A Conversation with Ario

by ajamess on 20.Nov.10

in Conversations,Photographic Musings

An interesting conversation about art and photography I had this morning with my artist / musician / friend Ario.

(10:49:44 AM) arioelami: i read your newest post
(10:50:39 AM) arioelami: what is your reservation about photographs of waterfalls?
(10:55:25 AM) st33nwyk: i dont know…
(10:55:27 AM) st33nwyk: i just
(10:55:31 AM) st33nwyk: dont find them interesting
(10:55:35 AM) st33nwyk: or didnt
(10:55:38 AM) arioelami: do you think it is like the shot of the lone tree on the hill
(10:55:43 AM) st33nwyk: haha
(10:55:49 AM) st33nwyk: no, i like those, typically 😛
(10:56:01 AM) st33nwyk: but i guess
(10:56:06 AM) arioelami: i was wondering if it was coming from notions of cliches
(10:56:17 AM) st33nwyk: its just because they feel so compositionally limiting
(10:56:23 AM) st33nwyk: that, a bit
(10:56:50 AM) st33nwyk: did you go to the link of that guy who does almost exclusively waterfall sh ots
(10:56:54 AM) st33nwyk: he does a good job
(10:57:02 AM) arioelami: no, not yet
(10:57:09 AM) arioelami: i will now
(10:57:17 AM) st33nwyk: i dont have the practice he has to do as well, but i've always not been very interested in them as a subject
(10:57:29 AM) st33nwyk: are there things you arent immediately interested in as a subject?
(10:58:03 AM) arioelami: in terms of other people's work or my own?
(10:58:33 AM) st33nwyk: both, i suppose
(10:59:52 AM) arioelami: i mean, it kind of depends on how you're defining subject as a word. because a subject can be what you see, or what the work is "really" about.
(11:00:10 AM) st33nwyk: ah yes
(11:00:46 AM) arioelami: like i am not specifically interested in the visual experience of a lot of minimal art, but i enjoy the implications sometimes that come out of discussing or thinking about the work.
(11:01:27 AM) arioelami: but yeah, there are things i'm right away less interested in, graphically
(11:01:43 AM) arioelami: graffiti would probably be one
(11:01:52 AM) arioelami: another would be children
(11:02:00 AM) st33nwyk: hm
(11:02:04 AM) arioelami: cars?
(11:02:08 AM) st33nwyk: so why, would you say, that is
(11:02:28 AM) st33nwyk: like, i would say i am typically drawn to large vistas bathed in interesting light
(11:02:40 AM) st33nwyk: or perhaps rainy overcast conditions
(11:03:11 AM) arioelami: it's hard to say, because this comes down to very personal reactions on an intuitive level, i think
(11:03:47 AM) st33nwyk: yeah
(11:04:03 AM) arioelami: i could at least say with graffiti, it is tied to a practice that i find often visually damages the place where it makes its mark
(11:04:15 AM) arioelami: so part of that is just irritation with associated action
(11:04:36 AM) st33nwyk: i see
(11:04:44 AM) arioelami: i also think about he chemicals used for graffiti, which smell unpleasant
(11:05:00 AM) st33nwyk: so its tied to something beyond just the visual appearance at hand
(11:05:14 AM) st33nwyk: i suppose i have the same thing with some of the photos ive taken
(11:05:17 AM) st33nwyk: im sure everyone does
(11:05:18 AM) arioelami: right, it has a social application, and i don't like that application
(11:05:27 AM) st33nwyk: they represent something more than just themselves
(11:06:03 AM) st33nwyk: do you think art should be appreciated with an impartial eye?
(11:06:16 AM) st33nwyk: as in, is it not important the context under which the work was made?
(11:06:20 AM) arioelami: i think it's impossible to appreciate art with an impartial eye
(11:06:40 AM) st33nwyk: but, i mean, a photo of my family is going to be incredibly important to me, but not to others
(11:06:50 AM) st33nwyk: it may be a shit photo, but i may love it simply for that fact
(11:07:05 AM) st33nwyk: i find it's hard to separate oneself as an artist from one's work
(11:07:22 AM) arioelami: i think it's easy to make the separation once the work is done, though
(11:07:29 AM) arioelami: if that is even a separation
(11:07:34 AM) st33nwyk: why do you say that?
(11:07:57 AM) arioelami: i don't know, i feel most connected to anything when i'm actually working on it
(11:08:09 AM) arioelami: once it's done it's a public object
(11:08:30 AM) st33nwyk: but your work on something is protracted
(11:08:37 AM) st33nwyk: it can last for days, weeks, months
(11:08:49 AM) st33nwyk: for a photographer, at least, tripping the shutter takes an instant
(11:09:08 AM) st33nwyk: of course, there is post processing, and the kind of "meta" aspects of actually going out and sh ooting, or doing a project
(11:09:36 AM) st33nwyk: but i almost think that because there isnt as intimate (imo) a connection for a photographer to the actual act of doing the thing, that it becomes harder to let go once it's complete
(11:09:37 AM) arioelami: but don't you actually go into programs and edit your photos for lengthy periods of time? isn't that an extension of the process
(11:09:42 AM) st33nwyk: yes, it is
(11:09:56 AM) st33nwyk: but, i dont think it's nearly as in depth as the things you do
(11:10:12 AM) st33nwyk: i mean, if you are doing something truly fantastic, it takes some time
(11:10:22 AM) st33nwyk: but it's measured in hours, typically
(11:11:18 AM) arioelami: i'm not so sure i measure connection in terms of time taken
(11:11:24 AM) st33nwyk: i suppose the difference is that the volume of a photographer is much higher, so his or her entire body of work needs to be that much more pointed
(11:11:38 AM) st33nwyk: well, i dont get connected to the photographs i take when i post process them
(11:11:47 AM) st33nwyk: its more the experience surrounding them that is important
(11:12:15 AM) st33nwyk: like the process of hiking somewhere remote and waking up at ungodly hours and watching the light come over a mountain as the sun rises
(11:12:58 AM) st33nwyk: its very much about the making of the photograph, not just the moment the shutter trips, but all the things surrounding how i got to that point
(11:14:18 AM) arioelami: yeah
(11:14:46 AM) arioelami: and there are some people who don't even physically take a photograph or are there when the photograph is taken
(11:14:51 AM) arioelami: it's kind of hard to measure connection
(11:15:14 AM) arioelami: *aren't
(11:15:40 AM) arioelami: i'm thinking of one person who set up a camera system near a city street that would randomly take shots of pedestrians
(11:15:45 AM) arioelami: and that formed the material for a work
(11:16:07 AM) st33nwyk: see, for me, i wouldn't be interested in doing that
(11:16:18 AM) st33nwyk: because, like you said, im not there experiencing it first-hand
(11:16:25 AM) arioelami: yeah. some people aren't concerned with the connection
(11:16:31 AM) arioelami: actually, shunning the connection could be the basis for the work
(11:16:38 AM) st33nwyk: which is really interesting, though
(11:16:39 AM) arioelami: taking on a mechanical persona
(11:16:45 AM) st33nwyk: because compare it to drawing or painting
(11:16:56 AM) st33nwyk: which inherently requires some input
(11:17:07 AM) arioelami: it goes back to warhol sort of (aaaaaa)
(11:17:17 AM) arioelami: who said he wanted to be a machine
(11:17:22 AM) st33nwyk: this is why I think that it must be much harder to do the same thing in that area of art
(11:17:25 AM) st33nwyk: oh yeah?
(11:17:38 AM) arioelami: drawing or painting doesn't necessarily require input
(11:17:43 AM) arioelami: you could have a machine do either of those too
(11:17:47 AM) arioelami: (which has been done)
(11:18:10 AM) arioelami: then it becomes "is it art if a person didn't physically make these marks" which kind of isn't that interesting to me
(11:18:19 AM) arioelami: my interest depends on the day and how much food i've had
(11:18:19 AM) st33nwyk: but really…how could you do that
(11:18:23 AM) st33nwyk: there is still input required
(11:18:25 AM) st33nwyk: you have to direct the machine
(11:18:32 AM) st33nwyk: unless you are saying its somehow automatic
(11:18:40 AM) arioelami: you have to build the machine, but you don't have to direct it
(11:18:48 AM) arioelami: it could be as simple as a rope mechanism
(11:19:06 AM) arioelami: where you just attach a brush to a rope and let it fall and brush against the canvas like a pendulum until it stops
(11:19:23 AM) arioelami: it's prompted by one action, but the ripple effect is mechanical
(11:19:52 AM) st33nwyk: i see
(11:20:09 AM) st33nwyk: i suppose that makes a statement on its own, i just dont care for it
(11:21:38 AM) arioelami: these waterfall photos are fine
(11:21:45 AM) arioelami: this actually ties into something i wanted to write about
(11:22:05 AM) st33nwyk: and what's that
(11:22:13 AM) st33nwyk: you mean the shots of cascade creations?
(11:22:53 AM) arioelami: uh yeah
(11:23:03 AM) arioelami: was looking for what you were taking about
(11:23:07 AM) arioelami: cascadekreations
(11:24:22 AM) arioelami: it's about how photography invites a critical element, or absolute quality, to a real place or object(s) and how that potentially ruins the memory or presence of those things
(11:24:59 AM) arioelami: maybe it ties into native american ideas about photographs
(11:25:03 AM) arioelami: i'm not really sure yet
(11:25:11 AM) st33nwyk: hm
(11:25:17 AM) arioelami: i got to thinking about it after reading a few texts
(11:25:27 AM) st33nwyk: but being critical of a photograph has nothing to do with the thing that was photographed
(11:25:27 AM) arioelami: and seeing my mom photograph these places in maine
(11:25:44 AM) arioelami: how do you mean
(11:25:59 AM) st33nwyk: like the quality of the subject is not denegrated by a bad photograph, and nor is it elevated by a good one
(11:26:19 AM) arioelami: well, that's something i kind of want to figure out
(11:26:25 AM) arioelami: i'm not sure that's actually true
(11:26:25 AM) st33nwyk: the subject just is, making a photograph of it is just the act of preserving it in time for whatever reason
(11:26:36 AM) st33nwyk: a photograph represents something
(11:26:55 AM) st33nwyk: if the representation is a foul one, fine, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak
(11:27:03 AM) st33nwyk: like i can portray something any way i want to
(11:27:09 AM) st33nwyk: but it becomes my portrayal of it
(11:27:14 AM) st33nwyk: not the viewer's
(11:28:15 AM) arioelami: i think i would approach the subject as photography in terms of myself as a photographer (not a Photographer, but a person who can take photos if i want to)
(11:28:41 AM) arioelami: i almost never take photographs and when i kind of wish i hadn't
(11:28:46 AM) arioelami: *when i do
(11:29:17 AM) st33nwyk: is that because you dont feel you can adequately represent what you are trying to photograph, and, due to that, you feel the experience was cheapened by taking a picture?
(11:30:57 AM) arioelami: i think it might come down to me seeing a photograph taken by myself as a kind of experiential container, and i prefer having the experience dependent upon the real place or just what i can remember — not an object that turns the experience into a fact, if that makes sense
(11:31:44 AM) st33nwyk: but that fact should remind you of the experience. that fact isn't the experience itself, it's just an entry point into the thing as a whole
(11:31:58 AM) st33nwyk: a really good photograph brings others within that experience
(11:32:25 AM) arioelami: but the experience isn't actually there anymore
(11:32:46 AM) st33nwyk: that's the beauty of it, to some degree
(11:33:03 AM) st33nwyk: isnt that what one is doing when one makes art? capturing something eternally in some form?
(11:34:52 AM) arioelami: that's situational, i think. i'm not capturing anything real when i draw a landscape. even if i were to draw from a real place, i'd still be making an edit, since drawing cannot ever capture a scene precisely, insofar as how that scene is exactly rendered to our eyes
(11:35:31 AM) arioelami: a photograph is exactly as something is in that exact time and place
(11:35:58 AM) arioelami: i'm not making a qualitative judgment, here btw
(11:35:58 AM) st33nwyk: isnt that just "creative license" :). I mean, every time i edit a photo i'm removing it from reality. hell, even when I take the photo, i make choices that remove it from being exactly what my eye might see
(11:36:05 AM) st33nwyk: yeah i know
(11:36:20 AM) st33nwyk: but it's not, a photograph is not exactly what something is
(11:36:42 AM) st33nwyk: i mean, take a look at this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/absencesix/5023355425/
(11:36:42 AM) arioelami: in what way
(11:36:49 AM) st33nwyk: that is simply not what anyone's eye could see, ever
(11:37:10 AM) st33nwyk: even straight from the camera it's not "realistic"
(11:37:13 AM) arioelami: so what are you documenting then?
(11:37:51 AM) st33nwyk: well, interestingly, i documented non-reality at that point
(11:38:02 AM) st33nwyk: you see, the waves were crashing quite hard
(11:38:09 AM) st33nwyk: so i wanted to remove them from the picture, so to speak
(11:38:22 AM) st33nwyk: and have it be just about the stacks and the water
(11:38:39 AM) st33nwyk: so i chose a long exposure that would make the waves seem almost like a mist
(11:39:40 AM) arioelami: that unreality comes back to what i was saying about memory
(11:40:14 AM) arioelami: i like that i have these places in my head and that their apparent quality is subject to all the errors and modifications i've made through memorizing them
(11:40:35 AM) st33nwyk: so, photographing it "dehumanizes" the experience?
(11:41:29 AM) arioelami: i don't know about that. i'm really hesitant to condemn an entire method to futility.

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