Fraternal Miniaturists Architects

I just read a J. Drillon article comparing two skills (or can I say, “talents”, “assets”?) of Beethoven and Schubert.

Schubert is described as a fantastic composer of melodies. A melody for him is a perfect little thing, like a poem verse, closed in a shell.

But unlike Beethoven, who will from a melody build fabulous architectures, Schubert will wear himself out. It’s not where his talent is.

As he needs to develop, he will repeat, vary, remodel, dwell on.

Voilà, here’s my structure :

If you’re good in little forms, or fast things, what will  you do with bigger things?

And should even you begin? And if you have to, what are the paths in front of you?

If you’re a poet, what do you do with a novel to write? (Faulkner is a perfect example of a success in this passage). If you’re a photographer, what do you do with a movie? (Puzzle of a Downfall Child, from Jerry Schatzberg, is a splendid movie). Waging war, how can a good strategist become a good tactician?

What I’m interested in is this : if you’re a master of little forms, what should you develop to be good in bigger forms?

There’s a whole conversation to lead with that : Use your weaknesses? Dare more? Be casual? Ask for help? Avant-garde? Stop? Cheat?

What about Schubert, this “genius of exquisite miniatures”? For his symphonies, he makes some long with some short, and it is… imperfection! And it moves us : it makes his art… fraternal. He’s like us. It’s hard, but he makes it. Voilà.

Thanks for reading!

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Whyhow you should know your art

ONE

I talked with a woman working in a photography school.

“The first year, all our students work on analog photography only!”

Waow, in the the digital era, it’s a big deal, right?

Every cam today can keep hundreds or thousands of pictures on a little cheap SD Card. It’s so easy to try, trigger, take bunches of photos until you have a great one, that some photographers buy vintage cams to get :

  1. the splendid grain or texture of real film rolls
  2. but also the necessary meticulousness of the whole process

Choosing a brand for films, choosing settings for the cam, choosing how and when you take a picture, developing : all this becomes important, much more important : rolls are expensive!

This makes you focus.

Therefore it makes perfect sense to begin photography with analog cams.

TWO

Picasso or Klimt and many other painters began with the big knowledge of being great “classical” artists. Manet began to make what ignorants called “mistakes” (showing paintbrush strokes, flattening perspectives). Picasso told that he needed years to un-learn it :

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THREE

Martin L. Gore, composer/singer of Depeche Mode, explains that a song, before going to production with synths and beat-boxes, has to “sound” great with a single voice/acoustic guitar. Before. If it’s good, you can alter textures : the harmonic structure stays good.

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Where else do we find and use this pattern?

“Know the difficult core of your Art before exploring it, breaking rules or pushing it: you’ll be better”.

Thanks for reading!

Layers of WHYs

Is the art for you and your happiness? Or for others?

Let’s take photography. Why do I do that?

I wondered a lot already about his :

 

OK Here are 4 pictures. For the first one I had to : the cat was great, the verticals were profuse, interesting (light, reflections, shadows), the textures were puzzling (white, bricks, blue), and I love the stairs of books. Plus the darks were dark (I love underexposed photos).

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I took this one in Orsay’s Museum. Silhouette, vertical lines, the walls of Paris. I knew it was a great picture to “stop” the audience. The statue is so cool…

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Here I wanted you to feel the mood, ambiance. The concrete ruin of the war, my daughter in pink (in a coat). Feel the size, feel the wind…

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And here in Lille, the storm was coming. I made it blurry on purpose. The sky was dark, the night was coming, the lights were great, and the perspective cool (the red walls on the right). You can almost smell the first drops of rain, right? I hope so… Entre chien et loup (between dog and wolf is our way to say… dusk).

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So : I love dark & colors. I think on proportions, structures. I don’t do portraits. I do what I love. Each photographer works on something : the camera itself, the post-production, landscapes, animals, fashion.

There are shades and layers. What does the photographer want…

For himself, or for the audience?

