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Victor Ben Tzvi

Israeli Women

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ISRAELI WOMEN is a photo-poem in developing stages about western woman in the modern cultural climate; a dialogue between the phenomena and the abstract feminine essence. The project is not a candid documentary work uncovering the phenomena through personal stories. In fact, my sitters are Personages – synthesis of their authentic characteristics and thematically attributed narratives. In a way, the Personage becomes an idealized figure, reflecting my imagination and their own rarely exhibited self-perception. Through these vibrant photographic masks, i want to simultaneously represent motives of woman glorification and women disposition in modern society.

Our eclectic cultural ground, with existential tension, a largely superficial use of overwhelming information, lead us to a complicated and at times absurd positions. The position of modern woman is not immune from complexity either. Some fighters for women freedom disregard the notion that motherhood is at least as feminine as the most powerful man-like career. Others trying to isolate woman’s sexuality from women, although few women who would not like to be femme-fatale, or at least attractive by instinct. Paradoxically, during those loud and barking tones, women became not only plain sexual objects, but consumeristic dolls selling skinny sex  with anything at hand. Sometimes, it feels as though women freedom became a matter of dogmatism and demagogy, rather than liberal rights and beliefs. Other times it feels as though the feminine grace and charisma is getting either faint or rare. By the way, “charisma” translates from greek as “god-given-gift”.

In my current projects, including the Israeli Women, I have adopted a position of “idealism in art”. In practice, I am not looking to literarily express my criticism of psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of human affairs in the contemporary western culture. With in-depth studies of the beautiful and the ugly, I prefer to suggest an alternative view referring to the themes that fascinate me. Instead of typical escapism or pessimism, I believe the idealistic attitude emerges an insightful and positive understanding of our eclectic cultural ground, allowing richer personal and collective introspection.



Born in Georgia (USSR) in ’77. Repatriated to Israel with my family in ’90. Formal education in Politics and Philosophy with a Master work in Epistemology (Genuine perception and cognitive content formation).

During my academic studies i become interested in photography, especial in Black and White medium, mastering this traditional art and craft. Participated in the international photo-festival in Europe (Estremoz, Portugal 2007).

Currently, I live in Israel and develop several photo-art projects – among them Israeli Women and Israeli Landscape (the selected project for support by the Israel Lottery Council for the Art and Culture).


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Victor Ben Tvzi


Editor’s Note: Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

124 thoughts on “victor ben tzvi – israeli women”

  1. Don’t like it. Don’t have a clue what this is. But I do know the artist’s statement is the most overblown bunch of BS I’ve read in a long time. IMHO, of course.

  2. I totally agree with Jim over the artist’s statement. Though I really enjoyed the pictures, especially the quasi-self portraits. I think spend more time on the pictures, less on trying add value to you work by calling it “idealism in art”.

    It’s a neat piece which reminds me of Helmut Newton but with everyday women instead of supermodels. I say keep it up but stop trying to tell us what your pictures are about, let them do that for us.

  3. Well, many times Burn make me to think…

    I don’t know why… I really don’t…
    why at the beggining of the 21 century almost everything what photographers do have to be or is named PROJECT
    Just like here… a series of very good portraits of women… beautiful Israeli women. But probably it’s not enough to be published in Burn, not enough to exsist in pohotographic world…
    It just can’t be series of photos of women it have to be a PROJECT
    “a dialogue between the phenomena and the abstract feminine essence”
    brobably it is “a dialogue between…. etc”
    But I have impression it must be “a dialogue between….”
    It can’t be just series of portraits…
    If you are photographer you can’t just taking pictures… you have to made a PROJECT!
    You can’t just go like that at the end of the world and taking great pictures because you breath and see and… just live…
    no, no, no
    You have to make a project of it…
    I dearm about a PROJECT I will make on sri lanka. I don’t have a clue about what it could be, but if I will come back with pictures I will figure out something. If I don’t nobody will wanted see my pictures and publish my pictures and talk about my pictures, because I didn’t made a PROJECT.
    Only projects could survive!
    If you are a portrait photographer you just can’t take a pictures of humans souls. You have to make a project of portraits of human sould.


    I really love your portraits, there are very sensitive, very good visually.
    But I treat them as a collection of individual images.
    There are deep if I see and think about them singly.

    But I understand why you put it as a project… of something.

    Great work.

  4. Simply terrific portraits. Strong and very sensual. Originality and unity. And as I am not a person
    who is fond of portraits in general, I rarely see something compelling as here.

    Very small comment: only 9 doesn’t fit for me in this series. But that’s little detail.

  5. Well done portraits. I like the style. I am also not sure about the artist’s statement and I speak bullshit.

    10 out of 22 of the portraits are of the same woman. Is that really necessary?

  6. Victor, your portraits are strong, many of them compellingly so. I agree with Kristof that #9 does not work here — it looks like an ad for Hasselblad. And perhaps in this edit we could have fewer portraits with the camera center stage. To my eye, #17 is the strongest of the “with camera” images.

    There is a film noir quality to your work, a sultry quality that feels very ’50s. This is especially seen in #10. I am most taken with the portraits that tap into a poignancy that feels very authentic, not put on for the camera. #7 touched me in that way. In that portrait the environment was every bit as important as the woman. You might want to explore that way of working, ie., environmental portraiture.

    Regarding your artist’s statement, I know how hard it is to put words to visual images. Often the less said the better. Let the images tell the story.

    I look forward to seeing where you go from here. Keep pushing the boundaries, Victor. You are off to a wonderful start.


    would like to see what you’d do
    with multi media….

  8. Hi Victor,

    I think there are some really strong portraits here and you just need a tighter edit. I agree with Patricia that your work has a film noir quality to it and I like the high contrast. I also agree that there is too much of the same woman, which might be okay if you had even more women and they were spread out. My tighter edit would be 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14 or 16, 18, 19, 21 and 22. I especially like 10 and 22. I also agree that the artist statement is one of those statements trying to be what it thinks an artist statement should be, and believe me I am having a heck of a time with mine…..not easy. nice portraits.

  9. Some really well made classical portraiture here. Three or four of them are glorious.
    For me it became more about the camera and the technique though. I kept seeing that, instead of the work. And I certainly could not decipher the statement. Is it for real? Are you toying with us?
    These are at the end of the day mainly ‘classic’ portraits that could easily been taken anytime in the last fifty years(thats a good thing in my book, by the way),and the use of any statement of intent, let alone the one used, just baffles me.

  10. These pictures do not fit on my screen making it very difficult to enjoy looking at them and impossible to see them properly. I can see they are beautiful pictures of beautiful women though.

    I might as well add here that the captions in this format are also always difficult to find and read. And I find the slideshow a bit clunky. They take a long time to move through though perhaps that’s the slowness of loading the pictures on my computer.

    Victor, your statement is very difficult to understand. It’s too complicated. And in the end, I am not sure I like your stated intentions, though that takes away nothing from the pictures themselves.

    I gather what you are trying to do is create and show an image of your ideal of woman. This idea is of woman as feminine but not domestic, always sexy and creative too,(since you’ve told us these women are poets and involved in artistic professions). This is your idea of the best that modern woman can be. I am glad that not all photography of women is of this sort. I’m very glad for the diversity. Idealism can be oppressive.

    I think it would be interesting to see what you would do with the same project about men as a sort of self-critique of your own project.

    “I rarely see something compelling as here.” I think Kristof means “really” not “rarely”.

  11. One more of the opinion that most of the portraits are nice, sensual and well executed, but you should definitely delete the artist statement.

    Good work in any case.

  12. Love how you see women! Love how you love them..good hair days, bad hair days, younger, older, littler, bigger..what a refreshing change of pace from the romantic, idealized versions in ¨Improbable Dreams¨..i feel like this was my reward for wading..er waiting through the last one. I haven´t read the artist statement, don´t much care what the hell you have to say with your mouth. Just what you have to say with your eyes and your heart. To you, women rise up out of the earth, dirt still under their fingernails and do a mambo strut forward and back, side to side..getting tattoos, doing their hair, taking care of business, kids, men and themselves..or not. Maybe some of them don´t. but one thing we know absolutely for sure. They´re the real deal. And you love them just the way they are, were and will forever be. And for that, I LOVE YOU!



  13. Congratulations for appearing on Burn Victor.

    I love portraits in general, and I like some of these photographs a great deal, but have some reservations.

    The high contrast is not serving you well. Unfortunately, many young photographers fall into the trap of thinking that if a little contrast is good, then more must be better. There are times when high contrast is appropriate, and it works. This is not one of those times. The images just look blocked up and chalky (and I’ve looked at them with three monitors)

    Many of these images would have looke so much better with a fuller range of tones. Your subjects are gritty enough without you having to re-inforce their grittyness with contrast. The abbreviated tones supress rather than re-inforce what you are trying to convey. I hope your prints come off better.

    Good black and white negatives, and good print quality are very difficult to achieve. It is too easy to over-develop, and make overly contrasty prints, and then claim you really wanted them that way. If you really know how to make a great conventional print, but prefer this chalky blocked up look that is fine. However if it is just because you don’t have the skill to make a better print, or simply don’t know any better, that is another matter.

    Your artists statement, well, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it suffered a great deal in translation. I did manage to navigate my way through it and think I have a tiny inkling what you are getting at. Just try to use plain language please.

  14. hi all…

    thanks for your comments, i appreciate your feedback and criticism, especially constructive for me since the project is in developing.
    i will answer first a few interesting issues, and then go back to the “artistic statement” issue too.

    1. @ katheleen. U Do Not need to read my artistic statement. u already get to the most essentials of the work. thanks for your words, im glad to hear it here too, as this is the frequent response from women who are more or less the “audience and subject” of this works and many want to take part in it too.

