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Old 08-30-2006, 03:16 AM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

"New and primitive are 2 different things, IMO. To me, it's newer than...., not new. I agree with you that developments can take an art in different directions unpredicted before. But just like the cave murals of some 30 000 years ago, it has produced achievements that are equal to any other art, except that it is not anymore destined to an elite, as most Art used to be over a century ago. How many people had seen, let alone, appreciated a Renoir painting by the time of his death, how many people listened to a Chopin' s work in the 19th ct? I have never seen any of these caves I talk about, yet.... Photography is also reproduction, we, the world I mean, knows so much more about Renoir thanks to photography."

i didn't mean that evolution in art necessarily referred to things getting new or newer... the drainage system of the indus valley civilisation is supposed to be far superior and more advanced than what exists today... i'll come to the definition later on in my note when i'll respond to what you said about rules..

sometimes you bring new ideas.. and sometimes you bring the same ideas in a different way that i might also consider evolution.. why should munita's work not excite you that much if it reminds you of mccurry's work?

i'm assuming that when you use the word "elite" you mean people who have the capability to enjoy certain things that most others might not. because if it is anything else.. then i'm just going to ignore your parts of the note where you use the word "elite" unless ofcourse you explain what you mean :).. it's just that i feel that this particular word is used far too loosely.. :) if it indeed means what i think it does, then i think renoir, chopin etc still are appreciated by the elite.. it's just that "elite" today is a broader category... do you really think that a significant population in asia, south america and africa have listened or even heard of chopin or seen or even know about renoir????
so basically all that has happened is that the "elite" section of the global society has grown and photography's contribution has simply kept up with this growth and not taken it beyond it.. infact the contribution might even be smaller than the growth of the elite class. in india itself, you keep hearing about the economic surge and all that.. (even though it's for a small portion of the population), but then how many of those people belonging to the elite class care about art?? in india, not many care about art and all that..

i'll admit i'm very new to art and all that.. and to be honest.. i've not even seen the works of the people i admire in real life.. but i've heard of the time period called "renaissance". apparently it's called "early modern" now..
and while renaissance means rebirth.. i've mostly read (and i'll be honest i've not read too much.. so perhaps you could correct me here if i'm wrong) that renassaince brought about changes in art etc.. not that it brought back old art..
so what do you think are the contributions of renaissance and other cultural movements all around the world over time..?

"Moreover, as these cave murals show us, Art is not about getting better as history goes on. I do not even think its potency depends on developments. Those are the enveloppes that artists use to express the same mystery and questionning of life the cavemen did. the tools change, the vision, men may probe the depth of their own exitence rather than petition deities with their soul-searching, but the real question is always: who am I?
I believe pictures from HCB, Salgado, and even you and the members of TE who go shoot with a purpose, are asking this question thru photography. Now, the medium may be in a bind, at this point, it may very well be tied to only a few centuries of the history of man, and not another (I doubt it though), and we are certainly right in asking what the hell is happening with it now, but IMO, many ways to express themselves are at a crossroads (writing too, and most certainly painting)."

unfortunately.. i don't really agree with you fully..
i think you're only looking at things as a viewer.. on the other thing i'm only looking at things as a creator... even if you are looking at things as both a viewer and a creator... even then we're not looking at it from the same viewpoint because i'm looking at things only from the viewpoint of a creator.. what do you suppose led about the changes in picasso's style??? was it merely whims and fancies..??? or was it a conscious desicion to explore different styles in order to find his voice..?? you think he was looking to progress?? why did he never do any "children's paintings"? and why did he emphasise that??
why did the photographer philippe halsman work under the tutelage of salvador dali specifically? why do people in TE "want to get better" ?? do you want to "improve" your photography??
once man gets to find the answer to "who am i?", the "I" he finds is what is most suitable for him, and what is suitable for him, is infact BETTER for HIM than anything else..
honestly.. i hope i never find the answer to that question.. once i find who i am, i'm afraid i'll let go of this medium altogether.. i think this heart wrenching search for me is more fun and satisfying than reaching a direction and coming to a standstill..
i wonder why a lot of people crib that mccurry was great in the 80s and part of the 90s.. but after that he just stagnated.. i haven't heard of him for years now.. have you?

