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Archive 2012 · The door and window problem
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · The door and window problem


I have seen more decrepit old doors and windows than I have seen images of Mesa Arch. They were popular when I started in 1980 and for some reason remain popular today.

So when I decided to try my hand at pointless art or whatever this is called, I knew the old building that I walk by in the evening would need my attention. I see photographers here frequently using it as a background for family pictures.

But when it was my turn, I did not know how to frame it. I know we are not supposed to center stuff, but my recollection is that everyone does center old doors. Seeing no other option, I did center it. After all, there was nothing here I wanted, just an attempt to mimic what I had seen before.

So here you go, one each door and window in color and B&W.






door in color







Door in B&W







window in color







window in B&W




Oct 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
silvawispa
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p.1 #2 · The door and window problem


Why do it if you don't feel it?

It may just be the still life equivalent of the ubiquitous duck shot...

These are nicely rendered observations of doors and windows, but they don't convey any mood.

Perhaps if you'd posted about how deeply you felt about the dereliction and decay and how it's a metaphor for the soul of society I'd be all over them. Perhaps I'm suggestible like that!



Oct 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #3 · The door and window problem


Good question. But I have determined that I can no longer show images I care about so I am trying to find stuff that does not matter. I need a photo outlet and forum participation. I suspect others have reached the same conclusion because I see a lot of this sort of image.

Here is a little essay I wrote about it.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=932



Oct 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
silvawispa
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p.1 #4 · The door and window problem


Your essay misses the third and golden option: that others will agree with you and you change the vision of all!

Perhaps that is the scariest option. The one where you take the lead.



Oct 17, 2012 at 04:53 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · The door and window problem


I lack the ego for that option. Besides most artist like that die before being discovered. Or like Andy Warhol were merely a fad for nihlists.

In any event, my style is not new, I strive to be an honest recorder of beauty not an interpreter.

Photography is just a way to fill the last energetic days of my life. I have been retired for 8 years and expect another 10 years when I have nobody to please but myself.

I started my web site as an outlet for my opinions and a place to post my stuff. It is sort of a take it or leave it sort of proposition.



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:02 PM
pinball_pw
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p.1 #6 · The door and window problem


I looked through your essay. I present my images as well here from time to time. I don't present them unless I feel good about them and I only feel good about the ones I am connected to.

I realize that the image may be shredded for technical or compositional reasons. I hope to learn from those though. I just try to not take it personal and instead take it as a chance to grow.

Having other's eyes that are adapted to looking at this stuff is exceptionally helpful. It is also helpful to get a feeling on who is presenting the feedback to understand where they are coming from. Some on this forum are exceptionally talented in certain areas, others are getting started, and most of us are somewhere in between.

I hope you post images that you are connected to and care about more in the future.

Cheers - Paul



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:07 PM
silvawispa
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p.1 #7 · The door and window problem


ben egbert wrote:
It is sort of a take it or leave it sort of proposition.


Exactly!

So post your hearts delights and let us enjoy them. Sod the boring meaningless stuff. Leave that to dullards, don't become one!





Oct 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #8 · The door and window problem


pinball_pw wrote:
I looked through your essay. I present my images as well here from time to time. I don't present them unless I feel good about them and I only feel good about the ones I am connected to.

I realize that the image may be shredded for technical or compositional reasons. I hope to learn from those though. I just try to not take it personal and instead take it as a chance to grow.

Having other's eyes that are adapted to looking at this stuff is exceptionally helpful. It is also helpful to get a feeling on who is
...Show more

After 30 years, I have been though the critique stage and know I will never care for conventional wisdom.

What is the point in showing an image that meets your own goals? If the image is lacking, I already know that and in fact can predict the comments in advance. And almost always would reject them.

In the field I attempt to make images per the popular expectations and ask myself, why would I take such an image? The answer is I wouldn't unless just to please others.

The door is an assignment. What connection can one have from an assignment? I try to do a competent job. But assignments are a job of work not art.

.



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:14 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #9 · The door and window problem


silvawispa wrote:
Exactly!

So post your hearts delights and let us enjoy them. Sod the boring meaningless stuff. Leave that to dullards, don't become one!



That seems dishonest in a way. This is not a presentation forum it is specifically a critique forum. If I have no interest in critique, and for my personal favorites I don't, then it is not right to post them here.

Strangely, I have little interest in praise either. I got several best in shows and 1st places last year at camera club, I never felt any elation over them. Often the winner was one I did not care much for myself. But even when I did not win, I usually preferred somebodies image that got low marks.

That cuts to the point, in the end its our visual judgement that is being graded. Once you are competent enough to capture what you want, it is what you want that is being challenged. That is not for sale.



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:25 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · The door and window problem


Ben,

I understand that you approach photography as a "recorder" rather than as an "artist", but it is still "your voice" that you are putting on display through the visual communication medium. My point ... is ... that unless YOU know what the point is that YOU are trying to make, it usually doesn't convey ANY point to anyone.

If your point is to show the decay, so be it. If your point is to show the texture, or symmetry or lighting or some other component, that's fine too. But even as a "recorder" without a point / message, your (i.e. anyone's) ability to guide/steer/present your voice to your audience is rendered ... well, flat. It's kinda like reading a monotone speech without voice inflection.

Even when I talk to people about the most clinical, boring, technical, factual, non-creative subject known to man ... I will still use voice inflection to drive my point. But, if I don't know what the point is, then I simply read the script and deliver a flat / lackluster communication.

Now, I'm not saying your work is lackluster ... but I am saying that without knowing what the point is that you want to deliver to your audience (in the case of the door/window/mundane), it will come across "pointless" because you in fact (literally) don't have a point.

For those who shoot the door/window/mundane and present it well, it is because they do have a point ... whatever it may be ... and present the image in a way that conveys that point. I think that part of the reason we see so many "doors & windows" is because they are so much more available to the masses than Mesa Arch, etc. is.

Combine that with the fact that probably 99.9% of photographers go through periods of emulation long before they grasp and develop their own sense of creation. They've seen a "fine art" image of mundane articles and thus try to emulate them as part of their learning process.

Your "doors & windows" theory of being popular and therefore you should learn to do likewise ... to me, is not following the leader, but following the followers. If your gig is "large slabs of rock" ... you are in a position to lead with your voice, your point, your message. Forget following the followers because the followers are following. The masses will take you straight to a "sea of mediocrity" that will bury your voice into obscurity and eternal oblivion.

Sure, it is cool to try something to stretch yourself, we all should do that ... but it is still your voice and your point that is important. Without having your own purpose/point, you are just a myna bird with a camera. Emulation has its place, it makes for a great learning tool ... kinda like training wheels on a bicycle. I use emulation with regularity as an exercise for those times when I don't have a voice / point. BUT, it is important that you know the difference between when you are speaking to others with YOUR voice, or merely parroting the voice of others.

You presented your case for being a recorder, which once I came to understand why you present in that voice ... it made sense to me. It isn't everyone's voice, it is your voice and you do have a point that you are astutely aware of and convicted to. So, when you look at what the masses do for popularity ... if it doesn't speak to you, "don't sweat it". If it does ... "go for it" ... with YOUR voice and YOUR point.





Edited on Oct 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM · View previous versions



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:41 PM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #11 · The door and window problem


ben egbert wrote:
Good question. But I have determined that I can no longer show images I care about so I am trying to find stuff that does not matter. I need a photo outlet and forum participation. I suspect others have reached the same conclusion because I see a lot of this sort of image.

Here is a little essay I wrote about it.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=932



So are you suggesting simply because you see "a lot of this sort of image" others who post images such as this are of the same opinion - simply posting "stuff that does not matter" for entertaining one's self? I doubt that is the case.

I think you miss the point of my suggested self-assignment. Speaking for myself, I am here and participate to learn, and perhaps contribute to others doing the same. I thought you were of a like mind, perhaps not, and that is unfortunate.

