I don't get the relevance of your last comment, Mr Pixel. Sounds like one of those things some twenty-something would recapitualte. Oil painting is its own medium, watercolor works best at different effects, fresco at something else, and none of that looks like photography. Yes, there are
a lot of folks who try to mimic painting with photography, and once in awhile visa versa, but you can't really substitute one for the other. All kinds of photo techniques have come and gone, and
people still paint with oil. There must be a reason. But frankly, I don't give a damn. I do what works
for me and what I enjoy. Some people don't like darkroom work. I do. That's reason enough.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
The point I've been trying to make is that I think artistic vision is far more important that the tools the artist uses. There have always been people that feel the tools used are more important.
The Steichen passage I was quoting in another thread, I thought would defend Moonrise as a good photograph...
"When the photographer has something in front of him, chosen with his heart and his mind, and when he has brought to bear all the experience he has ever had, then he's prepared to press that button."
That sure sounds like the Moonrise scenario.
"...the moment you press that button that's it, you're through. What you can do afterwards is very limited."
This must be where Ansel Adams proves Steichen wrong.
Originally Posted by Prof_Pixel
This whole (rather tangential) discussion seems to be about how much Moonrise was manipulated in the darkroom. So what? Many devotees of analog processes see a meaningful difference between manipulations made by someone with their hands and bits of cardboard, or fine brushes and bleach, or whatever, and manipulations made electronically within a powerful software application. You can argue all day that there is no real difference, but I think you have chosen the wrong crowd here. Many (including me) are here at APUG because they see a difference, perhaps largely subjective and emotional, between the two approaches to making photographs.
The old "artistic vision is paramount" argument is a valid personal philosophy but so is a philosophy that views different tools in different ways. I am happy to praise amazing digital images. But show me two essentially identical images, one manipulated in the darkroom and one manipulated on a computer, and I will take the darkroom creation every time, simply because I personally attach a degree of extra value to the process by which it was made.
So, don't keep banging your head against the wall. Just accept that many APUGers won't give a damn how much Adams manipulated his photos in the darkroom.
It wasn't manipulated all that much to begin with. It was just an exercise in contrast control. Not like
assembling things together from completely different scenes in Fauxtoshop, or artifically colorizing
them to resemble something a kindergartner would do on acid, like some highly commercialized landscape photographers do nowadays. We all dodge/burn, bleach, select grade or filtration. The
days are long past when dodging was considered unethical "sundowning". But Dr. Pixel's basis argument is basically vacuous. Vision means nothing if you can't translate into something tangible.
You won't get a symphony out of a junior-high student playing a tuba for the first time!
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Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Lot of work? It would be pretty damn easy in my darkroom, esp given the quality of today's VC papers. In fact, any kind of black and white printing is pretty damn easy compared to some of the
color work I do - and a helluva lot easier than to how color work was routinely done back when AA
was actually printing Moonrise. Heck, he had neighbors routinely doing carbro and dye transfer,etc.
That's like doing Moonrise fifty times just to get a single print, with the outcome far less certain.
Once you pick up a camera "reality" ends. You change the world just by looking at it, by selecting
out of the overall context what you consider relevant and worth seeing, then by printing it in such
a manner that others are facilitated to see the same thing. It's all a damn game. But some people
play it with a lot more skill than others.
I just had the opportunity to see this last week for the first time in person at MOPA in san diego... It is an awesome photo... seriously... it's stunning.... 5 years ago.. i wouldn't have gotten it either. but, today i love the darkroom, and i love black and white, moreover, i know that when you shoot something, it takes practice to do it right from beginning to end, and to create this image, AA got all the steps pretty much perfectly.
1. The houses were lit from the setting sun from behind. you can see in the photograph that these are lit and there's plenty of detail all around, there's a cemetery there.
2. The sky has a beautiful tonality. the moon is clear
3 . the clouds almost glow, but there's detail in them as well, and they look white, and you can see, ( i being from el paso tx, under new mexico) the clouds look just like that at sundown sometimes...
all these things create an atmosphere... to truly appreciate them, you have to know that the negative, had to be exposed correctly ( which is fairly simple with experience) and he had to develop the negative accordingly. My wife and cousin, thought it was okay... nothing great.
Dont' forget AA had a photographic memory, i'm sure that helped.
I didn't think much of it either until recently when I saw it at an exhibit of American photographers at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The print quality blew me away so to speak. Deep blacks, sharp, detail it was all there. Maybe that's just what it is; you need to be a darkroom printer to appreciate it. It doesn't have that magic when you see it on the web.
Maybe you just need to see it in person, no matter how you print your own stuff.
Originally Posted by spijker