ok you mentioned Salgado...
ok here is another place where we're not seeing things from the same viewpoint i think.. i'm guessing you're one of those who considers all photography as art..
i don't..
i don't consider salgado to be an artist so his example is redundant to me.. sorry about that.. but it's true..
even in my own case.. i've already started to split into 2..
my 1 style the documentary one.. consciously keeps within certain confines.. because it is imperative for me that the people seeing the photographs understand what they see.. because i'm telling other people's stories through them.. i can't afford to deviate much from the SUPERFICIAL reality because what others feel matters a lot.. i really don't know why people consider my last photograph "art".. it's pure documentary way.. maybe done in an artistic way..
it's the same with salgado.. do nachtwey or eugene richards also consider themselves as artists??
you'll find this article on ara guler an interesting read.. just to let you on onto a different perspective from all photography being art..

if for now, i do assume salgado to fall under art, then let's talk about the "potency depends on developments" bit.. then ever wondered why salgado's photographs are so much more evocative than say nachtwey's???? and this i'm saying with regard to al lthe viewers and not just those interested in photography..

this is an interesting read from one of the columbia journalism school's journals.. i read it a long time ago.. but i think it mentions how salgado has brought about "cinematic journalism".. go to the bottom of the page.. do you think it is a development over previous documentary styles.. especially considering how things have changed from the "golden age of photojournalism" of the 50s and 60s.. where people were far more dependent and aware of photographs than they are today...
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:17 AM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default continuation..

"Think of Jazz, its "newness" follows that of history, it had develoments that changed all of music made along and after it, and not only music, but it has seized to inseminate the art world, as well as making a difference in our lives, save from earlier decades. Still, there will never be any denying that its very newness led to changes that affected other arts, and our lives."

i'm not really getting this paragraph.. i don't know much about jazz and all..

"About rules, I am not sure what you are saying. To be confined within rules is a choice for a true artist, if he accepts that confinement. One can create within it. Think religous art for so many centuries, think ragas in indian music. I remember the first time I became interested in listening sitar, maybe R Shankar,I can't recall, but the word rule was omnipresent in understanding how the music is done, and how best appreciate it. Still, you have genius instrumentists and less gifted ones. No?

Not to speak that no rule is still a rule, a confining of oneself within a psychology we intend to live/create by... Iconoclasm has become so predictable nowadays, often more the sign of retarded adolescence, "Art institutes" elitism than true rebellion."

ofcourse no rule is still a rule..
i'll try using an analogy to explain what i was trying to say.. lemme know if it doesn't make sense.. most likely it won't :)

in order to keep things simple i'll only use a 2 dimensional scenario.. but as you ask more questions and bring in more factors you can adjust using appropriate dimensions..

consider a triangle, it has 3 sides
a rectangle: 4 sides
a pentagon: 5 sides
a hexagon: 6 sides
a figure with 'N' sides..

now.. we'll assume that the number of sides are the rules. i've been talking about being CONFINED WITHIN (or bound by) rules..
so in my hypothetical model, the closer the figure is to a circle, the more primitive the artist is

so the artist is CONSCIOUS of these rules...
and because of the artist is conscious of these rules, the number of these rules is limited..

in our hypothesis.. let's a really large and realistic number of rules that we are conscious of.. say 100

in that case the figure we have will be like a circle, but with definite edges..

as the number of rules we're confined to reduces, the edges become more definite and we have the potential to eventually reach a more obvious figure like a decagon or a hexagon and so on..

