Les McLean

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by bmac, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Hey there,

    As you may know I am in the process of reading Les' book. Has anyone heard of him before? Some of his photos are really great, some are not my cup of tea. I did a Yahoo! search on him, but was not able to find any info online.

    Brian
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  3. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    yes, the pic in Black & White Photography shows a likely looking chap, sure to have a yarn or two ready for discussion over an ale! [​IMG]
     
  4. haris

    haris Guest

    I was reading his column regulary in times when reading Practical Photography magazine. What to say, love some what I saw, some don't. From time to time I thought his words in his columns were a bit arogant(well, not arogant, but since English is not my native language, can't find better expression). From what I read, he start photography something late in his life(I belive he was over 30). Is this true Les?
     
  5. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (haris @ Apr 26 2003, 01:46 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I was reading his column regulary in times when reading Practical Photography magazine. What to say, love some what I saw, some don't. From time to time I thought his words in his columns were a bit arogant(well, not arogant, but since English is not my native language, can't find better expression). From what I read, he start photography something late in his life(I belive he was over 30). Is this true Les? </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Haris

    Yes I started photography when I was 34.
     
  6. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Not to start a flame war or anything, but I have found Les to be the least arrogant writer / photographer I have had the pleasure of conversing with.

    Brian
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I agree with Brian, rarely do you see acomplished phtographers taking the time to help and advice newcomers. People like Les, Carl Weese, Sandy King, etc are a breath of fresh air when you compare them to some of the "famous" photographers who have a chip on their shoulder. Perhaps you were reading too much into his columns, so far here at APUG Les has been nothing less than a gentleman and a helpful member.
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  9. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    LOL......are you sure it was the bay you were looking at?
     
  10. haris

    haris Guest

    Thanks Les, and thanks Aggie.

    A I said, in lack of better expression, I used that term. It is not arogancy, it is more like "this is it, no argue about it!". So, not arogant, but a little "hars" approach. But, I easilly could be wrong, maybe I simply didn't read Les words correctly.

    But, it is more important that Les is authority in his area, even if I don't like his photographs too much, I think he is authority in printing. Especially liked his example and subtility in printing when saw "high key" print of, I think it was, shell or snail house. It was in article about paper flashing, and I was impressed how subtle Les was to show details in "white" areas of "white" print. I can only imagine how that print looks in "real" life, I saw it in only in magazine. And, that print was decisive moment for me to have respect for Les. And, people who are experts in theire areas, have right to be more "nervous" then rest of us [​IMG]

    And, I must agree with rest of you. There is small number of competent people who are ready to share they knowledge without being jealous or afraid of competition. I saw too many photographers or printers whos photographs/prints have note: "exposure(or anything else) secret". So, thanks to all of you who are so great to know that sharing knowledge is not threat, and will not "throw you from your kings trone". It is especially important for people in my situation, I simply don't have someone to ask, as photography in my country is not respected, and not many people do photography. And of those who call themselves photographers, there is very small number of them who really know something. Most of them have autoeverything 35mm cameras sets on "P" position...

    So, I will take all responsability and apologise to Lesfor calling him arogant when he is not.

    Regards, Haris

    P. S. So, Les, there is still hope for me, I am 33 [​IMG]
     
  11. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I believe that any photographer who maintains secrets and is unwilling to discuss technique probably does so for a reason; i.e., scratch the surface a little and what you will find is some gimmick that this alleged artist has pounded into the dirt as a substitute for any real accomplishment. The photographers that I've learned from have all been very emphatic in their assertions that they have no secrets. It shows in their work, which is fine in a self-assured way, and never in the least bit affectatious.
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Haris,

    There is no reason for you to apologise for your comment. Clearly there was no offence meant and I was in no way offended, you simply wrote what you felt. I wish that I were 33 again and could look forward to another 30 to 40 years of making photographs. I sure that you will achieve in photography more than you set out to do especially if you always look forward and work hard at it.

    Aggie,

    Your description of my being a "teddy bear" brought a smile to my face for my wife sometimes calls me Paddington after the bear for I wear lots of smocks instead of jackets.
     
  13. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Hey Les,

    Do you ever do workshops? Would you ever consider doing one while on a trip the US?

    I learned a TON from your book, as I have mentioned before, and I'll bet that actually seeing you do the things you wrote about and being able to ask you nuance questions would be of tremendous value.

    dgh
     
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  15. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I'd be up for one on the west coast [​IMG]
     
  16. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (David Hall @ Apr 28 2003, 09:47 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Hey Les,

    Do you ever do workshops? Would you ever consider doing one while on a trip the US?

    I learned a TON from your book, as I have mentioned before, and I'll bet that actually seeing you do the things you wrote about and being able to ask you nuance questions would be of tremendous value.

    dgh </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    David and Brian,

    I regularly do darkroom and street photography workshops in the UK and have done workshops in Maryland for Calumet before they discontinued the program. I'd love to do a darkroom workshop in California. I'm planning a photographic trip to the south west in November of this year, in fact I spent an hour this afternoon checking out flights with the intention of booking in the next week or so. If there is sufficient interest in a workshop with a possibility of doing it then I will delay the booking until something could be sorted out.
     
