Well, that's mostly a practical decision. I tend to shoot the largest format I have that is suitable for the subject and how portable I need to be. This means either 6x6 MF or 4x5 LF or 35mm rangefinder these days.
Originally Posted by photomc
Just wondering how many other folks would like to have some discussions on the setup - why xxxx camera format, xxxx film, you know the stuff we should be writting down for notes before we trip the shutter.
Ah, the easy question ... In landscape, it's a reaction to the place. Might be its intrinsic beauty, might be its history, might be the marks left by generations of humanity on the landscape (my main interest), might be the fleeting play of light on a detail, might well be part of a project I have set myself. Where I set the tripod is a aesthetic matter where I try to compose so as to give myself the best chance of expressing what I intend about the landscape. I don't think it is possible, not for me at least, to express how I go about that decision in any detail - on the practical side it very much depends on what is available to me in the landscape WRT near/mid/far objects as well as where my main subject is situated, all of which may change as I move around the area.
Originally Posted by photomc
And most important, Why are we making the photograph...what did we feel, why did we stop...I mean if it is a LF shoot, there is a bit of work that goes into the set-up before the darkslide is ever pulled. Why did we place the camera/tripod where we did?
I really like Aggies post.
I believe it all boils down to what interests you and the story you want to tell.
I work on several series at a time and try to imagine how the work will look , even before I pick up the camera.
For years I did not pick up a camera , because I was not settled in my life and every time I did it was just pretty pictures that I have seen time and time again.
I picked up a book *On being a photographer* bill jay and this short little read helped me .
Now when I pick up the camera it is very satisfying as I work on stuff that I like and am doing for my own pleasures, and not trying to please anyone else.
The vision thing is why I started into MF and LF in the first place. Professionally I'm a Graphic Designer and Illustrator but there were things I just couldn't do (for my personal projects) in those mediums that I might be able to do with photography. I say might because I won't really know until I can get past the tools and processes. Once I can just think and do I will maybe see some success.
Until then, the left side of my brain is having a good time with all the details and processes.
I agree. This is why I think that the gallery is great and I always post my photos in the critique gallery. I am hoping that folks will discuss the images in some way that helps me see better and refine my vision and technique.
Originally Posted by Ole
Generally speaking, the things I photograph can be divided into two types:
1) things I want to record; and
2) things which inspire me visually.
Some times, I am lucky, and a subject will fit into both classes.
As an example, last Christmas, we had a number of friends and relatives over, and one of my wife's 2nd cousins had her infant baby in her arms, high enough to look back over the mother's shoulder, and directly at me - the image of the back of the mother's head, the curve of her neck, and the fascinated eyes of the infant appealed strongly to me, and at the same time provided to me an image that I wanted to have and keep as part of a family record.
Other times, the image itself is the reason for the photograph.
I am lucky in that in the short distance (about a 30 minute commute) between my home and my work, there is a very large variety of environments - densely urban, rural, industrial and natural. If the play of light and the arrangement of the objects and/or people are such that my attention is distracted, and my interest is piqued, I think there is at least a possibility that I can make a good photograph out of it.
When talking about photographic vision, it is important, however, to also consider the process. I am not particularly good at communicating with words the effect that a particular vista has on me, but sometimes I can elucidate that effect in myself (and hopefully others) with a photograph. That is where the thrill arises for me - I see the subject, and I envision the resulting print or slide, plus what it will likely take to get a result that will please me.
I do not think it is correct to say that I only take photographs that please me - much of the pleasure comes from the attempt to create something that may allow me to share my pleasure.
If I am taking photographs for other purposes, or to fulfill the requirements of others, there is another sort of vision involved, and that too has merit. The process of fulfilling a requirement is a process of translation - conversion of a need into a photograph that fulfills that need. In order to do so successfully, I have to understand the need, envision a photograph that fulfills the need, and bring to bear my craft and my imagination in a way that successfully answers the challenge. If I do so, the process is both creative, and very personally satisfying.
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I think this is wonderfully put matt.
Originally Posted by MattKing
I think it is really the main root criteria for any reason I choose to stop and photography something.
Vision is an interesting idea to talk about photomc (mike) I really like the idea of being able to put it into discerning words and an understandable context.
I think I seem to be drawn to photographing the presence of people without people within the image. the image containing elements of man kind... perhaps the neglect of mankind.. the beauty of mankind... sometimes (often times actually) the neglect is what I find beautiful. I used to take the occasional "pretty picture" but have all but expelled that desire or forced habit within myself.
