lucky picturesPhotographer Male Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
My Website: lucky picturesMy MM URL: http://www.modelmayhem.com/luckypictures
Mayhem # 20279
About MeMY PROFILE IS SEVERELY OUT OF DATE, AS IS MY INFORMATION. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME.
I'm a fashion photographer with a BFA in Photography, and one in Photojournalism. My work has been published in many magazines, and resides in the permanent collection of several museums. I grew up doing street photography, and now I concentrate mostly on portraits.
I also do wedding photography.
The correspondance below best sums up me, and my attitude towards photography:
Person 1: That was really fucking pretentious. It's ridiculous for you to assume that because you did some sort of coursework involving technicalities of photography, that you have more of a right to call yourself a photographer. First off a person referring to themselves as a photographer, regardless of image quality, does not affect your "rap" and should only make you look better. Have you ever heard of Stephen Shore, Larry Clark, Dorothea Lange, Lee Miller or Emerson? None of them learned photography from schools, they experimented just like the kids using there christmas present digital cameras and photoshop filters. Stephen Shore was 16 when he was at the MoMa. A high school student, no? I worked for a magazine making money as a "photographer" in high school. You should stop calling yourself a photographer you stupid pompous asshole.
Myself: In my response, when I say you, I don't mean you personally, I am using you in the universal sense, as meant for any reader.
In fact, I don't think it is ridiculous at all. You see, there is a difference between calling yourself an artist and calling yourself a photographer. If you would like to get your shitty digital camera and go photoshop the hell out of whatever your little heart desires, great. Call yourself an artist, make art, have fun. Art is a very subjective, and certainly open to the interpretation of the artist, the viewer, and many others. Photography is a different medium, however and requires some, if not a deep knowledge of the medium and its roots. That isn't to say that one does not require these things to produce art, not so, but art is more open to interpretation than photography. You can smear shit on a canvas and call it art, you can't take a shit and call it photography. The availability of digital photography to the masses has created this collective idea that anyone can be a photographer.
People look at modern photography the way the layman looked at modern art in the mid-20th century. "Oh, I can splatter paint on a canvas," was the response of a lot of people to Jackson Pollack's work. Most people didn't understand Andy's Warhol's work either, even in the artistic community. It wasn't that anyone could reproduce a soup can, it was that Warhol saw value in the aesthetics of everyday design. His background was illustration at Carnegie Mellon, what was then Carnegie Tech. He wasn't some random copying what he saw in magazines, he fully understood what he was doing, and had intent within his work.
That's not to say that an artist requires an education to be an artist. Jean-Michel Basquiat dropped out of high school, although he eventually did graduate. But Basquiat understood what he was doing, he had intent behind his work, he was not trying to emulate something he had seen, he was original. He went so far as to spraypaint SAMO on walls in Brooklyn, which meant SAME OLD SHIT. He and Warhol broke boundaries, created something new, and had purpose and knowledge behind their work.
As far as photographers go, no, you don't have to be college educated to be a photographer. Dorothea Lange did in fact have formal training. She enrolled herself in a class taught by Clarence White. Not only that, but she apprenticed herself to established photographers in the New York and San Francisco areas.
Now, to shorten my point, Larry Clark learned from his mother, who was a baby photographer, as well as attending Layton School of Art. Stephen Shore was self taught, and he was spotted by MoMa at 16, but by that point he had been well immersed in photography for TEN YEARS. He was interested in Walker Evans and other great photographers by the age of ten. He knew how to print color photographs, understood color theory, and had a rich knowledge of the history of photography. Lee Miller learned from Man Ray, and for years before that, she was a fashion model, and constantly surrounded by the medium. And Emerson, well, Emerson was fortunate enough to have the wealth and intelligence to become a photographer. He was the only example you gave that did not have formal training. He did however, train himself. He did not pick up and immediately say, "I'm a photographer. Do you like my photographs?" He was an intellectual who had an understanding of the medium.
Now, you can't tell me that "kids nowadays," especially on available mass media such as MySpace have ANY understanding of photography. Ask 100 people who call themselves photographers to name full stops between 2.8 and 64. What do you think, maybe 10? 20 max? And how many of them can fully explain f/stop or aperture? Do you mean to tell me that ms. i'm a goth model, or hipster dude knows that you can change the exposure of a photograph through both the aperature as well as the shutter and film speed? Or ask if they know about Leica, or the advancements made by Minolta, or to explain and understand "the decisive moment."
