A while ago, I got to talking to a friend on Writing.com, and his comments spurred Identity Crisis. However, these’s one aspect of his comments I didn’t cover there, and I actually forgot about it until a month or so ago when I attended a premiere at a local photo gallery. That aspect is audience expectations.
Steve (said friend) said that artistic photography should make some sort of statement about reality. I’ve already stated the reasons I disagree with that idea. In recent weeks, though, I’ve found I might not be the only one. Let me clarify that. I’m not the only one among photography consumers that merits technique and aesthetics over commentary. This is a mindset that can be found even among some (semi) professional photographers. This exhibit was held at Minneapolis Photo Center, a place I didn’t even know existed until last summer. It’s a place that you really only know about if photography is a big deal to you.
The premiere was really crowded, and I had to wait a bit to move from photo to photo. As a result, I had a chance to do some eavesdropping. It was incredibly fascinating. Many people who attended the show focused on the form and technique photographers employed. The nature (heh) of the exhibit certainly encouraged technical remarks. Even so, there were a lot of comments that could apply to most photo exhibits. In particular, I heard one gentleman remark on people downright abusing Photoshop to turn photos into paintings. I totally understand that complaint. Even so, at least these individuals used Photoshop in a plausibly convincing manner.
It was a pleasant surprise ti hear so many people focus strictly on what was in front of them. (Pardon the pun. Again.) There wasn’t any speculation about the photographer’s intent or any larger message. It was people simply enjoying the photos at face value. More to the point, it was people who regularly peruse photography taking everything at face value. Seeing and hearing people admire (or criticize) the images themselves proved enlightening. It also made me wonder about other photography audiences.
I admit I haven’t been around non-photography audiences as much as I’ve been around those who are more immersed in the photography world. When I’ve been around the former, the comments are less technical. At the same time, there aren’t many people seeing the exhibited photos as grandiose statements. Some people remarked on how the photos reflected the times. Others noted very general observations about the composition of the photos. You could hear a pin drop when nudity was involved. Hey, I live in the US and am speaking from experience in US museums. What do you expect? In any case, the comments were broad and superficial even in museum settings. I found that to be intriguing. I think I’ll need to make some more observations, though, to see if this holds up.
As expected, I photographed things besides the livestock at the fair. Whenever we go, I always make sure to at least stop by the Ag-Hor building for some shots.
This year’s visit was a little disappointing in the fruits department, but I am generally happy with my vegetable photos. I also got to see dahlias instead of bonsai/orchid exhibits, which was a nice change of pace. Dahlias are fun to photograph. Their blooms can vary drastically, so I get to experiment with capturing a variety of patterns and textures. Aside from that, I didn’t get as many good photos in other exhibit halls this year as I have in the past. My stomach problems got worse during the times we were in the halls. I got some good pictures, but I didn’t get great pictures. On the other hand, said problems did eventually resolve themselves as the sun went down. That means some awesome nighttime shots! Hopefully next year I’ll be in better shape and will remember to get photos of things aside from the animals and Ag-Hor exhibits. 🙂
Summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, and I’m finally going back to work! Madness, right? Well, in celebration of that fact, I’m going to showcase the photos I’ve taken over the last few months while I was wandering the metro area. I did find ways to do a lot for very little cost.
Thanks to memberships at the Minnesota Zoo, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Historical Society, I can visit a bunch of local attractions for free. On top of that, there are attractions and events throughout the Twin Cities area that are free for everyone, such as Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. I also went to a special Greyhound exhibit near the Mall of America and snapped photos at free concerts. Throughout all these comings and goings, I had the chance to see a variety of designs and lighting scenarios. It certainly wasn’t as active or epic in scope as my last couple summers have been, but I was able to do a lot of things. I also got quite a few photos in the past. On that note, enjoy this smörgåsbord of photographic offerings! 🙂
Our Illinois visit took us from Springfield to Chicago, where we spent a few days playing (tacky) tourist while almost mingling with the locals. We hit up the museums and zoos while deciding where to eat by actually wandering the streets of the Gold Coast neighborhood where we lodged for a few nights.
I wouldn’t be inclined to call the experience life-changing, but it was nice to go half-local in our jaunt to the Windy City. Admittedly, the weather was kind of crappy most of our stay. This really only affected our visit to the Willis Tower (which was sabotaged by fog). Not surprisingly, the bluest skies appeared the day we were scheduled to leave, but we were able to enjoy a sunny walk around downtown in the morning hours (after stuffing ourselves stupid at Hash House a Go-Go). The only other hiccup was that my battery died in the middle of our zoo visit, which meant I only got a couple crappy cell pone pictures in the aviary. That was a shame, as the aviary was very active during our visit. Those minor issues aside, I captured a lot of things in Chicago. I can’t help but wonder if the personal duress contributed to this.
I know it’s been quite a while since I updated this blog of mine. I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. Photography things have happened. I even got a DSLR for Christmas (FINALLY!). A lot more has been at play, though. I became unemployed in February, and a large chunk of my time has been devoted to finding another job. This has prevented me from clearing up the photo backlog that has been hanging over my head since October. As a result, the next few entries will be devoted to getting caught up on everything. I was hoping to unveil a makeover of the blog in time for my 75th entry, but I think I’ll be holding off until the 100th. It’ll be easier that way.
So what exactly have I done photography-wise since October? Well, let’s take a look.
- Visited Illinois (specifically Springfield and Chicago)
- Got a new camera (the long discussed Nikon D5100)
- Purchased two camera bags (one holster style from Case Logic and my main bag from Cheeky Lime)
- Gone lens shopping
- Photographed the exhibits at the Minnesota Zoo twice
- Photographed the exhibits at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
- Got a new smartphone with a better camera
- Took pictures at possibly the last Holidazzle parade
- Worked on indoor photography
- Did some sports photography (yay, ski jumping!)
- Mulled over online storage options (and am currently contemplating moving to SmugMug for this)
- Accumulated about 3000 photos; I did a rough count of what I’ve recently backed up or still have sitting on my SD card
- Made Cameron my backup camera
- Have made prints for everything that’s happened up till my Illinois trip
So yeah, I’ve actually done a fair amount over the last few months. I’ve just been terrible about documenting it. I’m actually working on some posts to individually discuss these things. The point is, I have been keeping busy and have a lot to show you. Hopefully once I get a new job and have a steadier schedule I’ll be able to stay on top of things like this. In the meantime, I do have a few pictures from the science museum to tide you over. 🙂
2012 has been a year for venturing into previously uncharted territory. This has proven especially true for nighttime and low light photography. I had no plans for this at the beginning of the year, but it happened, anyway. If I had to guess, finally switching over to manual settings on my P80 a few months ago catalyzed my forays into this practice. Since then, I’ve done a few night shoots (including fireworks), and much of my photography at this year’s State Fair was in low light. I can’t say any of it is good, but it’s better than what I have produced in the past. The details are starting to get clearer. I just know that there will come a point when Cameron’s processing just won’t be efficient enough to get the best low light photos possible. I think when I get that down pat I’ll obtain that D5100 I’ve been eyeing for so long. I hope so, anyway.