Monday, 19 November 2007

Do's & Don'ts by Charles H. Traub

This by Charles H. Traub from his writings 'Maxims from the Chair.'
I'm just going to post this and leave it at that - only to say I don't agree with them all but they're interesting guides. I actually saw it somewhere recently, on another blog I think but can't remember where, my memory is truly awful, but it can be found here;

The Do's
Do something old in a new way.
Do something new in an old way.
Do something new in a new way, Whatever works... works.

Do it sharp, if you can't, call it art.
Do it in the computer — if it can be done there.
Do fifty of them — you will definitely get a show.
Do it big, if you can't do it big, do it red.
If all else fails turn it upside down, if it looks good it might work.
Do bend your knees.
If you don't know what to do, look up or down — but continue looking.
Do celebrities — if you do a lot of them, you'll get a book.
Connect with others — network.

Edit it yourself.
Design it yourself.
Publish it yourself.
Edit, when in doubt shoot more.
Edit again.

Read Darwin, Marx, Joyce, Freud, Einstein, Benjamin, McLuhan, and Barth.
See Citizen Kane ten times.
Look at everything — stare.

Construct your images from the edge inward.

If it's the "real world," do it in color.

If it can be done digitally — do it.

Be self centered, self involved, and generally entitled and always pushing — and damned to hell for doing it.

Break all rules, except the chairman's

The Don'ts
Don't do it about yourself — or your friend — or your family.
Don't dare photograph yourself nude.
Don't look at old family albums.

Don't hand color it.
Don't write on it.
Don't use alternative process — if it ain't straight do it in the computer.
Don't gild the lily — AKA less is more.
Don't go to video when you don't know what else to do.
Don't photograph indigent people, particularly in foreign lands.

Don't whine, just produce.

The Truisms
Good work sooner or later gets recognized.
There are a lot of good photographers who need it before they are dead.

If you walk the walk, sooner or later you'll learn to talk the talk.
If you talk the talk too much, sooner or later you are probably not walking the walk (don't bullshit).

Photographers are the only creative people that don't pay attention to their predecessors work — if you imitate something good, you are more likely to succeed.

Whoever originated the idea will surely be forgotten until he or she's dead — corollary: steal someone else's idea before they die.
If you have to imitate, at least imitate something good.
Know the difference.

Critics never know what they really like.
Critics are the first to recognize the importance of that which is already known in the community at large.
The best critics are the ones who like your work.

Theoreticians don't like to look — they're generally too busy writing about themselves.
Given enough time, theoreticians will contradict and reverse themselves.
Practice does not follow theory.
Theory follows practice.

All artists think they're self taught.
All artists lie, particularly about their dates and who taught them.
No artist has ever seen the work of another artist (the exception being the post-modernists who've adapted appropriation as another means of reinventing the history).

The curator or the director is the one in black.
The artist is the messy one in black.
The owner is the one with the Prada bag.
The gallery director is the one who recently uncovered the work of a forgotten person from his or her widower.

Every galleriest has to discover someone.
Every curator has to re-discover someone.
The best of them is the one who shows your work.

Every generation re-discovers the art of photography.
Photography history gets reinvented every ten years.
New galleries discover old photographers.

Galleries need to fill their walls — corollary: thus new talents will always be found.
Galleriests say hanging pictures is an art.

There are no collectors, only people with money.
Anyone who buys your work is a collector — your parents don't count.

All photographers are voyeurs.
Admit it and get on with looking.
Everyone, is narcissistic, anyone can be photographed.

Photography is about looking.
Learning how to look takes practice.

All photography, in the right context at the right time is valuable.
It is always a historical document.
Sooner or later someone will say it is art.

Any photographer can call himself an artist, but not every artist can call himself a photographer.

Compulsivness helps.
Neatness helps too.
Hard work helps the most.

The style is felt — fashion is fad.

Remember, its usually about who, what, where, when, why, and how.
It is who you know.

Many a good idea is found in a garbage can.
But darkrooms are dark... and dank, forgidaboudit.

The best exposure is the one that works.
Expose for the shadows, and develop for the highlights.
Or better yet, shoot digitally.

Cameras don't think, they don't have memories.
But digital cameras have something called memory.
Learn to see as the camera sees, don't try to make it see as the human eye.
Remember digital point and shoots are faster than Leicas.

Though the computer can correct anything, a bad image is a bad image.
If all else fails, you can remember, again, to either do it large or red.
Or, tear it up and tape it together.
It always looks better on the wall framed.

If they don't sell, raise your price.
Self-importance rises with the prices of your images on the wall.

The work of a dead artist is always more valuable than the work of a live one.
You can always pretend to kill yourself and start all over.

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