In the end, I think we all do things in society… to be loved, to be liked, recognized, noticed… It’s maybe the core of all art.

No. Let’s go deeper.

While doing it, the photographer has fun. He looks for things, frames, moments. He is like a child. He plays. He is focused, busy, occupied, absorbed by their pleasant task.

That’s it, folk. The “child state”. This is pure bliss.

These are many layered reasons why we work, right?

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

Working with what is around

ONE

I heard about a comic-strip artist who works with 3 panels. He says that he was SO used to work in this format that it became almost impossible for him to make longer stories.

TWO

As I bought a new camera, I decided yesterday to take pictures “outside viewed from my apartment only”. Here are 4 of them :

THREE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavier_de_Maistre was arrested – therefore he wrote “Voyage Around My Room”.

The Yoknapatawpha Rule – it’s when you write about what you know, what is around.

Fruitful Constraints & Creativity – that’s an old classic.

FOUR

There are two concepts here, who want to dance together :

  1. If you are limited by your capacities, your budget, or… what is around you
  2. If you DECIDE to invent limits and ties and constraints

You are creative. You HAVE TO.

Everything that goes wrong… goes right

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See me coming : do you need to invent constraints to be creative? Where? Can you invent? Do you have to ask someone else?

Isn’t a “given constraint” (Amor fati) a good thing? What about marriage? Or the size of a painting?

What happens when a modern photographer uses an analog camera, where he has to PAY for each picture?

What’s the difference between “What is around and you can use” (because you lack something, money or else) and “Working under invented limits”… just to be creative?

Thanks for reading!

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From remaking “Suspiria”

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. Today it’s a classic, grandiose and glossy. It’s also baroque in many ways : decors and colors are vibrant, the music is… not to be outdone.

Considered as a masterpiece, you have today to accept its… exaggerations. If your mind plays the game, it’s a very strange delight, full of great ideas.

When I heard about a remake I facepalmed, like many other movie lovers.

I’ll watch it soon but before that, I read interviews of other directors who reacted on the new Suspiria.

  1. One saying it was stupid to remake it because the first movie was such a milestone.
  2. Another one saying it was OK.
  3. The director, saying it made something totally different, with, for example, colors “à la Fassbinder” (the first Suspiria also happened in Germany).

Tilda Swinton, actress in the new movie, told something very smart (which made me write this article) :

As the story of the first Suspiria is very light (“An American newcomer to a German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a witches coven”), it can be used like an opera libretto.

I thought it was smart. I know dozens of “Manon Lescaut” or “La Bohème”, the Puccini opera, and each time it’s very interesting to see what they do with the characters, the decor…

What does Manon Lescaut want?

I don’t know I feel this is a good tool, but I need help. How can I formalize it?

  • “When you think remaking something is useless, but you have to find a good angle to realize it’s not”?
  • “When you have to think about something in a new way (borrowing from another field) to find a new interest in it”?
  • “Once you have a core, a spirit, you can weave things around, it’ll be interesting to notice the differences”?
  • “Working on decisions : let’s keep this from the original/let’s change that”?

Tell me?

What’s the point to remake something frame by frame (like they’ll do with The Lion King)?

Standing Up Revelations : Chronicle 54

Words I learned today : teal, pier, unfurling, to cling…

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Following the article I wrote yesterday about creativity, I think that the most effective tip, the simplest one, is to walk. It just works : as soon as you’re outside walking because you have to buy a French baguette and two croissants for the breakfast with your lover, you have ideas. Ideas for life, obviously (solutions), but also ideas to write about if you’re a person of words.

I’m slightly disturbed in this process sometimes because I am a little photographer, therefore here am I with my eye, seeing lights and frames, watching trees, doors and gutters.

The creativity book told that walking for ideas works also inside, it’s the movement that works, even around a desk. I was not so sure then I remembered things, like this film editor who always worked standing up in front of his machines. He said that to create (and a film editor creates scenes) you have to “feel”, to be ground-linked, a state you do not have when you’re sitting on a chair.

