resummerfield, your words are exactly what I wanted to say. Thank you for understanding me.
Originally Posted by resummerfield
Thing that interesting me most is why me (and you as I can see) have that feeling at all, why in todays world someone have urge to escape from benefits of current photographic high technology, when that technology makes photographers life much easier... But, maybe Froyd could answer that
Your not alone in thinking the way you are. I believe we all get to a stage in life where we start questioning our lives and the way we do things. Many times this train of thought takes the form of simplifing our lives and returning to a slower pace, such as wanting to move out into the country, or it can take the form of getting rid of alot of stuff we have hanging around that's never used; We may want to feel unencumbered. Sometimes it's about taking control when we are so dependent on other things for our comfort and existence. As concerns the camera thing, sure I've been there, and I turned around and bought a 4x5. Back to the basics I thought. So your feelings are not abnormal, actually their pretty normal. The one thing that is interesting tho is how we have become dependent on the wiz bang technology. Escape examples might be trying to put away your cell phone, or maybe turning off the TV, or even buying a manual camera. In the end of course it's all about what will make you happy, which is why we all have so much stuff. Were always looking for something external that provides a different experience that we think will make us happier. Maybe for awhile it does, but it usually doesn't in the end. Sometimes it's more internal than external.
Originally Posted by haris
There's a lot of pitfalls and minefields in your statement -- I'll tiptoe around the "what's a real photographer" question. (Don't want to start that thread again.) I use exclusively older mechanical, manual focus equipment myself, and mostly hand-held meters. But the question I can't get past is intention versus means. Let me explain.
In my dining room is a photograph I love. It is a picture of my four grandparents on my parents' wedding day, June 8, 1940. The picture has technical faults - it is a little unsharp, probably a combination of camera shake and the fairly primitive lens that took it. The tonality is impressive, it's from a big negative, 2 1/2 x 4 1/4. What I love most though is that it perfectly captures the personalities of the four people in the picture.
Knowing a little family history, I'm pretty sure it was taken with a Kodak Jiffy Six-16. That's a contemporary snapshot camera, sold 1937-42. A very reasonable device for a family of modestly comfortable means to own then for casual photography. Aside from that big negative, the success of the picture has very little to do with the means (i.e. equipment) of capture. The picture succeeds because of the rapport of the subjects with the photographer. The subjects agreed with the intention of the photographer -- the picture is an artifact of a communal act of photography 65 years ago. The "visual dialog" is between the subjects and the photographer. The viewer is merely allowed a glance into this closed community.
Now spin forward 60 years. What if this event had occurred in 2000, not 1940? Before I gave her a Pentax Optio, my wife used a Samsung 35mm P&S camera. Auto everything. Just like the Jiffy in 1940, a very reasonable object for people of modestly comfortable means to own in 2000 for casual photography. What if my wife had been the photographer with her Samsung in 2000? Aside from the absence of tonality of that nice big negative, I submit the results could have been the same. The means is superseded by the intent. The picture would still be more about the relationship between subjects and photographer than about the technology the photographer used. YMMV.
I don't think it was mentioned here before but there are many photographers who are NOT always interested in ART but who use a camera as a tool.
Is it a great piece of fine woodwork if the craftsman uses some power tools.
Many photographers in professional fields use their camera as a tool to capture an image for other than strictly artistic reasons. Wedding photographers don't have any dilemma if they use auto focus/exposure because the final result is more important that what was used to achieve it.
Product photographers use whatever works for them to satisfy an art director. Sport photographers need to get great exclusive images.
There are many reasons for photographs to be made and artistic esthetics are only one small nitch.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I couldn't agree more. Just because I like slow & manual doesn't mean it's the right approach for everyone. Also, I take photos for pleasure not for business, so I'm not exposed to a whole set of things that would drive me in a different direction.
Originally Posted by blansky
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Joe must be speaking about personal experience. He said, "trust me on this..." But there is no way you can tell Haris he will abandon vintage gear for modern high-tech gear without knowing and understanding his situation. It's all about context and intent. For you, it may have been about time, energy and effort. "Old school" photography scores low marks on convenience, time and minimal effort. But it scores extremely high in other areas, areas that are the most critical for some of us.
This is the discussion I had with myself a few years ago. I'm a fulltime, professional photographer for the U.S. government. I get to play with the latest and greatest digital equipment; D2X, D2H, every piece of glass you can imagine, printers; Epson 9600, Kodak ML 500, computers; high-end desktops, laptops, wireless LAN/WAN, etc. and software; Adobe CS, et al everyday of my life. I like my job, I wouldn't want to shoot MF/LF or even 35mm film on the job. Digital is the best solution for what I'm required to do and it does a satisfactory job.
With that said, my job does not fulfill my personal expression and creative needs. For me, digital technology has flattened the "photographic landscape." A few years ago, I almost left photography/my career. I had to work through this issue of, “Why am I a photographer/artist?” Haris is correct, it has nothing to do with "right or wrong" it's a personal, philosophical question. Everyone must answer it for themselves. For me, it was about balance and perspective. Because of digital technology, my relationship with photography suffered tremendously. The joy of image-making was gone. I felt like I wasn't involved anymore, like it was a purely mechanical act. No darkroom, no prints, all zeros and ones; quantity, not quality. Technology is a double-edged sword; I love it and I loathe it.
How I Resolved This Dilemma
I found that going to the roots or the heritage of photography was very soul satisfying to me. I wanted to push myself and challenge myself with photography. It’s true that everything in the art world comes back around in some form. For me now, wet plate Collodion photography is my passion and my connection to the art of photography. My world of pixelography/photography is mutually exclusive events or acts. I’ve found the balance and I’m very satisfied.
Last edited by Quinn; 07-10-2005 at 12:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Like Quinn, I work under government grants and have whatever I want in the digital world, but thank goodness I have at least a few hours a week to make nondigital photographs, lest I go nutz.
FWIW last week I had a print made from a SWC negative that I took beside a digital version. Printed it to 21x21". The print truly shut-up the digital fanatics. It was a good opportunity for me NOT to say "I Told You So", so I did not. Relations are better than ever now.
Last edited by jjstafford; 07-09-2005 at 03:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: misspelled man's name
One uses whichever equipment provides the most pleasure in the process of using it. If you feel that using large cameras and slowing down will give you greater pleasure that using small automated cameras, then get yourself a large camera.