The only reason I bother to stop is because something moved me emotionally. Emotion has always been at the root of anything I might attempt to express creatively. Vision wise Im finding that it is all seeming to fall into place and what I naturally choose to stop and photograph ends up speaking the same "language" it perhaps relates to previous images... they seem to speak the same tongue
not to sound like a broken record but really the more I think about it as I type this... the more emotions seems so profound and fundamentally the driving force... images I react to and hold the most admiration for are the ones that create an emotional response. Tillman cranes, michael mutmansky, carl weese, clay harmon, Lee carmichael, Jorge, steve sherman, michael kenna, all these peoples work really creates an emotional reaction when I view their work... just to name a few that came to mind at this very moment. such emotion is captured and I truly admire that and is something I strive to achieve with my own work.
Thank You One and All for sharing your insite.....Being fully aware that someone's personal vision is just that 'personal' I do appreciate you sharing part of yourself. It might be The most difficult thing (don't know what else to call it) in photography. Vision is real, but how to verbalize it is not an easy task.
Will digress for a moment and try to share some of my own 'personal' thoughts. In some ways the why seems to blur with the How, or at least in my mind they can....maybe I have not gotten to the point where I know the difference. Photography for me, up until now, has been a vehicle to record...vacation trips, special holidays or events. These images have been reminders of where I have been, and as my own awareness of photography has grown, have noticed the patterns we all seem to share. Used to be anytime someone got a new car (or new to them anyway) there was the obligitory photograph of them and their new ride .... have some old photos of my Dad, made with his twin brother on the running board of a Model A, with his Mother and Dad. Pretty cool stuff to see today, and recall other pictures that were made while growing up of the different cars, trucks, etc. Now my grandfather also loved to have his picture made with one of his cows/bulls when he got a new one (herford's were his favorites)
So, this is one form of why ... but then as my knowledge of photography grew, I started noticing the work of people like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Laura Gilpin, you know the group...they managed to take some very artistic photographs while working for the FSA to document a period of time...yet some of these photographs transcend the documentary part of photography and have become - dare I say - Art (at least to some people). What was it in there vision that allowed them to not only make a documentary photograph, but something that is much more.
Another example might be the portraits of Yousuf Karsh (or Karsh of Canada, seems like I read that he preferred to be call that somewhere...anyone know if that is true?). We have all seen very good portrait work, but what is different in his work? They are very powerful, and are a notch above...have seen many portraits (haven't we all) but not all have the impact. The same could be said of the work of W E Smith, was it vision that brought those wonderful images alive in Life or was it just knowing how his materials worked?
So, I am still at the same point that started the thread...not sorry to have ask. After all, I do not think that there IS an answer to the question , but wondered if anyone else had given much thought to the question. There ARE photographers that I think have found the why.....they may not be able to put it into words...and yes it would be THEIR vision, not my own. But there is something special that I see in some photographers work that tells me they have that special something, it may be raw talent.....
After all, how does a painter bring out that special something...or why is it that some music sends chills over the body everytime you here it...think about it, how the heck does a poet sit down and write a work that last 100's of years? Dunno, but that does not keep me from trying to discover that part of myself...who knows, it may not be there, and then again....
Sorry fior the rather deep post...don't go here to often..
i don't know if it is vision that i am writing about, but here goes ...
i photograph the world around me because i am searching for some connection between myself and where i live, to help me come to a better understanding of who i am, AND who i am not. i don't know if this makes sense ...
from a very early age, i used to hear stories of "the old days" or "the olde country" when times were different. my grandparents arrived in the usa with not much, as they escaped persecution in their homeland -for the most part, they came with just memories.
i want to make sure that i have more than just memories, and stories to pass on to my kids in the years to come. i find myself making photographs of the abandoned farm down the street, or the mill that lay in ruins &C because i know these things are not going to be around for ever, and they help me understand a little bit the place i am living. besides, my memory is really bad, and i know i will probably forget about these small links to the past if i didn't record them on film.
i guess it is like cheap "therapy" --- part of me feels that i am missing something, something that i can't put my finger on, something that makes me feel different isolated from others around me. maybe it is because of my grandparents' story - being forced to leave a place their ancestors lived for close to 2000 years. i know that is the story of a lot of people that come to this country - it is american dream, a promise of a better place. somehow, the photographs i take, lend some perspective into my own life. kind of like therapy i guess ?
Aesthetics is for the artists as ornithology is for the birds.
Originally Posted by photomc
Does a mother bird actually teach her young to fly? Or does she just teach them something before pushing them out of the nest that they use to teach themselves to fly?
The photographers who have nurtured my vision may not have taught it to me, but they taught me something without which the vision would never have developed.
Maybe 'teach' isn't exactly the right word, but something can be conveyed that causes the vision to develop where it wouldn't have otherwise.
I photograph because I see a vista or pattern that I think should be preserved.
To answer the original question of why our fascination with the tools.......
"He who dies with the most toys wins!" LOL