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Thread: Masters

  1. #81
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    My aim is to make the best possible neg I can and make the simplist print I can that is the most expressive.
    I see this the word 'expressive' when describing prints, used quite often in these pages and with other fine art groups. I must admit that I'm not totally sure what it means in this context. Does it mean how well it expresses your feelings at the time? Or is it something to do with technical standards? I'm honestly curious.

  2. #82
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhi
    By speaking of technical excellence as some Holy Grail, inherently unachievable and thus not worth pursuing, you are dismissing it. Actually, it's not such a hard thing but it does take effort and work (maybe that's what deters some). Many have done it. You demean them by accusing them of trying to achieve a technical perfection that you can't even define, as though they are a bunch of irrational idealists.
    I'm not going to grind this to a pulp ... I have other things to do, like search for a life.

    I would suggest, strongly, that you read what I have written more thoroughly ... your interpretation is FAR from the meaning I had intended. When did I say that something - anything - was "not worth pursuing"? Did I not use the words, "noble endeavor"?

    Briefly, I am not a great adherent to the "scientific principle - there are many things in this world that DO exist, even though we cannot explain or define them. To say that I have not reached an understanding of something does NOT mean that I have denied its existence. Not even a little bit. I say that that the "perfect negative" does not exist.
    You say there IS a "perfect" negative and you have made many of them. I won't argue the point, only comment that MY concept of a "perfect" negative must be far more severe than yours. I have seen *VERY* good negatives in terms of shadow/ highlight detail, absence of grain, tonality, freedom from optical distortion, "sharp focus" and a host of other attributes ... but NONE have been perfect, in every attribute conceivable.

    You say *I* don't know what a "perfect negative" is ... well, then, tell me here. I stand ready for the enlightenment that a producer of many perfect negatives can provide.

    It is interesting that you emphasize the importance of technical excellence so strongly, and then chide APUG for being lacking in aesthetic discussion. This could easily bring up another question: How DOES one discuss aesthetics? Certainly the discussion cannot be "logical", for aesthetics, by its very definition, is beyond logic ... applying to "perception" instead.
    A great deal HAS been written here ... about our perceptions of each others' work... about the emotional responses we experience as the result of exposure to that work. What more would you like to see?

    I'm still trying to digest the idea that if I confess to "not knowing" something, I "demean" it.

    Try this as the "seed" for a discussion:

    "There is NO "good" or "bad" art. Art simply IS.
    I've able to identify three categories, as far as I'm concerned:

    1. The works that "entrance me" -- that permeate my consciousness and dreams - that obsess me. I can see these even when I close my eyes.

    2. The "Fine Work" .. technically well done ... "Pretty" or emotionally moving. Many would be the "stuff" I would hang on my Living Room wall.

    3. The work that I do not understand. Another artist has found this to resonate with his/her being, although it doesn't "work" as far as I, in my scheme of things, am concerned. Deserving of further study on my part to find out why we see things differently.

    Good enough?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  3. #83
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    Answer, a one print (to get an 'acceptable' print).

    This is because I determined the minimum exposure needed to create maximum black thru FB+Fog. Since I have calibrated all my materials and use the Zone System, all other densities in the negative are placed in relation to each other so that a Zone III density prints as a Zone III tone in the print. I have tested my paper and I know the maximum density that it will print so I make sure that when I develop my negative no density greater than that is created. So, I have negatives that have a range of densities that fall with the range of the paper and I know the minimum time needed to print maximum black.

    Wi that, it's a simple matter to expose the negative and I get an 'acceptible' print on the first try. It often is also the final print because the negatives were created with a certain print in mind when I exposed and then processed the film. I pre-visualize when I photograph so I have a very good idea what the print will look like because I see it in my head when I take the shot.

    Some prints will need dodging and burning, bleaching for local contrast, etc. I have no problem doing that when necessary.

    In my personal gallery there is only one print that required any dodging\burning and this was made before I started with the ZS. All other images are straight prints, including the night shots.

    -Mike

  4. #84

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    You know Jay, as the arrogant person that you labeled me, I like the way you also include insults and then cry foul. But more amusing to me is seeing someone arguing against obtaining the best posible negative in favor of doing things by the seat of the pants, I think it is bizarre to see people arguing in favor of doing things half way....but hey, it is your photography and as you have said many times, it only has to please you. I know one thing, I dont have to test 50 different formulations of TEA in search of the magic bullet. As I said, you enjoy working endless hours in your darkroom, that is your taste, I dont see the point of it, but to each its own.....

  5. #85

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    Dont be sorry for me, I also enjoy darkroom work, I just dont enjoy fighting with substandard negatives. As I said, to each it's own.....

