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Thread: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

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    The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Recently, I was asked to write a blog on any subject I wanted.

    I chose to deliberately engage in a fairly controversial subject regarding the balance between science and art as it applies to photography.

    I'd be interested in your take on it ... as is the way here on Get Dpi, keep it civil please, since I'm sure it'll piss off a few folks

    Greetings, and welcome to my first blog post for The Classic connection, LLC. | Classic Connection LLC

    Marc
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    If there was blog at that time-how the traditional wet plate photographers would have felt like when Eastman introduced the Box Brownie and industrial production, development and print of photographs- that was my thought after glancing through it.

    Can't change the tide.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Marc, feel free to expound even more on this forum. Your insights offer a clear perspective on our times in general where the mundane seems to overfill our view. How many versions of survivor and dancing with the stars does it take?

    love your blog

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Excellent, Marc. You just added considerable value to the very good cup of oolong tea that I consumed while reading it

    I've come to a point where most technical camera discussions are mainly good for the entertainment value. Most of them can be boiled down to something like, "It's new, it's brand X, it can be used to take photos with, must be good."

    That's a gross oversimplification of course, but compared to the search for "The Image", the importance of the technical aspect is diminishing with the increasingly good gear available for most of us these days. When looking at the sheer volume of camera discussions around the web compared to those with a creative view, one can certainly wonder what the objective of those discussions are.

    Kudos then to the participants of this forum, yourself obviously included, who can have fun with the technical aspect without forgetting photography as an art form. Sometimes, it's even possible to see a connection between the two.

    Thank you for taking time to share your experiences.
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I appreciate the comments one way or the other, and urge more discussion on the topic.

    I'm not sure I'd agree that this is anything like the transition from wet plates to the box Brownie. Previous milestones in photographic technology tended to happen decades apart as opposed to being a relentless onslaught. Plus, the reason I posted a link on Get Dpi is because there are folks here that are well beyond being the consuming public wielding the modern version of the Brownie.

    To be clear, I most certainly am not against the consumption of new developments, I do have some pretty nifty gear myself. However, this subject has been an on-going concern, and not particularly linked to the more recent technical advancements being debated on gear forums, or endless wall test blogs to prove one point or another. If 500 years from now some "digital archeologists" were to pour over all the thousands of threads and tens of thousands of posts with well excused mundane images showing how many pixels can form the head of a pin, I fear they'd think us an artless lot.

    "Hey, Milo, what chisel did you use when carving that Venus?"

    "Love the Mona painting Leo, but you didn't list the brush widths and paint you used in your post!"

    I've been working/consulting with a number of photographers in the past year, more as an art/creative coach than a fellow photographer. The subject rarely has been about gear ... (except perhaps lighting). It is NOT an easy subject to deal with, nor easy to do something about ... blabbing about gear is a lot easier.

    Frankly, it is also a personal struggle. As one creative purpose wains, one longs for the next in order to get to work on something of meaning. That isn't driven by what gear you have. Yet the gear infection is quite viral ... it really is hard to avoid the distraction.

    What I really do think is that we have approached the level of fetishism with all this, and it is becoming the center of attention to an overwhelming degree. Thus the concern about "balance" and promoting the notion of gear in the service of "what" art?

    I think it was Jack that recently prioritized the importance of content over perfect execution (not that they are mutually exclusive), yet I wonder how many actually believe in and practice that ... or even know where to start?

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    just to move the conversation forward: my background is in science (hard-core) and design, formally educated in grad schools in both. My wife id a full time fine art painter, equally educated and supports herself. we are constantly discussing the art world, art market, etc.

    it is a lot easier to discuss physics and math or engineering (or camera technical) details than to be specific in art discussions. nature of the subjects
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I have very mixed feelings about a completely stark comparison.
    I have made photos, watercolors, oils, and pastels, and they are all different media for sure.
    EACH of these media have their own technical challenges.
    Take watercolor for example.
    Choice of paper and surface sometimes encourage or discourage certain techniques.
    Watercolor painters get into all sorts of heavy discussion if it is best to start with dry paper or wet (I am on the wet camp for most subjects)
    I have seen a painter throw a brush across the room because it just did not feel right, or stroked badly.
    All artists are in a quest I believe to find materials and tools that get out of their way.
    We looks for pigments that stain or do not, that are opaque or transparent, which are smooth or which granulate or do any number of pigment tricks when applied with water.
    So it is with photography as well.
    No artist that I know well has ever been completely satisfied with her work, either artistically or technically; but they keep trying and if we need to resort to science, so be it.
    -bob

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    >it is a lot easier to discuss physics and math or engineering (or camera technical)

    Because there is most of the time a right or wrong. Nothing like this in art. On top there is the commercial aspect of art.
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    No artist that I know well has ever been completely satisfied with her work, either artistically or technically; but they keep trying and if we need to resort to science, so be it.
    -bob
    Beautifully said!

