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  1. #101
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Aww, shucks... Does this mean that after all these years I finally get to come off your Ignore List?



    Ken

    [Edit: Actually, I do have an enormous respect for what you do and the buzz it brings. Capturing the essence of a sitter's character in the few fleeting minutes one has their full attention is a skill—and buzz—that eludes me, regardless of the chosen technology. Only last weekend I was visiting my 86-year-old mother. Suffice it to say that time now runs short. So I had my 8x10 set up on her deck at slightly above eye level, six sheets ready and waiting, and a pleasantly soft overcast light to work with. It's my own mother, damn it. You'd think I could get something acceptable, wouldn't you? I was standing at the light table last evening looking at all six negatives. Not a chance. Formal portraiture is not a skill set I possess. I will be trying again, though. I have to...]
    Don't feel bad, except for kids, family members are the toughest for some reason.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    enjoy it while you can
    I'm overstating it a bit in my previous post, but that about sums up the attitude. File this under the one thing I would change about apug because there is really so much good. Many threads of people sharing their 10-20-30-40 years of experience, expertise in a variety of areas I haven't even considered. I never really considered the artistry that can happen between film and paper until I found the printing thread showing film scan and print. Sure there is real change in the industry but too much negative without much positive tends to scare away the noobs like myself. ...and I was starting in the direction of E6 Though I'm reconsidering toward MF B&W to get into developing.

    On the OP, I don't have insight into film sales, but I think there is movement from digital to film by many who "grew up" with digital. There is an amazing amount of plugins and filters to get that "film look". There is a reason for that.

  3. #103
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dngrhm View Post
    I'm overstating it a bit in my previous post, but that about sums up the attitude. File this under the one thing I would change about apug because there is really so much good. Many threads of people sharing their 10-20-30-40 years of experience, expertise in a variety of areas I haven't even considered. I never really considered the artistry that can happen between film and paper until I found the printing thread showing film scan and print. Sure there is real change in the industry but too much negative without much positive tends to scare away the noobs like myself. ...and I was starting in the direction of E6 Though I'm reconsidering toward MF B&W to get into developing.

    On the OP, I don't have insight into film sales, but I think there is movement from digital to film by many who "grew up" with digital. There is an amazing amount of plugins and filters to get that "film look". There is a reason for that.
    You have to remember that film had many many years to get it right. And did they ever get it right. The many looks and types of film produce incredible images especially black and white.

    When processes changed to digital the natural progression was to still try and get that look we all loved. And digital had a slightly different look that many people didn't like as much. Don't forget a plug in is just essentially a short cut through photoshop to get a look. When I first converted over to digital that first thing I had to learn how to do was to duplicate the look of all the portraits on my wall that I had shot with medium format b&W film. The look I loved.

    I think your idea of medium format black and white as a starting point is a great idea, in fact maybe the best idea, of a way to learn and get GREAT black and white pictures. And black and white film will be around for a very long time.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #104
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    And black and white film will be around for a very long time.
    So just out of idle curiosity... do you still have any of your 30 years worth of film equipment? Was there ever any of your own darkroom equipment to go along with it? If so, any of that stuff left over as well?

    Ever entertained any thoughts about picking up a film camera again? Not for business. That's a completely different set of requirements with expectations all its own. But maybe for personal use? And just for a little retro enjoyment?

    I'm just a weekend hack without an ounce of talent. And amazingly Sean still lets me post photographs in the galleries. You presumably really know what you're doing. If your eye is anything like your posts, I'd love to see some photographs by you posted there as well...

    Ken
    "Hate is an adolescent term used to stop discussion with people you disagree with. You can do better than that."
    —'blanksy', December 13, 2013

  5. #105

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    This thread actually got really interesting after I was afraid it was going to get stuck in the Argument Clinic. I agree with what Ken (N, not R) says about portraiture, by the way---that stuff is *hard* and I greatly admire people who can do it well. I sometimes hit it with people I'm personally close to, and there are few photographic results more satisfying.

    Provenance is a complicated concept and can be important for several different reasons. I think a lot of people (especially at APUG, of course) feel like the wet darkroom creates a certain type of provenance that can't in principle be matched by a d*g*t*l workflow.

    For the specific case of an in-camera b&w negative, I guess that's almost objectively true, in that the black stuff that forms the highlight areas comprises the VERY SAME silver atoms that were activated by actual photons reflected directly from the original subject at the moment of exposure; for a print, or for color film, there's an extra layer of indirection, so to speak, because there's another stage that derives some other form of the image from that original silver. On the other hand, a reasonable person could argue that it's not an important distinction, in that the image already is *not* the thing depicted and it doesn't matter how many additional processes you put it through, you already lost the identity of the thing when you allowed a bunch of reflected photons to represent the subject. I suppose that's an identity-based concept of provenance: it's understood as a kind of "chain of custody", which if broken represents a loss of authenticity. Ken---fair summary?

