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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Sun 23-Oct-11 12:48 AM
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""Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "


Petersburg, US
          

The second installment of a series of longwinded and meandering posts about photographers exhibiting their photography to others. I take a look at the difference between showing your work in the "Virtual World" vs. the "Real World".

http://blog.meltalley.com/?p=896


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II"
SheriB Silver Member
23rd Oct 2011
1
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Bluefin
23rd Oct 2011
2
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MelT
23rd Oct 2011
3
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Bluefin
23rd Oct 2011
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MelT
23rd Oct 2011
5
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Bluefin
24th Oct 2011
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MelT
24th Oct 2011
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Bluefin
24th Oct 2011
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Nitehawk5169 Gold Member
24th Oct 2011
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24th Oct 2011
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24th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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MelT
25th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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26th Oct 2011
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26th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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25th Oct 2011
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SheriB Silver Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010Sun 23-Oct-11 10:28 AM
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#1. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

glad you plan an installment on the 'how to's" I think that is probably what many people have no concept of. Especially those who never went to school, or belong to a club.

Sheri Becker

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Sun 23-Oct-11 06:36 PM
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#2. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 0


Danville, US
          

Mel,

I read your post "Part 2".

One question I always have was left unanswered. Why? Why exhibit?

There are many reasons we choose to exhibit. The best one of course is to earn a living. Most of us however, are not professional artists. We are hobbyists and amateurs. Many of us earn good livings (see equipment lists in our profiles), and have little need of the money. In fact, the work and the cost of matting and buying frames for 5 to 10 images often exceeds the value of a sale! I know a number of "starving artists" who are always evaluating the risk reward of a show because of the expense.

What are your reasons and why do you recommend it? The proverbial "To Share" is too superficial. Why share?

Learning how to improve your art does not require an exhibit. In fact, an exhibit would actually inhibit critique versus a critique and review of your prints with someone you respect as a teacher.

What is the motivation to exhibit your art?

Caveat: I am not trying to discourage artists from exhibiting. I am simply asking "Why" because this is an issue I have wrestled with for several years now. I think it is important to understand "why" we do what we do.

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Sun 23-Oct-11 08:52 PM
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#3. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 2
Sun 23-Oct-11 09:16 PM by MelT

Petersburg, US
          

>One question I always have was left unanswered. Why? Why
>exhibit?

Well Mark, I haven't finished it yet now have I. There will be a "Part III" which gets into the nuts and bolts of the subject.

You ask a perfectly fair question that can be potentially fascinating to explore for answers. The same "why?" question can be asked of that person who takes part in community theater for no pay but they spend countless hours preparing for the performances which must be balanced with family and job commitments. It can also be asked of that non-professional musician who may bring his/her guitar down to an open mike night at a local pub. I know people who fit both of these classifications with no aspirations of being "discovered".

Cost is certainly a BIG consideration when it comes to exhibiting work. I joke with my artist friends that they do not have the cost associated with exhibiting their work that a photographer has in exhibiting his/her work. They do not have the framing costs involved like a photographer does.

The demand for me doing a new solo show is rather high. I am constantly asked by people "when are you going to do another show?". The "cost" of producing a new show is the biggest limiting reason why I do not meet this demand with supply. There are ways to minimize costs however without sacrificing "quality" which I was going to discuss in my next installment. Of course showing your stuff is not limited to doing a solo exhibit. There are other (and less expensive) ways to dip your toe in the pond of "exhibition".

If you are dead set against the idea of exhibiting your work, then any gibberish I may write will not talk you into it. However, if you have thought about it and wondered what the process is, then hopefully you will pick up on some ideas.

I was going to discuss the nuts and bolts of exhibiting in my next installment with the assumption that the motivation is already there to exhibit one's work but this didn't necessarily get into the "why?". Thank you for giving me an interesting aspect to also explore in this series! I know plenty of people to pose this question to and get their thoughts whether it is artists or photographers. This said, do not underestimate the sharing aspect. It may not be as "superficial" as you think it is.

Now I know at least two people read my ramblings.



Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Sun 23-Oct-11 10:14 PM
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#4. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 3


Danville, US
          


>If you are dead set against the idea of exhibiting your work,
>then any gibberish I may write will not talk you into it.
>However, if you have thought about it and wondered what the
>process is, then hopefully you will pick up on some ideas.


I am not dead set against exhibiting. I have simply chosen to stop exhibiting my work for very personal reasons.


Thank you for giving me an interesting aspect to also explore in this
>series! I know plenty of people to pose this question to and
>get their thoughts whether it is artists or photographers.


The point I'm driving to revolves around your comments of fear, intimidation, and of comments from strangers. All of us have felt the nervousness of a show opening. Why? How much of our self worth is tied up into what other people think? It's worth repeating:

How much of our self worth is tied up into what other people think?

This question goes to the core of all aspects of art. Why did we create a certain piece? To please us or to please an audience?

Why do we show our art? To inspire others? Or to hear what others say about our work? Do we photograph for compliments?

This said, do not underestimate the sharing aspect. It may
>not be as "superficial" as you think it is.


If sharing is not as superficial as I think, then why have we never been asked to submit art that we have acquired over the years? Is that not sharing?

Over the past 30 years or so I have purchased art in Europe, Australia, and all over the U.S. Why don't we all have stock photographs of our "acquired art" to submit to gallery showings in our communities. It sure would be less work, less expensive and far more inspiring! But alas, we don't exhibit the superior work we have in our homes. We exhibit the inferior work that we produced.

So when you ask your artist friends, please ask if exhibitions are just a grown up show and tell or is it more meaningful?

I believe it can be more meaningful. I simply don't know how yet. I am still searching for the answer. Perhaps the members of Nikonians can help me find it.

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Sun 23-Oct-11 11:22 PM
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#5. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 4
Mon 24-Oct-11 12:14 AM by MelT

Petersburg, US
          

>How much of our self worth is tied up into what other people
>think?

The answer to this varies from person to person but I doubt this is the case. Why a person shows varies from person to person. There simply is not one answer.


>>This said, do not underestimate the sharing aspect. It may
>>not be as "superficial" as you think it is.

>
>If sharing is not as superficial as I think, then why have we
>never been asked to submit art that we have acquired over the
>years? Is that not sharing?

Perhaps people do not know you have such a collection? People have exhibits of their collections all the time. This is certainly nothing new. On the other hand, showing one's own art they created makes a personal statement and says something about the person who created it.

>So when you ask your artist friends, please ask if exhibitions
>are just a grown up show and tell or is it more meaningful?

So let's start with you. Why did you once exhibit and why don't you do it any longer? What was your motivation? Why did you quit?


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Mon 24-Oct-11 12:29 AM
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#6. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 5


Danville, US
          

Mel,

You dodged each of my questions. Nothing I said had any value? Or caused you to pause? Or looked at a point of view from a new angle? Was my post that boring?

Or are you just pissed because you think I'm attacking you or your article?

I'm not attacking anyone. I'm simply looking at what appears to be a very simple, common act of exhibiting one's work from a very different, and I think interesting angle.

Mel writes "So let's start with you."

Art to me is not about the final product, that which is exhibited. To me it's about the journey as an artist. It's about the self-discovery as I grow and gain wisdom through the process of creating art. Fighting through boring work into a realm that is exciting. Moving from what I know to a place I know nothing about.

It's about my life and my looming death. About my pain for my daughter and the love for my wife. I can show you the image but you will never be able to see why I created it, even if it beautiful done. So then why show it at all? To provide strangers with a Rorschach test?

It's a road I will never get to the end of. Art is of me, it's for me, and therefore my art can never be for you or anyone else.

Did I dodge your question?

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Mon 24-Oct-11 01:24 AM
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#7. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 6
Mon 24-Oct-11 02:48 AM by MelT

Petersburg, US
          

>Mel,
>
>You dodged each of my questions. Nothing I said had any
>value? Or caused you to pause? Or looked at a point of view
>from a new angle? Was my post that boring?
>
>Or are you just pissed because you think I'm attacking you or
>your article?


Pissed? Of course not. Quite honestly, even though I don't think you have, you can attack what I have written all you want but this would not change my views one bit on what I have written. They are my thoughts. I don't expect everyone to agree with them.

You asked a lot of questions with a "why do we" and I cannot give an answer for the collective community of photographers. As I said, answers vary from one person to another. I can only answer for myself and not for the collective "we". While it may seem like I am dodging, I'm really not. I want to give serious thought to them and will write my thoughts as part of this series of blog posts.

>I'm not attacking anyone. I'm simply looking at what appears
>to be a very simple, common act of exhibiting one's work from
>a very different, and I think interesting angle.

Again, I didn't think you were. I decided to expand on this serioes of posts when you brought up the "why?" aspect. I told you I thought this was an interesting aspect that I was going to add to this series and explore didn't I? I can only answer for myself. It is up to the individual to come up with his/her own "why?" after some honest introspection.

>Art to me is not about the final product, that which is
>exhibited. To me it's about the journey as an artist. It's
>about the self-discovery as I grow and gain wisdom through the
>process of creating art.