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Marc
    I really enjoyed that - - and I think it's honourable and interesting to have a thoroughly split personality between 'art' and 'artifice' . . . 'image' and 'equipment'. But it's the image that's worthwhile, and almost everything that's discussed on these forums is capable of delivering the image.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Kudos then to the participants of this forum, yourself obviously included, who can have fun with the technical aspect without forgetting photography as an art form. Sometimes, it's even possible to see a connection between the two.

    Thank you for taking time to share your experiences.
    Exactly (Jorgen is the person one can always agree with!)

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I have very mixed feelings about a completely stark comparison.
    I have made photos, watercolors, oils, and pastels, and they are all different media for sure.
    EACH of these media have their own technical challenges.
    Take watercolor for example.
    Choice of paper and surface sometimes encourage or discourage certain techniques.
    Watercolor painters get into all sorts of heavy discussion if it is best to start with dry paper or wet (I am on the wet camp for most subjects)
    I have seen a painter throw a brush across the room because it just did not feel right, or stroked badly.
    All artists are in a quest I believe to find materials and tools that get out of their way.
    We looks for pigments that stain or do not, that are opaque or transparent, which are smooth or which granulate or do any number of pigment tricks when applied with water.
    So it is with photography as well.
    No artist that I know well has ever been completely satisfied with her work, either artistically or technically; but they keep trying and if we need to resort to science, so be it.
    -bob
    Well Bob, that may be anecdotally true to some extent ... I actually was trained as a painter ... and my first jobs in advertising (to make enough money to feed my family) was as an illustrator ... only later did I migrate to Art Direction as a career. I still painted on for many years and had sponsored shows ... until the ad career became so dominate there wasn't time or grey cells left to do anything else. Painting is very time consuming. I picked advertising because I was better at it and was still creatively full-filled ... or at least I made a LOT more money at it

    However, discussions of whether one uses wet technique or dry brush isn't exactly science and technology centric, nor has it changed much since the dawn of man ... we still use crushed earth colors (or surrogates for them) and animal hair stuck to a stick ... and I'm sure some cave man grunted and threw a crummy brush/stick across the cave

    IMO, you are talking about "creative technique" ... which we all have to learn when using our tools to express ourselves. Fundamentally, camera technique hasn't changed much in 100 years+, lens, f-stop, shutter speed, light hits the media ... it isn't rocket science.

    I'd also propose that no artists I've ever known became more creative because they resorted to science as a backstop. It may "refresh" their enthusiasm to some degree, but I think that is simply a diversion until they get their creative mind back on track. This doesn't preclude the creative mind from selecting certain tools to accomplish their vision ... of course that is necessary ... but what is the vision that dictates those choices?

    People want desperately to believe science will be their savor rather than doing the hard work required to become better ... and I think it is a mass epidemic of this sort of thing these days ... with all kinds of people hanging on every hint of yet more technical advancements that might spur on their own brain and creative spirit ... why some think that will happen when it didn't with past "game changing" tech I have no idea.

    Again, I'm not excluding myself from this form of odd thinking, nor positioning myself as some sort of paragon of creative thought ... but I'm finally catching on ... at least I hope I am

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    >People want desperately to believe science will be their savor rather than doing the hard work required to become better

    They have to train their eyes more than their camera skills.
    Uwe Steinmueller
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    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I think the thing that has changed photography most is not exactly technology (the gear) but is the technology of social media.

    Photography is now a performance more than it is the creation of discrete objects.

    Looking at instagram, fb, tumblr, pintrest, what is important is garnering a following, getting likes, also acting as a "curator" and re-blogging other work (usually from your friends) all in the name of elevating your status as someone who has taste, is connected, has beautiful friends, is successful.

    It is a performance and demonstration of lifestyle and attainment.

    Photography has long been a certification of a kind of status- ie family vacation snaps, "I was here" etc, but this is now operative on a moment to moment basis- you have to be constantly flexing the social muscle and promoting others that do the same.

    This is what I see as the primary technological change in photography. Most photos are not even taken with a "camera" by normative definition.

    All other considerations, beauty, art, education, all the traditional uses of photography are now hardly part of this performance of status conversation.

    just what I see.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by ustein View Post
    >People want desperately to believe science will be their savor rather than doing the hard work required to become better

    They have to train their eyes more than their camera skills.
    Yep.

    Reminds me of a favorite copy line from a Minnesota writer's portfolio who was interviewing for a position I had open ... "See your Optometrist while you still can." (Great writers out of Minnesota). Learn (or relearn) to see while you still can.

    In my travels on behalf of "art in the service of commerce", I had the good fortune to work with some truly remarkable talents. Some that I worked with when young went on to fame and fortune, and have made great movies and such. Honestly, it was an experience that had a profound impact on my own career and what success I enjoyed.

