Take the picture!!

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by michael_r, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    If you see something local you want to photograph, do it - now. Even if the conditions are not 100% perfect, do it. You can always return and try again, but at least you'll have something, which might end up being the right shot anyway. I keep getting taught this lesson the hard way, but I never completely learn it.

    I've been stalking an industrial location for months. I drive past it every day on my way to work. There was always something not quite right. Wrong sky, too much wind, etc, etc. Today seemed like it would finally be the right day. Unfortunately as luck would have it, idiots chose last night to tag the place. Now it's totally ruined. No photograph. Gone forever.

    I'd also like to add people caught doing that, or found to have done that, should be forced to clean it with a toothbrush, then be stripped naked, covered in spray paint and marched throughout the city for people to throw things at.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Amen
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Member

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    you've just made another excuse not to photograph the place.
    it's just another thing that's not quite right....follow your own advice and go photograph the site! Do it now! :smile:
     
  4. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    My dad used to do that. He was the high school art teacher, knew the kids that did the tagging and made them paint over it. Surprising thing is they did what he said.


    ---next time I talk with him I'll verify my facts, it could have been the "good" kids that did the paint-over---
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2011
  5. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    +1!
     
  6. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Yeah next you know the bldg will be demo'ed, grab a photo of it before all is gone
     
  7. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    +2
     
  8. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

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  9. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Well no, the graffiti is not a technical "detail" that can be worked around the way I should have with the lighting, clouds, wind etc. Graffiti is a compositional show stopper for me. I'm interested in the structures and space, and getting people to notice spaces they normally wouldn't. Having graffiti in there immediately becomes the focus, a powerful distraction. Or even worse, it can come off looking like some kind of environmental statement. That's not what my photographs are about. So in this case, I'll just have to move on.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It is great that you know what you want but you are still making the same basic excuse.

    We never know whether or not a shot is really going to work when we take it. Take the shot, file it away, come back to it in a year and see what you think.
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Furthermore, photographing the same building over and over again, on your way to and from work would make a great study.

    Don't you think?

    In other words, go take that picture of the building with the graffiti on the wall! Now! Before somebody paints over it!
     
  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Maybe you're right actually. I might as well make the shot and see what happens in the darkroom. I can always kill it if I don't like it.
     
  13. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    True enough. I've always wanted to do one of those "photograph the same place over time" things. I don't think this particular spot was the right place for such a project, but you might be on to something.

    Interesting discussion.
     
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  15. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I've got, maybe fifty pictures of the Presque Isle lighthouse stashed away in my notebooks. I never really thought much of them because they were clichés. I only took them because it's a familiar subject to test cameras and films and new ideas with. We talked about this a couple weeks ago in some thread about clichés.

    Well, I was showing somebody some of my pictures and she made a comment to the effect that she liked the difference between the picture of the lighthouse taken in the winter and the one taken in the summer. I've always had it in the back of my mind to officially make a photographic study of that lighthouse.

    Something like going there and taking a picture from the same spot on the first day of every month for a whole year.

    It's still just an idea but I still kick it around in my head, every so often.
     
  16. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    There is graffiti and "street art". I wouldn't completely dismiss all. It can sometimes become an interesting element of a composition or a good subject on its own. Some macro portions of paint on a wall or even some of the messages can work. Some twenty years ago I happened on to an interesting painting on a boarded up window. While going about my regular activities I happened on to another one obviously by the same person. This lead to a year long 2000 mile drive around Miami looking for interesting wall paintings. To make a long story short: I ended up with a portfolio of over 100 images with 20 having been done by the same "artist" who I was able to track down. He would let me know where he would do one and we ended up having a gallery exhibition with my photographs and his paintings on wood. I was able to introduce him to someone who offered him a scholarship to study art at a university but he disappeared. At a subsequent show years later a couple that purchased one of my prints became interested in photographs from that series bought five.

    I don't condone defacing ones property but you never know what might inspire a new direction in your photography.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  17. Ottrdaemmerung

    Ottrdaemmerung Member

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    Another voice for the "do it now" chorus. It'll take you mere minutes to make a shot, even if it's not ideal subject matter and only marginally interesting now, but you'll have the regret much longer if you never get the shot you want.

    Last year, a historic church was going to be demolished to make way for one of those big chain pharmacies you see on every corner. I happened to be on the adjacent corner one afternoon with a good camera but crappy film (Lucky 200 color, 35mm) and looked up. The church was being torn down but the front facade was still up, and the setting sun was streaming through the gaping holes where the windows had been. I took a few shots, none of them really what I wanted, and I vowed to come back the very next day better equipped.

