Stories Without Borders
1. THE END OF ONE
Mrs. Carveth, participating in various photography communities on the internet and off, observed that photo edits of hers she liked most were rarely what others like.
From gallery, to photo magazines where she is scolded about pixels, with Photoshop, VSCO, Instagram, retired sites and this temporary new one, she can’t predict which post-capture versions of an initial capture will be liked more than another.
Here’s one she likes a lot more than you did
And the reverse. You liked this way more than she did.
All photography, art, and commentary on this site by Jessie Carveth unless noted. 2017-18
Processing photography is easy and Jessie, indulgent.
Variation 93 more
Photography and photo art are the only art forms that have no expertise consensus, although if you scroll through the billions of instructional articles and videos, every instructor speaks as if there is an established literature somewhere that translates opinion into definition.
There existed until recently an elite group of superior, revered photographers. No more, because of technology produced at lightning speed over a tiny number of years, and promoted by social media.
The first step, before-edit, belongs to the camera. There’s a button, you press it. There are no buttons on a paintbrush, she repeats too much.
The programs for image editing, available to anyone interested, pretty much made everyone surprisingly good, interesting photographers.
The advancement in photography technology seems supernatural, it’s made everyone’s photography professional. Sell your photography.
Photography (machinery with buttons, taps and clicks to color and lighten) doesn’t require talent. Care. Attention. Interest
Why did the painter’s aim, one finished picture at a time, different from all other paitniings, become the aim for photographers? Photography is completely different. First, it’s a machine production.
Camera combined with machinery loaded with editing programs, there is no one finished version necessary.
Carveth tries to imagine “Guernica” as one of many finished variation Guernicas that Picasso filed away or deleted.
Choose one, toss the rest into a delete file? No way.
2. MORE OF THE SAME.
ATTACKS ON DIFFERENTIATION
Anyone who understands why there’s only one renowned Mona Lisa understands the difference between painting and photography.
Good painting includes one last brushstroke, one canvas, one finished picture—and some level of talent.
Good photography is opposite in almost every way. Talent isn’t required, first of all.
(Care. Attention. Interest)
A paintbrush isn’t a machine. The camera is. Try pressing a button on a paintbrush. Then repeat with camera.
Photography is a promiscuous, generous art form.
The camera grabs a capture, software takes it to town, and the photo artist creates any number of variations. For Mrs. Carveth, a camera capture is never done. (It is for most people who take pictures, professional or not. Nick calls the finished product of his photography filtering “advanced unimprovably”, signaling one finished edit from one capture.)
The promiscuous aren’t tortured by choice. They choose everything, all the edits. They acquire, use, create, waste very little, give a lot back.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.
3. THE END OF PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY, AN OBSERVATION
It is exciting realizing that, because of technology and sharing platforms, everyone became a photographer without training, and much of it is really good.
Maybe having large, global online communities to share pictures inspired the care now given to getting a capture (and with filtering, for those who filter).
There’s no difference in capture quality between (former) pros and everyone else.
Technology has made it difficult—very soon it will be ridiculous—to claim expertise based on things like film, degrees, fame, darkroom, proper art world language, bags of unnecessary equipment.
The hierarchy in professional photography is already ridiculous.
Film scoffs at digital. Fancy digital is scornful of phone-camera.
Black and white scorns color. Urbex disdains street. Street scoffs at urban. It’s what you get when you don’t have a leg to stand on.
Speaking of ridiculous, Martin Parr thinks the number of people taking pictures these days is hilariously awful and ugly.
He did a “series” (took a bunch of pictures like everyone else) of crowds of tourists taking pictures.
It would be funny if his photos were better than his subjects’ photos.
Jess has done enough research to tell you that the photos taken by the people Parr made fun of are as good as his.
His ideas are interesting and funny, that’s his special talent, but an idea isn’t a photograph.
Martin Parr takes good pictures. Everyone does. Photos are a machine production.
4. If you care.
What does the artforum crowd still have that others don’t? Pretention and vocabulary. Long exposure, gear, Art Basel, slow shutter, low light. Vanishing point. Pixels. Layers. Aperture. Leica and Fujifilm. Photo series. Photo shoot. Focal point. BNW.
The derision thrown at tourists taking pictures seems so weird to Jessie. Is vacation photography bad because people don’t call their trips a “photo shoot”?
a. I did a photo shoot in Cancun.
b. Here are my pics from Cancun.
Honestly, what you should do if you care is hashtag (name) differently.
If you care, say #photoshoot or #photoseries instead of #summervacation or #tourism. Photography is often dismissed without a glance for improper naming! Ugh.