    2. @ gorgon l. i have to admit here that the photographs are Draft scans from negatives, no photoshoping etc. on my monitor (mobile mac, adjusted), it looks ok-acceptable, but ive seen my website from other computers, and sometimes blacks and whites were really blocked and photos looked weird.
    being a master printer (silver gelatin, and also some other alt processes like lith), the prints will look great once i do them, with a bit of eccentric contrast, but preserved rich tones etc more or less as u described. maybe once i do those silvergelatins i will rescan them from the smaller size prints. it will look much better for sure, although i cannot help with monitor differences. this is the drawback of the internet vs physical print, but from the other hand, an easy compromise for the many things internet gives us.

    3. @ andrea c. u outline a point which is very important to me. Ideal-Isealism is a very tricky word indeed. i was seriously considering not to use it at all. the problem is already at its main origins – Plato’s philosophy where this term was mixed all the time between “idea” as scientific deductive thinking of “universals” resembled in the physical world, from one hand, from the other hand “universal” as the ultimate source of truth and justices (consequently coming to plato’s politics, and stayed in politics and religion ever since). so, i agree with u, “idealism can be oppressive” easily.
    But… i hope it is clear that in any way, i do not suggest a view as though my work and thought is the ultimate and the only acceptable perspective. it is my view, an alternative take on the theme – how i would like to see things, yet, others are welcomed to suggest their imaginative and insightful take on the subject in their works. honestly, i dont have patience to think if and how bad things are and then criticize it in one way or another in my work. there are so many people dealing with similar agenda from the critical and “negative” side, documentary or otherwise, some do it well some less. alternative view, with a bit of ideals and even romanticism is more fascinating to me, especially since i hold a camera in my hand, passionate and being able to give things an aesthetic tune. with all the media we have today, i think it is time that artist at least rethink their working attitudes.
    also, im openly saying it, the work is my perspective as Man. i do not pretend myself to be a Woman or an Almighty wisdom.
    as for how women “should be” – domestic, sexy, artistic – whatever each woman wants. “ideally”, there is no need for stigmas and their contra-stigmas – old fashion career woman vs domestic modern woman, or any other mix of definitions…

    4. @ marcin luszowsky. “why call it project etc”…. agree and dont agree with u, at the same time. in each photograph my attitude is singular – very much the way u say. i do have a general idea of what i do in this project, and even particular concepts, but a lot of weight is given to the authentic issue – the singular, the passion for photography and the direct inspiration for the subject as individual etc. Yet, it is the “project”, or call it a “body of work” if u wish, that creates something synergetic from those individual works. i agree with u regarding your feeling, but i do think something new should come from the coherent collection of works. it is not necessarily a plot, or some didactic line that governs along the lines. difficult to explain, but maybe some spirit across the work, changing but continuous.

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  18. back here… so now about the “artistic statement” …

    except two times that members clearly state about their discomfort with my text (complicated, and asking from plain language), i dont hear anything constructive… just a “rant” that the text is “not appropriate”. well that doesnt impresses me much, but i do take notes for myself, and that is also important to me cause the text is fresh, and looking ahead for later developments of the project.
    personally i do like it, and i stand behind every word and idea presented there. whethere it is written well is a different question. anyway, at the moment i dont have a better alternative brewing in my mind.

    so what is Bad about this “artistic statement” ? i am asking it and seriously want to understand the critics in deeper sense.

    it is also interesting that members put too much weight on the text, or so i feel from the comments. this text is not a description of the work, or a guide to interpret it. it is just a companion to the work, reflected some of my general thoughts about the theme. in fact, i do not want to get into the essence of the work through text, cause this should come only from the experience one has from seeing the photographs, and this door should be open freely for the viewer.
    up untill a couple of weeks ago, i didnt even have a statement about this project, and even now, it is far from being the primary thing of my work.

    meanwhile, lets put things on table…

    the text is not made in a common manner. that alone is good.
    it is not exactly modest, which alone is also good – i want it to be art work (photos) so better i will be of sharp and bold opinions, even if it is not “ultimate truth about this or that” but more like a dialogue.

    also, throughout the “rant”, the issues and themes i present in the text are not addressed at all… could be understandable if the text is not clearly written. but if it is readable, i think the ideas presented there and challenge of the text that climbs to higher trees and hills is more interesting for discussion than simplistic faded ideas and narrow explorations of the any theme of the work. a bit of unrestrained philosophy doesnt hurt.

    so what are the themes in plain language:

    i am interested to create Personages in my work, on the thin line between the real person and the narrative/motive i “articulate” to it. in other words, the photographs are equally about what a woman is and what it is not (and i or she would like her to be). again, beyond the aesthetics, this is the tension that especially interest me.
    i dont care about documentary work here. first and foremost because im more passionate to work in the way i described above.

    moreover, i think in photography we are in a tricky period generally speaking:
    1. it comes to docu work, we are full of new media, now information exchange etc… it is time to rethink what the docu photography is and how it is positioned in this landscape. the great magnum masters are one of the sources of my love to photography and they are still inspiring to me… but taking their path literarily is a bit less relevant today, they simply worked in very different context, both historic and technological (media etc). i know they become ideals we younger want to follow (i include myself here too), but something new should come. emulating them is not the best thing now, doing reportage is not enough and inspiring cause we are full of them fighting for a single second of attention on tv/internet/etc…
    2. the other side of “imaginative” photography becomes so distant from pure photographic essences. actually it should be called graphic design, or picture design etc … it has very little to do with photography in deepest sense – not like that made by koudelka or like that made by penn to take a couple of fine models of this art and craft.

    in perspective of “photography” this is what my first passage means.

    next, second passage; the aggressive superficial mainstream feminism is a bit disgusting sometimes. i think we “should be mature enough” already about women place in society, preferably, really liberal in our thought. in order for a woman to be equal in society, she doesnt have to give up on her feminine essences, while at the same time having commercial figures as models of feminine nature. the thing is about being liberal and not dogmatic – let the woman decide what and how she want to be a modern woman, physically and mentally, without those Stigmas etc.

    next about the “art and idealism”. my response to AndreaC (#3 in my previous comment) + the tricky period in photography – above…
    quoting my words “art and idealism” as semi-silent criticism doesnt tell me much, and of no value for discussion about this serious issue.

    and, i would defenetly prefer if people spend time on looking my photos rather than being concerned about immediate impression from text. i Am a photographer. as for the text, if some time is spent on it, then at least open a discussion if it really interests u :-)

  19. imants, i hope david is ok that i took initiative to post twice (now third time)…
    i really welcome a discussion on my works here too, but it is up to david to decide such thing.
    (then, let me figure out how to manage discussion on burn if david wants to keep the policy of one statement per person).

  20. I love the photographs for its intenese direct eye contact. They actually make me think about Paris, in a way… There’s a nice retro rock’n’roll feeling through it. Adore especially #10 and #20. But I find the essay in itself hard to comment because the artist statement is confusing. From the text I get an impression that you have tried to remove personality from the portraits (you talk about masks), but from the images I see lots of personality, although a very glamourised one. Don’t want to focus on this too much though. What you have created is beautiful and simplistic, so please let the simplicity shine through your words/motives as well in the future.

  21. imants and jim … i will inform david about it rite now.

    bjarte… seems u sharply point out to the emotions im putting, and im glad they are transcended to the viewer. like Paris-spirit (as though ideal, or a bit of berlin too), like the tension between the authentic directness and the narrative mask, or like the simplistic attitude (purely photographic as i aspire) without overly illustrated frame etc…

    also, somehow reading u comment i kinda realize what is one of the things that might be wrong about my text … if it was a finished project, like a book already, then those further developed texts could be there for additional insightful read etc… but here it is in the front line, whether i intended or not, simply because it is an artistic statement and a bit dramatic too. and in a way, it is competing rite with the first photo, especially for people that do not ignore text semi-automatically.

    wendy, the member, commented about military issue (of woman service in army during the period when actually a elder girls become a young women). others asked why i call it “israeli”, and i agree that majority of the work is simply a western culture woman. but there are nuances that as israeli especially interest me (not only the military issue mentioned by wendy).
    this together with your Paris-like is one of the themes i would like to explore as a dialogue later on in my work.

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  23. Victor

    Good to read your responses here, and thankyou for opening the discussion, I miss that aspect of Burn.

    I’m very glad to hear about the quality/contrast issues and that you are in fact a master printer. I would love to see some prints, or at least scans from prints. It is unfortunate that these draft scans do not do the images justice and that you chose to submit them in that form. Images made for web viewing should not recieve less attention than images destined for the wall or print publication. More people probably saw them here than will ever view them in a gallery.

    Besides the blocking up, there is a smearing of detail which is particularly un-fortunate in the eyes. Rollei negs can provide so much more and it would give the images so much more power. I do tend to be a bit anal and nit-picky when viewing work here on Burn and have criticized others for lack of attention to craft.

    Thankyou for clarification of your artists statement in plainer language. That helps. As does the Kathleens delightful comments, as well as some of the others. It appears that translation/syntax contributed to some of the reaction here. The artists statement is a touchy subject around Burn. Not being a writer, I hesitate to give you any advice other thatn my ordinary language suggestion. I’d love to hear Bobs advice here.

    A photo-poem, like word poems, sometimes requires the reader/viewer to do a little work to appreciate. There is always the surface of the piece, then, if you persist, more.

    Good stuff here Victor

  24. Victor

    I am so grateful to you for opening this thread to multiple comments from the same person. It is Sunday morning here in Costa Rica. Sunday mornings are not just like any other mornings. There´s coming down from Saturday night. There´s waking up and not being where you expected to be or cursing to yourself that you are exactly where you expected to be and wish you weren´t. There´s anticipation for the day that lies ahead, for its possibilities, unexpected surprises or a grinding repeat of last Sunday and the Sunday before. So, with this hole in the week of days that i owe to everyone else, i looked at your essay again and……….was………..again………..thrilled. Even more than last night. I felt empowered MYSELF to be who i am and charge out into my day with the confidence that no one can do what i do better than i can.

