It is currently Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:51 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:06 am
Posts: 91
Location: Melbourne, Florida USA
Colin Lewis wrote:
Quote:
I look forward to the day when a virtual tree does win one of these photography-based bonsai competitions.

Rob,
Could you expand on that statement a little' It seems not to coincide with your argument that virtuals are a design tool only.
Colin


Now Colin, if you expect me to be consistent and logical what fun would that be!

Seriously, I think bonsai tree competitions where the judging is based on only one photograph do the art of bonsai a disservice. There are problems with depth and solidity, temporality, and integrity.

Depth and solidity - a photograph is a 2D rendering of a three dimensional object. It neither provides depth in dimension nor space. A great feature of appreciating a bonsai in person is the ability of a viewer to move one's head, change the vantage point and see various subtleties of presentation. For instance, in person one can look at the canopy from underneath to see the branch structure, or to move closer to examine the bark or nebari. Even though a tree has a front, good trees should look good (or at least decent) from any angle. Photographs can't provide this depth- maybe in the future a holograph will, but not yet.

Temporality - another aspect of bonsai is that the trees are alive - one of the few art forms with this asset. Life means the bonsai exist in time - that is they vary little by little as time passes. Now granted the change is usually imperceptible but not always. The best example I can give for this I experienced on my last visit to the Kokufuten. I was looking at a magnificent Prunus with white flowers and while I was looking at it, a flower petal fell and fluttered to the moss. The next hour or so, the moss was full of discarded petals - a temporal event that added to the presentation. That evening, the owner and his apprentices climbed on the display table (they took their shoes off) and removed the remaining flowers and swept up the fallen ones so that the next day the tree looked very different. Other examples include the rustling of leaves in a gentle breeze, or the traipsing of an occasional insect that might crawl or fly into the tree's space. Or even better, visit a tree over the course of a year and appreciate how it changes. Photographs don't show what happened before or after they were taken and hence limit appreciation.

Integrity - Forgetting about virtual enhancement for a second, there are a myriad of techniques in basic photography that can alter, enhance or distort a tree - lighting, filters, burning in, good equipment, dark room tricks, air brushing, etc. I learned well before Photoshop came into being not to trust a photograph. On the other side of the issue, poor photography can actually make a good tree look worse - I know I'm good at poor photography. In setting up a bonsai photograph one can potentially build a non-existent tree - add a piece of driftwood here, a branch from another tree there, etc. Now add the element of virtual enhancement and the purpose of a photograph becomes very blurry indeed.

Put these three issues together and a bonsai tree competition based on a single photograph leads me to conclude this is not a tree competition but a photography competition. Hence, as a photographic competition, may the best photograph win. If it happens to be a photograph of a virtual tree, then maybe other people will see it the way I do.

I use virtual manipulation as a design tool and my use has nothing to do with photography competition. But virtual art in of itself can be very beautiful and convincing - to wit, the Battle of Plentior Fields in the Return of the King. It is very possible that a virtual tree could win a photography competition.

I understand fully why organizers choose to use photographs for global and national competitions. The logistics otherwise would be difficult. I'm on the BCI Board and we are looking at ways to improve bonsai competitions (a global photofest will not be one of them. Oh I know, there could be photographs from various sides and other machination, but I think not.) We have some good ideas that we will be discussing in our upcoming meetings. As an aside, if anyone has any ideas I'd like to hear about them.

Photography does have it place in bonsai - as other have said, it can document a portion of the tree's history, it can help promote events, share information, or even display an assortment of trees from around the world. But it doesn't have a place in definitive judging of relative worth.

Phew.... well you did ask me to expand on it........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:06 am
Posts: 91
Location: Melbourne, Florida USA
Walter Pall wrote:
'
I was about writing a long pamphlet for virtuals in the art of bonsai. And then I read yours. This is exactly how I feel.

Walter, sorry about that. I recommend you go ahead and do it anyway. There is plenty to say about this interesting topic.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:59 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:20 pm
Posts: 494
Location: south of Munich, Germany
Rob,
no need to be sorry! I would have written exactly the same.
Walter


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:20 am
Posts: 76
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Good thread Will, and may I also say to those responsible for this forum, a huge thanks for having the concept and making it happen...As another appropriately pointed out 'it is nice to have a discussion forum that does not focus on how do I keep my tree alive, there are other forums that deal with that issue'...

