Go by feeling, not technicality


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Jul 10, 2004
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#1
Was reading the Sunday Times article, "Queue up for The Kiss - in Singapore" (pg 11) and this dude, Tay Kay Chin said something about wanting Singaporeans to appreciate photography as an art rather than a technical subject...

Are there others who agree with him? Cos I do... I mean..I'm not a professional photographer (or a good one for that matter), but I really enjoy it...yet I get annoyed everytime people talk about photography to me by talking about the "D2H" or how much this cost or that cost....in fact..they always ask how much my damn camera cost instead of talking about shooting itself....or how i feel when i shoot...or why i shoot the damn subject

maybe it's because they bring up all these terms and model numbers that i've never heard before..i just nod my head and say yeah yeah yeah...
 

Jul 10, 2004
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#2
on another note, while i'm in my ranting mood...i hate lomos as well...i mean..this guy shoots a trash can and people go all "ooh wah..wow" because of the colours? it doesn't show anything man...i mean..sure..can kok up all sorts of ways to interpret the trash can photo...but it's like writing bad poetry and calling yourself a poet...
 

Jul 10, 2004
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#3
just my opinions la...feeling very emo today for some reason..must be christmas....but yes..do welcome differing views
 

foxtwo

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#4
face it. other than updating the price list & discussing bodies & lenses, what else can we talk about when we meet? some picture u like? no, not unless u have that picture on hand and we can all oooh and aaah/urgh over it. personally i cannot visualise a previously seen picture without prior close study.

technical is easy to talk about, cos the facts don't lie. feelings on the other hand, differ. so who want to talk the harder subject? how many pple can actually sit and discuss their feelings in art in any given time. I can only think of one friend i know in CS.
 

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#5
true lah..but quite a shallow topic also..i mean..what can i say?.."oh yeah..basket...the price drop after i bought so and so..why i so suay?"
 

mattlock

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#6
technicalities can refer to composition, colours, cropping, lighting, among other things too
and most of the time you can dissect a picture based on how each element affects your reaction towards a picture (the tilt of a picture causing an imbalance, the diagonal in the picture which conveys a sense of motion and violence, etc etc)

but the act of photographing, itself, is quite a mystery...
 

Stereobox

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#7
has it ever come across your mind, what is the appreciation of art in the first place? let people have their say, be it technical, arty-fartsy thrash talk or genuine art critiques.

get yourself more in touch with people who share your level of understanding. it could be just that you meet more people who 'talk about technicalities' often.

(OT: what is a 'lomos'? LOMO stands for Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie, or, Leningrad Optical & Mechanical Enterprise. if you have an issue with so-called 'lomo'-graphy...pm me...i have more info for you.)
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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#8
mattlock said:
technicalities can refer to composition, colours, cropping, lighting, among other things too
and most of the time you can dissect a picture based on how each element affects your reaction towards a picture (the tilt of a picture causing an imbalance, the diagonal in the picture which conveys a sense of motion and violence, etc etc)

but the act of photographing, itself, is quite a mystery...
I agree with this wholeheartedly.

If I may summarise what you wrote - "Talk about photographs and photography".
 

student

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#9
agentmonkey said:
true lah..but quite a shallow topic also..i mean..what can i say?.."oh yeah..basket...the price drop after i bought so and so..why i so suay?"
Could it be that the topic is not shallow?

But discussants are?
 

Jul 10, 2004
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#10
okay..perhaps technicality was the wrong word to use...i have no problems with what mattlock said..i quite agree with it infact.... and student has probably put it across more eloquently that i could have

what i meant in my earlier posts was...well..the people i meet keep talking about the price of items, the model numbers and what it can do..do you get what i mean?
 

foxtwo

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#11
well, it's hard to miss the topic when the camera gear is infront of you. maybe u can try carrying a 8x10 of your favourite taken photograph and shove that infront of pple's faces and say,"lets talk about this instead!"

ps. put away your camera gears
 

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#12
why do i get the feeling i'm being flamed...okay.... i don't shove my equipment into people's faces as you put it..it's hardly ever in sight, unless its needed

to give some context...here's something that happens to me quite often when they know i'm into photography..."wah..really ah? how much you buy your camera?"
 

Jan 23, 2005
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#13
agentmonkey said:
Was reading the Sunday Times article, "Queue up for The Kiss - in Singapore" (pg 11) and this dude, Tay Kay Chin said something about wanting Singaporeans to appreciate photography as an art rather than a technical subject...