At one time I would have disagreed with you about this when it came to my photography and tell you that it was all about the end result for me. All these years I have told artists, photographers, etc. that I was not a "process" type of guy. I shot for the end result to hang on the wall. I wrote about this when I wrote up the project "Old Towne Exposed" I did Spring of 2010 that I put a link to on here recently. Now am I quite there yet that I am 100% process kind of guy? No. I still think the end result is important. I am still on this journey of self-discovery that started in 1972 when I was first handed a camera and took some steps in this discovery when I shot this project. I even stated "there might be something to this process thing".

>It's about my life and my looming death. About my pain for my
>daughter and the love for my wife. I can show you the image
>but you will never be able to see why I created it, even if it
>beautiful done. So then why show it at all? To provide
>strangers with a Rorschach test?

This is very personal and understandable why you may not show it to a public that may not understand. I have done things in my life that very few have done and learned long ago that to even talk about it to people who have not been through the same experience would just be a waste of time because they could never understand and it was impossible for me to express it in a way that they would understand.

>It's a road I will never get to the end of. Art is of me,
>it's for me, and therefore my art can never be for you or
>anyone else.

As I originally stated, the "why?" is different for all. I will attempt to write my personal "why?" as part of this series of posts. Again, thank you for bringing up this fascinating aspect with your original post to this thread.

All this said, I think discussions like this are far more meaningful then how many MPs are going to be in the next camera or which lens has better corner sharpness or what program is best used to make an HDR image.

Have I dodged any of YOUR questions?


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Mon 24-Oct-11 03:06 AM
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#8. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 7


Danville, US
          

Mel,

A wonderful reply which makes me glad I posted to your thread.

Have a wonderful evening and as usual, it was fun talking with you......Mark

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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Nitehawk5169 Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Feb 2010Mon 24-Oct-11 04:28 AM
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#9. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 0


Williamstown, US
          

Mel

I missed your Part I but find Part II very interesting. "What matters is what that image says to the person. The way I figure it; any unsolicited comments or explanations from me are pretty meaningless....The work is what it is and should speak for itself". I couldn't agree more. When a photographer decides to exhibit a photo it is with the intension of invoking a thought process. The message conveyed may not be what the photographer intended but does that really matter? If I exhibit a scene with a bolt of lightning my intension may be to show the power of nature's energy yet a viewer may view it with fright because of their personal experience with lightning. They may tell me that they didn't like it and may not even revel to me why they didn't like it. It is personal to them and they are not obligated to tell me (someone they were close to may have died by lightning). Keep up the good blogs. Thanks Mel

Mike

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Mon 24-Oct-11 05:10 AM
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#10. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 9


Petersburg, US
          

Mike...thank you for the generous comments. Now I know at least three people read my blog entry.


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Mon 24-Oct-11 11:15 PM
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#11. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 9


Danville, US
          

Mike,

I found this quote of yours very interesting:

"When a photographer decides to exhibit a photo it is with the
intension of invoking a thought process. The message conveyed
may not be what the photographer intended but does that really
matter?"

I think your quote really helped me to articulate in my own mind why I feel the way I do. Let me explain:

After reading your post I thought of an image I posted of my granddaughter here at Nikonians. I posted it in one of the lens or camera body forums during a discussion re: 85mm f1.4D on a D700. I posted it with some trepidation because it was so personal.

And then the light went off in my head. All of my work, (that I care about), is personal. So when I ask myself the same question you asked:

"When a photographer decides to exhibit a photo it is with the
intension of invoking a thought process. The message conveyed
may not be what the photographer intended but does that really
matter?"


I have to say, "yes, it really does matter to me because it is so personal". I recently completed a portfolio about my adventures this past spring. It was about being free, about singing, about a wonderful trail in Northern California, about clouds, and about my father-in-law who passed away almost 18 mos ago. These images are very personal to me and they sit matted in a clamshell box with a poem I wrote about "Chasing Clouds". My wife and her sister loved the portfolio and no one else has ever seen it.

Can I show that portfolio in an exhibit? Of course not which leads me to the next question I must ask myself:

Should I be this passionate about every piece I attempt to do? Initially I must say yes, be as passionate as I can. I have several projects I am working on and I am equally passionate about all of them.

Do I need to lighten up? I think if pushed hard enough I will have to quietly mumble "yes" to myself, but........


Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Tue 25-Oct-11 01:14 AM
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#12. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 11
Tue 25-Oct-11 01:22 AM by MelT

Petersburg, US
          

Guys....a lot of times, a photograph is what it is without any deep meaning attached. This is certainly not a bad thing. The Statue of David is considered "art" and their is no hidden meaning behind it that I am aware of. This statue is simply a well executed sculpture of a naked guy with no deep meaning or message.

