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Thread: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind


    Greetings,

    A couple of days ago I was talking with some friends here about an idea for a specific thread theme.

    Pictures often come to life when the photographer shares a little story about the picture. A background story, or anything of importance really that the photographer pulls from his memories. I think that by adding this dimension to the photographs we look at, another door to a better appreciation and the photographers intention is opened for us.

    Of course not all pictures have a interesting story attached, but often enough they are intertwined with some important memories. The immense difficulties that we had to deal with while taking the picture, the personal background information of the portrait, the funny coincidences that might have occurred while we took the shot, the skunk that sprayed the camera , you get my drift.

    Sharing a single picture and telling the related story is the goal!

    Now, there is a little twist that Jack brought up. What about the camera used, the gear, the technique, the post processing etc.?

    All of that does not matter in this thread. From pinhole camera over iPhone to Linhof large format, anything goes. What really matters is the story behind the picture.

    Or as Michiel Schierbeek put it, “Pictures transcending brands!

    If I think about it, sometimes this can go even further, there is that picture that we would normally deem unworthy and of minor quality, but we did not delete it because there is something special about it that only we know, and often enough this information makes this picture very special, and now the observer can appreciate it from a different perspective, other than IQ and technical brilliance, because the photographer shared this information with us.

    Let’s leave out all those technicalities, there is no need to know what camera or glass was used, this is not about a discussion on aperture, ISO, noise or post processing.

    The photograph and the story shall be in focus here, exclusively!

    All my best
    Georg

    Thanks to Jack, Michiel, Werner et al. encouraging the idea!
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Georg

    I believe this was done by Dan previously

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...phs-story.html

  3. #3
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    Georg

    I believe this was done by Dan previously

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...phs-story.html
    Hi,

    thanks and yeah, I saw this, but I would argue that here pictures transcend all brands and all formats. Dan has this in the MFDB section and he stated:

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    And Any kind of medium format capture is fine.
    Here anything goes!

    Best
    G

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    I really liked this idea and glad you thought of it -- thanks too for initiating it!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Global Warming


    Ok, guess I just kickstart one here.

    The below picture has a few stories that belong two it. Little should I know about it’s importance to me when I took the shot on a crispy clear November evening back in 2005 on my beach.

    I saw the reflection of the airplane in the wet sand and pulled the trigger. To me this scene was the epitome of “Global Warming”, and this is how I called it.

    Years later, and encouraged by Prof. Harald “Color Harry” Mante and other people it won a photo competition , and as a result I was invited to Castle Dyck in Germany to meet Stuart Franklin from Magnum and some other people from the industry. In a way this was the start of me pursuing photography on more than a hobby level only, and it turned into my full-time work.

    That in itself made the picture important to me as you might imagine, but there is more…

    A few years later in 2008 I bought an Epson 11880 and this shot was one of the first larger prints I made on this amazing printer after it was setup. I called my good friend Roger Burns over to show him this spaceship, the print was on the table beside some others. When Roger came in, he went straight to this print and was very taken by it, he asked me whether he could have that for an event next month. Roger being my friend, I said “Sure, what’s that event about?” and made another pint for himself.

    He explained that he plans to go to Africa / Malawi and build a crash for kids together with a couple of craftsmen next year, and money being tight, they would have an evening in a pub and try to fundraise money for vaccination shots, tools and all kind of things needed to realise such undertaking. They would have a raffle and people could win prizes, so he wanted this for the first prize. While matting and framing it I explained the title and we chatted about his trip.

    The evening was a great success and they went on to Malawi building that crash for kiddos. I forgot about that picture over time.

    In October 2010 Roger called very excited and told me that he bought a boat, so we went for a trip to nearby Islands together. It was there that he asked me to come along for the next trip to Malawi as their photographer, documenting the development and shooting in Malawi. I was in Africa before, and I liked that idea of a trip with him and agreed wholeheartedly, but this should never take place.

    A few months later I got the message that Roger had died unexpectedly within a few days of illness. Roger was in his early 50s. Couple of days later I got a letter with a card, the official news that Roger had passed. The card showed exactly this picture, with his face blended into the sky above the airplane.

    His sister did that, and when I called her, she told me how much he loved this picture, and that this was the reason she had it scanned and used for his card.

    Roger is forever connected with this picture, and it will remain one of the most important pictures that I took.…

    Best
    G


    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 27th June 2014 at 15:37.
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    Senior Member W.Utsch's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    That's a fantastic shot and a (i am still searching for the right word) story to the heart!
    Thank's Georg
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    Super Duper
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    My example is one that fits the "less technical quality, more content importance".

    When much younger, I had to travel a lot on business as an art director and creative director. As an artist more in tune with drawing and painting, business travel is one reason I took up photography ... it was a more portable form of creativity in situations where I had less time to spend due to my primary business duties. In the course of that involvement, I became aware of the whole "decisive moment" gestalt and a wonderful new world of creativity revealed itself.

    In this particular case, I was in Paris and brought my wife. We had a day free of obligations so visited some museums. I went up these stairs to shoot her sitting when another visitor entered the picture ... I waited for the decisive moment and took a single frame. Later I titled it "Romantic Rendezvous".

