Film vs Digital vs Creativity

photography
creativity

#62

Ancient cultures melded art, work and life. Science, theology and philosophy weren’t in conflict either. Remnants of this are still evident in certain ethnic groups, at least some more than others.

I think the celebrity culture was different back then. It was more about a master crafts person being good at and proud of what he or she did for the community, and what he or she could pass on. Celebrity would stem from people being commissioned or employed to make items of utility and art for the rich and powerful; also for life altering events such as warfare or the changing of regimes. Such artifacts were more likely to be preserved and / or written about, and also looted, (destroyed) and traded.


#63

@elGordo

tamos juntos brother {here socialist emoji without pants}

 
 

Your timing in impeccable. Swedish tv just made the film available online (free). I’ve been wanting to see it for years!

you’re going to love it @nosle, heir of the best qualities of slavish schools such as rigour of thought and a way of presenting and engaging the spectator without cheap tricks… and the portrait of contemporary (rusky) society is, my back hair’s standing, demolishing… good storytelling by any measure =)

 

The artist genius myth and and some sort of purity ideal where artists become a channel to ‘real’ things.

:+1:

That’s something that opens yet another front of discussion: what is there of true and what of myth in the romanticised view of an (fine) artist? aka please come back Baudelaire

 

it’s hard to separate learned status seeking from genuine interest. I’m pretty sure it’s most often a unholy fusion, I don’t mind unholy fusions that much.

Jajaja that’s it keep them unholies coming :+1:

I’m one who laments the separation of art and life but also work and life. I find institutions such as museums and galleries problematic in how they help create a distance and the potential for the myths mentioned above. I still love going to museums and galleries as it’s the only way of accessing the work.

We’re on the same page :open_book:
I’d like to add that funny enough - in my artist days and - despite being rusty validation machines, I actually had a great time working in/for some museums (galleries, hummm)… the good and the bad experiences had always to do with people; sometimes the more square and stale a “temple” was, the “clearer” my “function/work” of putting that to test and exposing it was, loads of fun. Then, in my technical / assistant department days it was a nightmare 'cause it was almost impossible to cut through the ossified BS and the medieval hierarchy and get things done well and promptly, I digress, sorry

 
 

@isaac do you know if skilled artist/craftsmen were worshiped (broad meaning, think celebrity) in earlier cultures?

I think the celebrity culture was different back then. It was more about a master crafts person being good at and proud of what he or she did for the community, and what he or she could pass on. Celebrity would stem from people being commissioned or employed to make items of utility and art for the rich and powerful; also for life altering events such as warfare or the changing of regimes. Such artifacts were more likely to be preserved and / or written about, and also looted, (destroyed) and traded.

@afre You, beast of many names… my art history notion is quite faded and more visual that factual by any account… I’d like to know if back then the patrons commissioned work considering the name or the quality of the “output” or something else/mix

a stupid thought just crossed my mind, what if what we consider good is just what we (historically) know

Nevertheless I would love to be able to witness in situ Mr. DaVincci’s marzipan castle, jajaj ja
:european_castle: :cake:


(Gord) #64

I think for many people that is probably true. But then you have to think of the experiences that rip you right out of that cozy little reality…the first time you saw something by Dali…the first time you heard Hendrix…

But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?

As we get bombarded and jaded by the sameness of everything today, the life altering experiences that cause us to challenge our ideas of what is good are getting more and more rare.


(Mica) #65

For juxtaposition, the Proust quote:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.


#66

Sure, we don’t have all of history to go by (even if we had a time machine, we wouldn’t understand the when we would step into); just fragments that we try to piece together with our own lens and preconceptions, and hopefully sound theory and methodology.

Exactly, important things just wiz by because we aren’t looking or don’t want to.


(Isaac Ullah) #67

Well, obviously in the deep deep past it’s impossible to know. Paleolithic artists, such as those who made the paintings at Lascaux or Chauvin, could possibly have been shamans or elders. However, most all hunter gatherer societies are strictly egalitarian, and use all sorts of leveling methods to ensure that individuals do not get out of place. However, in the Neolithic, with the advent of farming came sedentism and the possibility of producing surplus, which lead to the development of private property. Here we see some art elevating above others. For example at the site of 'Ain Ghazal in central Jordan, the most common art objects are simple animal figurines. And then, buried specially and apart, there were these:

3Louvre

Of course we don’t know who made them or why, but clearly these were something very special. And this is ~8200 years ago and before real cities or any Kings or chiefs ever existed. The real roots of social differentiation are in this time. I, and a few others, have argued this in the academic literature (and I won’t rehash it all here), but after this moment, the course was set for social hierarchy, craft specialization, and social inequality.


#68

Cool. I don’t think I saw this the two times I visited the Louvre. Then again, it was a long time ago…


(Isaac Ullah) #69

There’s one in the Louvre, two in the British Museum, and all the rest are in the archaeology museum in Amman. Sometimes they take them around on tour. Definitely worth it to check them out in person if you can!


#70

Please allow me to add: or what we have been taught.


#71

@isaac

Thanks for the statute’s context and the insights :+1:

 

 

As we get bombarded and jaded by the sameness of everything today, the life altering experiences that cause us to challenge our ideas of what is good are getting more and more rare.

paperdigits:

For juxtaposition, the Proust quote:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.

Exactly, important things just wiz by because we aren’t looking or don’t want to.

quote of quote of quote … and then a quote all that once was directly lived has become mere representation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Society_of_the_Spectacle << Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle

Many years ago a friend of mine talked about a book (pretty sure it was from Burroughs, shamefully I’m talking 'bout aomething I haven’t read) where there was a guy whose job was watching multiple tv screens / streams and selecting just the “wow” moments that would then channel into a single stream where everything and anything showed was the climax… pure entertainment

 

 

a stupid thought just crossed my mind, what if what we consider good is just what we (historically) know

Please allow me to add: or what we have been taught .

@Claes absolut BUT to me it’s implicit both as cultural value and as reference context… even if someone hadn’t the “priviledge” of access to basic schooling homogenization, when the brain is most soft and deeper the inprint, and is “selft taught” &1 since last breastfed it would end up with a system of values that’s not “out of gamut”; being the gamut everything we know… it’s a bit of a loop, that’s what I mean with implicit; hopefully doesn’t sound too chajafasm (sorry, out of gamut :stuck_out_tongue: )

&1 that’s another intersting perspective… if you had no contact with other individuals what would you “learn”?

There’s a wonderful film around the subject from one of my favourite (at least pre 2000s) film directors Werner Herzog, I bet you’d love it. Is with the incomparable Bruno S (also worth seeing with him Stroszek ) Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle 1974 ~ Everyone for himself and God against all and which is wrongly titled as The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser .

While I’m at it, let me do-you a bit of vacuum-cleaner sales pitch: Herzog’s trilogy of power ( around the figure of crazy Klaus Kinsky) is an UnaMuCiT (unavoidable must cinema thing): Aguirre, Wrath of God 1972 (with a terrific soundtrack from Popol Vuh, just that alone…), Fitzcarraldo 1982 ( me cool mum took me to the cinema to watch it… and still today I dream of that boat crossing the mountain; the doc about the making of the film and Herzog’s and Kinski love-hate relationship is superb too) and Cobra Verde the weakest of the 3. Don’t get me started on his docus, je je ej

 

 
@elGordo

I think for many people that is probably true. But then you have to think of the experiences that rip you right out of that cozy little reality…the first time you saw something by Dali…the first time you heard Hendrix…

A thousand times had I “listened” Hendrix before… but one winter afternoon I was ridding me bike ( Sweeden) and very loudly listening to a MiniDisc (had the coolest Danish roomate that took vynils from the Library and transfered them to MiniDiscs) with a Hendrix album, I cannot recall (something something experience for sure, je je)… all from the sudden the clouds started to move fast, too fast and turn pink and magenta and ever softer and the ground became strangely bumpy yet bland; like a curtain of vivid blur, had to stop, left the bike and just listen while integrating this “new” unseen realityl it was fucking cold but I stood there till the end of the album. Something of sorts happened with Coltrane, man some music you can do but sit and listen, no background sountrack, nuthin’ just be there in the moment… welll that has been me experinece with pop icarus =)

Cloudddsss goo soo fasttt


(Gord) #72

…and you will carry that time in your mind for the rest of your life. Those are the moments that alter your path.


#73

There was a flash game that I encountered, when flash was starting to become unpopular, that was pure bliss. After playing one sitting of it, it was gone; couldn’t find it again! Basically, from what I could remember, it was mesmerizing 8-bit art, animation and audio, with wacky colours and sprites. The screen was divided into quadrants, in each rectangle a separate mini-game with different things happening including the audio, running simultaneously with the rest. I think one was a jump-man / Mario clone, another was a logic puzzle, the third was a connect 4 clone and the last was something else. In that one sitting, I must have played for 1 hour in complete concentration without “dying”. After 1 hour, I had the self control to stop. Ahem, I may have spent more than that before this 1-hour-without-dying attempt.

Anyway, this ephemeral, silly-stupid little game captured my imagination and entertainment, despite it being encumbered by a fan spinning flash player with a dozen embeds and ads on a website just as blinding and facepalm inducing. I totally got my fill of analogue nostalgia, digital precision and creative socks being knocked off. Is it mundane or is it genius? You decide or objectively declare!


(Piero Desopo) #74

I’ve been following this forum for a while although this is my first post here.
I wanted to chime in sooner, but I’m not good at keeping up with the pace of other users’ contributions and thus I delayed.

Just a heads up, this is going to be a long post.

To begin with, I don’t think is a matter of film vs digital. It’s a slippery area as when people discuss analog vs digital, most of the time the argument gravitates towards untouched pictures vs retouched. Then, there’s always someone who underlines how photo-retouching is just as old as photography, end of discussion. What’s overlooked is why retouching exists in the first place. On the one hand, in those years there were many photographers who sought a solution to their lack of painting skills and believed that photography was the solution to their problem, on the other hand, others had to defend their medium from the widespread critique of being a mechanical process, and that “without the intervention of the artist’s hand there’s no creativity” (famous is the harsh review that Baudelaire did in 1859).
The answer to all that was Pictorialism. The problem with that assumption is that not only the critique was based on a comparison between photography and painting (which was, and for many still is, the only paradigm of art), but on top of that, to a specific type of painting. Moreover, what happened at the beginning of the 20th century went completely omitted, and if we can perhaps justify those men because the times weren’t right to understand all the implication of what happened then, there’s no justification when someone today adopts the same mentality. The event I’m referring to, that changed forever the way we produce art was the action of a gentleman known under different names: George W. Welch, Bull, Pickens, Rrose Selavy, in one word, Duchamp. When he submitted the urinal to the Independent Artists’ salon in New York (signed as R. Mutt, 1917), he subverted the production of art, shifting the attention to the concept while completely eluding the technê. What Duchamp did with his work finally freed photography from the burden of the intervention of the author’s hand. Jean Clair in 1977 writes “The condemnation of photography by Baudelaire could have been word by word taken by those who were indignant that a bottle rack or a urinal were presented in an art exhibition.”
What is a photograph in the end if not another form of the Dadaists’ ready-made? A piece of reality taken, from its common context, to a new situation which engenders a new interpretation of the same element. That’s where the connection between photography and art lies.

Analog and digital are not very dissimilar, they both allow us to manipulate the photograph quite significantly if we want, but the problem is that photography is not painting and it’s rather emblematic that nowadays such a misunderstanding still reigns (and that’s how hideous 3D renders end up in photographic contests).
It’s been a matter of discussion here whether the technicality is relevant or not and I believe the answer is rather simple: it doesn’t matter. Photographers like Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Daido Moriyama, Mario Giacomelli (with his different take on landscape photography), Urs Lüthi, to name a few, are the perfect example of when the technique becomes irrelevant. For those photographers, it’s the very act of taking the photo itself that matters. Things like proper exposure, focus, grain, composition, and so on are secondary if not, in many cases, left to chance.

After those years of liberation from the perimeter defined in the past by the relation with painting, photography had no need to prove anything anymore, therefore photographers were finally independent in their decision to whether focus on the concept or on the aesthetic (which will be revived in the 80s).
What is the situation with creativity today? First off, culturally there’s been a drastic change from the “seeker after intuitive knowledge” as Paul Strand calls it, to the “scientist” mind. In other words, humanism and arts give way to the technological.
Our societies are technically oriented and it’s the technology that drives politics and economy. What this mindset means for our culture is the fragmentation of tasks and with that of tools and, as a corollary, the loss of responsibility (Jean Francois Lyotard touches on this topic in his book “The Postmodern Condition”).