    One mentor in NYC, whom I still visit on occasion, had the most acute eye I've ever witnessed at work. I rarely saw a camera in his hand, he just looked and studied and looked some more, then wham it was over. His only real interest in science or technology was lenses and then only for the character that matched his vision. He did know what was going on and what was the latest thing, often so he could avoid it because everyone else would be using it. He did an astounding campaign for a major international electronics giant, images with an incredible sense of human perception ... and shot the whole thing with a point & shoot.

    How these people thought and how they "see" was/is a revelation.

    In a very small, but related manner, I've watched my assistants or second shooters failing to "see" all the time. They are so tuned to their camera they become isolated from the events around them and take snap-shots rather than something that goes beyond ... even though it's right in front of them. I use those experiences to help train their eye.

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I'm teaching a photography class in a local art college. It's hugely refreshing. The students are serious art students, the photography is just a side course, once a week for 5 hours. I told them in the first class, the camera is your brush, the light is your paint. They don't know about the techy side, they couldn't care less. A camera to them is an annoying to use tool which they would usually prefer to swap for a pencil so they don't give a bleep about anything other than getting from the picture in their mind to the finished image on paper. Suits me as I've always thought that way. Most have nothing but a p&s, one only has a phone camera. They are still creating some georgous work.

    Can I put a point of order in though Marc? Given your gear changing history during the digital revolution which pretty much matches that gear whore to end all gear whores, Guy, should you not be giving yourself a serious spanking after reading your own essay?

    I am rather proud of owning the same two cameras for the past 7 years and they are, to this day, still my workhorses. I've wittled down my lens collection to two primes and a UW zoom oh and a 1960's pentax 50mm. My wedding partner is exactly the same, two primes and a UW zoom. Oh and my photography is IMO better than it has ever been.

    That said, until I got the camera which for me would fill my needs, the previous equipment could not have been used to shoot weddings the way I do today, period. I could not shoot the kind of ambient light weddings I am booked for using the minimal of gear I bring to weddings today (two off camera speedlites and that's it) with the 1Ds or 10D I owned before buying those 5D's all those years back. However I've found my tool and even today with the super incredible D800 or super high iso 5DIII, I can't justify the expenditure as a tool as I cannot see that the new cameras features will increase revenue over the next few years to justify the amount of expenditure vs depreciation. Not when I can do it with the gear I already own.



    Example image we shot in 'class' to teach the concepts of the use of DOF to tell a story, in this case an image for the schools Passover brochure coveying the idea of coming up to Jerusalem for the festival.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 12th April 2012 at 02:58.
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I'd also propose that no artists I've ever known became more creative because they resorted to science as a backstop. It may "refresh" their enthusiasm to some degree, but I think that is simply a diversion until they get their creative mind back on track. This doesn't preclude the creative mind from selecting certain tools to accomplish their vision ... of course that is necessary ... but what is the vision that dictates those choices?

    People want desperately to believe science will be their savor rather than doing the hard work required to become better ... and I think it is a mass epidemic of this sort of thing these days ... with all kinds of people hanging on every hint of yet more technical advancements that might spur on their own brain and creative spirit ... why some think that will happen when it didn't with past "game changing" tech I have no idea.

    Again, I'm not excluding myself from this form of odd thinking, nor positioning myself as some sort of paragon of creative thought ... but I'm finally catching on ... at least I hope I am

    -Marc
    Hmm - I think it's all interesting, and I enjoyed your blog. However, your thesis does seem to hinge around the notion that people buy new kit because they think that it will allow them to make better images. . .. . . . . .

    That's not why I buy new kit, I know it won't make any difference to the artistic quality of my images, and I suspect that's true of lots of people around here.

    Personally, I buy new kit because I like experimenting with it, and because I like the 'thingness' of it all. Just occasionally I might buy something because it will allow me to take pictures in situations where I couldn't otherwise (like a long macro lens for bugs, or a camera with better high ISO for poor light). But I don't think I've ever even considered that it might improve my art.

    On the other hand, a look at the quality of amateur work available on the internet today, compared to 5 or 6 years ago would suggest to me that, quite to the contrary, the advent and development of digital equipment has dramatically improved the average artistic quality of images.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 12th April 2012 at 03:44.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hmm - I think it's all interesting, and I enjoyed your blog. However, your thesis does seem to hinge around the notion that people buy new kit because they think that it will allow them to make better images. . .. . . . . .

    That's not why I buy new kit, I know it won't make any difference to the artistic quality of my images, and I suspect that's true of lots of people around here.

    Personally, I buy new kit because I like experimenting with it, and because I like the 'thingness' of it all. Just occasionally I might buy something because it will allow me to take pictures in situations where I couldn't otherwise (like a long macro lens for bugs, or a camera with better high ISO for poor light). But I don't think I've ever even considered that it might improve my art.

    On the other hand, a look at the quality of amateur work available on the internet today, compared to 5 or 6 years ago would suggest to me that, quite to the contrary, the advent and development of digital equipment has dramatically improved the average artistic quality of images.
    No Jono, that isn't the "thesis" of the blog thinking ... just the direction it took in response to the admittedly expected discussion here. It doesn't matter what the motivation may be for the heavy shift to technology that occupies so much time, and saps so much energy. ... it is the seemingly unequal emphasis on that technology compared to realizing ones creative vision and what that vision may be ... or more importantly ... could be.

