Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 69,880   Posts: 1,520,472   Online: 966
      
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 42
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Shooter
    Medium Format
    Posts
    9

    Traditions of Photography - Short essay

    Just a short essay I wrote about the traditions of photography in anyone is interested.
    I posted it on another forum and all they did was complain about sentence structure etc etc, I just want to post it to start discussion really, not ripping the essay apart. I got 18/20 for it anyway.

    Hope you find it interesting, cheers.

    Tradition plays a major part in most societies and cultures around the world. Tradition is a cultural activity that has been practiced within the particular community that has celebrated it for many years. Tradition is implemented in most cultural activities and societies around the world. This essay will be talking about the tradition in photography.

    In it’s most basic sense, tradition in photography can be looked at as pictures that have been taken on a camera that uses black and white film and then developed by hand in a darkroom. (http://www.photogs.com/bwworld/backtobw.html) This is traditional photography because it was the only way to truly capture a moment as it was for many years. Tradition in this sense refers to the original way in which the medium was developed in to an artistic form. These days with modern technology, digital cameras and ease of photo manipulation, photography has taken more of a contemporary form and is losing it’s traditional black and white roots.

    Photography has always been a medium for communication. The photographer has huge bias implemented in the image that they take and each image can have several meanings. Ever since photography has been around (circa 1840)(http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/dagprocess.htm) it has been used for telling stories and documenting the world. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams were two of the earliest documenters and started the tradition of story telling with photographs. Henri Cartier-Bresson told his stories through documenting daily life and Ansel Adams through documenting landscapes. These photographers and these types of photography are seen as traditional because they have used their images to depict society and show views of life which would never normally be seen to the untrained eye. They had the ability to capture life as it had never been before.

    Since the implementation of modern technology and more importantly digital cameras photography has seen a loss of tradition. The base of traditional photography, 35mm black and white film is quickly being eradicated and is now seen as inconvenient and slow when compared to the speed and accessibility of colour film or digital cameras. Along with this loss of 35mm black and white film, we generally see a decline in image quality as people simply ‘snap’ lots of photos instead of waiting for the ‘decisive moment’ (http://www.photo-seminars.com/Fame/bresson.htm) to take the photograph. This new digital age has however allowed for new traditions in photography starting to be implemented. One of these being people wanting to see in to the lives of other people. This is where new styles such as social photography and paparazzi photography have emerged. These new styles of photography have become highly accepted in todays society and have evolved in to multi-million dollar industries.

    One of the key traditions emerging in modern photography is that of image manipulation. In our society it is rare to see an image which hasn’t been digitally altered to some extent. Of course photographers who shot on 35mm black and white film could alter their photographs with darkroom equipment, altering the contrast and brightness and even creating powerful advertising campaigns. (reference steve bronstein, special effect photography) but it couldn’t be done to the extent and ease it is done today. Nowadays with powerful computer programs such as photoshop we have to question images in wether they are telling the truth or not as image manipulation is so easily done. This has a huge impact on mass media in that an image can be altered to provoke a more emotional response from the viewer. For example in 2003 Brain Walski a renowned photojournalist for the LA times took two images and merged them into one to create a more dramatic scene. (http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/in...Forgery_-_2003)
    At the time this caused a huge controversy finally resulting in the photographer Brian Walski being fired and the LA Times reputation diminished. This is proof of one of the major negative effects and downsides to ease of photo manipulation.

    With the rapidly evolving technologies of digital photography replacing the old traditions of black and white film, we are seeing a continuous loss in the beauty of photography or the decisive moment. It is being replaced by this new tradition of using digital technology and cameras to show the world what we are doing. Nowadays everyone who has a mobile phone has a camera, everyone who has a camera uploads their photos to facebook or other social sources to show everyone else what they’ve been doing. We now live in a ‘snap society’ where pictures and moments are crudely snapped instead of capturing the decisive moment. With people taking such rudimentary photographs which hardly tell a story it leads to people needing to ‘snap’ more and more images in order to tell the story. In years to come we will see 35mm film be completely eradicated and the new digital world take over and form it’s own traditions.

  2. #2
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Montréal (QC)
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,351
    Images
    132
    Required reading if you want to talk about tradition: http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html

    You might be surprised.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

    My APUG Portfolio

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Delta, British Columbia, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    12,050
    Images
    60
    To the OP:

    Thanks for the thread - your essay is interesting.

    And to Michel:

    Thanks for the link.

    Hmmm - "The mind of the poet is the shred of platinum."

    Do you think T.S. Eliot would have minded if we substituted "photographer" for "poet"?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    6,733
    Interesting essay. I like it!

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Maris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    708
    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by rhubarbcrumble View Post
    Just a short essay I wrote about the traditions of photography in anyone is interested.
    I posted it on another forum and all they did was complain about sentence structure etc etc, I just want to post it to start discussion really, not ripping the essay apart. I got 18/20 for it anyway.

    Hope you find it interesting, cheers.

