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I’ll just leave this here and let the flame war begin

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #2485
    orionid
    Participant
    #42669
    Choc-Ful-A
    Participant

    http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/The-Business/Has-the-D-sseldorf-School-killed-photography

    Wow it was seriously difficult to read that article through to the end. It’s hard to get past the author’s insufferable pretense to even figure out what he’s saying. But in the end I think he’s just whining about how photography should be a viable means of making a living, regardless of how commercial the work has to be to allow your arbitrary achieve, and there are people that don’t agree with him. The fact that there are groups, markets, events, etc… that are focused on certain types of photography doesn’t bother me. If the guy that wrote the article can’t stage another one of his fabulously successful shows at every fringe cultural event, well, so what?

    #42670
    Farktographer
    Participant

    I see where he’s coming from. I think the standard for amateur photographer now is “snap one item that pops in a sea of other items, add a shitload of contrast, maybe black and white it, give it a fancy title and deep description, and TA-DA! ART!” When I scan through flickr, I see tons of these floating about, not actually having meaning except for the meaning the photographer forces into it.

    Personally, looking at some of the work the Dusseldorf style has brought, I can appreciate it when it’s done right. I just think it’s something that’s been overdone, so that gives it a bad name.

    I think the thing that annoys me the most is when someone has to describe to me what I should feel about their photograph. It’s like going wine tasting, hating a wine, and having the server give you 100 reasons why you should LOVE this wine. No, this is how I feel, and that’s that. If I look at a photograph and it doesn’t pull me in with emotion, giving me a paragraph explanation of what I *should* feel about the loneliness and detachment and rapturous beauty you supposedly achieved isn’t going to help. I’ll just look at it and think, “nope – if that’s what you’re going for, you need to try again.”

    Example…here’s one of my shots with a Holga. I like it because of the contrasting colours, the balance, and the contrast. I don’t really get a grab of “emotion” from it, but that’s alright with me.

    Now, from what I can gather in this article, the author is despising making a photograph something more than it really is. Imagine I put a fancy title – called it “Wachsende aus der Tiefe” which is what I got with a quick google translate of “Growing from the Depth.” Now, I add the description, “Heroic flowers rising above the darkness that attempts to engulf them – as shadows surround them, they endure and bloom to bring a new light to the world that desperately needs them. The long stalks will not allow them to detach, and as the sun falls they will be swallowed to doom and their light will, inevitably, leave this planet empty. For this one moment, however, there is hope.”

    Okay, I’m not all too well trained in literature, so I’m sure I could come up with something better, but the point is I’m now forcing you to feel emotion for this photograph. And for some people, the ones who are really convincing, it works. If you’re suave and can talk well, you can convince people your artwork is fantastic even if, really, there’s nothing there. I know pretentious people that LOVE that sort of bullshit (I once had a 20 page book report rough draft due and couldn’t fill the final 3 pages. I bullshitted it – complete and utter with no substance bullshit. The professor LOVED those three pages and asked that I do the entire report on it…these are the sorts of pretentious twats I imagine loving art with explained emotion). At least, that’s what I’m taking away from this article.

    /TL;DR

    #42671
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    If I am reading it correctly (the article was poorly edited at best) the article was a diatribe against the Duss School aesthetic and drive for commercial success being interpreted by the contemporary amateur photog as nothing photo of nothing.

    I have to admit how much this School has influenced photography in general and many of us emulate it (not always successfully, particularly in my case):

    http://freeversephotography.com/freeversephotoblog/?p=2729
    http://freeversephotography.com/freeversephotoblog/?p=3046
    http://freeversephotography.com/freeversephotoblog/?p=1774

    And sometimes I get it close

    http://freeversephotography.com/freeversephotoblog/?p=1967

    This article is more descriptive of the School and less critical:

    http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2008/12/-dusseldorf-school-of-photogra.php

    Do I see a lot of work out there about content and deprived of emotion, sure. Do I think the Duss School is over rated, yup. Do I think it killed modern commercial photography? Sorry, no. Modern commercial photography is trying to find it’s way back from a near death experience. I don’t think it will die, it may end up in a Los Angeles Church meeting with it’s friends from the plane crash…no matter what you can’t blame a photographic aesthetic for what happens.