    However, I don't agree that "stuff" can't make a difference in one's art ... it will IF you have a vision or idea that requires it. I'm just pointing out that one "should" proceed the other.

    As far as the general or average level of photographic work having improved, I agree, and said so in the blog. That was the point to some degree. Specifically, that advancing technology has impacted many photographic endeavors for enthusiasts and pros alike ... industries such as weddings specifically have been impacted a great deal, so has portraiture, and with everyone carrying cell phone camera/video, a portion of photojournalism has been effected. Technology has leveled the playing field as far a relatively competent image making is concerned. Many Pros went out of business because they relied on the mystery of photographic technology and technique, which newer technology de-mystified to a great degree ... in contrast those with a great vision kept going and thrived.

    Is it all advancing the art of photography? I'd argue no. I'd say, it is swelling the middle ranks of average, with a few bright spots beyond that. Perhaps the bright sparks are worth it all ... but I'm not sure it is when one realizes all the creative potential and skill hinted at out there ... but seems to be stuck in second gear.

    The whole thing hinges on whether one is happy as is ... if so, then it is all a moot point. If "could be" isn't of interest, then there is little more to say. The last line of my blog opinion was ... "So can you." If one doesn't "want" to, oh well. But the point is that you "can".

    So, on the other hand, I believe there are many who aren't satisfied with status quo ... have reached a point in their trek where all they are doing is repeating themselves ... but don't know quite how to go about moving forward creatively. There-in lies the rub ... you can get every nano detail of technical data your brain can absorb, even plenty of applications of that technology (lighting forums or how to seminars, or location gatherings for example), but how does one "personally" develop a more meaningful purpose, sharpen their seeing, work from the basis of an idea, learn to be more creatively sensitive? ... in short, take it to the next level.

    My pal Irakly teaches this to packed groups of creatively starved photographers all over the world ... many of his students are pretty accomplished photographers or talented enthusiasts who have reach a ceiling. While he is technically adept, that isn't what he teaches, it is how to unlock the potential he sees in so many photographers and sometimes his methods are quite startling. The log jam is quite stubborn and sometimes needs a stick of creative dynamite to bust it loose ... and Lord knows that man is a big stick of dynamite. No one that enters his presence, exits the same.

    However, every one, even the more reluctant or skeptical at first, admitted down deep that "could be" was their objective.

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I'm teaching a photography class in a local art college. It's hugely refreshing. The students are serious art students, the photography is just a side course, once a week for 5 hours. I told them in the first class, the camera is your brush, the light is your paint. They don't know about the techy side, they couldn't care less. A camera to them is an annoying to use tool which they would usually prefer to swap for a pencil so they don't give a bleep about anything other than getting from the picture in their mind to the finished image on paper. Suits me as I've always thought that way. Most have nothing but a p&s, one only has a phone camera. They are still creating some georgous work.

    Can I put a point of order in though Marc? Given your gear changing history during the digital revolution which pretty much matches that gear whore to end all gear whores, Guy, should you not be giving yourself a serious spanking after reading your own essay?

    I am rather proud of owning the same two cameras for the past 7 years and they are, to this day, still my workhorses. I've wittled down my lens collection to two primes and a UW zoom oh and a 1960's pentax 50mm. My wedding partner is exactly the same, two primes and a UW zoom. Oh and my photography is IMO better than it has ever been.

    That said, until I got the camera which for me would fill my needs, the previous equipment could not have been used to shoot weddings the way I do today, period. I could not shoot the kind of ambient light weddings I am booked for using the minimal of gear I bring to weddings today (two off camera speedlites and that's it) with the 1Ds or 10D I owned before buying those 5D's all those years back. However I've found my tool and even today with the super incredible D800 or super high iso 5DIII, I can't justify the expenditure as a tool as I cannot see that the new cameras features will increase revenue over the next few years to justify the amount of expenditure vs depreciation. Not when I can do it with the gear I already own.



    Example image we shot in 'class' to teach the concepts of the use of DOF to tell a story, in this case an image for the schools Passover brochure coveying the idea of coming up to Jerusalem for the festival.
    Refreshing student POV indeed Ben ... and while thinking about the blog, you were one of the artists I mused about ... your private work in particular. Don't exactly remember what you used if I ever knew, and actually don't care. Just liked a lot of the work because the use of light and how you applied an artist vision that moved me, made me feel something. I also thought about Jim Collum's work from Get Dpi for similar reasons ... a very personal artistic vision. Discussions with my friend Irakly, and of course his often satyrical thinking weighed in. Plus all the contact with influential photographers over my professional AD career.

