David Lyga, I think everyone's objecting to the word pictorialism, the idea that photography should emulate painting... Because it goes against everything that Group f/64 stood for. Their manifesto is clear. They wanted to make the best photographs possible as photographs and not as any other kind of art.
To give high praise is not going to draw criticism... just an unfortunate word choice...
Rafal, your work is worth linking to, it illustrates the point very well. I would be pleased to have any one of my shots look so good.
I don't know if I'll get a chance to try different films, I'm about to place an order for TMY-2... But I will be experimenting.
The other important things f64 did was provide a great way to teach photographic principles and "measure" the results of exercises. f64 principles gave hobbyists a way to compare work, compete in a friendly manner (who is best at his craft?), and it made a market for magic bullets that could get "us" closer to that f64 standard.
Pictorial work in contrast uses more abstract concepts. One of the big problems that the soft focus world faced, for example, was that amateurs had a tough time getting good results because focussing was an artistic endeavor rather than a technical one. It's pretty easy to judge sharp, it's much tougher to judge what version of the warm fuzzies will look good. (Some info on the soft focus crowd http://hdl.handle.net/10023/505 )
IMO that "f64 artistic norm" and "measurement of results to that norm" has in many ways become a creative straight jacket though, it instills the guilt talked of earlier in the thread.
Don't get me wrong here, I truly believe that the principles taught by AA are invaluable in understanding photography as a craft. I can and do shoot f64ish on occasion but I don't want to pigeon hole myself there.
GULP! You got me there, and fairly, too. I do apologize for my hasty use of the word 'pictorialist' in a sense that is really wholly incorrect. I have no one to blame but David Lyga.
According to that mighty font of 'knowledge', Wikipedia, I abstract the following (my italics):
"...in general it refers to a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of "creating" an image rather than simply recording it."
As dubious as Wikipedia can be, in this case its definition does have merit. Thank you for leading me off the wrong road. I do hate to be wrong but, more so, I do like to be corrected from such infamy.
Ansel Adams was primarily a realist. - David Lyga
It encourages a technical discipline, a pure definable craft, rather than the artistic expression of ideas. That manifesto is fine for reportage/news/travel... But it rejects well developed artistic ideas that, for example, HCB employed so successfully and that cinematographers have applied so well for so long. Rules that were well developed before there was photography.
Hmmm... John Sexton likes to caution people not to try to guess at what Adams would think about x or y. But I'm not sure he'd agree with "realist" either, David. His philosophy was to create a print that conveyed what he "saw and felt" and called most of his images/prints departures from reality.
Just throwing another wrench in ;)
Interestingly though, the "departure from reality" concept kind of brings us full circle in the thread, back to the original idea that even concerning "realistic" or f64 subject matter, prints containing areas (even large areas) of pure black or white are perfectly ok as long as they serve the photographer's purpose/aesthetic (as opposed to being unintentionally necessary due to poor technique).
Look, who am I, but I do think, markbarendt, that the 'artistic expression of ideas', was, indeed, a valid component of the f64 group. They were not insensitive machines. I think that most will agree with this. Yes, Michael R 1974, even 'realist' is too limiting. Ansel was more complex and he blended the two.
I think (maybe naively) that the f64 group was primarily against 'softness' used solely for the sake of it and that they wanted to come to the rescue with their strong defence of resolution. And within that platform, they did not remove 'artistic results' and 'creativity' from their mantra. That is what made me (hastily, yes) think of Ansel in (also) creative terms.
So although, technically, I was dead wrong to call Ansel a pictorialist, there really ARE elements (subjectively, perhaps) of pictorialism in his work. Perhaps, most make the bifurcation too extreme, Maybe there should be, more correctly, a continuum needed to properly define these differences. - David Lyga
That's basically how I always interpreted f64 - ie photography is unique in the visual arts in that it can record sharp, fine detail throughout the object field, so why not make use of that.