<<< o >>>photography for airports #1 58 comments + add yours

I've spent quite a lot of time recently thinking through where I see my photography going next – what I should shoot, how these shots should be themed, how they should be processed, and so on – and while I'm happy to carry on with what seems to be mostly an eclectic gathering of things and styles I find interesting – chromasia as it is now – I'm also at the point where I need to become a little more systematic in what I do.

So, here's the start of one such project, which may of course come to nothing, but it's something I've been thinking about for a while and I thought I might as well share its conception here.

The basic idea is one that's inspired by Brian Eno's thoughts on ambient music, best summed up in his sleeve notes to the first release of Music for Airports. Here's what he said:

The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces - familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.

Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.

An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.

Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten' the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.

Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.


September 1978

So, here's the first tentative step towards a Photography for Airports. Let me know what you think ... interesting, pretentious crap, nice photo, crap philosophy, whatever ;-)

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
2.53pm on 9/10/05
Canon 20D
EF 70-200 f/4L USM
126mm (202mm equiv.)
aperture priority
C1 Pro
3x2 + fylde coast [scenic] + photography for airports
comment by Jem at 08:24 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Certainly an ambient photo which would go well with music ;) I love the soft focus of it - and the tone too works incredibly well! Still - it doesn't beat the cuteness of the kitty I have on my blog today :P

Nice work Dave ;)

comment by andy at 08:36 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

An interesting angle to aim your photography. Ambient photography is not a quality I would've thought an art and non-career photographer would choose to have, but perhaps you're seeing something differently than me. Now, from a professional/marketing standpoint, I can completely see the value in that type of photography. Maybe you'll be able to launch a new business with it, with your photos becoming a style and category in their own right.

comment by Paul Courtney at 08:57 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Hi Dave,
What a very interesting idea. I can see where you are going with this, as there is something very familiar (the marram grass on the beach dunes) and unassuming about the shot, with the intimation of something taking you to a different plane of thought (the boat escaping to a better place). In this therefore I believe you have captured the 'Photography for Airports' theme. To my novice mind this is the type of image with which I associate your site and as such is my favourite style of yours. It doesn't necessarily have the gritty street themes that John's site carries, however, the tones are so light and airy that there is nothing threatening in them.
Bravo and more of the same please.

comment by Magnus von Koeller at 09:13 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Awesome shot which I really like. Weird philosophy though that is loosing me. I can't seem to figure out what "ambient photography" is or whatever this shot is supposed to have to do with airports. But maybe that is just because I am a philistine. ;)

comment by MikeO at 09:20 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Lots of words for what is a simple and yet pleasing shot. Looking forward to seeing how things develop with your new ideas.

comment by GP at 09:23 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Simply wonderful. It seems like golden grass. Great idea and composition, the sail in the background is amazing.

comment by Robert at 09:24 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Hi Dave,

First off, I think it's great that you're putting this kind of thought into your work. Understanding what we do, and why, and is key to development I think.

That said, I have two comments. First, you need to take the first step and create your own liner notes. All that stuff in italics written by Brian Eno should be replaced by your own thoughts (if not actually here, you should at least write it somewhere). Coming up with your own treatise of direction will be much more helpful than borrowing someone elses'.

Second, it's funny - when I came to your website today and saw the photo, I started thinking about whether or not I should comment. Your photography ranges from thought provoking and emotional to a sort of bland "muzak" style of imaging. I mean no offense, but sometimes I feel like you have an over-reliance on perfect post-processing that obscures the potential for greater meaning.

Obviously, a daily deadline is another issue. It's difficult, if not impossible, to turn on "great" 365 days a year. And I have a tremendous respect for the regularity with which you post and your honesty about the photographs. Posting images I find bland a day after posting something which makes me stop and look two or three or more times is really saying something about the process by which you work, and is putting on display not just a final product but also the process of creation.

Today's picture is bland, but then again what Eno is talking about is taking a framework considered bland by many and enfusing it with emotion.

I guess the short version of all of this, is that I'd like to see more of your words, more thought about what you want to accomplish with your work. You can pick any direction, medium, subject or goal - there's no right or wrong, and you're fortunate to have an audience which is supportive (sometimes overly, in my opinion) and eager to view. So you've got a great incentive to work, a support network and place to display your work. I think you're definitively on the right track here, and your post has made me more eager to watch the development.

