Originally Posted by Tom Duffy
I think we need to strive to take pictures that would be good irrespective of the format used, otherwise it's more self-therapy than communication.
"Very true ... BUT - Imagine listening to the overture of 1812 on a 2" speaker and being told that for all its power, you will never be able to listen to it on a great stereo system."
I agree with what you are saying. I'm a multiformat shooter and can debate the the merits of different formats until the cows come home. :)
I wish I could attribute this quote to the photographer who said it (or even remember the quote precisely. He was quoted in an old issue of viewcamera. "I find when I don't use a least a 4x10 or 5x7 the results are low fidelity, like a recording that's full of tape hiss. I am always disappointed in the result". I agree with this. My single favorite favorite format is 5x7, in terms of the presence of the image. And I do think it's a great exercise to force ourselves to use a view camera for subjects that might more rationally be shot handheld. We'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the work, as compared with a smaller format. Much of Weston's great work was the result of having to use a view camera, instead of a smaller format.
But, in the interest of balanced debate, I don't see sharpness or "fidelity" as the most important aspect of a photograph.
Bill Pierce had a great line, "Never confuse sharp with good, or you'll be shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor."
I was somewhat annoyed by the tone Jim Moore used in thread today about preferring his medium format work to his large format work. There's an undercurrent of apology/frustration that he wasn't proceeding up the format chain to the holy grail, the large format contact print. There is no logical progression, its about using the tool that works for you.
Although tough to do a apples to apples comparison, Henri Cartier-Bresson's work is at least as valuable as Ansel Adams'.
Gosh, I live on a different planet from you folks. Again, my equipment is beyond overkill, but I use 35mm to print 24 x 36 and larger. So far all of my customers are more than pleased and a couple are especially pleased because they no longer need to carry all of the LF camera stuff. Most are settling in the 4X5 negative size rather than going to just 35mm.
If a photograph has "impact" then it is successful to both the photographer and the viewer.
If it has no impact then it is only possibly successful to the photographer.
Size and technique don't really enter into this particular equation.
It may surpise a certain few that one of the main reasons I enjoy LF, and 8x10 in particular is that it has simplified my darkroom life. Prior to that with my Hassie and Leica I had all the trimmings - super duper enlarger, special air conditioning, light tight darkroom, etc. I do not have a darkroom now. I print in the living room, kitchen, shower room, hallway of my house as the mood suits. I can narrow my equipment to lightbulb, contact printing frame and trays. BIGGER IS NOT BETTER. For me, BIGGER IS SIMPLER!