Saturday, March 8

Best or Better or ????

Since 1273, followers of the legendary spiritual poet and philosopher Rumi have whirled in Konya, Turkey as a form of remembering God. This isn't dance in the sense we understand it anymore than preaching is acting.

Now for the problem. When they strip away layers of oils from works of the great masters they discover… Well… Works of the great masters. Frequently the final layer's a version. Is it better than the others? Hmmmmm… What's better mean?

Here's what I wanted to do with this dervish…

But here's what I'm ABLE to do with this dervish…

I'm too old. Fixed in a mindset. Within my own constructed artsy culture… There's plenty of room for experiment but there are also walls. Young artists in particular lack those walls. It takes no risk on their part to do stuff that I can do but in my case it takes bravery. I guess it's because I know that for me it means breaking rules. Those that my friends respect. Okay… I like that first image. Hell, it's good, captures the dervish trance-like whirl and the color of both his mind and the moment. 
But that second image is explosive. Way over processed… Way beyond a representation. It doesn't just pop… it explodes. 

Fact is though that today we don't have to paint over. We can do many versions, each as powerful as the other. None is the last… the final… But one must be better? Right? 

What makes any image, better


Cedric Canard said...

It's an interesting question that you ask Ted. I too have heard of old Masters painting over their previous works. I have read that some did so not because the final image was better but because their current financial state was such that they could not afford new canvases so they simply reused old ones; their drive to create being greater than their sentimentality for the previous creation. I guess.
We don't need to worry so much these days, at least not where photography is concerned. For me, I will say that I rarely create multiple versions of an image and on those occasions where I have, I only ever keep one and delete the other(s). But then again, even the final image will someday get deleted as I have never been one to keep my photographs so I am of no help at all to anyone struggling with the kind of decision making you are referring too.

Ted said...

There are TOO many decision branches on the digital post processing tree Cedric. Each is lush with exotic and fat fruit. It is as if the alternate universe conundrum comes to life as the artist chooses one path.. one doorway… one process with little time to consider others. Leaving a swirl of questions in his wake. "What could I have expressed?" "What alternative feeling went unexpressed?" "Is there wonder undiscovered?" "Is this a safe path, or the inspired one?" "Am I going this way because I know the route, the methods, the expected vision? Or because my true concept lies at its end?" Etc. Etc. Etc….

Did Michelangelo release angels from stone, or place them in there? Okay… the comparison's coated in a tad of hubris… But still… We have so many more craft tools available that they can overwhelm... and the tail of craft options, I worry, wags the damned dog.

Cedric Canard said...

Hmm… ok, I guess I don't get all those questions happening in my head. At least not in the same vein. I take a shot and it expresses one thing and one thing only or if it's a range of things then they are all related somehow. But that's it. The photo, once done, once processed and edited, is done. Anything left unexpressed will find it's outlet in another photo. Or not. It doesn't matter because life doesn't last long enough to discover every wonder or to express every feeling so there is no point in trying.
As for paths and routes, well, I gave up the responsibility for choosing those a long time ago.