Ths thread looks like fun! Now Michael, causing trouble again? Good job! Congratulations on your book on Weston. A book about him is long over due. Am I jealous? ABSOLUTELY! I would love to be in Belgium (or where ever you are) right now, surrounded by the Alps, printing, photographing. I would love to just get away to Vermont for a few days but cannot. Will it be available in the bookstores?
I read the Day Books back in college. I would think that anybody who read them, and still went on to be a fine art photographer, deserves to be in the position they are in. It showed that being a fine art photographer is not the most upwardly mobile fields to be in. Very few become wealthy, gain any sort of fame, especially while alive, let alone to be able to make a living and support a family.
My understanding is that before Weston went to Mexico, there were those who wanted him to open a commercial studio, in San Francisco I believe, have lots a assistants and make lots of money. Instead, he chose to go to Mexico, and live the Bohemian lifestyle as an artist. He chose to live a Spartan lifestyle. I watched a few moments of Frida, staring Salma Hyack. It highlighted that time period with Tina Modoti, Diego Rivera. I do not remember if Weston was portrayed in the movie. But you got a good idea of what it was like to be an artist in those days. Certainly not your typical middle class America, very immoral, sometimes dark, other times warm.
One account I remember of Weston being invited to the presidential palace for diner, having nothing suitable to wear. Not being able to afford much, he trimmed the fringe off his jeans, wore a wide brim hat, and got by some how. My impression from the book is that he lived most of his life in poverty.
His last years on Wild Cat Hill living in that cabin, were as difficult as any old mans. Apparently he had many cats, that were unkept, dirty, crapped where they wanted and many had to be destroyed. I believe he had Parkinson's and was in invalid in his last few months of life. His sons took care of him, even lifting him up to the camera to work the controls for some of his last negatives.
Yes the Day Books are worth reading, if not just for entertainment, or maybe to persuade others to choose a more realistic way to make a living.
Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.
Take it easy folks, you don't want to end up like them!
Thanks Sean, I have not posted in months and already I get a body slam smack down. :twisted:
Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.
Way to go Sean....that is a perfect photo for this thread....it just seems to want to go to the mat...
when good threads go bad...
perhaps we should get the serious point behind Sean's humor.
I think the crop/nocrop answer depends a bit on the format being used. 8x10 on a tripod vs a handheld smaller format makes it a bit easier to be a purist. my problem with 8x10 is that after all my years of 35mm the format is just too square. there's always a 3:2 ratio yearning to be free.
I appreciate Michael's point the benefits to be gained by striving for the 1 to 1 correspondence between the image composed on the groundglass and the exact print produced. I believe Morley Baer (sp?) said the same thing. We probably ought to listen carefully to those who are really good at making art. Being a weekend photographer though, until I get to that point, I'll gladly take the 90 percenters and try to do better next time.
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I call it a load of crap because it is. To say that someone cannot 'see' simply because they crop in the darkroom as opposed to the camera is just plain ridiculous. To say 'thow out a negative because you need to crop in the darkroom' is also ridiculous.
Originally Posted by dnmilikan
Michael's explanation was just that - it was a statement that discards a large number of photographers as 'inept' when that's just not the case. I take that statement to task, since I simply believe that what he said was just wrong.
And I'm sorry you think it's a personal attack. I called someone's *opinion* a load of crap - perhaps the phrasing was a bit harsh for you, but I don't believe in sugar-coating what I need to say. It was *my* opinion.
In this case, I guess we have to agree to disagree. We are allowed to disagree in this part of the world. Yes?
Anyways, I have started a thread elsewhere about cropping. The tone of the conversation there seems to be, shall I say, a bit tamer?
Not to throw fuel on the fire, but I have to agree with KenM. That statement was a load of crap. You can't make statements like that and not expect to get a reaction out of people. I suspect that was your intent all along.
To say that "Cropping is an admission of failure to see creatively" is to isolate the creative moment and both anchor and limit it to the instant of exposure. That restriction would make photography unique amongst the arts as the only one that denies the artist the freedom of revision. For isn't cropping just that -- a tool for revision that lets the photographer fine-tune, re-think, or just plain change his/her mind? Writers are free to rewrite, and painters to sketch and re-sketch, and while it's extraordinary that Mozart could "compose" on the ground glass, why does that take away from Beethoven who played with the framing "L's" for weeks afterwards?
Sorry, I don't get it. Michael, my question is a serious one: why must photography be unique amongst the arts and artificially restrictive to the artist in the way you propose?
Although way overstated, there is a point to the not crop opinion. Force yourself to see to the edge of the image , not just the central subject of the image. It would certainly be a good exercise in visualization. The goal is to produce a negative that doesn't require a herculean darkroom effort in order to produce a fine art print.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I think that there is a lot to what Michael says. I also agree that there is a lot to say for what those who disagree have said. I recognize a couple of factors that may come into to play here.
The first on the side of not cropping (those who shoot 8X10 and larger). Most of us contact print those negatives. To have a negative and then begin chopping off a little here and there will diminish the size of the print to the point where it doesn't carry the impact that it might. In this way 8X10 and larger formats brings one to developing more discipline. Is this a bad thing? No, I think not.
Now on the side of 4X5 and 5X7 photographers...most of those negatives are enlarged. I recognize that I can crop a section out of a 4X5 negative and probably still come up with a print that is pleasing up to a reasonable size. Since I rarely enlarge 4X5 beyond a 11X14 print...it is no big deal. Is that a bad thing? No, I think not. So long as I am pleased with the result, the rest of the world and it's opinions really don't matter much.
In the defense of Michaels position, I recognize that Michael Smith has been photographing longer then some of the participants of this forum have lived. Certainly longer then the vast majority have photographed. That is a long time of doing things in a way that has produced prodigious results.
In defense of the "cropping crowd" I recognize that if you haven't photographed with the larger cameras and contact printed then you don't have the same experience to draw from.
Why does either position need to be defended to the point of destroying friendships? Makes no sense to me.
As someone once told me "opinions are like a**holes everyone has one".