    I'm not sure how much gear or how little, or how old it may be has any bearing on the subject. IMO, that's a private decision based on what one wishes or needs to accomplish and how refined one's aesthetic sensibilities may be as it applies to accomplishing that vision ...or conversely how little may be needed. I still use the same old Sony's because I finally fit a tool to the purpose and see no need what-so-every at this time to change that (and yes, I've spanked myself for some indulgences because some in past made absolutely no difference).

    The subject I'm trying to broach is the emphasis on one over the other. When we were shooting a $2,000,000 elaborate TV commercial, we didn't realize the vision with a hand-cam, it was a ARRI and Zeiss optics that cost more than my house. They are just tools as applied to the need at hand.

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Marc, not sure I remember myself what gear for most of the pics! Apart from the stuff with the lensbaby or the Pentax lens wide open but that stuff has a very distinctive signature. I really have to get out shooting again, not shot personal stuff for too long as I've been busy setting up this studio and trying to learn $80,000 worth of gear, make it all work together (it doesn't at the moment) oh and learn the retro business all in one go! Of course not an excuse at all. I shot a whole bunch of stuff while recovering from an operation on my foot, it was the drive to go out and shoot nevermind how much agony the walking was causing me. I always find that diversity brings the very best out of me artistically.

    After I did the session outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem which the image above was part of, we sat down on the grass in a semi circle and just talked about art in photography for an hour or so till the schools bus came to collect us again. While I talked about the upcoming project three of the students had pulled out notebooks and were sketching. We have had some of the students as guests of ours over the past 6 months, the college is near and we love entertaining, they are constantly doing that. They cannot see a scene without sketching it! It's a wonderful lesson in art and hopefully the correct kick in the rear for me as a photographer to not allow anything to stand in my way of constantly, almost helplessly and uncontrollably expressing myself with art.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Recently, I was asked to write a blog on any subject I wanted.

    I chose to deliberately engage in a fairly controversial subject regarding the balance between science and art as it applies to photography.

    I'd be interested in your take on it ... as is the way here on Get Dpi, keep it civil please, since I'm sure it'll piss off a few folks

    Greetings, and welcome to my first blog post for The Classic connection, LLC. | Classic Connection LLC

    Marc
    I've been saying similar things for the past year too. Nicely written.

    Similar in intent to the message promoted by CJ Chilvers in his "A Lesser Photographer - A Manifesto"


    My own journey towards simplicity and re-focusing on Photography has been interesting as my equipment kit expanded as I worked through to what equipment I was going to use. However, I'm very much settled on what I will use now and find myself becoming increasingly disinterested in discussions of the gear, what's new, etc. What I have is certainly good enough for my photo work.

    onwards!
    G
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I've been saying similar things for the past year too. Nicely written.

    Similar in intent to the message promoted by CJ Chilvers in his "A Lesser Photographer - A Manifesto"


    My own journey towards simplicity and re-focusing on Photography has been interesting as my equipment kit expanded as I worked through to what equipment I was going to use. However, I'm very much settled on what I will use now and find myself becoming increasingly disinterested in discussions of the gear, what's new, etc. What I have is certainly good enough for my photo work.

    onwards!
    G
    Thank you very much for this. I've downloaded it and will read it throughly when not distracted. I only gave it a quick glance because I spent the day getting ready for a shoot on Saturday.

    As I was preparing as I always do ... it struck me exactly what I was doing. I studied the schedule and went on line to tour the Google street views and promo pics of the locations I'd be shooting at ... figuring the time of day and where the sun would be for each series of shots. I then began formulating ideas of what and how I want to capture the images. I made notes for my assistant and drew things on the location pics I'd downloaded. Most of it was just ideas and how to light it ... I also had to prepare for the possibility of a rainy day.

    Only at the end did I assemble the gear which hadn't entered my mind until the last minute ... which camera, what lenses and most of all what lighting tools would allow me to accomplish the task at hand. The day had been spent thinking creatively about making photographs and I never touch a single piece of equipment save using my computer to inform and a pencil to draw and write about ideas.

    I realize not everyone works in this manner, and I often just go about it spontaneously myself. Yet it is an indication of "visual thinking" that informs our choices.

    Thanks again,

    -Marc

  22. #22
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I'll throw one more concept into the ring... scale.

    I'm not speaking photographically, but merely about the sheer volume of images created every minute of every day, around the globe. It seems to me that the onslaught of new gear (and the technological advance associated with it) is a function of the shear scale of social media and the virtual (viral?) sharing of pixels. I'm bewildered daily by the amount of good and bad imagery created... and how it's shared around the world. The saturation of the collective consciousness of the world by imagery (good or bad) helps to beget, IMO, this rapid advance of technology... and it's to the point where new content is seems impossible to create. It's like the photo genome has been cracked...

    Music is much the same... in western society our 12-note system has been exhaustively utilized, as have typical rhythmic and harmonic devices. It's tough to listen to ANYTHING these days without it reminding one of something else.