A lot of my images are what they first appear to be without any deep and philosophical meaning. They may give a different view at times of a subject that is not commonly seen but the subject still is the subject.

Mark, of course a person may view the image of your granddaughter differently then you may because they do not have an emotional attachment to her that you do. You shouldn't expect the viewer to share this emotional attachment that you have.

Last January I attempted to convey a meaning of sorts to two photographs. I was asked to be part of a group show and submit a single piece. The others in it were artists of other medias. I wanted to do something different and try to show something that conveyed a message beyond what you see in front of you. Below is what I came up with. They are two different prints seemingly suspended in a 29"x36" frame. The reason they looked suspended was because they were both lifted from the black matte board behind them by a piece of foam core behind both that was perhaps a inch around smaller then the print itself.

I called it "Perceptions of Life". I saw it as two different ways people may view life. Some people (and you know them) always look into the abyss or nothingness when it comes to "life". They are glass half empty kind of people. There are others who are optimistic always looking into the light regardless what is happening to them. In both, the walls is life itself which is not necessary pretty and can be rough but relatively the same for both.

I joked with some people that I had to elevate the artistic "pretension" because of the place the exhibit was and the crowd I was hanging with .

So this was the message I was trying to convey. Did everyone see it? Of course not. Did that bother me? Not in the least. What was fascinating was what people saw in this combination of two images. Some simply saw two eerie hallways but then some saw beyond that and it was interesting to hear them tell me what they see.

Even though some didn't get it, it made others "think" and isn't that what art is all about? I did get a great deal of gratification from the comments serious artists made about it or those who have a great appreciation for art. I felt like it was a successful piece that night because it made people "think". What else more can you ask from a piece? What they may have thought may not be what I was trying to convey but that was okay.

Below is the piece but you eertainly cannot appreciate it in this format like you can if it is hanging on a wall but that gets back to my blog post. This actually comes from a smaller jpg that I blew up some so the resolution may not be all that great but you can get the idea. Just assume everything is nice and sharp because it is .

Just some more ramblings about the subject at hand.... Oh yeah...you get a glimpse of this framed piece hanging on the wall in the "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" blog post .






Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Tue 25-Oct-11 02:50 AM
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#13. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 12


Danville, US
          

Mel,

Interesting that you picked David:

"Guys....a lot of times, a photograph is what it is without any deep meaning attached. This is certainly not a bad thing. The Statue of David is considered "art" and their is no hidden meaning behind it that I am aware of. This statue is simply a well executed sculpture of a naked guy with no deep meaning or message."

Michelangelo's David is unique in that the head of Goliath is not present. All other statues included a victorious David w/ Goliath's head.

Michelangelo's interpretation showed David after he made the decision to fight Goliath. It was David in the contemplative moments before this boy would join battle with a monster, the moment before the battle would ensue.

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Tue 25-Oct-11 03:01 AM
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#14. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 13


Petersburg, US
          

>Michelangelo's interpretation showed David after he made the >decision to fight Goliath. It was David in the contemplative
>moments before this boy would join battle with a monster, the
>moment before the battle would ensue.

Now Mark....how many people know the history behind this work and its significance? They simply see a naked guy .


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
Blog - http://blog.meltalley.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/mel.talley
Twitter - @meltalley

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 25-Oct-11 05:25 PM
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#15. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 14


Toronto, CA
          

>>Michelangelo's interpretation showed David after he made
>the >decision to fight Goliath. It was David in the
>contemplative
>>moments before this boy would join battle with a monster,
>the
>>moment before the battle would ensue.
>
>Now Mark....how many people know the history behind this work
>and its significance? They simply see a naked guy .

I think it's unrealistic to discount the artist's (or a photographer's) intent. It's also distracting to ask how many people know the story - that's irrelevant, because the technical quality and impact of the work engenders its own set of questions. I think most people who see the sculpture for the first time are moved to read more about it either on the explanatory plaque or by listening to an audio guide or by reading about the sculpture in a printed guide.

If we discount the artist's intent, or in some ways deliberately isolate ourselves from it, then we lose track of intended meaning and do ourselves a disservice by denying the artist an opportunity to communicate with us. Of course we may choose to observe a photographic exhibition or exhibition of paintings or sculptures for a variety of reasons - we may even choose to simply walk by everything without paying close attention to any of it. By doing so we avoid communication. But I think most people attend photography exhibitions and painting or sculpture exhibits in order to try to appreciate the intent of the individuals who created the works on display. That sometimes we just don't get the artist's intent or that sometimes the artist has done a terrible job of communication are different matters altogether.

