MAP--What do we Photograph?

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Eric Rose

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This sounds like an assignment for Psych 101. It's interesting however that many people have no idea why they photograph certain subjects and why they interpret them the way they do. It is no surprise that they aren't satisfied with what they are doing and keep trying new "techniques" etc. to capture that ellusive something that is missing. They would be better served looking inward with as much intensity as they analysis Dmax curves, developer combinations and the meaning of Max Black. It is only thru rigours introspection that one can come to any understanding of what an artist wants to express. It's no wonder that many of the most successful artist are very tortured souls. They are constantly searching within themselves for the meaning of life as it applies to them and how they want to represent it to the world.

We all at APUG could stand looking at the same scene and each one of us would "feel", "see" and "experience it" in our own unique ways based on our own internal reaction to it. It is only when we look at one of these "scenes" and then think, now I wonder how AA would have photographed/printed this that we short circuit our own artistic interpretation. But then it's easier to try and mimic someone else than to get in touch with our own feelings etc and put them out there for the world to see.

Some will say, they try and take pictures like their favorite photographer so they can learn. Fair enough, but at some point you have to cut the strings and go it alone.

This takes guts and few have the stomach for it.
 

blansky

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Don:

I don't think that we consciously need to pay attention to our MAP. If, as you say, it is a part of us then it is already influencing everything that we do.

We have had passing comments between us in the past that I have said that I think you overthink some things, you being a very introspective person. My personal opinion is that many things don't need conscious thought and instead just need our joyous reaction. ( I always loved Zen Mind, Beginner Mind)

I think that most people form themselves in their thought processes and evolve into what they want to be. From there I think that their reaction to the world around them, is sincere and genuine, without conscious thought.

Another point you made is that perhaps empathic people photograph uplifting photographs and depressed people photograph dark and hopeless things. That could be true but I think that if you look at say, Migrant Mother, which is a pretty depressing picture, that it's creator may have been a empathetic person, showing this series of work to arouse people's emapthy.

What I'm trying to say is that maybe a person whose view of life is of abundance renewal etc would also photograph that which they are disturbed by, perhaps to get across a social or political point. Such a person may rarely photograph beautiful things because they are trying to get the world to become more beautiful by photographing uglyness.

Just an opinion,



Michael McBlane
 

Jim Chinn

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I think people photograph for many reasons and they don't need to incorporate a personal world view. Many people photograph trains or cars, or slot canyons, or machinery etc because they are fascinated with the subject matter, maybe grew up in an atmosphere that incorproated what they love to photograph. I don't think you need to define O' Winston Link's work with love or poverty or kindness or malice. I think the guy was in love with trains and the idea of presenting them in a bigger than life way.

I think everyone who is serious applies MAP. It is just the meanings may be a little less dramatic. Like Gary Winnogrand, sometimes I just photograph to see what something looks like as a photograph.
 

Jim Chinn

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I think people photograph for many reasons and they don't incorporate a personal world view. Many people photograph trains or cars, or slot canyons, or machinery etc because they are fascinated with the subject matter, maybe grew up in an atmosphere that incorproated what they love to photograph. I don't think you need to define O' Winston Link's work with love or poverty or kindness or malice. I think the guy was in love with trains and the idea of presenting them in a bigger than life way.

Of course I am sure there are others who have phtographed trains in a not so flattering way demonstrating environmental damage, rape of the land etc etc which would demonstrate their world view.

I think everyone who is serious applies MAP. It is just the meanings may be a little less dramatic. Like Gary Winnogrand, sometimes I just photograph to see what something looks like as a photograph.
 

Jeremy

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I feel very ignorant, but what does "MAP" stand for and why does Don's post just say 13?
 

Lex Jenkins

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MAP = Middle Aged Photographer. The time at which a crisis is likely to emerge. If we're lucky the crises will involve nothing worse than decisions related to exposure, processing or whether to quit our day jobs.

13 = The age intervals at which crises are likely to occur, i.e.:

"I'm 13, yippee! What! Now I'm a man? Yikes!"

"I'm 26, I'm more than a Quarter Century Old!"

And so on.
 

philldresser

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Guys

I am 39 and therefore going through my 3rd trimester(3x13) and MAP.
I am sure MAP is a disease, an afflliction that can only be cured by copius amounts of Pyro, a daily dose of Azo and a licking of Photoflo applied liberally.

Like Juan said earlier I have just started taking pictures of what I like the way I like it. Sure I am influenced and inspired by others but I now shoot for me. My photography and 'illness' are both better for it

Phill
 

Nige

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glad someone asked "MAP" and "13" cause you had me stumped!

hmmm.. I'll think about this for awhile :smile:
 

blansky

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Don's initial thread either self destructed or was intentionally tampered with by someone.

