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  1. #11

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    I'm 25 - still fairly young???

    I've actually observed the opposite - that many 'Zone System Experts' are lacking in the history and art department or at least, that their self-satisfied expertise is somewhat narrow.
    It's also a crime, in my mind, to be ignorant about the current movers and shakers, which many of the old boys are. They have a strange pride in that ignorance.
    This thread is about a generation gap, nothing more.

    You might be surprised to hear that Harry Callahan barely knew who Stieglitz was, until he met him.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  2. #12

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    mark,
    I strongly disagree with the notion that talent is simply genetic or that zero knowledge of the history of one's medium makes no difference.
    These kids I see coming through here have no skill set at all. The fact they have never seen a good image shows terribly. You're suggesting that working in a vacuum is OK.

  3. #13

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    Todd,
    I had the same concerns you mention. I found they were baseless. I still take the same time with everything. I do make more exposures because I don't have to worry about film expense, but I usually end up using the first exposure and archiving the rest. A serious photographer is a serious photographer. The hardware is unlikely to corrupt, at least in my experience.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidkachel View Post
    They seem determined to make all the old mistakes all over again.
    Good.

    And I really hope every generation to come does the same thing, rather than just listen to the "old men" and be told what's good for them ...

  5. #15

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    batwister,
    I may have phrased things poorly. I was not referring Zone System experts, but to fine art photographers. Sorry if I confused things.
    I have to agree, a lot of technical "experts" failed to see the forest for the trees.
    Callahan knew nothing about the Zone System as I recall, but I am shocked to learn he knew nothing of Stieglitz. However, since the art elite have taken over fine art photography a lot of the prior history has been put off to one side. They like to teach history their way.

  6. #16

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    pdeeh,
    You are missing the point. I am a firm believer in taking off on your own path. But striking out in a random direction without looking at the map is likely to lead nowhere.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BainDarret View Post
    I teach a photography composition course, part time, and I find there is a real age divide. My students range in age from late teens to retirees. The first 3 evenings they are briefly exposed to Daguerre, Fox Talbot, Fenton, Samuel Bourne, Cartier-Bresson, Winogrand, Weegee, Salomon, Brassai and several other of the big names from photography's past. You can just see that the younger students are bored, this stuff just ain't cool for them. The older students, in some gratifying cases, become enthralled. I always try to instil in them that photography has a long and glorious tradition. One approach I take is to show them how easy they have it now. They don't need dozens of porters humping 10x12 wet plate equipment through the Himalayas to get a good landscape photo as Samuel Bourne did. I also acquaint them with the hardships that Hurley and Ponting went through to get shots in Antarctica a hundred years ago. Sometimes that gets the attention of the younger folk. But history is not valued by many these days. I think that is disempowering.

    Mike
    If time travel were possible I guarantee that no matter what time period you chose you would find the same age divide. Boredom is part of the definition of being young. Instant gratification is what the young have always wanted. As a youngun I HATED history and everything to do with it. I knew about Ansel Adams because of his images were of places I wanted to go. Old Weston had Charis and she took her clothes off. Honestly I did not need to know any more than that and did not want to. As these young folks who are bored now age they will become more and more interested.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    If time travel were possible I guarantee that no matter what time period you chose you would find the same age divide. Boredom is part of the definition of being young. Instant gratification is what the young have always wanted. As a youngun I HATED history and everything to do with it. I knew about Ansel Adams because of his images were of places I wanted to go. Old Weston had Charis and she took her clothes off. Honestly I did not need to know any more than that and did not want to. As these young folks who are bored now age they will become more and more interested.
    mark,

    Are you politely trying to say I am a grumpy old fart, worried about nothing?

    HARRUMPH!

    (I hope you're right.)

  9. #19
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    I believe this was also the case before digital. Someone had a camera and wanted to do "fine art." I seriously doubt that most of them knew the history of the medium. Showing pictures to professionals was probably the first time they heard of any historical figures in photography.

    Some even had the nerve to show how good they were by subjecting their families and friends to slide shows!

    Or, put another way, my parents were wrong to criticize the music I listened to when I was young. Now, the music of today is a completely different story.
    Truzi

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BainDarret View Post
    I teach a photography composition course, part time, and I find there is a real age divide. My students range in age from late teens to retirees. The first 3 evenings they are briefly exposed to Daguerre, Fox Talbot, Fenton, Samuel Bourne, Cartier-Bresson, Winogrand, Weegee, Salomon, Brassai and several other of the big names from photography's past. You can just see that the younger students are bored, this stuff just ain't cool for them. The older students, in some gratifying cases, become enthralled. I always try to instil in them that photography has a long and glorious tradition. One approach I take is to show them how easy they have it now. They don't need dozens of porters humping 10x12 wet plate equipment through the Himalayas to get a good landscape photo as Samuel Bourne did. I also acquaint them with the hardships that Hurley and Ponting went through to get shots in Antarctica a hundred years ago. Sometimes that gets the attention of the younger folk. But history is not valued by many these days. I think that is disempowering.

    Mike
    I would disagree with this in part, as the technical effort put into a shot, in the form of a wet plate or a digital snap is only important from a fine art context, or painterly view. What makes some of the shots taken by these photographers is the historical and social context. My younger students appreciate pictures by Weegee when I explain the photograph in context of the situation, or HCB in terms of MO to get the shot.

    “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

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