    The differences are in the nuance, and the performance... and this is where I find value still in photography. The performance of the craft, whether that be during a session or in the processing or what have you. If I'm lucky enough to create an image with enough nuance to rise above the other images out there that it surely will resemble, then I'm happy. I'm not sure if the science of our cameras has subverted the art directly... for me it's how easy it is to share the images that has been the real game changer.
    Last edited by Shelby Lewis; 13th April 2012 at 04:18.
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    However, I don't agree that "stuff" can't make a difference in one's art ... it will IF you have a vision or idea that requires it. I'm just pointing out that one "should" proceed the other.
    That's not actually what I said, I said that it's unlikely to make a difference unless it brings something you need (pretty much what you've just said).

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    As far as the general or average level of photographic work having improved, I agree, and said so in the blog. That was the point to some degree. Snip . . .

    Is it all advancing the art of photography? I'd argue no. I'd say, it is swelling the middle ranks of average, with a few bright spots beyond that. Perhaps the bright sparks are worth it all ... but I'm not sure it is when one realizes all the creative potential and skill hinted at out there ... but seems to be stuck in second gear.
    Okay - well, I think this is an interesting point, but I'm not sure that it's fair to blame technology for this - surely the difficulty is seeing the artistic wood from the competent trees, something that was much easier to do when there were fewer competent trees!

    Added to which the much simpler means of propagation of photos makes it even harder to find / see the worthwhile stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The whole thing hinges on whether one is happy as is ... if so, then it is all a moot point. If "could be" isn't of interest, then there is little more to say. The last line of my blog opinion was ... "So can you." If one doesn't "want" to, oh well. But the point is that you "can".

    So, on the other hand, I believe there are many who aren't satisfied with status quo ... have reached a point in their trek where all they are doing is repeating themselves ... but don't know quite how to go about moving forward creatively. There-in lies the rub ... you can get every nano detail of technical data your brain can absorb, even plenty of applications of that technology (lighting forums or how to seminars, or location gatherings for example), but how does one "personally" develop a more meaningful purpose, sharpen their seeing, work from the basis of an idea, learn to be more creatively sensitive? ... in short, take it to the next level.
    Well, I quite agree - that's the big question (maybe one simply joins one of Irakly's seminars!). It's certainly something which exercises my mind almost permanently - still, I think that by blaming technology you muddy the water - the truth is just that . . . . if you want to improve artistically then you have to put lots of effort into it . . . and you'd better not muddle it up with improving technically

    So, as far as I'm concerned, I agree with lots of your individual points, but I rather feel that blaming the technology is aiming in the wrong direction.

    Personally - my principal reason for not going to MF is that I feel that it would add constraints to my photography without really adding opportunity. . . looking at the fun with MF threads here doesn't make me feel differently (with some notable exceptions). Perhaps that rests your case for you

    Whatever else, it's an interesting discussion, and seems to have induced Godfrey to buy himself a yellow mercedes!

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    That's not actually what I said, I said that it's unlikely to make a difference unless it brings something you need (pretty much what you've just said).



    Okay - well, I think this is an interesting point, but I'm not sure that it's fair to blame technology for this - surely the difficulty is seeing the artistic wood from the competent trees, something that was much easier to do when there were fewer competent trees!

    Added to which the much simpler means of propagation of photos makes it even harder to find / see the worthwhile stuff.

    Well, I quite agree - that's the big question (maybe one simply joins one of Irakly's seminars!). It's certainly something which exercises my mind almost permanently - still, I think that by blaming technology you muddy the water - the truth is just that . . . . if you want to improve artistically then you have to put lots of effort into it . . . and you'd better not muddle it up with improving technically

    So, as far as I'm concerned, I agree with lots of your individual points, but I rather feel that blaming the technology is aiming in the wrong direction.

    Personally - my principal reason for not going to MF is that I feel that it would add constraints to my photography without really adding opportunity. . . looking at the fun with MF threads here doesn't make me feel differently (with some notable exceptions). Perhaps that rests your case for you

    Whatever else, it's an interesting discussion, and seems to have induced Godfrey to buy himself a yellow mercedes!

    all the best
    Yes, more salient points here as well as the additional comments by others regarding the mass proliferation of images.

    To be clear, It's not "blaming technology" ... it is about the obsession with it, compounded by the relentless and exponentially increasing pace of change that collectively occupies so much time and energy that may be better spent elsewhere. So, I'm agreeing that it requires concerted effort to do that, and it's best to not muddle it up with so much attention to what's next in gear as opposed to what's next in your heart and mind. That was the whole point of the Blog post all along.


    The primary question is not about stemming the tide, it's about stepping back and assessing one's own individuality, creative spirit and direction without the subversive influences of technological development (equipment marketing OR image proliferation) ... or more importantly the weight of opinion on those awash in data with less personal creative direction to guide them. I think it all can be over-whelming, and actually fear it is desensitizing a lot more people than ever before.

