolitor » Logged

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Isaac
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« Reply #208 on: October 04, 2013, 12:19:21 PM »
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By stating that they are "well understood" I thought I was being clear that I meant the reasons everyone knows, ...

By stating "well understood" you were being clear that you meant reasons you assume everyone knows and agrees with.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #209 on: October 04, 2013, 01:44:01 PM »
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Are you kidding? Isaac, you need to go to the nearest art museum and read the "artists' statements." You might want to take a camera along.

That may be true about a lot of things a photographer might comment on... but not about their style.  The best authority on how and why an image was made is necessarily the photographer who produced it.

Less experienced photographers may not be aware of a great deal of the more obvious details about their style that can be readily seen, but nitty gritty details from an experienced photographer trump all else.  That is almost a certainty when it involves a museum exhibit.  Of course that assumes the viewer can separate photographic style from all other commentary.  However comments made here such as yours that Ansel Adams had no style and while others say he was a Pictorialist to his last breath, clearly suggest that not everyone has the facility to distinguish the difference.  That's not exactly amazing though, as it isn't a characteristic necessary to photography, which is the common denominator for posters here.
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amolitor
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« Reply #210 on: October 04, 2013, 02:04:48 PM »
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Reviewing a few of the more sensible posts in this thread, it's become clear to me that there's a disconnect.

Russ makes the perfectly correct point that one cannot reliably identify a photographer from a single photograph (or even, I assert, a large group of them) absent recognizing a specific picture. He makes the incorrect leap, I think, that this means there's no such thing as style. The response seems to have been mostly to yell that there is so such a thing as style.

I maintain that there is such a thing as style, but that style alone is not sufficient to identify a photographer.

While you cannot reliably recognize an HCB picture, you would most likely NOT guess HCB when shown an Adams, or even a Winogrand. Even that would not be reliable, since there's nothing to prevent HCB from having done a bit of the old landscape, or from tipping his camera a bit, but it would be pretty reliable.

Style does provide the ability to differentiate, to a degree. Just not enough, in photography, to identify the artist.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #211 on: October 04, 2013, 02:47:08 PM »
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Russ makes the perfectly correct point that one cannot reliably identify a photographer from a single photograph (or even, I assert, a large group of them) absent recognizing a specific picture. He makes the incorrect leap, I think, that this means there's no such thing as style. The response seems to have been mostly to yell that there is so such a thing as style.

There's the "disconnect" you mention. It's a logical disconnect.  It is correct that one cannot reliably identify the photographer, and that has exactly no significance at all to this discussion!  None, zero, zilch, diddly sqat! Nada.

The question should never be about a unique style, as unique is virtually impossible in reality.  Everyone necessarily has to use some of the same techniques, the same mechanisms, the same modes, or at a minimum very similar methods.  It's the specific mixture and the ability to produce the same style at will.

Your "own style" doesn't need be unique, it  needs be repeatable and wilful.

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I maintain that there is such a thing as style, but that style alone is not sufficient to identify a photographer.

While you cannot reliably recognize an HCB picture, you would most likely NOT guess HCB when shown an Adams, or even a Winogrand. Even that would not be reliable, since there's nothing to prevent HCB from having done a bit of the old landscape, or from tipping his camera a bit, but it would be pretty reliable.

Style does provide the ability to differentiate, to a degree. Just not enough, in photography, to identify the artist.


And the same is true in every art form.   This isn't something even worth talking about except that it seems some people here haven't understood it yet.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 02:52:35 PM by Floyd Davidson » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #212 on: October 04, 2013, 02:51:20 PM »
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So what makes these sources authoritative then? Rather than ill thought out opinions?

Moreover "... it is argument, not just the word of the experts, which should be carrying the authoritative weight..."

In this case, the opinions were stated in the Preface and Introduction to reproductions of all 90 images included in the portfolios Ansel Adams produced from 1948 to 1976. We have more than "the word of the experts".


Similarly we shouldn't accept the opinions stated in this discussion, about the work of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, just on say-so. If we read about "the obvious differences in their styles" it would be best followed by a series of juxtaposed examples like -- Through their own eyes: the personal portfolios of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.


"Adams drove them to Edward Weston's home in Carmel... On their way back to San Francisco... stopped several times to take photographs along the coastal highway, resulting in a ... the Surf Sequence. ... The images also seem to owe a debt to Edward Weston, with whom Adams made two expeditions to the High Sierra in 1937. Between these trips, Weston created a series of three photographs, Surf, Orick, (1937), visually ambiguous studies of advancing waves taken from a high vantage point."
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Isaac
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« Reply #213 on: October 04, 2013, 03:19:59 PM »
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Are you kidding? Isaac, you need to go to the nearest art museum and read the "artists' statements." You might want to take a camera along.

It's notable that you have nothing to say about the Ansel Adams's quotations. There's nothing interesting about your quarreling.
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michael
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« Reply #214 on: October 04, 2013, 03:45:18 PM »
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Please chill, or let this thread die please.