    Your photos…the tension, the energy, the sexual charge, femininity trumpimg drudgery, the essence of life being not in its commerical trappings, but in its rich details, the miniscule moments and intimate exchanges..it´s all there, this passion within you to say this stuff that you feel emotionally but also intellectually, your acceptance of this rich and vital fact that eludes young people. Well, wow, it´s just a heady rush of good natured warmth mixed with strength, personality, attitude, love and unlimited potential.

    I am a little sorry that so many are hung up on your text because i think that when photography speaks this well for itself, words are redundant. Sometimes photos are visually beautiful but superficial or else weak in message, completely lacking in depth and/or irony. The viewer is left wondering…And???? Is that it???? Perhaps it is because the photographer is not passionate about his subject, doesn´t dig too terribly deep within himself to express his own inner conflict or yearnings or anger, or whatever. Perhaps he´s just there documenting an event to inform the audience and any investment in self would be superfluous. That´s when text and captions provide the missing piece for the viewer. But when the work is this powerful, this personal and the subject matter this rich, warm, sensual and intelligent well i think for the viewer it is like hmm..being handed an open travel pass and 10 days to enjoy it. Who needs an explanation or an itinerary? Just pack your bag and go.

    And so to you again, i say thank you. No need to respond, Victor..just had to say it this morning.

    Oh yes, please ask those beautiful ladies in your photos to stop smoking. That hurt me each time i saw it..it´s not sexy, it´s not tough, it´s weak and sad.


  25. Gordon

    ¨A photo-poem, like word poems, sometimes requires the reader/viewer to do a little work to appreciate. There is always the surface of the piece, then, if you persist, more. ¨



  26. Since you asked for advice, or at least more explicit criticism, on the text, I’ll try to help out. I should note that, in general, I am one of those people that don’t think any kind of artist statement should be required. If a person wants to do one, fine, but I usually prefer to let the photos say what there is to be said.

    That said, After reading all of the negative comments, I was very surprised to find that I liked the essence of your statement. Once I got past the first sentence, it made good sense and I was impressed by the thought you’ve put into it and the standard you’ve set for yourself. The problem is that if one doesn’t think real hard about what you’re saying, it appears to be a lot meaningless gobbledigook. That’s because when text includes phrases such as “eclectic cultural ground” and “existential tension,” it almost always means the writer has no clue what he or she is talking about. Not always, and yours is a counterexample, but that’s the assumption most readers are likely to make.

    So first off, my advice (as a former English comp teacher, for whatever that’s worth… okay, not much), is to lose the first sentence. At the very least lose “in the modern cultural climate.” It is wordy and doesn’t really say anything. You can move “modern” before “western women” and convey the idea much better. And I don’t think “phenomena” is the word you want to use. Even if you are using it correctly, this is a great example of where plain language would work much better. Just use “real” of something equally straightforward if that is what you mean. I also don’t think “personage” is correct in the context you’re using it. Icon would probably be a better choice. Or some other word that means “representative.”
    I like the concept of “synthesis of their authentic characteristics and thematically attributed narratives” but would suggest you find a simpler way of saying “thematically attributed narratives.” Perhaps “narratives imposed by the photographer?”

    I think the second paragraph is very good content-wise but needs more ESL-type cleanup than I can go into here. I’ll just say you should find a more straightforward way of communicating what you mean by “Our eclectic cultural ground, with existential tension…” As I mentioned above, that’s the kind of verbiage that cause people to roll their eyes and stop reading. Too many poor thinkers write like that. What do you mean by eclectic? Or existential. Perhaps in this case, you’d be better served by using a few more, albeit simpler, words to express those ideas?

    The third paragraph suffers from all of the above problems and the solutions I’d suggest are similar. Here’s a quick, simple edit:

    “In my current projects, including the Israeli Women, I am not looking to express my criticism of the psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of contemporary western culture. I prefer to suggest an alternative view, one of “idealism in art” instead of the common escapism or pessimism. [succinctly explain what you mean by “idealism in art” here]. I believe this attitude can provide us with an insightful and positive understanding of our diverse cultural practices and give us an opportunity for both personal and collective introspection.

    Maybe that doesn’t entirely express what you mean, and it could still use some editing, but I think it points you in the right direction.

  27. Victor – this is so sweet. I love the contrast, the shadows, the beauty, the innocence, the ‘in your face’, well…, almost everything. When I say almost, I like to be able to read a story from the visuals presented in the essay or composition. I often comment here the written word is usually where photographers don’t do so well (there are notable exceptions). I read a couple of lines of your accompanying statement and admit it didn’t grab me so I haven’t finished it (apologies but it was too hard work). BUT, for me I don’t need words to explain it. It is strong and powerful and intimate and beautiful. Well done. Creative work and most worthy. Best wishes.

  28. 1. @ michael webster… thanks a lot for those advices and observation. it is so helpful that i feel the text will be tuned much sooner than i thought. i do want the text to be challenging and insightful, but from the other hand, i dont want the effect that leads some people to initial impression of overblown kitsch statements by mistake or by difficulty to read it.
    i feel u really point out here a good balance with your critics and samples. will work on it very soon.

    2. @ kathaleen … no need for response, i will just say that those photographs are done in order to evoke the emotions and thoughts u described. your words are not just compliments to my work, this is the REWARD.

    3. @ gordon l. i am so much with what u say that i feel a need for a short excuse.
    true, i also feel a better scan etc is important for proper presentation.. i simply dont see a way to improve it substantially until i make the real prints, so here and on my website is the compromise which doesnt make me feel comfortable cause i want people to see those photos as best as possible on the net too.
    now i will talk from “light-table and loupe”…
    as for contrast theres absolutely no problem while examining negatives. i develop them myself with all the accuracy and control of the process…
    as for details-smearing and rolleiflex… i think i know what u mean – part of it is the low resolution home-made scan that doest look any good at bigger than 700 pix on apple monitor, or a 5×5” print.
    another part is optical issue and it is mostly intentional. the roleliflex lens (the most recent planar 80/2.8) is probably one of the bests ever made in any format any time. technically, it holds great even against the latest digitally oriented medium format lenses from mamiya, schneider and hasselblad, and aesthetically, there are very few lenses that have such a grace to them (to photos with them). yet, i really love to use them wide open too, say from f/2,8 to f/5,6, and many times with rolleinar-I mounted for close portraits etc. the focus plane and sharpness is rarely an issue, but even then, the very limited depth of field blurs and softenes almost everything in the frame except the particular point of focus. i do like this selective focus in terms of aesthetics.
    but again, with the selective focus, low-res, limited tonality etc, i just feel a little uncomfortable with the compromise that what is seen is not the really the intense silver prints in my manner (or at least scans from them for the net).
    …any time soon.

  29. Victor, although I think your photographs are beautiful, I do not respond to them the way Kathleen does. They have a similar effect on me to fashion photography, that is to say, your personages, or characters (which is correct English translation though you should be able to use the french word also) make me feel inadequate. That is the effect of idealisation, the ideal woman your pictures tell of. It is the effect of the role playing you and your sitters have created. I did understand from your statement what you meant by most of the terms as I have been exposed to a little philosophy. I am aware of the recent trends that started with the long history of idealisation in art and then the postmodern flip to the baccanalian and then a turn back to something more grey or nuanced. That said, I think your more fictional pictures are a return to “objectification” of woman. The nuance comes from having other images mixed alongside which are more natural but I don’t think your fictional representations show us anything we haven’t already seen, John Gladdy noted. They may not be found in the pages of fashion magazines, but then they never were.

    From the point of view of a work in progress, the project as it is so far could be handled with two images per person: one a standard portrait and one a fictional portrait (with not so many cameras featuring). To make it more subtle you could have them not sitting side by side on the gallery walls but all mixed up. But I probably shouldn’t tell you how to make your work.

    What i meant when I suggested you turn your camera on men, was subject men to the same idealising treatment as you have done to women. Then you may understand better the problem with your pictures, as I see it. If you were to do that, we would not see empty gay God-like representations of men we see in fashion magazines, but more your Cary Grant and Robert Redford swash buckling heros of last century. Yes your aesthetic strikes me as evocative of ideas of women we know from film. Your women are “characters” – personages – mainly from the past – the tattoos spice it up a little. Your men would be too. A combination of the natural and the fictional. I personally would like to see more of the real in your work, less of the fictional, though the latter are very seductive.

    You write of your work as an antidote to the desexualised feminist woman. I think it’s really what your work is pitted against but where I live we don’t see much of “the aggressive superficial mainstream feminism” unless perhaps you mean in music videos (which I don’t see much of). My society has already moved past the hairy arm-pitted feminist of the 1970s, if you are referring to them, and I suspect most of the western world has also. It seems to me your image of woman is essentially as a sexual creature. Take away the sex and you find women aggressive and disgusting, (again unless you are referring to images of women in music videos). You say it’s just your personal take on the matter. Of course that is what men were always doing when they represented women, just showing us what they like.

    (I hope this makes sense. One of the things about writing on the computer is the mixed up result I get from the editing process.)

  30. And now I am just going to comment on your statement. Michael makes a lot of sense and I am sure his explanation is true of the way most people have responded to it. But I didn’t give up and I still found it difficult.

    A solution to “thematically attributed narratives” would be “role playing”.

    I would say that your intellectualisation is not the only problem. I think there is also a language problem because I find that complication I mentioned earlier showing up in all your posts. At first I thought it was your way of thinking but there are too many words used oddly for that to be the case. KITSCH is one, I think you mean overblown “cliches”. Others are – “SHARPLY point out” (clearly); “TRANSCENDED to the viewer” (transmitted or conveyed perhaps); “overly illustrated FRAME” (no idea what you mean by frame, context perhaps); “universals” “RESEMBLED in the physical world” (represented). Generally if we take our time, we can get a reasonable grasp of what you mean but when it happens often and on top of the other problem, its just not clear what you are trying to say. I think it would be nice to encourage all non-native English speakers to get their statements edited by a native speaker before publication on Burn. Just as I think it would be a good idea for all us native speakers to have a second person look it over and alert us to any unnecessary bullshit, grammatical errors, poor choice of words and readability.