now applying this model to real life i believe that we are all for example conditioned to look at things clearly.. if your eye sight is weak, you get specs to get a clearer and sharper view.. i'd say that the fact that an photographer like ackerman has gotten over the DEPENDENCY (this means that he can deviate from sharpness, APPROPRIATELY) to produce sharp photographs (he does have many sharp and clear photographs as well.. you know :)..), means that he's not confined to one conditioned rule .. so "N" for him reduces by one.. similarly you can use apply this to other conditions as well..

now look at Picasso.. as i've mentioned earlier.. i'm very new to art.. and i've just started reading about Picasso (in the beginning i used to think he was crap.. and used to think that it was only the "elite" or the "snobs"..- i used to use the term elite very loosely myself- who overrated picasso.. but after reading about him a litte and understanding his works --- i don't deny that what i read about his works to understand is also most likely written by those elitist, snobbish art historians etc.. who've done loads and loads of research on these artists. so my view is also biased from the elitist side :)--- i realise how good an artist he was..
i'm stil very naive about paintings etc.. just making a conscious attempt to understand some.. since i'm seeking inspirations in different realms now.. but i do in a slightly naive way believe that he was less confined to RULES than most other artists...
if i'm wrong, then do you think there is a chance that this and the fact that picasso is believed to be the greatest painter ever by many are related???

Ravi Shanker is very good.. but don't forget that he was also one of the first Indian artistes to actually experiment and he did that with the beatles.. and you really think he's the pinnacle of sitar playing and one couldn't get better??
and yes there are many rules in indian classical music and all. but you're not confined to these rules but instead use them appropriately... sometimes if used together some of these rules might contradict each other no?? again.. i'm no bond in indian classical so i can be corrected here.. and a little that i know of indian classical dancers.. the rules they adhere to are to go through a strict regimen to perfect every dance step.. many of the masters innovate and use all of them APPROPRIATELY. it's not like you're SUPPOSED to follow a step at a particular time..

taken in photography.. there can be a person who might in some instances end up taking a photograph that might coincide with the rule of the thirds coincidently.. but there might be another who might believe that "rule of thirds" is the only proper way to go.. that is confinement.. and photographers like that are in abundance.. and generally these photographers are not beginners..

"Iconoclasm has become so predictable nowadays, often more the sign of retarded adolescence, "Art institutes" elitism than true rebellion."

haha.. iconoclasm can be simply adolescence.. or "elitism".. don't take this personally.. i'm only pulling your leg here and what i'm saying is without any malice towards you but not towards the general belief of "elitism"..
but i believe that if everyone simply sat on their asses and took refuge in the safety of the renunciation of "elitism" (which i believe is just a delusion for many :)), then you wouldn't have an overwhelming majority of art, music literature and even photography (amongst many other things)
why not extend "elitism" to everything else as well... sports too.. why bother giving what you do your heart and soul if it's simply being an elitist..

perhaps winogrand (since he did street photography and it's pretty much an institution itself today and street photographers swear by it) was also an elite.... the same with say.. robert frank.. or even salgado???? afterall since he's also one of the most influential photographers ever... and thus like an institution himself.. or bresson.. or marc riboud who was an open follower of bresson's style..

you're not wrong.. but unfortunately.. we're looking at this from entirely different perspectives.. and for me as a creator only, it matters a lot that i make my own contribution to photography than simply live in what already exists.. even as a viewer why do you complain of munita's repititiveness? isn't that also in a way being an iconoclast and thus an elitist?? :)
in my case.. wait atleast 10 years.. who knows.. i might end up being a retarded adolescent.. :)
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:32 AM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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"i think this heart wrenching search for me is more fun and satisfying than reaching a direction and coming to a standstill.."

sorry i meant destination here and not direction.. it's 5 am here.. so i might have a lot more mistakes :0
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:36 AM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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"in order to keep things simple i'll only use a 2 dimensional scenario"

i meant a 2 dimensional space (in mathematics) like for example a double variable graph..
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:01 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

Hi Sohrab,

I will be breaking this in 2 as well. Just read your first response.