Michael
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #215 on: October 11, 2013, 09:31:00 AM »
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Every now and then, another RedwoodGuy pops up in this forum  Wink
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jjj
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« Reply #216 on: October 12, 2013, 11:33:10 AM »
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That may be true about a lot of things a photographer might comment on... but not about their style.  The best authority on how and why an image was made is necessarily the photographer who produced it.
I recently saw some Mapplethorpe images that had been gathered together to coincide with some event or other. next to the images there were some captions alluding as to why the photographer composed this or did that. None of them ever happened to be along the lines he did so and so simply because it looked good. There had to be a much more profound/pretentious reason instead. Unfortunately we can't ask the photographer as he is sadly no longer with us.
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jjj
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« Reply #217 on: October 12, 2013, 11:51:52 AM »
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That reminds me of a daft Facebook conversation about a photo of mine that also referenced the Mapplethorpe exhibition. After which I decided NL can write the dippy, sorry profound captions whenever I do an ART book.


NL - The addition of the chain implies a lot of added meaning, but I've no idea what the meaning is, which is I suppose the intention.

jjj - I saw a Maplethorpe portrait exhibition recently with some friends and all 3 of us thought the comments regarding the images and their 'meanings' were bogus and over egged BS. It never seems to occurs to art critics, that maybe images/paintings etc were sometimes posed in the way they were, simply because it looked nice. But you also cannot be taken seriously as an artist if that was your reasoning.
So being an artist - "Signe's chain represent the boring non-swing dancers back home who trying to drag her down into the muddy reality of the world outside Herrang. The flower represents the beauty of Herrang and its blossoming during the weeks of July"
Alles Klar! Ja?

NL -  Oh, I get it now. I thought the chain represented the many links of action and consequence that had led her to finding the flower, and the sun over the flower represented the realisation that picking the flower will in itself have more consequences, and her extended little finger represented society's etiquette which decorates death (the plucked flower) in an attempt to live with it more easily. Yes, your one makes more sense, although I'd like to boast that mine is more pretentious.

jjj - The extended little finger......she's just posh!

NL -  Ah yes, posh -and so the chains are the chains of society enforcing a code of upper-class etiquette on the posh woman, who gazes longingly at the flower, symbol of Nature and that which is untouched by social mores, and the sun is seen to shine on nature and not on the chain. Got it.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 05:06:23 AM by jjj » Logged

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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #218 on: October 24, 2013, 01:15:44 AM »
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I've only just seen this thread - so missed out on all the excitement!  Actually, when I cut through all the crap, almost everyone had something interesting to say on the subject and I had a good think about my own response to it.

When I started to study photography in 1995 our tutors where encouraging us to develop our own personal style.  This was something that stressed me somewhat because I was unsure how to do that.  Looking back now, my view is that a style is something that finds you.  If you shoot enough pictures and push to improve what you are doing then you will of course develop a style.  Same as you develop a style of walking - it may not be that different from many others, but it will still be almost unique. 
I have always been a keen cyclist and I can recognise some of my friends out cycling from a distance where I could not possible recognise their face or body - just from their pedalling style.  How many different ways are there to ride a bicycle?  And we are talking about skilled, experienced cyclists too.

Your photographic style may not be very different from other photographers - it may even be (probably is) inspired by the work of others, but it will still be uniquely yours. I'm not talking about the casual snap-shooter either. I assume we mean people who either make a living from their photography or for whom photography is a passion and done very frequently.  Photographer friends have asked me about how to develop a style and I just tell them not to worry - it will find them.

To be a good photographer requires taking lots of pictures.  If you do anything frequently you will get a style which is very hard to shake off.  It is also possible to deliberately ape a certain style - or if you are very talented perhaps to come up with a really unique style of your own. 

From a distance in time it is hard to see many historic photographers had a defined style - because over the years so many others have sought to emulate them.  I'm sure at the time they had a readily discernible style.  Rob C says he could easily recognise a Bailey in the 60's - and I believe him.  And yes, certain styles came about at various points in history too, because as soon as something new comes along it is copied.  I completely disagree with RSL that you cannot discern style in outdoor photography.  I know lots of local photographers and I can easily tell their work apart when I see it.  Not every time, but most of the time.

Lastly - I shoot a lot of weddings.  A few years ago I was in a clients home while shooting some portraits of their children.  Hanging in the kitchen was a multi-frame type display of a load of candid monochrome wedding pictures. The sort of thing you could see in many houses and shot by most wedding photographers these days.  But for some reason they had a 'look' about them.  I asked who the photographer was and was told "you wont know him, he's from miles away and we got married over ten years ago".  Well it turns out that I did know the photographer and had been working with him as a second shooter a couple of years before the pictures on display were taken.  In addition, they looked a lot like my pictures, which illustrates that my 'style' was heavily influenced by the photographer when I was starting out.

So yes, it is quite possible, indeed probable that you can have a style.  It might be very unique, or more likely just subtle, but it is real.

My thought anyway.

Jim

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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #219 on: October 24, 2013, 05:08:11 AM »
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I totally do not try to develop some arbitrary style - I just do what I like to.
I am sure this will lead to something in the end.
Taking the ego too serious ("my style", "my intuition", "my whatsoever") simply leads to some random mess.

Do you remember "The life of Brian" ?
You are all individuals .... Tongue

Follow the flow and don't forget to have fun along the way.

my € 0.02 ..

Cheers
~Chris
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