One thought that I had on this topic as I was reading the comments of others was brought up by Mr. Jerry, and touched on by some of the succeeding posts...That being the 'photographic bonsai contests'...Mr. Carl mentioned the BonsaiTalk Styling Contest, which I also participated in...This contest was judged solely on a single photo of the chosen front of the tree...

The thing I experienced with my entry was a marked degeneration of the tree in order to have a photo that presented the tree at what I considered the tree's best 'photo appearance'...When I finished the initial styling of the tree I thought I had a really outstanding entry in 3d...I then got out the digital camera and took a few initial photos of the tree...I was shocked at the result...Even though the tree looked good in 3d, the photos showed a horrible confused mess of crossing branches, bare spots, indistinguishable areas that I considered to be the tree's assets, and an apex that appeared to go away from the viewer instead of bowing forward...The wind was certainly knocked out of my sails...I printed out the photo and proceeded back to my garden to refine the tree...I removed branches, wired and re-bent branches, and modified the carving area, until I had what I considered to be a good 'photograph image'...

I was proud of the photo I entered for judging, but in all honesty I still think the original 3d tree was a much better tree over all than the final 3d tree...This was a contest based on initial styling and not on a tree that had been cared for and trained for a period of time...Hopefully as the tree develops and I continue the work on it, it will be a better final 3d image because of starting with a clean 2d image...This is something only time will reveal...I do know that in the future I will use the camera and photo editing software technology as one of the tools for styling my trees, but doubt I will again style a tree only for the purpose of entering a first time 'photographic bonsai styling contest'...

Just a few thoughts on this subject from another perspective...
Regards
Behr


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:34 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
Behr,
Thank you for the kind words.
You bring up some valid, interesting points on two dimensional bonsai and the dramatic differences to real life, three dimensional bonsai. There is something lost in the transition and also something gained, I still question if maybe they are two completely separate art forms altogether?
Will Heath


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:39 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Behr,
Yep, the camera is one of the most brutal (and honest) critic you can get.
I have to disagree with your assessment that in order to create a good 2D picture, you had to somewhat ruin a good 3D bonsai. And the basis of my disagreement is this: when you look at the pictures in the book Classic Bonsai of Japan, for instance, you see perfect trees in 2D, and those trees are world-class bonsai in 3D (real life) as well. This has to be a good proof that you can have it both ways.
Regards,
Attila


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:20 am
Posts: 76
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Attila Soos wrote:
Behr,
Yep, the camera is one of the most brutal (and honest) critic you can get.
I have to disagree with your assessment that in order to create a good 2D picture, you had to somewhat ruin a good 3D bonsai. And the basis of my disagreement is this: when you look at the pictures in the book Classic Bonsai of Japan, for instance, you see perfect trees in 2D, and those trees are world-class bonsai in 3D (real life) as well. This has to be a good proof that you can have it both ways.
Regards,
Attila

Mr. Attila,
Truly the photograph is a brutal critic, and as I stated I certainly will continue to use it as a styling tool...I also agree wholeheartedly with your statement concerning the photos of the classic bonsai of Japan, and the fact you can have it both ways...These are trees that have been groomed, trained, and manicured over a lengthy amount of time, and developed to the point of exhibition...Yet I think we all realize even these trees look much better in 3d than the 2d photos we see in books...

However, what I think I might have failed to communicate although I tried, is the difference in a tree that is initially styled...In the effort to style a tree that looked good immediately I left more foliage and branches than I probably would have on the first styling if my only concern was development over a period of time...I think most of us that have done a demo have used this technique many times...If we were styling a tree to develop in the privacy of our own garden we would do things somewhat differently than when we style a tree for appearance appeal to a group of peers...How often have you heard someone comment about a demo styling of a ficus variety, "anyone could just cut off everything and let it grow, that's not styling"...But as you said the camera is a brutal critic...I could not get away with the overall appearance pleasing styling method of a 3d tree...Another factor that entered into my experience was that the tree I used was a broad-leafed tree instead of a conifer...Possibly, had I chosen to use the traditional 'demo conifer' this would not have been as much of a negative situation...