Are there others who agree with him? Cos I do... I mean..I'm not a professional photographer (or a good one for that matter), but I really enjoy it...yet I get annoyed everytime people talk about photography to me by talking about the "D2H" or how much this cost or that cost....in fact..they always ask how much my damn camera cost instead of talking about shooting itself....or how i feel when i shoot...or why i shoot the damn subject

maybe it's because they bring up all these terms and model numbers that i've never heard before..i just nod my head and say yeah yeah yeah...
Technicalities are something that can be discussed in an objective manner. The "arts" aspect is a very personal, subjective thing. Beyond giving feedback of what one likes/doesn't like, how to discuss it without imposing one's views on others? If one where to go by rules, i.e. the (way too) often quoted "rule of thirds", one turns the art aspect again into a technicality. Sadly, I think there is a trend to press the subjective sense of aesthetics into abstruse and unscientific theories.

The one thing that IMHO does work is looking at others pictures for inspiration. I'm sure this happens a lot, but it doesn't involve a discussion.

On the other hand, I'm also worried by tendencies to declare technicalities irrelevant. The old master painters certainly weren't gut-feeling LOMOgraphic artsy-fartsy types. They had to know their tools and materials, e.g. what minerals to get and how to grind them to make the pigments, how to make oil or other bases to bind them, etc. "Art" usually also involves some "crafts" aspect, and good craftsmanship is a largely technical skill.

Also, sometimes the technical and artistic side get confused. E.g., in the critique corner, one can read "highlights clipped", which is a technical affair. It is not necessarily an artistic "defect": e.g. a black/white (no midtones) rendition of a subject can be aesthetically very pleasing, although everything that is not pitch black is clipped. But one also can read "too dark", which is clearly a matter of taste rather than a well-defined technical characteristic.

As far as the equipment fetish goes, I guess that's Singapore for you ... maybe because noone dares to stand out, so people establish their individuality by what they can show off?
 

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#14
Stereobox said:
has it ever come across your mind, what is the appreciation of art in the first place? let people have their say, be it technical, arty-fartsy thrash talk or genuine art critiques.

get yourself more in touch with people who share your level of understanding. it could be just that you meet more people who 'talk about technicalities' often.

(OT: what is a 'lomos'? LOMO stands for Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie, or, Leningrad Optical & Mechanical Enterprise. if you have an issue with so-called 'lomo'-graphy...pm me...i have more info for you.)
you guys seem to be agreeing with me, though i perceive some to be doing it in a rather aggressive tone..

yes stereobox... it has come across my mind...perhaps my title is misleading...i should replace technicality with something else...

maybe i'm just biased towards the kind of photography i like....i like the photojournalistic sort...like those that convey a clear message when you shoot it... seeing tears running down a rugby player's face after winning/losing a match..or a heartbroken mother receiving a letter confirming her soldier son's death..that kind of thing....

i'm not sure you get what i'm trying to say...but most people who do lomo[graphy] is just to me...well..as i said...like people who write bad poetry but calling themselves poets... alot of people i know just shoot with their lomo camera (or whatever is the proper way of calling it)
and post it on their blogs and go on and on about how artistic it is...it's like people shooting something at night and shaking the camera to get the light streaks...do you get what i'm trying to say?

having said that, i have seen some very nice lomo[graphy] photos...but the subject usually involves a verb in it...
 

#15
Perhaps it would become clearer if you could look at Tay Kay Chin's impresssive site www.eastpix.com

There are blur pictures and underexposed photos in it. And they seem to have something to say to us. Some have more immediate and obvious meaning. Others are less easy to grasp.

Photography is not rocket science unless you want to make it so. Last night I watched the telecast "Carols in Candle Lights" on TV and the camera caught the scene of little kids holding digitcams taking photos of the stage show.

"Shoot emotive" were the two words an agency boss once said 6 years ago. I remember them very well but living up to them is the hard part.

Kay Chin used to post in local photo forums and many of us were the beneficiary if his wisdom and experience.
 

Jul 10, 2004
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#16
LittleWolf said:
Technicalities are something that can be discussed in an objective manner. The "arts" aspect is a very personal, subjective thing. Beyond giving feedback of what one likes/doesn't like, how to discuss it without imposing one's views on others? If one where to go by rules, i.e. the (way too) often quoted "rule of thirds", one turns the art aspect again into a technicality. Sadly, I think there is a trend to press the subjective sense of aesthetics into abstruse and unscientific theories.

The one thing that IMHO does work is looking at others pictures for inspiration. I'm sure this happens a lot, but it doesn't involve a discussion.

On the other hand, I'm also worried by tendencies to declare technicalities irrelevant. The old master painters certainly weren't gut-feeling LOMOgraphic artsy-fartsy types. They had to know their tools and materials, e.g. what minerals to get and how to grind them to make the pigments, how to make oil or other bases to bind them, etc. "Art" usually also involves some "crafts" aspect, and good craftsmanship is a largely technical skill.

Also, sometimes the technical and artistic side get confused. E.g., in the critique corner, one can read "highlights clipped", which is a technical affair. It is not necessarily an artistic "defect": e.g. a black/white (no midtones) rendition of a subject can be aesthetically very pleasing, although everything that is not pitch black is clipped. But one also can read "too dark", which is clearly a matter of taste rather than a well-defined technical characteristic.

As far as the equipment fetish goes, I guess that's Singapore for you ... maybe because noone dares to stand out, so people establish their individuality by what they can show off?
yeah..this is what i mean.. no one talks about this..not much at least...they keep going on and on about equipment..they don't talk about their personal preferences in how they think their picture should look....or whether they way someone's photos somehow reveals abit of their personality... like how for example...someone who prefers darker photos (in terms of contrast) can be the serious..brooding type
 

Jul 10, 2004
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#17
Sion said:
Perhaps it would become clearer if you could look at Tay Kay Chin's impresssive site www.eastpix.com

There are blur pictures and underexposed photos in it. And they seem to have something to say to us. Some have more immediate and obvious meaning. Others are less easy to grasp.

Photography is not rocket science unless you want to make it so. Last night I watched the telecast "Carols in Candle Lights" on TV and the camera caught the scene of little kids holding digitcams taking photos of the stage show.

"Shoot emotive" were the two words an agency boss once said 6 years ago. I remember them very well but living up to them is the hard part.

Kay Chin used to post in local photo forums and many of us were the beneficiary if his wisdom and experience.
thanks sion... in retrospect..i think i might have contradicted myself with my angsty post regarding so called lomographers and missed the point that you mentioned about "shoot emotive"..i guess they are expressing themselves in their own way...though one that only they can understand...
 

Stereobox

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Dec 21, 2003
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#18
no worries agentmonkey~ if my post came across as aggressive, i assure you that that is simply not the case.

it seemed to me you have a problem with 'individuals' rather than the whole 'situation'.

mmm..i guess you just have to 'hang around' with the crowd you are more comfortable with.

(urgh i sound so 'clique-ish' :bsmilie: )
 

#19
Stereobox said:
no worries agentmonkey~ if my post came across as aggressive, i assure you that that is simply not the case.

it seemed to me you have a problem with 'individuals' rather than the whole 'situation'.

mmm..i guess you just have to 'hang around' with the crowd you are more comfortable with.

(urgh i sound so 'clique-ish' :bsmilie: )
I think the fact agentmonkey is here indicates that he is among one of the most diversed range of photographers around. Not everyone of us shoots the same thing and in the same way.

Sometimes when you do too much photography out of the net, you just don't want to talk about photography. You want to joke about the irrevalent and the inconsequential in Kopitiam e.g. the new Superman and King Kong. :bsmilie:
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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#20
Sion said:
I think the fact agentmonkey is here indicates that he is among one of the most diversed range of photographers around. Not everyone of us shoots the same thing and in the same way.

Sometimes when you do too much photography out of the net, you just don't want to talk about photography. You want to joke about the irrevalent and the inconsequential in Kopitiam e.g. the new Superman and King Kong. :bsmilie:
You mentioned a few important points.

1 It had been mentioned that a photographer should not be primarily interested in photography. An example: Salgado main interest was in the Brazilian workers. He used his camera to show the world the wrokers' appalling working situation. So a like-minded purpose is important. I may hang around with "gear heads" once in a while. But would rather spend time with people who have passion for similar subjects.

2 If one surround oneself with idiots, you are not likely to get "high thoughts" from them. If one is interested in "art" then surround oneself with "art", and in our case photography. But importantly, not just photography, but literature, sculpture, music, cinema (see Raise the Red Lantern and other similar movies by Zhang ZiMou), painting, pottery, calligraphy etc.
 

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