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  1. #61
    spiralcity's Avatar
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    And I find your standpoint hard to make out. I already described in post #29 the difference between technical and artistic macro photography, believe me, it is VAST. Technical photography aims to convey maximum objective visual information, any personal viewpoint in terms of light and shade, differential focus, departure from neutral color, etc. is absolutely taboo! Feel free to disagree, it would help if you quoted from your personal experience with visual examples.
    I dont know what was so hard to understand about my last post. It was quite a simple statement.

    I do disagree.

    Who are you or anyone else for that matter to describe what is truly art? Art comes from the heart and is seen differntly by everyone.

    As I stated ; It dosent matter how you arrive at the image, it is simply the beauty one finds in the image. I find most of Shaws work very artitic, and yes it is also very technical. So what? The beauty is in the eye of those looking upon it.

    My problem lies with trying to pigeonhole what one precieves as artistic.

    A US senator being aksed questions about censorship on CNN had this to say.

    Question: Mr. Senator, can you describe to us what you precieve to be pornographic?

    Answer: I can't describe to you in words. What I can tell you, is I know it when I see it.
    Last edited by spiralcity; 09-20-2007 at 01:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #62

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    What, except by chance, do technical record shots have to do with art? They're about accurate representation of the subject. If the images are also pleasing, that's nice, but first and foremost they have to be accurate representations of the subject. If they please but don't accurately show what's there they're failures. So I'm with David.

    I'm not with you twistytown, and I don't understand why you don't get what seems obvious to me. But then I often take record shots that don't aspire to be art.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  3. #63
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    Surely you can agree, though, Dan - that a photograph can still be an 'exact replica' (i.e. deadpan documentary shot) of what's in front of the lens and still be HIGHLY artistic...? I think we're getting into territory here which is HIGHLY dependent on rhetoric to describe it - so I think that's a problem.

    I also think that one could say that ANY photograph is, by definition, a denial of an accurate rendition of something. A photograph is always a HIGHLY subjective take on something. I think you can have a photo that has a 'look' that we ASSOCIATE with 'objectivity' or the semantic of scientific photography... but beyond that all you can really do is try to effectively illustrate one or another surface quality of a given subject.

  4. #64
    spiralcity's Avatar
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    My answer is simple Dan. I dont want the senator deciding for me.
    I can see why you dont understand where Im comming from.

  5. #65
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    ....I already described in post #29 the difference between technical and artistic macro photography, believe me, it is VAST. Technical photography aims to convey maximum objective visual information, any personal viewpoint in terms of light and shade, differential focus, departure from neutral color, etc. is absolutely taboo! Feel free to disagree, it would help if you quoted from your personal experience with visual examples.
    I'm not trying to be combative, but I think the art/science divide is much less clear-cut than this, especially when you look at the day-to-day workings of the scientific community. I am a microscopist of a sort, and although I agree that there are objective measures of the quality of a technical photograph, they merely define a minimum standard of competence. For me at least there is plenty of scope for art and craft to contribute to the success or failure of a supposedly technical photograph.

    At the most trivial level this merely reflects human nature: a well-composed micrograph is more pleasing to look at, and will garner more praise and attention than a badly-composed photograph that conveys the same information. The unmentionable bastard child of the Truth is Beauty myth exists as a general tendency to think good-looking data must be correct, or somehow better. I have seen plenty of scientific papers that when looked at critically are nothing more than a single lovely image that says nothing.

    So, I teach my students the rudiments of composition and graphic style. Some resist, but the realities of the intellectual marketplace eventually win them over. Other institutions employ graphic artists and photographers with the sole intent of making their data look as good as possible. Felice Frankel, who I mentioned in my first post, has done a lot of this kind of work.

    And then there are the photographs that are so information rich that you need a Tufte-like sensibility to prevent them from becoming simply confusing. If the purpose of a technical photograph is to convey information, and not just simply store it, there are a multitude of choices to be made between image aquisition and final presentation that are exactly analagous to the things photographers get up to in dark rooms.
    Last edited by Struan Gray; 09-26-2007 at 02:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #66

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    Worth a look:

    http://www.visions-of-science.co.uk/introduction.html

    I would say that it does not always seem useful to try to divorce 'Art' from 'Science'. Science and technology, and nature, have an inherent 'art' that is beyond reason (including when reproduced in a technically accurate fashion). It's up to us to see it.

  7. #67
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    The Lennart Nilsson award past winners are worth a look too, especially Meckes and Ottawa:

    http://www.lennartnilssonaward.se

    The attachment is mine: Islands of Rb atoms on an aluminium crystal. The image is roughly 100 nm square. Digital I'm afraid :-)
    Last edited by Struan Gray; 05-27-2008 at 05:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    Surely you can agree, though, Dan - that a photograph can still be an 'exact replica' (i.e. deadpan documentary shot) of what's in front of the lens and still be HIGHLY artistic...? I think we're getting into territory here which is HIGHLY dependent on rhetoric to describe it - so I think that's a problem.

    I also think that one could say that ANY photograph is, by definition, a denial of an accurate rendition of something. A photograph is always a HIGHLY subjective take on something. I think you can have a photo that has a 'look' that we ASSOCIATE with 'objectivity' or the semantic of scientific photography... but beyond that all you can really do is try to effectively illustrate one or another surface quality of a given subject.
    OF course a record shot can be good art too. But it doesn't have to be.

    That said, I don't agree that it no photography can render the subject accurately. If that's what you meant.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  9. #69

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    My "prize winner" was a macro shot of an Iceland Poppy bud opening,with a flash of the bright orange petals starting to show. In the background were a lot of backlit out of DOF poppie s open,same orange. The odd bristled detail of the but and the unique moment in the life cycle made for a rather different "flower" macro. The light that day was great,I'd scouted that garden and it was on the way to work. I'd decided to wait for a day when the light was especially nice. I got that. The out of focus field of poppies in the background,and Kodachrome's tendency to show a "depth" between warm (orange) and cool(green) because of emulsion layers gave that slide a freakish 3D effect. In the viewfinder I recall feeling certain I had a blue ribbon in the flowers category. To my surprise...it was better than that....it won Best Of Show at the Santa Cruz Co fair,which was also open to photographers from Monterey/Carmel,Pro + Amateur. I'd used a rather ordainary Asunama 100 on macro tubes and my Mamiya DTL 1000. Even then--pretty low budget stuff.

    As a gardener and photographer,I tended to find macros of flowers a great way to explore color and composition. There's hundreds of kinds of flowers in hundreds of hues and none seem to be in a hurry to be elsewhere. You can learn a lot about the importance of lighting (natural) and DOF,bokeh,the balancing of crisp and soft focus,pastels and deep color. Were I teaching photography,I'd use Macro flower photos as a primary means of learning the core elements of what makes for a good picture.

    A nice thing about macro and in particular,flowers is that there is no big hurry. You often can spend a half hour checking out the possible variants. Also....a vintage (low $) Mamiya with it's spot meter and handy M42 tubes and -or bellows can out-do a lot of the "Big $" fancy gear. thanks to ebay...now I have a bunch of cameras that in the 80"s I could only wish for....but the good old Mamiya would still be what I'd turn to for serious macro.

    B+W Macro? It's a relatively limited format,with the information and aesthetics of color taken away,tone and texture have to carry the load. Something like the works of an old watch could make a nice 11x14 print in B + W. Weston did a famous shot of a Calla Lily,that was so perfectly lit that it was erotic more than botanical.

    Scale? An early macro I did had a Gazania as the main subject,a rather complex and colorful flower with-in that shot-a dark background. Blown up to a 2 ft x 3 ft print it became a prety impressive shot. Likewise,when you blow up a honeybee to the size of a house cat...it has some impact,it's a common thing seen in a much different way.

    I recently saw a friend's pictures of Thailand,streets of Bankok,Temples at Angor Wat.....Oh My Gawd....
    Another friend is an extreme skier and has shots of the Sierras off a simple digital point-shoot that I have to envy. Sometimes ya just can't GO where the great shot is. With Macro....there may be a great photo anywhere.

  10. #70

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    Oh, n/m, this wasn't analog, sorry, deleted...

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