In discussing the previous post privately with Carl, he mentioned that the first shot was made as deliberate artwork, whereas the second shot was purely a "record" snapshot.
I'd known that before being told. In fact I'd completely taken it for granted.
When I photograph, there are definitely two separate projects going on: I'm after "my work" or "real" work, and then—alongside that, you might say—I'm just snapshooting, playing, having fun with cameras, making family snapshots, testing, practicing, whatever.
Sometimes the two bleed over into each other; a lot of my attempts to make "real pictures" fail, of course (perhaps most of them), and then, just as often, during casual shooting (mostly on family occasions) something will suddenly turn into a real photograph.
I never know when or how this will happen, but it obviously does. Here's an older example, a photograph I took in 2005 that I've exhibited as artwork that was taken while snapshooting:
The print is about 24 inches wide. (And this is the reason I hate shooting with iPhones or other cameras that won't give me results I can live with—it's because I never know when "real" photographs are going to show up, and I need to be able to use them when they do.)
Here's a more recent example, probably the best picture I took last year:
I've probably taken 250 pictures around that same table and never gotten one remotely as good. (Amazing when that happens. It's why you keep trying.)
I believe Ctein conceives of his "real" work as pictures that are "portfolio-worthy," and that's how he separates his wheat from his chaff. Makes sense, since his medium was dye transfer for so many years, and making a final print as a dye was a serious commitment to a picture.
Clearly, Carl is in pursuit of his "real" artwork when he's using his 8x10 camera and making negatives suitable for platinum/palladium printing:
I sort of envy large-format guys...the demarcation for them between "real" photography and all the rest of it, just playing around or taking notes or whatever, can be very clear. I'm sure it isn't for all of them, because they might consider their work in other formats to be "real" work as well.
Is it yours?
I've just always thought this way...I've always had in my head this distinction between pictures I manage to make that qualify as "my" work, or my "real" work, on the one hand, and all the rest of the photo-effluvium I produce on the other.
Despite thinking like this, I don't actually practice photography that way, for the simple reason that I don't typically follow through to "final redaction." That is, to the point of making some final, finished body of work somehow. For me, then, the distinction between "my real work" and all the rest exists mostly in my head!
Artists—I mean art photographers or artist/photographers or whatever you want to call them—have to follow through to a final redaction, because they need to have exhibits and create portfolios and edit their work into books. Not to mention offer selected works for sale. They have to bring bodies of work to a final, defined end-point.
I think part of my run-up to a possible OC/OL/OY project is that I'd have to actually work like that for a while, as if I were really an art photographer. I've never actually been one, even though I was trained to be and I've worked within that world for most of my life. I'm not complaining; I've just gone down a different path is all. (I've always thought I'm not good enough to make it as a full-time art photographer, on the one hand, and, on the other, that I have too many varied interests, too many other talents, and that "just" photographing all the time wouldn't be enough for me. For one thing, writing is just as important to me as photographing, and if I couldn't write I'd go crazy. In fact if I had to give up one or the other completely, it would probably be easier to give up photographing. Although I really wouldn't want to have to do that either.)
I don't have a conclusion here. I just thought I'd mention this issue, since it came up in the previous post.
(Thanks to Carl)
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