    About artists’ statements. (I write this bit not purely for your sake.) Yes you should know that on Burn statements are often perceived as a problem. The problem is not limited to Burn either. Artists’ statements are just difficult and most artists, apparently, stuff them up. (I had that on authority from a head curator of a state art museum).

    I personally like to read artist’s statements. I read yours after looking at your work, not before. And I appreciate that artists’ statements, when their aim is to articulate artistic intent, and possibly in most cases, are secondary to the work. But if you don’t write about your ideas, you will still probably have to talk about it at some point. As you know, people don’t just send off their images, or images of their work in the case of other mediums, to curators, grant granters, clients and editors without any accompanying words – be they written or spoken. Most pictures we see in most contexts need words to convey what the pictures can’t do, or don’t do easily. Words enrich our experience of art. I think people’s rejection of words is just intellectual laziness.

  31. – some really strong and deep portrait, some nice fashion shots in between…But why this… I am style doubting…also “modern” and “western woman” is a non sense to my point of view, the tittle also “Israeli”, nor if you like to show a certain sadness and fearness,…, on that you succeed, fashion in between are not at their places;

    – also this is not modern at all and all this occur in middle east country, est is far to the west to my eyes. Because of the living condition of your neighbour surviving in Gaza at less than 80km, you should try to think about a document and artist statement… or take a radical “imaginary direction and on that erase that word “israeli” make it only poetic not politic..

  32. “I think people’s rejection of words is just intellectual laziness.”

    And yet again, ouch…

    Perhaps not “intellectual laziness” but merely a preference to allow the photographer to speak through his photographs alone whenever possible. I cannot believe that a purely personal experience with and an appreciation for the complexity of a successful piece of art, whether it be a painting, sculpture, photograph is any the less intellectual for the lack of accompanying text. In fact, i think an obsessive focus on the written word can only diminish the viewer’s personal experience. i do not need an instruction manual to appreciate Victor’s work in the slightest. Nor any other worthy photographer that i can think of. An exception to text providing a rich enhancement to a body of photographic work was James Agee’s forward to Helen Levitt’s book “A Way of Seeing”.

    “SO FAR, I have avoided any attempt to discuss the “meanings” of the photographs, feeling that this is best left as an affair between the pictures themselves and the reader. By less direct means I have tried to furnish the chance reader who may feel that he lacks it, enough suggestions about such pictures as these, that he may go on to their full enjoyment without further interruption by words. But because I realize that we are all so deeply caught in the tyranny of words, even where words are not needed, that they have sometimes to be used as keys to unlock their own handcuffs, I have tried, from here on, to give a more directly suggestive paraphrase.”


    “As I H0PE the reader will have found, before reading this last section, the photographs can speak much more eloquently and honestly for themselves. It is hoped that in some degree this introduction may have served not only an immediate but a more general purpose, of helping to open, for some readers, a further ability to see and enjoy, without the further interference of words, still other photographs, good and bad, and the ordinary world. For although it would be foolish to hope that a purification of the sense of sight can liberate and save us, any more than anything else is likely to, it might nevertheless do much in restoring us toward sanity, goodwill, calm, acceptance, and joy. Goethe wrote that it is good to think, better to look and think, best to look without thinking. Such photographs as these can do much to show us what he meant.”


  33. My beef with the statement is that the photographer here is trying to make something out of the work that isn’t in the pictures. I don’t see what he is telling me is there. It is a series of nice portraits taken in varied situations but I just don’t see any of the other things he is trying to say I should see. A statement should be simple. If you have to go on and on about your work in obscure language then for me that doesn’t work at all. It is fine for the statement to lead the viewer in a direction, but here we have the case of us being lead far beyond where the photos actually take us. Too much of a stretch. The thing is the photos aren’t in themselves a failure if presented without the text. They are good portraits overall. However with the text, they are a failure because they obviously haven’t met the standard the photographer thinks they should.

  34. “A statement should be simple.” Not all are chasing simple notions others are happy to go beyond the surface and find relationships with aspects of their own lives. As stated before the text is a aid, an insight and doesn’t have to be read.

  35. Kathleen,

    I knew your comment was for me. I will respond to yours later on (probably by tomorrow) I am almost due for bed now and I know I can’t put anything together in five minutes that takes a bit of effort.

  36. “western woman in the modern cultural climate; a dialogue between the phenomena and the abstract feminine essence”

    Victor, I think that you have done a great job; a dialogue indeed – I very much enjoyed it. I’m sorry that a rather orthodox Burn response about words has overshadowed a potentially more useful debate about your images. And yet once we work our way past limited and basically useless comments such as “the artist’s statement is the most overblown bunch of BS I’ve read” it does seem that a more intelligent conversation emerges.

    Some may never have the interest to follow your approach and inquiry – always seeing the work, at best,as a ‘nice set of pictures.’ And I wish them all the best too. For my part, I am delighted by the sensitivity of your inquiry and the way in which you have attempted to question both our assumptions and show us something of the ‘essence’ of your subjects. You do it well.

    The intersection of image and oral expression will always be a mysterious area; I’d like to step into that space enthusiastically rather than backing away from it. I want to know as much as possible of what an photographer/artist/whatever is trying to say while also acknowledging that I will probably never ‘get it.’

    Btw – Kathleen, I am a fan of Goethe and what he was trying to advocate – but, apart from a few drawings, I believe his struggle was mostly expressed through words.. ;-))

  37. Rafal

    Two of us at least have admitted that we were able to grasp the meaning of the text. It’s there. It’s just not easy to get. I wonder what you think Victor is saying that you don’t find in the work?

    Or perhaps it’s me who’s misunderstood the text. Perhaps what i think i understand from the text and see in the pictures are not there.

    Kathleen, Just quickly, if Leonardo da vinci was around to speak about his work, would you turn down the chance to hear him speak about it? If you were face to face with say the Mona Lisa, and there was a written statement written by the artist himself printed nearby on the wall, would you ignore it?

    But also I did not say it was intellectual laziness not to prepare a statement. I said it was intellectual laziness to avoid reading one when it is there. It is intellectual laziness to avoid the words that accompany a work, be it caption or statement, or curator’s essay even. If a viewer wants to get more from the work than their own subjective response, then they should not ignore the accompanying words. Like Rafal, you might think the work doesn’t achieve what the artist said he hoped to do. You don’t have to swallow it whole. It shouldn’t mean it shuts off your own exploration of the meaning of the work. If the work is rich enough, it will have layers of meaning that even the artist isn’t aware of.

    Anyway, later on I will look into what the man you refer to is saying.

  38. Andrea,

    I grasped the meaning. It took a few readings but I grasped the meaning. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand what Victor wanted to say, it’s that the photos don’t really show what he says he wants us to see. The essence of femininity? “criticism of psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of human affairs in the contemporary western culture.” Really? Well perhaps I’m blind but I’m scratching my head here trying to see any “criticism of psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of human affairs in the contemporary western culture”. What I see are fairly well done portraits. But beyond that? If this is what Victor wanted to show then for me, this fell flat on it’s face. A question I have is why about half the photos are of the same woman. I would think that a project with such grand aspirations wouldn’t show more than a handful of women. Perhaps if Victor claimed to try and show the essence of these particular women, fine, I would buy that. But for my money he is way overshooting where he actually got to.

  39. It’s quite Ok to say the women are from Israel, if that’s where they are from. I am sure if someone took pictures of women in Gaza (since the subject came), people would not find fault in saying so in the title… So?

    Then it’s for us viewers to decide to find extra meaning in that disclosure. Or not.

    Likewise, since a photograph is an object, anything inside it runs the chance of being objectified as well. Maybe cause for discussion, but hardly a defect when it comes to photography, especially such where the key to enter the realm opened up to us is psychological.

    I can’t read your text, Victor. Superb photography rarely needs anything that reads longer than the time it takes to look at the first picture. Your work is superb, Victor, promising, and a lesson as well.

  40. “I said it was intellectual laziness to avoid reading one when it is there. It is intellectual laziness to avoid the words that accompany a work.” ….trouble is I am not an intellectual, I am a photographer.

  41. AndreaC

    The link to the piece by James Agee is:


    I did not read Victor’s text and i do not think, in this case, that i was being “intellectually lazy”. I spontaneously reacted to the essay in my first comment and Victor said i got it. The photographer communicated and i got the message. End of story as far as that goes. That the photographs have stayed with me, that the faces of these women have continued to delight me every time one of their portraits flashes through my memory is satisfaction enough for me.

    Regarding DaVinci, no, i don’t think i would like to have certain artistic mysteries clarified for me. I like mystery. i like ambiguity. i like wondering and imagining about a piece of art. i like following my own clues, picked up like bread crumbs dropped for me along the trail by the artist.

    AndreaC..you and i are different people. Our viewing experiences of this essay are different. I don’t need the text in this essay to enhance my very personal viewing experience which i feel to be multi-faceted, intimate and quite exciting on a number of levels. If that makes me intellectually lazy then so be it. And glad of it.


    Goethe’s words were used by Agee because they supported his discussion of Levitt’s intuitive, lyrical style not because Goethe himself relied more on words than art to communicate.

    best and goodnight

  42. Kathleen,

    Thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood the context of the quotation; intellectual laziness on my part, I guess!


  43. 1. @ rafal pruszynski… i think u expect a normal artistic statement, whatever it means, but i dont really care about normal. normal in this case means nothing more than average. u also expect to do a 1 to 1 comparison of text and photos… well, that would be really shallow from my point to write something like this. u say “it is ok to lead the viewer in direction”, but i do not believe in “guiding” the viewer with words or with stick if i am a photographer, i want the essentials of the work to stay within its medium only, so u r really off with the intentions of my text (overblown, to add value etc). i do believe in educating for arts philosophy etc in general (instead of guiding), but it is irrelevant for now, cause i do not come here to “educate” anybody.
    do yourself a favor, do not read that text, or the corrected one i will post soon. it is only an Additional read, just if u wish, and just if it doesnt confuse u. but seems it confuses so much that “good portraits” without text, suddenly become “failure” with text…. u take it too dramatically.
    Gordon L, wrote previously:
    ” a photo-poem, like word poems, sometimes requires the reader/viewer to do a little work to appreciate. there is always the surface of the piece, IF your Persist, more. ” ….
    i believe in what he said, deeply. and i aspire for it in my work. u dont have to go beyond if u dont want, but to make average 1 to 1 arguments is “too much of a stretch” ….