Oh, and I vote for more people pictures. But I don't get a vote, so that's cool.

Good luck with the journey.

comment by Jamey at 09:36 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

On the subject of creating photos to fit a pre-defined style... I believe it was Ansel Adams who said: "There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."

I tend to find that as soon as I'm required to do something (rather than doing it because I feel like it) the enjoyment level drops dramtically. One of the things I enjoy about chromasia is the range of different stuff. I'd hate to see that take a back seat but obviously it's up to you.

comment by arthur at 09:51 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

First off, another great shot. Brilliant.

An interesting concept, however I’d have to choose ’pretentious crap‘ from your list, regarding the whole ’Airports‘ philosophy. If one’s art is something that can as easily be ignored as catch the eye (or ear), then frankly, what’s the point?

Real talent at creating images (or composing or performing music) is rare indeed, and if one has that talent, then diluting it to merely create blurred wallpaper seems a waste at the very least.

Either that, or perhaps the musings of someone bored with what they’re doing...?

Anyway, two cents from a musician... and in any case, I look foward to seeing where this goes!

comment by Viking at 10:06 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Is that a photo or a painting? Either way, I'd hang it on my wall.

comment by Geoff at 10:07 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

I don't think it has anything to do with being "ignored". Rather, it is art that can be appreciated in a different way, a more relaxed, subconcious manner. Art that doesn't scream out for our attention, but just exists quietly in the background for our pleasure.

I love it. It's a really pleasing image. And the philosophy behind it makes perfect sense to me at least. I think it's a great project.

comment by arthur at 10:18 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

It’s more Eno’s ramblings (and his philosophy) that I’m against, rather than something (especially visual, somehow) which can be appreciated in-passing, for want of a better phrase.

‘it must be as ignorable as it is interesting’


comment by Mark at 10:21 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Tones are amazing, DOF and sharpness are great. This shot is a classic. . .
I love it.

comment by Rock at 10:26 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

First I really like the hues of your processing which as always is impeccable. Dave, I usually spend a lot of time in the mid and background of a shot, but I can’t get past the foreground of this one. While I don’t find the foreground uninteresting, I also don’t find the grass strong enough to support the photograph. The mid section and background, with the exception of the white ghost ship is pretty bland. If your intention is to create a series of images that will go with practically any décor, not cause offense in an office environment or that will sell at Ikea then I think you are spot on. There is certainly nothing wrong with that and I’m going to guess that a lot of people will like this photograph.

comment by nogger at 10:46 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Strangely I find this image very familiar, as if I've seen it somewhere before. I'm thinking, 'blur the foreground and it's Monet' a little here. Without his use of colour, obviously.

As for the concept, I dunno. Would this mean you have to take/produce an image with a particular location for its viewing in mind? I must admit it seems a bit pretentious to me.

comment by Tad at 11:08 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

I think any good ambient piece, sonic or visual does well to give a footnot to eno. Eno is good ambient because it is smart. I think your representation is nice. its background if you want it to be, but its thought provoking if you choose to go face to face with it. I think the post-processing is a bit too immediate to for an atmospheric approach, but the framing and breezy flow of the photo are right on the money.

comment by djn1 at 11:20 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

Fortunately Tad has just about summed up the long response I was part way through writing before I inadventently closed the comments window; i.e. that this is about imagery that invites rather than demands engagement. I guess the problem here, and this is something that i'll need to think about, is that the difference between a bland image and an ambient one – photography for airports – while conceptually large, is visually small.

Anyway, as I mentioned, this is something I've been thinking about that may or may not translate into more photographs of a similar nature, but if nothing else it's given me something to think about.

comment by Pen at 11:29 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

great- subtle but perfect looking - like a painting the grass is fab anyway but the sails really add a lot.

comment by ~*~flying cow~*~ at 11:34 PM (GMT) on 11 October, 2005

i love how the sailboat is subtle in its peeking from behind the grass. the monotone compliments the shot. bravo!

comment by Richard at 12:15 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

i've really enjoyed your work thus far, but whenever i think of brian eno, or listen to his music for airports i can't help but think of something metalic and industrial almost like the airports he designed his music for. maybe i'm missing the point of his music and your photo, but i can't help but think that the photography for airports should be more bland pictures of man's industry, not nature. but i enjoy your photos quite a lot, just some thoughts from another photographer and musician.

comment by Joe Lencioni at 12:40 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I agree with Robert that it is really great that you are putting this much thought into your work and where it will go. If you don't, you could become stale and never evolve into anything greater. For some, that is an okay thing, but it is good to hear that you want to see where you can go next. Great.