    #42672
    Yoyo
    Participant

    I got the impression that the author was railing against photographers who think they’re too good to make a living running a business and who look down upon the more commercial professional photographers. In a way, photography is like any other form of art (or artistic expression) from the classics like oil painting and sculpture to the more modern like industrial and graphic design. How many “chairs” have you seen designed/produced/manufactured by some university senior in an architecture program that look uncomfortable and unsittable even if they are edgy and ground breaking. Now compare that process, product, and purpose to some industrial engineer with sheetmetal and manufacturing experience who designs a metal folding chair for mass production. One guy does it for “art’s sake” and the other does purely for commercial reasons.

    Compare the Venus de Milo to a die cast concrete cherub. One is now high art and the other tacky yard art. (Tackiness is in the eye of the beholder.) When the Venus was first carved out of marble however, perhaps she was just a commercial object? Maybe the temple priests who commissioned her had their eye toward increasing the number of visitors and their financial contributions? Maybe their reasons were entirely altruistic and they were only seeking to glorify god? We may never know. But that sort of thing is what I think author here was getting at.

    Some very good work, professional work (and this link is from “Professional Photographer” magazine), is being denigrated because it’s too commercial and some photographers find that demeaning (and on the flip side some armature work is being elevated/promoted/popularized only because it is imitative of an artist photo school’s style). Now when the part of the medium that pays the bills gets thrown by the wayside, since it’s not academic enough, or cool enough if you will, I feel that a divorce of the artist and technician into two separate realms is the only logical progression, and photography will end up like the chair makers producing things that are either impractical (from the art side of things) or uninspired (from the technical side). We may very well be witness to photographic equivalent of the demise of the Shakers, who chairs (among other furniture) was both artistic and utilitarian.

    For example, compare Yousuf Karsh and Matti Klatt, etc. in terms of their photography. Both are professionals and take amazing portraits, but one is ultimately more commercial than the other. Look what’s happening in commercial portraiture presently. (And I don’t mean gonzo.) There are plenty of people hanging out a shingle and willing to snap some pics for money, and there is a counter movement by the old-school professionals where they’re really stepping up their business game (like high school graduation portrait portfolios that would be unheard of 20 years ago) in order to maintain or even advance what some consider an outdated business model. The professionals, in order to differentiate themselves from the amateurs, are paving new ground in photography, doing things with portraits that hadn’t been done before, moving away from the technical (and let’s not kid ourselves, modern digital cameras are automated enough to take a good portrait shot for 8″x10″ prints) and wholly embracing the art.

    #42673
    Farktographer
    Participant

    Maybe I just read too much into it because I really, really don’t like pretentious photos. Ennui, those photos you posted aren’t what I’m considering in that category. If those photos are Duss style, then perhaps I need to investigate more into what I’m talking about – I was thinking more about the hipster photo of a lone chair in the middle of the field with lots of contrast and ta-da, calling it high art.

    /Not allowing myself to read too many photography journals until I get these chemistry books finished =P Oh, but there IS going to be a lecture soon in my school based on the chemistry behind film exposures, so I’m definitely going to that!

    #42674
    Kestrana
    Participant

    I don’t doubt that he has a point but it’s his beginning standpoint about how digital technology has made photography available to the “unwashed masses” just puts his whole argument into the wrong corner.

    It’s not just that anyone can take a high quality picture anymore, but also that anyone can become a consumer of fine art photography today as well. Before, the best art photography was only available to the public that was educated, wealthy enough to afford it and interested in it – now everyone wants fine art prints in their homes, restaurants, small businesses, etc. But when you widen the audience, you widen the criteria for what falls into it. People who know nothing about the Dusseldorf school only know and see “oh that looks professional and since it’s high contrast black and white it must be professional – and profound”.

