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  1. #21
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I could not have said it better Donald. My thoughts exactly.
    www.ericrose.com
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    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

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  2. #22

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    I find Adams work tonally harsh in many cases. Weston persued a 'quieter light'

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    df,

    if your point is "quit worrying so much, and enjoy making photos", then I agree wholeheartedly, but if you're saying that learning about sensitometry and/or chemistry is a waste of time, better spent exposing and printing, then I do not agree. ...snip...Jay
    I suggest neither.

    Although this is absolutely not the place to do it, one can draw on primary sources ( Weston and Adams ) and trace their development as artists, and friends, and track their nearly identical artistic aims and how they were expressed by extremely different methodology.

    I chose Weston and Adams primarily for the available sources to illustrate the idea that rigorous, effective, and expressive technique can have roundly different execution. The point is that Adams was a second rate intuitive photographer. In order to fulfil his potential, he found a new way. Without Weston as counterpoint, this makes no sense for we have lost the awareness that exposure can be 'felt', that our eyes can be trained to 'see', and that one can make exquisite negatives that print easily without a Jobo, X-Rite, or spotmeter. Weston is as good a representative of the 'intuitive photographer' as we could hope for, although his son Brett would suit equally well, or Steichen, Stieglitz, Emerson or Strand.

    Any one of us could be temperamentally closer to Adams than Weston, or the other way around. But Adams found his way, and opened a door for technically adept photographers to make expressive images. But the 'expert system' existed to serve his vision. He knew, or at least in the thoousands of pages he wrote, he claims to have known what he wanted the picture to look like. And he knew what he saw. And they were seldom, remotely similar. How he transited from Reality to Expression he called Visualisation, and he did it through the Zone System of exposure and development. It was a personal technique born of the need to use his analytical gifts to overcome his own intuitive shortcomings in order to consistently make images that could stand next to his friend Weston's.

    Whatever tools one can use to make good pictures are suitable tools: sensitometrical principles, a doctorate in photochemistry, ample amounts of red wine or lucky underwear. But a narrow orthodoxy which demands only approved technological approach, or even one analytical approach over another, is short sighted and deadly.

    Baudelaire counselled us, "Technique, on its own, is impotent to create anything."

    Conversely, the need to posess adequate technique to support one's vision is axiomatic.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  4. #24
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    So, you're saying Weston would have been able to get 4 good negs while the sun was still on the crosses except Paul Strand would have set up his tripod in front of both of them, and Mortensen would have made a picture of the 3 of them having it out reflected in the Pontiac hubcap with a Verito? I think I'm beginning to get it.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

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  5. #25
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Okay, I think I get your point; avoid a dogmatic approach in favor of a more personal one. Close?

    Jay
    It would have been so much better had I said it your way !

    Thanks !

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  6. #26
    lee
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    I tend to relate this to music. If you can't play your instrument you ain't gonna make music. Unfortunately tecnique is part of the deal. Learn it and use it to your advantage. Someone once told me that those who bitch about pretty prints generaly can't print pretty,

    lee\c

  7. #27
    Charles Webb's Avatar
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    Mr. Cardwell,
    I want to simply say thank you for taking the time and spending the effort to put together your most interesting and in my opinion extremely accurate post. You express much of what I have tried in vain to say in a rescent thread. What you have written is very thought provoking, and contains many great "tid bits" for anyone who works or plays with photography, as I said, thank you very much! Charlie............

  8. #28

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    It's all photography, and within that world, all photographers find their method and the great ones find their voice. I think it's great to get people all fired up every once and a while with this argument, but what does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
    Another thought... What about Cartier-Bresson, who asked why both Adams and Weston were both shooting rocks and trees when there are wars and examples of humanity in the world to be photographed? I personally like to shoot trees and rocks and anything else that captures my eyes and mind, but I thought I would throw that out for possible depate.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddstew
    It's all photography, and within that world, all photographers find their method and the great ones find their voice. I think it's great to get people all fired up every once and a while with this argument, but what does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
    Another thought... What about Cartier-Bresson, who asked why both Adams and Weston were both shooting rocks and trees when there are wars and examples of humanity in the world to be photographed? I personally like to shoot trees and rocks and anything else that captures my eyes and mind, but I thought I would throw that out for possible depate.
    Perhaps because it's all there, it simply is. As Minor White said, "Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence." If a 'relationship' develops between photographer and subject and photography becomes possible then we would be hasty to judge the merits of the object, the subject or the representation in a photograph. In criticism (the 'why don't you' stance) the balance between judgment and respect can be stretched without apparent benefit. Is a rock or tree less worthy than a war (or visa versa)? If so, why?

    This is hijacking the thread a bit since technique - rather than vision is the topic. But they really can't be separated without peril.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by David
    Perhaps because it's all there, it simply is. As Minor White said, "Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence." If a 'relationship' develops between photographer and subject and photography becomes possible then we would be hasty to judge the merits of the object, the subject or the representation in a photograph. In criticism (the 'why don't you' stance) the balance between judgment and respect can be stretched without apparent benefit. Is a rock or tree less worthy than a war (or visa versa)? If so, why?
    Yes! I find that one's relationship with their surroundings is what's important. How they interact is less important, be it through photography, or any other positive means. To take it to an even more micro level, does a person express their photographic take on something through a precise, perfectly exposed negative or through a negative(or positive) that is more intuitive and "emotional,"? Whatever the approach, that is how that person chooses to speak photographically. Some choose their photo-voice based on ulterior motivations, but eventually, if someone is trying to grow as an artist, their own methodology should start to emerge. And that's when their personality begins to steer the ship.

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