How well Michaelangelo preserved his personal image of David in the circumstances is fundamentally important to the sculpture's status in art history. That the sculpture can stand on its own as a remarkable technical achievment contributes to Michaelanglo's status as a great painter and sculptor. But to me that only means that such a remarkable technical achievment must be based on some greater cause - hence, so much of the art-loving public's interest in the stories behind the individual artistic creations. Nothing stands alone.

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Tue 25-Oct-11 10:53 PM
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#20. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 15


Petersburg, US
          

>I think it's unrealistic to discount the artist's (or a
>photographer's) intent.

Not discounting the artist's or photographer's intent as such but if you feel the need to explain your work to get people to appreciate it, then I think something can be missing in the work itself. Then again, I feel the work should speak for itself. I think explanations of "intent" primarily goes on in the confines of art education as oppose the "real world" by the masses who simply views pieces in a museum or gallery. A piece can capture their imagination and they may seek to find out more about it but a boring piece is still a boring piece no matter what the "intent" behind it is.

Again, not all photography needs to have some underlying artistic "intent" behind it to be a successful image. The "intent" could be merely to show a subject in a different manner from what people are use to seeing it. The "intent" could simply be to do something different and that is all. Could this have been the simple "intent" of Michelangelo and that is to portray David in a different fashion from other artists? I know a major intent of mine when doing a project or shooting is simply to produce something "different". Well if I am successful, this difference usually is immediately recognized when someone views the work without any explanation from me if my goal is met.

>It's also distracting to ask how many
>people know the story - that's irrelevant, because the
>technical quality and impact of the work engenders its own set
>of questions.

Not distracting at all when the point at hand was about the importance of "intent".

>I think most people who see the sculpture for
>the first time are moved to read more about it either on the
>explanatory plaque or by listening to an audio guide or by
>reading about the sculpture in a printed guide.

The history can be very interesting, but when it is all done and said, it is a sculpture of David portrayed in a different way.

>If we discount the artist's intent, or in some ways
>deliberately isolate ourselves from it, then we lose track of
>intended meaning and do ourselves a disservice by denying the
>artist an opportunity to communicate with us.

I view it a little different. If we give too much deference to the "intent" of an artist, then we may be too accepting of boring or mediocre work. A person can have all the great intentions in the world about a given piece but that does not necessarily mean his/her intentions were adequately executed in the resultant work. He/she may simply need to work harder to better translate his/her intent into the resultant piece.


>Of course we may
>choose to observe a photographic exhibition or exhibition of
>paintings or sculptures for a variety of reasons - we may even
>choose to simply walk by everything without paying close
>attention to any of it. By doing so we avoid communication.

On the other hand, there may not be something there interesting enough to communicate with in the first place . Again, if I have to be told what a piece is communicating to me, then perhaps the artist needs to work more on his/her communication skills?

I think there can be an arrogance in the "art world". An "artist" seems to criticize the viewer if he/she doesn't get their "intent". but shouldn't some of the criticism be in the direction of the artist him/herself? Perhaps af the least a shared responsibility?

>so much of the art-loving public's interest in the
>stories behind the individual artistic creations. Nothing
>stands alone.

I agree with this. I do have people interested in the stories I may have about my photography or a given shot but that said, are people really all that interested in the stories of work that is boring or mediocre to begin with? I think the actual work is the driving force when it comes to generating an interest in the story or the intent behind the work as oppose to the intent and story being the driving forces when it comes to having an interest in the work.

Geez....you have REALLY taken time away from me writing more gibberish on my blog but you have brought up some interesting things. Thank you.


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006Wed 26-Oct-11 12:40 AM
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#21. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 20


Danville, US
          

>>I think it's unrealistic to discount the artist's (or a
>>photographer's) intent.
>
>Not discounting the artist's or photographer's intent as such
>but if you feel the need to explain your work to get people to
>appreciate it, then I think something can be missing in the
>work itself.

I agree with both of you. An explanation should not be required, but instead complimentary. Certainly David is a monumental piece without knowing the artists intent. But doesn't it add to the experience of seeing David knowing Michelangelo wanted to depict David looking at Goliath moments before he would face him in a battle to the death?
>
>Again, not all photography needs to have some underlying
>artistic "intent" behind it to be a successful
>image.

This is absolutely the crux of the discussion and few things could be more important, especially for photographers. You remark, "Not all photography needs to have some underlying artistic 'intent'". And I ask, "but should it?" Should we have that goal filled with passion, creativity and artistry? Should the image be important to us or don't press the shutter at all?

Should a ballerina enter the stage without feeling the passion of the piece she is about to dance?

Should a saxophonist stand up and play without meaning?

Should Michelangelo uncover David without his heart moved by a boy facing his own certain death who had the courage to fight and win against impossible odds?

And of this notion, photographers, above all other artists, should be most cautious. Cautious because it is easier for us fall into the trap of imitation.

If we are less than passionate about art, less emotionally attached to the art we are creating, then we all might end up on that bridge over the Merced shooting Half Dome at last light like the 400 million other "photographer" before us.

Should we be merely content to never venture past taking our cameras for a walk to the Arch at sunrise, the beach at sunset, with colored filters and saturation sliders at 100%? Or should we reflect on our lives or the lives of others, and find that creativity in each of us to portray how we feel and use the image as a metaphor for our emotions?

Should we allow our fear, joy, embarrassment, anger and tears guide our fingers to the shutter or should we simply shoot something that may be a crowd pleaser because it's different or technology presents a new angle on a boring topic?

Can you feel me? To any artist is there any issue more important?

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 26-Oct-11 01:27 AM
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#22. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 21


Toronto, CA
          


>>Again, not all photography needs to have some underlying
>>artistic "intent" behind it to be a successful
>>image.
>
>This is absolutely the crux of the discussion and few things
>could be more important, especially for photographers. You
>remark, "Not all photography needs to have some
>underlying artistic 'intent'". And I ask, "but
>should it?" Should we have that goal filled with
>passion, creativity and artistry? Should the image be
>important to us or don't press the shutter at all?

Photography, painting, sculpture, classical and modern dance and other creative pursuits embraced by both amateurs and professionals (that last defined as people who make most or all of their living from the pursuit) are largely engaged for personal reasons. It is initially the pursuit of the craft which inspires most such people to commit to their chosen discipline in meaningful ways. An early vision of imitation or emulation of some inspiring predecessor may kindle the flame, but it is the pursuit of the craft which holds the attention of devotees.

>Should a ballerina enter the stage without feeling the passion
>of the piece she is about to dance?

The biggest difference between the pursuit of ballet for creative expression and the pursuit of photography for creative expression is that there is an unavoidable finality about a ballet performance on stage. Once people have paid for their tickets and seen a failed or lacklustre performance, they permanently turn off their interest in whichever lead dancers or solosits failed them. By contrast, a few bad photos in an exhibition rarely detract too much from an overall apprecation of a photographer's display or of his works within a group display or exhibition. That coupled with the fact that admission to a photography show is often free of charge (or nominal at most when compared with the high price of an evening of ballet) leaves out any reasonable comparative with theatrical endeavors I think. Of course passions can be equal or equally valid across a variety of creative pursuits - about that I agree.

>And of this notion, photographers, above all other artists,
>should be most cautious. Cautious because it is easier for us
>fall into the trap of imitation.

But it is through imitation that we often learn about what makes those things we admire so great in the first place. Walk into any great gallery anywhere in the world. You'll find art students sitting on benches or cross-legged on the gallery floors, sketch pads open, pencils and charcoal in use as the students copy the masterworks hung on the walls of the gallery. It's fundamental to learning the techniques of the masters as a painter in art school, just as it's fundamental to the education of photographers to choose a the work of a few great photographers in order to try to work out how those photographers did what they did. Learn the basics, learn how great practitioners of the discipline accomplished certain things, then fly on your own. It's a time-tested, proven formula for helping to embrace, learn and practice a creative pursuit.

>If we are less than passionate about art, less emotionally
>attached to the art we are creating, then we all might end up
>on that bridge over the Merced shooting Half Dome at last
>light like the 400 million other "photographer"
>before us.

Why not just acknowledge that getting such a shot is nothing more or less than a creative pilgrimage that helps educate photographers about just how patient one must be sometimes and often how difficult it can be to make an iconic shot (or anything approaching an iconic shot). Let all those photographers take that walk. The ones with passion will learn from the experience. But simply eschewing the experience because the result is liable to be mundane denies, in some important respects, the need for creative thinkers to sometimes experience a road well traveled. It too can offer valuable experience.

>Should we be merely content to never venture past taking our
>cameras for a walk to the Arch at sunrise, the beach at
>sunset, with colored filters and saturation sliders at 100%?
>Or should we reflect on our lives or the lives of others, and
>find that creativity in each of us to portray how we feel and
>use the image as a metaphor for our emotions?