I heard about many writers or artists (Flaubert for sure, Stravinsky maybe) who wrote/composed standing up in front of a lectern

And maybe bloggers, I suppose, know this : when your article is done, you post it then you stand up to sip orange juice or to shower or to check your postbox, and bim you’re flooded by new paragraphs, extensions, corrections and new words or pitched four words sentences : you have to run back on your chair with this rush…

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An intern told me about some funny little UK series like “Black Books” and “The IT Crowd”. So I gave it a try (in English with English sub). I’m not used to this humor which is : casual, dares everything, childish and very smart at the same time – messy haired, hilarious, stupid, inventive, poetic and clownesque tout à la fois.

Apart from Friends, what are you’re best funny (unknown) TV series?

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With Christmas coming I miss time but I’ll begin next week : to find 4 or 5 “Best Albums of 2018” lists on the web, study them, YouTube them and try to find nuggets and marvels…

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I’m working a lot on GuruShots, a perpetual multi-challenges full of photographers. It’s really interesting to try to please this crowd while staying myself (and not bending my work towards the community hidden standards (which are ugly to me)). In a way there’s a part of manipulation, excitement (a single picture can get hundreds of likes within minutes), challenge (you have to build some pictures, like this tortoise one) and thinking (you have to prepare, schedule and decide about the little tools they provide you), all this to climb in the hierarchy.

When I write and article about a great photographer, I am flabbergasted : these masters would never win anything in GuruShots : too inventive, too dark, too strange, too empty. They are out of the box…

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“One doest not fit” within his parents or the milieu they grow in (think : “Matilda”), it’s really annoying but also gives a rush to witness… I wonder how many writers came from that, writing to flee…

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So it’s the old story of directors who give everything in their life then become to make bad films (Hitchcock, De Palma, Argento), but it’s not true for everyone (Lean, Kurosawa, Spielberg). Del Toro, I dislike everything, thus I watched The Shape of Water skeptically, and I’ve been amazed by everything : a perfect casting, great music and decors, dialogs, scenario. The traps were many (like to push too far the Jeunet/Amelie mood), and it’s been perfectly done.

Have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

Jean-Pascal

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Creativity for Bloggers & others

I took this picture in a French book and I’ll list the creativity tips for you. Apply them on blogging, then on sex, then on photography, OK?

  1. Call evidences into questions : have a “why?” conversation and use it on everything.
  2. Feed from everything : be curious, and be curious out of your field.
  3. Identify your “box” and get out of it : what is your routine?
  4. Go see elsewhere : what will you explore ?
  5. Steal ideas : and let others steal yours, observation & appropriation.
  6. Test your ideas (with whom?) : listen and improve.
  7. Jump into the pool, then learn how to swim : dare, have fun, experiment.
  8. Learn how to fail : get smarter.
  9. Pick yourself up… endlessly; create by mistakes.
  10. Highlight the process, more than the goal.
  11. Flexible and agile : be fast and elegant and gathering…
  12. Stay open, knock down walls : learn, listen to the propositions of life. Who are those who don’t think like you?
  13. Walk : inside or outside, even around your desk! Walk and see ideas blossom.
  14. Write, always write, even imperfectly, even if you feel you have nothing to say. Everyday.
  15. Disconnect and tame boredom.
  16. Do much, with little : even if little is “money” or “time”, or “ideas”.
  17. Work relentlessly.
  18. Love mess, love order too.
  19. Don’t judge (too early) : let your work grow, then you’ll see.
  20. Let go, and trust : de-control-freak yourself?
  21. Surround with the good persons.
  22. Keep your brain in movement : talk with younger people!
  23. Pace yourself. Nap. Don’t be jealous, it’s a loss of time.
  24. It’s never too late

Extend in : can I go too far? Then what?

Try this : prove they’re all wrong.

Then try this : apply to teaching, marketing, military.

What if you don’t have to be creative?

I’d add : listen to propositions, explore your other side, invent your golem

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