Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Day 282 – Tabernacle of the devil

Well that’s what my grandmother calls tv! Growing up I used laugh when she would give out about television, saying people didn’t have time to pray anymore. Now though, I wonder, if not praying, what  could we be doing that would be of more benefit to our lives than watching mind-numbing sitcoms?! So instead of getting stuck into another episode of ’24’ this arvo I looked at Ruskin’s theories and principles on art. His theories greatly influenced the Pre-Raphaelites whose portraits, especially those fro Julia-Margaret Cameron, I love. This is not to say I agree with all of them but they’re still interesting to think about. They are summarised below by Kenneth Clark:

– Art is not a matter of taste, but involves the whole man. Whether in making or perceiving a work of art, we bring to bear on it feeling, intellect, morals, knowledge, memory, and every other human capacity, all focused in a flash on a single point. Aesthetic man is a concept as false and dehumanizing as economic man.

– Even the most superior mind and the most powerful imagination must found itself on facts, which must be recognized for what they are. The imagination will often reshape them in a way which the prosaic mind cannot understand; but this recreation will be based on facts, not on formulas or illusions.

– These facts must be perceived by the senses, or felt; not learnt.

– The greatest artists and schools of art have believed it their duty to impart vital truths, not only about the facts of vision, but about religion and the conduct of life.

– Beauty of form is revealed in organisms which have developed perfectly according to their laws of growth, and so give, in his own words, ‘the appearance of felicitous fulfillment of function.’

– This fulfillment of function depends on all parts of an organism cohering and cooperating. This was what he called the ‘Law of Help,’ one of Ruskin’s fundamental beliefs, extending from nature and art to society.

– Good art is done with enjoyment. The artist must feel that, within certain reasonable limits, he is free, that he is wanted by society, and that the ideas he is asked to express are true and important.

– Great art is the expression of epochs where people are united by a common faith and a common purpose, accept their laws, believe in their leaders, and take a serious view of human destiny


Day 240 – Morning Train

Ah the good ole illegal train picture, risking my freedom (and enduring the odd dirty look) to defiantly capture Sydney life! Now hopefully there isn’t anything in that picture that would aid and abet potential terrorists. I won’t go on again about my opposition to some of the ridiculous photographic policies that are out there but I have been reading up on some street photography tips that has made me more motivated to take pictures. One of the tips was to look like you belong, like there is nothing suspicious about you and repeat to yourself positive affirmations about belonging there. I thought to myself but I do believe that. I really believe in the importance of street photographers, I believe people who dedicate a lifetime to it can produce maybe one, maybe two or even more photographs that will be important to the world in a time when we’ll be long gone (unless they invent an anti-aging mechanism in the next 50 years!).

I think its important to have photos of reality, where people are natural in their everyday environment. I find sometimes its hard to get this with friends or family. For one they observe a lot quicker when you have a camera and know, in my case, that I’m likely to use it! It changes their expression from the normal one that accompanies whatever they are doing, to one where they are over concerned about what they will look like and too conscious of putting forward their ‘best’ face. On the street its a lot easier to just observe and record without being noticed, and generally if someone does notice you can usually take a few shots before they change their expression and/or position.

And what better place to take pictures than on trains, they are, a sometimes frustrating, part of most of our everyday lives. A necessary evil maybe even and an interesting study of people lost in their own world. I believe its important to record these types of moments. Now I just need to go photoshop out the part of the photo where it gives instructions to terrorists on how to hate,  how to live inhumanly and how to aquire the need to instill panic and fear in our society. I might be a while…

Quote of the day: “Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced” – Hans Hofmann


Day 76 – Game Day

Its been such a busy weekend, between recovering from college, playing AFL, photographing AFL, attending birthday parties, etc.. The photo above was taken at the Sydney Uni v Wests U18s game. There was a great atmosphere, something about having a game at night just adds to the occasion even though I’m not sure why?! I couldn’t tell you how the game went as I generally can’t when I’m photographing, I’m more concerned with the sharpness of the picture than the sharpness of the kicking! But judging by the amount of times the ball was down near the Uni forwards I reckon they won!

I really enjoyed our game earlier too, as you tend to do when ya win by over 100 points! Win, lose or draw though I think its great to be involved on any level with sport, surely those who aren’t somehow miss out? It reminds me of something that I was talking about when out that night, that arty people and sporty people generally don’t mix. I mean our college is one of art and design but not associated with any sporting clubs, neither would I know of many classmates who play. On the other hand not many of my teammates would be into getting out the paints and canvas after the games! Now I realise I’m talking in a big generalisation, and as a rule I think generalisation are crap, but I wonder about this one. Maybe its just that people only have time for one or the other?

Its funny I guess because I regard AFL as an art form, (as well as being the best game in the world!) and when you think of it, the Ancient Greeks and Romans did too with their sports, their sculptures were of Olympic heros, amongst other things. Since then, however, from the Renaissance right up to modern art and beyond, there have been paintings of almost every theme but sport is sadly lacking, especially amongst the greats. I mean did you ever see Da Vinci,
Picasso or Van Gogh paint about a soccer match? And yet it can be, as the cliche goes, poetry in motion. Then you add in the rivalries, the traditions, the rituals, the way it pushes people outside their boundaries, in positive and negative ways. So much that can be used to inspire a work of art, but that rarely is.

Quote of the day: “I always turn to the sports section first.  The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures”  ~Earl Warren

Also more photos from the Uni v Wests game at

Day 51 – Significado

Since the beginning of time, well I presume anyway since I wasn’t around at the beginning of time, our civilisation has searched for the meaning of life. I mean do a google search and see how many quotes, books, debates, songs and works of art have been dedicated to the subject. How often does it even occupy ones own mind?

But it’s not just meaning in our life is it? It can be meaning in everything! I guess here I’m referring specifically to art. How important is meaning? How important is it to understand the meaning or the meaning that person who created the work of art put into it, or is it simply a case of the art work being relevant merely if we can extract our own meaning? Does meaning give a certain truth to things and how important is truth to art? Photography was once thought to be truth as it shows exactly what it in a scene. However as time passed it became more apparent that photography could lie as much as any other medium depending on what the photographer choose to include or exclude in a scene and to what extent.

As for the picture above, well you can take a meaning from, you can relate it to something, you can guess if I had a meaning in mind when I set it up and edited, what elements I used and why I placed them where I did. Or you can believe I didn’t intend any deeper meaning, that its artistically good or bad, or just plain weird!

Funny random quote of the day that has no relevance to the blog entry:

“He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him” – George Orwell