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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 13 Mar 2017 (Monday) 16:18
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Understanding Art

 
welshwizard1971
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Mar 13, 2017 16:18 |  #1

I'm very technical, I have an engineering degree, science degree, when it comes to the technical side of photography, it's fair to say I'm quite comfortable. Art however, I don't know a thing. I've read a lot of articles from people who say that studying art has helped their photography in a huge way, and it is something I'm trying to learn, composition etc, but in general 'art' terms I'm at a loss, and I'm struggling to progress beyond 'composition', can anyone point me in the right direction? Website? Book??


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john ­ crossley
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Mar 13, 2017 16:52 |  #2

No, I don't understand "art" either. Although I do prefer the old masters to the modern-day garbage that we get to day, such as the infamous pile of bricks, or the unmade bed.


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PhotosGuy
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Mar 13, 2017 17:06 |  #3

Let me be the first to repeat that, "I don't understand "Art", but I know what I like!" ; )


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been last edited 1 month ago by Tom Reichner. 2 edits done in total.
Mar 13, 2017 20:15 |  #4

.

welshwizard1971 wrote in post #18300028 (external link)
I'm very technical, I have an engineering degree, science degree, when it comes to the technical side of photography, it's fair to say I'm quite comfortable. Art however, I don't know a thing. I've read a lot of articles from people who say that studying art has helped their photography in a huge way, and it is something I'm trying to learn, composition etc, but in general 'art' terms I'm at a loss, and I'm struggling to progress beyond 'composition', can anyone point me in the right direction? Website? Book??

.
I think that this video by Art Wolfe does a great job of explaining how art can be used in one's photography (link below).

Throughout the video, Art discusses how he studied fine art in college, and then continued to do so informally after college. .Then he shows you photos that he was able to create because of his familiarity with fine art and the works of the master painters that he studied. .He really does a great job of explaining and illustrating the link between studying art history and art theory and the practical application of those studies when it comes to creating photographs.

I very highly recommend that you watch this 50 minute YouTube video if you want to gain a better understanding of how art applies to everyday photography.

Here is the link to the video:
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=44LI5sOq408&​t=1687s (external link)


By the way, this is stuff that you can learn. You don't have to be born with any special talent or special insight in order to develop your vision and your talent as an artist. And you don't have to be born "right brain dominant" in order to excel at the artistic side of photography. Left brain people can develop the right side of their brain, just as right brain people can develop the left side.

.

.


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photosbytw
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Mar 13, 2017 20:18 |  #5

It's usually crap until somebody is silly enough to give you money for it..............then it's considered art...............


tw
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sjones
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Mar 13, 2017 21:36 |  #6

Yeah, on POTN, “art” is largely a pejorative term, so other photography sites might provide more constructive advice. As you might have gathered over the years, we like it Archie Bunker around here: museums are anathema.

Even so, most good photography incorporates artistic elements that help enhance the visual esthetic, even if one has no desire to create art.

Composition, lines, angles, geometry, contrast, color, tones, movement, and of course lighting are all elements that can be creatively used to help produce a compelling photograph, and there’s nothing elitist, pretentious, egoistic, cliquey, inflated, or fraudulent about this…inveigling marketing skills need not apply.

One thing that I might suggest is to just closely observe photos to try to identify what appeals to you. And of course, as Tom noted, for some folks, appreciation of the arts in general can help, including music.

As Tom also stated, this is something that you can develop. As with anything else, some people are going to pick it up quicker than others, so it’s a matter of both study, patience, and lots of practice.

Photographer Michael Freeman has come out with some well received books on the matter; they might be worth exploring.

Give Tom’s suggested video a view as well.

And again, just looking at photographs---yours, others, amateurs, professionals, and so on---can prove instructive. Don’t underestimate the value of osmotic development.

To this end, don’t quickly toss away shots you don’t like…try to figure out why the photography failed for you. Likewise, try to identify what visual components contribute to photos that you like. Reverse engineer, sort of...maybe, what do I know...

Anyway, no need to get hung up on creating “art,” per say, but yes, art appreciation, even at a cursory level, can help improve your photography.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been edited 1 month ago by Tom Reichner.
Mar 13, 2017 21:41 |  #7

.

sjones wrote in post #18300295 (external link)
Don’t underestimate the value of osmotic development.

.
An excellent point, very well said. Would have taken me three or four paragraphs to say the same thing, but my paragraphs wouldn't have been as effective as your sentence. Seems there is an art to writing, as well.

