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Thread: Masters

  1. #61

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    It's a little like a writer boasting that he never edits or revises his manuscripts. Who can argue with that kind of precision? See Dick run.....
    I would say is more like a writer boasting about editing to improve the content, instead of correcting spelling and grammatical errors.....

  2. #62

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    The idea of "one shot, one negative" may have originated from One Shot Harris and he got some beauties, but he never boasted about his work as far as I know. His archive is here.

  3. #63
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhi
    If technique isn't important, then why are there web-sites, books, videos, magazines, etc. devoted to nothing but technique? In fact, APUG is mostly about technique. Even though there are galleries, have you read the comments? Most are "I really like\dislike this". Not very insightful comments about the imagery. There are a lot of comments about technical issues, but not too deep. If imagery is so important, why isn't the gallery feedback more focused on helping members improve their level of imagery? If some readers on APUG are image-focused and 'technique be damned' oriented, then get into the gallery areas and try to make useful comments about images and don't be afraid of insulting someone - so long as the comments are instructive.
    This is something that I wonder about quite a lot. I've only made a few comments on the critique gallery and some were more about the imagery rather than the technique. I rarely see others doing the same. Part of the reason is something that happens to all sites and that is people become friends. It's difficult to be critical to someone who just gave you a thumbs up themselves. Complimenting technique is one of the easiest ways to be nice without having to face the obvious fact that the imagery was lacking. It doesn't really do anybody any favours but it makes others feel good about themselves. Improving technically is something that most can do because it requires following a 'recipe' - to a certain degree. Having a skill for imagery is something that may not be accessible to everyone and in fact I think it's quite rare. However I also believe that, with time you can at least learn what sucks in the way of imagery or by pushing yourself you may unlock something inside of you that at least resembles a style. Besides, how can you really tell what the end result looks like when it's presented in low resolution by people who, by their nature, abhor the process that will put their images online! I'm sure most, if not all the scans on here do not do their subject justice, so commenting on the quality of the print is a bit ridiculous.

  4. #64
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhi
    It makes all the difference in the world. If your exposure was too short and you have lost shadow detail, then no darkroom technique will print what isn't in the negative. If there is some detail there, then you end up doing some or a lot of dodging. Wouldn't it be much better to have exposed the negative correctly in the first place so that the shadow areas print perfectly in a straight print? In my opinon, that is an easy answer - yes! That's why I learned the Zone System in the first place.
    This may be true in the fine art world, or to those who are interested in fine art but I'm not sure it's such a big deal in general. For some by not having a preset degree of shadow detail you have failed but if you look at what images have stood the test of time I'm not sure this really even registers. How many people have even seen the original prints of the most popular images? Most see reproductions in books and magazines. The great photographs of time weren't selected because of their tonal range but because their content has deep meaning for people. That's why they tend to be PJ or art shots rather than fine art - they are about us, not tonal range.

  5. #65
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhi
    Start with me if you want to, I can take it. One APUG member told me I had too much negative space in one of my images - that was pointed and useful. I've had 'masters' tell me they hated my work. I learned from that. I didn't get better by my mentors telling me black grass and blank white clouds were ok because they fell within the acceptible bounds of the definition of photography. I was told grass isn't black, clouds aren't formless and shapeless - get it fixed!
    I've looked through your gallery and I think you have a good eye for subtle composition and shapes. Your scans aren't that great so I can't tell if you are hitting all of your zones correctly, but I don't really care. I realize there is a limit to what I will see on my monitor and good printing will add to what I see. But it's not the most important aspect to your images if you ask me. What's the point of having perfect technique if the image is static, boring and unimaginative. Good photography goes way past the retinal surface and into the brain itself.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandalay
    This may be true in the fine art world, or to those who are interested in fine art but I'm not sure it's such a big deal in general. For some by not having a preset degree of shadow detail you have failed but if you look at what images have stood the test of time I'm not sure this really even registers. How many people have even seen the original prints of the most popular images? Most see reproductions in books and magazines. The great photographs of time weren't selected because of their tonal range but because their content has deep meaning for people. That's why they tend to be PJ or art shots rather than fine art - they are about us, not tonal range.
    Interesting, because I think it points out how differently we see things. I would say just about the opposite of every sentente, I think. I don't believe in a 'pre-set' degree of shadow detail. An image should has as much shadow detail as the photographer wants. My technique is that if I want a certain amount in the shadows, then I get that amount in the negative. I don't want to burn\dodge until it's right. I love Brett Weston's work and I have a number of original prints at home to view. Brett placed many shadow areas on Zone II - he printed a real black quite often. I would expect that for PJ'ers shadow detail would be very important - I know it was for Eugene Smith and I think the was the great PJ of all time, a man whose work became art, not just reportage.

