Is it really just about the image?
Someone mentioned in another thread that what we do is about the final image, but I ask "is it really"? I would be willing to bet, there are alot of people who find the total process fascinating; the final image is just one aspect.
There is a market for both, I am one of those people who are in it for the whole process, when I do BW. For color it is about the image. If I had the means for a color enlarging system then my attitude about color would change. Nothing beats the feeling I get when i get an image I like on film and can carry the realization of that image to fruition in a traditional non automated fashion.
Think of it like this. DO you want a true amish quilt or something turned out by a computer in china? If it were just about the cover and it's souless utilitarian nature then the cheap chinese knock off would be just fine. The handmade Amish quilt holds a lot more intrinsic value for many. It may look the same but holds much more meaning, it is personal. Just my feelings.
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
yep, otherwise I'd use a DSLR!
It may be for some (as in most commercial photographers) for others it may be about the process.
I once went to a seminar by a Japanese ceramist. This individual threw the most beautiful cups I have ever held in my hands. They were made from white porcelain (EPK or equivalent) glazed and fired to a deep charcoal satin. The glaze and style of firing (oxygen reduced) kept you from experiencing the near translucent qualities of this clay body when fired perfectly -- and they were fired perfectly as seen by the feet of the vessels.
He told us that he was taught that to throw the perfect pot was the goal and that perfection was not a point on the map but the journey.
I'm sure it may sound a bit like a line from 'Kung-Fu' the 70's TV program, but it is how I pursue my art (but not how I pursue commercial work).
This is going to run the risk of being a digital/anti-digital debate as this mantra is inevitably invoked by someone making a case for digital imaging at some or all parts of the image making process - however in the hope that it will not:...
For me, the process is important. If sitting in front of a computer and using software to manipulate an image before sending to either a printer or digital enlarger was the only method of creating an image then I would probably not bother. I'd take up another craft based pastime instead. Note that for me, this is not a profession, nor do I consider myself an artist (at least, not by any "High Art" definition) - the best I can describe it, is as a limited vehicle for self expression of subjects that interest me (which, you could argue, at least makes it "art" with a small "a"...). I am sure that a scanned MF negative, processed in computer and printed digitally on to fibre paper would look at least as good as any traditional print, but that is not the point for me: I enjoy the craft aspects as a side step away from the high tech world we inhabit. I've always held great respect for craftsmen - frankly, much higher than for most artists: a craftsperson can't fake it. Those artists I do admire are invariably also great masters of their materials (e.g. JWM Turner).
For others who are only interested in the message imparted by the final image, then obviously different criteria apply, but then I wonder why they are restricting themselves to photographic based images. Surely they should be expressing themselves in other, more flexible, mixed media? Many artists have used photography in their art but do not feel constrained by it and freely work in other mediums or combine two or more to express their intentions.
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I'm not saying this is always true, but it seems in many cases when an image is achieved with ease the phrase "It's only about the final image" is used heavily. A guy spends 10hrs in a darkroom making a fine print he tells about the effort put in when asked - A guy snaps a digital pic, adjusts levels, outputs to his Epson and is asked about it usually says "That doesn't matter, it's only about the final image you elitist punk" (well maybe not that bad, but you see what I'm saying...)
There have been some great photographers whose participation in the process after exposure was minimal. They sent their film to a lab, selected the image from a contact sheet & had their favorite printer do the rest. Others have gotten involved in all aspects of creating a print viewing the entire process as a creative opportunity. Even though their level of participation in the process varies, the final print is only the "proof" of their creative endeavor.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I don't think anyone was referring to the final image as all there is to photographic process. I've often said here, that APUG is about the print as object. A tangible thing done via traditional methodology. Bostick and Sullivan have a slogan to the effect, "When a picture is more than an email attachment".
But, the cult of object can be taken to extremes where the tonal scale or the sharpness of the object become more important than the picture itself. Most pictures can be judged using an x, y type of axis for evaluation. One axis being technique the other being the emotional content of the photo. The best have high numbers in both the x and y axis, a good photo can have a high value on either one of the axes.
I used to dislike the net for posting pictures since a 72dpi image doesn't give enough weight to an actual 8x10 contact print relative to something taken with a Coolpix. The net became a great equalizer. I've come to see, however that if your thumbnail image isn't as compelling as said Coolpix picture, it's probably not far enough up on the "emotional content" axis to be more than a technical exercise.
To answer Robert, the whole process is theraputic and personally beneficial, but if to be more than that, then it's ultimately about the image.
Personally, I find the process to be magic and fascinating, BUT, for me it is more about the final image. I never say "oh good, I'm going to spend 6 hours in the darkroom today". I don't really like to spend the time there, it is a necessary part of the process to get the results I want.
Originally Posted by roteague
Even though photographing people, mainly kids, is something I have to get "up" for, it is a probably more fun than the darkroom stuff for me. I also figure that I expend as much energy doing a sitting of a kid or kids, as I do during one of my hockey games.
That is the best description I've heard yet of the process.
Originally Posted by mrcallow