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  1. #21
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    Emil I have to disagree seeing comes first everything else second pure seeing with our eyes and mind without camera is the ultimate reduction, cameras and lenses are already an additional tool that hinders the visual development.
    I have to agree with MDR on this one. I am an artist by training, we were taught how to see first. I agree to a point that it's important to know your tools, but if I am a painter and I were to get so hung up with sable hair brushes and whether they're 3 hairs or 100 and the more exotic the sable, the better I will be able to apply paint...

    If I had to 'think' so much like that instead of 'see' so much my feet would never leave the ground. It would kill the soul of my work.

    This is just my opinion, though, and my style/philosophy of working isn't for everyone. I just see so many people become crippled by getting so hung up in the mathematical/technological side of things they forget 'how' to see.

    I do think though, it (the article) does bring up a very pertinent discussion.
    Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!

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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    I think it's interesting to note that some of the better photographers came from some other artform. HCB and Man Ray for instance started out as painter so were visually schooled before they started out as photographers. They learned to see before they turned their talent to photography.
    I think that's hugely important, and somewhat underappreciated in photography---maybe due in part to our collective fondness for gear. (And/or to the modernist reaction against pictorialism: We aren't supposed to learn from painting, we're a whole different artform! I think that attitude isn't nearly as strong as it used to be, though, back when pictorialism was widely considered to be just a sentimental dead end from which the modernists rescued us.)

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
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    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_

  3. #23
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaryaV View Post
    I have to agree with MDR on this one. I am an artist by training, we were taught how to see first. I agree to a point that it's important to know your tools, but if I am a painter and I were to get so hung up with sable hair brushes and whether they're 3 hairs or 100 and the more exotic the sable, the better I will be able to apply paint... if I had to 'think' so much instead of 'see' so much my feet would never leave the ground. It would kill the soul of my work.

    This is just my opinion, though, and my style/philosophy of working isn't for everyone. I just see so many people become crippled by getting so hung up in the mathematical/technological side of things they forget 'how' to see.

    I do think though, it (the article) does bring up a very pertinent discussion.
    And discuss we shall.

    What good is seeing if you don't know how to translate it into a work of art?
    In the end you must use your materials, and my opinion is that you don't actually know what to look for unless you know how the rest of the work flow.
    "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

  4. #24
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I think the article makes a good point, but at the same time, the "one of everything" approach is a bit gratuitously restrictive, I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I'm fascinated by the simplicity of the task of using one 'everything' for a long period of time. It is such a simple way of approaching photography, and such a good way of becoming a better photographer, yet many of us are so brainwashed and indoctrinated with the idea of the camera, lens, film choice and so on being important, that we find ourselves justifying carrying more than one of everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Don't you think that it is BECAUSE OF the challenges that one 'everything' presents that make you a better photographer?

    I think it's important to make a distinction here that it's about fundamental qualities of seeing and feeling your way to the end result, and for this exercise you'd have to learn how to expand your capabilities to compensate for some of the challenges.
    This (to me) is another of those photography memes that just simply, well, may or may not apply. I have to go more with Nathan than Thomas. (And, Thomas, you and I are usually on the same page.)

    No, I do not think I am brainwashed in thinking that the tools and materials I use are important. I think those choices are important. And no, I do not, quite simply, think the "challenges" of one camera, one lens would in and of itself make one a better photographer.

    I'm happy that some feel this approach was beneficial to them. But I am often taken aback, then, by their evangelical zeal in promoting "simplicity" as a panacea for all photographers. I compare it to woodworkers who have an almost religious conviction against using power tools. Yeah, your work may (or may not) be more "handmade", but my joints fit.

    I am an apostle of settling on a small list of materials, i.e., film paper and chemicals. And I preach to those who have ears to hear, that keeping it simple in the darkroom (especially with film development) is a good thing. Simple, however, does not mean restrictive.

    So, am I going to make better photographs because I only take one lens with me? I own and use many different screwdrivers and wrenches, etc. I own and use many cameras and lenses.

    YMMV

  5. #25
    NedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I would go even further and suggest a good learning tool is something like a Zen pinhole camera. This allows only one shot and no viewfinder.
    Hi Cliveh, not just a "learning tool", but also ongoing. I love going out with a 1-shot camera ( w or w/o a viewfinder! ). The article is close to what I do all the time anyway and not just as a temporary learning experience or "exercise".

  6. #26
    MDR
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    Thomas 99% of all photographers never saw a darkroom in their life, they put their film in the camera and when it's finished they go to the next lab and have it developed and printed in short they do not know a lot about the whole work flow especially not compared to a painter or sculptor. Like Varya I am an artist by training and when I walk around I see what I want to capture not what I want to frame there's a big difference. If my mind were calibrated to a specific focal length, that's what happens when you only use a single focal length, I would miss 90% of all good photo opportunities simply because I would overlook them.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    "acclimation of perception through intelligent trial and error" I like that. "a good learning tool is something like a Zen pinhole camera" I like this idea as well no viewfinder is a liberating experience and one really has to learn to visualize in ones mind. I think it's interesting to note that some of the better photographers came from some other artform. HCB and Man Ray for instance started out as painter so were visually schooled before they started out as photographers. They learned to see before they turned their talent to photography.
    I was taught history of art by Fox Talbot's grandson, Major Talbot (showing my age here). He once mentioned that when he was studying sculpture, his art teacher told him to spend a year drawing and then when he came back to sculpture he found the year studying a different medium beneficial.

    “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

  8. #28
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Ok, let me offer another point. Something I have experienced in other projects and one I am 'tossing' around (in my head/vision) right now. Each project (Noir/Sci-fi) had a TOTALLY different look and feel. The microscopic project even more so (I haven't posted those here). The vision I have for these projects require tools that I have not yet mastered, nor have I worked with much before maybe a week or two. But, I have the VISION to get me there. Now,... with your point of view would I still use that ONE film/paper combo that I have been using for years and fore-go the way I have visualized this project to look? Sacrificing something new and the challenge going along with it? The sense of adventure and process that I enjoy so much? Because I am venturing outside of my comfort zone?

    I realize these ideas are personal to each individuals different skill set and ideas. What I am thinking is that point A and point B paths, will lead to the same intersection in the end. At least that is what we can hope for. And I think you said it before, "if we like what we are getting,"....
    Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!

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  9. #29
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaryaV View Post
    . I just see so many people become crippled by getting so hung up in the mathematical/technological side of things they forget 'how' to see.
    I DO agree with this! In fact, most of the discussion on line and in person with other photographers is about the technical aspects, and not the art. If I may be so bold as to generalize: it's because most people are not photographers, but merely camera owner/operators. They haven't forgotten how to see, they never saw anything in the first place.

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    I DO agree with this! In fact, most of the discussion on line and in person with other photographers is about the technical aspects, and not the art. If I may be so bold as to generalize: it's because most people are not photographers, but merely camera owner/operators. They haven't forgotten how to see, they never saw anything in the first place.
    And that is precisely why they need to be removed from that thinking that it's about equipment. If you remove that aspect, left with a bare bones outfit with no bells and whistles, you HAVE TO rely on your skill, imagination, and hard work to improve.

    I think anybody could improve the way they work by forcing ourselves to work with what we've got.

    There are clearly several different thought patterns regarding this topic, and in the end I think we probably mean similar things.

    In my humble experience I have noticed that when I become truly familiar with a camera, and when I use a film that I am thoroughly used to, my prints improve. When all my focus is on the image itself, and I can raise a camera to my eye where I have a good idea of what the finished print is going to look like, then I feel artistically free and have a clear head, where the full emotion of being in a place occupies my soul and hopefully permeates the resulting photograph BECAUSE I am not distracted. That is my experience with the Hasselblad camera I have used for years now, and the Pentax SLR. I haven't quite gotten that comfortable with the Leica yet, so I'll be practicing more with it. The only film I use when it matters is Tri-X (or TMax 400, which I have also used a lot). The only paper I print on is Ilford MGIV fiber. When I go out shooting I only ever bring one lens. Why? Because the moment I start thinking about changing something, I stop paying attention to what's around me.

    Maybe it's a personal way of working that isn't right for everyone. We all enjoy different things.
    "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

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