Two Views

Trying to find words that reveal without condemning. Over the past several years, I have sought a shorthand for describing the commonplace avid photographer. Those who believe photography is an art, but don’t follow art. I’ve not wanted to hit them, even though their chosen position is to disparage much of what I view as constructive in a world.

Most of the <unnamed> use film and have for decades.


Who you know about; who you use as guide of your first efforts — these are the people of your first principles; your foundation. This foundation limits the size as well as the dimensions of growth. How big. How high.

I have known of Jungiin Lee for years, but have only recently heard of Clyde Butcher. These two serve as exemplars of two different paths. I heard of Butcher in online forums as a claimant of the mantle of Ansel Adams, and as working the manner of Hudson River School. Oddly, he misses the key to understanding the color notions, by not using color. Oh well, his real background is in selling clocks and walks.

Make no mistake, he is a success, and has been for decades. And so is Lee. These success are characteristically different. Butcher’s followers are buying art that provides functional memory of a place. Lee provides conversation with a history of art which includes photography. Her followers must understand relationships of place and object.

Their distinctions aren’t desert and swamp; they are ways of working with a place. In both people, we see continued working of their subject.

The Gallery world has accepted Jungiin Lee. Clyde Butcher has made his own gallery. In fact, he made his own destination bed and breakfast, which provides tours.

To my world, Clyde Butcher shouldn’t even be mentioned as contributor to the world of art. He is a journeyman that illustrates one journey of the weekend artist. He makes the simple seem hard, which makes it seem like art to those stuck on their first grade drawing assignment

who’s your daddy?

The Enthusiast’s Delight

What do we call the online gatherings of special interest? Are they ‘amateur, docent, dilettante?’ Perhaps, for this time, let’s call them enthusiasts (someone greatly interested in); as enthusiasts, how far toward art, how deep are their goals, what are the chances that this gathering place will provide them needed training or nourishment.

where would you see this picture? who would have it? how would they talk about it. what are the important points – what are the prompts for exchange.

A Recent Example:

The Large Format Forum is a long running group of photographers, most of whom consider themselves among an elite, but shrinking group of artist-craftsmen. They hold their traditions strongly, limiting topics, providing strict guidelines for posting into threads. And they know that most of them are deceiving each other, but they are willing participants in their grand dreams. They are all Wileys, but most don’t know it.

Along came this easy illustration for my question: “what aesthetic form do they provide? what growth potential is available by using this group?”

from the elite on Large Format Forum

On the left, “this,” is the image along with the description, the introduction of the photograph. It is a recitation of where, what, and how of the image making. Neglected is date information, but no one posts that full an EXIF. You can ponder the amount of technology used to make this readily available photograph. This list of variables being managed is provided as support of the posters mastery of skills; reading like an inflated resume for a mid-level job. Merit badges for their photo-vest.

Response Forms:

Appreciation. First impression effort. Everything falling back toward “NICE.” Inclusive.

The final comment is from a first time poster making the grand mistake of thinking this image requires ‘large format’ to achieve. The original poster (OP) insinuates the same in his follow up response when he says he is: 100% sure is digital Nikon would have delivered only rubbish. For such a technical person, why did he avoid mentioning the model of Nikon? Why didn’t he carry the added 2 lb camera, then know for certain?

Because then he would be the same as everyone else, since his camera would be the same as theirs, AND his imagery, his ability to notice is no more mature than theirs, all those other hikers with cameras.

Why they post seems simply to share with others who are not further along than they are; sharing without strain or strenuous judgement. They post for accolades. They return the favor.

What does it ask of us; what does it provide in return?

We are asked to believe in nature, and that the camera is its best transcriber. The lens is supreme; art is finding the best view. The artist is skilled craftsmaker, driven to satisfy a need for detailed fidelity.


The only clearly photographic factor delivered is that of long exposure; the motion of the water. This is a well explored trope. First found in unknowing photographers’ efforts, til now being an exercise in every intro to the camera class.

the stylized structures

what is presented… a camera’d version of the natural world. using the camera with long exposure blends by blurring the flow of water. likely, leaves have moved during the same exposure. what the photograph does, in abstract, is present color scales, which is what interested most of the ‘enthusiasts’ — the right side(above) is the same color palette presented to approximate the image… perfect for decorator use.

the peaceful harmony— tradition of moving water is a reflex orientalization of nature photography – taking the impression without taking the culture – a surface awareness instead of a deep one – the shortcut version of natural enlightenment.
oh, but it was never intended as anything more than a request for comment/ a needed pat on the back. one enthusiast to another. I too can use lots of equipment to duplicate yet another version — simple vision isn’t worth this much effort.

What is missing is any sign of biologic life. No human trace, even though the photographer is the knife point of a massive amount technology. This absence is much of the aesthetic being promoted. A natural order before ambulatory life. Before moving life. Paradoxically motion of inorganics is the major consumer of the picture. The motion portion of the surface is given to fluid flow. He was making a running water shot, the rest is unforeseen situation.


for more about the group, see my: