My big problem with landscape and urban photography

I have a big problem with landscape and urban photography. I chose 5 examples for you, randomly in Google Images. I call this problem the “Intention of Effect“.

Long pauses transform cars into lines. Choosing sunset time gives “interesting” colours to the mountains. Using a drone makes you fly and shows lines. Putting the camera on the ground brings “interesting” lines and reflections.

Well, in each of these pictures I FEEL the photographer’s will, which seems to YELL at me “I AM SMART HAVE YOU SEEN IT?”. Yeah, I’ve seen it, buddy.

Each time I see one picture like this (and they are a majority), I’m rolling eyes. I’m like : “Okey little man, I see what you do”; and this is ABSOLUTELY boring.

Intention of effect kills effect.

This is not art, no art at all. It’s all waxywet, schmaltzy and wishy-washy, it is not gorgeous: it’s ridiculous and I’m already out, goodbye.

The contrary of all this monkey arounding appeared in the 70s with Stephen Shore and William Eggleston.

They knew the “pretty” urban or landscape pictures were ridiculous, and very, very far behind the Art Movement.

They had to find another way to show cities and nature. To stop being a show-off little idiot.

So they experimented a more neutral “way”, becoming an amateur-beginner, or becoming a tech-photographer. I think they wanted to show us the mood of a place, or maybe to be precise, or maybe they simply wanted to stop appearing like a smart-ass “look how I’m good” photographer. How to achieve that?

Of course they began to take pictures of the ordinary, empty urban spaces, parking lots, roads and houses. This was much more interesting and “charged” with the sense of a place.

I chose some Stephen Shore‘s pictures. This man makes my eyes stop. I want to wander on the photography. I (ain’t it strange)… breathe. I almost understand WHY the guy stopped there. This shadow. These lines. An horizon. The light of the day!

You’ll find many texts, articles and interviews about him and his influence on the web. Have fun!

“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 2/2

It’s the same pattern for photographers.

First, this little thing. The world of Internet is full of “gorgeous” photos, like this sunset and this glass ball. But you won’t find anything like this in the world of good photographers.

 

Open a book of masters of color photography (Shore, Eggleston, Herzog, Leiter…). This is NOT what they do. The gorgeousness is elsewhere than in the result of pushing cursors (very colored, very sharp, big bokeh, etc).

It can puzzle you, or make you feel the mood of a place, or anything.

I know that it becomes the philosophical problem of “Beauty”, but in this article I extract the comparison.

On the left is a Venus, she’s perfect, like in porcelain, on the sea, doing an arty movement with her hand, and little angels are gazouilling around. It’s pompier, mythical, boring. On the right is Olympia, she’s a whore, she watches you (you’re the client). Both come from the same time.

 

Now take a “splendid” pool (with a big logo on the bottom, which is a sign of bad sign), and then Stephen Shore’s pool. Which one is a good picture?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Constantly Random is an Instagram flaw

Instagram is a great funny app to use and to watch.

I noticed that if you want many followers, you have to be… persistent. If you take pictures of street art, or portraits of homeless people, or pot plants in black and white, dancers in NYC or “I see beauty in dirty ruins”, macro insects or abstract pieces of wood minimalism, you will get many followers.

If, like me, you take “constantly random” pictures and you wander in all kind of “styles”, you’re done. Many people won’t understand what you’re doing, and the few followers you get will quickly unfollow because they dislike you post a happy bee after a blu-ray movie, a wall texture before a black & white dead tree, a HDR sky next to a symmetrical French architecture.

There are some tools, dials and levers to pick, here.

Dial : What kind of spirit are you ? Are you, like a deep-sea diver, exploring a small territory, or are you, like a bee-air forager, smelling and exploring all that you find (from the art of warfare to linguistics, electronic music to Prussia history, American painters to Russian short stories) ?

Lever : Where do you put the lever, from “I show what I love to show” (with the random effect consequences) to “I focus on one thing only” (with the purpose to be more readable and get more audience) ? What is your blog about ? Food ? Or poetry, images, weather, books, music and politics ?

Tool : Play this game : try to find the hidden pattern behind the apparent randomness. Yeah, dear, bend over this caldron and detect it. The forager bee draws interesting patterns in the air.

https://www.instagram.com/jprobocat/

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