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  1. #11
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    ansel adams, a fanatic about sharpnessnailed it when he said :there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
    It's quite a quote, and applied to oneself it's a reminder to put more into your work. But as soon as I turn the thoughts outwards and imagine a typical camera club show where hopeful amateurs show their best (which by definition is worse than ansel adams')... This quote becomes terribly mean.

    To counterbalance this thought, Byron Dobell said "There is no such thing as a bad picture that's over 40 years old".

  2. #12
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    To counterbalance this thought, Byron Dobell said "There is no such thing as a bad picture that's over 40 years old".
    Nice quote.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #13
    eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    "There is no such thing as a bad picture that's over 40 years old".
    So... I was good, eventually?:

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    ansel adams, a fanatic about sharpnessnailed it when he said :there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
    Today he might say - "There's nothing worse than a Photoshopped picture of the Rhein."

  5. #15
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    It's quite a quote, and applied to oneself it's a reminder to put more into your work. But as soon as I turn the thoughts outwards and imagine a typical camera club show where hopeful amateurs show their best (which by definition is worse than ansel adams')... This quote becomes terribly mean.

    To counterbalance this thought, Byron Dobell said "There is no such thing as a bad picture that's over 40 years old".
    (The following is an approximation of someone's remembrances)
    "When I started working for Adams, I looked through the folders of prints he had under a table. I thought I would be in for a treat, savoring delights unseen by the public. There were a lot of very ordinary photographs. Adams came up behind me and said, 'Well, I only get a good one maybe once or twice a month.'"

    I don't think that Adams meant the quote for photoclub amateurs, but for the professional creators of "fine art." Those guys, that lot there.

    Now, back to the original thread premise. Photography was never pursued in my family, and many years down the road I bought a not-so-bad Pentax WR90 P&S after something I bought in a blister pack died. Was the P&S good? For the most part, it was excellent. It only failed when the subject was backlit by the sun (major flare) or if I wanted to not do something point-and-shootey. So the next camera was a Pentax 6x7. I figured that if I was going to step up, it was going to be something larger. It was a good choice, and I still have that camera. I went up to 4x5 when I kept having to stop down way too much for things to get into reasonable focus. Yes, I wanted movements. Later on I bought an 8x10 Cambo SC. Yep, Big Film Syndrome!

    I also have a Pen-F half-frame camera, which is my smallest. The lenses are sharp, and I enjoy the camera imensely. I like the way photographs look both sharp and soft at the same time, with ISO400 film. But is that the limit? No, not really. I have attached two crops. These are from an 8x10 Ilford Delta 100 negative, and the crop area is about the size of a Minox negative. The lens used was a Wollensak 6-1/4" (159mm), stopped all the way down to f/45 for grins and giggles. The final crop (my avatar image here) is about 2mm x 2mm. From a lens manufactured about 1935.

    So: what's the lower limit of image quality? You can recognize something in it, and that's good enough. What's the upper limit? You recognize far too much.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HouseWindowCrop8x10Thumb.JPG   MadLaughingClown.JPG  

  6. #16
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    A Pentax 6x7 sounds like a good camera to pick up early on...

    What really got me into this line of thinking... I'm shooting 4x5 mostly now. And I enjoy printing from 4x5 negatives. Earlier this summer I shot some 35mm and some 6x9 as a diversion (and to check my commitment to 4x5).

    I didn't find out what I expected. I found I can take pretty decent pictures with anything. I thought I was going to discover 4x5 was really special and everything else was rot.

    Now I still like the 4x5 prints better, and plan to go forward with that. But the earlier negatives still make me happy too. I'm relieved that I don't have to renounce my earlier work.

    But instead of locking down the enlarger, now I find myself doing a bit more juggling in the darkroom as I switch lenses and negative carriers.

  7. #17
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    Photographers, especially amateurs to my mind and in my experience are too obsessed by the quality of their equipment and not obsessed enough about the meaning of the images they take with it if any. Camera manufacturers and photographic magazines are all the time trying to persuade them that spending more money is the pathway to photographic excellence, and attempting to create dissatisfaction with what they already have to such a degree that most newbie photographers with their first S.L.R. would pour scorn on the equipment that many great photographers became legends with, and produced images that have become icons of the 20th Century as being technically inadequate because it couldn't shoot 10 frames a second or have TTL metering, or TTL flash.
    I notice on most photographic forums these days the majority discussions are about equipment not pictures, and I often wonder that when painters discuss painting if all they talk about is brushes and easels.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 09-17-2012 at 10:02 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  8. #18
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    For me, snaps shots should have recognizable faces. I think shots done with a low quality camera with less than professional quality results gives an air of sincerity. Some people even collect vernacular photography.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  9. #19
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Vernacular encompasses a very wide range of technical execution - most of the Mathew Brady images I own would absolutely be considered vernacular. As Jeremy Moore explained vernacular to me, it is "images of indigenous people created for indigenous consupmtion". It doesn't have to be limited to low-fi images of anonymous people by anonymous photographers. 99% of studio portraiture would qualify as vernacular, as would 99% of amateur photography. But there's that 1% of each that escapes that category (I was going to say 'rise above' but that would be assuming vernacular photography is somehow 'lesser' than non-vernacular photography. The marketplace values it less, to be sure, but I have found in my collecting a number of vernacular images which are exceptionally beautiful and worthy of framing and hanging on my wall; images I would hang before 'fine art' images that would cost exponentially more).

  10. #20

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    Content over Quality. I keep telling friends of mine that. At the end of the day, being a photographer now is about marketing and brand rather than quality results (and I know many photographers who do lots of crappy work), but oddly, I see very, very, very few who are passionate about their craft as a medium and prefer to be a set designer and costume artist. I prefer to focus on expression and the face, after all, I don't want my child to be 20% of an image consumed by some printed backdrop and fake floor - but others eat that stuff up.

    I prefer to be passionate, I shoot everything I can get my hands on, in every weird way I can. I prefer my passion which is hands on, rather than the passion of photoshop. So to me, I shoot with everything from 4x5 and Mamiya 7's to box cameras and Hawkeye Brownie cameras (one with the lens reversed of course) and I use the strengths and weaknesses of each camera to give me what I want.

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