    2. @ oz… r u australian ? u must be rising Kengurus in your garden etc. i have never been to australia, but this is what a funny person with limited horizons would say more or less.
    what the hell gaza has to do with My Work… ur watching too much tv, and a bad one probably :-)
    in short… why western, cause israel is a western country, culturally. sceince/technology more like england-germany etc, behavior more like greeks-italians so to speak. consumerism and global issues more like united states. most importantly, it is western for its origins. israeli people sharing the same history and cultural narratives as “western countries” – bible, hellenism, romans, renaissance, enlightenment, industrialization, and now globalization. in the course of the western history, jews had either brought to light things (bible), or opposed (dramatic romans opposition that led to christianity) took a big part in enlighemnt and industrial developments, suffered the same european wars etc. but i understand u r more concerned about geography of gaza and east/west….
    and i will not respond to shallow political issues any more. it has nothing to do with my particular work either.

    3. @ andrea and kathaleen and others around it… since u plan to exchange more on your interesting dialogue, i will wait with my interruption.

  44. first, i have to thank all members with their comments even if i dont answer them directly as an Issue.

    1. @ steven… yes that deeper insight is the Essence of the work, together with photographic Aesthetics of course. generally, i think some people want to get it fully “baked” in micro-waves and semi-chewed – in other words, that the deeper insight will be “self-explanatory”, and this might also explain the over-dependance on words, or on easily perceptible visual tricks in order to illustrate an idea which would have been better to put in words from the first place.
    but i want to respond to your words about photo and oral statement. i really agree with what u say if i understand u properly: a “statement” is not necessarily a guide in order to direct the viewer, but a little insight into artist mind – who he/she sees the theme in general, maybe even the world and life, who he/she sees the medium of his/her art etc … it is a bit like sideway conversation, related to main thing in a way. i think this is where “artistic statement” has some value, at least for those who want just a bit of more about artist and related themes of the work. and then, this sideway conversation can even turn and give a bit different light and maybe even enhance the context.
    i do it with a bit of philosophy in my work. other for example can bring a documentary story and add some context or even a sample of more personal story etc of his own or his subject, so we get a bit more involved with artist in general too.

    2. @ raphal pruszinsky…. u ask an interesting question about the same woman that appears a lot. so, my answer is a combination of the following…
    – the project is in developing stages. so, even just by practical means, some woman get more attention than others. while there are more photos, some simply feel more coherent characters at the moment than others.
    – that particular woman is very important for the project, and she will stay there as one of the dominants even when the work gets more volume and more characters will get coherent. in fact, i make of her kinda glorification but the reality are not far either – she is one of the most amazing poets in hebrew, unfortunately, a bit “esoteric” language, but her works are great by any standard (my first langeuege is russian, + i know a bit about anglo-americans poetry, and from the continent as well). she is in-house model for a tel-avian leading designer too. a powerful play-writer, and i will not be surprised if she emrges at some point on international stage too. a mother. in short, with or without my photo-glorification she is Exemplary woman that i Want to put in Contrast to what is going today with the faked feminine commercial icons or uninspiring “feminists” etc etc.

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  46. @ herve … first thanks.
    yes i see this tricky thing about Israeli. two issues here:
    – in general (from birds view), the project can be simply a western woman too. vast majority of photographs and themes/narratives and faces/gestures etc are equally relevant to any woman be her english, danish, italian or french etc.
    – if i relate to some particular “israeli nuance” i do it very mutely and subliminally… no conceptual dramas here, visual or thematic.
    – one of the members mentioned “Paris-spirit” and i responded to it previously. so i will add… there is that cultural glory in Europe (Paris, some periods in Berlin etc). it is related to particular theme of Woman too. in israel, since we are a relatively newly formed country with mix of jews from all around the world (west and east europe, arab countries etc), we luck that european coherent and slow continues development. so along the history, as part of israel culture development, women “icons” are/were kibbutz, east europe metropolitans mentality, west europe metropolitan grace (although always a bit provincial outside of real thing like paris), a few more strides here and there, and then we go and jump to something consumeristic-american etc. well, i think from here it is more clear that in my view and “idealization” i suggest something along the modern take of glorious “Paris-spirit” but with strong original flavor of our own (israeli).

  47. @ andrea.c…. about “role paying” and other observations about work and text.
    im glad to see the contrast and diversity u put to my work.
    i think u take things with a bit with stiff Dichotomy. it is not “authentic” Versus “photographic masks”… well, its up to u how u see my photos, more so how u see art in general, but there is no Versus here, and actually “photographic mask” is just a phrase, not a working method description like “role playing”.
    one of the side of art i love is its rich plasticity. i do not ask for crystal clear definitions even if they are “intellectualized”. this is good for some activities that require clear explanation or accurate implementation. art, no matter how bold the concepts are, should be more like gaze into ideas, emotions and aesthetics… gaze into something either universal or singular, or maybe both at the same time. and, no matter how much i want viewer to “grasp my intentions”, i would rather prefer to see their own vibrancy from my work, which probably comes more from their inner micro-cosmos than from their interpretation of “original intentions”. again, here too, it is a dialogue, when first artist and then the viewer is enriched spiritually etc, if the art work is really good (or from the viewer point of view, if it succeeds to touch/engage the viewer).
    back to “photographic masks”…. people are real there. they exist and present there. they are authentic at great enough extent… what i mean by “not documentary” is that i am not interested in detailed Plot of their life as a content of my work. on contrary, i am more interested in their “inner core” (especially as women and without the dry facts of their life). the character they can be or want to be, and of course how i would like to see them in alternative situation.
    we use masks all the time, we present ourselves – “selling our image”, we show off etc … the “photographic mask” is not much different from it, it doesnt even go as far as fantasy can go… i think u simply Enforce the “dichotomy conceptions” and “crystal clear words” on what supposed to be a Gaze with Plasticity.

  48. Victor

    I think i have pretty much said everything i need to say in my discussion with Andrea. If i say more i will be beating a dead horse. My position is not so complex or, haha, dare i say intellectual to continue wasting so much space here. She may wish to express additional thoughts and that´s great but for me i think i have said way, way more than enough :))

    I am impressed with your language skills!


  49. VICTOR…


    “moreover, i think in photography we are in a tricky period generally speaking:
    1. it comes to docu work, we are full of new media, now information exchange etc… it is time to rethink what the docu photography is and how it is positioned in this landscape. the great magnum masters are one of the sources of my love to photography and they are still inspiring to me… but taking their path literarily is a bit less relevant today, they simply worked in very different context, both historic and technological (media etc). i know they become ideals we younger want to follow (i include myself here too), but something new should come. emulating them is not the best thing now, doing reportage is not enough and inspiring cause we are full of them fighting for a single second of attention on tv/internet/etc…”


    certainly i agree that new paths and new directions must always be found and this is what every new generation must invent…however, in these incisive portraits, as much as i do like them, i agree with John Gladdy in that they are quite in the traditional style of many photographers in the last 50 years…so, i do not see what you mean by some kind of break or innovation from the past in this particular body of work…yes, something new should come…and while i do see these portraits as something good, i do not see them “something new”….or, did i miss your point???

    cheers, david

  50. All I expect is that your artist statement reflect what the work is. Here, it doesn’t. Your work fails to live up to the statement, for me and how I see it and so for me it fails because you set up a bar you failed to meet.

  51. And asking me not to read a statement you mangled and then call me confused because YOU mangled it is a stretch, Victor. Perhaps developing a thicker skin would do you good when you present your work in an open context like this. How I see your work is simple: good, old-fashioned portraiture. Nothing wrong with that.

  52. I love the images, great concept and excellent quality.
    I don’t care about statements cos these days it seems like photographers are trying too hard to explain photographs instead let the photographs talk for them self. Honestly your statement make no sense to me but that’s just me.
    First time I looked at the photos I tough this was set of self portrait images, and that seems excellent to me only later I realized that it’s not true. As I said images are great and I love them my only question here is who is the photographer here. you have images that have one person in frame with camera, to me person who took that image is a photographer, you have just came up with the idea which is great but not making you a photographer, more likely and Art director :(

  53. @ david… u missed nothing. it is a general statement about photography situation.
    in a way, i decided to go back a little bit, first and foremost because i love that tradition of “pure photography” and passionate about. while i have never “claimed” that i innovate anything in this regard, i do give it my own touch both aesthetically and in the way it is combined with the themes of my work. on contrary, maybe i love that tradition so much, that it is a bit difficult for me to think about real brake-though and innovation, if and whether i am gifted and lucky enough as photographer to take such a grandiose step. at most, these days, i can think about refining that very “pure photography” from its traditional ground.
    again, it is the passion for that “style” of photography that inspires me to first of all, but as a general take, regarding the issue of current state of photography, i simply say – lets stop for a second, stop and reflect etc etc…
    so i quite agree with john gladdy and u.

  54. @ rafal.. i hope we dont get too personal here… it is just a discussion. as i said previously, i would not put any serious text in the front line, and your reaction now just a reason why such thing should not be in front line. but i would put more developed texts in a book, somewhere in the middle. as an artistic statement, not sure what i would write otherwise, but i will try a tuning of the text very soon. it takes too much attentions and i “blame” partly the reader who is overly obsessed with text and partly myself for putting a “dramatic” text rite in the front.


    First I used “intellectual” as an adjective not a noun. I am not an intellectual either.


    You say ‘The problem isn’t that I don’t understand what Victor wanted to say, it’s that the photos don’t really show what he says he wants us to see. The essence of femininity? “criticism of psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of human affairs in the contemporary western culture.”’

    But Victor said “In practice, I am not looking to literarily express my criticism of psychological, social, and philosophical aspects of human affairs in the contemporary western culture. With in-depth studies of the beautiful and the ugly, I prefer to suggest an alternative view referring to the themes that fascinate me.”

    Anyway, I have no trouble seeing Victor’s work as a criticism of “psychological….” If it wasn’t, I wonder that he’d mention it. I think he criticises by showing an alternative image to he one that concerns him. He shows us what he likes as an antidote to what he doesn’t like and to which he has expressed a strong distaste. If that’s not criticism, it’s close.


    Thanks for the link to Agee’s essay.

    Firstly, just in case, you know my comment of intellectual laziness wasn’t pointed at you. I said it because of the frequent objection people here make to texts, even to captions. Clearly, you, Kathleen, are not intellectually lazy.

    Essentially I think you are saying that one is capable of grasping meaning from the work without the benefit of text. Yes, but often one does not or often what one grasps is limited or in some way less than what it could be. To ignore the words is to deprive oneself of the possibility of more depth of meaning, of more nuances. And words give rise to more possibilities of meaning than simply those we create for ourselves before the work. Words, be they statements – written or oral, discussion, chats, interviews – all add something to our understanding of the work.

    I think Agee and Goethe are saying that we neglect our own feeling responses to the work when faced with the authoritative voice of the artist, or other professional commentator. I think they believe that in privileging a feeling response over an intellectual or thinking response to work, we would more easily or more accurately arrive at understanding. But actually our feelings are not always very helpful reflections of the work’s meaning, just as our feelings are not always helpful or accurate indicators of what’s going on in any given real life situation. We are often misled by our feelings. All they can tell us is our reaction to a given work or situation. To get to the bottom of the meaning of our feeling responses can also take quite a lot of time. The work of Walker Evans is an appropriate case for me to mention here. It took me a long time to appreciate this work. I think I would have got it much sooner if i’d read about it. Well Agee mentions Evan’s work is an exception, like Levitt, so maybe its not a good example. I didn’t read about it, I didn’t read Agee’s text to Walker Evans although I would have like to and may still do – call it intellectual laziness, or just laziness (its the same thing to me if we are talking about mental activity) that I never did it before. It’s only because it kept coming up in front of me, and I respected the opinion of those who put it before me in the first place (even though they didn’t talk about it either except in the most cursory way), that eventually I got the work or got to appreciate it.

    But I think the main point of what Agee and Goethe are saying is that our feeling response to work is too often and too easily overidden by the other people’s words. That we may barely even register our own feeling response before submerging it under a mountain of other people’s words. This I agree with. But words enrich our experience of works of art regardless of whether or not we are aware of our feeling response. If one stops at the feeling response, we’d merely have “I like this, I don’t like that” experiences of art. Without the tyranny of words, we’d still be living in caves.

    I think that’s all I can say about intellectual laziness.

  56. I did not originally see your work as a question of role-playing. It is the use of words like “personages” and “thematically attributed narratives” which I translated as characters and role-playing. The first because personages is the french word for characters and the second because its the best understanding I can make of the phrase. Michael suggested icon. That didn’t work for me. And you didn’t confirm it.

    So I will go back to the images.

    From that misunderstanding I understood you were showing us a combination of natural portraits and some which are more contrived and use constructs we are already familiar with to show us this ideal woman. These are the ones I find most cliche’d and least authentic. $2, #3, #4, #10, #16. I also find the use of the cigarette and petticoat cliche’d.

    These are the ones I find most successful, most appealing, most meaningful and most convincing – the cover shot, #5, #6, #11, #15, #19, #21. The rest fall somewhere in between.

    Anyway the discussion has become too confused.

    “i am interested to create Personages in my work, on the thin line between the real person and the narrative/motive i “articulate” to it. in other words, the photographs are equally about what a woman is and what it is not (and i or she would like her to be). again, beyond the aesthetics, this is the tension that especially interest me.”

    I think this idea is like the way Richard Avedon worked in his project “In the American West.” I think its also perhaps the way Diane Arbus worked. I definitely think Avedon got his work clearly on that thin line. I have no problem with the work being in progress or not strictly documentary.

    I don’t think I am making things as black and white as you make out.

    Anyway I’ve said enough too.

  57. I think Andrea and I are essentially in agreement on this. We’re just using different words that roughly mean the same thing. I took “personage” to mean a person who represents something outside of him or herself. That’s consistent with a tertiary definition that can mean “portrayal” or “characterization.” That may be a bit of a stretch from the dictionary point of view, but it makes sense to me in the context of the “synthesis of their authentic characteristics and thematically attributed narratives” phrase. In that view, a “thematically attributed narrative” would use an image of a real person to represent, or portray, something or somebody else (which is hardly unusual in photography). I thought “icon” might be a better word because it seems to me the goal of the false characterization is to represent culture-wide concepts rather than specific personal attributes. But perhaps it’s just a shorter word that’s equally confusing?

    Care to clear that up, Victor? I don’t blame you if you just want to move on.

  58. If intent fails to live up to an individual viewers expectations it shouldn’t be dragged through the gutter as it is here once again. It seems to be a trait on burn, knock the artist’s statement in the ground, become pedantic whether it is a noun or a verb, criticise sentence structure etc. Rafal Pruszynski you didn’t even have the balls to open your essay up for discussion yet you are happy to go off on another photographer.
    Vic is trying to take his work to another level and should be commended for that not driven away even just because one cannot understand what he is trying to achieve doesn’t mean that the responses should be so mean spirited as they are here.

  59. eduardo sepulveda

    Hey Victor, wow! How to do all the homework posted here and then say something to you…

    I think I landed in photography from the same background you did, social, politics, literature, philosophy… I can`t stop remembering Susan Sontag as I read the very interesting ‘dialectic’ happening here… also looking at some women eyes in your work… I wish I had some things on hand to quote, but well, anyway, when I did, I read it in Spanish… and I finally passed as a philosopher…
    About orality huh… possibly I could say I am ‘a brick in the wall’ philosopher too, as David once wrote here in ‘women with a camera’, but I’m still trying to figure out what that exactly means :)… Or, better, what could be an equivalent plain Spanish expression to find for that… is not easy… is not orality or not, is not David words, is just that my first orality is Spanish…

    ‘Life is not significant details fixed forever with a flash. Photographs are.’… ‘Balzac’s (literary) operation was to magnify minute details, like a photographic enlargement’… ‘…instructed by photographs, everybody can see that sharpness before purely literary, the geography of the body’… ‘…a person is a heap of appearances that can be drawn, through proper focus, into endless layers of meaning`… Maybe this are not original Sontag words, is a translation from a translation…
    But as Michael said, these are also ways of speak and think about ‘representation’… simpler in words, but not in thoughts or sense… in my opinion…

    Perception, intuition, emotion, subjectivity… these are complex things to speak and think about in photography. When I get ‘philosopher’, as I read or listen a critique is always confusing. I think maybe that is what you could want refer by talking plain… It can be even painful sometimes, trying to understand, make sense, think and answer certain things when I am ‘switched in philosophy mode’. Sometimes I prefer cowardly to avoid texts and explanations. And it can go wilder when it is not in your language platform…

    I prefer to go like Kathleen as much as I can. And you can even take that as political if you want: is a decision, a choice to be made. That is, I mean, when I see a work or when you are doing yours: the background just appears, is part of the ‘equipment’, it runs implicit, subtle.

    Just as I tend to look for my young grandma eyes in some of your portraits. I completely ignored her Sephardic heritage just until a couple of years ago. I was working for a friend in a conference about the Turkish Sephardic community that ended with some of the immigrant families in Chile at the beginning of 20th century… her family name was on the list for my big surprise, lots of coincidences, birth places, other families related… many of her things solved and explained to me…

    Or when I see the work of Sebastiao Salgado… I immediately remember some economics lessons and start listening again some teachers cool scientific statements like: ‘this is what falls out of the curve’… or ‘these are externalities’… but the visual bond is what calls it… and the so abstract becomes strongly substance through his work …

    I can hear David in my ears right now saying: Eduardo, go visual.
    That is not your problem Vic, it was mine.

    Great discussion Victor, thank you and thank you all as always.


  60. Imants, For my part, I don’t think I’ve been rude or mean-spirited.

    If i take issue with John gladdy’s comment about whether I used a noun or a verb, don’t mix it up with my comments on Victor’s work.

    Do you think my comments are mean-spirited? I can’t even remember all that I’ve said, but I don’t think so. First I gave a guarded response to the work, second I added my voice to the matter about the difficulty with the text but I was not rude about it; then I told him how his work really made me feel, you know, as a woman who thinks his idea about and version of an ideal woman is a bit “off”, a bit offensive, and I gave a more unguarded response, which is rather revealing and not just a knee-jerk reaction; then I defended my position to Kathleen about the value of the text in understanding work; and then I’ve said which ones are working for me and which ones are not. If i was being mean-spirited, I would not even tell him which ones I like or that I like any of them. It’s not that I started out wanting to say so much, but this is a conversation and I feel compelled to speak up and respond when someone takes issue with what I say. Note I also acknowledged that an artist’s statement is secondary to the work and my responses to the work have not all been about the statement.

  61. Sorry to tell you this but the world does not revolve around you Andrea, it was not directed at anyone in particular other than if named.

  62. Imants, You weren’t very clear and you referred to something i said directly so it seemed best to assume you included me.

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  64. Imants, you seem to be lacking in the brains department. I will type slowly just for you: I —- understand —- what —– Victor —— is —— trying —– to —– achieve —- however —— I —— don’t —– see —— the ——- results ——- in —— the ——– actual ——- work. Was that slow enough? or must I repeat myself over and over again just for you?

  65. Andrea it is not about me being clear it is about you assuming things are directed at you, I don’t see me using your name in that post.

    Vic it will be interesting to read your changes to the text

  66. it is a very late night here, or very early morning actually, and i just get from pub, so just a short response, since i asked to open the free discussion here …

    yet, i dont think personal issues is the place, and of little relevance to insightful discussion.

    between imants and andrea it is ok somehow, but rafal, u go way too far. i appreciate imants opinion very much (and more so his work), so i suggest u to hold a second a try to see what he says to u. u dont have to agree with him… u dont have to like my work, or my statement, but just hold and listen for a moment… to yourself too…. anyway, with or without my particular appreciation to imants, your latest response is simply toooooooo much.

    please, i understand my work and statement really exited u, but basically, either stop trying to see invisible instead of Feeling it, or otherwise, maybe this essay simply doesnt work for u, which is also ok…

    do not respond if u have nothing constructive to say… (repeating that “u dont see”) is not constructive anymore after one or two times u mentioned it.

  67. ……….despite all that., What i feel that is great about Vic’s work is that it is not so much about the image it is about the photograph as an “object”,chemical based images hve a certain solidity about them.Vic presents you with a choice to take up the challenge or sit on the sideline. Vic invites us into these images with small nuances here and there…… a small accessory, a hand gesture, direction of an eye so we can further explore what is “depicted”. Check out his landscapes and you will see the subtlty of his landscapes which compliment this work.
    I admire photographers of this nature as they are there to assist us with our own understanding of what we see

  68. “It seems to be a trait on burn, knock the artist’s statement in the ground, BECOME PEDANTIC WHETHER IT IS A NOUN OR A VERB, criticise sentence structure etc.”

    You might as well have used my name because I am the only on this thread who has been “pedantic” about a noun or a verb.

    Now if you don’t mind, I’d rather drop it.

  69. Others brought up others things on the same vein eg sentence structure etc, it is immaterial whether I use noun and verb, noun and adjective or whatever, it’s just a figure of speech.

  70. at what stage do you become a “master printer”? do you decide overnight after making a really nice 10×8? or is it an accolade bestowed upon you by the “god of printers”? i only bring this up because I have never seen anyone refer to themselves as a “master printer” before… I’ve only seen it written about other people.

    i am a master of tying my own shoelaces, but even now they can still come undone every so often.

  71. Good bit of musing Ben, difficult to know, I bet even the “master printers” sometimes question their ability at one stage or another.


  72. I think the problem here is the refusal of some people to allow others to question their brilliance. Ofcourse not to appreciate means being stupid, dumb and confused, and its great to have an ally barking insults to back up your unappreciated genius.

  73. A master printer is an age old/old fashion term. Lithographers, etchers, lino printers etc would produce plates and hand them over to printers to produce. It is a term that refers to one having the ability to produce the same result from print to print over and over again. In printing if there is a deviation in a print it can no longer can part of that series.
    The term does not necessary mean the producer of the best looking print aesthetically, artistically etc. Photographers have some what changed the meaning of the term placing it into a grey area and the honour is usually bestowed to someone who can produce the best looking photograph. But that’s the nature of all terms, some people refer to them with their traditional meaning, some use them on a hearsay manner, others just use it because it sounds good etc

  74. wow … im so sorry that what seemed to be a nice discussion for a moment, become a Pathetic comment exchange of people who talk from unrestrained and almost unconscious boiling “negativeness”.

    1. @ benroberts …. i have no idea who u r, and u have no idea who i am, even on the level of internet familiarity. but with the manner and tone u commented u r not really impressive for the first time.
    master print is one who knows art and craft, it comes from years of study/practice, kinda overnight but after many nights in the darkroom, printing older bad negatives, newer that became spot on with time, smaller prints, big prints etc etc…
    now, the thing is that, If U dont know about something or some ones qualities etc, that doesnt necessarily means that it doesnt exist or it is not true…. it means that u dont know it. the problem with your type of cheap skepticism (which comes from the wind of negativeness u caught here probably), is that people like think that they are All knowledgeable… that if something is not within their convictions than it must be nothing much… it is a matter of either ignorance or a kind of ill mentality. or just a kind of weak opinions of ones own that can easily be blown with a wind in any direction….

    2. @ rafal … i asked u not to comment if u have nothing to say…. there was no “brilliance” claim, but seems u think that U R the Measure of everything good and everything bad, and what became really ugly in your later comments is that U think other opinions are pointless simply because they are not within your Measures (and i will not get any more personal about what i think of them) ….

    3. @ aitken … u have something better and Constructive to add to the discussion, or u r another faint leaf blown in the wind ? …
    ok, and then what ? that master that doubts stops to be a master, or by refining himself/herself just becomes better ?!!!

  75. Victor…..cool it.
    I have not been sceptical, I was responding solely to Ben’s question, I saw it first thing this morning (before my cup of coffee) and replied to it, I took it to be a straight question. I now see that you have some serious hangups about it. I haven’t been following this thread in every detail so I was not aware that there have been further references to the term “master printer”

    I have spent years in eminant photographers darkrooms working on prints, I am still learning.

    I am sure every master craftperson you come across will always bow to the fact that there is more to learn through experimentation and development, afterall would you not become stale if you did not progress. This is when questioning of one’s ability come into play.

    You want to get technical about your pictures, There is plenty of evidence of dust spots, blown highlights blocked shadows, too hard a grade of paper, contrasty negs, if this is a look you are trying to achieve great. Come on this is an international widely viewed magazine, showcase for great imagery and you can’t even be bothered to dust spot.

    As for the subject matter, great concept and a really interesting idea and could produce some excellent results. The execution of it needs more depth and bredth. The idea of “women” in your story is barely “women” it could be woman. The explanation of your concept is full of waffle.

  76. This is not meant as a dig at the photographer here, but I also wondered about the term “master printer.”

    Who bestows this title? What are the requirements? Is there certificate? A test?

    I don’t hear this title very often so I am curious.

  77. Victor,

    you opened it up for discussion, well you have a discussion and it is no longer up to you who writes what. Ill make an observation about what Ive seen here: your defensiveness and lack of humility are off putting and childish. And I will certainly continue to comment as I see fit. If you are not ready for a discussion then perhaps publishing your work in a public forum isn’t the thing for you, yet. Aitken is right, just on the title image itself I see two huge dust spots. Is this the kind of attention to detail a “master” printer displays?

  78. 1. @ imants … yes, i was mainly referring to “master printer” more like “craft”, like knowing the darkroom work etc… i am not a “printing business”, i print only for myself, or occasionally if some one (friends etc) ask for advice or help. these days i dont have a darkoom set up, so that is the reason of delay with printing … again hope very soon i will start printing selected material (even if the project is partial) and scan the smaller print directly, instead of draft scans.
    yet, mentioning the “great looking print” now, i can say that – yes, my prints are great looking technically and artistically. almost always with very accurate split-printing technique (and local tuning if needed) and with fine equipment and materials.
    to put it simple … among my inspirations (for photography and specifically printing too) are Ralph Gibson and Irving Penn… while admiring them, my next step was to aspire and do/study those qualities, and brining this inspiration to my work too. so yes, it looks great.

    2. @ aitken … i think theoretically we already agree about continuous Refinement, be it technical or artistic. words like “better” and phrase like “good is not enough” are natural to me, especially when it comes from my expectation from my own self.
    as for Paper, dust and contrast … please, read my two comments to Gordon L above…. in short, those are low-res Draft scans, straight that way. as i already told Gordon L, that doesnt mean i feel comfortable about them etc.
    as for your opinion about my work… this is your opinion, and i take it as is – i understand it doesnt work for u, and that is ok. for me it is something to think about at least a little from what i understand about your feeling/thoughts that the photos/statement gave u.


    i respect every ones opinion, even if it is not explanatory in details. enough for me to hear that a work worked great for u, or didnt worked at all …. if u want to get deeper, and describe your feelings/thought, that would be a great Bonus for Discussion …. if some one changed his/her mind about the work through discussion or another look at work, that is also ok … we change our minds, and it is great we are capable to change…. i for instance realized many things from our discussion here, important ones.
    i do not mind for explicit criticism. as much as i welcome warm feedbacks, i welcome criticism too, but please, keep it constructive wether it is my project or general issues. friendly or not, but keep it as a constructive discussion….

  79. @ david …. it is a good feeling to know u r keeping an eye, and obviously, ffrom my respect to u and love to your work, your opinion/feedback is always most welcomed ….

  80. I have no hesitation in saying that Wolfgang Moersch is a master printer.
    I have no hesitation in saying that Barry Thornton was a master printer.
    I have no hesitation in saying that Tim Rudman is a mater printer.
    I also have no hesitation in saying that I am NOT.
    To me it is not a grade supplied by a college, but an accolade bestowed by practitioners of a craft who recognise someone within that craft who can be seen to produce excellence reliably.
    I do not believe there is a cub scout badge for this. I am also sure that most who have reached that level of competence would probably be emmbarrased use the term about themselves, but would happilly bestow it on other practioners they know of.

  81. @ rafal … behave yourself… i opened this essay for discussion not for internet barbarism like u suggest in your latest comment. calling my argumentation in discussion a childish defense says something about your infantility….
    if this discussion was in real (not on the net) i would simply step away from u to avoid that ugly demagogy of yours…. except for repeating the same thing like parrot, i have not seen a single argument from u, no insight no nothiing…. u dont like the work … what the hell r u hanging here ????

    no matter how i am uncomfortable to say it in general, but now u r Ignored ….

  82. @ john gladdy …
    as i mentioned already … “master” also means “proffesional”, like for example in german laguege, or in russian … and that was the original term i have used … one that knows to do something with mastery … it can be a printer, or a technician of electricity, or one working with iron etc etc ….
    now, as aside note, i can add that my prints also look great …
    and also, i know some more masters, that might be less famous or less known to u, does it make them less masters that u dont know them …. moersch is a master indeed (printer at least), he is more popular and well know, so more people know that he is Master (in terms of GGGGGGreat printer and photo-chemist)….

    wow …. i need a short time out of coffee or something with the spirit of weird comment exchange we have here …. is this Burn magazine for u people ?????

