Apologies for being somewhat rude. It's just that you can't imagine how many times someone has posted a technical question, only to have the discussion derailed by someone eventually chiming in with the old "nothing is worse than a sharp print of a fuzzy concept" thing. It never fails. So my furstration got the better of me.
I would say I'm mostly on the same page as you, after having read your explanation.
All I'm saying is there seems to be this notion out there that an interest in the theory and science of photography necessarily precludes artistic vision - and worse, that ignorance of technical matters necessarily makes one a better artist. This kind of thinking is utter nonsense. It is also one of the reasons why there is so much bad technical information out there when it comes to photography.
So I tend to get upset when issues of substance vs technical quality are raised. It is a false dichotomy. A red herring. Substance and technique are not mutually exclusive. It is perfectly possible for a photographer to be both a creative artist and obsessive about the minutiae of the photographic process.
Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry
I obsess over technical details , always have and always will, but I also am as obsessive about the aesthetics of photography.
I find that they work well together in my solarization work as I can push the boundries with process to get an image that pleases me. Because of the technical testing I know how to push the envelope and understand what is going on, which allows me to the make creative adjustments to please my eye.
Both are critical in my view, and equally worthy of discussion.
technically pushing a 35 mm negative to 40 x60 inches is technically challenging. If done well is a thing of beauty, aesthetically speaking of course.
Again, my apologies. I'm somewhat new here, however this very concept is mind boggling to me. In twenty years of image making I have never had to divorce the two before, so it is somewhat unnatural for me. In fact, I'm not sure I know how to do it. But I will do my best to adhere to the standards of the community. I'm sorry if I caused a ruckus.
Originally Posted by richard ide
I think we are very much in agreement. Every year I make the rounds at the large art fairs (Art Basel, The Armory Show, etc) and each year I am more and more amazed by the lack of technique when it comes to photographic print making. People can say whatever they want about the content of Robert Mapplethorpe's work, for example, but his prints were spectacular and on par with Weston, Penn and the like. So yes, content and technique should certainly support one another.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
However, there is some truth to those notions, which is why I believe the pedagogy must change. One can get so mired in the technical that they fail to think creatively (or, more correctly stated, they fail to exercise their creative vision and how it fits in to the canon of photography) and one can produce work that has artistic merit while lacking technical skills.
I was originally educated as a classical musician (though my love is jazz). No one would ever hand you a violin and expect you to create art with it, without first spending years, if not decades, mastering the instrument itself. The art, comes out of mastery of craft. At the same time, it is important to expose the student of music to different kinds of music, to force them to practice improvisation (no matter how bad they may be at it at first) and to embrace genres that they might not "get" at first.
I've rambled long enough. Again, to yourself and others, I'm sorry. I'm somewhat new here and still learning the terrain.
classical trumpet player here, so we're all good!
I'm an engineering manager, so I'm all about defining a process and properly controlling it to achieve the desired output. The technical issues involving the production of a black and white print that meet the photographers pre-visualized image were defined decades ago. The steps are known. Now what to shoot is a whole other story. That's my current problem, misplaced mojo.
I can't imagine a 40x60 enlargement from a normal 35mm negative that would satisfy me technically. However, I would love to see them as they may kickstart my dormant artistic side. The Kodachrome of that green eyed Afghan girl at that enlargement would be stunning. I have projected slides (of a technical nature) where the detail was impressive at 48x72, Nikon F3 and a 55mm Micro Nikkor. I'd love to see something that size that moved me artistically.
jerry: It's all about viewing distance. Of course when one looks close at a 40x60 print they're going to see grain. Well if they break out a magnifying glass on a 5x7 they're going to see grain too.
As long as the lens is decent, the skies the limit when it comes to ultimate enlarged sized as viewing distance is proportional to it.
I was only wondering what it would look like, viewing distance not withstanding. Have you or anyone else here ever printed that big?
Originally Posted by clayne
BTW, McCurry's selling them for 10k.