Lock down amusement, a pointless debate :-)

sirch

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I have watched some or all of this guy's videos more than once during the last few months and find myself very much in two minds about what he has to say. Here's a couple of examples

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGWIVzki3ts


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdaxV2ieZgY


Given that I can't make up my mind as to whether I agree with him or not I thought I'd see what the TP hive mind thought, I'm not likely to agree with you lot either :D but it could be fun.

I think that my main issue is his "exclusivity" for want of a better word, there are photos that he likes but everything else is not worthy and those who like "lesser" forms need to step up to his level. I also like some of the photos that he likes but I also find that I like some of the stuff he dismisses and I don't personally feel the need to be in one camp or the other but there is the question in my mind that if I was more opinionated about my likes and dislikes would I produce more meaningful photography?
 
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I think the subject of whether something is, or is not, an interesting or powerful photograph can often depend on the context in which it's viewed. If looking through a portfolio of similar style images then an individual photograph (which, if viewed in isolation, appears to be quite 'average') suddenly looks like a much stronger piece of work. It's a bit like the old comedy series "The Fast Show", a one-off sketch viewed in isolation wasn't that funny, but because it became a variation on a theme and turned into a running series of sketches, it became increasingly amusing.
 
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I hadn't watched those for a while. Thanks. In a similar vein I read this the other day ~ https://unitednationsofphotography.com/2021/01/16/the-two-worlds-of-photography/

I appreciate that this sort of view can be seen as elitist, and maybe even dismissive, however I think it comes about through a frustration brought about by the poor standard of visual education we suffer. It's a failure to introduce and explain 'serious art' to people where the dislocation has its roots.

Unfortunately it is difficult to espouse the views expressed in the videos and article and not appear superior in your attempts to convince people of their merit. There must be a way to broaden people's ideas of what makes good pictures without seeming to be condescending. Something which would be much easier if this education began at an early age instead of leaving people with the delusion that an appreciation of pictures is innate and everyone's opinion is as valid as everyone else's.

Visual literacy really should be taught as the equal of verbal literacy, more so than ever in the screen world we now inhabit.
 
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I love Bob Ross and was about to get grumpy, but when I watched the whole thing it did make sense. Daughter #2 was introduced to him (by me & Mrs H) at age 11. From there she went on to study art (painting) formally and now does work way out of my comfort zone. Uterrly unqualified to say whether it's good or not, and I sadly wrinkle my nose at it just like I did with that first sip of whiskey.

Visual literacy really should be taught as the equal of verbal literacy, more so than ever in the screen world we now inhabit.
This. I wish there was someone I could go to today who could teach me this. I am still a rank amateur (in my opinion) when it comes to it.
 
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I love Bob Ross and was about to get grumpy, but when I watched the whole thing it did make sense. Daughter #2 was introduced to him (by me & Mrs H) at age 11. From there she went on to study art (painting) formally and now does work way out of my comfort zone. Uterrly unqualified to say whether it's good or not, and I sadly wrinkle my nose at it just like I did with that first sip of whiskey.
I was a huge admirer of Roger Dean's album cover artwork as a teenager, but it looks like A level stuff to me now. I've never developed a taste for Scotch though!

This. I wish there was someone I could go to today who could teach me this. I am still a rank amateur (in my opinion) when it comes to it.
I'm not sure it can be 'taught', but it can be learned, I think it's a case of being exposed to stuff that is out of your comfort zone on a regular basis so it kind of seeps into your way of seeing.
 
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I am hopelessly out of my depth with all this stuff, but I do rather like his videos. I find his presentation very relaxed (and relaxing) and find myself wanting to watch more.
 
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This sort of thing is where I part company with "art critics". I believe that art is entirely personal and that everyone's opinion is exactly equal. That being the case, you cannot be taught to appreciate art, only trained to accept someone else's assessments. Other opinions are, of course, available.
 
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I believe that art is entirely personal and that everyone's opinion is exactly equal. That being the case, you cannot be taught to appreciate art, only trained to accept someone else's assessments. Other opinions are, of course, available.
Taste is personal, art appreciation is not. It's been said on here before that it is possible to appreciate why a work of art is considered 'good' without liking it. And that can be learned.

A good art education should open ones eyes to what there is beyond what you like, and to what a range of people thing of it, then to make up your own mind ifyou consider something is 'good art' or not and to, importantly, be able to say why you disagree the conclusions of others. Simply saying 'I don't think that is any good' isn't an informed opinion, it's personal taste.
 
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Surely a "good Photograph" depends on the criteria against which it is measured. For example, if it is a good commercial photograph what are the sales figures. If it is a good competition photograph which competitions did it win. If a press photograph was it published. If it is to please me, did it and so on. Few photographs will meet all categories. If I have a photograph that pleases me and wins a competition then great but it is unlikely to be a commercial success as well. I tend to take photographs to please me but well aware of what might be successful in competitions so I may occasionally be influenced by this but the reason I take the photos is because I choose to. I am more likely to be influenced by other amateur photographer I know as I see their work whereas I do not look in photography books for inspiration.

Dave
 
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I appreciate that this sort of view can be seen as elitist, and maybe even dismissive, however I think it comes about through a frustration brought about by the poor standard of visual education we suffer. It's a failure to introduce and explain 'serious art' to people where the dislocation has its roots.
I'll try to watch later.

An issue that was an almost constant source of friction with our old friend the dinosaur was that he *appeared* to dismiss people's work without ever explaining or educating - effectively he'd slam the door in the faces of those who wanted to learn. Perhaps it was simply an inability to communicate effectively.
 
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I'll just add that there's a lot of difference sometimes between a beautiful landscape photo and a meaningful one

As a Judge and tutor, I've never known anyone who wants to shoot meaningful ones rather than a beautiful ones

You may need to watch the 2nd vid above for his rant on Thomas Heaton to see where I'm coming from there

Dave
 
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Just to say that I logged on a couple of hours ago and started to reply and our electricity went off
Of course it did....
 
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sirch

sirch

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So this seems to be some sort of karmic revenge for starting this thread, our electricity has come back on several times and I have tried to post here a couple of times and each time the power has dropped out again
:thinking:
 
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As a Judge and tutor, I've never known anyone who wants to shoot meaningful ones rather than a beautiful ones
Maybe people who don't want to shoot pretty pictures don't enter competitions? ;)
 
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sirch

sirch

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I'll just add that there's a lot of difference sometimes between a beautiful landscape photo and a meaningful one

As a Judge and tutor, I've never known anyone who wants to shoot meaningful ones rather than a beautiful ones

You may need to watch the 2nd vid above for his rant on Thomas Heaton to see where I'm coming from there

Dave
Perhaps needless to say but he's got an opinion on that

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq9eGjJ6qSY
 
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sirch

sirch

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I think the subject of whether something is, or is not, an interesting or powerful photograph can often depend on the context in which it's viewed. If looking through a portfolio of similar style images then an individual photograph (which, if viewed in isolation, appears to be quite 'average') suddenly looks like a much stronger piece of work. It's a bit like the old comedy series "The Fast Show", a one-off sketch viewed in isolation wasn't that funny, but because it became a variation on a theme and turned into a running series of sketches, it became increasingly amusing.
Couldn't agree more and I really like the Fast Show analogy - "scorchio"

There must be a way to broaden people's ideas of what makes good pictures without seeming to be condescending.
If only we gave visual arts education the same emphasis that we give to maths...

I love Bob Ross and was about to get grumpy
I tend to think that Bob Ross is a one trick pony, he is very good at what he does but the paintings are pretty much the same thing over and over. I do think he has something to teach painters and photographers alike about creating depth in a 2 dimensional image but when the lesson is learned, it has been learned. BTW my daughter is also studying fine art :)

I believe that art is entirely personal and that everyone's opinion is exactly equal.
So your view is as good as that of the curator of the National Gallery? And that kind of thinking is also what anti vaxxers use.