    Image proliferation isn't new, it is just more publicly wide spread than before because of the internet. As an Art Director with money to spend, I cannot tell you how many submissions I was exposed to from those trying to get that money. We literally had a whole room stacked floor to ceiling with director reels (DVDs), my office was crammed with Black-Books, industry "Bibles", and endless promo pieces or portfolios from photography studios ... every mail delivery brought more and more. The internet just organized them a little better. The difference was that we evaluated with a specific purpose in mind, not just images for the sake of it. There was so many beautifully executed "empty calorie" images as to be depressing at times. Our dumpster was chock full of photography every week.

    As to your "Trees" analogy, I tend to disagree ... while there may be a forest of "competent trees" ... competent isn't the distinguishing feature we should be celebrating ... it is the Red Wood towering above the forest we should be looking for ... or trying to be ...

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    To me there is a component of this that is influenced by our comfort zones with respect to how much of ourselves we are willing to expose in an online forum. Discussing photography from a "science" perspective is far easier and safer than exposing our very personal struggles with creative development and commitment.

    The few true artistic geniuses I've known on a personal level tend to be driven, almost as if by some internal demon, to pursue their vision. Being around them is often uncomfortable and confronting since it's only natural to make comparisons to my own ability (or lack thereof) to face my demons and go beyond them.

    As much as I respect and admire the members of this forum, many of whom I have come to think of as friends, I'm not so well adjusted and confident as to allow them to bear witness to my failings or fears. There's a bunch of intimate stuff that I can barely stand to discuss with the "real" people in my life, never mind a group of people who only exist as a collection of pixels on my monitor.

    So by default, science is easier and less threatening. Getting past my own self-created and scary barriers to a place of true creativity is the proverbial "Moose-in-the-room" that I carry with me everywhere in the form of fantasized but as yet unrealized potential. Who knows, maybe a photography forum will someday prove to be the key that unlocks all that potential. But like someone who needs to lose 100 pounds, I actually already know what I need to do but lack only the courage to do it.

    Best,
    Tim
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    surely the difficulty is seeing the artistic wood from the competent trees, something that was much easier to do when there were fewer competent trees!
    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    As to your "Trees" analogy, I tend to disagree ... while there may be a forest of "competent trees" ... competent isn't the distinguishing feature we should be celebrating ... it is the Red Wood towering above the forest we should be looking for ... or trying to be ...

    -Marc
    Perhaps you misunderstand my analogy - as it seems to me that we're saying the same thing!

    I'll think about the rest of what you said later!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    The premise of the discourse is that somehow order has been shaken up by "science".

    Science as it is practiced now is within an extremely closed community with its own languages and hierarchy. Very little of any of the (public funded!) findings ever get published openly. If you want see what some group did in the cancer front or something like that, you have to pay a hefty sum (members get a discount naturally) to access it.

    I think your whole discourse is flawed with misplaced arguments and anecdotes (Shelby has a point and that is being confused with "science").

    How can a closed "school" corrupt anything else?

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    To me there is a component of this that is influenced by our comfort zones with respect to how much of ourselves we are willing to expose in an online forum. Discussing photography from a "science" perspective is far easier and safer than exposing our very personal struggles with creative development and commitment.

    The few true artistic geniuses I've known on a personal level tend to be driven, almost as if by some internal demon, to pursue their vision. Being around them is often uncomfortable and confronting since it's only natural to make comparisons to my own ability (or lack thereof) to face my demons and go beyond them.

    As much as I respect and admire the members of this forum, many of whom I have come to think of as friends, I'm not so well adjusted and confident as to allow them to bear witness to my failings or fears. There's a bunch of intimate stuff that I can barely stand to discuss with the "real" people in my life, never mind a group of people who only exist as a collection of pixels on my monitor.

    So by default, science is easier and less threatening. Getting past my own self-created and scary barriers to a place of true creativity is the proverbial "Moose-in-the-room" that I carry with me everywhere in the form of fantasized but as yet unrealized potential. Who knows, maybe a photography forum will someday prove to be the key that unlocks all that potential. But like someone who needs to lose 100 pounds, I actually already know what I need to do but lack only the courage to do it.

    Best,
    Tim
    That is quite insightful ... and actually revealing.

    However, the suggestion isn't to open yourself up like a pea-pod and show your inner workings to the mass of the internet world ... creative advancement is indeed a lonely endeavor most of the time. Yet, how do you address the Moose in the Room?"

    One way, as I mentioned in the Blog, (and there are others), is that history shows us solitary effort doesn't preclude interaction with like minded artists of all types ... it is a very strong tradition in art. History is a great compass, we only need to adapt its universal lessons.

    The Impressionists knew one another and debated ideas ... then often went off on their own to do something about it. Braque and Picasso worked side-by-side when developing the notion of Cubism and its time and space theory that literally revolutionized visual thinking forever.

    One need only observe the cross influence between James Agee and Walker Evens in producing "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men"

    IMO, we need more Alfred Stieglitz mentality and less dominate websites with a mundane popularity agenda that has more influence over the photographic world than anyone ever dreamed possible.

