HCB Quotes

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    People like to dog on HCB because he's held up high as this amazing photographer, and apparently some aren't that impressed by his photos.

    BUT, I'll maintain that he's a philosopher's photographer. The things he says are valid and often brilliant ruminations on the art of photographing.
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Interesting quotes.

    I always found his photographs to be visually interesting and somewhat quirky. They often carry a sense of humor about them.

    In fact if someone thought what he does is easy, go out one day with a few rolls of film and see if you can do it.

    Betcha can't.
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think photography is what you want it to be, which is different for everybody.

    His way was one way, and there are many ways, more or less valid depending on your own views.
     
  5. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I agree with this. It always bothered me that HCB didn't print his own work and, as I understood it, didn't care much for printing generally. To me that's a big part of photography. Capturing the moment is only part of it for me. Don't get me wrong, though, HCB's a rockstar no doubt.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    My favorite -- the one that resonates the mostly strongly in me.

     
  7. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Exactly!
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Don't get me wrong, I love Cartier-Bresson, and I have the utmost respect for your words and contributions, Vaughn. But how does one 'coordinate' visual elements? Unless you actually reach out and physically move things around, you have no control of how things are coordinated; they happen the way they happen because X amount of people, animals, and other objects decide to move based on their intention and forces of nature. The photographer is not in control of anything other than the shutter and where to aim the lens. I really love how Jay Maisel calls it 'framing' instead of composition.
     
  9. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thomas, I would also agree with this. Art has many perspectives.
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    However Thomas, I don't agree with your take on this. The coordination of visual elements is a combination of framing, flow of time and the moment you press the shutter. You don't have to physically move things around. That sounds a bit like Photoshop.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    From Merriam-Webster Online:

    Coordinate:

    transitive verb
    1​

    : to put in the same order or rank​

    2​

    : to bring into a common action, movement, or condition :harmonize <we need to coordinate our schedules>​

    3​

    : to attach so as to form a coordination complex​

    intransitive verb​

    1​

    : to be or become coordinate especially so as to act together in a smooth concerted way​

    2​

    : to combine by means of a coordinate bond​


    I think the word coordinate can be interpreted many ways, and I was reading too much into my understanding of the word, which to me means 'to move things around so to align with other things'. It's how I have always understood the word 'coordinate'.

    Stretching my imagination I suppose one could coordinate by perhaps placing a certain level of importance on objects in front of a camera, and record them with a photograph when they align favorably.
    Is that actually a true meaning of the word? To coordinate by waiting for others to align how you wish them to?
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The French definition and translation into English may be slightly different. It would be interesting to hear from French speakers about this quote.
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    You're coordinating the image being projected from the lens onto the film via placement and timing. This is a reasonable way to interpret "to bring into a common action, movement or condition, harmonize"

    Let's also not forget that this is a translation, and with any translation there could be multiple meanings in either of the two languages. This is splitting hairs I think Thomas.
     
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  15. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Although pretty well answered already, I will go with the "bringing into harmony" the many elements we find and/or control in making an image...the quality of light, camera position, focal length, the landscape and its many elements, etc.

    While in this there is a bit of the king from The Little Prince where the king rules the sun by requiring it to rise every morning (if I remember it right), for me it comes down to the ability to see the possibilities and finding the image to expose onto the film.
     
  16. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I think one of his best quotes is this-

    “I find that you have to blend in like a fish in water, you have to forget yourself, you have to take your time, that's what I reproach our era for not doing. Drawing is slow, it is a meditation, but you have to know how to go slow in order to go quickly, slowness can mean splendour. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

    The reason I like this quote is because it is almost a dichotomy of the technique he employed.
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    ..
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Splitting hairs? I thought it was an important distinction of that whole quote. Plus, we're good at splitting hairs here on APUG, and wouldn't you want to argue with HCB? :smile:
    Please don't take it too seriously. I'm just trying to wrap my head around something I plainly did not find reasonable.
     
  19. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Couldnt disagree more. That's what we do is manipulate the visual elements.

    I think all he's talking about is knowing how to place yourself so those elements are in their "best" possible place/location.

    In other words framing the shot, which we all know can make or break a picture by position, lens choice, and angle of the dangle.

    In some cases in street photography, place yourself, then let the action come to you. In other cases when walking around sometimes, the simple act of crouching down can give you the shot/impact.
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Including, of course, placing oneself properly in time...
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I thought I said that all the photographer is in control of is the shutter and where to point the lens. What other magical powers do photographers possess?
     
  22. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The magic of art...

    If I could explain it, it would not be magic.

    Substitute 'mystery' for 'magic', if 'magic' seems too unicornish...:smile:
     
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  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Most importantly to me, point of view/perspective; where I point the lens from.

    Also though: aperture (what to leave in/out of focus), pallette & texture (film & filter choices), plane of focus (tilt/swing/...), type of lens (soft/sharp/...).
     
  24. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I only got through a few of HCB's quotes before I realized this site has about 26 letters of the alphabet worth of photographers...
     
  25. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    So where do you think "where to point the lens" differs from what the quote stated.

    And "where to point the lens" covers a lot of territory, pardon the pun.
     
  26. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I agree, we're awesome at splitting hairs here. Some reports indicate that indeed the finest hair splitting has occurred at APUG. On July 28th, 2010, post #45,634,646, a conversation about Rodinal & rangefinders resulted in a human hair being split 16 different times resulting in a mean diameter of 4.375µm.

    ...

    Just had to inject some levity. I don't think we disagree at all, I was just feeling saucier yesterday... :wink: