The one thing many photographers have a hard time understanding (or simply ignore), is that an image starts in the mind. Vision, creativity and inspiration start with our eyes and mind, with the process simply delivering the goods. Gibson's images are always stark, high contrast, deep blacks/strong whites, because that's how he sees. He photographs situations in light that reflects his vision of things. It's not Tri-X + Rodinal delivering those images, or Agfa paper. He could have done the same using HP5 + DDX...it doesn't matter, because it would still be Ralph Gibson.
The only advantage of mastering a process, any process, being one film + 1 developer for the rest of your life, in camera metering, zone system, BTZS, etc, is the indisputable fact that from that moment on, one need only to concern him/herself with nurturing the creative aspect, vision, learning to see, being more receptive, etc. Process is not there to get in the way but only to facilitate the delivery of a good print. So, for anyone interested in exploring the Ralph Gibson's look, by no means get some Tri-X + Rodinal and experiment with it for a year. Print on some hard grade paper and see if you like the look. At the end of the day though, it will be the images that count because a crappy photograph that is developed/printed cookbook Ralph Gibson style, will still be a crappy photograph...which, by the way, applies to Ralph Gibson himself, as not all of his photographs are masterpieces.
Last edited by MaximusM3; 09-29-2011 at 08:59 PM. Click to view previous post history.