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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    While reading Ansel Adams' "Polaroid Land Photography" book, I ran across this passage where Alfred Steiglitz his view of the creative photographic process.

    Reference: Ansel Adams, "Polaroid Land Photography", 1978 edition, page 72.

    That pretty much does it for me, although I've never been able to articulate it so well.

    What do you think?

    Photographically, the whole doctrine of 'equivalence' has always struck me as more religious than useful. 'Religious' as in the sense 'if you have to ask why, or what it means, you'll never understand anyway'.

    Cheers,

    R.

  2. #12
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Photographically, the whole doctrine of 'equivalence' has always struck me as more religious than useful. 'Religious' as in the sense 'if you have to ask why, or what it means, you'll never understand anyway'.

    Cheers,

    R.
    Excellent point Roger. Here's what Adams wrote expanding on the term equivalence. (same reference, page and paragraph)

    "For me this term equivalent is of is of great importance. It clarifies without imposing concepts or dogmas, suggesting that photography is a strictly personal expression and also relates to the world. It is centrifugal, an outward flow of force, not centripetal."
    Of course, everyone's opinion on this concept is going to differ. Adams does not try to explain Stieglitz's own personal opinion; rather he interprets Stieglitz's opinion based upon his own opinion.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  3. #13

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    "I go into the world as a photographer. I desire to make a photograph. I come across some aspect of the world that interests me emotionally or aesthetically. I see the image I desire in my mind's eye and I compose and expose accordingly. I give you the photograph as the equivalent of what I saw and felt".
    Such a simple statement for such a complex event. This would drive the art majors and their "Art Speak" crazy. Five sentances instead of five pages!

    And I agree Alex, it pretty much sums up the motivation thing for me also.
    George Losse
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  4. #14

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    Hmmm... Yes

    Thanks Alex

    Thought of the day ... and life time...

  5. #15
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    Here is a recent quote from an interview with John Szarkowski about this very subject (from Focus magazine):

    I don’t like to argue
    with Stieglitz, but the term equivalent has always
    made me a little uncomfortable. It seems
    to suggest that the same thing can be said in
    two different ways, which I doubt; it also suggests
    that the possible meaning of a photograph
    is potentially larger or nobler if it can be
    translated into philosophical or psychological
    language. As for Minor’s attempt to explain
    photography by dividing its practitioners into
    four classes—from peons to priests, more or
    less—I’m afraid this is merely silly and represents
    White at his least interesting and least
    useful.


    I tend to fall into the camp that believes that the whole 'equivalents' rap is thinly veiled psuedo-mysticism.

    But, hey, if it works for you, then full speed ahead.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    While reading Ansel Adams' "Polaroid Land Photography" book, I ran across this passage where Alfred Steiglitz his view of the creative photographic process.

    Reference: Ansel Adams, "Polaroid Land Photography", 1978 edition, page 72.

    That pretty much does it for me, although I've never been able to articulate it so well.

    What do you think?
    I just want to feel nostalgic like I used to.


    http://www.clayharmon.net - turnip extraordinaire

  6. #16
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Sounds like much has been made over this "equivalents" thing in the past. I'm not an art school person nor am I well-read on the subject, so I'm seeing this for the first time.

    Personally, I don't see it as any big deal nor do I see any kind of mysticism of any sort involved in it. Trying to translate what my eye sees onto the film and paper seems to be the basic process. Note that I said trying to do it. I don't feel I'm ever 100% successful nor do I come close except on rare occasions.
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  7. #17
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    I certainly agree that I often attempt to convey what I saw. But I'm not as certain that a photographer can convey what he/she "felt" at the time of shooting.

    Firstly, does he mean "feel" in the sense of what the photo image is meant to convey? Or does he mean "feel" as in his mood or disposition when he conceived and took the photograph?

    Think for a moment of a mundane snapshot. It's easy to "see" what the shooter "saw" but one doesn't intuitively get a sense of what the shooter felt. In fact, often with such a photo the shooter "felt" intensely about his subject yet a detached viewer will feel nothing.

  8. #18

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    George,

    First, good name!

    you asked, Firstly, does he mean "feel" in the sense of what the photo image is meant to convey? Or does he mean "feel" as in his mood or disposition when he conceived and took the photograph?


    Let me add something that I believe. With every exposure a photographer makes, he/she give a little insight into themselves, in how they view a subject and the world it lives in. They reveal how they feel about the subject...do they like it, hate it, or have no feeling about it at all..... all in the way they compose the photograph of the subject.

    A photograph is really not about the subject of the photograph but about how the photographer wants you to see the subject of the photograph.

    just my feelings, your mileage may vary.....
    George Losse
    www.georgelosse.com

  9. #19
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    Post-structuralists (post-modernists, deconstructionists, Lacanian psychoanalytics, pick your -ist) would have a field day of "Ah-hah! See? I told you so!" with that. The equivalence Stieglitz refers to would be seen as direct proof of the simulacrum-effect of representational communication. The photograph is only an inaccurate, false representation of the actual feeling, because it is NOT the feeling itself. Just as the objects depicted in the photograph are not the objects themselves, but a two-dimensional representational reduction of the objects that serve as a communally-accepted shorthand for "truth". Truth of course cannot actually be communicated because even verbal communication is a substitution for the actual truth, and written communication is a substitution for verbal communication. Photographic communication complicates the failure to communicate truth because it is a reduction of a depicted object from three dimensions to two, and an abstraction of the characteristics of that object into silver grains and pigments, which stand in for the tones and colors of the object.

    Anyway, enough Po-Mo BS about photography. Just go out and make more of those beautiful things!

  10. #20
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Post-structuralists (post-modernists, deconstructionists, Lacanian psychoanalytics, pick your -ist) would have a field day of "Ah-hah! See? I told you so!" with that. The equivalence Stieglitz refers to would be seen as direct proof of the simulacrum-effect of representational communication. The photograph is only an inaccurate, false representation of the actual feeling, because it is NOT the feeling itself. Just as the objects depicted in the photograph are not the objects themselves, but a two-dimensional representational reduction of the objects that serve as a communally-accepted shorthand for "truth". Truth of course cannot actually be communicated because even verbal communication is a substitution for the actual truth, and written communication is a substitution for verbal communication. Photographic communication complicates the failure to communicate truth because it is a reduction of a depicted object from three dimensions to two, and an abstraction of the characteristics of that object into silver grains and pigments, which stand in for the tones and colors of the object.
    Uhhh - thanks Scott (I think). Can you get a Master's thesis out of this? (There's probably been a jillion of them already)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Anyway, enough Po-Mo BS about photography. Just go out and make more of those beautiful things!
    Amen to that one!
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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