Could have been OSAMA.
 

Alex Hawley

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Sorry I don't remember what Don's definition of MAP was (besides Middle Age Photographer which is certainly me), but I'll try to pick up on the theme from what I can remember.

My photography is certainly influenced by what I experienced early in life. I think its much more than simple nostalgia. The themes or characteristics of the subjects seem to hold steady through the years amended with new experiences as they are collected.

I think if one looks at the backgrounds of the Masters, one can see the same thing. These early influences keep surfacing strongly throughout their careers. Weston started as a painter and portratist. This background is underlying his work. Ansel Adams was deeply moved by Yosemite early in his life. He lived there as an adult and made his stake to prominence with photographs from there. Steiglitz was an urban sophisticate - and it shows. Plowden grew up in Middle America and has made fame photographing it. Gordon Parks made his mark portraying the social injustice of harsh discrimination - something he grew up with. These are just a few off the top of my head.

I don't think of MAP when I go out, at least conciously. But then, maybe I put myself back in the viewpoint of a young boy to find what fascinates me about the image in the lens.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Most of the greatest artists in any medium are not terribly good at explaining their own work, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Part of what makes it interesting is that mystery that even the artist couldn't explain in any other terms, and if he or she could translate the work into simple expository prose, then the work itself probably wouldn't be as rich.

Better to leave the explanations to the critics and the historians. That is what they can (sometimes) do well.
 

Ed Sukach

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Alex Hawley said:
Weston started as a painter and portratist. This background is underlying his work. Ansel Adams was deeply moved by Yosemite early in his life. He lived there as an adult and made his stake to prominence with photographs from there.

This is interesting - This is the first time I've heard of Edward Weston as a painter. I knew that he:

"Trained for track events, took boxing lessons, excelled in archery, took cold baths, and preriodically went on quasi-vegetarian diets (which he claimed purged him body and soul). He was a life-long nudist and sun-worshipper, believed in astrology, rejected traditional medicine, and disputed the virtues of vaccination." - from "Edward Weston - Forms of Passion.
He was given his first camera by his father in 1902, with instructions to "Take only snapshots", advice he immediately ignored. From then on, it appears that his entire artistic involvement was in photography.

Adams spent much of his early life in San Francisco - slated by his parents to be a pianist. He had his nose broken as a casualty of the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. I don't think he ever had permanent residence in Yosemite. I do know he travelled extensively - just where he "settled" ...I don't remember.

These are just "little picky obsevations." I agree wholeheartedly with the main idea of what you are saying... Our work is undeniably a product of our experiences... and our reactions to them.

I am a great believer in the value of "cross-training". The musician has a different view of, and approach towards, life than does the sculptor. Certainly a dancer's view of life is different than that of the photographer; but - the vision of the photographer is expanded and enhanced by "gaining access to the dancer's being" and gaining some understanding of the dancer's underlying philosophies, disciplines and methods of operation.

Somewhere, someone wrote that they would not try painting, or sketching - or something like that - because they were convinced that they would not be "good" at it. That may be ... but if I were to struggle - very unsuccessfully - with dance - and the net result was what *I* perceived to be an improvement in my photography -- well - hand me my slippers and skin tight britches, reinforce the floor - get ready to laugh your gluteus maximus off - and stand back!
 

BobF

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I have read in a magazine that dance can improve photography skills, so let's see a photo of you in those tights.:^)
 

bjorke

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I have to admit that I didn't get the in-jokes off-hand, and thought that Don's "13" was a smilie of breasts... guess that shows where my mind is at! :smile: (in other words, my photography has never changed since I started, heh)

I've noticed the MAP phenomenon but am surprised to find it has an acronym that is known so readily. My own reading of it has been that MAP photography (according to my own demarcation of MAP) is an MLC (mid-life-crisis) compensatory reaction (usually a blossoming that comes along as "I had a camera but never really started examining my creative side seriously until my divorce, my oldest was in high school, etc") that concentrates intently on "the right way" and spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about rules of thirds and esoteric developer combinations, arguing about whether the Summitar is better than the Serenar, sticking close to established themes (generally of the low-impact variety, such as boats at the dock, the Tetons, adorable grandchildren, the Eiffel Tower...), and fretting about how various MOPs (Masters of Photography) would have handled things -- never about taking risks. Generally this suite of behaviours equals (to me) EMP (Extremely Mannered Photography) and it gives me the creeps when it doesn't just make me sad.
 

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