Assignment 2

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    Robert Richard

    I realize that despite not being an artist I am not without influence in my choice of art. I remember Keith Haring’s use of color in his works back in the mid to late 80s. I had a number of his prints framed in my NY apartment. They were the color theme. I used to decorate the entire studio. His use of color and a simple theme was very appealing to me at that time. I still like simple. Around the same time, Mapplethorpe was making waves with his homoerotic art. I was not really into the explicit photography but when I saw more of his art, I was drawn to his clean, simple use of photography to view natural bodies and flowers. He really has a way of seeing the lines in flower and bodies differently and bringing even more beauty out of them. The flower is so simple an object, and the natural detail is so often overlooked. The art of Mapplethorpe inspires feeling, some good some bad, but it is the response the viewer gets that makes him special. Finally, there is Ansal Adams. I am always amazed by his work. I can stare at his photos and find new detail and nuance. I know this assignment is to identify one influence but I think I have multiple influences. I will never be an artist like Herring. I cannot draw. Nevertheless, I can appreciate his lines and color. I love the way Mapplethorpe explored the detail of lines and curves in the human form as well as flowers in many of his collections. Then I think of photographic art that can tell multiple stories; I think of Adams. We see beautiful scenery all the time. However, being able to capture this beauty on film is a real talent. At art galleries, I am drawn to the landscapes and enjoy a scene that has a feel or tells a story. I enjoy art that grows on me. I like to notice new things about a piece years after my initial viewing. Adams’s art is just that.
    So when I reflect on my influences, I became interested in art as a young adult in NY with all the uproar that Haring and Mapplethorpe provided. Mapplethorpe’s graphic erotic art was in my mind a shallow view of his art. I remember visiting one of his exhibits in Boston and feeling the emotion in his art. A simple flower, a simple nude, when viewed by Mapplethorpe, can elicit many different emotions, some good some bad. Art can bring a space alive with interest. I want to develop art that does just that. I hope to take photographs that can be simple yet enlist emotions, photographs that can tell a story to be interpreted by the viewer. Being able to capture nature and reproduce the natural beauty that is all around is special. To come close to these masters would be a special gift.

    Duncan Rawlinson


    Great assignment!

    I few things immediately stood out for me. For one this line:

    I still like simple

    Truer words have never been spoken! There is so much complexity and visual noise in the world that one of the best ways to create a nice photograph is to just erase everything that isn’t essential from your frame. Be relentless and take away everything that isn’t essential. In some situations this is just not possible. In others it’s all about being in the right place and composing your image properly.

    There is something to be said for stark clean images like this:

    [attachment=1:23y3ko6p]minimal landscape 2969989934_3c6092d8c5_b.jpg[/attachment:23y3ko6p]
    photo by lrargerich

    [attachment=0:23y3ko6p]minimal landscape 6562432801_4253b827c6_b.jpg[/attachment:23y3ko6p]
    photo by zachd1_618

    If this kind of simplicity inspires you I would work toward that goal of total subtraction and reduction. In the image above there is only sky and field! And in the other just mountains and sky. Amazing!

    Another thing caught my eye in your assignment:

    I will never be an artist like Herring

    This is true you can only ever be yourself because everyone else is taken! But I don’t like the subtext here that you’ll never be as great as something… I will not tolerate this kind of self doubt. LOL! 😉

    I hope to take photographs that can be simple yet enlist emotions

    One way to achieve this is through portraiture and dramatic landscapes. Often super clean and tight portraits of fascinating people will get you there. I hope this assignment has achieved the goal of getting you to refine why you’re even interested in photography and to focus on what inspires you.

    As a general tip around here I would suggest you avoid looking at other students’ assignments. When people do that they kind of just copy what others are doing. Don’t limit yourself in this way!!!

    See you on the next assignment.

    Nice work.

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