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Alan Klein
09-05-2012, 10:10 PM
Can someone explain to me why Moonrise Hernandez is a good photograph, as I don’t get it.

I was at the AIPAD Photo show last year in NYC. They have about 75 renowned photo dealers from around the country and world. Each had a booth selling their photos of all kinds. A few had Adams as he is so popular.

So I see one of these "Moonrise" prints that's going for US$60,000. Interesting photo I thought though it was quite above my price range. So I'm walking around to the other side of the show and sure enough, there's another "Moonrise" at another dealer. It was going for about $150,000. I have to admit, I couldn't see why it was worth more then the first one I saw. But then again I didn't look that close.

Just then, some rich middle age guy comes along with this beautiful girl about half his age. "Well," he impresses her with contempt in his tone for what he's looking at. "My "Moonrise" was around $200,000 and it is much, much better than that one."

I listened silently. I suppose he was right. After all, he had the hot chick.

semi-ambivalent
09-05-2012, 11:51 PM
I listened silently. I suppose he was right. After all, he had the hot chick.

Perhaps I should re-evaluate my Capitalist metric...

s-brunettes-are-the-new-blondes-a

Dali
09-06-2012, 06:00 AM
Just then, some rich middle age guy comes along with this beautiful girl about half his age. "Well," he impresses her with contempt in his tone for what he's looking at. "My "Moonrise" was around $200,000 and it is much, much better than that one."



Typically the kind of vulgar behavior we can expect from this kind of guy... I hope he left the price tag on the print to show his "friends" how much he loves art... You did the right thing by ignoring such moron. :laugh:

TheFlyingCamera
09-06-2012, 09:54 AM
Not a defense of either the jackass or the pricing, but a possible explanation for the difference (a distinction that would have been utterly lost on the jackass) - the $60K copy could have been a very late production copy, and the $150K one an early vintage print. I suspect the dealer who sold the $200K print to the jackass knew he was a jackass and raised the price accordingly.

Jeff Kubach
09-06-2012, 03:49 PM
I like it and to me that is all it matters.

Jeff

DREW WILEY
09-06-2012, 05:47 PM
Don't judge the artistic merits of a print by what it sells for in some hyped-up auction or show market. The two things aren't directly related. Asking prince is 1)related to what they think they will
get away with; 2)related to supply and demand; 3)more about the autograph on the image and its
collectibility than often the image itself. Just look at the prices demanded for kindergarten-techniqe and archivally worthless Cindy Sherman prints. When Ansel died, a Moonrise print went at aution for
40K, another for 60K, then one well over 100K. But he printed something like 350 of them! Not exactly rare. So all of a sudden the market was flooded and the prices were back down to around
15K, right at the price where you could have walked right into a dealer and bought one all along,
or even for less, when he was still alive! Never underestimate the appeal of conspicuous consumption
when it comes to what people will pay for art.

c6h6o3
09-06-2012, 06:05 PM
I've been to many AIPAD shows and have seen at least a dozen Moonrises printed by Adams. Not one of them was identical to any of the others. Size, contrast, tonality of the sky (the gamut from light grey to pitch black). There was something different about each one. He certainly interpreted it many different ways over the years. With that many different Moonrises, the great disparity in price doesn't surprise me in the least.

It never ceases to amaze me how a photograph like that one can command 100s of K$ while truly breathtaking work by the likes of Frederick Sommer or Aaron Siskind goes a beggin'. Although, at this year's AIPAD show the prices on Sommer's work were quite elevated over years past. $30-$50K. However, none of them was tagged as having been sold.

semi-ambivalent
09-06-2012, 06:30 PM
Aaron Siskind goes a beggin'.

I haven't been on APUG very long but that might be the first time I've seen him mentioned. His images of things ground into (NY?) asphalt streets are amazing. I wish I could afford him.

s-a

jimgalli
09-06-2012, 08:06 PM
The vote is in and closed on Moonrise. You don't get a vote. Sorry. It really doesn't matter what you think.

Prof_Pixel
09-06-2012, 08:26 PM
Moonrise Hernandez is a VERY heavily manipulated print with extensive dodging and burning. In truth, it was made in the darkroom. See SEXTON, JOHN. MOONRISE, HERNANDEZ. ANSEL ADAMS PRINTING NOTES —“TRANSLATION” at http://notesonphotographs.org/index.php?title=Sexton,_John._Moonrise,_Hernandez. _Ansel_Adams_Printing_Notes_%E2%80%94%E2%80%9CTran slation%E2%80%9D

PKM-25
09-06-2012, 09:42 PM
I get it…as a viewer would get it. I only ever hear criticism from photographers of Adam's work, none of the every day person….that ought to tell you something…

I hear music when I see this. I feel the chill in the air from a November afternoon in the South West. I really don't care if it is his best or if I like another one better. It has what I see many images…especially those made on film these days, lacking….it has distinct mood. It is also a journey back in time, a journey into who Ansel wanted to be and ended up being.

No one can argue how intrepid photography of this caliber was in 1941, this was just not seen until then. In my opinion, if you don't get it, then you are looking at this as just a photograph of which it is not. Moonrise over Hernandez is and will always be a mile marker if not a milestone in the history of photography.....that leaves a mark that can not be erased but gets handed down through emotions generation to generation.

