A quote to share

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Cheryl Jacobs

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I received an e-mail tonight from a girl, I gather maybe high school age. I didn't ask permission to share the specific content of her note, so I'll say only that her art director informed her that a photo project the student wanted to do was not important enough to constitute 'art'.

I've heard that far too many times, and it always reminds me of this quote, which I lived and breathed when I was still looking for my photographic voice (which is not to imply that the search is ever over....)

Anyway, I sent this quote to the girl with my reply.


"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and since there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." -- Martha Graham

Hope you don't mind my sharing.

- CJ
 

johnnywalker

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Neat. Thanks for posting this.
 

FrankB

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The quality of the quote and the arrogance of the art director are both remarkable. Thank you for sharing.

An author called Heinlein had one of his characters make some particularly cutting remarks about critics in one of his books. I'm away from home at the moment but I'll try and find them when I get back and (if they're as good as I remember!) I'll post them

All the best,

Frank.
 

Ed Sukach

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I'm going to write this one down as well. Deserves to be cut into stone.
 

George Losse

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Cheryl Jacobs said:
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and since there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." -- Martha Graham

Hope you don't mind my sharing.

- CJ

Cheryl,

I photographed a artist in her studio about five years ago. She had the first part of that quote painted on her wall. I thought it was a great quote then, and still do.

You will always find people who will question your work, it's not enough of this or its too much that. The real tough thing is to not question it yourself while your working, just workwithout those thoughts and let the body of that work develope on its own.
 

Ka

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I'm framing it and hanging it in my studio.

Thank you for this gift.
 

noblebeast

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Thank you so much for sharing that!

It could not have come at a better moment (almost frightening how well the Universe takes care of us when we let it). It was exactly what I needed to read at this time in my life.

Blessings to you and your family! :smile:

Joe
 

Jorge

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Good going Cheryl, glad you had something appropriate for this girl to read. Personally I like what Tom Clancy said when asked if he cared what critics said about his books, I dont recall the exact quote, but it went something like this:

Many times the sole motivation if critics is their inability to do something, if they knew what they were talking about they would be writing books, not critiquing them....

Oh, and BTW if Paul Caponigro can take a pic of a window and make it art, if E. Weston can take a pic of a vegetable and make it art, who is this buffoon to say what she is doing is not art? I suppose he/she has to appear knowledgeable....
 

mark

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"If you want people to know your story, write a book. If you want them to visualize and imagine their own story, paint them a picture." Armando Alvarez
Dead Link Removed

I insert "take a picture" at the end because, well I am a photographer and can't paint....I don't think....I have never tried.

It is good that this person found you. For Karma's sake or for whatever reason check back with this kid from time to time and hell send them APUG's way. If these folks can help a stupid reading teacher(yes reading not language arts I cannot spell well enough to teach vocabulary) like me they can definately help a kid.

I love your quote and am hanging it on the Wall of Quotes-the classrooom window. Maybe a kid will read it when they aren't listening to me. :smile: The art director's attitude is all to prevelant among "art" teachers.
 
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Cheryl Jacobs

Cheryl Jacobs

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Thanks, all. I'm glad the girl's e-mail made me pull out this quote again. I can feel myself on the edge of another creative burst -- a branching out, or maybe it's going off on a photographic tangent. Whatever. I do it from time to time, and I often prepare myself with those words. I feel led to make the images; that is reason enough!
 

Aggie

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I was asked a few years back in an art class (sculpture) to do a paper on a post 1950's sculpture. I chose Alan Hauser. She refused to let me do it on him saying, "I've never heard of him, and if he is a Native American sculpture, Kachinas and fetishes don't count. If anybody wants to see some really spectacular work, look him up. I bought the book and the videos on him and shoved them at the teacher. After she saw what they were and who it was, I was finally allowed (grudgingly ) to use him as my subject.

Tell the teenager to stand up for herself. Potography is an art. Every medium has it's dabblers. We just call them snapshot takers in photography.
 

Doug Bennett

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Thanks for the quote, Cheryl. It was very timely. After my last printing session, I was thinking of taking a sledgehammer to my cameras. After that, maybe turning my guitar into firewood, and then taking up the watching of Reality Television as a hobby. Perhaps I'll reconsider.................
 

SteveGangi

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So then, what does this person consider to be important? Once we know, everyone can help craft a polite but very sarcastic reply, and maybe the better known among us can even sign it (evil grin)
 

FrankB

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Heheheheheh...

Oh yes indeedy, I'm up for that!

Regards,

Frank

...Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. -- Redd Foxx
 

jgcull

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Doug, me too. Exactly. (only I have no guitar to smash)

I stumbled into this, looking for a particular teacher so I could whine on her shoulder about my *huge* disappointment with my own "stuff". This is good and timely. Thanks for sharing.
 

Paul Jenkin

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I hope sincerely that the student told the teacher what a ar*ehole he / she is and did the project anyway. No-one has the right to tell anyone else what they should / shouldn't do artistically. If he wants to set parameters, then set a formal subject for everyone. That's a way to control - but at least it disadvantages equally.....
 

Rick A

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I received an e-mail tonight from a girl, I gather maybe high school age. I didn't ask permission to share the specific content of her note, so I'll say only that her art director informed her that a photo project the student wanted to do was not important enough to constitute 'art'.

I've heard that far too many times, and it always reminds me of this quote, which I lived and breathed when I was still looking for my photographic voice (which is not to imply that the search is ever over....)

Anyway, I sent this quote to the girl with my reply.




Hope you don't mind my sharing.

- CJ
Methinks we are missing the bigger picture here. I think(and hope not) that what that "teacher" has done , is instill into a child, that whatever (s)he is thinking is going to be wrong NO MATTER WHAT1 The kid will brobably give up on art. Something similar happened to my youngest daughter last year. The assignment was to write a poem about winter. My kids poem was terrific, however,the teacher told her it was terrible and threw it in the trash RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER! After that my daughter started failing english. When we asked her about it, she said there was no sense in turning in any assignments, as they wouldn't be good enough. My wife and I were furious, and had it out with the teacher and the principal. I hope and pray this is not the end result for this child, and they continue to follow their intuition and dreams.
 
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Man, CJ. You're just cornering the wisdom market lately, arncha?

Keep 'em coming.
 

jp80874

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It is interesting to me that the thread started in 04, came alive yesterday, five years later, and is powerful as if not a moment was lost. The girl has gone on, possibly to college and hopefully to a life of choosing who is worth believing and who is not.

One of the joys of continuing education later in life, in my case 45 years after I received my degree, is that people like that instructor can be examined for what he is, the course dropped and the project continued in another more beneficial environment with a different teacher who is excited to find an enthusiast student.

There is a place in Hell for a teacher such as he, when he realizes later in life that he has not achieved the pinnacle he desired, when he has not been promoted or his work praised. Unfortunately he often takes it out on the young aspiring student he thinks he once was.

John Powers
 
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