Breadth is the same as depth, it’s just on the x-axis rather than the z-axis.
A good photograph is not necessarily the result of a sophisticated camera.
There, we have said it.
But, while it is relatively easy to define a sophisticated camera, it’s quite another thing to define a good photograph. We look at a photograph and we know intuitively that is good, and often it is enough. That definition, that understanding is pure and usually permanent. But are good photographs accidents or the product of a sophisticated camera, or is it something beyond? Not necessarily the product of a sophisticated camera, according to us; as you may have already guessed.
And is it possible to understand why we like some photographs? We think, yes.
A couple of months ago, we started a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on understanding photographs sans the understanding of a camera. The camera is not irrelevant, but it is not the path to understand (or take) good photographs. We think there’s more to it. This MOOC, called “Message of the Image” is ideally, a four-month long engagement to discover together, the photograph. We think there are many reasons why you’ll like this course:
- It’s free. The fact that it costs nothing would naturally be the first good thing about it. But we think there’s more to it. Because it is free, you do not have to worry about whether it is worth “it.”
- It’s on Facebook. This means, that for the most of us there is no learning new platforms and interfaces. (It was earlier on a proprietary platform, but while the platform is undergoing a few changes, we have shifted this course to Facebook – and we have a friend to thank for that.)
- It doesn’t have a start date. Well, technically it started a couple of months ago. But the course is designed in a way that you can start at any time, and there will always be other folks who have started with you or around the same time as you. In any case, other ‘seniors’ are always around to help.
- It doesn’t have an end date. No, it is not a never ending course. It’s ideally four months, as we said earlier. But you can finish the course whenever you want. Feel like taking three weeks for a one-week assignment – sure – go ahead. Want to just hang around the “campus”, no worries.
- It doesn’t include certification. What you will learn is the certification itself and your engagement on some thought-provoking work will be the reward. This is a learning course, not a certification course, in any case. You will, of course, get lots of comments and yaaays on your portfolio.
- It doesn’t require sophisticated material or equipment. You can start this course, even if you have a basic mobile camera. All reading material will be supplied by us (usually links from around the web)
PS: as most of you know, I do not usually use the word “we” when I am talking about myself. The “we” in this post refers to my company, eVeltio (where the post was originally posted and reblogged, here) which is sponsoring this course, as a part of its initiatives in developing creativity in education, learning and the workspace. Helping my company reach a wider audience.
The breeze comes in from all sides. It plays in loops and curves and straight lines. You feel a chill and you wonder why, suddenly you feel the wind in your face. There is also so much that you can see – that you could never see before. There are no encumbrances and you are able to see afar. You wonder, again – how you have never seen that far, before. You are exposed to the elements when you are not surrounded by anyone. It would be poetically apt to say that your mind is clear, but alas! It continues to carry the tangled wire-mesh of confusion, but you now have a better chance of spreading it and more space to untangle it. It is a new feeling – this sense of being alone – wrapped in the double-helix of fear and excitement. It is a new experience – this effort of de-stagnation – from the prison of known misery.
Erich Fromm’s philosophy of freedom has almost completely been hovering like a permanent cloud. I see a sliver of the blue sky from the corner of my eye. There was too much leaning on freedom from… and hardly any thought to freedom to…. It is akin to escaping from prison, but not having anywhere to go. The clouds are moving east now.
Creativity is best applied in solving problems. Unfortunately all creative energy is directed towards making excuses. Intent fuels creativity. We’re pushing it on an empty tank.
There are some mistakes – blunders even – you will have to commit. As wise as you may think you are – no learning is as forceful as experience itself. Books can’t teach you everything.
There will always be a rescue at hand. Usually we are busy drowning, paying attention to how high the water has reached and the speed at which we are downing. We miss the hand that is held out for us. Usually, it’s Paul Simon’s songs.
I believe in second chances. In the rare instance perhaps; a third. After that, it is time to let go. A wise man once told me about the nature of bad financial transactions. If someone isn’t giving you money that’s due, there are only two reasons: either he doesn’t have it or he doesn’t want to give it to you. Either of the reasons will not work for you. Let go. The wise man left it to me to know that the axiom works in different contexts.
The longest and the fiercest war is fought within; it wages incessantly. Our resources are directed without, while we lose battles within. It’s a call for redeployment.
In the end, we remain. That is the only remainder of time and events. We’ll have to take care of that.
PS: This post carried with it, the possibility of a very long post – for this remainder would apply to a year too. It ran the risk of TL;DR, but thankfully it was salvaged.
Not many people understand the content on Gaizabonts — this blog. Yet another validation of the blog’s incomprehensibility was uttered a few days ago.
The stats and the interaction on this blog are proof enough, I really don’t need people to say it explicitly. (I am not asking that you do not say it, but saying that I already know it.) And importantly, I know that, that is the case. In recent times, Gaizabonts has been treading the abstract spaces a lot, when it does tread, i.e. It was a much laid back place in its early years.
The “I-don’t-understand-what-you-write” comment led to a more interesting conversation. The purposive ethos of an artist, I shall call it. It’s about the physical, cultural, and psychological constructs that surrounds and defines an artist. This ethos is not a descriptor of every artist — but the one that wants to be known as an artist, a stereotype wannabe, if you will.
There is the physical setting of ‘being’ an artist. In India, it would mean that you have an unkempt beard, wear a slightly soiled white kurta over torn jeans. Footwear should be as shabby as possible. Then there has to be that one eccentric accessory — beads, threads, chains, something of an adorned signature. A female artist would be similar, hopefully, without the beard. It’s a means of saying I am an artist without having to say, “I am an artist” There are exceptions to this, I’ll admit, that makes identifying artists difficult.
Then, there is the cultural construct within which an artist lives. This is very specific to the kind of art the artist is engaged in. There are references to inspiration that a layman is expected to miss. There are elements of technique that the viewer is supposed to be oblivious to. The dialogue and the conversation, the choice of abstract language to describe yet another abstraction create the cultural pedestal on which the artist stands. Barthesian irony abounds, when I see abstract art being described – especially with an abstract description.
Finally, there is the psychological setting: an artist demands the right time, the appropriate mood, and a permitting environment to create art. Awaiting divine osmosis of creativity. When translated, this means that an artist can work only when away from the dull clanging of the reality of life. Sounds from the kitchen, the doorbell ringing, family chatter in the other room. A quiet setting is helpful for almost any vocation, but the artist’s insistence on this setting makes it, almost, an artist’s prerogative. There is, it seems, a good reason why most people with day-jobs are not artists.
These constructs, to me, seem to fulfil a two-fold purpose.
The first is of assuming an identity that permits an entry into the tribe. Recognition and appreciation, for an artist are two very important motivating and defining factors. Money, as every such artist will tell, you is a distant second. The easiest way to become an artist is to wear the garb; emulate the tribe.
The second, for the lack of a better word, is an excuse not to work. I don’t mean not to work in a shunning-your-responsibilities kind of a way, but to allow time to go by, and wait for inspiration to come by — some kind of validation for laziness.
And now, read the entire post again. Remove the sharp references to the artist. Dull the message and sandpaper it to rounded edges of generalisation.
In some form or another, we are all artists.
- – - – - -
Sidenote: I read this piece in an essay, “Contemporary Indian Art: Souza as a Paradigm” by Srimati Lal
Today’s fervently active Indian Galley-climate — apart from showcasing some formidably gifted and skilled artists born after Independence such as Baiju Parthan, Anupam Sud, and Atul Dodiya — is also riddled with derivative installations and ‘trendy’ conceptual abstractions that seem to conveniently bypass the need for artistic draughtsmanship or direct, personal painterly skill, in favour of the mimesis of mechanical or technological applications that, more often than not, blindly mimic outdated and gimmicky Western experimentations such as ‘Happenings’. Indeed, such sensation-oriented ‘special-effects’ in Western art only point towards the sterile vapidity of a vocabulary that has exhausted itself. [...] no amount of ‘avant-garde’ gimmickry can replace the power of direct, personal artistic skill and emotion, sheer artistic draughtsmanship, the power of line and the magic of the human entity in art, coupled with the ideation of an authentic thought process.”