Surely a "good Photograph" depends on the criteria against which it is measured. For example, if it is a good commercial photograph what are the sales figures. If it is a good competition photograph which competitions did it win. If a press photograph was it published.
That pretty much sums up my thinking on this. He seems to completely reject the idea that a camera is a multi-purpose tool and that documentary and illustration are equally valid and can be engaging, emotional and valuable.
 
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sirch

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Perhaps needless to say but he's got an opinion on that

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq9eGjJ6qSY
Quoting my own post here but...

At the start of this video, he says "I haven't seen a copy of National Geographic in about 30 years" and then goes on to critique a National Geographic award comp. There, right there, is where is really shows his true colours. In his other videos is is asking us to gain visual literacy, to spend time considering complex photos but show him photos that require him to understand something about, say, geology, and he CBA and starts moaning about humanity.
 
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So your view is as good as that of the curator of the National Gallery? And that kind of thinking is also what anti vaxxers use.
That's an extraordinary statement to make. Far too strange to be taken seriously.
 
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He seems to completely reject the idea that a camera is a multi-purpose tool and that documentary and illustration are equally valid and can be engaging, emotional and valuable.
Also that photographers can work in more than one genre and that individual photographs can be used in multiple contexts - documentary pictures can be put in an art or advertising context, for example.
 
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Simply saying 'I don't think that is any good' isn't an informed opinion, it's personal taste.
I agree with the accuracy of your claim but disagree with your conclusion. All art is a personal matter to the viewer: the alternative is to have "officially sanctioned" art, as in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. I certainly wouldn't want that but it sometimes seems as if that is the intention of certain self appointed "experts".
 
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Quoting my own post here but...

At the start of this video, he says "I haven't seen a copy of National Geographic in about 30 years" and then goes on to critique a National Geographic award comp. There, right there, is where is really shows his true colours. In his other videos is is asking us to gain visual literacy, to spend time considering complex photos but show him photos that require him to understand something about, say, geology, and he CBA and starts moaning about humanity.
Also that photographers can work in more than one genre and that individual photographs can be used in multiple contexts - documentary pictures can be put in an art or advertising context, for example.
So perhaps we can learn from the good bits & hopefully ignore the places he's being a d1ck?
 
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sirch

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So perhaps we can learn from the good bits & hopefully ignore the places he's being a d1ck?
Yes but... I am left wondering if this kind of self centered opininated focus is what it takes to produce significant work and as I am never going to be that kind of person should I give up all pretentions in that direction and stick to over saturated long exposures?
 
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I ran sessions in my classes where we looked at photographs by famous photographers and passed comment on them. Some (Nan Goldin, Bruce Gilden, Robert Mapplethorpe, David LaChapelle in particular) would always create divisive opinions. I think they were the best discussions because disagreement makes it ok to have that different opinion. If you haven't made your mind up, you get to listen to both sides before picking one (or finding a new one). I learned a huge amount from those discussions and it's the thing I'll miss most until this virus nonsense is sorted.

I think the YouTuber here has some good stuff to say, but he also has some strange things to say. Toni hit the nail on the head with the "take what you like & leave the rest". I'm no fan of decor either and I tend to unsub from an awful lot of YouTube channels once they start to become careers for their presenter. Motivations change, and it ceases to become "for the love" and becomes "for the likes". One exception for Davie504. Bass.

I'm more of a Vivian Maier shooter. Billions of negatives that will end up either in a bin, or at an auction. Someone will buy them for firelighters, or immortalise me and I don't care because I'll be dead. I'm thinking the former. All in all, I'm happy plinking away and occasionally making images I'm happy with. One good thing (for me anyway) is that the older I get, the less seriously I take myself.
 
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I agree with the accuracy of your claim but disagree with your conclusion. All art is a personal matter to the viewer: the alternative is to have "officially sanctioned" art, as in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. I certainly wouldn't want that but it sometimes seems as if that is the intention of certain self appointed "experts".
Self appointed "experts"? That sounds Trumpist!!

