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Photography DiscussionNYTimes article, "On Photography" by Teju Cole

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Matt Quinn
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NYTimes article, "On Photography" by Teju Cole

Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:20 pm

In the NYT Magazine for today, Sunday, July 1, 2018, Cole writes in his column "On Photography:" "We think we are moving through the world, while the whole time the world is pulling us along, telling its where to walk, where to stop, where to take a photo."

Thoughts?

Matt
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"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

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Post by Duck » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:18 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:20 pm
Thoughts?

Matt
Me thinks a link is needed. ;)
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:44 pm

Duck wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:18 pm
Matt Quinn wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:20 pm
Thoughts?

Matt
Me thinks a link is needed. ;)
Not sure how to do this. Does this work?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/maga ... -here.html
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"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

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Post by Duck » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:33 pm

The article is very interesting, and quite on the mark. I can relate to his experience in Rome with my own experience in Ireland. Like the author, i too roamed through Google images looking up the sites I would be visiting, seeing what others have photographed before, looking for clues to make mine different. The problem I encountered was that oftentimes I would come on a site in the tour where I wanted to make something unique and original, something others were not able to make only to be discouraged by lack of time (the rest of the group was moving on), lack of access (a chain barring the way) or lack of vantage point (physical access was impossible). As frustrated as I was about these obstructions my only recourse was to submit and take the same photos everyone else was taking. While yes, my images would be like everyone else's, at least they would be mine and not someone else's.

In short, it's more of a catch 22 than people realize. Don't take that ubiquitous photo and walk away only with a memory or take the photo and count yourself among the tourist sheep.
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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:21 pm

Reading through the article I couldn't help thinking about the places I've been and how the 'architecture' drives the narrative of how people see it, then I came across this "But, most crucial, there are features of any given site that work directly and indirectly on the visitor to suggest optimal viewpoints and therefore optimal photographic angles."

Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park is a must-see for those entering the park for their first time, their fiftieth time, and their last time. It's an iconic landmark within the park and if you have ever seen a picture of Yosemite you've seen it, what most people don't realize though is the park service went the great lengths to make that view happen, even cutting some of the trees blocking the view recently. On another front though are the 'hidden' places, some better than others, that offer the same view yet different.

Standing at the viewpoint for Tunnel View walk to the right, downhill a little until you're standing in front of the auxiliary parking lot. The view is technically the same but gives Bridalveil Falls more of the story than El Capitan. Now turn around and walk to the parking lot behind you, it's almost the same as where you were but higher up so you get more of the valley floor below. The most interesting view, however, is to take the trail to Inspiration Point but turn right when it makes a hard left. What you end up with is a vantage point above the throng of photographers who have staked out their spot on that little plot of land and a view less than a few know about.

I think there are two important variables to consider when looking at images from the masses; convenience and convenience. Most public spaces dictate where you can and cannot stand, and those places are usually the most convenient to get to. In some ways, this is good because the image can be replicated again and again, while in others as mentioned it's so overused its almost cliche which is why we are driven to those that take images we don't expect to see. It's those that push the boundaries, that dare to follow the road less traveled that draw us in. Take an image of a child smiling, ok, take that same image of them sticking their tongue out! Take an image from the place the tour bus let off, ok, take an image from on top of the tour bus!

Photography is our legacy and our curse, only we get to decide! S-
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Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:50 pm

Well said, Steve. After I had read the piece, my thought was: "The photographer must decide. That makes an artist." Matt
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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:03 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:50 pm
Well said, Steve. After I had read the piece, my thought was: "The photographer must decide. That makes an artist." Matt
Sheep follow sheep, artists make their own way! S-
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Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:11 pm

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:03 pm
Matt Quinn wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:50 pm
Well said, Steve. After I had read the piece, my thought was: "The photographer must decide. That makes an artist." Matt
Sheep follow sheep, artists make their own way! S-

True. And trying, sometimes. Matt
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"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

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