I think Mc Curry will not be remembered as a great photographer, but a famous one for a while. Definitely, with time he will be remembered for the iconic pix of the "afghan girl". He does nice pictures, I enjoy flipping thru the books he came out with, but I do not like at all his series of portraits of people in the type of edition it came out. I do not think that 1% of the people buying these books give a damn what tribe, what culture, what hardship the people in the pictures have. I suppose the money helps funding his charity organizations, not all bad maybe.... A bit off-topic, here, but just to say that I liked Monita's too, this is good work. Excited, no indeed.

Not sure about the elite discussion. There are simply more people nowadays who have the education and leisure to appreciate art. It does not matter where. France is enough to mention that. Me , for example. I come from exactly the contrary of any elite, totally working class and peasantry. If I am born in 1855 in that family, forget about having the possibility of learning about Art like I did 100 years later. Same for India, Sohrab. Think 1906 and 2006.

Elites may not care about art, and here in US, they may differ from one (big) city to another. i was simply meaning works of Art or plain crap called art done by few for a few. They do not have to be society's nobility (in wealth or fame) by the way.

About Renaissance, Man became the new element in the artistic equation. Therefore Art started to use Man, his feelings, experiences, world, as the esthetic and emotional scale in works of Art. as opposed to sacred, ritual and allegorical representations.

This reminds me what I heard a Chartres lecturer say while I visited that cathedral: "first, art was done for God, then it was made for man, followed by art for art sake, and nowadays: No art for god sake!" :-)..I thought that was pretty good and funny.

I am not sure about the creator paragraph. I did not say an artist asks "who am I?" in order to find the answer. maybe we have no argument here, but since you mentionned Picasso, 2 little sentences from him sum up my thoughts : I do not strive to find something, i find it" and "questions are more interesting than answers". Not that he is the only one saying that, but here it is, hey are famous Picasso sayings.

Salgado is not an artist. No problem, I just say Art because it is shorter than anything else. Zola was probably not an artist when he wrote "J' accuse" and wrote his most social books? Um.. maybe, fine to say he was a writer, and Salgado is an economist turned socio-documentarist then. Personally, some of his photos touch me as much as some pages from a Zola or Hugo novel, or watching a favorite Renoir. In any case, not calling it art ain't going to change my esthetic and emotional response to it.

I think art is a bit like religion. it's the personal response to a work created or a religious experience that defines the quality of the perceived object. When you create something and someone is touched by it beyond its utility and functionality, it's quite OK not to call it art, who cares after all, but that person is definetly within the throes of an artistic emotion. Crafts like photography are not left behind Art when it comes to relevant esthetic and emotional responses. So in the end art or no art does not matter. it is just to signal to others that certain quality of esthetic and emotional response that alludes always to something of artistic value.

Salgado? Nachtwey? 2 different personalities, 2 different purposes, 2 different acts of photographying, and therefore for me, 2 different emotions....

I will read the links and your part 2. Thanks Sohrab, I am sure i will have something to say. You know that! ;-)
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:08 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

Hi Maciej, I agree totally with Herve: DON'T QUIT or even think about quitting - that's absurd. The guy is good, very good, so? If anything I find it encouraging. Sonmeone somwehere on the big wide Web is looking at one of your lovely photos, Maciej and saying "Damn. That's it: I quit!", LOL!
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:12 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

Peter, I think his Kandahar pics are awesome, period. At the same time I think: who the hell would want to tak pictures THERE unless you had to or were paid too. We are talking about Southern Afghanistan, a place where the dreadful, atavistic, woman-hating Talibans are regrouping and putting up a fierce fight among the opium fields...sheesh, you'd have to be NUTS to coluntarily want to shoot in that scary, dusty place. But...this guy came back with some true gems especially, for me, from the worst place of all: Kandahar.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:17 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

Sohrab, I'm fascinated by your recent swerving toward literature for inspiration. Just by the by - Alex Webb claims literature (novels in particular) as a prime inspiration - I always found that interesting when so many say: "Oh it's Gauguin who cranked me up, etc." The links in literature are not so obvious as with painting, hence more intriguing...
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:57 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: continuation..

