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  1. #91
    juan's Avatar
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    Back on January 30, Michael A. Smith in this thread recommended "Photographers on Photography" an out of print book, as containing Cartier-Bresson's "The Decisive Moment" as well as other worthwhile essays. I went over to eBay, and a copy was for sale.

    Even though there were several days left on the auction, I put in a bid, as I was going out of town. I thought some of you other APUGers would find the auction and outbid me. When I returned home, I was surprised to find that, not only had I won the auction, but no one else had bid.

    I've only begun to read the book, but I'll assure you Bernice Abbott's attack on the salon pictorialists alone is worth the purchase price.

    This all raises the question - do the rest of you already have this book? Has everyone else already read it?
    juan

  2. #92

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    I picked up my copy thru bookfinder.com (didn't think of looking on eBay, otherwise we might have been bidding on same item). Great non-technical writing comparable to LensWorks. I read so much of the how-to's that its nice to read articles on why we photograph by actual photographers rather than critics ( Sontag, Barthes, Berger, etc..).
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  3. #93
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    I started reading "Through another lens" by Charis Wilson. It is refreshing to read the story from the other perspective. So far (just past chapter 1) it is an easy read, and very well written. I got a used copy on Amazon for about $10.
    hi!

  4. #94

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    Thanks to this thread, I purchased & started to read Weston's Daybooks. An interesting statement , "I told him that my photographs were entirely free from premeditation, that what I was to do was never presented to me until seen on the groundglass, and that the final print was usually an unchanged, untrimmed reproduction of what I had felt at the time of exposure". Think this would be hard to achieve with any LF camera, especially an 8X10.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  5. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughowk
    An interesting statement , "I told him that my photographs were entirely free from premeditation, that what I was to do was never presented to me until seen on the groundglass, and that the final print was usually an unchanged, untrimmed reproduction of what I had felt at the time of exposure". Think this would be hard to achieve with any LF camera, especially an 8X10.
    Why? And why would it be especially difficult with an 8x10? We all see differently and have different ways of working. Some of us 'create' photographs before we ever set up the camera while others of us discover photographs as we view whats in front of us on the ground glass. So I was just wandering, what part from that quoted section of the Daybooks would be especially difficult and why?

    Two sources introduced me to view cameras for the first time back in the late 70's, The Daybooks of Edward Weston and Fred Picker's Zone VI Newsletters. Before these, I had used a 35mm for about 12 months but I had never even heard of a view camera. I guess I grew up thinking that the way to use a view camera was to find something that interested you, point the camera at it and start moving the camera around on the tripod until what you see on the ground glass is what you wanted. How do people here interpret the Daybook quote in relation to their own photography?

  6. #96
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    In searching for the "Contrast Control" information, I came across the September 1987 Issue of "Darkroom Photography" (later - "Camera and Darkroom"), Entitled "The Weston Eye", by Charis Wilson. More insights into the being/ doing of a truly significant "light" in photography, written by another "significant light":

    " This information was not to be gleaned from Edward's discussions with other photographers, since these tended to revolve around technical matters - how to get rid of blue stains or what would cause desensitized spots in film. Nor was Edward a rewarding source when questioned directly. Except for wanting photographs to be sharp - and photographers to adhere to their medium - he had very little to say about technique, and even less about aesthetics. In his view, the picture making faculty must develop out of an individual's whole response to life; thus any "rules of composition" were meaningless formulas, and could only lead to the production of meaningless work. My understanding of the Weston eye had to be achieved by direct observation, and I become an inverterate observer, looking on the ground glass after every exposure."

    Charis wrote of the photograph "Glass, Lily, and Rubbish, 1939", a still life that Weston spent a lot of time in arranging:

    "I do not mean that he consciously intended to do this while making the picture. He often said, "When I find myself stopping to think, I know I'm on the wrong track." When Edward photographed, he tuned out the thought processes - and simply opened his eyes to all that lay before him. If his picture was there, he usually saw it instantly, almost as if it leaped out and demanded to be photographed. In the absence of such compulsion, he either pointed his camera elsewhere or he out it away.
    That kind of seeing - intuitive, intense and immediate - was the essence of his creative gift. He may have honed his technical skills over the years, but ultimately, when we are confronted with his photographs, it is the Weston vision we respond to; it is the Weston eye that we are somehow seeing into as well as staring out of."

    With articles like this, is it any wonder why "Darkroom Photography - Camera and Darkroom", is so highly esteemed even now, so long after its demise?

    More later, from the next article, "What is a Purist?", by Edward Weston.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #97
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Another quote from Darkroom Photography, September, 1987, p. 27:

    "What is a Purist?"

    "Many people think that Purists start with intellectual premises and have technique as their end. My work is never intellectual. I never make a negative unless emotionally moved by my subject. And certainly I have no interest in technique for its own sake. Technique is only the means to an end. If my technique is adequate for my seeing, that is enough."

    And:

    "I know and care a great deal about composition. I admit I don't know the rules of composition and I don't know the lingo, because I have gained my knowledge through work and observation. Pictures came first. Rules followed. No one ever became an artist by learning rules and keeping them. It takes a good deal more than that. A person might be a demon at composition and still have nothing to say."

    - Edward Weston, from an article which first appeared in the January, 1939 issue of Camera Craft magazine.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #98

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    "Technique is only the means to an end. If my technique is adequate for my seeing, that is enough."

    Very true. Good technique is important but I think sometimes we all get way to caught-up in technique. Almost to the point of making the seeing secondary to the technique.

  9. #99

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    I think there is a disjunct between Weston's view of himself as an intuitive photographer and the reality of how he worked. For example, he spent days working on a toilet bowl image using numerous exposures & prints - even trying cropping - before he was satisfied with one. This is a very methodical photographer, not a seize the moment Cartier-Bresson. Over 30 numbered prints of peppers indicates a perfectionist.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  10. #100

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    As I follow this thread, I am struck by the similarity of what Weston seems to be saying to the eastern precepts of "experiencing directly". While I don't want to get off into a "spiritual" discussion, I do think that there is a great deal of validity to that practice.

    I find myself, normally, with a preconceived notion of what I want to photograph. Furthermore the judgement of this is "meaningful" or this is "not beautiful enough" to portray is there too.

    I need to consciously bring myself past that immediate mind set. To see what is there before me on the ground glass...interesting that this is an act of "experiencing directly". By that I mean with no judgements, not even a matter of identifying objects. Simply to see.

    I think that view cameras make this act easier...Why? because when I am under a darkcloth with all of the extraneous "chatter" shut away...then the composition comes to be.

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