    "The great photographs of time weren't selected because of their tonal range but because their content has deep meaning for people." OK, AA fans are probably not going to like this, but I think the great appeal of his work was his tonal range and technique. I mean, he was not a great artist in my opinion and I don't see how many of his images could have deep meaning for anyone. I see beauitful landscapes when I look at his work (original prints, too), but I don't get deep meaning. Moonrise is a beauitful image and I love looking at, but it has no meaning for me. So I'm not sure I'd agree that deep meaning is the yardstick by which great images are measured. I can see that for someone that values PJ work, this would definitely be true. WES images have great meaning to me (e.g. Minimata bath image). Also, I have always considered the great images of time to be fine art images, not PJ or 'art'. Interesting difference....

    Take care.

    -Mike

  7. #67
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    We are shifting between absolutes and degrees of "preference." Is technical "Mastery" (I'll assume "mastery" as an extraordinarily high level of accomplishment) absolutely necessary for a work to be logically described as a photograph? - No. Is the same absolute mastery necessary for a work to be logically labelled as "Fine Art", - or simply "art" ... No.

    Is it preferable to have a negative the is "easy to print"?. Yes, I would think so.

    Is a perfect (note the application of the absolute) negative necessary, or does such a negative even exist? No, it is NOT necessary, and No, I don't think one exists. At least, I have never seen one - and to tell the truth, I have no idea of what parameters would constitute perfection.

    No one is entirely dismissing the value of technical excellence. It, and possibly the quest for it, is a noble endeavor ... but like the definition of "art" or the meaning of life, or defining the characteristics of God - I doubt that we will ever reach the point where we can say that we have finally, and irrefutably meet success.

    Is APUG -- I've forgotten the degree -- I was about to write "pre..." - make that dominantly technical? NO, that is not the way I see it - at all. We have a LOT of "technical discussions" ..... but there are those who are primarily interested in Aesthetics. Read my "critical comments. If you see that I am "bashing" others "for their own good" as far as technical flaws, I can assure you that it is unintentional.
    More than that ... I don't "bash" at all. I firmly believe that the emerging photographer/ artist faces one really difficult problem ... being able to recognize and articulate his/her internal vision, and allowing their "style" to surface. That style can only develop through the acceptance of it by the "stylist".
    The alternative is to smack these neophytes around, until they realize what is "right" ... but who decides what is "right"? Isn't this type of critique really directed to supporting the ego of the critic? As the old saying goes: "If someone says `This is for your own good' - it isn't."

    What about a survey ... I wonder how many here ... and we have some *very* talented and accomplished Photographers ... can honestly say that they owe their success solely, or overwhelmingly, to the effects of the intense criticism of their technical expertise?

    Once upon a time, I listened to every critique ... I still try to ... and spent a lot of effort trying to follow the corrections in ALL. I don't do that any more ... and when I stopped following all the "constructive" advice, lemming-like. my style, which was there all the time - began to emerge.

    By the way ... I have been supremely fortunate in meeting with, and schmoozing with, a number of the "Great Lights" of photography.
    I can honestly say that not *one* would ever claim the title of "Master".
    I can remember a cocktail party, when a gushing ... uh ...matron (??) approached one of them: "Oh Mr. X -- I think you are the worlds greatest photographer!!" His answer (after a moment or two of thought, and some embarassed foot shuffling), "Well, I do photography. I guess I get a good one, once in a while."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #68
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhi
    An image should has as much shadow detail as the photographer wants.
    I agree with this to a certain extent, but I don't see it as the overriding issue in photography in general - you can't always spend an hour on each photo and if you are using roll film you have to settle for some work in the darkroom, or not take photos that depend on shadow detail carrying it. I guess we probably come from opposite ends of the spectrum because I started out thinking that AA was the ultimate but once I got more into the street photographers and documentary colour work I realized that it was the content for me. Naturally I like it when the image itself is pretty but most of what I see comes from books, so it's often the quality of the book printing that decides the physical aspects.

    What I meant by deep meaning, is how the image affects us on a basic level. This applies to everyone, no matter if they photograph or not. I recently looked through a fantastic book on people who live by the Mississipi in the northern states and there was one woman who was holding up a framed snapshot of a cloud that had the general shape of an angel. I assume she, or someone close to her took the photo. It was a snapshot and everything about it was cheap, including the frame. But it obviously had deep significance for her. This is the aspect of photography that I love the most.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Yes Jorge, that's what I meant. Every writer edits and revises to improve the work as a whole, many, many times before handing it over to an editor who does the same before handing it over to a proofreader who checks for spelling and grammatical errors, before handing it over for publishing. The writer's notes, drafts and revisions are rarely published with the final manuscript, just as the negative is rarely displayed alongside the print.
    Yes, but what kind of editing is done is what I meant? if you dont know how to spell, or write coherent sentences, writing a good novel is going to be far harder than if you do. Same with a negative, and as Vestal said, there is no virtue, nor it is a photograph better just because it was hard to print. But hey, if spending endless hours in your dark room working on a print rocks your boat, have at it. The same way you scoff at those of us who beleive all you should need is one good negative to make an expressive print, I am amused by those who beleive one should spend countless hours in a DR fighting with a lousy negative. I have done both, and preffer the one good negative.

  10. #70
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge
    I am amused by those who beleive one should spend countless hours in a DR fighting with a lousy negative
    I must've missed that one. Who are those people who believe that?



 

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