.


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Alveric
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Mar 13, 2017 22:03 |  #8

https://www.amazon.com ...-Tom-Wolfe/dp/0312427581/ (external link)


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorably in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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digital ­ paradise
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Mar 14, 2017 08:32 |  #9

Can't explain it either.

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photosbytw
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Mar 14, 2017 08:45 as a reply to digital paradise's post |  #10

:eek::eek::eek:


tw
Don't even begin to think I'm criticizing your images.
Just a natural curiosity.

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tonylong
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Mar 14, 2017 09:03 |  #11

It's an interesting topic!...

One analogy could be in the musical field!

If you have ever taken up a musical intstrument, let's say you have been inspired by hearing some great musicians who create great, memorable music. You will quickly realize that there is a whole lot involved in being able to "play music", there will be the need to "read" a score, understanding how to actually take your instrument and make it sound like you are actually playing music! It may just be a note at a time, maybe a chord that actually sounds like the "sound" you are after, wither a combination of fingers on a keyboard or on strings or on the buttons for a wind instrument...

Such things do involve "know-how", believe me, try taking up an instument, hey, a sax or a fiddle and playing a "song" and try making it sound anything but just crazy! If you can actually learn to pull that off, well, it is in fact quite an accomplishment!

But you quickly become aware, if you are listening to musicians who really could be considered "artists", ones whose music just hits you with the "Wow" factor! And, as such, when you pick up your instrument, you will indeed find yourself pondering, "What could bring "art" out of these notes, these sounds that I have learned to make?

Well, with photography, we could say the same thing! We have learned to take photos, and all the learning process does pay off,

But then, we see photos by "masters", photos that stir up that response in us, ones that communicate something that goes beyond the skill/craft of the photographer, and we are stirred!

I'd say part of it is letting our VISION get stirred, that is, when we see a scene, and we can begin to "visualize" something that goes beyond just a "shapshot", sure, let's let ourselves be "stirred", just like if we pickup that sax or fiddle, and we don't just want to play a "song", but we do want to create/convey that "vision", in a way that others who are listening might just sit/stand there and go "WOW"!

you could say the same thing about singing, let's say you know how to sing a song, getting the words and the tune right, sure, but your vision, your desire would be to sing that song in such a way that your audience is being "raptured" by how you/your voice pours out something that you could in fact call "ART"!

OK, then!


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airfrogusmc
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Post has been last edited 1 month ago by airfrogusmc. 2 edits done in total.
Mar 14, 2017 09:33 |  #12

Spend time in great museums that have large collections from the master painters. Spend time with paintings and really LOOK....

If you don't like something try and figure out why history has considered it great. Read about the artists and their work.

Spend time studying art history and the history of photography.

Here's a great very short piece by Jay Maisel
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=B8hekPi8WW4 (external link)

Also I wanted to say when working try and look beyond the obvious as Weston would say. I would say move beyond the noun. Instead of taking say a ________. Try and show what that __________ means to you. Get beyond what it actually is.

A great book to help you understand creativity and how to tap into yours is a book by Betty Edwards: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I read that book when I was in college and it was eye opening.




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texkam
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Post has been edited 1 month ago by texkam.
Mar 14, 2017 10:54 |  #13

^ ^ ^ I love Gursky's work, including this wonderful photo.




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tupe
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Mar 14, 2017 11:36 |  #14

When I was in college, about the time I changed from engineering to Liberal Arts, there was an exhibit in our student center. The artwork was colorful and metallic. I was staring at one item with a puzzled look on my face when the artist came up to me, smiled, and asked me how I liked it.

"I don't understand it."

"Well, isn't it pretty?"

"Oh."


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TooManyShots
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Mar 14, 2017 16:17 |  #15

Do you like music? See photography as a tool....as means for certain artistic expressions. It can be with many artistic forms. I never have a formal art education BUT I was a HUGE classical music fan as well as into philosophy during the German Romanticism. All artistic expressions have many things in common. That the artists are subjected to the historical time of the age spirit. They produce works because of certain artistic trends. Or trying to break away from trends. Also, they are motivated by some inner self realization or self motivated visions. Rarely modern arts would be about some copy illustration of the actual world. In photography, that would be photo journalism.

When I go shoot, I always look for scenes that would inspire me...that goes beyond just imitating what is factual....maybe to tell a story...


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