  17. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    November would be great. If you could actually come to California...southern or northern, perhaps several of us here would be able to able to come together in one place at the same time. AND, maybe if we're really lucky, that Donald Miller or EricR could come too...

    Seriously, you should organize something, Les. I think you have seen that there are enough of us here who have read your book, and impressed, and would love more.

    dgh
     
  18. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Les, I'll email you off list to chat about this. I may know of a place to do something like this in the San Francisco / Bay Area.

    Brian
     
  19. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  20. tommorris

    tommorris Member

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    I have only recently started photography (started in 2001/2), but lots of Les' advice in the Black & White mag has helped a lot with printing, and with some of the digital techie things.

    I have most of the back issues up in the darkroom, and mean to read them sometime. (It's a good mag, but it's a shame they don't do a colour version as well.)
     
  21. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    I have too many hobbies. My wife tells me this all the time. Photography is truely unique though. I am not really a dummy, but I think I could WORK_AT making fine and interesting prints for at least 3 score more years and still not acheive all I would like to acheive. Most other endeavors can be mastered to the point that, like tic tac toe, are not really worth the effort anymore. Everytime I go into the field or makeshift studio and shoot film, everytime I go in my darkroom and develop film and make prints, I again realize just how challenging this whole thing is. There are those that make it look easy; I guess I am not one of them. Every success I have is setting at the top of a heap of failures --- five feet tall. The funny thing is, I feel like I have gotten somewhere. I have a clue about composition. I see interesting things and know how to compose and spot meter and choose which film and developer and exposure and development compensation to get the contrast I want.

    And yet after many years and more money and time than I would ever admit, I daily feel like I am still closer to the beginning of the trail than even nearing the middle. So the only shortcut is to "stand on the shoulders of giants" and I am always grateful for the good folks that share their successes. Not one of us invented this all from scratch but many have taken all they have gleaned from others either from books or in person or now -- on the net or in workshops and taken that knowege to the next level. Invent where existing methods are lacking. Then share with others who would see the benefit.

    We all have a kind of unique way of seeing the world and I would hope that for art, we try to please ourselves. I am still searching for my "Style" that which I seek to do that is my unique specialty. That thing I get really good at - my niche. I have ideas and I explore them. No one really neads to be a clone of someone else. But I very much appreciate the style of Ansel in his later printings, the way Lange captured peoples' spirit, the way Schatz makes skin into a landscape. There were many specific skills it took to make their vision pop on paper. I guess I don't want to be any one of them or all of them, I want to figure out what is the unique art I see around me and learn the skills to make -THAT- pop on paper. So thanks to Les and Barry Thornton and Adams and all the other folks that I have learned so much from and still haven't figured it all out. But when I do ...... hell will freeze over and you all will be the first to know! Thanks for this exchange of ideas - well worth the time and energy! It is a very worthwhile journey.

    Frank
     
  22. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (fhovie @ May 4 2003, 04:39 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    And yet after many years and more money and time than I would ever admit, I daily feel like I am still closer to the beginning of the trail than even nearing the middle.

    We all have a kind of unique way of seeing the world and I would hope that for art, we try to please ourselves. I am still searching for my "Style" that which I seek to do that is my unique specialty. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    The learning of the "technology" never stops. Once learned, it is a lot like riding a bicycle - it never leaves you.

    Being closer to the "beginning" than the "middle"? I, for one, have spent the last couple of years trying to do just that - ignore much of the well-meaning advice of *many* critics - and return to the place where I could "see" through the eyes of a child - the "beginning".

    A child's vision is exactly what I want - to "see" a world full of beauty and wonder. An example would come from my youngest daughter - when she was really little, she was fascinated by rocks. Common rocks. She had her room "filled" with rocks that you and I would not even give a second glance. To HER eyes: "Look at this one .. see all the pretty sparkles!", and "This one - look at the prety blue and yellow swirls.."

    I think we were all like that, once.. but critical advice from one source or another - changes all that. Not that it is "bad advice" or that the "powers that be" are trying to keep us down in some manner or other - but all critique - judgements - of one kind or another - "Honestly - all those rocks!! They aren't worth anything - you've got to get rid of them." - has as its ultimate end, the destruction of our individual "style".

    Whether "good", "bad" or "indifferent" in the eyes of someone else - anyone else - every piece of work we do brings us closer to our "style", whether we work at it or not.

    Somene once wrote "You cannot find your Style. Your Style will find you."
     
  23. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ed,
    Very well stated. I really like that.
     
  24. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Congratulations to Les!!!!

    I just got the latest, No.27 November issue of "Black&White". Nice going Les, enjoyed the article.

    Truly, dr bob.
     
  25. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    And congratulations to Les too for his article about Richard Ross/RH Designs in the December (sorry you guys in the States!) issue of "Black & White". I enjoyed reading it a lot! Richard deserves to get the publicity, he makes lovely gear for us darkroom workers, and is a great friend too.
     
  26. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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