As far as the ambient thing goes, in music at least, I think it can be done well. I'm not familiar with eno at all, but there are a few groups that produce a very nice, ambient-like sound that also is very interesting and "smart" as Tad put it. The group that first comes to my mind is Sigur Ros. While they are more post-rock than ambient, you get the idea.

Additionally, I think that this smart, ambient music has parallels in all art forms, including photography. So, if you do it right, you can definitely pull it off. And, a lot of artists have.

However, I'm not entirely convinced by the photograph from today that you have pulled it off. Don't get me wrong, it's an alright photograph, but it is lacking substance to me. Frankly, it looks like something that I might buy at a department store like Target or IKEA to hang on my wall. It seems a little too much like filler to me. But don't get me wrong, this kind of thing is great for decorating your house simply because it is so neutral. It's like photography for airports, waiting rooms, and hotels.

Some people would argue that art, in order for it to truly be art, has to have a message or a meaning. I think that in order for an artist to be successful at creating art, one has to invest oneself into the art in some meaningful way. If that is expressed ambiently and neutrally, then that's great.

Personally, I'm very interested in seeing where you will take this concept. Art often becomes more interesting when it is strongly conceptual... At least to the people in the know of what the concept is.

Ramble ramble ramble...

comment by Juice at 12:49 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Great idea. Photography that is subtle and not vibrantly gripping but clearly there and effective on more than one level, and therefore suitable for any viewer. I like it.

comment by keith at 01:45 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I thought it was taken through waxed spikey hair not grass. The smaller the picture the more like grass it looks. I wonder how this would look on a 10ft across canvas, funnily enough in an ariport. Intersesting idea if bordering on the pretentious, which is a place I often find myself apparently.

This certainly is ignorable but could also be interesting if I found myself sitting looking at it in a waiting room for a few hours. ie there is not much too it so it would not attract my attention it is not a 'wow' shot but after a while becomes something else (and a different something else to each person) as there is enough mystery and ambiguity for me to invent my own interesting storey behind it, I can get lost in it. Is that a prententious enough answer.

comment by Violet at 02:19 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Please, oh please, oh please reconsider this idea of producing ignorable photographs. The entire idea of meaningless photographs is repugnant. The concept causes me to imagine them as hanging in the interiors of the village in the Prisoner television series, adding to mind-numbing meaninglessness.

If you are anything, you are a human being who has a sensitive approach to life, who has a response of awe, who finds something worth considering (not ignoring), and who is able to capture that awe and share it with others whose attention is actually arrested (not greased to slide on by), so that they, too, can see what you have seen.

We are enriched by your eyes, your mind, your heart, and by the art you produce when you use them. Please reach toward expanding, selecting, refining and perfecting, not sinking into bland, meaninglessness. Please soar, not erode to nothingness.

Anybody can produce amorphous, ignorable images. Please don't be one of them.

comment by sennoma at 03:15 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I like the first of the series. As someone upthread said, it's somehow familiar. I guess you'll be walking a fine line between "ambient" and "cliche", but I think this shot manages it just fine. I'll be interested to see where the idea takes you.

comment by Houser at 03:42 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Hrm... crap philosophy... to many words, in my opinion.

Look, as one who has recently taken a hiatus I think I can speak with some authority on this subject. I'm not you, nor would I try to be. I don't know your intentions or motives to photography. But it seems like MANY photobloggers (myself, Myla, Bob occassionally, Brad Knapp, etc) have recently come up against this wall - what are we doing? Shouldn't this be more than it is.

I took the hiatus from the daily grind, and I gotta say, it was nice for a while. I found myself getting lazy, some days not even breaking the beast out of the bag. And when I did, the results were crap. At first I thought it was simply because I was having trouble pleasing my own visual taste buds, but upon proper reflection I concluded that... no, in fact what I was producing was crap.

So I've begun shooting daily again. It's getting better the more I shoot.

So imagine this - maybe there is no "point" to any of this. Maybe there is no "evolution" from here. That any such steps from here are not necessarily better, just different. Could you arrange your work into a categorized gallery? Yup, but would people get the *new* stuff, or only see your work as a static collection of images.

Maybe we all need to stop being quite so introspective and just keep working to up our game where it counts.

Well, that's just one man's opinion.

comment by pfong at 04:59 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

This is superb. It doesn't demand attention, but once you look at it, there is room for for emotional and imaginative engagement.

I look forward to how you develop this concept.

comment by hannan at 05:23 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

i like the shot
but i think it would have worked wonders with colours!

comment by benedikt at 08:06 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

unfortunately you completely missed the topic with this shot. as far as i think this has absolutely nothing to do with airports. i don't want you to release shots of aeroplanes in such a series but a sailing boat doesn't have to do anything with airports

comment by Topaxci at 09:01 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I rather think of the airport as the conceptual rather than actual environment behind the philosophy. Could just have easily been waiting rooms or office corridors. Somewhere you just pass through or are forced to spend a little (or a lot of) time in.
I think this shot is good and right on the money for the concept.

That said I prefer your brighter more lively shots. They add a bit of warm to my day and bring a smile to my face. I find this a bit washed out and sterile. Good composition though.

comment by Kristin Myers at 09:15 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I'd skip over this image in a gallery, poster shop or someone's wall - too cliche. But if I was stressed out in a terminal it might be a nice 3 second visual break from luggage, other travelers, and the coffee I just spilled on my shirt...the image has some idealism that might spark reflection on why we travel.

Then again, I might be more concerned about finding a bathroom to try and get the coffee stain out before I get on my plane. Don't loose your artistic edge to only shoot for this target audience.

comment by Rob at 09:45 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I'm a fan of this shot for the reason that it is pleasing to the eye in just a passing manner but is also thought provoking if you choose to indulge. I could imagine it hung on a wall with a few of your other shots as you travel along the flat escalators at Gatwick or Heathrow, with some people planning their next holiday as a result of your pictures!

comment by Ed at 09:58 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I like that photo alot. It's the sort of photo that you could hang on a wall in an airport, 40 foot tall and no one would notice it except the delayed passenger who has nothing but time until their flight 3 hours later. Brilliant

I loved the concept when Brian Eno came up with it and it seems that it also fits perfectly as a style of the photography.

comment by Ed at 10:00 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

apologies for the duplicate posts, got an error message after posting originally and didn't know if it was submitted

comment by warren at 11:01 AM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

while listening to Robin Guthrie's elemental I came across this lovely picture. fits the theme.

comment by lou at 12:02 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I like it... maybe a little green..

comment by dj evil at 12:11 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

ooohhh, så soft and so sharp. love it, loves the colors, cant you show the orignal? and maybe you can explain what did you do with it?

comment by owen at 01:02 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Take away the Eno quote and the dreadful sounding 'photography for airports' and I think this is a really pleasing picture that most people would have been very pleased to have produced. I guess it depends on whether you would be happy having this one on sale in IKEA. It wouldn't bother me, but others would probably shudder at the thought.

comment by tobias at 01:49 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I like the softness of this image. Part of my cynicism isn't certain if it is due to the original camera settings or the processing in PS afterwards? I am wrestling with the boundaries. How far can you manipulate in PS. I still don't feel it is the same as processing in a dark room. After all there are no offensive chemicals and no matter what you do to the image in P.S. it takes very little to remove a layer and start again. Lovley shot just not sure about the authenticity.

comment by Skauce at 01:58 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I come here everyday, and today I am finally going to add my 2 cents to the whol post-processing of an image.

I am against this much post-processing. Let's start with that.

Second, this would be better as a painting.

comment by Wedding Girl at 03:21 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I have a lot of respect for Brian Eno and one of my favorite producers/musicians/artists, Daniel Lanois. (I saw him play last week in Boston.) I love the idea of music as ambiance because with these two musicians it's always more than that. Way more than elevator music--it takes you to a different place.

This image is a little cliche, but it's beautiful. I think you could move into the "Photography for Airports" direction without being so predictable. I love the idea!!!

comment by David at 03:30 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I've been struggling with the idea of a defining style or theme to my photography as well. Great that you've found a framework that resonates within you, and that will help shape the way you look at future images.

