Egolessness. With Sara.
Ostensibly I spent the weekend learning how to take a gun or knife away from you and making you regret that you’d pulled it on me. But honestly it was as much learning how to set aside one’s ego. There are many paths in martial arts but the paths that make sense to me involve setting aside pride and self.
I wonder if the same could be said about paths in photography (and art for that matter). We spend so much time constructing our sense of self that the work becomes about our egos. At some point, the artist’s statement becomes more important that the viewer’s response. Maybe it’s better to step back and let the work speak through us.
Amythia: alt model photography = fan service? →
It’s just fan service.
I watched an anime that led me to the term fan service.
Fan service (ファンサービス fan sābisu), fanservice, or service cut (サービスカット sābisu katto), is a term originating from anime and manga fandom for material in a…
Amythia wonders if pandering to the audience devalues or devolves a creative act from art to something lower. It’s something that I’ve grappled with in the sense that I sometimes choose to shoot something because it fits within a current zeitgeist. And sometimes, when I do that I wonder if I’m betraying my own artistic vision.
The net has provided an immediacy of response for artists that’s hard not to ignore. In times past, you could work your entire life on something and never get any feedback on it. But these days, with the kind of instant response that’s possible online, it’s hard not to ignore the voice of the audience. Or even to find an audience in your lifetime. So as an artist, it’s hard to ignore and not be influenced by that.
And yet, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Art has to communicate in order to convey its ideas. If the art is completely incomprehensible, what’s its value? It becomes no better than a diary spilled on the public stage. In centuries past, the formation of the common symbolism necessary to communicate these ideas took decades to develop as discussions in guild halls and academies. These days, the formation of common symbolism can take hours in the form of memes and tropes. But because of the speed of formation of this symbology, the specificity to an narrower audience is greater. I don’t think it’s really changed in the sense that what makes something art (as opposed to simple personal expression) is the combination of execution and adoption/subversion of the iconography of the day. There are just more numerous and more specific audiences these days (cf. long tail of content).
Of course, you can always do something because you like the aesthetic. I do.
marcturnley said: So who posted it to Facebook? If you have your Tumblr account to auto post to FB that’s your problem not there’s, right? They have rules that you know about and you broke them, why is that a problem for them?
I was hoping that what I wrote wouldn’t be interpreted as blaming Facebook (which I don’t) but I guess I wasn’t clear enough on this point. It’s more of a concern that certain social media entities are gaining sufficient power by captivating a large enough audience that their rules become THE rules for the net.
So yesterday I posted a photo on Tumblr (a rare one at the moment) and Facebook sucked it into its black hole of all online activity like everything else it does. This morning, Facebook informed me that the content was removed and that I should police myself. Well — technically I posted it where it was acceptable and the secret mechanics of social activity aggregation that is at the heart of Facebook’s pervasiveness is actually what “posted” the content to Facebook. I’ve seen this before on Facebook and the immediate reaction is to ask who reported the content. I’m not naive. Even if it was the result of someone reporting it, it really isn’t about them — perhaps it did offend them and Facebook has both the provisions and the mechanisms by which they can express their offense. I accept that. I also know (because I could probably write one if I had to) there are algorithms to detect naked people and a machine could have flagged the content as well.
That is less the point. The real point is that because of Facebook’s ubiquity and pervasiveness and especially because the content was really tangential to the content contained on Facebook, it really strikes to the heart of self-censorship in our new virtual reality. I don’t want to have to maintain and update multiple social networks and services. I’d prefer ones that allow me to put what I do out there without fear of censorship or censureship. And Facebook is not one of those places. But because of its ubiquity, that’s where many of the people for whom I’d like my work to be seen by are which leaves me two choices: make Facebook-friendly content (whether by not shooting what I normally shoot or producing FB-friendly versions) or maintain multiple services (with the attendant effort). Either way, I’m less inclined to make the work available. Now that we can finally have nudity in other media venues without significant backlash, are we going down the road of neutering what’s available on the net?