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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty View Post
    Just because you COULD print big doesn't mean that you SHOULD... There are numerous reasons one might choose to shoot big and print small... Once could have a preference for using and composing on a view camera ground glass and seeing the image much larger than you would through a view finder... using movements to alter perspective and/or relationships in a scene... controlling individual development for each sheet... the slow methodical process... preferring the act of contact printing to enlarging or the desire to use various alt processes... having the option to print larger if you decide to at a later date... I could go on and on...

    Besides, why would anyone else's personal choices about such things "irk" you?
    Agree. It seems strange to say the only reason to use bigger film is to make bigger prints.

  2. #32
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Agree. It seems strange to say the only reason to use bigger film is to make bigger prints.
    In the end, looking at photographs that make it into museums, the camera format has very little to do with it.
    The best camera for the job is the one that gets the job done. If that's 35mm or 11x14, who gives a shit?! It's the photograph itself that matters, and to experience what the photographer saw to begin with.
    Because we are here, on a web site, arguing fine points about camera format just proves why we are here arguing about camera formats.
    Does anybody seriously go into museums, looking at photographs, thinking 'They ought to have used a 5x7 camera here, because this 20x24 is not optimal printed from a medium format negative'? Pardon me, but that would be pretty damned stupid.
    Just use the camera you gel with, make good photographs, and get over the camera format thing! Oh, and maybe have some fun too...
    "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

  3. #33

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    All I'm saying is just because you have a bigger negative doesn't mean you need to print it big. Whatever size works for the photographer and the image is all that really matters. Print big or small from any format. Who cares.

  4. #34
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Precisely, Michael. I agree with you 100%.
    "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

  5. #35
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
    What irks me though is how people invest thousands in a large format kit but never print beyond 8x10... For all intents and purposes they may as well stick with 35mm.
    Haaaa, I must drive you insane. I'm guilty as charged, haven't printed bigger than 11x14 in 25 years.

    I suppose it would make things worse if I propped up my small prints as proof there is no reason to shoot 4x5 because 35mm looks just as good. But I won't say that. I see a difference.

    ROL, I like your example, it shows the different looks. I get that difference in what I see in my own prints.

    Thomas, because you encouraged me to shoot small formats I have recent prints from a variety of formats. So I can say each has its look, and each is beautiful in its own right. An individual photographer really should decide for themself what to shoot. Our discussions here should guide the way, and not mislead.

    When I go to a museum, I AM aware of the format. I expect 8x10 contact prints from a Weston, and Minox from Warhol. Who they were and what they shot matters to me. But that's not the same as saying what they shot is important. My imagination is captured by the photographer's relationship to their chosen format.

  6. #36
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    In the end, looking at photographs that make it into museums, the camera format has very little to do with it...
    I agree that the camera format has very little bearing on how meaningful a photographer's work is. But each photographer who makes meaningful work chooses a camera format.

    There has to be a way to say that an a contact print from 8x10 negative looks better than an 8x10 print from a 4x5 negative... without implying that the contact print from an 8x10 negative is a better photograph.

    Given the choice between photograph and no photograph, I would always choose the one that exists. And that can make 35mm the best choice.

  7. #37
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    I agree that the camera format has very little bearing on how meaningful a photographer's work is. But each photographer who makes meaningful work chooses a camera format.

    There has to be a way to say that an a contact print from 8x10 negative looks better than an 8x10 print from a 4x5 negative... without implying that the contact print from an 8x10 negative is a better photograph.

    Given the choice between photograph and no photograph, I would always choose the one that exists. And that can make 35mm the best choice.

    Bill, you're free to say whatever you want and I will respect your opinion, but to me there simply is no best. Only what works and feels natural to use. If that's 35mm, then that works. The end.

    To use camera format as some sort of barometer for the quality of a photograph is, to me, completely irrelevant.
    You shoot the camera you like to shoot. Then you make the prints as big as they need to be.

    Who decides what is good anyway? Or do we have to abide by some kind of popular norm?
    "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

  8. #38
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    If I still sound like I'm advocating large format as "the best" then I must be using the wrong word when I say "a contact print from 8x10 looks better". Because by better, I am only describing one dimension of quality. There are so many aspects of a great photograph and resolution is only one of them. It's a "nice to have" - not a "necessary" or even "important" aspect. It happens to be one that I like. But I also like photographs which show their strengths elsewhere.

    I like your phrase "what works and feels natural to use" because that implies the photographer's choice.

  9. #39
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    A 10" X 8" contact or print will show wonderful detail, but if the content is boring or rubbish, it can never compete with a 35mm print of great composition, context and timing.

    “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

  10. #40
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    cliveh,

    Composition, Context and Timing, absolutely.

    I don't know if I've ever seen ANY print I would call boring or rubbish. Guess if I were a teacher and had some students who were forced into the class or only wanted an easy grade. Maybe then I'd see some bad prints.

    I'm fortunate to only see good work, for instance I participated in a couple of LFF print exchanges. The prints I received were a mix of 8x10 and 11x14 prints, some fiber, some RC, some contact, some enlargement, even some inkjet (which is permitted by LFF). My favorites happen to be enlargements on fiber paper. But the contact prints ARE beautiful, and I am happy to have them.

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