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  1. #21

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    I don't take it as elitist at all. I understand it as simply meaning to be more selective with our picture-taking. Otherwise we're just wasting film, chemistry and time on images we'll either never print or will never be very happy with. We might burn film on things we never intend to print in order to hone our skills but at least that has purpose. Shooting something just because it's there and is an "okay image" is largely counter-productive, IMHO.

    Yes, this primarily pertains to still imagery... not portraits, sports or other fleeting-moment imagery... though this can be applied to those genres as well.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    I don't take it as elitist at all. I understand it as simply meaning to be more selective with our picture-taking.
    Agree. It might be better understood perhaps as paring down.

    If we can't even draw a dog lying on the lawn, maybe the tendency when picking up a camera is to overcompensate with complex and confusing images. The ultimate of course would be to concentrate on the chaos and vast description of the wider landscape. It comes back to the subtraction of photography and additive nature of painting/drawing, in which case the most successful and memorable photographs might be the most minimal and I tend to agree. Minimal shouldn't be read as the extreme of Callahan's white reeds on black water, but having a few key elements, which might well be complex in texture and form. When we do this we are relying on the descriptive strength of the camera, and the the expression of the photographer, in the strongest possible way.

  3. #23

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    batwister... That's an interesting perspective and it brings back memories. Way back when I was photographing quite a bit I used to perform an odd visual exercise all the time even without a camera in hand. I'd look at a thing or scene as a possible image and mentally eliminate things down to the kernal/center of interest to the point that either not enough story was been told (shown) and/or the image became boring and then mentally move or back off just enough to find the right balance/angle. I often did this in-camera while photographing and, oftentimes, just walked away having never found the right balance or angle.

  4. #24
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    My drawing ability is limited, but whatever your ability I think to draw once in a while helps your photography. It gives you time to contemplate tone, texture, composition etc.

    “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

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    batwister... That's an interesting perspective and it brings back memories. Way back when I was photographing quite a bit I used to perform an odd visual exercise all the time even without a camera in hand. I'd look at a thing or scene as a possible image and mentally eliminate things down to the kernal/center of interest to the point that either not enough story was been told (shown) and/or the image became boring and then mentally move or back off just enough to find the right balance/angle. I often did this in-camera while photographing and, oftentimes, just walked away having never found the right balance or angle.
    It is strange how the photographer's habit is to walk around with his eye to the viewfinder. Doing this we're concentrating on sterile form, balance of elements, over our emotional connection - which surely has to be arrived at through the senses alone, without a machine to your face. Framing the image is a methodical process and I would say mostly left brain, which would account for calculated results if this was our primary concern. Ansel Adams did say photography is about knowing where to stand. From that I take that we are compelled to stop and stand when something has affected us, then we get the camera out. His quote for me is about intuition, not composition.

    It's about being objective after we've chosen the scene, rather than walking around like robots looking for the perfect composition. I think we constantly have it in our head that composition is the key to the art of photography, when in fact it is the solution to the problem of reliance on subject matter. Composition in photography, for many, can be a stimulus to photograph. This only results in a composed image, less a compelling photograph.

    Composition isn't a stimulus to draw, we only begin drawing when we have been moved to do so and the composition is arrived at.
    Last edited by batwister; 05-27-2012 at 02:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Ansel Adams did say photography is about knowing where to stand. From that I take that we are compelled to stop and stand when something has affected us, then we get the camera out. His quote for me is about intuition, not composition.
    I would suggest that intuition and composition are inextricably linked.

    “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. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I would suggest that intuition and composition are inextricably linked.
    I would also agree to this.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I would suggest that intuition and composition are inextricably linked.
    I suppose it depends on the photographer and I'm sure with reportage or street this is more or less the case, but in landscape my tendency at least will be to spend a good half an hour or more working and reworking a composition. I've also gone back to the same spot many times in different weather and photographed the same subject/scene. It's a matter of problem solving once I've chosen my subject and where to stand. Composition in landscape, for myself, is more often than not a very involved, methodical process. My intuition simply tells me "that tree in the distance looks like it might have potential". Intuition is about choosing my subject, not framing it.
    Last edited by batwister; 05-27-2012 at 04:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Intuition is about choosing my subject, not framing it.
    I would suggest it is both as simultaneous recognition.

    “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. #30

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    It's fairly obvious that different photographic genres require different balances of the same visual/mechanical/mental/intuitional/whatever tools. I've always preferred inanimate subjects so I can take my time with the image. I respect the skill required for quick spur-of-the-moment photography but that doesn't suit my personality. Also, I can become impatient with what I'm photographing or decide it's not worth a frame of film and walk away from it without it becoming irritated or insulted.

    ETA: I can also point my camera and stare at it unemotionally for hours without it becoming creeped out and throwing a rock at me for punching me in the face for invading its space. I bear or mountain lion might eat me though.
    Last edited by Old-N-Feeble; 05-27-2012 at 05:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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