In this age of appropriation and plagiarism, it is
ironic that we are complaining about a student not
wanting to be undully influenced by a famous
photographer. Seems like we just got through talking
about the importance of not working from photographs.
Just strikes me as ironic. Maybe we are
unintentionally sending out mixed, confusing messages.
I know I am confused right now.
> On Jun 26, 2007, at 11:04 AM, Susan Brown wrote:
> > After messaging a student and asking, "who are
> > favorite photographers", I received a the
> > responce: "Only photographer I know by name is
> > Adams. I try not to look at pro's, the temtation
> is to
> > great to coppy them. This way I think I will
> > my own unique style."
> > It's a statement I have heard many times in many
> > different ways. When I respond to this student,
> > like to have an intelligent justification for the
> > importance of artist research. I was curious to
> > how other teachers responded to similar statements
> > made by students.
> I think, in photo, more than any other art class I
> teach, the
> opportunity to learn from other artists exists---
> far more easily ....
> I find in photo, far more than in the fine arts
> courses, kids will
> look and look and ponder and ask questions about the
> photographers have taken for their expressions.
> First, you have to provide the resources. I have
> a huge print
> library, I have all the best magazines, I have web
> sources and I have
> a good background on the those photographers who
> have made statements
> and inroads. Ansel Adams is only one thing------
> Photo history is the history I love most to teach
> because it ties
> into so much other relevant stuff.
> You have to give the "what-fors" in any area of art
> you teach. ---
> "Why did this artist respond in this fashion?" what
> were the
> circumstances? what was the context for the
> I guess, I think, what we lack in art ed is teaching
> is about the
> context of the times and why artists that made a
> difference ..what
> was that that difference? why did the artist make a
> Photo history is soooo rich in observation. .. and
> what is more
> important to the photographer or any artist, than
> observation? I tell
> my students that there is absolutely nothing wrong
> with copying a a
> photographer's style or intentions because it is
> impossible to copy a photograph. In fact, I
> encourage the mimicry in
> photo, because the result will be particular to the
> student, no
> matter how hard they try to imitate.
> Ansel Adams had the grand vistas to document. Our
> students only have
> little vistas to capture. Teach about the
> photographers that found
> the "grand" in the "little" and encourage the sight
> that photography
> Artist research is not an option-----it's what made
> all of us
> artists. Artist research is about history, and
> decision making, and
> critical thinking and making pertinent judgments and
> nurturing the
> artistic behavior. It's all about the big questions.
> and what I like most about forcing the research, is
> that moment when
> the kid 's light bulb goes off and says---
> "oh, my... somebody else thought what I think and I
> can take that and
> make it mine--- my thinking is valid."
> Nothing is new. Things only get re-worked... and
> what gets more re-
> worked than photo? The whole notion of photography
> is a limbo. The
> best we can do, is encourage those that want to
> continue the
> traditions to be very aware of those traditions.
> Otherwise, all we
> have is unartistic documentation by means of cell
> phone and you tube,
> or we find a ways and means to bring "intention" to
> what gets
> plastered all over the place. God forbid, we don't
> teach kids about
> careful selection and those who made the way.
> There is so much to be said for student directed
> learning and self
> direction. But it is still the smart teacher who
> know the ways and
> means to question and get the self directed to look
> and make their
> own questions- and cherish what was.
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