    But you could also look at provenance in an accumulative way, which I think is more of a norm for hybrid photographers: Every stage of capture and processing leaves its "fingerprint" on the image in some way, and the identity of an image is sort of the sum of all those fingerprints. So that photo of my son that's in the hallway at home has some of the Sonnary goodness derived from the lens as part of its provenance, the association of my dad's old camera as another part (I took the shot in the first roll after the camera was handed down to me), whatever mystical signatures are imparted in E-6 processing, plus the digital provenance of the scan-and-print process, and so forth. The thinking here is that you can't remove provenance, you can only build on it.

    Speaking just for myself, I find "provenance" to be quite an important concept, but as the years pass I see it more and more in that second way. Maybe this is a condition of middle age or maybe it's just me. Anyway, the whole subject has very little to do with how the final image looks, and I think Ken and I agree in feeling that its importance is independent of that---if you could produce the exact same image by two different routes, it would still matter (to us) which route you took.

    There's a short story about this subject by Jorge Luis Borges: I believe it's called "Pierre Menard, Author Of The _Quixote_". As usual, I think Borges has anticipated all of our positions in this discussion and had more thoughts about them than any of us have...

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  6. #106
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    This thread actually got really interesting after I was afraid it was going to get stuck in the Argument Clinic.
    While it might have looked like 'blanksy' came out of the blue on this, he didn't. He and I have been discussing these themes for quite a while now, both on and offline. We just happened to pick it up again here in public this time in a way that might have appeared abrupt.

    I cannot disagree with anything you wrote, Nathan. That is, in fact, pretty much a perfect summary of my views on photographic provenance.

    It may be worth noting as well that my personal definition of a "photograph" is not the final silver print, or inkjet print, or negative scan, or monitor display, or even one's retrospective coffee table book. Those are all reproductions . It's the negative itself. And only the negative itself. The thing that originally, and spontaneously without any assistance from the photographer, received, registered and preserved the pattern of light that originally reflected from the subject.

    That original negative (or positive, in positive-only processes such a transparencies, instant film, and daguerreotypes) is therefore the singular first generation object of indirection. Before it there are no photographs, only the original subject. And after it there are only reproductions. It is the one-off, unique evidence that the scene which spontaneously rendered itself upon it truly once existed directly in front of it.

    In an example that 'blanksy' and I have toiled over several times, the reason that Alexander Gardner's glass plate negatives of the Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators are so breathtaking is not that they tell us those four souls died at the end of four ropes. We already knew that from the history books before ever visiting the Library of Congess, donning white cotton gloves, and being handed the actual glass plates to hold up to the light and gaze at.

    No, the reason they are breathtaking is that while looking at them we suddenly come to realize that those fragile plates in our hands were, at the moment those four souls finally hung, physically present inside of Mr. Gardner's wet-plate camera, situated on the second floor of that building overlooking the gallows, only about twenty yards from the doomed prisoners, on that long ago March afternoon. And now we are holding those exact same glass plates in our hands 148 years later thus affirming, via these singular first generation objects, that those events did, in fact, really take place.

    It's that epiphany that creates the stunning credibility that takes our breath away.

    The negative bears silent witness to the reality of the original events rendered upon it. That's what photographic provenance means to me, and why it is so crucially important to me that a real photograph needs to possess it.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-22-2013 at 05:17 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Minor grammer booboo...
    "Hate is an adolescent term used to stop discussion with people you disagree with. You can do better than that."
    —'blanksy', December 13, 2013

  7. #107
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    So just out of idle curiosity... do you still have any of your 30 years worth of film equipment? Was there ever any of your own darkroom equipment to go along with it? If so, any of that stuff left over as well?

    Ever entertained any thoughts about picking up a film camera again? Not for business. That's a completely different set of requirements with expectations all its own. But maybe for personal use? And just for a little retro enjoyment?

    I'm just a weekend hack without an ounce of talent. And amazingly Sean still lets me post photographs in the galleries. You presumably really know what you're doing. If your eye is anything like your posts, I'd love to see some photographs by you posted there as well...

    Ken
    I still have two of the Hasselblads I originally bought in 1976. CM and ELM. with 50, 80, 150.

    I have a gorgeous Linhof 4x5. circa 1968

    I have a Nikon F4.

    But I sold my three enlargers a 6x6 a 4x5 and a 5x7 as well as all my trays, print washers vacuum easel , 10-24x24 trays etc and since I don't have a darkroom I'd never shoot analog again or anything else that I can't print myself. Sold it about 7-8 years ago.

