is this contemporary photography?


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attap seed

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#1


*photo not taken by me but reproduced here w permission



recently, a group of art school students approached Mr X w some of their photos, seeking advise.

but Mr X, who holds PSA 5*Star awards for both color slides and print, someone who is accustomed to the rigid (and demanding) rules of salon photography, couldnt comment on any of them, cus they seem to break and bend every rules that he lives by.

so, after browsing through some examples, Mr X shot the above pigeon and passed it to one of the students. the student submitted the edited version (w the building on the left cropped of and converted to B/W) to his lecturer for grading.

the lecturer is full of praise and awarded the pic a A plus.

but Mr X is still clueless about wat contemporary photography is all about.

can someone help him?
 

eikin

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Apr 27, 2004
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#2
1. contemporary + photography

is this representational of our time (in Singapore) and thus contemporary? yes (in some ways, judging by the content)
is this photography? yes.

so this is contemporary photography

2. contemporary photography

is this one way of making pictures (photography) in our time (contemporary) ? yes.

so this is contemporary photography.

3. contemporary photography

is this way of making pictures representational (having such values) of our time? maybe, but i see nothing special about the technique, or a use of technique in such a way the technique becomes the photograph itself. so, it's not avant garde.

4. does this work mean anything at all?

this, Mr X has got to ask himself first.

if you ask me, one can (as in possibility) read a certain dialogue in the elements capture in this picture. but i may not be so smart as to understand some profound motivation in Mr X's purpose of making this picture. and thus my simplistic reading tells me the supposedly edited version of this picture (as per description) follows a certain established compositional rule and uses that to imply a certain well known ''story'' (pigeon holes.) it's an ''okay'' shot, but not attractive for me.



:)
 

denniskee

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#3
hi ekin

i also dont know what is contemporary photography.

from your explaination, can i say that a well exposed photo of the singapore flyer shot from.... say ground up using a wide angle lens (the wheel in the middle of the photo with trees at the bottom of the photo cover from left to right) with beautiful blue sky also qualify as a contemporary photo?

thanks.
 

eikin

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#4
hi ekin

i also dont know what is contemporary photography.

from your explaination, can i say that a well exposed photo of the singapore flyer shot from.... say ground up using a wide angle lens (the wheel in the middle of the photo with trees at the bottom of the photo cover from left to right) with beautiful blue sky also qualify as a contemporary photo?

thanks.
the issue is not with ''what is'' but what does contemporary photography mean to you, or to the larger crowd in general. asking what qualifies as contemporary photography is like asking what qualifies as art.

the pictures in CS's galleries are good examples. are they contemporary photography? why wouldn't they be so? at the very least, they represent a certain preference and trend in photography, at least in Singapore.
 

denniskee

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i mean, landscap photo, i understand. portrait also i understand. macro of insect and flowers also understand. but contemporary..... :dunno:

because of that, i only see the mentioned photo as just a streetshoot (it just so happen that the bird is there lor), contemporary.....???:dunno:

thanks.
 

denniskee

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#6
the pictures in CS's galleries are good examples. are they contemporary photography? why wouldn't they be so? at the very least, they represent a certain preference and trend in photography, at least in Singapore.
do you mean all the landscape, candid streetshoot, abstract and still, macro...... as long as viewers can tell that it is taken in singapore (but macro very difficult to tell, it is is possible at all. in that case, can still consider contemporary?), its contemporary?
 

eikin

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do you mean all the landscape, candid streetshoot, abstract and still, macro...... as long as viewers can tell that it is taken in singapore, its contemporary?
''contemporary'' just means belonging to the current time. if there's any other meaning outside of that that you'll like to attach to the word, that'll be your own interpretation.
 

denniskee

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''contemporary'' just means belonging to the current time. if there's any other meaning outside of that that you'll like to attach to the word, that'll be your own interpretation.
so it is time, not place?

then doest it mean that the it ages, a contemporary photo can become not contemporary? eg esplanade is modern = contemporary, but 10 years down the road the contemporary will be strip away?

also, a old building is not current right? so why the mentioned photo is contemporary?

die lar, take a shower become more confuse.....
 

Yatlapball

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#10
In trying to imagine the cropped and edited version... I can see why it would score an A.

Application of rule of thirds
Use of 3. Somehow things look more pleasant with 3 of them. See 3 floors of windows... 3 bamboo poles.
Placing of subject within a known context. Which heartlander wouldn't know a pidgeon?
Good b&w conversion maybe?

I suppose trying to give a overall score to "art" would be a little difficult. But by scoring it on the "textbook rules"... the photo would seem to have fulfilled many of them.
 

waileong

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I think "contemporary" is referring to the style and the thinking, perhaps as opposed to "traditional" photography. Not to the subject matter per se (ie doesn't matter if the shot does not show anything representative of today's Singapore).

Kind of like painting, even for portraits, a modernist painter would approach it quite differently from a traditionalist painter.
 

cjtune

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Mar 20, 2006
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Did Mr.X also so happen to give a commentary as to why he thought it was superb?
Without that, we'd all just be second-guessing.
 

attap seed

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Did Mr.X also so happen to give a commentary as to why he thought it was superb?
Without that, we'd all just be second-guessing.
Mr X didnt say it was a good pic.

he dun understand it at all, although he shot it.

cus he is a salon photographer and dun make contemporary images.


is the distinction between the different sectors of photography so difficult? if its so debative, are there any meaningful differences between, say salon, fine art, contemporary, pictoral, snap shots... ...

no insult intended, but for fine art, i always see some blurry shots of flowers and "translucent" sea shells in B/W. are these representative of fine art photography?
 

cjtune

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Mr X didnt say it was a good pic.

he dun understand it at all, although he shot it.

cus he is a salon photographer and dun make contemporary images.


is the distinction between the different sectors of photography so difficult? if its so debative, are there any meaningful differences between, say salon, fine art, contemporary, pictoral, snap shots... ...

no insult intended, but for fine art, i always see some blurry shots of flowers and "translucent" sea shells in B/W. are these representative of fine art photography?
Sorry, I mistook Mr.X for the lecturer. :embrass:
When the lecturer sang praises of that shot, what were the specific likes or comments he/she had of it?

I'm not too worried about the appreciation of fine art or any particular class of art. It's just the understanding part that seems to be missing. An educator must give direction as to the intended development of his/her mentees. Good grades amount to little if no learning can be garnered from it. It's the give-a-fish vs learn-to-fish scenario. So is the thing being questioned really about art itself or the learning of art?
 

eikin

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#15
Mr X didnt say it was a good pic.

he dun understand it at all, although he shot it.

cus he is a salon photographer and dun make contemporary images.


is the distinction between the different sectors of photography so difficult? if its so debative, are there any meaningful differences between, say salon, fine art, contemporary, pictoral, snap shots... ...

no insult intended, but for fine art, i always see some blurry shots of flowers and "translucent" sea shells in B/W. are these representative of fine art photography?
i have the impression that Mr. X is the lecturer as well from your first writing.

in any case, as mentioned, salon photography can also be contemporary. anything can be contemporary. to say a salon photography don't make contemporary images is quite incorrect. The ''Salon'' also follows trends, the difference is that it is a circle supported by (some, and not all) accredited critics and artists. Fine Art is a development from Modern Art, it is art for Art's sake (Art serving itself, rather than Art serving others)

since Dennis has started another discussion thread and the discussion here has gone beyond the purpose of critiquing this picture, thread will be closed.

discussions are welcomed to be continued in the other thread.

cheers :)
 

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