Some of my best photographs happen when I don't think too much about the technical stuff. I try not let the machinery and the process get in the way. I used to obsess about Fstop, shutter speed and what kind of film. It's the same with any artistic endeavor. You learn how to play the notes on the piano, then for get it all to play music. I think getting stuck play scales is very boring. The machinery and process should serve the art. Obsession with process and technique is just science. The science part should come as second nature like breathing. 99% of the struggle with photographing is seeing. the 1% is just the photographic nuts and bolts.
Edward did use a light meter. Brett, however, did not use one except for the color work that he did briefly in the 1950's. He believed that anyone who photographed daily, as he did, should be familiar enough with the materials and process to judge light and correct exposure without a meter.
Originally Posted by Jim Noel
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
Look for Brett Weston and you should find it.
Well I tend to agree with this quote. Howeveer I am not at a stage in my (photographic) life that I can fully embrace it. I just love to try out new camera's and film and procedures too much to stop that and concentrate on just one camera, one format, one film etc. I will do probaly but not yet. I started education last year and now I want to learn to judge light without a meter. And so I want to keep learning till I can make decent shots......I'll be old and bendy by that time probably.
That is correct. Light meters are based on work by the english Edward Weston who died in 1936.
Originally Posted by Jim Noel
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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That was exactly the vibe that I got about the Zone System wen I first heard about it. It was The Way, not a way.
Originally Posted by Donmck
Imagine my surprise when, 20-ish years layer, I actually read Adams' book series and saw him (though not in such words) distance himself from ZS as a religion. Wish I'd read that years earlier.
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Oh, and by the way, it was 100 yards. And it was made partly in jest at his good friend Ansel.
It depends entirely on what you want to achieve with photography.
1. Either you care only about making the best photographs and prints you can. You seek to make materials an item you don't think about, but just know what they will deliver.
2. You are a curious person that wants to know everything, and you dive headfirst into trying anything between heaven and hell, just because you think it's fun.
3. Anything in between.
I can only speak from personal experience, and here it is:
It wasn't until I stopped experimenting with different films, developers, and papers that I could start making the prints I wanted. To intimately know your materials, to know them so well that when you shoot you don't even have to think about what the reulsts are going to be. You just know.
So you expose your film, knowing how much time it's going to need for that particular lighting scenario, do it, and then go print negatives that require little to no manipulation to make not just a good, but a brilliant print.
You can't do that if you experiment a lot. You have to find the limitations in order to fully exploit your materials. You have to think outside the box, push what you have at hand to the limit and beyond.
But I'm in camp 1. I don't subscribe to getting a cool lens just to make a cool photograph. I don't believe that different films will vary enough in 'characteristics' to make a damn bit of difference in my prints. I believe in practicing, practicing, practicing, using the same materials over and over again until I can do anything with them.
My prints are better than they ever have been. I gain more and more control over the process with every bit I learn. It does not feel stagnant or unimaginative at all to do it this way. It feels HIGHLY creative, highly repeatable, and printing these negatives are SO much fun.
I detest going back to print old negatives, even if it's a good picture, because it takes so much work to get the prints right.
I agree with knowing what the heck we're doing. Every step of the way. However you get to your nirvana is your choice. I have found my printing nirvana in consistency.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I endorse the quote and the OP's views, but I'll ask newbies (I hate that term outside it's correct context - at least he didn't say 'n00bs'!) to remember that Weston moved from fuzzy Pictorialism to 'straight photography' a la Group 64, exploring different techniques and materials as he went. There is no correct answer; experimentation is a part of learning and the lesson is to find out what *you* want to achieve then to choose your materials and methods accordingly. That's how we learn, folks.
All IMO, of course.
You make an excellent point, one to which I have given thought over the years.
Originally Posted by kevs
Edward did not arrive at Pepper #30 without a long journey of experimentation and questioning. He learned a great deal from his son Brett, who from the age of 13 never questioned what he was doing. Brett was very direct, Edward was searching for the answers.