This last year we had Marco Invernizzi at our club meeting for a workshop and demo...He styled a JBP that was not real good material to start with, but finished with a decent looking tree...I took many photos and planned to post them on another forum, however when I began to look at the photos I realized just how poor the tree looked and decided not to post them...Was it Marco's fault'...NO, the tree looked not great but ok in 3d...Was it the stock'...Possibly, it was not good starting material but like I said the tree looked all right in 3d...Was it the camera'...I think the 2d image failed miserably to show this tree in comparison to the 3d appearance...I believe things could have been changed in the styling of the tree to make the photo better, but the 3d appearance would not have been improved by this, nor the health of the tree...

This is straying a good bit away from Will's original thoughts in the article, and I probably should not have brought it up...Like I said "Just a few thoughts on this subject from another perspective"...
Regards
Behr


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:57 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
Behr,
Gotcha.
Initial styling for the camera makes us do things a little differently than if we've done the same thing privately.
Regards,
Attila


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:00 am
Posts: 38
For me, bonsai is both enjoying the results and the process/progress of growing, both the tree and my idea. I use the new technology to show progress, and visualize possible options, no more and no less. It could never replace the joy of progress made by the tree itself.

We can go further in the future, imaginating that with nano technology we could grow a bonsai out of nothing every form we like. I wonder what joys that will bring us. But by now, I can?t compare this future development (if it occurs someday) with the traditional, natural way of making progress. So I shut my mouth.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:10 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:40 pm
Posts: 383
There are three real advantages to photographing bonsai. First is the obvious, to keep records of the tree or trees and to chronicle its development. Second I have found that pictures are brutally honest and will quickly pick out the flaws in design or style if you prefer, and shove them in your face. I have found that often I can get so close and involved with a tree that I become almost blind to its short comings. Sometimes the mind fills in the blanks---sort of. Third, in the virtual world one is given the option to see the possible outcome of an idea, as has been stated if the idea does not stray too far from the possible and into the fantastic.

The idea that Photo-shop can replace bonsai is a plausible concept, but I don't think pictures will ever replace the real thing for those who are truly interested.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 515
Location: Brisbane, Australia
I agree with Vance. There is a far greater advantage to be had doing than there is just looking.

I am often surprised at how much of a tree's "character" disappears in a photograph.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:51 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:40 pm
Posts: 383
Hector Johnson wrote:
I agree with Vance. There is a far greater advantage to be had doing than there is just looking.
I am often surprised at how much of a tree's "character" disappears in a photograph.

I agree but I am amazed at how much of the tree's real character is discovered in a photograph. At least for me I have that problem. I guess the real flaw is with me and not the tree, it takes the picture sometimes to remind me that though I may have a good idea the results did not make it there-----yet.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 515
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Yes, there's something of a dichotomy there. Perhaps it's the static nature of photographs? Who hasn't been distracted by something on another branch while pruning?

I find it far easier to concentrate on a small area of a tree if I'm looking at a photograph, than I do if I'm looking directly at the tree.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
Hector Johnson wrote:
I agree with Vance. There is a far greater advantage to be had doing than there is just looking.


Is not creating a bonsai virtually also doing? Does it not also require an understanding of bonsai design? Is there not also a sense of accomplishment? Does it not also require an artistic touch?

We'll have to do better than that in order to explain why designing a real bonsai differs from designing a virtual one, horticultural aspects aside.
Hector Johnson wrote:
I am often surprised at how much of a tree's "character" disappears in a photograph.


And as I showed in this article, I am often surprised at how much "character" can be added in a photograph.
Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:21 pm
Posts: 86
Location: New England, USA
Quote:
We'll have to do better than that in order to explain why designing a real bonsai differs from designing a virtual one, horticultural aspects aside.

Wow Will! A virtual is two dimensional; its 'success' does not depend on branch placement or flexibility; there is no need to consider what is feasible vis-a-vis back budding etc; and you can change planting angle regardless of whether or not the roots will accomodate it.
That's why it's called a virtual - reality it ain't!
Colin


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Copyright 2006-2008 The Art of Bonsai Project.
All rights reserved.
Original MSSimplicity Theme created by Matt Sims © 2004
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group