Bob



Oct 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #12 · The door and window problem


Bob Jarman wrote:
So are you suggesting simply because you see "a lot of this sort of image" others who post images such as this are of the same opinion - simply posting "stuff that does not matter" for entertaining one's self? I doubt that is the case.

I think you miss the point of my suggested self-assignment. Speaking for myself, I am here and participate to learn, and perhaps contribute to others doing the same. I thought you were of a like mind, perhaps not, and that is unfortunate.

Bob


I know exactly what I want to do when I take a landscape image and sometimes I succeed and sometime not. In either case I know the result and don't need help finding it. I would feel the same for a bird or flower. I lack certain motor skills for birds and flowers photography so I abandoned them.

I lack the interpersonal skill required for people photography so I only do family stuff which I don't show on line.

This leaves a very large arena about which I have no connection. I don't know what I don't know..

But I have ruled out showing for presentation and that leaves me to undertake assignment work and you are the inspiration for it. But I have a different motive than you.

But I see no personal growth here for me. It will just be a way to participate in the forum.

An awful lot of photography is assignment work. I may even find non landscape subjects out there that I can connect to. I actually did the other night, an older cottage type home with a white picket fence lined with roses.

I am not so certain here as I am with landscapes so there is room to grow. But probably not with old doors unless it has the Grand Tetons behind it.






Oct 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #13 · The door and window problem


RustyBug wrote:
Ben,

I understand that you approach photography as a "recorder" rather than as an "artist", but it is still "your voice" that you are putting on display through the visual communication medium. My point ... is ... that unless YOU know what the point is that YOU are trying to make, it usually doesn't convey ANY point to anyone.

If your point is to show the decay, so be it. If your point is to show the texture, or symmetry or lighting or some other component, that's fine too. But even as a "recorder" without a point / message, your (i.e. anyone's)
...Show more

I have to start someplace. After 1982, I quit doing camera club assignment photos so I am not good at assignment stuff either external or self assigned as this was.

It is pointless to me other than as a means to an end. The end being to show work about which I genuinely want critique.

Until something clicks, there will not be any other point than that.

Adams did a large part of his work for income. Some of it was very good and among his most popular work. But reading between the lines, I suspect he did other stuff for himself.

A good journeyman will do the job to the best of his ability, but emotional connections are not something that can be willed.






Oct 17, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #14 · The door and window problem


ben egbert wrote:
I lack the interpersonal skill required for people photography so I only do family stuff which I don't show on line.


My wife says I have the manners of a goat and tact of a rhinoceros - don't feel like you are the Lone Ranger


This leaves a very large arena about which I have no connection. I don't know what I don't know..

But I have ruled out showing for presentation and that leaves me to undertake assignment work and you are the inspiration for it. But I have a different motive than you.

But I see no personal growth here for me. It will just be a way to participate in the forum.

An awful lot of photography is assignment work. I may even find non landscape subjects out there that I can connect to. I actually did the other night, an older cottage type home with
...Show more

Give it a shot - don't sell yourself short

And, don't be so quick to toss aside other's posts as "stuff that does not matter" just because it does not appeal to you - you are doing both the poster and yourself a disservice.

Bob


Edited on Oct 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM · View previous versions



Oct 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · The door and window problem


ben egbert wrote:
A good journeyman will do the job to the best of his ability, but emotional connections are not something that can be willed.


Agreed.

But even as a journeyman effort, it is valuable to understand the point of the mission before embarking on it ... thus one can better apply the tools & techniques of the craft to achieve the goal at hand.

I build a bench for little league one way, for church yet another. It is still a bench that is to be built, but understanding that one is for abusive utilitarian purposes, while another is more likely to be used by an audience with more respect & reverence may contribute to my decisions at how I approach it ... even if I don't have the emotional fondness for benches as Paul Yi.

Why & for whom can be important determinants regarding what & how., When we are emotionally connected, we are provided a degree of internal answers to such questions. When we are not emotionally connected ... external. But, whether internal or externally driven ... or intellectually manufactured ... the precursors to execution are rooted in understanding of the objective, whatever they may be..