  83. oooooopsss … before some one will pick it obsessivly ….

    I Mean ::::

    Is this semantic nit-picking what is Burn Magazine means for u ??? or is it more about Photography first and foremost ???

  84. Victor. I dont know about anyone else but for me its always about the pictures. I suspect that for most here that is also the case. lets not forget There are some very impressive photographers hanging out here. Also ,You did decide to open up the essay for discussion and a discussion is certainly what you have got into here.
    Semantics, nit-picking, outright rudeness?? What do you expect from such a diverse audience who are able to speak freely about the work?…But lets not forget also good critical analysis, diverse opinions and interesting observations relating to the subject.
    I think I said right at the beginning of this thread that I find some of these images glorious, and I respect the way you work and choose to show that work.
    Hope you are enjoying the ride :)

    note. Of course there are many many printers out there who are superb at their craft and yet are happy to remain relatively anonymous, i certainly hope i never implied anything different.


  85. Why do you keep calling it semantic nit picking? You know, you have consistently downplayed all shortcomings with your work. When we brought up the artist’s statement, you said it doesn’t matter, and hat anyway you just did it in 5 minutes so its not a big deal. When people bring up the technical quality of the photos you downplay that too, oh, its just a low res draft scan, who cares about the dust spots or blocky shadows. In the end if YOU yourself admit to the work being poorly presented and described, why do you get defensive if others bring it up?

    And yes, the artist’s statement IS important, Victor. The artist’s statement is supposed to fill us in on what the work is, aims to be, what it means, etc. There should be some parallel between the statement and the work. If there is too much of a divergence then there is a problem. Its like buying a car. If I want to buy a Volvo and one salesman tells me about the Volvo, I will listen. if I go to buy a Volvo and the salesman starts describing a Ferrari, I will roll my eyes. You claim many things in your statement that I just don’t see in the work. What bugs me about your work most is that in the statement you tell us about the objectification of women yet your work shows me more of that. Typical roles of women, mother, femme fatale, smiling sweetheart, tough girl…where is the depth? This work seems to me to parallel a bit of Cindy Sherman yet without the variety and depth of Sherman who managed to go beyond stereotypes and cliches. And much like in your work, Sherman had one model. The thing is with Sherman’s work that doesn’t matter, the physical model isn’t important, she was able to create that illusion. With your work, there is a lack of balance in how half the shots are of one woman and then randomly we see somebody else.

  86. “Cindy Sherman doesn’t consider herself a photographer nor considers her work as photography. She does not always take the photographs herself. Also, by purposely making her pictures visually uninteresting, she is telling us that photographic documentation is more important than what is in the image. Sherman keeps the information to a minimum, and dismisses photography as the art of the specific and unique. The same lack of detail restrains the viewer’s memory and limits the nostalgia that the viewer typically brings to photography.”

  87. rafal .. get yourself a life …. u dont like this essay … so Why u hang here so eager to express your narrow repeated statements…

    “downplayed” …. what is it … a War, a game ??? it is a dialogue … there are points that are interesting in people comments, and those that are less… there are points that i agree and those that i dont … Dialogue… discussion where i mostly enjoyed and learned quite a bit…. not a barbarian pointless and hostile interruption as yours, hiding behind your narrow-minded understanding and talking in the name of hell know what … could be everything if u r so bored to talk so much about essay that u dont like etc….

    my Excuses here … Burn is associated for me with David Alen Harvey so, i will try to be as Polite as possible in the following situation:

    rafal …. U r a Lier or at least Cheap Demagog.

    1. where did u see that i claim that my “statement was written in 5 minutes” ???? moreover, where did u saw that i said that “it doesnt matter” ??? or anything in this spirit …. u simply try to force every bit of information and interpretation in order to make it work for your hostility.
    2. where did u see that i say “who cares for dust spots and blocked shadows” ??? again, same hostile demagogy and lie, cause i think i already saw my comments to Gordon L and the other guy later… so it must be a manipulation of words u do here in service of your hostile demagogy… (jealousy too??!!! just a thought for a moment although u already said that u dont like it that much :-) ….

    wow wow wow … as already mentioned, i came here for the respect and love to David… and retrospectively, the last thing i would have liked to see here is some one like u :-)

  88. John gladdy … i was looking back to Edwardo Suplemnta comment, and suddenly see your post that i missed completely in “older comments” “new comments” jumps on this page.

    yes, i know u liked photographs, and super like some of them, and even called it classic manner, which obviously agree with u, even more so, i am proud of it for that matter.

    and glad we nicely clarified the “master print” issue … oh by the way, even if want to do the Best prints “ever seen”, i still dont really concerned about being recognized as “Master Printer”… i want my prints to serve my photographs generally, the impact of the subject and the aesthetics of traditional b/w that i am so passionate about… and, by the way, any time in the future an opportunity appears for u too see my printed work, i warmly recommend u very much to see…

    now about the Opening the essay for discussion, as much as i am bored to talk about further… i do not regret it is open… in fact, as u say, there are some really valuable stuff… and again, especially since the project is in developing stage only. so, im more than glad to hear things (be it compliment or criticism equally)…. but there is a point where things go too far… i know it can happen and go out of control, yet, it is never pleasent, not for me, and not for other people who might be looking for nice discussion and then suddenly finding lenghty explanations of what was already explained, and clearification of clearifications etc etc … not to mention things that go simply too personal, manipulative and worse …

    so now i will get back to Edwardo, the spanish guy, and his interesting thought… and along the way, maybe we can get back some sportive spirit here ….

  89. 5 minutes was obviously an exaggeration, Victor. When I see things like dust spots on your title slide, I can’t help but come to the conclusion you didn’t care or didn’t pay enough attention. As far as being jealous, what exactly should I be jealous of, Victor?

    The thing is that again, I keep my criticisms to your work, while you throw personal insults and names at me. is this your idea of civility? I’ve seen plenty of essays on Burn, and while I wouldn’t call yours the worst, because again I will stress that generally it is a good collection of portraits that have yet to become a holistic essay that has something to say, I will say it is one of the sloppiest presented. And I have yet to see anybody so aggressively reject criticisms. For example, I have not yet seen an author on Burn engage in such aggressive and offensive name calling as you have.

  90. Rafal of course you didn’t name call because you were too scared to open up the discussion on your essay.(grin grin)
    Your name calling here didn’t help remember writing that I was too dumb to read etc, so practice what you preach and please get rid of that bitterness…………..

  91. you still haven’t figured out why you are wrong about that assertion that i didn’t open my essay up to discussion, have you Imants. When you do, get back to me, and I will take back calling you dumb. Because right now you do look really dumb. Otherwise …. if you need help, just ask and I will educate you.

    And oh btw, does that mean that everyone who hasn’t opened up their essay to discussion is too scared? You are basically now insulting everyone who has not opened up their essay to discussion.

  92. See you are a name caller and you continue to be one it really doesn’t bother me whether you take it back or not …….. I doubt if you have much to offer me, now hmmn, nn yes’ I will place you on my ignore list and please feel free to do likewise,,,,, tootle doo toots

  93. @ eduardo … finally im back to your comment…
    i understand what u r talking about …. i have similar feeling/thought regarding those issues occasionally.
    well, i will not get too much into epistemology and cognitive psychology, where the explanations for those diversities must be found… but heres my take….

    a cognitive content, can be simple, more complex, abstracted… but i think each cognitive content that we behold in mind in real time is ever re-creating (the mind is occupied with it during the episode of that particular consciousness, and the content is ever creating in this duration)… it is done so with intention (directing the mind to some content, or directed mind) and associations – from memory, real time occurrences etc… yet, cognitive contents have a nature of their own, usually related to their original formation – for example, a content with visual nature is different from content with discursive nature (like thinking analytically etc)…
    the thing is that with association we mix those things … a photograph with visual impact can bring to us thoughts and sounds etc, memories that have about the same aesthetic association/feeling, details that remind us things from past etc, ideas, new or familiar, and mirrors to our minds….
    yet, i think our thought (mind – where every cognitive content takes place), in the search for more clearness, schematize, unity of our contents to form something repeatable and easily recognizable etc – the thought has the tendency to ENFORCE one nature/type of contents over the other, basically, in order to grasp things more confidently and clearly.
    there are things that are better be thought in analytic and pragmatic way… others are at best with their visual impact… music has its nature, Beethoven sounds sometimes as though he wrote his stuff not on piano but on some secret instrument that must be made from strings of nerves or something like that…
    but, from the other hand … it is the rich and “free” associations we have of diverse contents and content-types that can push our artistic capabilities, or the impact and engagement the viewer has from art work (or music, or book etc)… an attempt to convey an idea through sounds makes us creative, just as much as we enrich our language with the attempt “illustrate” a visual nature with words ….
    so if one side of the coin is that rich creative association (of artist or viewer), the other side of the same coin is enforcing one type of cognitive content over the other (usually, it is the discursive thought that pushes hard)… maybe we have to find balance, or loose some restraints sometimes, dive deeper … but in any case, the two are simply on the same coin, so it is easy to flip them, or “confuse” which “side” is which …

  94. The majority of this comment thread is a pretty sad read. Vic, Rafal, Imants… please, take a deep breath, and move on.

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  96. @ CT and Mark W …

    u r rite, i opened this discussion which is great, and is mostly very interesting – a good dialogue. but things got out of control with some unnecessary flames a couple of times. i have to blame myself too in not cooling down comment exchanges immediately in a more efficient way, instead of keeping the argumentation no matter how valid it was. i dont want and dont have control over every one’s manners, but first and foremost, as an author of the essay, it is my responsibility not to be led from diversity into pointless adversity. this loudness takes too much attention from the work and from the discussion on substantial issues and interesting thoughts.

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