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ALFRED STIEGLITZ - THE ELOQUENT EYE

Posted on May 14, 2013 by
Raymond
on the road at

 

There was a famous artist whose name I can't remember; nor whether he was a landscape artist although he probably was; nor whether he is alive or dead, but, for what it is worth, I can remember what he said. He said that when you see a perfect picture you should turn around and paint the picture that lies behind you. 

Since I can't remember who he was I can only interpret what he meant ... don't look for the obvious shot, the pretty picture, the iconic image ... go to its reverse ... the shadow that lies behind it, perhaps on a deeper level to the ghost that lies at the back of every image.

I could be completely wrong. This artist whose name I can't remember - sounds a bit like Prince - might just be saying that there is a picture everywhere. In any case here are two pictures.

The first is of belted cows going home for the night. So was I as the sun fell, and turned 180 degrees towards the car. I saw a paddock and climbed up the hill. Bingo! - two alpacas having a kiss in the darkening paddock.

If there's a message here it is only to have a good look around. I have conditioned myself to do that now as a matter of course - to not take an image until I have looked around completely, then to try not to take it again until I have asked myself - what is the story?

 

 

In this case it was just a simple one of cows going home for the night and then of alpacas being affectionate. Other times I have ended up taking photos that are completely different to the one that had attracted me. 

 

 

Now all that can be seen as simply an introduction for the video below. It is a discussion that looks at the initial image that started a whole new way of viewing the scene that lies before you. It is about the father of modern photography, Alfred Stieglitz and, while he didn't turn away from the scene, he viewed it in an entirely different way   - ALFRED STIEGLITZ - THE ELOQUENT EYE.

 

 

This video and others like it will be shown nightly on the SHOOTING FROM THE HEART Photography workshop to be held in October this year.

 

 

Comments
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Rob
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You're absolutely right Raymond. We all get seduced by the thing we see. In my case it was an unbelievable sunset, watched from the deck of a square-rigger sailing ship in Bathurst Harbour, Southwest Tasmania, in the 1980s. When the sun had gone, the colours faded, and the chill of the night began to creep over us, I turned to go below decks. To the east a huge, full moon was rising, cold and clear, above the Western Arthurs. I will never forget it.
Raymond
Reply
Excellent Rob - that's it exactly. I am learning, despite my racing pulse at the thought of getting a great photo, to look for the others ones as well. Once I saw a huon pine boat come into a bay in the same country. Doesnt matter that I didnt have a camera because its still in my mind as well. 
patricia lang
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I am a crap photographer but still have in my minds eye all of the wonderful things I have seen & witnessed over my many years of travelling around the world.
stuart
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Hi Raymond, The artist in question is probably one of my heroes- Fred Williams. Fred is reported to say, when asked how he chose his subjects ' I walk through the bush until I see something that attracts my eye. I set up the easel, then turn through 180 degrees and paint that. One of my teachers (who had painted with Fred) told me that it was bullshit, but it worked for Fred. It's a good way of disabling the sense of the picturesque that is pretty infectious. I am pretty sure that Fred is who you are thinking of, because i told you this story somewhere on the Larapinta.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Stuart - Mystery solved. I couldn't for the life of me think of who told me or where I heard it. Stuart Whitelaw, by the way, is an artist from Moruya on the South Coast and a bloody good one. 
tersia
Reply
Perfect images. Marvellous lesson learnt. Thank you!
trisha
Reply
Two super shots and what a great idea to see the 'picturesque' and turn through 180. The equivalent of eyes in the back of your head perhaps??!
Veronica McDonald
Reply
What a great f/b page.I have only been introduced to tonight.You can just sense the atmosphere and the photos are wonderful.
Veronica McDonald
Reply
What a great f/b page.I have only been introduced to tonight.You can just sense the atmosphere and the photos are wonderful.
Diane Wallis
Reply
Your blog was recommended to me by an English friend who now lives in France (I live in country NSW) so it came to me in a roundabout way. Two lovely pics and I had to look up 'belted cows' – so now I know. I shall stay tuned.
janine young
Reply
Just gorgeous pics....
Carolyn
Reply
That is so true. With the world of digital photography we just snap so many pictures and never really look and observe. Strangely enough I was just thinking about not taking my camera on my next journey but just looking and remembering and having the pitures in my mind.