    With what I do now it's almost impossible except for a really good printer to tell, if my analog b&w and my digital b&w 20x24 are one or the other under glass from 4 feet away.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  8. #108
    Maris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    With what I do now it's almost impossible except for a really good printer to tell, if my analog b&w and my digital b&w 20x24 are one or the other under glass from 4 feet away.
    I always feel uneasy when offered pictures where one medium is exquisitely contrived to resemble another. Unwelcome words like counterfeit and forgery come to mind. Most people, I guess, don't see it that way. Forgive me but I have a (possibly unique) personal anxiety about engaging in an art where success is equated with successful deception.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  9. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    While it might have looked like 'blanksy' came out of the blue on this, he didn't. He and I have been discussing these themes for quite a while now, both on and offline. We just happened to pick it up again here in public this time in a way that might have appeared abrupt.
    I hope you don't mind my jumping in. I find this topic to be interesting and a nice diversion from all the gear-and-chemistry discussions.

    In an example that 'blanksy' and I have toiled over several times, the reason that Alexander Gardner's glass plate negatives of the Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators are so breathtaking is not that they tell us those four souls died at the end of four ropes. We already knew that from the history books before ever visiting the Library of Congess, donning white cotton gloves, and being handed the actual glass plates to hold up to the light and gaze at.

    No, the reason they are breathtaking is that while looking at them we suddenly come to realize that those fragile plates in our hands were, at the moment those four souls finally hung, physically present inside of Mr. Gardner's wet-plate camera, situated on the second floor of that building overlooking the gallows, only about twenty yards from the doomed prisoners, on that long ago March afternoon. And now we are holding those exact same glass plates in our hands 148 years later thus affirming, via these singular first generation objects, that those events did, in fact, really take place.
    Hmm. I'm partially playing the devil's avocado here, but I think to me the element of "the exact same glass plates" isn't as big a factor as it is to you. After all, the image you linked (lank? lunk?) to is at least one generation removed, but my eye takes it as a kind of "authentic proxy" for the plate, and I'm comfortable with taking for granted that the scan represents the plate (maybe through the intermediary of a print, I don't know) in much the same way that you and I are both comfortable accepting that the plate represents the event.

    But obviously there are all kinds of artifacts of the illusion that is photography at all these stages---I mean, the real people hanged were three-dimensional and in color, right?---and we are drawing distinctions about what we do and don't accept as a level of removal that doesn't impair "credibility" or "authenticity", not between "really the same thing as the actual event" and "merely a representation".

    The negative bears silent witness to the reality of the original events rendered upon it. That's what photographic provenance means to me, and why it is so crucially important to me that a real photograph needs to possess it.
    Well, it all depends on what you call "reality". We all have legions of bad photos that made us say "aw, hell, that's not what it looked like at all", right? (I've got a nice one of a five-year-old kid and his dad, only I shot at *just* the wrong moment and the slide gives the very convincing illusion that the kid was giving me the finger! Not at all a semantically correct representation of the "reality of the original events", except in the tautological sense that those photons *did* arrive at the film plane.)

    And we accept certain distortions like motion blur and out-of-focus areas as being somehow accurately representational, perhaps because they create a similar impression to things that happen in our brains when viewing reality. But that's not really "silent witness", it's "lead the viewer to the same conclusion by different means", and those techniques can be used in ways that seem "accurate" (shallow DOF to draw attention to the subject of a portrait) or "inaccurate" (tilt-shift faux-miniatures). So your line is a little too clearly drawn for me, a little too much of a demand for rigorously defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

    There's something about a distinction between art-photography and documentary-photography here, too, though I can't put my finger on what it is in a succinct way. Your concept of provenance seems to me a bit specific to the documentary world, in that it leads you to use a lot of words like "real" and "original" that seem to privilege the accurate representation...whatever "accurate" means, which in itself is a hard philosophical question, n'est-ce-pas?

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  10. #110
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    I always feel uneasy when offered pictures where one medium is exquisitely contrived to resemble another. Unwelcome words like counterfeit and forgery come to mind. Most people, I guess, don't see it that way. Forgive me but I have a (possibly unique) personal anxiety about engaging in an art where success is equated with successful deception.
    Then, why are you doing photography at all? Nearly all of photography, since its inception, has been about bending and distorting the truth to something that we think that we would have liked to have seen, as opposed to what was really there.

    Do you dodge? Do you burn? Do you alter contrast? Do you use filters? In reality, photography is nothing but a lie.

    But, that is also why many of us love it.

    Just sayin'....



 

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