"An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint." - After nearly a year of viewing your pictures, I would agree that you gravitate toward portraying an atmosphere or mood in your work, particulary an image like the current one, which is less scene than atmosphere through a simple, beautiful subject.

"Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting." Perhaps a damnable statement in art, but it is true - if you are incorporating simplicity, softness, and subtlety into your photography, it may be overlooked or ignorable (though I don't see that happening anytime soon:)

So, on the whole I agree with your assessment of your art, and think the framework is a good one. But I think it must be pointed out that your portfolio, "my personal favorites," runs absolutely opposite to the ambient, atmospheric art theory.

Your portfolio is attention grabbing, memorable, strong, and of course, very creative. I would say "interesting" and not in the least "ignorable."

So while the music for airports concept fits 90% of your photography, both your favorites (and mine) fall into a different sort of theme altogether.

comment by Fyse at 04:06 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I love this first photo, and I'll be interested to see where you go next with this idea. Congrats on keeping challenging yourself.

comment by Leo at 04:57 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

You really like the whole blurred object behind grass stalks in focus thing eh?
I liked the previous shot better, mainly because of the colors.
I don't think there's enough contrast between the boat and everything else in this shot to truly make it jump out at you like the children in the last picture.

comment by Jason Wall at 07:29 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

I wish I had more discipline, but darned if I can't concentrate to read everyones comments on this subject. What I did read looked interesting and thoughtful. Maybe I'll try again later.

Dave, I think the idea of taking a theme as trying to express it photographically is a great idea. I found the daily random photography I was doing very boring early on (this doesn't mean I'm a better photographer, i know how that sounded, just that I get bored more easily, pesky lack of discipline). I started theming my photography around "Essays" to make the story I was telling larger, and thus more interesting.

I like doing themed essay's in photography better for two reasons. The first is that you can say more in a collection than you can with a single image. And you say something different too. I love the exceptional single photograph, and you produce a lot of them, so don't get me wrong. But essays have the potential to tell long stories, and to give you a multifaceted view into the life of a subject.

The second reason I like essay's better is because the challenge of taking a theme first and interpreting it is fascinating. Its a completely different process to start with and idea and illustrate it with photography than it is to simply look for an interesting subject and give it a good treatment. I love how initial conceptions of how an essay should be shot change as you get to know your theme more intimately.

Its that closeness, and the depth and breadth of vision that appeals to me when shooting larger essays. The big picture.

I say go for it. I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with, and specifically, I think when you're done, you should write up a post mortem detailing your thoughts on the excercise, what you learned, what you think you accomplished, to give us a sense of context for the set.

Best Regards,
Jason Wall

comment by patrick at 09:57 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Nice shot, as (almost) always, but crap philosophy indeed. Looking at your work daily I don't think you need Brian Eno or airports for that matter. If your photo's are one thing it's certainly not ignorable!

comment by Gary at 10:02 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

"I need to become a little more systematic in what I do".
"To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of ...".
I honestly think Durham Township has mastered this - I see post all over the place with comments like "looks like something from Durham Township...". Is it they way she processes each photo the same - or the mood you feel when you look at her photos?

comment by djn1 at 10:40 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005

Thanks everyone, it's been interesting reading your responses. I guess that all I can add is that I still think there's some merit in the idea, particularly in terms of what's meant by "ignorable". What I take this term to mean, in this context at least, is that there are different ways in which an image can engage the viewer. There's the in-your-face, attention grabbing approach – and I do like it when I produce that type of image – but I also think there's room for images that offer a gentler way of getting their message across.

I guess that a key point of Eno's that I'd like to develop is his point that "Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think". In this sense I suppose that I'm thinking through how an image can be treated as an environment in which other things can take place, not just something that should or must be looked at. Anyway, as and when I get around to developing this any further I'll let you know. The danger, as has come across in your comments, is that it's probably very easy to slip over into producing clichéd images that no amount of philosophical rambling can rescue ;-)

comment by ps at 11:20 PM (GMT) on 12 October, 2005


comment by JD at 12:06 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2005

Hmm. I'm aware of the commercial advantages of producing something that's the artistic equivalent of wallpaper (in many fields, not just photography), but surely the reason people keep coming back to your site is the fact that your work is anything but?

