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  1. #31
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    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.
    I have found that once you have a certain base minimum for the tool, what's created with it is in the hands of the artist.

    Let's say that for years you used the Instamatic for everything, and never cleaned the lens, until 110 wasn't available for it anymore. Then you picked up a 4x5 with a clean, modern Rodenstock lens, and shot a bunch of sheets of Techpan. At that point, you'd be thinking, "everything I've done is rot!" But you probably wouldn't be thinking that if you'd been using a Pentax Auto 110 Super, and cared for the glass. You'd be thinking, "this rocks, and the stuff I've done before is good, too."

  2. #32
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    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.
    I just checked the discussions. It's mostly about equipment and paint instead of cameras and film, and about the same percentage of self-ridden angst about art as photography forums. (But the forums about house and commercial painting didn't have any angst at all)

  3. #33
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    I have found that once you have a certain base minimum for the tool, what's created with it is in the hands of the artist.

    Let's say that for years you used the Instamatic for everything, and never cleaned the lens, until 110 wasn't available for it anymore. Then you picked up a 4x5 with a clean, modern Rodenstock lens, and shot a bunch of sheets of Techpan. At that point, you'd be thinking, "everything I've done is rot!" But you probably wouldn't be thinking that if you'd been using a Pentax Auto 110 Super, and cared for the glass. You'd be thinking, "this rocks, and the stuff I've done before is good, too."
    I could test the theory. Though I started with the lowly model 20, I now have a black Kodak Pocket Instamatic Model 60 ... I have a few rolls of Verichrome Pan... And I have a small wooden adapter that holds 3 A76 batteries in the shape of a K battery.

    Today I was shaken in my theory... Driving to pick up the kids from school, I saw a dad and his son. Dad's a carpenter and he had two bookcases or something in the front yard, one stained and one plain. His boy was putting on gloves and picking up a paintbrush. They were just starting to stain the second one together.

    I had to drive on by, since I didn't have the 4x5 in the car with me. Didn't have the Spotmatic F either. Didn't even have the Pocket Instamatic.

  4. #34
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Didn't even have the Pocket Instamatic.
    Dang Bill, leaving home without a camera is against the law I think, lucky you didn't get a ticket.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

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

  5. #35
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Dang Bill, leaving home without a camera is against the law I think, lucky you didn't get a ticket.
    Getting closer to the goal... Have been carrying the Spotmatic F around today with Kodak Plus-X and orange filter... Took off the front cover and lens cover so I'd be ready to shoot...

    One active idea I have is to catch bullies in the act. Saw some kids acting a bit mischevous, one of them plopped down in some tall grasses (as if to ambush someone else)... And I didn't lift the camera. Because it wasn't hurting anybody. Next time though, I am going to shoot that picture. Progress in the right direction anyway. I knew to take off the "never ready" case cover and preset the shutter and f/stop.

  6. #36
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Lower & upper limits of acceptable image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusM3 View Post
    Quality and size of negative are simply a choice of the photographer but intrinsically they are meaningless. I have stopped worrying about such trivia a long time ago. I shoot 35mm, medium format, and now a Leica Monochrom as well. I worry about content and finding moments, light, things worth photographing, not whether a 4x5 or 8x10 negative would give me an edge in any respect. It doesn't. Viewers don't care, buyers don't care. Mostly, I don't. We can all use any of the tools we chose to use, but at the end of the day, it is the print of an interesting image that matters, regardless of the medium used. As an example, I just paid $3,000 for these prints, taken by Vivian in 1955 with her Contax and Tri-X, on the 3rd avenue El train and during the dismantling. Could not have been taken with a 4x5, 8x10 (fleeting moments, not posed shots), it would not make a difference, and no one really cares. http://www.thelionheartgallery.com/A...694&NewID=3488, http://www.thelionheartgallery.com/A...694&NewID=3495
    You speak the truth, Max.
    "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

  7. #37
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof_Pixel View Post
    There is an interesting effect noted by researchers in the '40s. The eye (and visual system) is much more willing to accept out of focus closeup photos of the human face as acceptable than other out of focus content...
    I thought about this Saturday while parading with my 4x5. Last year I focused on people closest to me and some shots didn't feel right. So I reshot. It's hanging up to dry now, I'll soon see if the shot which has the leaders out of focus "works" according to this principle.

    It remains difficult for me to express my desire to shoot LF knowing it isn't the right tool for some situations where I use it anyway. Today when I showed her the prints, my sister gave me grief about missing the shuttle, telling me I'm shooting with a fork.

    Massimo and Thomas, I appreciate and accept your opinions. You keep me from doing something rash like renouncing my vintage work on smaller formats. Of course the image is what matters, and the choice of format is only relevant to the photographer who takes the photograph.

  8. #38
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Format only "matters" if it gets in the way of getting the image you want. I agree that Vivian Mayer's El train work would have been impossible with an 8x10 (even with a Hobo), but 4x5 would not have prevented her from shooting that work- look at Weegee's reportage, or sporting event coverage from the first 65 years of the 20th century - there's a famous picture of I believe an early Muhammad Ali fight, and almost every photographer ringside is holding a Speed or Crown Graphic.

    Bill- as regards your street shooting with the 4x5, that's just a matter of practice to get it right. A few hundred more frames and it will become second nature

    I've been going back through my old negatives recently, and scanning a bunch of stuff to either add to an online portfolio or send images to folks in email. I keep being pleasantly surprised by the small-format stuff I find, so I'm not renouncing that work by any means - if nothing else, I'm rediscovering how good it can be, and it's drawing me back into using it more. I'll be taking my Rolleiflex with me to Cuba in March - I want the quality of the bigger negative, but with the shooting speed of something hand-held.

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I agree that Vivian Mayer's El train work would have been impossible with an 8x10 (even with a Hobo), but 4x5 would not have prevented her from shooting that work...
    The thing I find most surprising about her work is that she did shoot medium format, when 35mm would have been the obvious solution - by conventional standards. Maybe that says something about how out of touch she was with the prevailing trends. The odd format is a factor that shouldn't be ignored when considering the uniqueness of her work. Vivian Maier that is, not Cherry.
    Last edited by batwister; 10-01-2012 at 02:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #40
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    I remember two slide shows from the 1970s, both projected on a fairly large screen. One was of the Holy Lands, taken with an Argus C3 and accompanied by an informative and smooth monologue. The other was from an extensive tour of Red China when that country was closed to most outsiders. A 110 format camera was used. The projected images were very grainy and poorly detailed, but illustrated the accompanying talk quite well. Images from both shows would not have compared with photos by technically and artistically proficient amateurs. However, for the intended purpose, they were fine. Photos that awed the audience might have even distracted from the more important messages of the presentations. We should consider context when judging some photography.

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