You don't have to like it, no one does. But the fact of the matter is that people do, it's a feel kinda thing...It will always be a great photograph, because it started as one.

Vaughn
09-06-2012, 10:04 PM
Even though Galli say my vote no longer counts, it is a stunning image. Not my favorite "Adams", but a very very well done image. I think PKM-25 makes some fine points.

I am moved by many many images. I try not to let any bias rule my looking at photographs. But of course it does. Rocks and trees are fine by me. Portraits, since I generally do not take them are harder for me to approach...it has to be a pretty dang fine portrait to move me -- we see so many of them...far more images of people have been taken than of any other subject. But because I photograph the light reflecting off the landscape, I am pretty tough on landscape photographs, too. So I guess it evens out.

People give showering praise to images here that make me cringe -- I want to shout out, "But can't you see.......!" But it better to be nice and encouraging, especially when no honest critique is asked for. Dang...I need another scotch...

Vaughn

ROL
09-06-2012, 10:23 PM
People give showering praise to images here that make me cringe -- I want to shout out, "But can't you see.......!" But it better to be nice and encouraging, especially when no honest critique is asked for. Dang...I need another scotch...

+1. Eye of the beholder. Some are blind.

Prof_Pixel
09-06-2012, 10:33 PM
Would you all like it as much if Adams had done all the dodging and burning manipulation using Photoshop?

Using Photoshop would have required the exactly same artistic interpretation on the image he had originally captured.

Vaughn
09-06-2012, 10:37 PM
+1. Eye of the beholder. Some are blind.

Okay, I am on my second scotch -- nothing pisses me more than when I point out, lets say, an upper corner of blank sky that destroys the sense of balance in an image...and I hear back, "But that was just the way it was!"...I want to wring their neck and say, "Then don't take the bloody picture -- or at least don't print the dang thing!"

But I don't because I actually know what they are trying to say and we all have to make these errors and hopefully learn from them.


Would you all like it as much if Adams had done all the dodging and burning manipulation using Photoshop?


Probably not, since it would have been taken at a different point of time in the history of photography and probably would have been too heavy a hand put on the sharpening filter. And in color and printed too large -- I have seen Moonrise printed in mural size...too bloody big.

PKM-25
09-06-2012, 10:58 PM
Would you all like it as much if Adams had done all the dodging and burning manipulation using Photoshop?

Using Photoshop would have required the exactly same artistic interpretation on the image he had originally captured.

No, I would not have liked it, because it would not have been hand made, now days, there is computer made and then there is everything that is not computer made, big, big difference in the required talent and persistence.

And I disagree with you in terms of what the artistic interpretation of the image would have been if photoshop were around. It simply was not and there is no going back from that....thank god.

Personally, I have never been one to manipulate images to the degree that Adams did and *certainly* not to the point of the worthless garbage I see from people using photoshop. But I did have a "Hernandez" moment this year and I am still quite taken aback that I pulled it off, all in the way I saw it, shot it, souped it and printed it, requiring every ounce of technique and talent I could pull together. It took a ton of work and the result is not something you can get from a computer photo....

Ken Nadvornick
09-06-2012, 11:44 PM
Perhaps one's appreciation is also dependent to a certain degree on one's willingness to participate in the viewing experience.

In today's culture many have come to expect to be passively entertained, or engaged, or moved, or informed, or whatever, without ever realizing that they must also actively contribute to that process in order to fully experience it.

If you stand in front of a photograph and simply wait for it to speak to you, you could be in for a long wait. The viewing needs to be participatory. Same with a book. You can stare at it on the table until the cows come home, but until you make the effort to actually open and read it, not much literary appreciation is going to happen.

Ken

Leigh B
09-07-2012, 02:29 AM
I want to wring their neck and say, "Then don't take the bloody picture -- or at least don't print the dang thing!" But I don't because I actually know what they are trying to say and we all have to make these errors and hopefully learn from them.
And what if the original photographer says: "I like it that way. That's why I took the photo."

Who are you to decide that the pic contains an "error"? Are you the final arbiter of artistic vision on this planet?

- Leigh

Vaughn
09-07-2012, 04:21 AM
All depend, Leigh. If they considered all the aspects of the image and liked it that way, fine -- I don't have to like it for it to be a good image to them. But if they just, for example, looked at the subject without considering the entire image, and the rest of the image detracts from their subject, then they have failed to make the best image they are capable of. But some people feel like 'okay' is good enough...and usually they say in their defense, "I like it that way. That's why I took the photo."

I broke one of my own rules and critiqued a baby picture -- a dumb thing to do. Rarely can a parent see past the baby.

Another classic is the tree or post growing out of someone's head. The photographer might still like the photo because of their relationship to the subject. But it still a fail as a photograph. Unless, of course the photographer wanted the tree growing out their subject's head for some odd or even logical reason.

Rules of composition are meant to be broken, but it helps to know the rules first...but sometimes one can get lucky.

Leigh B
09-07-2012, 04:53 AM
Vaughn,

The problem that I had with your comment is you have no idea what the shooter was thinking of when he tripped the shutter.

You're basing your statements on total speculation.

- Leigh