Tomas Monita

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  • Re: Tomas Monita
    You gotta repect that atleast, right F? Personally, id never go, sorry, couldnt pay me enough. In many respects that job isnt suited to married people. Thats why I like the streets of Seoul, exciting it may not be but most likely I wont be killed by some Taliban lunatic.
  • Re: Tomas Monita
    Yes, Francis, and it always comes back to being oneself one's favorite photographer. Otherwise, it's like saying, this guys breathes better than I do, I am quitting breathing. What you witness and see thru your viewfinder, no one else has and will never see it as you did. It is simply unrelated to "being better", which so many are, but that's their damn viewfinder, not mine....

    And I never met him but I think for Maciej, taking pictures is as close to breathing as one can find ;-).
  • Re: Tomas Monita
    "I think art is a bit like religion. it's the personal response to a work created or a religious experience that defines the quality of the perceived object."

    i think you've brought about the demise of this discussion by simply using the word "personal"..
    exactly.. reread my words and you'll notice that whatever i say follws an "I" (think/feel/blah blah blah) because I realise that it is all very subjective..
    i don't think i've said anywhere that something is something in an ABSOLUTE way... if i have i'm sorry.. while writing in a hurry, i might have forgotten to add it. that's not what i meant..
    I have no words to describe what I feel art is.. I guess everyone communicates with it differently.. If you ask me why i think something is art and something else is not.. i wouldn't be able to articulate it in words.. but it's just a feeling..

    "I think Mc Curry will not be remembered as a great photographer, but a famous one for a while. Definitely, with time he will be remembered for the iconic pix of the "afghan girl". He does nice pictures, I enjoy flipping thru the books he came out with, but I do not like at all his series of portraits of people in the type of edition it came out. I do not think that 1% of the people buying these books give a damn what tribe, what culture, what hardship the people in the pictures have. I suppose the money helps funding his charity organizations, not all bad maybe.... A bit off-topic, here, but just to say that I liked Monita's too, this is good work. Excited, no indeed."

    once again.. subjectivity...
    In India, for many there are only 2 great photographers...
    bresson and mccurry.. :)
    infact mccurry seems to have a much larger fan following than bresson..
    not many have heard of salgado and others..

    also i've come across the interviews of far too many people who claim to be only fine art portraiture photographers who list mccurry as one of their influences.. (i think one of the awardees of the very prestigious schweppes annual portaiture photography held by the national portrait gallery in london from the last 2-3 years is also one of them.. you should have a look at their website and some of the photographs that are online.. I PERSONALLY think they're terrible.. however there are others who think they're not which is why they won..)

    "There are simply more people nowadays who have the education and leisure to appreciate art."

    is art today still being produced for people who have the the education and leisure to appreciate it? for people who can goto galleries and for those who who have access to the internet?
    the education, does it mean artistic education?
    why is it that the critiques of some of the members on TE itself are valued more than others even if their views donot coincide with majority of the other members? why do I.. see new members whose photographs themselves might not be very strong in my opinion get flak for pointing out what they think are mistakes... "it's a pity that there are grains in the photograph", "it's a pity that the head of the man is not included" and so on.. do you think that in a way the response of many of the members including ME assumes that we're more trained to critique the photograph/s because we're more educated in photography as we've had more exposure.. I DO.. i believe that photography has not done anything to remove/reduce elitism.. infact it's created a new kind.. one in photography :) how many people even with access to the internet have actually seen a digital image of the edward steichen print that got auctioned off for more than 1.5 million dollars or something like that some time ago..? i know the percentage of people who've seen it has increased.. but the percentage of people who have the education and the leisure time and lemme add another broad category here of capabilities to potentially see it, has increased FAR MORE..
    so mathematically, there is a chance that elitism MIGHT HAVE actually increased for whatever reasons....

    "About Renaissance, Man became the new element in the artistic equation. Therefore Art started to use Man, his feelings, experiences, world, as the esthetic and emotional scale in works of Art. as opposed to sacred, ritual and allegorical representations."

    would you consider it progress or evolution or anything like that?

    "Salgado is not an artist. No problem, I just say Art because it is shorter than anything else. Zola was probably not an artist when he wrote "J' accuse" and wrote his most social books? Um.. maybe, fine to say he was a writer, and Salgado is an economist turned socio-documentarist then. Personally, some of his photos touch me as much as some pages from a Zola or Hugo novel, or watching a favorite Renoir. In any case, not calling it art ain't going to change my esthetic and emotional response to it."

    I DON'T SEE Salgado as an artist.. simply because the main objective of his work is to
    I love salgado.. it's work is more than evocative for me...
    Evren just lent me his book (THANKS EVREN :)) "Sahel: The End of the Road"
    i proudly showed them the book. They looked at a few pages, flipped through them nonchalantly, shut the book and got back to talking about other things...
    many of them have cried and cried watching karan johar movies... i personally thought they were trash.. and infact pissed off a couple of friends who along with almost everyone else at the cinema during a movie that i was dragged to.. i couldn't help but laugh through the whole movie, because i thought it was really silly.. i'd say (in a very sober way) a much much much more melodramatic version of a soap like "the bold and the beautiful"

    hey i should mention that my use of BOLD letters has no aggressiveness in it.. i'm just doing it to avoid any misunderstandings.. you know.. it's very difficult to get the emotions in a person's writings sometimes :)
  • Re: continuation..
    hi herve..
    i wrote a really long reply right now.. but the electricity blew..
    and i have a proposal that i have to submit by tomorrow.. and i haven't begun writing it yet..
    so give me a day or 2 and i'll try and rewrite what i wrote :)
  • Re: continuation..
    ok.. maybe i'll lose out on the chain of thought.. so here it goes again..

    "Thanks for the links. Of course, by now you know that it does not make a difference to me if it's to be called an art or not, words are symbols after all, never the real thing. I will still use it, I think people recognizes it's about, once again, esthetics and emotions."

    yes.. to each, his own.. for me art is not about aesthetics and emotions necessarily..

    "I notice this sentence from Guler: "When a photograph conveys an emotion, a thought, then it is a real photograph."
    what do you think about it? he does not mention any rules."

    i only linked you to guler because i assumed (maybe wrongly) that you saw all photography as art.. so i was just putting the opposite extreme for you.. just to bring up the issue of subjectivity as far as the question of photography being art was concerned.. i don't agree with guler either.. i find myself somewhere between the 2 of you..

    guler doens't mention any rules.. but i never said that "not art" has to have rules.. i only said that in my opinion "art" is free of rules...

    just because a square is a rectangle, doesn't mean that a rectangle is a square, does it??? :)

    "The article about Salgado goes way beyond the labeling of art to his photography or not. I see though that the writer talks about one of his photos as someone would a painting.

    as I sum it up writer thinks there is too much salgado in a Salgado's photograph to be properly journalistic. Maybe, so what? and rather: Thanks God!
    As you said yourself, there are enough rule-conforming pro photographers around to take the "art" out of a photo, if he or editors prefer. Then, Salgado will go out and shoot where the pros went, and that's the photos we wll remember. Back to square one.

    This is typical east coast academia. God forbid there is anything uniquely individual to the way someone shoots a starving kid! (smirk)"

    true.. i agree.. i don't care for what people say when they say that salgado's work is too beautiful and it shouldn't be.. i feel that his work is far more evocative and more importantly has more context and content than majority of the photojournalists..

    but i gave you the link because of the mention of "cinematic journalism"
    i know you feel his work is evocative.. but have you wondered why his work is so evocative??
    why is it that in photography circles it is very common to find "philips jones griffith" to be called the best war photographer and usually his work "vietnam inc." is cited as an example... but nachtwey's work seems to attract public attention more..
    why is it that when juxtaposed with salgado (i feel quite terrible to make such comparisons.. but...), salgado's photographs evoke more feelings with the public.. although many many photojournalists will criticise salgado for their own reasons..

    as far as my documentary work is concerned, he's probably my biggest influence.. and i love his work.. and the very fact that he's my biggest influence has led me to ask these questions about why his work is so evocative just so that i can also find some direction..

    just to let you know.. and to make it clear that I'm not criticising salgado.. i'm currently on a fellowship that is supporting my long term project which is a little similar to the subjects that he's photographed in his life... afterall even i completeed my masters in economics last year :) and he's been kind enough to respond to my words.. it's a different thing that i haven't kept up the dialogue simply because i'd rather do more more meaningful work than what i've already done and then continue the dialogue..

    "That Salgado calls himself a mere documentarist does not surprise me. Keep it simple. he has probably no inkling in discussing art/not art arguments."

    or perhaps he simply feels that he's actually a documentarist..????

    "I am not sure why we have to bring al the artists, photographers, etc..., that conform to rules, in order to show that a craft/art is not quite up there. In every art, you always have 99% of do-gooders and 1% of people who put their own mark, possibly genius, in what they produce. To follow rules or not has nothing to do with it. Picasso broke rules, greatest painter, Mozart did not invent one single musical form, greatest composer...."

    i have heard only a little of mozart.. carmina burana o fortuna and a few others.. and i hardly know anything to comment on him.. but his music does sound very different from the rest, doesn't it?

    "If Picasso did not have to break rules to "say" something, he did not break them. He simply used whatever was in his possession to be able to say what he had to say. I am sure he never even once said he was breaking rules. To me, that debate about rules doe not exist. you use what you have to use in order to say what you have to say. Rules can help and rules can confine. Your choice."

    true.. but little that i know about him, i've never felt that he was confined within any rules.. he explored a lot didn't he?
    do you think there was a change in his vision? from the time of "a frugal meal" to "the burial of casamegas" to the "blue period" to "cubism".. ok. i might have got some of the spellings and the chronology wrong.. but i hope you get the point that i'm trying to make..
    don't you think this whole thing about cubism was quite a major shift form the rest of his work? once again.. i'm not thaaat exposed to all this.. so it's quite a naive, but a curious question...
    and didn't he also seek inspiration from african masks later on??

    "Ravi Shankar. i did not offer a critical assessment of his music-playing, though you would be hard-pressed to show me any remnant of his ground-breaking experiments with the Beatles. You meant G. Harrison, I think. I am sure Shankar was the type of artists who could play beautifully within or without the rules. It's always been my point, you have to admit."

    true.. but funnily i think it is the point that even i've been making..

    "I am sure Shankar was the type of artists who could play beautifully within or without the rules."

    who could play WITHIN or WITHOUT the rules.. because there's no confinement to rules..
    confinement means you ONLY stick to rules..

    "Again, do not confuse elitism and elite. and again, do not think that elite has to have necessarily a negative connotation. It's a word that one can use to describe that group of photographers you talk about, it means the best of the best. really nothing bad there."

    i'm not.. elitism has actually been derived from elite. i don't think there's any wrong in elitism either.. i honestly don't.. :)

    "I never complained about Munita's, I even said that is solid work that can inspire us.... ???????"

    my fault.. i wrongly assumed that you did.. i'm sorry..
  • Re: continuation.. part 2
    "With much amicable feelings, Sohrab, I see you call me a viewer (?), and you a creator who wants no confinements from rules, then why do you follow the B&W rule for proper documentary photography?"

    no worries.. :)
    we can also ask the question why i shoot only on film and not on digital..

    unfortunately the truth is that apart from unconsciously preferring the aesthetics of black and white (have no explanations), i'm also terrible at understanding colour.. i'm no narelle autio, i'm no david alan harvey or for that matter no alex webb ( a black and white photographer shooting in colour ,no?)
    so what i'm trying to do is try and get as comfortable with black and white as possible and then explore in colour.. right now i feel that my understanding of black and white is superior to my understanding of colour.. which is why i'd like to specialise in black and white first.. simply to imporve in it first.. and then open up to colour..
    and it's not like i've been confined to black and white.. if you go through my earlier galleries.. you'll see that i did a lot of colour as well... and it's all terrible....
    so this is my CHOICE temporarily....