Oct 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · The door and window problem


Kent, I am essentially empirical. My analysis comes only after some facts are known. The known facts are that I have only one photo passion at the moment, and it is not viable for posting here. To find another one will require some blind experiments such as this door exercise.

If you know another way, please tell.



Oct 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #17 · The door and window problem


And my question goes unanswered. How are you supposed to compose a door? I still don't know.


Oct 17, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #18 · The door and window problem



And my question goes unanswered. How are you supposed to compose a door? I still don't know.


Let me try to answer your question.

I'll suggest that one composes the image, i.e. vision, not the physical door. I cruised your website and you have some really nice images there, certainly to be proud of. You also write your objective is to reflect the reality of what you (the eye) observe via the camera (I am sure my liberal paraphrase does not adequately translate) without intervening alterations to that vision.

As an aside I would argue that no two of us perceive, or see things identically - thus your reality and my reality differ although we observe the same scene. So your goal is evaluated strictly from your point of reference and no one else's no matter how you pursue and measure accuracy.

But returning to my point - conversely many of us see an object or scene, and visualize how it might be represented to satisfy a particular aesthetic. Read anything by Vincent Versace, an accomplished photographer - his visualization and final product hardy reflect what is initially observed. Likewise Ansel Adam's prints reflect his vision, not necessarily the reality of that moment.

So, back to the door. Rather than compose "a door", one composes a visualization of, or containing a door, and that resulting visualization might be portrayed by one of the three representation below. I am not about to suggest the re-works are magnificent works of art, but each does conform to the rule-of-thirds to illustrate my point. It might be about texture, color, geometric arrangement of various parallelograms and rectangles - so many possibilities. What it is not about, is a literal "door".

As an engineer and from your writing, you seem most comfortable grounded in a firm, highly structured reality having very little abstraction. I am of a like mind and only though teaching computer programming have I learned to more fully appreciate and understand abstractions - although visually, I still struggle. I think the disconnect can be attributed to semantics. If something does not interest me, I skip it and move on. If I have no interest in an object or scene, why waste the time to capture, process, and post - and why waste the time of others who choose to respond to something about which I have no interest.

Anyway, my last 2 and I am moving along also

Bob


















Oct 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · The door and window problem


Thanks for answering my question, and neat blend of sign and door. I knew when I took it that I really did not want to do the door. But I did shot at least one thing that night which I connected with. I might show it another day.

So the idea of walking around and taking stuff randomly is not bad in a shade tree mechanic fashion, and I started out a shade tree mechanic.

The stuff I pointed my camera at that night were things I had noticed before on walks. Things that caught my attention. But very little does not catch my attention.

About reality. I understand, Kant's "ding and sich" as it were. But I started out with oil paints and was unhappy with my ability to get it right so I eventually took up the camera which I hoped would. Guess its about as good as there is today.

My problem is that I can't even capture the beauty I see, let alone improve it. I would be happy to just get close to what I see.



Oct 18, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #20 · The door and window problem


ben egbert wrote:
Thanks for answering my question, and neat blend of sign and door. I knew when I took it that I really did not want to do the door. But I did shot at least one thing that night which I connected with. I might show it another day.

So the idea of walking around and taking stuff randomly is not bad in a shade tree mechanic fashion, and I started out a shade tree mechanic.

The stuff I pointed my camera at that night were things I had noticed before on walks. Things that caught my attention. But very little does
...Show more

You are very welcome.

Shade tree mechanic? Sort of - recently I read or heard somewhere: "if you walk around with the intention of taking a spectacular picture, it will never happen, if you walk around with no particular objective, the picture will find you". Or more succinctly, " let the image come to you, you cannot force it". Or, stuff happens


My problem is that I can't even capture the beauty I see, let alone improve it. I would be happy to just get close to what I see.


With you on this one - I have yet to capture a decent waterfall or stream image - or tansform that personal experience into a 2D reality. Frustrating. But I'll not give up!

Regards,

Bob



Oct 18, 2012 at 12:48 AM
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