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  1. #1

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    Edward Weston Philosophy -- Newbies please read

    The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it.

    - Edward Weston

    I have found that people new to photography often make this mistake and over complicate the whole process. Work in the darkrooom becomes a tedium which they then abandon.

    Weston says it so well that I can only add for newbies that they frst do a lot of reading and then post specific questions. The worst thing they can do is write "New to photography, need recommendations for ...". If 100 people respond they will get 100 different choices all very subjective and personal and not very useful because it is too much information.

    (None of the forums seemed to be ideal but the quote fits well with common posts to the darkroom.)
    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

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Well put!

    Get a camera, some film, some chemicals and some paper. The rest is minutia.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  3. #3

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    Another interesting story about Weston, IIRC, told by Minor White. They are out shooting among sand dunes. Weston is metering, White is thinking Zone 8 for the bright areas, etc, making mental calculations, as Ansel would recommend. Weston meters overall with the Weston meter (not a spot meter), and says simply, "I'll give 3 more stops..." He knows he'll take care of the rest of it in the darkroom.

  4. #4

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    So which is worse, the group described by Weston, or the (presumably smaller) group who take a more methodical, measured approach, one paper/one film/one developer, until they get bored silly and simply walk away?

    I only say this because it was a case of a few happy mistakes, positive failures that stoked my interest in photography. I read these "newbie recommendation" threads and sometimes say, ah what the hell, I'll give that a try!

    The things I know about photography are not nearly as important as the things I do not.

  5. #5
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    Being bored silly is not the same as being all over the place. I think at no time did Gerald imply that one should be stagnate.

    I believe he was simply stating that too many people look for the silver bullet that will render quality photographic images regardless of their (in)ability to grasp the technical aspects necessary to produce consistent results.

    I must agree with Gerald.
    Robert Hall
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  6. #6

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    I'm still excited simply to get visible images!!

    I'm amazed everytime I pull a strip of film from the tank.

  7. #7
    erikg's Avatar
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    Gerald makes a good case for not reading Apug all the time! Weston had a lot of good things to say but I think trying to follow his purist approach has also been a trap that some photographers fall into. You gotta find your own way, and if that means farting around with different stuff then so be it.

  8. #8

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    +1 for Gerald and Robert. A large majority of the posts on APUG these days consists of the endless search for the mythical 'silver bullet' Robert refers to. I don't stop in as much as I did before; I'd rather spend the time making images.
    -Fred

  9. #9

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    "The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium."----

    nor can talent be taught.....in many cases those that have mastered the technical
    aspects of photography,would be well served to have even a newbie with some talent point the camera for them.----imho

  10. #10
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    As is clear from his earlier (pre f/64) work, Weston had already developed a tremendous intuition and mastery of his medium. This was long before he became Anselized (and yes I do hold a small grudge against Adams for that).

    Anyway, I definitely agree with the sentiment of the quote... and I feel that I am agreeing with it ever more as my photography matures.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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