For creativity, this is the atrophy of our capacity of abstraction. Claude Levi-Strauss in “The Savage Mind” explains how the primitives had to adapt their limited tools to build what they needed: so, the same tools to build, say, a boat today will be used to mold a pipe tomorrow. Nowadays we have a tool for each specific task and we keep creating new tools (and I would definitely add all our smartphone apps in this category). The consequence of all this is that we are narrowing our imagination rather than broadening it as advertisements would have us believe. With the power of abstraction impoverished, our language followed accordingly the same fate and thus words have less symbolic functions than in the primitive societies: fork is to eat, trees to build houses, cow to make milk and so on. It’s a binary condition which reflects the evolution of the web. Social media allow only one direction through the illusion of the mirrored-self. It’s a loop (see Baudrillard, "The Ecstasy of Communication and “Simulacra and Simulation”), and it’s a narcissistic condition in the terms that McLuhan adopts which is not the common understanding of narcissism but rather the concept that our tools are now our extensions, one thing with ourselves, as we’ve become incapable of recognizing the image mirrored in the water and thus we fall in love with it as we perceive that figure as other than oneself. In fact, it’s normal nowadays to believe that mastering the tool is what makes us creative (or professionals, more in general). How many of us, at least once in our lives, noticed someone with a big camera, lenses, flashes and wondered, even for a moment, “he/she must be a pro”? In my industry, with software becoming easier (with all the automated tools) and more accessible, it’s now also popular the idea that anyone with a computer can create motion graphics works, 3d, graphic design.
The result in the way we experience the web is that whatever we put out there is part of a flow where eventually it becomes hard, if not impossible, to figure the source since, in the relinking and mixing of the original sign, there’s a loss of veracity. It’s indeed a closed system.

I’m convinced that in order to foster our creativity we need to disconnect, we need to stop looking at the myriad of images that internet inundates us with. We need to create time and necessity as nothing creative can happen when we don’t have the need to seek. What this something is, first and foremost, is an inner necessity and the way we can help to feed it is by de-limiting our own actions The camera itself provides already some limits for us, we can start from there.


#75

@Piero_Desopo I am glad that you joined to participate in this thread. Although I am familiar with many of the concepts that have been touched on so far, it is great to have many different people express them in many different ways.

Don’t mind if you have more to say. :slight_smile: Mine have been light and fluffy because I choose for them to be that way, but I do like a good long form post. After a rough start, it is great that we are all more engaged in the topic. :sunny:


(Gord) #76

Very well said. If you can’t shut out the cacaphony, you can’t hear your own voice.


(Timur Davletshin) #77

I really like your piece about definition of Art and archaeology. Great! BTW, what about that shell from Java? I thought it was earlier?

I also like to mention importance of context. It is as important for photography as for archaeological findings or ethnographic studies. E.g.

Is it an art?

Same with photography. For example, 99% of street photography is just boring (we all see it every day) and often on a poor technical level. But that’s without context…


(Timur Davletshin) #78

Probably I would agree with most of your statements and even generalizations but telling unpleasant things right in the face will give you very little (if any) positive response. And I thought that art was about pursuit of positive response…

IQ: yep, probably you’re, but rest of population will not appreciate neither this fact nor open declaration. James Watson perfectly proved that couple weeks ago.


(Gustavo Adolfo) #79

Thank you very much for sharing your comprehensive vision! I found it perfect!

I compiled a small list of Youtube documentaries on the few names you’ve mentioned, in case someone is curious about them (I am, and be watching all of these asap):

# Masters of photography - Diane Arbus (documentary, 1972)

Nan Goldin - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Lecture: Nan Goldin (2009 Sem Presser)

Daido Moriyama: Near Equal

Mario Giacomelli - Photographer Technique & Process

URS LÜTHI ART IS THE BETTER LIFE / Part I (German only)

On Robert Frank, I couldn’t find anything on Youtube… :disappointed:


(nosle) #80

When I look back at my film photos I tend to think they were better. Being skint every shot was more precious and it shows. But they were also less perfect in many, mainly good, ways. Like most I used kit zooms for years, also on digital. My first prime lens was an epiphany. Both the handling, camera becming more dumb, and the more direct feeling photographs.

I can understand those who prefer film. Because the process is more prone to both care and life giving little mistakes.


(David Vincent-Jones) #81

For me, the view is different … the medium has improved to provide a better dynamic range, the equipment has improved to provide a more accurate use of the light and most of all (I would like to believe) that my personal view of photography has matured.
I did enjoy film and the darkroom processing but the opportunities for creative digital processing today in my opinion are very exciting.
Many photographers that I know are now simply too lazy to print their work and are prepared to grind out a multitude of images for video display … I see this as an unfortunate trend.