Re: You Say Krappy, I Say Crappy

From: Susan Huber ^lt;>
Date: 01/07/05-03:20:54 PM Z
Message-id: <000f01c4f4fe$c62c2970$7e9dc8cf@ownereb7xeo44n>

  Hi Grace;
  That was nicely put!
  Keep on expressing your ideas!

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Schuyler Grace" <>
  To: "Alt Photo Process Mailinglist" <>
  Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 12:57 PM
  Subject: You Say Krappy, I Say Crappy

> Katharine's response to one of my earlier postings about what is art got
> to thinking (so blame her, not me) and looking at this question from a
> musical perspective. I said earlier that, for me, art is about
> communicating what's in the artist's head and the true measure of an
> is how well s/he controls the medium and effectively communicates with
> viewer (or listener, or whatever). And despite some opinions to the
> contrary, I still don't believe happy accidents make art, in and of
> themselves, but those accidents are what many "artists" are generating
> "krappy kameras" and paint splatters and other such techniques.
> Like Katharine and others on the list, I have experimented with pinholes
> zone plates and nasty old lenses, hoping they might help me to express
> feelings I had about a subject. So far, though, I haven't been able to
> control their effects to my satisfaction, even though some of those
> accidents have happened, encouraging me to experiment further. But in
> end, what I am striving for is to capture an image that's in my head,
> simply say, "that looks neat!" and call the results art.
> Perhaps the reason I work/think this way is because that's how I
> music. When I play or compose, I hear the music in my head, and I try
> make my hands and the instrument reproduce what I hear. Even with an
> improvisation, I am hearing where the music is going before the notes
> disturb the air, and I'm not consciously making my hands do what is
> to play. Also, some of my instruments have to be perfectly set up
> they will work for me, and others need to have nasty, old, barely
> strings to gain their voice. But the point is that I know the medium
and I
> have a vision of the image I want to create, so what is created
> that vision (unless some part of the process doesn't work). Of course,
> things don't always work out that well, and I have had my share of
> happy/unhappy accidents that lead to new discoveries, but they weren't
> of my vision for that work.
> In the photography realm, I see the world the way my cameras and lenses
> film do. As new materials and/or techniques come along, I incorporate
> into my mental vocabulary, and I do the same with photographic happy
> accidents. Sometimes, I even go out shooting looking and hoping for
> accidents. But I can't ever recall a time I though one of those happy
> accidents was a finished image. Rather, they become parts of other
> as I work to explain what's inside of me.
> Finally, I understand an image that has great and specific meaning to me
> have no or a completely different meaning to someone else, and I expect
> that. If I want someone to experience my images the way I do (or as
> as they can), there has to be more explanation than just the photograph,
> itself. Shelby Adams's work in Appalachia is a great example of how a
> contemporary photographer and his images can be at once reviled and
> applauded. When I first saw a collection of his images, I was astounded
> how well he had captured the spirit and soul of his subjects. I was
just as
> astounded to discover that a great many people look at his work as being
> horribly misrepresentative of the people he photographs. But I grew up
> around similar folks and understood what Adams was trying to convey, and
> without that background or other support, I realized most people would
> horrified by his images. So, the image is not necessarily the be all
> end all in communicating your vision.
> Hopefully, this diatribe has helped some of you on the list understand a
> little better where I'm coming from, but that's not to say I'm correct,
> course. And I will most likely never consider myself an Artist in any
> medium--a craftsman, maybe, but not an Artist--so take what I have said
> a giant grain of salt.
> -Schuyler


Received on Fri Jan 7 15:21:08 2005

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