I'm not saying one cannot be a photographer without training. I'm saying that to be a photographer, and produce photographs, one must have an understanding of photography as a medium, not as a mass media. And it's not the fault of the hipster or the "model." Digital cameras do not function the same as "traditional" film cameras. The user is not forced to choose aperature, shutter speed, or film speed. In other words, ignorance is bliss.
You may have been completely off target, or just misinformed, but just the fact that you had such a passionate reaction to what I said, as well as referencing photographic history makes you a photographer, or a budding photographer, or whatever you would like to call yourself, you at least have a knowledge and an understanding to back yourself up. Have some pride in the skill you have. Being a photographer is like any profession or skill. One cannot be a professional athlete without training and the ability, and thus, not walk around claiming to be one. Just as I can't walk into a professional production of Spamalot and call myself a performer. I have the ability to sing, but I lack the knowledge to read music, or properly understand pitch and tone. I can watch a surgeon, and memorize a procedure, then later perform the same procedure flawlessly. Does that make me a surgeon because I can do it? No, because I don't understand what I am doing, the reasons why, or the effects of what I am doing.
Do not discount photography as something that is fully accessible to everyone. If its something anyone can do, then why bother? Might as well just flip burgers for a living, after all, anyone can do that, right?
Person 1: Look, the reason it really pissed me off is because it was just wrong. You've probably seen born into brothels, because well who hasn't?, but last year I was at their gallery sorting through the kids portfolios for a show and was AMAZED by how great their compositions and eyes were. These kids from Cairo got shitty disposable kodak built in flash camers at ages as young as 8, and made intelligent photographs. I'm sick of seeing cheesy senior photos and crappy symetrical photos of girls in their underwear. I'm not saying you are, but the people that bitch about others, usually create static images. The photographers may know a ton of technical knowledge but they suck. I know how to use a camera, I know lights, I know how to read light ratios and I know how to a studio works, but that doesn't make my photographs good, or interesting.
I've had an interview with Stephen Shore, he told me about how he came to be a photographer and it was a natural reaction to pick up a camera. He picked it up and was just good at it. My Social Documentary teacher, Edward Keating, was the same way. He had some extra money from a tax return so he bought a camera. Had no idea what he was doing, and got hired by the new york times where he worked for 15 years and eventually recieved a pulitzer.
It just sounds like you think that a kid with a shitty camera can't take great pictures without an education and some great equipment. I was at a show in Soho last year of this woman who took photographs in Afaghanistan and had some headshots of authors for book too, we all loved her photos. When we asked her, she had no clue what the shutter did. She's never printed her own photograph, and uses a point and shoot. A bunch of kids lost respect... and that's awful because knowing how to take a picture wasn't what made her images so excellent. She was smart and passionate, and that resulted in great images.
Sorry if I offended you, it's also not personal I just get annoyed at bitching. I TA for a class of underpriveledged bronx highschool kid and they each get to take out a shitty digital camera, but bring back great images, without any previous knowledge. What I was trying to say is anyone that cares enough and is willing to work hard enough can be a photographer. Everyone has a unique point of view, it's just a matter of getting it on film.
Anyone can flip burgers, the reason why not do that instead? Because photography is enjoyable, and one can actually make decent money.
Sorry again, your comment just came off as very pretentious.
Myself: Not at all.
I rather enjoy scholastic debate, insulting or otherwise.
And really, I was glad to see that you were passionate about what you were saying. That's very important.
Imagemaking is something totally different. I have seen the doc, and I do know the program and the results. I was actually part of the discussion that took place on Photo.net before that ever happened, but i digress. Creating an Image is one thing, calling yourself a photographer is another. Two totally separate things, which I treat in totally different ways. I was specifically referring to people who give themselves a title, and creedance to all their work as if it were great works of art, despite only existing in the digital realm, and under 1216x912.
And that, in short, is how I feel about photography as a medium. I'm sure it will stir up quite a bit of debate amongst you all.
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