Cloud Gazing


“The I Ching (Classic of Changes or Book of Changes), also known as the Yi Jing, Yijing, or I Ging, is one of the Five Classics, the fundamental books of Confucianism. It is over 3000 years old (the symbols used in divination are over 5000 years old), making it both one of the oldest surviving books in the world, and one of the oldest forms of divination. It is by far the most popular spiritual resource and oracle in Asia, and has a growing following in Europe and the Americas based on its uncanny ability to provide detailed insights to those who study it carefully.”

“The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese text used as an oracle to find out the answers to troubling questions such as “what does the future hold for me?” The book consists of 64 hexagrams, which is the number of possible combinations of pairs of three broken or unbroken lines (trigrams).* The lines represent the two primal cosmic principles in the universe, yin (the broken lines) and yang (the unbroken lines). The trigrams represent heaven, earth, thunder, water, mountain, wind, fire, and lake.

The meanings of the hexagrams were divined many years ago by Chinese philosopher-priests in tune with the tao (Chinese for path or way). They consist of such bits of fortune cookie wisdom as: “If you are sincere, you have light and success. Perseverance brings good fortune” Or, “the superior man discriminates between high and low.”

One may consult the I Ching by flipping numbered coins and adding up the numbers to determine the hexagram. Another method involves dividing up bundles of yarrow stalks.

Carl Jung saw the I Ching as exemplifying what he called synchronicity. Others might see it as exemplifying our ability to create significance from ambiguous data with vague and ambiguous language”.

Much as the art world marketers seek to create significance with vague and ambiguous language about visual data. AKA cloud gazing in one form or another.

Street Sausage

Image – SAUSAGE-MAKING, 1651 By David Teniers the Younger
Saw an interview with Photographer Matt Stuart (who) has been shooting on the street for over twenty years. In June 2016, he was announced as a Magnum nominee”[i], on[ii], a pay to play website where you can have them jury your images into a competition for 60 bucks or so. He said he cringed when called an artist, he was a photographer.
Ya no. He sounded similar to a narcissist as described by Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD[iii], who never received any art training, a one trick pony; making him a predator who hunted, his street subjects were his voyeur victims.
Photographers are artists of course. They improvise. During production and post, whether they realize it or not.  Re-contextualizing is the primary tool but it is only one form of improv. Line, shape, form, tone, texture, pattern, colour and composition, are the basic visual tools available for all visual production and the possibilities are endless. “(An artist) makes liberal use of artistic license to significantly embellish or change the circumstances of real-life incidents by any means possible” – Rosalind E. Krauss.[iv]
What is the difference between a figure study and porn? The intent. Porn is done for titillation, primarily. The same with our street photographer, he gets his voyeuristic titillation needs satisfied. He has hunted and lain in wait patiently for his prey. An artist, doing street photo has a very different intent, typically its documentation for future generations but that is only part of it, they are making art because their intent is to manipulate the formal elements of art in such a way as to be aesthetically pleasing.
That’s when the discussion around the piece gets interesting. The predator street photographer does the same shot over and over. Yawn.
“Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.” Mary Ellen Mark [v]
If the person who made that statement didn’t realize that they are manipulating ‘reality’ with the settings of their camera, choice of lens etc. then they are an idiot. A street photograph is an image taken out of context by simply putting it into a frame then sticking it on the wall for display and discourse purposes. Surely the photographers know their use of formal visual elements make or break the piece.
I find this website authors to be producing a product about photo that’s an incredibly dumbed down, and surprisingly ignorant of even the basic elements of the images they are mongering. It’s like going to a sausage shop and asking the ingredients where they don’t know so they make up some garbage as a diversion to throw you off your question.
Like asking Trump about the process of government…
[iv] Rosalind Epstein Krauss is an American art critic, art theorist and a professor at Columbia University in New York City. Krauss is known for her scholarship in 20th-century painting, sculpture and photography. As a critic and theorist she has published steadily since 1965 in Artforum, Art International and Art in America.More at Wikipedia