An how do we reach that point in our creative thinking and how do we reflect that in our photography. By sea change-level events? Moments of great insight? An overriding or overarching passion so strong that it blows away all inexperience and helps us produce some unalterably great images? No way. We take small steps, emulating the masters to some extent as the need or interest strikes us. We climb the hills to locate various 'pilgrimage' locations and make our shots. We look at the photos made by others and find in them things that we then try to capture as well or even better. All along we gather the experience we need to gradually build enough confidence on which to base our own and more personal creative decisions. We must reflect on the lives and pursuits of great photographers before us in order to understand the paths those photographers took to get where they ended up. If we don't study that past, we're effectively dooming ourselves to wasting time repeating the mistakes of the past. The study of great photographers and their works is never a waste of time.

>Should we allow our fear, joy, embarrassment, anger and tears
>guide our fingers to the shutter or should we simply shoot
>something that may be a crowd pleaser because it's different
>or technology presents a new angle on a boring topic?

None of that represents choice. You're creating what I feel are completely artificial comparisons not based on anything realistic. I think there is no way to choose amongst your touted choices because none of them are bad choices. They're only choices you personally like or dislike.

Really, I'm agreeing with you about passionate pursuit and an abundantly emotional footprint on any personal approach to photography. It's just that history shows so clearly that ignoring what has already been done is one of the fastest routes to a mundanity that can only be overcome by going back and studying and more fully understanding what has already been done. Miss that trick and it will take almost any photographer a lot longer to find his or her creative strengths.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 25-Oct-11 05:31 PM
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#16. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

>The second installment of a series of longwinded and
>meandering posts about photographers exhibiting their
>photography to others. I take a look at the difference
>between showing your work in the "Virtual World" vs.
>the "Real World".

In your blog series, are you going to get into display methods other than print, online and iPad techniques? One of the best photography displays I've ever seen - and some of the best I continue to visit - are shows mounted using rear projection/lightboxes.

I think more and more big galleries and art museums around the world are investing in big lightboxes because they're easily reusable, they're not really resolution-limited, and they provide an ideal cost-to-display-size ratio and an excellent viewing experience. Output of transparencies (from film or digital originals) is far less costly than print output, but the initial investment in lightboxes is likely certainly a problem for independent photographers no doubt.

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Tue 25-Oct-11 06:22 PM
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#17. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 16


Petersburg, US
          

Howard,

While what you have written about is interesting, I think this is going to be outside the scope of my series because....oh well...I know nothing about it . This and the fact, the audience for this particular series is those hobbyists who may be wondering how to go about exhibiting, the opportunities out there and how to get his/her foot in the door. Those experienced exhibitors are already know what the deal is or should .

The lightbox idea sound REALLY cool and while they are easily reusable, frames can be easily reused as well after the initial investment. Not too sure about the cost savings however. What sizes are you saying these transparencies are?


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 25-Oct-11 08:09 PM
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#18. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 17


Toronto, CA
          


>The lightbox idea sound REALLY cool and while they are easily
>reusable, frames can be easily reused as well after the
>initial investment. Not too sure about the cost savings
>however. What sizes are you saying these transparencies are?

Lightboxes used at the V&A in London, the AGO in Toronto and Musee d'Orsay in Paris that I've seen in the very recent past (in the last 10 months) range from 13"x19" up to 24"x36" in size. Superb for exhibitions and for viewing at distances of 1' out to about 8' or more before detail perception starts to diminish too much. Transparencies displayed in those lightboxes range in size from 8"x10" right up to a hair under 24"x36" depending on the amount of air around each photo preferred by various curators. Image quality is remarkable and seems to be enhanced by white, LED-based backlighting these days (as opposed to fluorescent or incandescent backlight that used to be the standard). Best of all, the usable viewing angle is very wide, so even if you're stuck off to one side of a group at a particular photo you can still see a satisfying amount of detail and perspective.

I think the reusability of lightboxes is different from that of fixed frames. The main difference I see is that a 16"x20" lightbox can be used to display a photo of any size (16"x20" or smaller) without drowning the photo in the huge matte that would be needed to repurpose a fixed 16"x20" wood or metal frame for a much smaller photo.

Another interesting show using transparencies was hung at a small gallery in New York - in lower Manhattan. I saw the display just over a week ago. Everything was hung using clear acrylic sandwich on both sides of the transparency. The acrylic sandwiches were mounted in openings in a 3' wide, painted plywood strip. Three strips of LEDs behind the plywood backlit everything quite well. Less expensive than lightboxes and almost as effective - but excellent in any case. Because the plywood mount was continuous, none of the LED backlight could shine into viewers' eyes.

