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  1. #11
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I went on a solo bicycle tour for a half-year in New Zealand with my 4x5. I took a 'portfolio' of 4x5 contact prints with me in a 4x5 film box to show anyone who might be interested. I got the flu and spent a week in my tent in the rain. With no book to read and no companion, I spent a lot of that time looking thru my portfolio...just taking them in, more emotionally than intellectually. And really not emotionally, either...just being there with them. Hard to describe. I still look at my work, and the work of others that way...or lack of way.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  2. #12
    hdeyong's Avatar
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    This is going to sound stupidly simple, but the best thing that ever happened to me was when somebody pounded into my head one basic question.
    "Why are you taking this picture?"
    Once I learned to answer myself honestly, I took less pictures, but much better ones.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
    You mean honest in terms of what you thought was important subject matter or enjoyable to work on or ??

    It's an interesting thought. I think I'm in the process of letting go of what other people think, but not entirely sure how to move forward from there.
    Honest meaning I shoot what I like, and shoot it the way I see it in my mind's eye. It is all aesthetics for me. I'm not actively communicating anything. To the degree it is an honest photograph of a subject I liked and shot, printed etc. in the way I like, then by its very nature it has something of me in it. It is how I see the world around me. That's good enough. It is as valid a reason to photograph as any other, and the resulting images can be every bit as valid from an artistic standpoint as anything else. I've studied a hell of a lot of art, but I stopped following compositional "rules", and I stopped worrying about what other people might think. I don't care.

  4. #14
    Fast's Avatar
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    I relate to the people who are talking about honesty in their work. I came to a realization one day (actually more like the course of a year or so) that I should stop trying to make that perfect photograph. Stop striving for the perfect composition, the perfect lighting. Stop thinking that more gear would help my photography. Stop trying to emulate what other photographers (great or otherwise) were making. I had to (figuratively) throw out my AA books. I started seeing myself as an artist and not a photographer.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    this s a question to the more experienced photographers on APUG:
    Over the years,what was the most effective for you in getting better images? for me it was studying the iportfolios of other great photographers such asHelmut Newton, Yosuf Karsh,Horst Horst,|Richard Avedonand the like, technical books were interesting and helped to fine-tune technique buttheie effect on my learning curve was minimal. How about Your experience?
    When I made the shift to large format.
    Looking at others' work, learning how they worked gave me the impetus so I got a 4x5. After learning to use that I decided 8x10 contacts were a good thing so I got an 8x10 and a 300mm lens. I listened to the advice of "stick with one lens, one film, one developer" and learned as much if not more from that camera than all my other experience combined. What I learned was, " take your time and think. Know what you want the print to be before you expose the film. Compose right into the corners and do it right the first time". This improved my pictures dramatically - my best got better, and much much more consistent regardless of the format I'm using.

  6. #16
    cliveh's Avatar
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    As Ralph mentions, looking at the work of the great photographers certainly helps. But I would also say simplification of materials and equipment, coupled with practice, practice and more practice. Don’t chase a magic bullet, let it come to you.

    “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

  7. #17

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    Visiting The Land exhibition at the V&A taught me a lot about appropriate technique (i.e employing technique that matches what and how you want to photograph). Lee Friedlander's early monograph taught me a lot about differing concepts of composition. The issues of Creative Camera in the late 1970s taught me that there was a whole lot more to photography than what I had learnt in camera clubs and at the RPS.

    However, the most important thing for me (as others have alluded to) was the decision to only make the images that I wanted to do regardless of other people's opinions. Naturally, experience and improved technical skills all play a role but good technique can be learnt in a matter of days and a lot of the experience you gain along the way becomes redundant as soon as realise that what makes your photographs truly unique is when you put away your photographic heros, concepts of what other people think and just get on with making the images that you want to make.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    D.S. Allen, fotograf.

    Neue 3D Ausstellung/New 3D exhibition: www.german-fine-arts.com/berlin.html
    Neue Fotos/New Photos: http://shop.german-fine-arts.com/d-s-allen.html
    Vita/CV: www.german-fine-arts.com/allen.php

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    As Ralph mentions, looking at the work of the great photographers certainly helps. But I would also say simplification of materials and equipment, coupled with practice, practice and more practice. Don’t chase a magic bullet, let it come to you.
    +100.
    It's very important to use equipment which becomes transparent in that you can use it automatically, without conscious effort. Sort of a Maslow's Hierarchy of effort and attention; you can't be thinking about the picture if you're struggling with hard to use / unfamiliar gear and techniques.

  9. #19
    Doc W's Avatar
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    An important moment for me was when I stopped trying to imitate the photographs I admired and started thinking about what I wanted to see in my own photographs. So many of us want to reproduce, more or less, the images of the masters, so we pursue a wide range of styles and techniques because we think that being a journeyman photographer is the same as being an artist. Some journeymen photographers, i.e., those who can photograph anything with any equipment, are also artists, but not always. Rather than trying to learn everything, decide what you want to see in your photographs and that will determine what equipment and techniques you need. The owner of a local gallery once said to me that he didn't care if a photographer could do a wide range of styles. He wanted his clients to be able to look at a photograph and say "that is by so and so."

    Ralph, I have to say that your book has been of great benefit to me and no doubt many other photographers. Not all of us are technically savvy, and your book was extremely helpful.

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