I've sometimes toyed with the idea of showing a sequence of prints from proof print, through the many dodging, burning, and/or masking steps it takes to come to a fine print. By giving up the secrets of one image it may open the eyes of viewers to how much of myself is in each image, rather than them thinking, "If I was there with my camera I could've grabbed a snapshot of that".
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
The OP query reminds me of Bismark's comment regarding the making of laws and sausage!
it really depends what kind of photography i am showing to people.
if they get it wrong, i will tell them what/ who it is
but if it is an abstraction or something else i will let them decide what it might be.
it really doesn't matter to me if what i photographed (the latter) is what they say it is,
or if it is something else to them. often times people see differently, depending on their life experience/s.
half of photography is educating the viewer ...
if that means letting them know
i didn't use a digital camera, or the photograph was of a escutcheon or transom lift, or egg and dart moulding,
or a pressed tin ceiling, or someone who slaughters animals,
or digs graves or ...
it is all the same thing.
I only divulge the "dirty little secrets" about what I see as the shortcomings when I am talking to someone whose photographic expertise I respect. I will talk about the tricks I used to accomplish something in the darkroom that I'm particularly proud of when conversing with a more casual stranger, if I sense they have an interest in such things.
Similarly to TheFlyingCamera, I have no reservations about discussing the "finer points" (or deficiencies) with the "photographically sophisticated". As for everyone else, it depends on a perception of whether their enjoyment would be enhanced or reduced by knowing what dirty little secrets are behind the image. If their misconceptions are essential to their enjoyment, so be it; life is short. But for some, being "in" on the whole story gives them considerable pleasure, and this is one of the places that "photographic sophistication" comes from.
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If you can help to educate your audience, IMHO you should.
It is easier to gain enlightenment than to explain enlightenment.
Supreme Master Ching Hai
Interesting thread. I find that most people don't really pay any attention to the "man behind the curtain" anyway. (I think that's what made the joke in the movie.)
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
I agree, but I have reservations.
Originally Posted by Doyle Thomas
Tomorrow, five of us apuggers are meeting to select images for a show we are mounting next month. For this exhibition, I have no doubt that we'll do a lot of explaining, but about content, not about technique. I'm thinking it will be the historical subject matter that will command everyone's attention. If that is not true, we may have failed in taking the photographs.
The reason that (IMHO) most people don't pay attention to the technical ("behind the curtain") is that it is of no consequence to them. It may be because they don't understand all the technical things, but it is just as likely that they don't care.
If a photograph is to stand on it's own, it does not require the viewer to know the exposure or all the darkroom manipulation; any more than a painter has to detail their brushstrokes when one is viewing the painting. As a musician, I cannot imagine playing a Bach chorale prelude and then having to tell the listener that the only way I pulled it off was with a lot of finger substitution. Technique is a means to an end. The picture is the end.
Having said all of this, however, there may be an exception in our case. Our exhibition is going up in a university gallery, and will be viewed (hopefully) by some art and photography students. If these students want to know why we used film and black and white, and how we did it, we'll be glad to educate them!
Imagine an early painter looking at a fellow painters work and saying; "those reds are really special how did you mix the paint?", the painter thinking "should I tell him I used goats blood? No I'll keep it a secret". "Oh well I'll tell him" "I used goats blood" The other guy says what kind of goat?" "an old goat" "a fat old goat?" "no just an average old goat". "I wish I had not told him about the goat, now he is only interested in how I mixed the paint and not the painting."
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
I rarely ever show or explain to people any of my manipulations. It's like a magician showing you how the trick is done, it loses some of it's magic. I will explain natural phenomena such as mist or fog, a good example being "Alkali Dust Cloud". People viewing that image find the fact that the dust cloud is 2000' high to be of great interest.
People do like to hear the story behind the image though, especially if I did something dumb and almost got myself hurt. I find that at a show opening
people will very often buy a piece that I have a story about, I think it personalizes the image for them.
Last edited by Early Riser; 04-07-2007 at 10:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.
i agree ...
Originally Posted by Early Riser
explaining technique is a bit different than explaining subject matter.