    i'm 24.. i have atleast 40-50 more years in my hand (ideally speaking :))
    and i've not formally been trained in photography...
    i do read stories of how different artistes train, go through a very disciplined life.. recently a friend of mine was telling me about her friend who's a very good professional (young, about my age ) bharatnatyam dancer who recently underwent a ceremony or something that allows her more freedom, to give a public performance and all that...

    lots of us have cameras... and lots of us have arms and legs..
    we can take photographs and we can dance..
    but no matter how talented.. there is a limit to which talent alone can take you..

    i was taught to see the negative by being told never to print another contact sheet.. today i understand my film so much better because of it.. and my printing has imporved so much because of it.. because i've realise that i can take a lot out of my negative.. and can take only whatever i want :) contact sheets were like crutches..

    think of ballet dancers.. or gymnasts and so on...
    even synchronised swimming for that matter

    i think this should also clarify what i was trying to say about my "only creator" perspective.. i hope it does...
    for most of us.. a piece by mozart is art... or one by picasso.. or a bharatnatyam performance by sonal mansingh.. or a concert by ravi shankar..
    but i don't feel that it's all come to them on its own.. and their perspective might differ on it all might differ from ours.. maybe i'm wrong..
    i'm not saying that i'm like any of them.. sheeesh.. light years away.. but i'd certainly want to work hard to be like them.. i'd certainly want others to want the same...
    we love salgado and we love bresson and others.. but maybe the world hasn't seen a mozart or picasso of photography..? :)
    and why not... photography is so damn young compared to others.. Personally for me to concur with you that photography is still primitive in its evolution will be like living in a make believe world... because i don't feel that at all..

    but then again.. to each, his own :)

    coming to my using film and not digital..
    my first reason is the love for film.. , the love for tri-x..
    i even use a fully manual camera.. and hearing the film roll.. gives me a high.. really!!!!
    then ofcourse.. there is the thing about putting myself under a strict regime of sorts.. i realise my weaknesses.. and one of them is to get carried away like i am over here talking.. gal might notice it i think hehe...
    but i do get carried away.. and i realise that i'll go on a shooting spree and wouldn't learn the way I want to learn.. when i started learning how to print.. i'd use extreme contrast for almost everything.. simply because i could.. out of excitement i'd get carried away.. lukily... i'm starting to head towards a stable equilibrium now... :)

    and if digital is infact the future.. and if it's easy as people say it is.. then why should i lose out to as much time as i can extract out of working on film.. and once i'm not able to then i'll switch to digital.. even if it doesn't die out.. then later on.. once.. i've got the hang of film fully.. or atleast reach a certain comfort zone.. , then i can also explore digital.. and then jump from film to digital and back and so on.. and black and white to colour and back and so on...

    i don't really know if i love photography more than anything else.. maybe i'd like to teach or do gardening or something like that.. or sketch like i always loved to when i was younger.. who knows i might give up photography altogether later on.. for something else.. i don't even want to be confined to photography itself.. but for now.. i'm quite tired of following people.. and don't want my work to fall in the 99% that you mentioned above.. and when i say 99%.. i mean 99% in my opinion.. it's just not good enough and i'd rather want my work to fall in the 1% that i feel is decent enough.. so what i'm trying to do is just to conquer myself.. :)

    if you still think all these are rules that i follow.. i mean about black and white and film and all that...

    then.. have a look at my hypothetical model again..
    if i have my 100 sides.. then these are just 2.. which over time i'll try and get rid of over time.. right now i'm trying to let go of others one by one..

    i never implied that i had zero sides... that would mean that i've achieved nirvana..

    it's too early for that ;)
    have a good day.. i've to get to first start and then try and read as much of "chronicles of a death foretold" before i start my proposal.. i hardly have any hours left.. i'll ask you for a favour though.. sometimes if i'm interested in a discussion.. it's hard to keep off it.. so could to post it later.. i mean this is a BIG weakness of mine.. (but a weakness that i don't really mind) just that last night.. instead of printing my last few photographs for the proposal, i was busy replying to you.. and so i have to print all night tonight.. and make sure everything is done by tomorrow.. and i've been redoing prints for days now.. because everyday i feel that what i printed the night before could be imporved.. so basically i'm just stuck and getting broke ;)

