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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Red face An approach to art ...

    Be warned ... this maybe just a ramble, but one that has had some considerable time attached to it. A bit of reflection, if you will, considering the help I've tried to provide to folks who visit this forum.

    Over the past three to four years, I have spent considerable time at the college, trying to get a grip on photography and what it currently means to me. I wound up "certified" in photography, which means I have a basic level of understanding, according the academic measurements, and I have opted to share some of that when asked or invited.

    So many people get into the craft for a variety of reasons and while they have theirs, I have mine. Somewhere, for the sake of understanding, we probably meet in the middle.

    Let me just say that when I was a kid, I used to draw … a lot. In fact, I had a nemesis, if you will, while we were in second grade, together, who drew quite well and it was almost a contest to see who could draw the best. It was the crayon-war back then … and he would fire off his salvo of art and I would counter with mine. Others would try to copy our work, but we quickly got better and better, with each effort. That year, that particular classroom was decorated with more superheroes than a comic book.

    In fact, I we got noticed by the third grade teacher, who was an excellent charcoal artist. Having a gifted-person like that in a regular elementary school was a rare find, to be sure. In fact, that one year with her was simply invaluable to my craft and vision. She, with just a few simple lines, could capture people in ways I had never seen. I worked so hard to get noses in proportion and here, with a few graceful strokes, was an entire face! And it looked just like the subject she had rendered. It was just amazing to me, as I watched her do it (hey, I was just a kid, right? Well, the parents were equally stunned with the quality of her work and she drew every child in her classroom). I still remember her seeing my own efforts and adding her experienced advice on how to improve it, throughout that year. It was another important piece to my “education.”

    Then, in sixth grade, I discovered film photography. Armed with a 120mm camera, I proceeded to capture my world in my limited film availability. I only had 12-shots to do it with, per roll. I did not give up drawing, though, and kept doing both right up until I joined the Navy. So, between the two art forms, I began to create as best I could … without any real formal training.

    Back to the college aspect, some thirty years after that elementary experience: Arguably, given almost any lens, the photographer should be able to capture his image. Obviously, like the artists with oils and a canvas, the wider the array of brushes, the more detail that can be added to the composition. The more lens choices ... the more "controlled" the image should become. That’s not to say that the “heart of the image” is somehow lost because the artist was limited in the selection of brushes/lenses. If he/she had used a rock with paint on it ... the composition would still be his/her effort. The formal aspect of “training” is to refine the “artist”/student with the basics of composition, light, proportionality, perspective and all of the other limiting factors that constrain the “heart of the image.”

    I am quite sure it has been said before, that formal education begins to chip away at the true nature of artistic expression. As we incorporate the lessons learned into our work, we begin to restrict or cast away the creation from its whole. What we wind up with is a piece of work that now fits into the “formal” mold of acceptance.

    I am not saying that is a bad thing, it is what it is. But, with all these additional mental rules of constraint and compliance, you need to realize … it isn’t what it was. My boyhood composition, when I was in second grade … was more true to “me” than anything I have created since. Now, it is focused, in a way, so that everyone can see it.

    Liberating it isn’t.

    Here's to you, Mrs. Frost

    Name:  Don-charcoal.jpg
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    Last edited by DonSchap; 07-15-2008 at 09:17 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr® & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
    Posts
    1,161

    Nice post

    Well said Don. The first thing about art, whatever kind you enjoy is that you like what you like for your own reasons, and those who are skilled enough or talented enough to make there own art should not try and conform or comply with established standards, do it the way you like it, or how it makes you happy. Now there is photography, and the art of taking photos, I think they are two different things all together. As for me I just like to take photos, and "play" with my gear, I do want to learn how to develop my skills and better use the equipment, thats where I find this forum so helpful. If I ask for help or a how to I get answers, answers based on on the "rules" the science and technique of photography, and no one here tells me I am wrong, or thats not the "right' way to do something. We all need to find our own vision of art, and then pursue it, change it and / or capture it on the digital sensor.
    Hmmm.............is that kind of what you were saying Don
    BTW why did you drop the tag line about the laws of the universe from your posts? I thought it was great

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Well, since you mentioned you liked it better than the Photography tag line ...
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr® & Sdi

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