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Thread: On Technique

  1. #11
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Well, I am subject to this failing myself in photography due to my backgrounds in chemistry and photography. That is why I usually end up adding to some of my comments "use what works for you"!

    PE
    Yeah, but you have an excuse, Ron..that is your job

  2. #12
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    WAS my job! Nowdays it is too much like work.

    PE

  3. #13

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    i think the thing about photographic technique is
    that somethings work, and somethings don't ..
    and it's best not confuse the two ...

    i also think that people confuse good technique with good photography
    when often times technique yields nothing but illustrations of technique.
    thanks for the link thomas !
    john
    ask me how ..

  4. #14

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    Sorry but this all sounds like arty baloney to me. There is absolutely no reason high artistic creativity cannot coexist with masterful technical understanding and interest in the same person. There is nothing about someone being interested in technical details that inherently makes him worse at seeing. You're all missing the point. No serious photographer thinks toning prints, testing films, or delving into the intricacies of the process, will make better images. And actually I see way, way too much work in galleries, magazines etc that seems to exist solely for the purpose of being technically bad, as though that somehow elevates it beyond the pedestrian work of great artists who also happen to be interested in technique.

    "When faced with a choice it is better to have a poor photograph of a good subject than a good photograph of a poor subject."

    Who doesn't know this? And so what, anyway? I'll take neither, please. I'd rather have a good photograph of a good subject. But these days that option seems to go out the window.

    "Will my images be better if toned?"

    Well obviously not.

    Clearly certain technical paths become rat holes, but many can be useful if they are well understood - and to me understanding something well means knowing how to use it as a tool, not as a rule. I've never thought much of things like BTZS because they often imply a level of precision that is not realizeable, and people tend to use them too literally, thinking they can somehow produce fine prints by formula. I disagree with that approach. But understanding materials and processes, and frameworks like the zone system can be beneficial if we treat them as tools to help us realize our visions in the final prints, rather than using them in methodical but ultimately thoughtless ways.

    Entirely too much technique bashing goes on these days. I blame the influence of silly quotes from Brett Weston and others, words I think are highly suspect anyway.

  5. #15
    ROL
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    The epiphany that all is not technique is not terribly earth shaking. I often find myself walking a tightrope with inexperienced photographers in regards to the value of technique – sometimes the means just don't justify the end. The best advice I was ever given, not only concerning photography, and that which I parrot from time to time is that you have to know the rules, and then you have to know when to break them. (or maybe the more colloquial, hold 'em, fold 'em, Kenny Rogers said it best?) But students will all too often use this advice as an excuse not to learn proper technique, and go their "own" way. It is extraordinarily rare that pure talent ever wins out in this circumstance, and this attitude simply wrecks havoc in the lab. Fortunately for me, many of these artistic geniuses have left the room for digital processes.

    For myself, and who really cares, I own and use but a few cameras and lenses, one in each basic format, and execute prints in a relatively spartan darkroom, void of time-saving gadgetry and processing equipment. It is another reason why I prefer the elegant simplicity of monchrome. There's just less to go wrong that I cannot ultimately attribute to myself. I dare say my dearth of gear puts me at odds with the majority of APUG'ers, for whom GAS is a frequent topic of discussion.

    In the end, it is only the final image's emotional connection to the viewer, regardless of subject, that really matters.

  6. #16
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    A lot of artists engage in sheer limitless self flattery and self promotion when they talk about their art. "I don't care about technique" and "I know nothing about photography" should be read as "I am so great that even poor technique doesn't make my magnificent pieces of art any less valuable" or "Being a technical imbecile makes me an even greater artist".

    At this point in time we are continuously flooded with image after image after image. Someone please tell me why we should bother with shameless self promoters or with images that have serious technical or artistic shortcomings (except for educational purposes).
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  7. #17
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    Interesting subject. When photographing people I sometimes experience that I may be thinking to much about technique (or rather, my lack of it) instead of putting myself out there, trying to get connected with the subject. A mild alcohol intoxication usually helps, and makes me more relaxed, the negs and images usually gets better too.

    However, a total lack of knowledge seems stupid. If you're at point A (the scene or subject) and what to get to point B (a final image), it's usually good if you know some kind of way in between the points, it may not be the way everybody takes, but should you at least have some idea of what result you want, and how to obtain it? Seems a bit haphazard otherwise, to me at least.

  8. #18

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    i think that at a certain point over technical images become boring.
    how many sunsets or peppers or faux ansel adams landscapes or nudes
    with heads and arms chopped off ( or at 'slot canyon' ) do we have to look at
    ... just because something is technically perfect doesn't mean it is less of a cliché
    or a totally boring trite image. i'd rather look at something that looks like
    it was made by someone totally incompetent, lacking any control of their equipment ( or darkroom )
    if the photograph looks interesting and there is something "there" ...
    to me at least, the others are just hollow ..
    ask me how ..

  9. #19
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    I don't think she means that you shouldn't know anything at all about photography. You obviously have to know how to see to be any good at it. You know, light, timing, personality, connection with the subject matter, empathy, all that is important obviously.

    What I think she's referring to are those that focus too much on the technical side of photography too much, understanding how all lenses work, how the minute details of one developer is different from another, etc. At least that's how I read her statement. The more you focus on those aspects of photography, the more you will be distracted from focusing on what's in front of you.

    That's obviously my opinion, and I can't read her mind.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by olleorama View Post
    Interesting subject. When photographing people I sometimes experience that I may be thinking to much about technique (or rather, my lack of it) instead of putting myself out there, trying to get connected with the subject. A mild alcohol intoxication usually helps, and makes me more relaxed, the negs and images usually gets better too.

    However, a total lack of knowledge seems stupid. If you're at point A (the scene or subject) and what to get to point B (a final image), it's usually good if you know some kind of way in between the points, it may not be the way everybody takes, but should you at least have some idea of what result you want, and how to obtain it? Seems a bit haphazard otherwise, to me at least.
    Yes, you should know the materials you are working with and basics about exposure. it really depends on what you are looking to do. To emulate Ansel Adams one has to be a wizard in the darkroom. Knowing how the Zone System works to the fullest is not going to guarantee anyone a successful image. To be as great as Cartier Bresson, you have to learn to see, anticipate, grab the shot. A mountain will be there tomorrow but a moment is gone in a flash. You can pick everything in between as how it would apply to different people but you get my drift. I think this conversation really applies to photojournalism more than anything else.

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