How we react to art is, indeed, personal, but whether it's any good or not is decided by consensus between those who have in-depth knowledge and experience. The same as in any niche subject.
 
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Yes but... I am left wondering if this kind of self centered opininated focus is what it takes to produce significant work and as I am never going to be that kind of person should I give up all pretentions in that direction and stick to over saturated long exposures?
There's some thought provoking ideas in this book:


:)
 
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How we react to art is, indeed, personal, but whether it's any good or not is decided by consensus between those who have in-depth knowledge and experience.
I am genuinely puzzled by that claim.

The history of art shows that many people whose work is now aclaimed by "the great and the good" were originally derided by previous generations of such arbiters. If the standard by which art is to be measured changes, like any other fashion, surely it follows that any concensus is entirely arbitrary as to both importance and value?
 
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Just to say that I logged on a couple of hours ago and started to reply and our electricity went off ☹. I'll catch up tomorrow
I don't know about the power going off because after just three minutes of the first video I was asleep; god's teeth that voice is boring. :sleep:
 
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I am genuinely puzzled by that claim.

The history of art shows that many people whose work is now aclaimed by "the great and the good" were originally derided by previous generations of such arbiters. If the standard by which art is to be measured changes, like any other fashion, surely it follows that any concensus is entirely arbitrary as to both importance and value?
It's the same in all fields. As knowledge and experience expands the consensus changes. Once upon a time the sun revolved around a flat earth.
 
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Are you comparing art to scientifically verifiable fact?
Not specifically, I was thinking of how the process of reaching a consensus isn't set in stone.
 
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Not specifically, I was thinking of the process of how reaching a consensus isn't set in stone.
Art would be a lot easier if there was some kind of metric that could be used. To an extent I agree with Andrew F, that the art world doesn't really have a way of measuring a piece to see if it qualifies, and there have been notable pieces of 'art' in the past that have been rejected, only to then be accepted because of the creator rather than the piece (Fountain springs immediately to mind). I'm much more inclined to believe that a piece is art because of the person who created it than the piece itself, the actual form playing only a secondary role.

That's not to invalidate art, but as Chris noted, it's probably essential to be conceited and blinkered in order to produce ones 'art' effectively and that will naturally affect the ability to judge what is and is not valid. They might as well be a Vogon reading poetry. ;)
 
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I appreciate that this sort of view can be seen as elitist, and maybe even dismissive, however I think it comes about through a frustration brought about by the poor standard of visual education we suffer. It's a failure to introduce and explain 'serious art' to people where the dislocation has its roots.

Unfortunately it is difficult to espouse the views expressed in the videos and article and not appear superior in your attempts to convince people of their merit. There must be a way to broaden people's ideas of what makes good pictures without seeming to be condescending. Something which would be much easier if this education began at an early age instead of leaving people with the delusion that an appreciation of pictures is innate and everyone's opinion is as valid as everyone else's.

Visual literacy really should be taught as the equal of verbal literacy, more so than ever in the screen world we now inhabit.
You mean some peer appointed experts tell people what's good and what isn't?

Just for another way to think...

The art should maybe be appreciated for what it is without someone at the front eloquently telling people what to think of it.

Self appointed "experts"? That sounds Trumpist!!

How we react to art is, indeed, personal, but whether it's any good or not is decided by consensus between those who have in-depth knowledge and experience. The same as in any niche subject.
Nupe. Why should art be accepted as good because the self appointed decree it? As in other fields, what if the self appointed and self reinforcing echo chamber can't see past their own views and prejudices?
 
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sirch

sirch

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They are not self appointed though, are they? The curator of the national gallery didn't just walk in there one day and declare himself Curator, he was appointed to the job by other suitably qualified and experienced people. Let's not forget that if someone takes on the role of expert or critic then they are going to have a shower of brickbats raining down upon them, so to be credible they have to broad and deep knowledge, the slightest slip and it is going to be hard for them to recover.
 
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