Proper: #oftheafternoon #filmforever #rentalmag #broadmag #landscape_hunters #thespacebetween
Not #springbreak. Instead tag it #conceptualphotography.
If you care, know that the higher up on the hierarchy of experts, the more likely hashtags are taboo altogether.
5. TO THE POINT
She had from the age of two tormented paper and canvas, drawing, painting, ink, charcoal, watercolor. Paint arts require feeling pleased with either one finished version that took an inordinate amount of time, or tolerating an inordinate amount of time only to decide it’s terrible and toss it in the trash, left with nothing.
Mrs. Carveth can’t tolerate the intractability of one. Worse, wasted time creating beautiful versions never shown because the norm of a machine art adopted a limitation of painting.
Art Anorexia. For several years she turned away from making art. She stopped doing film photography on the Olympus, too. Interesting years. Not even a doodle. The only art project during that time was a freehand illustration for Doug Frayn’s book on dreams. She wouldn’t have done it for anyone else.
she got a Canon and went to Paris. And kept going back.
At some point in recent years smartphones appeared, sharing platforms, editing software, and an enormous amount of remarkable photography taken by you, all of you.
This revolution pisses off the about-to-be-extinct photography experts, the “professional” photographers, and the art world critics. As soon as we stopped being casual and careless taking pictures on picnics, and accompanied by current technology, you all rose to a level of impressive competence.
Her children’s generation doesn’t know there was a time when Avedon and peers were exalted, considered more talented than everyone. Her daughter, I believe, was the last to be hoodwinked into imagining a professional photographer is anything more than the machine operator we all are now.
Someone recently said: “I like some of your edits more than others”. Exactly.
If she didn’t show all, there wouldn’t be “some”. There would be one.
5. DARK AND SAD STORY
Right about the time Mrs. Carveth’s painting skill with colors started catching up to her ease at rendering, when people were asking for her work, she jumped ship.
Painting is too important.
It’s about one. The paintbrush and canvas, the hundreds of drawings she did imagining a one right image was asking her for its exceptional completion—killed art for her.
Maybe camera engineers feel desperate, and software developers, to produce new products, but we who are handed these products and start snapping are instant artists of photography.
Every variation, edit, version, is homage to a machine, not the person who pressed buttons.
(Note: Subject choice, or series concept, is different. Some have a flair for intriguing ideas, unusual subjects, Of all genres now in fashion in the photography world, conceptual is the only one that captures her interest as viewer.)
VERSION OF A CONCLUSION, SHABBY.
1. People like unfiltered photos when they like the subject, though they don’t know that about themselves.
We can become interested in topics we don’t ordinarily like only when they’re made artistic through photoshopping.
Many photographers are proud to be #unfiltered. Carveth does not like unfiltered photos of almost anything, by anyone. The significance of unfiltered eludes her.
The camera does that part, there’s no artistry involved no matter what we hear about focal point and right lighting.
If a capture is image edited, though—artistry— even a flower photo is interesting. Post-capture processing is the art.
Unfiltered flower photography is simply a gardening catalogue. Carveth wants either a real flower or an artistic edit, not a seed catalogue unfiltered picture.
Is a photograph of an anguished young girl running from napalm bombing art or journalism? Jessie’s theory about art and journalism school is that lots of time is spent answering questions like that, and that’s surely why she found creative arts and writing school intolerable.
2. It became a project to ignore the norm. Photography doesn’t demand what art does. You snap a button and there’s a whole picture all at once.
3. It’s annoying, it makes no sense, that kids in photography programs are taught to adopt the persona of paint artist. Photography students are still instructed to choose one, a “final project”, and file away the other, equally great variations.
4. Why isn’t the difference between machines that capture beauty (easy: press a button), and the process of painting (difficult, talent rare) acknowledged by now?
5. In this Instagram world, everyone with a camera and interest is a good photographer. This can’t be said about Cézanne’s paintings and our paintings, right?
Unfortunately, and though she does love Cartier-Bresson, Jessie is convinced that the gap between his photography and ours is negligible. She can’t say the same about Magritte.
Don’t believe her, but there are 800,000,000 people who can do what Cindy Sherman does. How many can do Gauguin, Raphael, Vermeer?
6. SAVE, SCREENSHOT, STEAL. Pluck what you want. Jessie doesn’t care if her photos are stolen, falsely claimed, altered. She can make another hundred. It’s just a camera and software.
FOREWORD TO THIS PAGE HERE
Key Words: abundant, fecund, multiparous, infinite, teeming.
Show, share, hand out, let go, give away.