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  1. #21
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    I've enjoyed reading this thread though. I think what I find fascinating about it is the excitement it generates among some people. But, I still don't understand it.
    Well, it's kinda hard to explain, but...

    There is a certain "warmth" in B&W portraiture that you can get with a Petzval that you just can't get any other way. Maybe "warmth" isn't a good word.... how about glow? While I wouldn't use a Petzval for landscapes, I also wouldn't use a chainsaw to carve a turkey. The Petzval is just another tool in the box...

    But, like Ole, I'm a big fan of the RR/Aplanats as well. If you don't need a lot of movements, they can be painfully sharp lenses.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  2. #22
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    This is interesting. I think of this as a resurgence of pictorialism, perhaps in response to the "digital clarity" that those who moved to that medium so often speak about. In the debate about Impressionism and it's sources, there is an argument that states this move to softer, less precise painting was in some ways a response to the spread of photography, with it's spectacular sharpness and attention to detail. There is often, it seems, a revived interest in the particular and sometimes ancillary strengths of one medium when another comes to challenge its role - in this case, accuracy and sharpness.

    Please understand, I'm not making a case for blurry pictures, old lenses or, Adams forbid, "digital clarity". I am also still quite fond of razor sharp photos - like your landscapes, Robert. I simply am fascinated by the rise of old glass, bromoil printing and soft focus in this group. Personally, I love it. I find that the nuanced edge treatments that these old lenses give to different parts of the image bring a life to the work that is emotionally loaded and personal.

    My own tastes in painting tend toward John Singer Sargeant, the naturalists and the Boston school, people who learned a lot from the Impressionists but never relinquished accurate drawing and sharp focus. They simply used these tools discreetly as attention getters- ways to direct the eyes of the viewers.

    Here's one from one of the petzvals I finally got an 8x10 camera to try.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Plane1.jpg  

  3. #23
    Kerik's Avatar
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    A Petzval is not a Chainsaw

    Quote Originally Posted by bobfowler
    While I wouldn't use a Petzval for landscapes, I also wouldn't use a chainsaw to carve a turkey. The Petzval is just another tool in the box...
    I love "petzvals" and other soft focus lenses for landscapes as well as portraits. I also use modernish, sharp lenses, but more and more my primary rig is a 14"x17" camera with a 18" Verito up front. Kind of the great-granddaddy of the Diana...

    Here's a few, although the beauty of the softness is suppressed by these small JPGs:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails gum57.jpg   gum69.jpg   gum67.jpg  
    Kerik Kouklis
    Platinum/Gum/Collodion
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  4. #24
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    What Whitey said above and Kerik, there you go again with your beautiful photographs! I recently picked up a 14" Verito and a 21" (14 x 17) Versar...the darkroom is nearing completion and I am looking forward to hooking up the horses to the 14 x 17 and doing some portraits and yes some landscapes....I have seen Kerik's photographs up close and personal and what a joy...

    Whitey I agree, remember that Weston and Stieglitz were pictorialists!

    In subsequently rejecting impressionism, they along with Adams , the f/64 group, made an about face to the extent of even politically discriminating against pictorialist photographers and photography. It is not only on this forum that there is a revived interest in impressionistic photography but also in galleries and among contemporary artists as well. Indeed Whitey, as to Sargeant, the naturalists and the Boston school, for quite a while it was not considered "cool" to appreciate their contributions....

    could it be that in a world so out of sync with the thousands sharply focused images we are bombarded with on a daily and even minute by minute basis...that another focus, another look, another reflection becomes a more meaningful and personal and a more human experience? Does it cause us to pause and reflect....and say wow, what is going on here...it certainly does to me... Look again and again at Sally Mann's recent wet plates, look at Degas, look at the Boston school, look again at contemporary gum oil portraits, portraits in platinum, look at those old albumen portraits your grandmother just might have on the mantle. It is much more than a lens formula, it is what it does to us that we are at a loss to explain...it evokes emotion...

    it is here to stay
    Last edited by Dave Wooten; 02-06-2006 at 05:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #25
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerik
    I love "petzvals" and other soft focus lenses for landscapes as well as portraits. I also use modernish, sharp lenses, but more and more my primary rig is a 14"x17" camera with a 18" Verito up front. Kind of the great-granddaddy of the Diana...
    Very beautiful images.

    Whiteymorange mentions digital clarity as one of the factors leading to this revival, but I don't find digtal images clear at all.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  6. #26
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wooten
    <big snip>
    It is much more than a lens formula, it is what it does to us that we are at a loss to explain...it evokes emotion...

    it is here to stay
    That sums it up quite nicely...
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  7. #27
    Kerik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    Very beautiful images.

    Whiteymorange mentions digital clarity as one of the factors leading to this revival, but I don't find digtal images clear at all.
    Thank you Robert (and Mr. Wooten, of course!) I think there is a sterility and "perfection" to (high-end) digital images that is the antithesis of the pictorialist aesthetic. While they can't rival the resolution or detail of a LF chrome exposed with modern high-quality glass, they come across as artificially, synthetically perfect. And so far, I haven't seen digital images that rival the beautiful soft-focus look of old lenses on film. I've tried a Lensbaby on a Canon 10D and the results are interesting, but still not quite right for my taste.
    Kerik Kouklis
    Platinum/Gum/Collodion
    www.kerik.com
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  8. #28
    Gordon Coale's Avatar
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    OK, OK. I've had quite enough! What are some preferred Petzval lenses to look for?

  9. #29
    roteague's Avatar
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    One of the advantages of APUG. If I had read about this in a magazine, I would have just blown it off. Hearing others discuss, and show their fascination for this process, gives it a life that you can't get from a magazine.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  10. #30
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerik
    I've tried a Lensbaby on a Canon 10D and the results are interesting, but still not quite right for my taste.
    I find the whole Lensbaby thing kinda amusing. At the PhotoExpo in NYC this past Fall, the Lensbaby booth was packed. It's nothing you can't make yourself for a couple of dollars, yet those things sell for $150.00!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Coale
    OK, OK. I've had quite enough! What are some preferred Petzval lenses to look for?
    I think at this point, it's more like find one in the focal length you want more than from a particular maker. They were made by a bunch of different companies...
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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