I wonder if there would have been so many comments on this shot if they were on the picture itself, rather than the concept?

comment by Lex at 01:24 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2005

I find the Eno concept interesting, although it can evidently be better explored through music, however it's important to give it a go. The creative process is a journey so this could lead to something abstract that you've not yet conceived. My only concern is that if you were to apply the ambient concept to film it would be unbearably dull. The Koyaaniqatsi approach works very well but there the imagery was arresting and fast paced.

This picture reminds me of the pictures you get as a background when you buy a new picture frame. So in a funny way maybe you are on the right road. It's good enough that it will sell the frame because it is pleasant and unremarkable, yet if you study it for a while it does evoke certain emotions above a normal throw away picture.

You probably feel that you have the support now to try new ideas and you probably feel a certain responsibility to your audience also so I can see why you are trying this out. Good luck.

comment by Angela at 01:58 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2005

Ambient music is the most common form of music I hear played in bars, restaurants, aeroports, classy hotels ... etc, and certainly even in our own home ... therefore; I see it as one of the most popular and most profitable. I don't see why that same concept shouldn't apply to photography. In fact, I have seen a similar approach at aeroports around Queensland, Australia employing a similar decorative concept using the pastel-colour works of local artists (painters). Those aeroports are a pleasure to pass through. I even posess several paintings from my favorite of those local artists. It's the type of calming, serene, mind-transporting art I love to fill my home with - just to create a certain ambience of peace and well-being.

Personally I adore this type of imagery - it leaves me to my own thoughts, wild imaginings and dreams. This particular photo is quite appropriate for an aeroport ... be it as simply pleasant, calming background decor ... or if one chooses - to regard and be transported into one's own desires or fantasies of voyage and discovery.

I think you could really do well with this idea.

comment by regularjoe at 02:04 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2005

I like the concept. To me it sounds as if your exploring the idea of a piece of work being ignorable, but great at the same time. Can it be ambient and engaging? I like the idea of putting the meaning, the decision of whether the photo is piece is art, part of the environment or both, into the hands of the viewer rather than the creator. The whole idea makes me think of Duchamp and his urinal. It's a very "what is art" type of idea.

I think it will be a challenge to pull off. And it will be polarizing. Some will deem and image perfect while others will be upset with you for making IKEA images. In the end, the audience becomes just as much a part of the art as the art itself. It will surely be interesting to watch this evolve...

comment by Ioannis at 05:35 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

I was tempted to leave a comment. However, a photographer should do what (s)he wants with their photographs and choose themes as they wish. I only judge the end result for the quality of the picture and whether the author had any thinking behind it, whatever that was. That said, I am not a photo critique but that's my personal perspective and taste.

This is a good shot by the way.

comment by Christopher Shipman at 05:10 PM (GMT) on 22 October, 2005

I love this photo! Beautifully seen and composed! The out of focus sailboat, for me, adds a dream-like, impressionistic feel to the image. The grasses in the foreground are a wonderful compositional element, too.

comment by nikee ghini at 07:27 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I'd call it Picture for All moods.
I think that is what you are trying to achieve, though I could not read Brian's manifesto... Boring.
I love his music though. I had been listening to his work (and to minimal music) since the early 80's and I think you hit an interesting concept here, the idea that images, like music, can be freed of "content".
I use music for the mood it inspires, the ideas and feelings it feeds in me, often uncaring to know name of band, artist, musician, etc.
This is a similar idea, images that can be used for a mood and not necessarily for the subjct they represent. It's difficult to do though, good luck.

Anyway, just stumbled on your site, will look more and write again,

comment by nikee ghini at 10:29 AM (GMT) on 13 November, 2005

"The danger, as has come across in your comments, is that it’s probably very easy to slip over into producing clichéd images that no amount of philosophical rambling can rescue ;-)"

Yes it is a danger but it's the danger risked but everyone trying to make art, don't you think?
Maybe art is not your goal, ok, but it happens to every creative person to find that some of the images produced are clichès, not engaging or personal enough, not true to what one wants to say.
Anyone can push the shutter button and get a nice picture, nowadays that cameras are doing most of the work, but finding the inner voice of your work it's another task, and it's a job for the heart not of the mind.

comment by djn1 at 01:02 PM (GMT) on 13 November, 2005

"... but finding the inner voice of your work it’s another task".

Yes, that's the difficult bit. When I get that one sorted out I'll be happy.