  6. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    the majority are landscape/architecture/scenic photographers, who sometimes discount the validity of alternative approaches, and tend to emphasise the importance of craft to the exclusion of every other consideration.
    This is complete nonsense, at least with regards to the people I know who employ scientific testing procedures. EVERYONE I know who does BTZS, absolutely every single one of them employs BTZS because it gets them to where ALL of us want to go - i.e. the fine print. Confidence in their technique liberates their mind and opens their eyes even more to their surroundings. You have your way to get there, I have mine, and others have theirs. Nowhere in this thread is it even remotely implied that the fine print is of secondary importance. The original question relates to how important craft is to "The Masters". I stated that EW in his Daybooks wrote that he makes negatives that print well by the second or third sheet of paper, and he is quite proud of this achievement. He also talks a lot about seeing and vision and art. It is clear he is a craftsman. It is also clear that this is ancialliary to the ultimate goal of making fine art. I am sure if a thread about art was started, as Ed suggested, you will find the same people in this thread who you think value craft above all else participating with even more gusto and convictions.
    Francesco

  7. #87
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandalay
    I'm surprised. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing I had chucked away some negs - even crappy negs. Why do that?
    Because they're crappy. I can't get really glowing prints out of them (too thin) and after looking at the proofs for a couple of weeks, I don't really like the pictures either. I tried something. It didn't work. Time to move on to something which does.

    The more crap I leave in my body of work, guess what? The crappier my body of work becomes.
    Jim

  8. #88
    Art Vandalay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    Because they're crappy. I can't get really glowing prints out of them (too thin) and after looking at the proofs for a couple of weeks, I don't really like the pictures either. I tried something. It didn't work. Time to move on to something which does.

    The more crap I leave in my body of work, guess what? The crappier my body of work becomes.
    Okay. It's because they're not 'really glowing'. Maybe just plain glowing

  9. #89
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    I'm sure everyon'e going to miss me....but I'm off to Death Vallye and the Redwoods to photograph so I'll be away for a while doing the real thing and getting a life<g>.

    One past point, and that is Francesco's quote:

    "I stated that EW in his Daybooks wrote that he makes negatives that print well by the second or third sheet of paper, and he is quite proud of this achievement. He also talks a lot about seeing and vision and art. It is clear he is a craftsman. It is also clear that this is ancialliary to the ultimate goal of making fine art. "

    Cratmanship was ancilliary to EW because he had perfected it. When he went to make an image, craft and technique didn't slow him down. If for to have perfected it, it must, at one one point in his career, been of primary importance, even more important than the image itself. He went to school just to learn technique. Once he mastered it, then the image became of prime importance. I can't quote exact passages now, but I know there are several places in the DB's where he describes the process of making an image and how the craft part was easily handled, exposure calculated, etc. and how he was freed from these concerns to concentrate on the image itself. EW didn't demean or denegrate craft, quite the oppoiste. He was very happy that he had it mastered and he was incontrol of it, not the other way around. I'm sure I'm not the only, but I've held an original EW negative (and print) in my hands and it sure looked nice to me (even though it wasn't done by time and temp<g>).

    I'm off to make some more peftect negatives now<g>.

    -Mike

  10. #90
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I've been waiting for the description of a "Perfect Negative". So far, I haven't seen one.
    For a time in my life, I worked out of a Metrology Lab... and our main concern was determining "deviation from perfect". There are theoretical concepts assuming perfection - of necessity, but they are just that - theoretical. Perfection in any physical thing does not exist - to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. Isaac Asimov, in his book, "One, Two, Three - Infinity", calculated the probability that all the atoms in a glass of water would fuse spontaneously, creating a fusion explosion. Possible - but highly improbable... According to Asimov, the chances of that happening are equivalent to one occurence in the entire universe, during the entire time the universe has existed. I'll claim the same odds for "A Perfect Negative".

    This would be my definition of a "perfect negative":

    Base fog - NONE! The Base itself would be absolutely transparent... not attenuating or reflecting *any* light, under any condition. That would satisfy the definition of "invisible."

    Dmin -- .00000...0 LogD.
    Dmax -- Infinite - total opacity.
    Grain - NONE... not even a little bit.

    And ...
    An infinite range of tonal values - each directly linear to the quantity of light falling on the emulsion ... throughout the entire spectrum of color. Really ... to achieve perfection, it would have to be a color negative.
    The base itself would have to be infinitely thin, to avoid any scattering of light in the enlarger, or in contact printing.

    ANY devation from the above (and probably, if I gave it more thought, there could be a lot of other considerations) would result in a "less than perfect" negative.

    I get the impresion that some assume "perfect" to mean "A negative that presents few problems in printing". That to me is a "loose" definition ... and implies "fudging" of some kind, to work around the limitations of the imperfect photographic materials we have today.

    Now ... I am not, nor do I claim to be the final authority here. I am stating what "perfection means to me" ... If anyone has a different view, - feel free to express it --- I'd be most interested.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.



 

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