Anonieme man in Pittem. Hij sprak van het ‘front’ terwijl ik wachtte op het goede zonlicht.
Nice sympathetic photograph
My secret: always sympathize with the subject. Be it an old man, be it a part of town, be it a work of art….
🙂 – absolutely the right way, to my mind – if we have no sympathy for our subject how can we photograph it – what is the point? 😉
And still empathy and sympathy are considered as a photographer’s weakness, a flaw, listening to the opinions of art experts in art schools….
I must admit I hadn’t heard that advice….sad.
It’s a common mentality in local art schools : it’s all about the personality of the photographer/artist. Any sign of empathy (the way Eugene Smith has shown) is considered to be old-fashioned and irrelevant. At least that’s what some ‘teachers’ in Brussels Art School are trying to talk into. To me, these statements are signs of a definite spirituality, which points only to itself. It’s a sad, sad world, indeed.
How can a photographer give their impression of a person it they don’t know them – the subject might as well be a manikin, in which case a shop window dummy would suffice….. oooohhhh I could give these people an argument! 😉
All the best
Discussing with those ‘teachers’ costed me a master’s degree. I learned they are spiritually and intellectually simply false, not interested in people (but themselves) or even proud to hate non-conceptual photography. ‘Conceptual-artistic’ approaching reality is an ideal kind of fog to obscure an ambiguous personality. I’m sorry to conclude this, but I’m afraid it’s real….Nevertheless, this conclusion stimulates me to go on unmasking false strategists…
Sorry to hear about your MA.
I’ve always thought art has no barriers – clearly it has in the eyes of your lecturers.
Take a picture of somebody when you don’t know them, get to know them (just a little), and then take another, which is the better picture, in which will the subject be more relaxed. Perhaps your lecturers preferred the invisible barrier between subject and photographer – the rabbit in headlight effect.
I have been thinking about your statement ‘art has no barriers’. When I was a young student I must have had the same thoughts.
Now 30 years later I’m sure about the opposite. (Belgian) ‘Art’ is art because of the (local) experts who claim it to be ‘art’. My conclusion is a little simple, even childish : the object of art has no importance; it’s all about marketing and networking in this small world. The only criterion is a spiritual one. If I would publish the (anonymous) MA-jury report about my work, most of the people would believe it’s a pure falsification…. I’m very sorry to conclude that personal spirituality seems to be the benchmark in ‘art’. All the rest operates as wall paper and camouflage. In this small, catholic country one can replace ‘art’ by detergent or soap flakes…
Art schools tend to follow any new trend and “art tendancy” in order to look up-to-date and attract more students. It must have been quite hard in the 80ies, fighting back all the new conceptual/post-modern theories, that did great harm to art in terms of both new work and influencing the future, which is now. I just wonder what would happen if the internet was up and going back then…
Still you are on top of my favourite photographers, and this must mean that either you did the right thing or they were wrong. 😉
I think your analysis is correct, although I would rather hope you’re a little wrong. Some art schools (in casu Sint Lukas Brussels) are quickly loosing domestic students and are desperately trying to seduce foreign students in order to regain a market share. (They are promised and given huge marks…) To me it is a tarnishing experience to notice that those ‘schools’ are managed by a small anonymous group of art experts, who openly claim to hate (documentary) photography and secretly determine the face of Belgian art. I discover to many young people being deviated towards vague conceptual kinds of art expressions; mostly they get lost in a certain anonymity (if they are not allowed to be part of the happy few, whose work is extremely promoted). Or they reject what they have been taught and the teachers responsible for misleading them. My children are forbidden to be interested in art education; they would loose their predilection and interest in authentic works of art…
My recent experiences in a Brussels art school are still stimulating me to continue making pictures daily. I’ve discarded my respect and expectations for some ‘art-teachers’; I think some of them fear to be unmasked in their extremely pragmatic behaviour, using ‘photography’ as an easy resource for assuring a bright career and a nice pension.
Still, as an art teacher myself, I’m an optimist against all odds. I daily meet real people, who deal with art in a non-ambiguous way…
It was worth it … 🙂
That is a wonderful portrait.
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