Not being a 'professional' I couldn't agree more. I pretty much shoot for myself. If someone else doesn't like it, fine. Still, if the other photographer's comment was constructive, I think you should consider whether an improvement in some aspect of the developing is warranted and you can improve your technique. Telling someone he would be embarrassed to show your picture if it was his doesn't sound all that constructive to me. Still, there might be something positive to learn here.
Originally Posted by jstraw
The dodging halo is something that's pretty commonplace but that doesn't mean it's always a sign of bad photography if it's there for a purpose. I won't rehash the whole snapshot-aesthetics thing, but as a FlyingCamera said, now might be a good time to step back and think about what you do.
If the halo is an annoyance and does not contribute to what you want to express by the print, then by all means try more advanced burning techniques, that's what they're for. But if you find that the halo can carry more than the derogative meaning of poor craftmanship, then explore it. The meaning of a photo (or any other work) is not something easy to pinpoint because it functions differently across audiences.
Of course you should avoid doing like the hacks adding cheap effects in their portraiture so that the portrait looks more "artistic" (star-shaped dodging would be one!). But to go back to the snapshot-aesthetics thing, the difference between the Polaroids of Walker Evans, the drugstore prints of Stephen Shore, and the pictures everyone else is taking on their vacations, is the awareness with which the technical defects are exploited and loaded with signification.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Well said Michel!
rsj: Your photos are great and you are so close to getting what you want from what you said. There are some people on apug that are really experienced printers, too many to mention all. I've already learned lots from Les McLean and his printing blog and also Roger Hicks and his web site lessons. Look them up.
The fact that the subject really likes the photo of himself would please me more than another photographer's opinion.
The halo in that print is not acceptable.
Whether the artist/photographer likes it or not seems unimportant at times. In the end not many people make photographs or any image for NOBODY to see.. ( you showed us these images above, you might have been able to create this thread without them. ) So in that respect I think we should all strive to do our best work possible, as in the end we are making our photos for someone to see.. no matter how hard why might try to argue we arent making them for others..
Here, I think you are rationalizing and giving yourself a reason to keep an obvious error:
"I know the burning is noticeable, but after a certain point I accepted that I wasn't going to use up another package of paper just to try and make the burning less obvious because i didn't think it detracted from the overall image, i accepted that its just an inherent part of an analog print that its tough to burn and make it seem like you didn't."
You know the burning is noticable and you know it can be fixed but you didnt want to fix it. You end up implying that a burn like this isnt possible.. It is! and without being noticed..
I think a situation like this is not suitable for the "but I like it so it doesnt matter if you dont" argument.. You seem to imply that you know it can be made better (just gotta get out that new pack of paper) but resigned yourself to accepting the work in its current state, even when you know it is obvious and someone told you it is a glaring error.
In this situation, if you showed me this print (you did, but online) in real life I would say the same thing as the photographer you talked to, I would be embarrassed to show this print and it is not as good as you can do..
I think you can make a better print.
As long as you can seriously make a better print (whether you can afford to or not) you should do it. Until that point you are cheating yourself and the general public.
When you accept a print that could have been made better as a 'good print' merely because you feel artistic license to it and can declare it done at any stage whether 'good' or not (to a knowing photographer) you end up only pleasing your sense of being lazy or some sense of 'anything I do pleases me' which I do not think is good..
I please myself first. And much of the time I am more difficult to please than anyone I show my work to.. I would rather not show a print at all if I know I could have done better had I just got out that one more pack of paper.
Please yourself first but show how much respect you have for yourself and your work by never resigning yourself to believing anything you do is OK or good merely because you are pleased by it.... ( if that makes any sense)
"Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."
Ok, so I've got a range of opinions.
How can I do a better burn job? I don't have access to unsharp masking tools, and I found it incredibly hard to get an even burn without darkening the subjects head as much. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good read for effective burning and dodging? I usually just cutout the test print and use that as a mask, but obviously that is not working as well as I'd planned.
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Take a print of exactly the same size, and trim along the sky line. Then lay the “mask” over the printing paper as a dodge mask. Just like the “Stonehenge” print on pg. 223 of “Way Beyond Monochrome” by Lambrecht and Woodhouse
Originally Posted by rjas
if you just want to add some tone to the sky--try printing a little bit harder (higher contrast) and then flash the paper just a teeny bit. it won't take much exposure to add some tone to the sky, enough to knock it down to just under the paper base white.
In my opinion, gained from having been in photography for a few years. listning to comments like that and taking them to heart too intensely will dirve you, or anyone else, crazy.
Originally Posted by rjas
Your BEST work will be the work YOU "see" as the 'best'... and the key word here is YOU.
You liked the photgraph. Your subject liked the photograph. That is ALL you need for it to be a "success".
In Commercial work, the field is different. Here the client, or those hired as extensions of the client, dictate the end result, and emotional self-satisfaction (and "art") is NOT the goal - the work exists for one purpose - to SELL the product.
Believe in yourself - and all else will follow. It WILL.
I wonder - I think that as people become more experienced in photography and printmaking, they become much more tolerant of the individual characteristics of finished prints.
After the last Juried Show I entered, the comment was made that it was the most difficult body of work that the Judge ever had to consider - ALL of it was so damned *GOOD*! - and that he commented that, at the end, he was reduced to searching for minor flaws in printmaking - something he DID NOT want to do.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Personally I shoot to please myself and I find that I am far more critical than any client, collector or photographer that I know. With that said, If you see an obvious defect in your print that is repairable on your part, such as bad dodging or burning, it is a matter of how much pride you take in your work when it comes to making each print the best you can.
While many non photographers will not notice print defects, you'd be surprised at how many do. They may lack the vocabulary to express what they see wrong, but they may not like your print because of the defects.
Even among photographers there is a wide range of what defects or other print problems are acceptable. On the extremes there are photographers who do sloppy work and are not bothered by the sloppy work of others, and there are photographers who expect themselves and other photographers to come as close to perfection as humanly possible.
You can mke that statement from viewing the image shown? I wonder what it might look like from a "flat - unscanned, REAL" print.
Originally Posted by Christopher Colley
Rather "quick" condemnation, in my opinion.
Ed Sukach, FFP.