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Thread: Philosophies

  1. #111
    blansky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Wine country in Northern California
    This is at the crux of what Garry Winogrand spoke of when he said he wanted to find out what things looked like when they were photographed.

    "the photograph isn't what was photographed. It's something else. It's a new fact."

    Funny how those comments stymie so many critics and photographers alike[.
    This kind of applies to the photography of people maybe as well as landscapes etc.

    You really don't know what you have until you photograph it. In real life it looks a certain way but when photographed it can take on a life of it's own. Take "Moonrise over..." it certainly didn't look the way in real life as it did on the final print.

    Playboy photographers always do numerous "test shots" of their subjects to see how they come across on film. How they look in real life can be very different to how they photograph. The saying " the camera loves them" has a direct bearing on how the shots are used.

    Hollywood screen tests, were always used to see if the person "had it" or not.

    A person who is extremely beautiful in real life may come across so-so on film while a average sort may just light up in film. It is an intangible that is never known until they show up on film.

    Is this what is being said here?

    MIchael McBlane

  2. #112
    bjorke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    SF & Surrounding Planet
    Medium Format
    Yes and No, Michael.

    I think what GW was alluding too, and here on this thread Michael Smith said much the same thing, was that a photograph is not a proxy for the thing(s) before the lens. A photograph makes a picture, which may contain an image of a thing, but it's not that thing.

    Treating the camera as a picture-making device -- as a print making device -- is a bridge that few people (IMO) consciously cross. So much worry about exposure and so little about pictures, pictures separated from the photographic process. It's important (for many, though not all, uses of photography) to remember that in the end, the viewer, the final consumer of photography, has only that picture. They don't know how it was made (unless you and the dealer tell them), they don't know if it was difficult or easy, and unless it contains a known person they have no idea about the purposes of the human subjects, save as they come across IN THE PICTURE (I accept here a definition that includes picture with accompanying caption). To them it is just a colored rectangle. It is up to the photographer to be able to put themselves in the viewer's shoes, at every step of the process, from presentation back through printing and selection and exposure and choosing which film to carry and which lens to mount.

    This may seem obvious to the studio photographer or filmmaker, who has time and tools and may be expected to produce an expected sort of result (a headshot, a catalog image). It is more difficult for the "wild" photographer, who may need to calculate these issues in a split second -- even more so for those trying to discover and map new aesthetic territory at such a speed, as GW and others have done.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  3. #113
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA
    Medium Format
    Food for thought:

    "The unfolding of the unexpected becomes the energy that drives you. You discover how thirsty you are for exploration without analysis. You feel strangely at home in a place you can't define. You are truly creating."
    - Michell Canson and Stewart Cubley

    Listen. Make a way for
    inside yourself.
    Stop looking
    in the other way of looking.
    - Rumi.

    All from "The Vein of Gold", by Julia Cameron.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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