The most remarkable technical print output I've seen in years was also on display in Manhattan at Lik SOHO - photographer Peter Lik's major space in Manhattan. The print output is apparently done in Lik's Las Vegas studios using either a Fuji crystal or metallic paper of some sort. Finishing/coating/acrylic lacquering is remarkable too. The metallized paper is designed to pick up even the faintest amount of light in a room, which means that in low ambient light the printed image seems to glow. It's a wonderful effect. I'm not crazy about Lik's actual photos. I've never been a fan of his work because the subject matter rarely lives up to his marketing hype. I also sense that a lot of his subjects are rendered in oversaturated tones and a compressed dynamic range, initially quite striking but then tending toward being overintensive and bit of a visual overload for me. It's an e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e output process and Lik's gallery prices reflect that.

One of the shows that had a very solid impact on me in recent years wad the 2010 Environmental Photographer of the Year awards exhibitions at a small gallery in London. Sizes ranged from 8"10" up to 13"x19", print quality was average-to-good (but not better than that), paper quality was respectable (but not better than that - and unframed), the lighting in the gallery was bright but not optimally aimed or diffuse. The thing is that the photos stood on their own - each message was largely clear, often enhanced only a little by the printed explanation mounted on the gallery walls next to each of the photos. A terrific show overall in a small gallery.

The Aeolia 2009 and 2010 Wildlife Photographer of Year shows at the V&A, by comparison, were both hung using the backlit/transparency setup I mentioned initially. They remain by far the best produced photography exhibitions I've seen in the last 10 years. Haven't yet seen any U.S.-based or Canada-based shows as well produced, but I'm sure they're coming.

I think the most important aspect of any photography show/exhibition has less to do with print vs. transparency vs. iPad vs. online/large monitor display as it does with ambient lighting. I think that goes for painting exhibitions as well. The Louvre in Paris is a perfect example of conspicuous excess on display to its frequent detriment in my opinion. I've lost count of the number of huge, supposedly stunning canvases which are basically unviewable in the Louvre because of glare, at any angle, from the valance lighting in the ceiling of most of the galleries in most of the Louvre buildings. It's enormously irritating and distracting.

On the other hand, when tiny little La Parete Gallery on Bathurst Street in Toronto does an exhibition of some new artist, the ambient lighting is carefully thought out, diffuse and helps to enhance the artist's viewing intent for the works. Lighting - no matter what the display format - is often far more important than even the quality of a photo print on display or a digital image or transparency on display in a lightbox or on a large monitor. I think if more photographers and painters get the lighting right for their exhibitions (however small or large the exhibitions may be) they'll place their works in the best position to be fully appreciated.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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MelT Registered since 06th Jul 2002Tue 25-Oct-11 10:02 PM
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#19. "RE: "Show Your Stuff Baby! - Part II" "
In response to Reply # 18
Tue 25-Oct-11 10:54 PM by MelT

Petersburg, US
          

>I think the reusability of lightboxes is different from that
>of fixed frames. The main difference I see is that a
>16"x20" lightbox can be used to display a photo of
>any size (16"x20" or smaller) without drowning the
>photo in the huge matte that would be needed to repurpose a
>fixed 16"x20" wood or metal frame for a much smaller
>photo.

Well there would still be a mask even it is black around the smaller image in the 16x20 lightbox wouldn't it? You comments are based on the premise that everyone frames images the traditional way perhaps using an overlay white matte (or a variety of colors), etc. Some of us don't display images using this method With regards to this single aspect you don't have me sold. No doubt, the method you describe would be awesome to see but I am not seeing any cost effectiveness.

I would be curious about the cost difference between one of these transprencies and a 16x20 print. I cannot imagine it being more cost efficient getting someone else to do the transparency vs me printing my own 16x20. In fact I see the cost being substantially more.

>I think the most important aspect of any photography
>show/exhibition has less to do with print vs. transparency vs.
>iPad vs. online/large monitor display as it does with ambient
>lighting.

I have had a number of places approach me to display and the lack of decent lighting was the cause for me declining such invitiations. Just like in photography itself being all about "light", displaying images successfully is all about "light". I see the light boxes you speak of perhaps being a lower cost solution to a lighting system within a gallery. Regardless where you hang the box...it brings its own light.

Thank you for the interesting read. As I previously said however, my blog posts are directed at encouraging the hobbyist photographer to "show their stuff" in the real world which can be in a lot of different venues that aren't really like the big time galleries and museums you speak of. Someone exhibiting their photography is not limited to solo exhibitions either.

Again, thank you for the interesting read.


Mel

An Opinionated Old Curmudgeon from Virginia



Website - www.meltalley.com
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