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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Photographic observation

    I sometimes talk to painters and people who sketch and find their craft often means more to them than observation of what they see. They sometimes dismiss photographers as merely snappers, but I would suggest that a dedicated photographer has a more observant vision than those who dedicate their observance to interpretation through their craft. Am I talking crap, or do some understand what I’m trying to say?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    You got it right.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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    ho hum

    How many painters, sketchers are there in the world? How many dedicated photographers are there on this globe and in orbit? To presume to make a sweeping statement about these millions of very different individuals appears to be rather shallow. What about a painter-sketcher-photographer? What about photographer-authors and painter-poets? How about painter-rocket scientists and photographer-janitors? How about Cartier-Bresson who expressed the idea, late in his life, that photography was just fooling around and painting was the real deal?

  4. #4

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    If there was photography 2000 years ago, we'd know what Jesus looked like. And who really knows what George Washington looked like? Not from painters, to be sure. I've seen Martin Luther King statues all over creation, and none of them looked like him. Only a camera can show the way it really was.

  5. #5
    eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    .. I would suggest that a dedicated photographer has a more observant vision than those who dedicate their observance to interpretation through their craft.
    Isn't a photographer interpreting through his craft?

  6. #6

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    I started w/ painting, drawing, & printing and came to photography later. For drawing, you pay a lot more attention to your subject because you have to. But photography obviously requires skill and a good eye, and if you do your own developing and printing you have to learn the craft aspect. Photography is pretty much left brained, drawing and painting are right brained, and printing is left side too. This is not engraved in stone, but it's what I see.

    Photography, I mean GOOD B&W photography, is much harder than I ever imagined. To get an image that "pops" is not that easy! I'd say that I get one of those about every 250 to 500 frames, if I'm lucky. Sometimes, when the wind is right, I can get two good drawings/sketches in a day. Different stuff from one end to the other. The time between seeing your image in the camera's viewfinder and getting a print can seem like ages, unlike drawing/painting, where you see the image develop in front of your eyes, w/ constant changes all along the way. W/ a B&W neg you had better nail it from the get go.
    Last edited by momus; 02-06-2014 at 11:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    jp498's Avatar
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    Not yet mentioned but one way photographers have to be more observant is with regard to things we DON'T want in the image. We have to look at the whole subject and everything behind it and consider that before making a photo. We can obsess over it or simply find a style keeping to seek things we capture simple without distraction. People who paint/draw can just ignore what they are not interested in including or didn't observe.

    I think many painters would say you are talking crap for saying their craft is more important than their observation. That's metaphorically painting them with a pretty wide brush.

  8. #8
    jp498's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momus View Post
    I started w/ painting, drawing, & printing and came to photography later. For drawing, you pay a lot more attention to your subject because you have to. But photography obviously requires skill and a good eye, and if you do your own developing and printing you have to learn the craft aspect. Photography is pretty much left brained, drawing and painting are right brained, and printing is left side too. This is not engraved in stone, but it's what I see. Photography, I mean GOOD B&W photography, is much harder than I ever imagined. To get an image that "pops" is not that easy! I'd say that I get one of those about every 250 to 500 frames, if I'm lucky. Sometimes, when the wind is right, I can get two good drawings/sketches in a day. Different stuff from one end to the other.
    I would disagree. I think B&W photography is very right brained. The left brain stuff like measuring light and predicting depth of field is so mundane it's almost brainless to me, and processing film is no different than doing dishes or laundry. For me the craft can become second nature if you take a break from film/paper testing and just pick a materials combination and stick with it. The real challenge is the right brain stuff like translating mood onto film, composition, context, abstraction, soft/sharp choices, learning from photo/art history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    I would disagree. I think B&W photography is very right brained. The left brain stuff like measuring light and predicting depth of field is so mundane it's almost brainless to me, and processing film is no different than doing dishes or laundry. For me the craft can become second nature if you take a break from film/paper testing and just pick a materials combination and stick with it. The real challenge is the right brain stuff like translating mood onto film, composition, context, abstraction, soft/sharp choices, learning from photo/art history.
    The "seeing" part of photography is distinctly "right-brained" in the figurative sense. But since the initial division of brains into left and right hemispheres, our understanding has also progressed a bit, and today the view is not that straightforward regarding left/right. Photography draws on a range of human qualities, skills and emotions. In that sense a claim for either left or right seems to underestimate the complexity of the medium, and undermines its place in the broader perspective of arts and crafts, and human endeavour in general. In fact, I cannot think of a reason to categorise photography into right-brain activity or other, apart from having a left-brain obsession over categorising things. If that made any sense.

  10. #10

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    The creation of a photograph does not stop with the click of the shutter. I think that people who are not photographers fail to realize this fact. Several great photographers used devices like the camera obscura. Did this make them in anyway less of an artist?
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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