« on: June 08, 2014, 02:08:27 PM »
...Because that's what cameras are all about...making photographic art. Sure, it's a piece of technology, but they aren't designed to be collectors items that we obsess over the technical details of...just for the sake of obsessing over technical details.jrista,
I agree with you 100%. My biggest weakness in sports photography is composition. I feel like things get moving too quickly and I can't compose the way I want to and even in post, when cropping, I still struggle with composition. I'm a scientist by training and I feel as though I focus too much on the technical aspects of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, DOF, etc. that any art form is hopelessly lost. Hopefully that is something I can change.
Probably going to regret this. If you are serious about photography as an art form, please read this http://www.blog.unfocusedmg.com/?p=220
The books I reference there will give you a great start. But be forewarned, they are not "how to" manuals, but rather explorations of what constitutes art in photography.
Now, if you think the arguments on this forum over technology are something, just try discussing photography as art. Bear in mind that many people never progress beyond the "Ansel Adams" view of photography. That's not a criticism of Adams. In his time, he did much to advance photography as an acceptable art form. But, too many people have failed to move on. What was cutting edge 80 years ago, isn't any more.
There are some fantastic artists practicing today, but appreciating them requires people to move out of their comfort zones. Andreas Gursky really is incredible, but there have been discussions on this forum that simply demonstrate how ignorant commenters can be. Martin Parr is great fun. Ryan McGinley's images perfectly capture his generation. I'm an admirer of great portrait photography and Rineke Dijkstra is terrific.
Yet, frankly, if any of these photographers posted an image on this forum, they'd be attacked mercilessly because their images don't fit into neat little rules.
Your misunderstanding. My question is not about what art is. That's impossible to define...everyone has their own view on what art is. I know what art is. I've read dozens of books on the subject, in my past I've taken art classes covering oil and water painting, pastels, basic pencil drawing, etc. The problem isn't understanding art. I understand art, and it's various forms.
The question is, how does one achieve the artistic vision they have in their mind? It's one thing to be able to visualize something a certain way in your mind...and an entirely different thing to actually reproduce your vision in an actual artform. For all the work a camera does for you, where in classical arts all of the work is entirely up to you...it is no easier to fully realize your artistic vision with photography than it is with a brush and paints. It never mattered the medium for me...my difficulty was always converting my vision into actual art, in the way I wanted the art to be presented. I think that is ultimately the focal point of most artists art.
That is what I am referring to. That is where I think discussions need to take place. No one needs anyone else telling them whether their images are art or not. I personally do not believe every photograph ever taken was art...a lot of it simply isn't, but that doesn't matter. The person who took the photo, even if it only meets "snapshot"-but-not-art criteria, may have had some vision in their mind that they simply could not realize. THAT is where I think the most important discussions about photography should take place. The process of turning vision into art, or maybe even just discussing what vision is, how to improve your artistic minds-eye vision, etc.
You mentioned composition. The best writing that exists on composition is a bit of a "rant" by Edward Weston. I think of it whenever someone mentions the "rule of thirds." In my view, Weston has never been equaled for the pure beauty of his images and exquisite compositions. Yet, his commentary is very enlightening. To paraphrase, he said that more pictures are ruined by following rules of composition than by anything else. In essence, his point was that the only composition that mattered was whether or not the photograph worked.
Oftentimes Weston's simple quote: "Composition is the strongest way of seeing" is completely misinterpreted by hack photographers. If you read his whole commentary, you'll see that what he meant is the only thing that matters when composing a picture is to make it the strongest image possible. But too many people read this small snippet and think it means that somehow following arcane "rules" of composition will improve an image. That is the exact opposite of Weston's point.
This is a much more appropriate quote: “When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial cliches.” – Edward Weston
I don't even think that composition is really the crux of art...composition is just a bunch of rules that everyone misunderstands and everyone has a different opinion about regarding application. Discussing composition is really no different than discussing "What art is" itself. It's a lost cause, and I do believe that pigeonholing everyone into specific compositional rules ruins the actual art...because it destroys everyone's unique vision.
So I agree...it isn't about rules. That was never my question. It's about realization of artistic vision....WHATEVER that vision may be. It isn't as simple as it sounds, either...realizing your vision is probably the most difficult aspect of photography...period. It's THAT which takes years to hone and refine and ultimately perfect. It should generally only take a photographer a year to fully grasp the fundamental concepts of photography, and maybe two at most to become an expert at choosing the proper exposure (in ANY camera mode, not just Av or Tv or M...one should be able to expose in any camera mode available, and expose perfectly...according to their goals), or focusing accurately, or tracking subjects if they regularly shoot action, or using flash properly, etc. Within two years any dedicated photographer should be an expert at these things, and within a few more, they should have mastered the technical aspects of their art.
It's the artistic vision to actual art conversion process that takes so many years, decades, to ultimately master. Because that process is going to be largely unique to each individual, with a few shared thought processes and processing techniques that ultimately bring about the best quality.