    The next day, it had been razed to the ground.
     
  18. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Yes street art is a massive art movement (although not new) and the works of Banksy, Shepard Fairey et al are commanding lots of attention these days.

    Who knows, that tagged bldg could be buffed (term for removing graffiti) in the morning and it could be some massive artist who hit the bldg and your record of it could be the only evidence??

    I don't condone vandalism in any way but as a photographer should something appear that is on public property I will gladly photograph it

    Check out Banksy for a taste of the modern street art movement
    http://www.banksy.co.uk/newoutdoors/outdoors.html
     
  19. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    +3

    And just what makes their art form any less valid than yours? You might even be able to use it to enhance your photo.
     
  20. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I had something similar happen to me last year. A strange abandoned building I often drove by. It was next to a car dealership and the flood lights from the car dealership cast light on this building in such a way it looked downright ghostly. Difficult subject. Studied it for months. Finally made the photographs on a perfect night but didn't have the ideal film handy. I was pleased but thought I'd return with a different film. The next day the entire building was demolished to make way for the car delaership to expand. The prints take on additional meaning for me now. The building looked ghostly to begin with, but the fact it disappeared from existance literally overnight makes it even more of a ghost. Did it ever even exist? Glad I made the picture even though I would have preferred to do it on a finer grained film. They are some of my favourite images and prints.

    You'd think this would have taught me a lesson!
     

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  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Hang on here people. I said the building was tagged. That's not banksy or art of any kind. It's just when the punks scribble their name or initials or whatever symbol they use to identify themselves to fellow parasites. This is not graffiti art.
     
  22. Monito

    Monito Member

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    +1

    Not only might it change, but you might move away. I'm going over some photos from California and I'm thankful for every one I made, even the grab shots.

    It's the corollary to the aphorism "The best camera you have is the one with you." You can't make the photo unless you go, with a camera, or have a camera with you. But you still have to use it. Retinal photos get dimmer as time goes by and have an audience of only one.

    "F/8 and be there."
     
  23. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Regarding pictures that you take but never think much of, for one reason or another...
    I have dozens of pictures that I took while I was in high school or college that I never really liked. I just filed them away in notebooks and forgot about them.

    After more than 20 years, it turns out that some of those shots that I thought were so-so turned out to be pretty good. Some of those shots that I liked, back then, look pretty crappy when I look at them again after all this time.

    Taken in a Boston subway station, c. 1985:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5877829992
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5877830270

    I thought these sucked. They were dark and blurry. I only looked at the contacts after I took them, way back when, and never gave them a second thought. I got out my negatives, one day and was looking through them. I came to this page and thought, "Hey, what are these?"
    Now, they are some of my faves.

    Taken on the fire escape. Boston, c. 1990:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5877269897
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5877831818

    I used to sit out on the fire escape of my apartment and smoke. (Sometimes, I would even smoke cigarettes. :wink: )
    These pictures are of my neighbor who also used to come outside and smoke.
    Again, I developed them but hardly gave them a second look.

    If I hadn't taken these photos when I had the chance, they would not be around, now, more than 25 years later.

    When I was young, my father told me never to pass up a picture. Film is cheap, compared to the "the one that got away." You'll never get your picture onto the cover of Time Magazine if you don't click that shutter button!

    This is the picture that he showed me as an example:
    Signal Hill, Long Beach, CA. May, 1958.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5877273275/

    My father used to work at an oil refinery, back before I was born.
    One day, the refinery blew up. He was there with his camera. This is one of the pictures he took on that day.
    He told me that he just turned around, saw this wheel and snapped a picture of it. It ended up being one of his favorites and a prize winner.
    This is the reason why he called it "Wheel of Fortune."

    Never pass up that picture! You might never have the chance again!

    He used to work in
     
  24. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Holy cow! Driving past the location this morning I saw the city crews had come and obliterrated the graffiti! Now I have to get my ass in gear and take the damn picture before the thugs return.
     
  25. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I have to agree, sooner is way better than later. In a couple of demolitions around here, the time span from barely begun to gone has been less than 48 hours. There was an old farmhouse in the township that was burned by the fire department for practice years back too! I have an old industrial building on my do-list right now that appears to be on its way down, but is being nibbled at very slowly (it's a huge space, like a quarter mile in length), so I hope I have a few more days, as the weather has been a bit sucky this week. I do have some pictures, but I'm hoping to do better.
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Dang you missed the graffitti shot. :wink: :whistling: