civilized ku # 3666 ~ it is what is-just deal with that

And now, a bit of irony* ....

Yesterday, after going off on a stupid idea about the medium of photography and its apparatus (conventions and vernacular, not gear), I reflected upon a quote from Bruce Davidson ...

"I am not interested in showing my work to photographers any more, but to people outside the photo-clique."

I found that comtemplative act to be a very calming antidote for yet another attack of stupid-content trumps all-picture making advice agita. Davidson's quote pretty accurately reflects my position on with whom I most enjoy sharing my pictures.

It would be simple, but not accurate, to write that I don't like sharing my pictures with other picture makers. However, I don't discriminate against other picture makers, per se. Rather, I am sick unto death of those who view my pictures (or pictures made by others) and seem to only see the tools of the trade and their technical application.

That written, it is accurate to write that most of those viewers are, in fact, picture makers. And, conversely, those who view my work, first and foremost, simply as a picture are, for the most part, not dedicated / "serious" picture makers. Consciously or not, they tend to be people looking for an aesthetic experience.

That written, there is an interesting 2-sided division / distinction within the picture making ranks. The dividing line between the 2 camps defined by each camps' picture making intentions.

On one side of the dividing line are those whom I would label as "serious" picture makers. A moniker which I use to describe avid amateur picture makers who are somewhat enraptured with gear and technique. Picture makers who are capable of making nice photographs which are much admired by other "serious" picture makers, but, in fine art world, not so much.

On the other side of the line are picture makers who rarely give a rat's ass about gear and technique. Or, only as much as is needed to create what really matters to them. That is, the print as the final expression of their picture making vision. Picture makers, I would tend to label as artists as opposed to calling them photographers.

At exhibitions of my work those viewers in the first group are easily identified by the fact that, inevitably, they get their noses so close to my prints that, if I had expelled gas while making those prints, they would probably be able smell it. And, after the nose inspection, they approach me and, the first words uttered are, "What camera are you using?"

That behavior stands in direct contrast with that of those in the second group who view the work from a respectful distant-taking in its entirety. If they approach me, their comments tend to be along the lines of, "Nice work / good stuff" and the like ... comments which could be taken as lame platitudes but are often accompanied by extended conversions about an opinion / observation, re: aesthetics. Nary word is heard about gear or technique.

IN CONCLUSION let me borrow a quote from Susan Sontag who, in her essay Against Interpretation was imploring art critics (and by extention, the general art viewing public) to get beyond the obsession with content (meaning) and ...

"...learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more." in order to be " experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself, of things being what they are.

By extention, I would suggest that "serious" picture makers do the same in order to get beyond the obssession with gear / technique when viewing photographs.

*in case you you didn't get it ... I am displaying my pictures on a photo blog which is followed by picture makers.

civilized ku # 3664-65 ~ I don't need no stinkin' content

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I nearly did not write this entry inasmuch as I thought that it might get to be too much artspeak-ish. Nevertheless, my mind starting ruminating yesterday afternoon about the content, re: the topic, after reading a blog commentary which stated flat out that, in a picture, content trumps all.

Consequently, I also spent the better part of this AM contemplating (and re-reading Sontag's Against Interpretation essay) the notion of content and form. I ended up that trip through the recesses of my mind by concluding that, while I agree whole heartedly with Sontag's premise, her idea of content-the interpretive meaning "hidden" in a work of art-differs from that of the author of the content trumps all's content-the visually depicted subject in a photograph.

With that distinction clarified, I nevertheless continued sliding down a mental rabbit hole, re: wrestling with art "stuff", until I planted my feet on solid ground and figured out a way to deal with expressing my thoughts, re: the fact that content trumps all is a stupid idea.

There it is. I wrote it. It's stupid idea. However, an ameliorative caveat is in order. iMo, the primary photographic genre in which content does, indeed and in deed, trump all is that of the amateur-made snapshot. Those picture makers make pictures, almost exclusively, of subjects-the possibities are nearly endless-that are near and dear to him/her self ... fyi, no criticism intented. Snapshots are, on a personal basis, the most valuable and memorable of all pictures.

That written, let me get back to "stupid" (the idea not the author) ... the depicted referent (aka: the subject, not, in art world, the "content") to be viewed on the surface of a picture is there for all to see. And, as far as the author is concerned, the more obvious, attention grabbing, visually dominant the better. And, if you have that, voila, you have made a "captivating" photograph. Accordingly, since the author gives short shrift-"...even if you screw up the composition, the light sucks and there is no moment at all... to any need (although he writes that it would nice) to have any significant display of form, I would consider the author's opinion to be straight out of the "how-to" book of person-jumping-from-a-burning-building school of photography.

Form, created with exquisite use of the formal properties of art-line, shape, value, color, et al-is the characteristic, independent of the depicted referent, that defines good art (of any kind) inasmuch as the generally accepted theory of fine art is to create an aesthethic experience. The best examples of such, to my eye and sensibilities, are what Sontag described as "the sensuous surface* of art".

It is at this point where I completely disagree with the author's implied premise that good/great art can be created without good/great form. I disagree simply because, iMo and to my eye and sensibilities (and I am not alone), I believe that good/great art-i.e. and aesthetic experieince-can be created with good/great form alone. That is, without the requirement for a "captivating" referent.

To further clarify my premise, a good/great photograph can be created without good/great form. However, and once again iMo and to my eye and sensibilities (and I am not alone), it will not cross the divide into being fine art.

*Sontag's use of the word "surface" applies very fittingly to photography inasmuch as photographic prints are 2d objects with an image on its surface.

civilized # 3661-63 / the new snapshot ~ the proof is in the pictures

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Back from the Jersey Shore. Spent most of Sunday and all of Monday processing Shore pictures and prepping many of them for a photo book, 5x5inch prints and 2 groupings for framed 20x20inch prints. The total "finals" (processed) picture count is 71.

In prepping pictures for the photo book, there was an interesting finding ...

... over my 25 years-50 years for the wife-of visiting the Jersey Shore, I have been an advocate for a change of venue for the annual gathering of the wife's family-40-50 people-inasmuch as I really dislike the heat, humidity and crowds of the Jersey Shore. "Never gonna happen" is the wife's retort, family tradition and all that. And, dispite that tradition, she insists that it's not about the Jersey Shore per se, it's all about the family.

OK. I get it. But, picture wise, here's the interesting "finding" that comes as result of this year's Shore picture-mine and other's-making...

...there are 56 pictures in my Shore photo book. Only 15 of those pictures are pictures of people. The rest of the pictures are pictures of place. Compare that to the pictures (100s), most made by other family members, in the online shared Jersey Shore photo album. In that album, 99% of those pictures are of people. And, I would estimate that 50% of those pictures are multi-people selfies which, other than a lot of people in bathing suits, could have been made anywhere.

To wit, the wife's point made manifest. Pictures never lie, right?

Civilized kU # 3653-56 ~ under the weather

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Late evening stormy was forecast for Wildwood last evening but I thought I could get there before the rain. Didn't make it but, nevertheless, I drove around and managed to make some very good pictures.

Great weather today but I have 1:45PM tee time so, if I finish at a reasonable hour, I may return to WIldwood and give it another shot (or maybe 100 shots).

Civilized ku # 3650 ~ COOL SCOOPS

Cool Scoops ~ Wildwood, NY (embiggenable) • iPhone

Sarah in the morning ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Thank goodness for picture making cuz, if I didn't have that to do here at the Jersey Shore, a long walk off a very short pier might be the thing to do.

Shore intermezzo # 1~ A very good start

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Cool Scoops (ice cream parlor) Mens bathroom ~ Wildwood, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Found a bevy of subjects-funky motels with funky signs- for good dusk picture making possibilities.

Also went into a place which the exterior of which I had pictured last year. While the place is ostensibly an ice cream parlor, it is, in fact, a multi-room collection of thousands of pieces, large and small, of 50s memorablia. I made 10 pictures which barely scratched the surface of the collection. I'll be back there again.

Civilized ku # 3649 ~ hot & humid

pool, convent, rainbow ~ Stone Harbor, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

At the Shore after a 6 hour dash-speeds up to 120mph-through the dark on Sat. nite / Sun. AM. Saw only 5 other cars, 1 deer and 2 coyotes during the first 120 miles. Consumed 1/2 cup of coffee and 1 small pack of M&Ms.

Survived Sunday with little sleep and now-Monday AM-am trying to figure out my picture making agenda for the rest of the week. My primary objective is the aforementioned Wildwood 50s era architecture. I'll probably drive over today in the Eyetalian pocket rocket (soft-top open and Beach Boys on the stereo) for a scout and maybe a few snaps.

Tomorrow's activity includes teaching an iPhone/mobile device picture making session. Seems like I am gaining a reputation on the subject for knowing what I am doing.

FYI, my blogging activity for the week will most likely be posting pictures-sans much in the way of words-multiple times a day.

the ABARTH ready to roll ~ Stone Harbor, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

civilized ku # 3648 ~ back in time

Wildwood, NJ ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Wildwood, NJ ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

As my least favorite time of the year, a week at the South Jersey Shore, approaches, I am planning on venturing forth with a picture making project in mind.

During last year's Shore time, I was enlisted to drive the teens to the neighboring town of Wildwood for a day on the amusement piers. While driving through the town, my eye and sensibilities were pricked by how much of the town's bygone era funky 50s architecture had been restored to like-new condition.

On that day there was only a very brief time span for picture making. This year (the project begins this coming Sunday), I plan to commit to a serious amount of time to explore the town and picture all there is to picture. Consequently, I'm sorta looking forward to my time at the Shore.