    p.s. at the end of one of my previous posts.. i said.. "in my case.. wait atleast 10 years.. who knows.. i might end up being a retarded adolescent.. :)"

    i was being serious.. like i said.. i haven't gone to an institution or anything learn photography.., whatever i've learnt has been on my own (though now i've kind of got a mentor who guides me once in a while..)
    and so there's a big big chance that i might fall hard flat on my face if i follow what i believe in..
    but i'll be still be much happier than if i don't do it ;)
  • Re: Tomas Monita
    hi francis.. i'm sorry.. i missed your post..
    i hope i'm not too late..

    i'm also lost.. so am just looking around here and there :)

    for some time now i've been very very interested in the idea of magical realism
    salgado is also supposed to be a magical realist of a kind.. along with some other some other latin american photographers.. according to some people..

    i don't really know how much of it is true..

    but i'm kind of interested in exploring this genre if it isssssss a genre..
    in literature.. franz kafka, gabriel garcia marquez and salman rushdie are a few of the names who're considered magical realists..

    so you know.. just looking around.. but i'm not going to limit myself to just literature itself.. :)

    i don't even know if i'll be able to extract anything out of a medium other than photography itself.. but just want to give it a shot.. :)
  • Re: Tomas Monita
    don't kill me for this.. :)
    but if i could, i'd do anything to even draw inspiration from someone like
    steve prefontaine :)
  • Re: continuation..
    i think you failed to understand the real crux of what I said, and seemed to go only thru the motion of picking out on semantics. Just one example: Mozart's music being different. Yes, and using rules of composition well known. as any genius, he did not ask himself what were the rules to break or follow. he learnt his craft, and then transcended the very forms of it. Transcending is not breaking or following. This is what artists of his calibre do, and why when we listen to him, we never think of rules. Even though they are there. of course, it's even more true of Bach's music.The message is more important than the means used. At least for me, I do not care for forms without soul, hence why I do not understand what is in art for you that has no esthetic and emotional components.

    Everyone is different, that does not come from following or breaking rules. it actually shows that even with conventions in all types of expression, nothing can straight-jacket the individuality in anyone of us.

    Another example, elitism comes from elite. yes, but they may mean 2 different things.

    About how these guys call themslves, documentarist, not an artist etc..., it usually comes from a train of thoughts, rather than absolutely (dis)labeling themselves. Hence, HCB saying he is or never was a photographer (Charlie Rose interview, check it out on the net, the link is in this forum). I am sure he said he was, at times in his life just like Salgado most likely alluded to use creativity to extract truth from the mere scene the eye sees. Basically, he broke the rules of documentary (like many before him) to say something better, and use esthetics to convey it. You don't set out to break or obey rules. it is done by using both what you learnt in your craft as well as what is intuited from your imagination.

    Got to go to work!

    have a great one, that should be night in Delhi at this hour.


    Words are symbols. If they lend to confusion, we can change them for some others less confusing. Do not lend too much credence on expressions coined by others. What was that? cinematic photography? gee, by the time we/ve said it, we could have taken 2 or 3 pictures! :-))))....
  • Re: Tomas Monita
    Hi Sohrab,

    I hope your "homework" is going along fine. I must say I do not understand the point of your arguments many times, and what you answer to in the excerpts of my own replies, before you make those points.

    Mc Curry is very famous, no doubt, but fame... you know.... we will see in 50 years who between him and Bresson have made a greater mark in the medium.

    "Sahel..." is the only book I own from Salgado. I hope to find the gold mining series at the right price (for me) on someday.

    Renaissance was definitely progress and evolution, but that's the whole historical shenanigan, not really the Arts. I am really in awe at the cave drawings of so long ago. They were both trying to come to terms with the world around them, and place it in a perspective where they could make sense of their humanity. The response (i mean reaction, not answer) to these questions was and still is unleashed by probing one's inner self. This where the religious or/and artistic experience comes in.

    Any chance you'd be in Mumbai, next January? I am not sure i will go as far as Delhi, no plans for it at least for now. It would be great to meet you.