Sorry I tried to edit but it seems it won't allow me
To part of Chuck's question, "are you a "fuzzy wuzzy" or a "straight shooter"...one does nt have to be either...I do not feel the need to "justify" my existence as photographer nor feel I have to identify myself or my work with a particular camp...others may at their amusement ignore me and my work or choose to categorize etc....
Photography had been considered art and art form and arguments to the contrary long before the F 64 group declared their lofty position.
What is also not often discussed are the political and commercial implications and motivations of declaring allegiance to one philosophy or another (i.e. F 64)...but that should be another thread...
From Sontag "On Photography" p 101.
..."The view of Stieglitz and Strand and Weston--that photographs should be, first of all. beautiful (that is, beautifully composed)--seems thin now, too obtuse to the truth of disorder: even as the optimism about science and technology which lay behind the Bauhaus view of photography seems almost pernicious.
Weston's images, however admirable, however beautiful, have become less interesting to many people, while those taken by the mid-nineteenth-century English and French primitive photographers and by Atget, for example, enthrall more than ever.
The judgement of Atget as "not a fine technician" that Weston entered in his "Daybooks" perfectly reflects the coherence of Weston's view and his distance from contemporary taste."
...Contemporary taste faults Weston, with his devotion to the perfect print, rather than Atget and the other masters of photography's demotic tradition.
Imperfect technique has come to be appreciated precisely because it breaks the sedate equation of Nature and Beauty. Nature has become more a subject for nostalgia and indignation than an object of contemplation, as marked by the distance of taste which separates both the majectic landscapes of Ansel Adams (Weston's best-known disciple) and the last important body of photographs in the Bauhaus tradition, Andreas Feininger's "The Anatomy of Nature (1965), from the current photographic imagery of nature defiled." Sontag On Photography 1973.
Last edited by Dave Wooten; 03-21-2007 at 07:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Wow, lots of thoughts have emerged in this thread. Interesting to see them. I'm not sure that my statements below apply to the recent discussion regarding Mortensen vs. Adams etc..., but I felt the need to donate two more cents.
Originally Posted by RobertP
I've seen something like the quote above several times in the thread and I don't understand its intent. IMO, the use of filters during exposure to control final print values, or the use of dodging and burning to manipulate print values, or the use of toners to manipulate print values, etc...is at the very heart of the art of "seeing" the "fine print" before you've made it. It speaks to the knowledge of craft and to the deliberate use of technique. In the absence of any particular method i.e., ZS, BTZS, etc... I would be willing to bet that before the shutter is released there is a feeling for how the final print is to look?
I don't think that "pure photography" or "straight photography" in any way implies that such manipulations are not to be used; they are tools that help the photographer to reach his final expressive print. To use a few quotes if I may:
"...the approach to the fine print that I profess in this book [The Print] is not directed to limitations of "straight" photography as defined by the use of glossy papers and emphasis on value and texture. Apart from the fact that I prefer the simplest and most direct revelation of the optical image, I stress these qualities because I believe they are basic to the medium."
That appears to be the essence of straight photography in my current understanding of the historical sense of the phrase. Am I wrong?
"when I am ready to make a photograph I quite obviously see in my minds eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word."
"my expressive print is never a direct duplication-in-reverse of the negative, this stage is something of a voyage of discovery where I work not only to re-create the original visualized image, but to enhance it if possible."
So, manipulation of print values, as I see it, really is not some form of pictorialism. They are expressive attempts at presenting a photograph in the most basic sense of the word. I also somewhat reject the notion that there is a petty difference between these concepts. To me, there is a large difference. But, I am no art historian by any stretch.
For the love of the traditional process, no matter how it is presented.
Chuck you are confusing the modernist approach with the naturalistic approach. Naturalism would have never allowed filtered skies and darkroom manipulations.
Originally Posted by Chuck1
Thanks Robert for that insight. Naturalism in photography---I'll have to google that.
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Chuck, Emerson's naturalistic approach wouldn't even allow the retouching of a print. I think, if I remember correctly, he went as far as destroying all of his negatives after he printed them. But that could very well be rumor.
I think Emerson's use of the term pictorial art is being used in its most basic meaning. And that is art that is: relating to, characterized by, or composed of pictures. This could even include the great crayola art work that is created by our children and on display in most of our home galleries...the refrigerator. But also any style or movement in photography can be referred to as pictorial. Any of the different approaches to photography, be it modernism, naturalism or pictorialism can be considered a pictorial art. This is why I find it difficult to accept statements like Emerson continued to practice naturalism and pictorialism. The moment he contrived an image or manipulated it in any way he was no longer practicing his naturalistic approach. Now he may not have liked the"fuzzy" pictures that some of the pictorialist were producing but soft focus was just one aesthetic that was being used by the pictorialist and not a requirement.