Thanks for the links. Of course, by now you know that it does not make a difference to me if it's to be called an art or not, words are symbols after all, never the real thing. I will still use it, I think people recognizes it's about, once again, esthetics and emotions.

I notice this sentence from Guler: "When a photograph conveys an emotion, a thought, then it is a real photograph."
what do you think about it? he does not mention any rules.

The article about Salgado goes way beyond the labeling of art to his photography or not. I see though that the writer talks about one of his photos as someone would a painting.

as I sum it up writer thinks there is too much salgado in a Salgado's photograph to be properly journalistic. Maybe, so what? and rather: Thanks God!
As you said yourself, there are enough rule-conforming pro photographers around to take the "art" out of a photo, if he or editors prefer. Then, Salgado will go out and shoot where the pros went, and that's the photos we wll remember. Back to square one.

This is typical east coast academia. God forbid there is anything uniquely individual to the way someone shoots a starving kid! (smirk)

This guy wants to take the subjective out of our lives, and replace it with a formatted way to tell the truth. he is probably being paid writing this, good on him! Writing it used to be right way before guys like Salgado started arty-ing with suffering is a fraud. J Lange was not truth formatter, neither was HCB, and his photos do inform us about any place, event, he went to. We can add many more.

That Salgado calls himself a mere documentarist does not surprise me. Keep it simple. he has probably no inkling in discussing art/not art arguments.

Besides, he is far from wrong. When I see his pictures from Sahel, i know exactly what it is about, no supposed artiness is keeping me away from the truth of people suffering. Then they have colloquiums on how to report the truth at Columbia.....

Just of note, I actually said elitism , not elite, BTW. There is nothing wrong in itself in being part of an elite, if that's the case. Being able to write about Picasso in depth is no sin and no snobism.

I am not sure why we have to bring al the artists, photographers, etc..., that conform to rules, in order to show that a craft/art is not quite up there. In every art, you always have 99% of do-gooders and 1% of people who put their own mark, possibly genius, in what they produce. To follow rules or not has nothing to do with it. Picasso broke rules, greatest painter, Mozart did not invent one single musical form, greatest composer....

If Picasso did not have to break rules to "say" something, he did not break them. He simply used whatever was in his possession to be able to say what he had to say. I am sure he never even once said he was breaking rules. To me, that debate about rules doe not exist. you use what you have to use in order to say what you have to say. Rules can help and rules can confine. Your choice.

Ravi Shankar. i did not offer a critical assessment of his music-playing, though you would be hard-pressed to show me any remnant of his ground-breaking experiments with the Beatles. You meant G. Harrison, I think. I am sure Shankar was the type of artists who could play beautifully within or without the rules. It's always been my point, you have to admit.

Again, do not confuse elitism and elite. and again, do not think that elite has to have necessarily a negative connotation. It's a word that one can use to describe that group of photographers you talk about, it means the best of the best. really nothing bad there.

I never complained about Munita's, I even said that is solid work that can inspire us.... ???????

With much amicable feelings, Sohrab, I see you call me a viewer (?), and you a creator who wants no confinements from rules, then why do you follow the B&W rule for proper documentary photography?

Much cordially,

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Old 08-30-2006, 10:16 AM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: Tomas Monita

Hey, the guy is very good. So is Maciej. Different styles different results but Maciej's shots are great. Quit? Maciej, seriously, you serious? Actually its like reading Homerhomer or the now departed gringofil, both really good, origianl photogs say how much they dislike their photography. Cmon, get serious, you are good, stop with the self doubt. Is anyone as good as they can be? No, but whats more fun? To be still developing, searching for directions or being perfect and at the end of your road of development? Wouldnt the latter be BORING?
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