    Tradition plays a major part in most societies and cultures around the world. Tradition is a cultural activity that has been practiced within the particular community that has celebrated it for many years. Tradition is implemented in most cultural activities and societies around the world. This essay will be talking about the tradition in photography.

    In it’s most basic sense, tradition in photography can be looked at as pictures that have been taken on a camera that uses black and white film and then developed by hand in a darkroom.
    You could look at photography this way but there is a strong argument that you are wrong. Cameras, black and white film, and darkrooms are merely technical adaptions to the basic properties of photography which reside in the capacity of a light sensitive surface to become transformed into picture forming marks. When I audit my own consumption of photographic materials I find only a minor fraction of it involves cameras and uses film.

    Photography has always been a medium for communication.
    No, too sweeping. Photographs can be evidence, emblems, certificates, or even agents of deception or miscommunication.

    The photographer has huge bias implemented in the image that they take and each image can have several meanings.
    Photographers offer no more bias than anyone else who makes anything. One could argue that a photograph offers less bias than a painting or drawing because a photograph has a non-optional physical relationship to the thing it depicts. Should a picture receive multiple interpretations that is a problem or entertainment for its audience.

    Ever since photography has been around (circa 1840)(http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/dagprocess.htm) it has been used for telling stories and documenting the world. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams were two of the earliest documenters and started the tradition of story telling with photographs.
    Your reading of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams is not at all convincing and I think tougher scholarship would lead to different conclusions.


    Since the implementation of modern technology and more importantly digital cameras photography has seen a loss of tradition. The base of traditional photography, 35mm black and white film is quickly being eradicated and is now seen as inconvenient and slow when compared to the speed and accessibility of colour film or digital cameras.
    This is APUG and I think you should encounter an idea that digital cameras do not make photographs; pictures, yes, but the pictures are not photographs.

    The idea that 35mm black and white film, a relatively recent form, is the base of traditional photography would be hard to sustain against the historical evidence.

    One of the key traditions emerging in modern photography is that of image manipulation. In our society it is rare to see an image which hasn’t been digitally altered to some extent. Of course photographers who shot on 35mm black and white film could alter their photographs with darkroom equipment, altering the contrast and brightness and even creating powerful advertising campaigns. (reference steve bronstein, special effect photography) but it couldn’t be done to the extent and ease it is done today.
    Making photographs in the darkroom is not manipulation. Manipulation implies a picture is distorted from its native form by some subverting force. Photographs have no native form save what the subject, sensitive materials, and processing deliver. Things like density and contrast come naturally and inevitably from making rather than manipulating.

    Nowadays with powerful computer programs such as photoshop we have to question images in wether they are telling the truth or not as image manipulation is so easily done.
    Again, if you unweave photography and digital picture-making the capacity of computers to do pixel pushing and synthesise images has nothing to do with photography.

    This has a huge impact on mass media in that an image can be altered to provoke a more emotional response from the viewer. For example in 2003 Brain Walski a renowned photojournalist for the LA times took two images and merged them into one to create a more dramatic scene. (http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/in...Forgery_-_2003)
    At the time this caused a huge controversy finally resulting in the photographer Brian Walski being fired and the LA Times reputation diminished. This is proof of one of the major negative effects and downsides to ease of photo manipulation.
    Negative effect, yes, but remember it was a digital file that was manipulated not a photograph.

    With the rapidly evolving technologies of digital photography replacing the old traditions of black and white film, we are seeing a continuous loss in the beauty of photography or the decisive moment. It is being replaced by this new tradition of using digital technology and cameras to show the world what we are doing. Nowadays everyone who has a mobile phone has a camera, everyone who has a camera uploads their photos to facebook or other social sources to show everyone else what they’ve been doing. We now live in a ‘snap society’ where pictures and moments are crudely snapped instead of capturing the decisive moment. With people taking such rudimentary photographs which hardly tell a story it leads to people needing to ‘snap’ more and more images in order to tell the story. In years to come we will see 35mm film be completely eradicated and the new digital world take over and form it’s own traditions.
    No, I think digital picture-making will be recognised for what it is: a facile way of confecting pictures. And photography with all its physical truth, beauty, power, and excitement will continue to offer its singular and unique appeal.

    All argument aside, photography needs active essayists and you, rhubarbcrumble, have ornamented this site with your dissertation. Thank you for your effort!
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rural NW Missouri
    Shooter
    4x5 Format
    Posts
    1,774
    Thank you, rhubarbcrumble, for an essay that should inspire thought and intelligent discussion. And thank you, Maris, for a perceptive analysis. Digital capture is photography, just as digital printing and posting images on this site are. Hershel's definition couldn't encompass many other developments in phtography, either.

  7. #7
    holmburgers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Rochester NY (native KS)
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,412
    Images
    2
    Sorry, just had to join the fray...

    Maris, I don't understand how you can say that digital cameras don't produce photographs and it gives me great pleasure to continually argue this point.

    I assert that Herschel's definition itself proves that fact. "Chemical rays" referred to UV radiation in the past, and so in the context you have adopted panchromatic photography cannot be considered a "photograph". The truth is, Herschel probably would've coined a much less restrictive definition had he any idea of what advancements were to come.