    Ultimately photography as a business responds to what the customers want. Lomography got hot for whatever godunknown reason, so now everyone does it and everyone sells for it. I see this argument as the exact same thing. It’s like someone complaining about the sound quality of records being so superior and we should go back to record players in our cars.

    Side note Farktographer I loved that photo you posted in Purely Film, voted for it, still love it. I don’t know that I would hang it on a wall in my home but it brings me pleasure to look at it.

    #42675
    Farktographer
    Participant

    ‘Daw, shucks…let me go blush in the corner for a minute 😳 😀

    #42676
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    Maybe I just read too much into it because I really, really don’t like pretentious photos. Ennui, those photos you posted aren’t what I’m considering in that category. If those photos are Duss style, then perhaps I need to investigate more into what I’m talking about – I was thinking more about the hipster photo of a lone chair in the middle of the field with lots of contrast and ta-da, calling it high art.

    /Not allowing myself to read too many photography journals until I get these chemistry books finished =P Oh, but there IS going to be a lecture soon in my school based on the chemistry behind film exposures, so I’m definitely going to that!

    They are definitely in the school, but of the same austere, un-peopled feel of the Duss school. A lot of urban photography is influenced by the idea that stark, dramatically lit and devoid of people is what urban photography is supposed to be. Or at least is most of what I see on or about NYC. The Hipster Lone Chair is very much the vein:

    http://freeversephotography.com/freeversephotoblog/?p=1389

    See! I am as far from a Hipster as you can get, but if you see a lot of shots in the style all the time you start shooting some yourself. 😆 There is nothing wrong with the style or Duss School shots, I just think people are shown examples of something and they start thinking “that’s how it is supposed to be”.

    #42677
    Farktographer
    Participant

    There is nothing wrong with the style or Duss School shots, I just think people are shown examples of something and they start thinking “that’s how it is supposed to be”.

    I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly. I try to expose myself to different types of photography for just that reason – I want to learn a bit of each and develop my own pathway of photography, rather than having a “type” of destination in mind. That’s part of the reason why I love these farktography contests so much – they expose me to different things that I would never have done before.

    #42678
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    Meh..I just take pictures.

    #42679
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    Meh..I just take pictures.

    Heh, I really get into the “philosophy” of photography. It is an unhealthy associations from love of poetry. You think THIS is a pedantic argument here, get a group of poets in one room and then get THEM started on the various schools, movements, styles and variations of poetry. People think poets are all soft and squishy, mention Beat Poets in the wrong group and they WILL CUT YOU. 😛

    #42680
    Yugoboy
    Participant

    Meh..I just take pictures.

    Heh, I really get into the “philosophy” of photography. It is an unhealthy associations from love of poetry. You think THIS is a pedantic argument here, get a group of poets in one room and then get THEM started on the various schools, movements, styles and variations of poetry. People think poets are all soft and squishy, mention Beat Poets in the wrong group and they WILL CUT YOU. 😛

    I think this is true of most arts.

    I’ve got a book on Salvador Dali that I can’t read for the pretentious BS. I keep it for the pretty pictures.

    #42681
    Kestrana
    Participant

    Meh..I just take pictures.

    Heh, I really get into the “philosophy” of photography. It is an unhealthy associations from love of poetry. You think THIS is a pedantic argument here, get a group of poets in one room and then get THEM started on the various schools, movements, styles and variations of poetry. People think poets are all soft and squishy, mention Beat Poets in the wrong group and they WILL CUT YOU. 😛

    If you spell E.E. Cummings in lowercase I *will* cut you.

    #42682
    staplermofo
    Participant

    Anyone else think he’s completely wrong?
    There are tons of other photography styles flourishing. Pop art photography is huge, fantastic art photography is huge with these new digital whatsits, abstract is very popular, etc.
    As they say in music: if it all sounds the same to you that just means you don’t like that genre.

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