This week I have reflected on chance, serendipity and creative restraint. All these ‘techniques’ have been used by myself at one point or another. It is interesting to find out through critical theory that these ‘techniques’ have been used by many other photographers. I would like to add one more. Synchronicity.
In the end, it all boils down to the fact, that every artistic photographer is looking for a way to have their work stand out, or to use a colloquial term: Find their own voice. As the course goes on, I am learning to find a way that is unique from the rest.
Chance may bring a one off, restraint can bring about a series. Synchronicity, is where nature or the universe and the mind come to-gether and will be able to produce a body of work that is more than chance, serendipity or creative restraint.
The colab this week turned out to be a bit of a disaster, I left it too late in coming back from the F2F in Falmouth and by the time I tried to start one or get involved, most of the teams had been established.
The F2F was a tremendous experience, got to meet the professors in person, did a few workshops and had a few drinks and eats with fellow cohorts. Also managed to squeeze in a few portfolio reviews. Did not actually plan any portfolio reviews, I thought this was only for advanced students (BIG MISTAKE) but later discovered that one can show any works and discuss present and future practice. I powered out a portfolio, managed to get to see five of the tutors, if I had known I could have got to see a few more, so it was the school of Hard Knocks
This really helped me understand my direction much better. I would advise any new students: ATTEND the F2F. Get a portfolio review, have something ready to show and get to see as many tutors as you can. Ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know, this is what this time is for, to screw up, experiment, try out, find your way around in the dark, because believe me you will have to do this, everyone is in such a frenzy, but if I look back, I would have so many unanswered questions.
Technological advances have always been a challenge, whether buggy to car, coal stove to electric, or silent film to talkies, the list goes on. All along the way there are individuals who are set in there ways and don’t change with the times (Amish, no electric,cars,tv) some who change with the times, and then of course there are the younger generation who know no other way, and in so pave the way for the future.
My grandmother went through a lot of change; from primus to microwave, from oil lamps to lightbulbs. The progression is the same in photography from Bitman of Judea to CMOS enabling us to record,entertain,sell,convince and persuade through imaging.
I think we live in the most marvellous times EVER! Even a poor person of today has more than a king had a mere century and a half ago. We can throw pictures and voices through the air, turn night into day with the flick of a switch, walk to the kitchen open a box and there is a selection of foods from all over the country, just waiting to be consumed and enjoyed when ever wanted. Not even having to go out to hunt and gather. If this is not magic, I don’t know what is?
Gone are the days where knowledge and equipment is in the hands of the few, it is finally available to everyone. When I started as a film maker, I had to rent a 35mm camera and lenses, these cost upwards of a $150,000.00 for a “PRO” camera setup. This is till true today, a basic set of Leica Cinema Lenses https://leicastoremiami.com/collections/leica-cine-lenses can cost over $250,000.00 for a set.
Leica Summilux 16mm T1.4 +/- $40,000.00
(today I have a choice, back then I did not) Film was expensive, in the hands of three companies; Kodak, Fuji and Agfa. Today I can buy DILM (my name for digital film/CF cards) anywhere, even at 7-11convience store So was post production, costing $400 an hour thirty years ago. All this stuff was in the hands of the FEW.
The iPhone and Canon5D (among the many brands) changed all that, by allowing everyone to photograph and make a movie. This is what scares the old “Pros” here is that word again. No longer does anyone have to be a scientist+engineer+professor+ wealthy to make a film, any Joe or Joe-ess on the street can do it with just a few hundred dollars, a few friends and a digital camera and software. Just like the daguerreotype, one no longer needed to be a Queen or a King to have their likeness made. Hurrah for technology. The old must make way for the new.
This weeks forum: The Amateur (Non) vs the Pro Photographer:
Write a brief post to the forum describing what you think non-photographers make of professional photographers: what are the conceptions and misconceptions?
There is a big difference between an Amateur and a Professional photographer.
The amateur has always been discriminated against, sometimes referred to as a ‘non’ photographer, as listed above in the heading. It has been argued, debated, categorised and defined.
However there are two distinct categories. The amateur (NON) photographer and the(PRO) photographer. Below is the actual difference between the two that the pro photographer often denies, or skirts.
An amateur does it for love and a pro (pro-stitute) for money, it’s that simple at it’s core. From the French: Amateur: “one who loves.” Link (Links to an external site.) Once you make a ‘living’ solely from your photography you become a Pro by default, it is no longer a choice, you are no longer considered an amateur any more.
I have been an amateur photographer all my life. However, my insecurities, fear, perceived failure, peer pressure, and pressure to perform has finally won out; I’m ashamed to say, i’m being cajoled into becoming a ‘pro’ But hey. . . I’m game for something new. I’m a pro in my current occupation. I’m there, doing that, so at least I will have some past experience to guide me in my future endeavours, albeit at the time I need to draw from that experience, it may be useless,out dated or not apply. There is always the chance that it may be better the second time around.
Instead of trying to erase lines between amateur and pro, (it cannot be done, because the pro thinks with the head, and the amateur with the heart and ne’er the twain shall meet) Consider who makes the more amorous image. Get rid of the discrimination here. Base it on the work not the label.
This is where it got real for me. I have never as yet seen an amateurs work at the Tate, Moma, Pompidou or any of the greats. (nothing for me is an absolute, there is always the exception, but for arguments sake let me give a hypothetical statistic of 99.999999999999% never.)
All works there are from seasoned pro’s with brand, pedigree and provenance. Some are so seasoned, they are no longer with us. As I would like to exhibit at one of these, I sadly have to give up being an amateur, I don’t see any way around it.
I went to a prominent museum here in Los Angeles, to figure how to get an exhibit. Knowing no-one, in shear desperation, I asked the cleaning lady mopping the floors what I should do. She was about 65 and had worked there for 40 years, I figured she knew a thing or two.
She told me to go to Christie’s in Beverly Hills and have my work appraised. And, if it was valuable enough I can get it exhibited. . . Enough said.
I work both in film and photography, and have felt that neither discipline has been satisfying for me in it’s own right and could not seem to get to the core of the problem. Now that I am reading and reserching the material, and doing course tasks, it is becoming clear what the problem is, and what I have been encountering, I’ve understood it conceptually, but not practically.
Answer: I felt every minute of my first week challenging. Trying to figure it all out, like starting a blog, I have never done one before, so that is quite the challenge. However, I feel I finally have a fairly good understanding of it now (referring to form only) Content and structure is a whole other matter! Continue reading WEEK 1: Reflections (Coursework)
The webinar was fun, good getting to meet fellow students online, and put a face and voice to the name. Discussing images with Gary and fellow artists on the webinar was amazing, always nice to have the opportunity to see and hear how others think and work.