    Thanks for posting rhubarb!
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    15,935
    i agree with you 100% holmburgers ...
    the photograph is the negative, just like with a digital image
    when the sensor dumps it onto the viewer screen
    everything else is just a reproduction of the photographic image ...

    thanks rhubarb great read !
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

    website
    blog
    sell-site

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Luxembourg
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    93
    Images
    5

    Photography and tradition

    hello Rhubarbcrumble,
    first, thank you for contributing to a debate which is more or less eternal : "how to express visually what you feel must be expressed".
    Photography is one of several techniques to present your ideas on a flat medium; oil, water colour, pencil drawing, etc., digital imaging, and analog photography are all competing, it's just that digital is brand new and so easy to access that millions (or billions) of people adopt it. I don't believe that the millions (or billions) of digital users will all produce wonders to be remembered as Nadar, Stieglitz, Strand, Man Ray, HCB etc., but maybe a few of them will and that justifies (IMHO) the technique.
    This said, I definitely think there is a huge difference between a digital print and a traditional silver-based print - personally I could'nt make digitally what I want to present, therefore I continue to work in my darkroom! And there will always be some (probably quite many) who react like me, so traditional photography is in no way deemed to extinction. We are fewer than before which make it a bit more complicated to buy photo materials, but fortunately there is the internet.
    Again thank you for opening this discussion, let's hope we can live peacefully forever with our neighbours, the digital crowd.
    peter

  10. #10
    Maris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    708
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Thank you, rhubarbcrumble, for an essay that should inspire thought and intelligent discussion. And thank you, Maris, for a perceptive analysis. Digital capture is photography, just as digital printing and posting images on this site are. Hershel's definition couldn't encompass many other developments in phtography, either.
    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Sorry, just had to join the fray...

    Maris, I don't understand how you can say that digital cameras don't produce photographs and it gives me great pleasure to continually argue this point.

    I assert that Herschel's definition itself proves that fact. "Chemical rays" referred to UV radiation in the past, and so in the context you have adopted panchromatic photography cannot be considered a "photograph". The truth is, Herschel probably would've coined a much less restrictive definition had he any idea of what advancements were to come.

    Thanks for posting rhubarb!
    Jim Jones, holmburgers, if you guys weren't so famous I'd keep this rather lengthy argument to myself but rhubarbcrumble's essay exemplifies the value of dissertation so here goes:

    For thousands of years the basic workflow involved in making realistic pictures of things has, at its core, stayed the same.

    The first step is to have illuminated subject matter.
    Light from this subject matter is focussed as a real optical image onto a megapixel sensor.
    The megapixel sensor transduces the image into data that travels as electrical pulses up a cable.
    The cable feeds the electrical pulses into a memory where they are temporarily stored.
    The picture memory is sent to a processor where it may be edited, perhaps stitched with other picture files, and given the HDR treatment.
    The resulting picture file is prepared for output via some sort of mark-making device which either places spots of paint or ink on a surface or glowing dots on a monitor screen.
    This array of points forms the picture.

    People familiar with digital picture-making will instantly recognise the separate roles of camera, computer, and printer/monitor in the short narrative above.

    People familiar with painting and drawing will find the same narrative just as familiar. The lens and megapixel sensor are of course the artist's eye, the retina is the light sensitive transducer, the optic nerve is the cable and the signals it carries are the data. In addition the memory and processor are parts of a brain, and the mark-making device is usually the artist's arm, hand, and brush.

    Digital picture making is a remarkable technical achievement in that it mechanizes and automates the traditional work flow conducted by painters and draftsmen over the centuries. The insight that digital picture makers haven't grasped is that they are fully legitimate participants in the grand artistic tradition that includes Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, and hundreds of other super-stars of Western art! The other heavy implication is that if we accept a "photograph is a picture that results from the capture of an image using light projected through an optical system onto a megapixel sensor" then that perfectly describes the Mona Lisa. Leonardo's famous portrait would qualify as a photograph! And indeed, by carrying the argument forward, we end up with: all pictures are photographs!

    In a world where photographs are what megapixel sensors make it is hard to see what qualities a picture would have to have in order not to be a photograph. There is a logical and conceptual failure in the "megapixel sensors make photographs" premise and we should put it aside.

    And then separate to all of the above there is picture-making that is unarguably photography. I mean the art practiced by Louis Daguerre, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and millions of others great and not so great. Here again is the same illuminated subject matter, a lens, an image, and a sensor but that's where things get very different. The sensor absorbs a physical sample of the subject, suffers chemical changes that become marks, and the array of marks constitutes the picture itself. There is no transducer, no data, no memory file, no processor, and no mark-making device that fabricates pictures by emptying the memory of someone or something.

    Digital picture-making mimics painting and drawing. Photography does not. They are radically different enterprises that become muddled with one another because the pictures they make can, on the surface, look similar. Some pictures are photographs and some are not. Both forms are fully capable of containing high art. I think the distinction between the two systems will always be crystal clear to serious inquiry that digs beyond the superficial.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin