My opinion, is the same as my tired old hockey analogy.
When we were kids, we went out on the backyard rink and played. Did we sit in our room and study until we were "worthy" or until we could "see".
NO. We went out and played. We didn't concentrate on anything except playing. Day after day the skating got better the shooting got better, the stickhandling got better. We copied our "heroes". Eventually we developed our own style.
Later we took classes, (teams) to enhance our skills. We got even better.
Did anyone become Gretzky, yeah he did, and a few others got pretty good. Do the rest of us care. No. We are having just as much fun.
There will always be people who study photography to death, people who talk about photography to death, and then there are the people that are out doing it. That's what I prefer to do.
Let's face it 95% of the people here don't need to make money from it, don't care if they money from it and it is just for fun anyway. It is a hobby, all hobby's cost money, so just burn up some film and enjoy yourself and your journey.
Here's another way to look at it.
When does the orchestra PERFORM? Think of the final image as the PERFORMANCE, (yeah! I know it's the old Ansel thing).
But it is true, those folks work together and along, they 'Know' the work, so that they can express themseleves (sounds kinda of painfull when you saya it that way).
The Point Is....You can't just 'SEE', you have to get what you see onto the film, then on the paper so that what you 'SAW' is what you have in the image you want others to 'SEE', ie a part of you.
Just a ramble, but if you see and can't print it, then you are the only one to see it.
"but if you see and can't print it, then you are the only one to see it."
I can't speak for anyone else. My photographs are for my benefit...first and formost. That means the visual experience is most important to me. I believe that Michael Smith and others indicate this same priority too.
It seems that a great deal of confusion exists about who it is that we are making photographs for.
I agree with Blansky...It is time to engage in photography from more then the vocal standpoint. I am outta here....
Michael Smith is an excellent photographer. He is not the only one in the world producing great work. I was struck by one of his talks at the LF conf. When the question of seeing was discussed, it all came down to what YOU saw. You can be taught to look, but not to see. Seeing is an individual experience. Michael never brackets, or takes a second shot of a scene. To him the experience of taking the picture is most important. the image is secondary to the enjoyment of seeing and feeling.
I don't know how many of you have felt that rush of excitement when you find a place or object that captures you senses. I Love old abandoned places. They speak to me of the ghosts that once populated the buildings. We when this excitement takes over can feel, smell, taste, and observe that excitement. It may be that only the singular person can see that excitement.
I know I embarked on a totally new type of photography lately. It is our of my realm of experience. Yet I feel that familiar excitement I had when I viewed an old building, as I do when I am setting up a shot. Will I ever share these images with others? Maybe, and then again, maybe not. For me it is a very personal project. What does this have to do with this thread? I can grab my familiar medium format and it is the extension of me. Or I can use my 4x5 and stop and think. I have to really delve into the workings and set up for each shot. The masters, were able to make calculations in their heads like I do with my medium format. I would like to do that with a large format camera. I am just scared of letting go of the comfort zone of the gizmos to help me take the picture. Is this something the rest of you experience? Do you just let your senses take over and you do? Or are you still stuck with the familiar crutches that bypass the senses.
Since you are doing this just for yourself, what do you care if you fall out of your comfort zone.
When I was first starting in business, or just before, I was using a Nikon. IT was a part of me. Then I bought My Hasselbalds. For every shoot I did then, I first shot with the Nikon, to get what I needed. Then did some shots with the HAsselblad. I slowly weaned myself off the Nikon and rarely used one since.
Since you don't have paying customers, leave the medium format in the case at home and immerse yourself in your new found big stuff. It will soon become second nature.
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BTW, Michael...Welcome back!
I prefer to do than to study. Less blah blah and more printing. I appreciate the fact that most people do it for their own satisfaction BUT we certainly love public admiration of our work. So, go and do more work and less philosophising. Aristotelis, Socrates, Plato - useless unless they inspire action. Same with photography. If action is not inspired then it is mute.
Concert pianists generally practice every day, and perform perhaps weekly. I'm aware of the different meanings of the word "practice", and in this case i feel the question is it's own answer.
Originally Posted by Aggie
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I think Cunningham was basicaly right. There is no magic bullet formula that people can plug/chug and produce a masterpiece. Being able to see is one of the few absolute trusims of the art/craft. I think it can be learned to some extent with a combination of doing and coaching. But one has to beware of who is doing the coaching.
When does one stop studying? Well, really, never. Doing it is also studying if one critiques oneself, hopefully not critiquing yourself into depression.
I've always favored the intuitive approach. There are a few basic technical points that must be learned, the fundamentals, but beyond those fundamentals, I have found no realistic gain in worrying about technical trivia. I take an exposure reading then I look at it to see if it makes sense. The times it didn't make sense and I shot anyway have always produced a bad negative.
Calculations; What do you need to calculate? Accounting for reciprocity and filter, yes, but what else? Aggie, with a view camera, you have the great benefit of the Ground Glass, and the Ground Glass is Truth. Don't take just my word for it though. Read Steve Simmons' article in View Camera Magazine about using movements. He makes the same statement. The Scheimflug stuff is just a way of teaching/describing how the movements of the view camera work to manipulate the plane of focus. Does one need a Scheimflug calculator? Well, no, but one already exists on the camera - the Ground Glass. Same goes with calculating optimum f/stop. Do it intuitively and with the Ground Glass.
So, in short, I believe one learns some basics then goes forth and does it. That's the best way of studying in my humble opinion.
I set out to learn the basics of technique so that I could stop thinking about them and simply react to what I see, what moves me. Of course, there is always more to know, more to put into practice, and more experimenting to be done. I've never been one to book-learn anything, relying more on my own hands-on experiences.
It's never the wrong time to simply 'do.' In my opinion, if you don't 'do' when you feel led to, you will stifle yourself before you've even started. Analysis paralysis, although I despise that expression.
And besides, how can you learn from your mistakes if you never allow yourself to go out there and make any?
(Of course, the 'you' is generic, and I'm using it even though it's a grammatical sin.)