    I liked the shot, but its' importance didn't become clear until art director, writer, and designer friends saw the print, and many others like it, and asked me to photograph their wedding in the same manner.

    For many years I shot only B&W weddings, hand pulled selenium tones prints in my modest darkroom and placed them in slip-in type albums. My little studio was often covered with drying screens from a recent wedding.

    The print of this was much better than this poor scan done way back when scanners were in their infancy and I didn't know how to digitally process very well anyway. The neg has long since been lost in a flood disaster, so this is all I have to mark a turning point in my photo journey.

    - Marc
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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I became aware of the whole "decisive moment" gestalt and a wonderful new world of creativity revealed itself.
    Marc, thanks a lot for chiming in here early with this personal story and photograph!

    The shot is stunning in deed and yes, straight away the question came to my mind, what happens next? To me this is classical "head cinema photography", and I like this a lot. It is funny, and hard to describe, it is not like this question is word by word in my mind, it is rather a emotional response to the scene, well, as I say, hard to describe.

    Hopefully over time others here become aware of this thread as well and join in. I would not be astonished if we get some wonderful stories and photographs.

    Best
    G

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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Thank you Georg and Marc for those insights on those splendid particular photographs.

    Two storys of how in both cases the dicisive moment pointed you in the right direction for the future to come by either way becoming a photographer and even point into the direction of the style of photography to persue. And this with two very different photographs.

    It is remarkable how the photograph of Georg, which associates with a reflected flying spermatoïde, which so much stands for life , also got such an emotional meaning by the death of a good friend

    To me this is the essence of creativity, be aware of serendipity. The art of to go astray and find without knowing what you were looking for.

    I am afraid I don't have such a photograph while with me it sort of went the other way around. I used to do a lot of photography in the beginning of the seventys but decided to go on with sculpture and only about 10 years ago I started to pick up photography seriously again. I quess I was not very fond of spending hours in darkrooms.

    I am still thinking to come up with something.

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Thanks. Interesting association Michiel, I never looked at it this way before.

    Serendipity? If you meet her, send her along for a short visit, until then I doubt that she exists at all. It is a constant subject of discussion between my partner and I, and although I have a hard time as she is mathematician, I continue to maintain my point that there is no such thing called coincidence but synchronicity.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Okay, my first "landmark" image. I took this about 25 years ago and it was the image that got me totally immersed into landscape photography. It was taken before the days of digital manipulation and in the days when film cameras allowed double exposures.

    Methodology was camera on tripod, first image captured just at sunset to create the background sky. Then a long wait through sunset until the sky darkens and a full Moon rises and lights the exterior of the building. This second exposure over the first frame required about 2 hours to imprint the exterior texture on the film, which was also augmented by some very soft scrimmed and carefully positioned manual fill flashing around the exterior during that 2 hours. Near the end, we enter the building and quickly "paint" the walls with a flashlight, carefully positioning ourselves so we won't show in the shadows or light beam, its tungsten bulb replicating the warm light that a kerosene lamp glowing inside might. Total time to capture, about 5 hours.

    Not that it matters, but the camera was a Nikon 8008, lens was an early Nikon 24mm AF lens set at f8, and the film was Fuji Velvia(!). It needed to be printed by a quality pro lab with a good contrast mask. I actually had a 4x5 interneg and contrast mask made that allowed for easier registrations for the printer. Anyway and somewhat surprisingly, this image holds up pretty well at a 24" print from a 35mm original. Obviously, I've since high-res scanned the original and tweaked it digitally which improved it pretty significantly over the wet versions. It remains somewhat ironic for me to compare the process of how I'd accomplish this image in today's digital world, as I'm not sure it would be "easier" or even "more convenient" than the wet version capture was


    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I took this about 25 years ago
    I remember that shot Jack! Loved it back then, love it today! Fascinating background information! What a tedious process in deed.

    25 years, let's take a short trip back…

    FUJI DS-X - 1989. Memory card camera. Follow up of the 1988 DS-1P and the first consumer / professional handheld digital camera sold to the public and which stored digital images on a flash card. 2/3-inch 400K CCD. 15mm f/3.5 lens. Shutter 1/30 to 1/500 second. Built-in flash. $20,000 for complete system, including player and DAT electronic picture file.
    Courtesy of:DigiCamHistory

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Greetings,

    I would lke to extend the goal of this thread a little more by including outstanding stories of photographers that you might know of and can link to here.

    In that spirit I give you Ian Ruhter.

    My greatest failure in life came when I lost the ability to believe in my own dreams. It had taken a year and a half to return to Yosemite after enduring one of my most heartbreaking experiences.
    It is the story of a man putting literally all his resources into a photographic project extraordinaire, and then he failed, just to return 1.5 years later to succeed.

    SILVER & LIGHT on Vimeo

    Yosemite on Vimeo

    Ian Ruhter Photography

    Best
    G
    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 9th July 2014 at 05:08.

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    Senior Member Elderly's Avatar
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    Re: BACKSTAGE - A Door Into The Photographers Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Total time to capture, about 5 hours.
    The antithesis of H-CB's 'The Decisive Moment' !
    Ian.

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