Jun 302015
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I’ve put this one up for debate. I love the conversation that has developed from John’s questions. I came over the brow of the hill the other day, and screeched to a halt. There was everything in this photograph that screamed Maniototo to me. No edit, straight up on Facebook. And then I looked again and recognised Grahame Sydney loudly in the influence. This wasn’t conscious at the time of capture, and I honestly don’t know whether it was there at all or not.

Ferg suggested he doesn’t have copyright on the landscape, which I accept. How much are we influenced by other’s rendition of the landscape, or is this really how we see?

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  7 Responses to “Hawkduns, Ida Valley Maniototo, June 2015”

  1. Jenny, I am so pleased you made this post as i have been sitting on a post for weeks now as I was facing a similar issue. I think that by virtue of making this image you saw it. Influences are important to our own development and I don’t think we should every shy away from that. As much as there are Grahame Sydney influences here it is still uniquely yours. You saw it, you screeched to a halt because it hit you in a spot and you framed it and you pressed the shutter when you did. It reflects you!

  2. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny…..This landscape was here a long time before anyone had ever seen it and a very long time before Graeme Sydney documented it. It will be here a long time after we have all disappeared from this planet.
    Many people have travelled up and down this road but YOU, and only you chose to stop at this moment on this day and create this image.
    You, as all of us, have been influenced in many ways by many people that have got you to this point, all of them have their little part of this image. We are all an accumulation of all of our experiences and influences.
    I personally love this interpretation of the landscape of the Maniototo, for me it incapsulates all I feel about the area.

  3. This part of New Zealand is not only attractive but also very distinctive. Sydney recognised this and with great skill portrays it in an exquisite manner. But that does not make the distinctive features his – as Ferg says. They are there for all of to enjoy and to capture. We probably enjoy these features of the area more as a result of Sydney’s work. But so also we can enjoy it more seeing your view of it.

  4. Jen thank you for raising this topic.

    Would your thoughts not be the same for all of us who have learned from the masters? The way we see and photograph is influenced by all the books and exhibitions and discussions and internet posts we have read and seen. We then go to a magic place and photograph an iconic image such as the Sydney Opera House, or Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Auckland’s sky tower on the skyline, the vast space we are in or even a single tree! (etc). If your photo is straight out of camera then you knew how to set your camera to create such a photo. So that is YOUR art. I think the same holds true for Bruce’s image of the quiver tree at Kokerboomkloof. I believe that our vision is ours and it is made using all of our experience and knowledge to that point in the weather conditions that exist at that moment!

    I think our challenge is to make an image our way and to be true to our feelings of the landscape as we see it at that moment. Hopefully that image will be different to all that have been made before.

  5. a very important issue.
    There are several things: Place(subject) and technique. Usage and acknowledgement .

    Place -The place or subject belongs to everyone so never an issue.

    Technique – the technique used is important. Depending on the uniqueness of the technique. In photography there is a lot of common practice so that’s not unique. So here a photograph vs a unique way of painting there is no issue at all.

    Combine the two and you get onto more shaky ground. Same place, same technique is not OK.. unless… That’s where usage and acknowledgement come in.

    Usage- if you make an image that’s the same as someone else for your own edification and it stays on your computer that is fine. In fact a good way of learning.
    If you show it in any way, here , camera club, teaching then you need to acknowledge the inspiring author.

    Acknowledgement – for non profit work a simple acknowledgement or credit is good. That not only shows a maturity of mind but enlightens others to the backstory. Improving the sharing of ideas. Credit where credit is due. I think it is better all round for your karmic state. If there is any commercial aspect then the acknowledgement needs to take the form of some sort of licence.

    So in this case : same place, different technique and with an acknowledgement to the inspiring author , it more than ticks all the boxes and is more than fine. We don’t exist in a vacuum so will be influenced by others.

    In Bruce’s image in the next post the image is very very similar. But Bruce gives credit and it becomes a homeage rather than a rip off. An excellent example of acknowledgement used appropriately.

    In Pauline’s facebook post on this subject she shares other influences and takes it further. Which is thought provoking. But again shows the power of a simple acknowledgement.

    Sometimes we might not consciously realize that we have used someone elses technique. That happens. Another thing that happens is that with new work there may be someone else developing the same technique elsewhere. I think that is a collective consciousness thing. But in this day and age when some people seem to feel free to steal others unique work by illegally downloading music or copying things off the internet it is important to respect unique work so that creative people can still make a living. An appropriate acknowledgement is usually all that is required and makes everybody look better.

    • Thank you Tim! I can always rely on you to bring a lot to the table. There are a couple of interesting things for me in this whole image/influence thing applied here. Part of it is the work I’ve been doing pushing the lightness at times, and enjoying the relative gentleness that results. A while ago I would have preferred a much more contrasty version of this, and would have wanted to process the bejeezus out of it, but this was exactly how I saw as I came over the brow of the hill. I was so happy that I had captured in camera exactly what I’d seen, not wanting to change a thing. And that’s something I now recognise that I like in Grahame Sydney’s work. As to the picture itself, I don’t THINK I’ve ever seen a particular picture of his from this place, but who knows? I don’t know all his work, and maybe I have, and it was buried deep in the subconscious.

      The other aspect I’ve found interesting is the response on the image on FB. A lot of people liked it and I feel sure that it was because it also prompted a recognition, a representation of something they already knew, even if they hadn’t been to the place, because of Grahame’s work. I love the picture I made, especially because it was such an intuitive moment for me, but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that it will never quite feel “mine”.

  6. Im going to agree with Ferg.

    Grahame Sydney didn’t influence your vision of the Maniototo landscape because he didn’t influence the Maniototo landscape, it influenced him.

    He made paintings of IT. He didn’t make it.

    The only thing that is special about his paintings its that he somehow (through greats skill, don’t get me wrong), manages to capture the mood and epicness of the landscape through relatively gestural marks.

    Really, he just paints pretty views. and really, you just took a photo of that pretty view. which is also pretty.

    Especially when this one in particular is so first person and all about light.

    p.s. I didn’t read the comments, sorry if I repeated anything.

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