    Now, admittedly we aren't them. Yet, in my career I saw thousands of creative people thrown together in the name of "Art in the service of commerce." ... and the great revolution in advertising took place when Bill Bernback (DDB: Doyle, Dane, Bernbach) had the novel idea of throwing Art Directors and Writers together as teams instead of working individually ... resulting in ads like the VW "Lemon" ad campaign ... I've seen this in action, and it is a powerful creative force where each individual is greater than when working alone and then tends to stay greater.

    The commonality between most of us is that "Moose in the Room" you mention ... and the objective isn't to fess up to it ... because we all know it is there ... it is exploring ideas on what to do about it, even though if we do it right, the Moose may never be gone and we'll never be satisfied ... which, to me, is just an indication of continuous growth as a creative person.

    -Marc

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    The premise of the discourse is that somehow order has been shaken up by "science".

    Science as it is practiced now is within an extremely closed community with its own languages and hierarchy. Very little of any of the (public funded!) findings ever get published openly. If you want see what some group did in the cancer front or something like that, you have to pay a hefty sum (members get a discount naturally) to access it.

    I think your whole discourse is flawed with misplaced arguments and anecdotes (Shelby has a point and that is being confused with "science").

    How can a closed "school" corrupt anything else?
    Huh?

    The blog discourse headline below:

    "Has the science of photography stolen the limelight from the art of photography?"

    Not science as a community, or secret science as practiced by weapons makers, or science as discussed by MIT super nerds.

    Science as employed in making photos ... which is all over the internet and discussed in minute detail ad nauseum.

    I'm just sharing thoughts about questioning the balance, that's all.

    Best,

    -Marc

  30. #30
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ... and the objective isn't to fess up to it ... because we all know it is there ... it is exploring ideas on what to do about it, even though if we do it right, the Moose may never be gone and we'll never be satisfied ... which, to me, is just an indication of continuous growth as a creative person.

    -Marc
    The hidden idea behind this, IMO, is the idea behind life itself... that is, it's about the journey and process... and an attempt to grow during that process (whether that be creative or physical). In the end, the product is secondary and on a another level the idea of art becomes subsidiary to the idea of how we spend our brief time on this planet. I like to view my personal time as a means to fulfill whims creatively, and the overwhelming proliferation of imagery has made that (due to my own failings) difficult for me.

    Brain clutter.

    It's funny how, in my heart and mind, I know exactly the type of images I want to create yet I rarely spend time REALLY working on those personal ideals. The technological advances in the cameras themselves seem, in my case, to have not made that much a difference... probably because these cameras are capable of so much more than I (most?) generally require.

    Speaking of technology... Due to financial (being a doctoral student with children) and "gig" concerns, that I'm probably moving back to 35mm for a few years to better support my family by shooting more weddings, portraits, and architectural work. I've received so many private messages imploring me not to do so due to the step back in IQ I'll take... which strikes me as odd seeing that equipment choice has as much to do with personal situation as it does camera specs. In the end, I don't feel like anything I've created really is good enough (artistically) to measure up to the technological abilities of these cameras. I truly think my work will look like my work (which I wish was better) whether I choose Sony, Nikon, or canon... and that there will be a time in the future when I might require better equipment. Right now, my love for the RZ/Leaf combination will have to be supplanted by something else... but I bet my image-making will change very little. I'm not really sad to be "downgrading"... even though I know I'll be an MF shooter again in the future due to my love for the slower pace of the systems.

    It's about process. Process, process, process!

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Science as employed in making photos ... which is all over the internet and discussed in minute detail ad nauseum.

    I'm just sharing thoughts about questioning the balance, that's all.

    Best,

    -Marc
    Marc, Why on earth would you call that "science"? Chatter can never become science.

    The thread title here:
    The art of Photography: Subverted by science?
    and then go on with schools and such?

    It is misplaced.

    If this is meant as some sort of Krockwellian means to catch attention that is OK.

    But, I do not see a connection of science subverting photography or even art.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    I was reading about this when I remembered this thread:
    A Manifesto For Creativity In The Modern Era | Techdirt

    I'm merely a newbie with less than a year in photography so I won't even voice my opinions here. However, there seems to be good arguments from both sides.

    Okay, maybe I will say one thing, or more... It was the camera tech/science that got me through the door, so I won't say that it isn't helping. The camera is a tool, so my interests in tech is to get the most enabling camera within my budget, and it's because of that limited budget that makes the science part more interesting because it forces me to study it to get the most out of my money.

    However, now that I bought my used M9, I'm far less concerned about the tech stuff and more concentrated on how to make better photos. I'll probably re-evaluate my gears again in a year or two, but I think it's healthy.

    I think the "other" tech/science, like the internet, does help the beginners more. Without it, I wouldn't be able to see so many inspiring photos that make me want to "up my game", and meet you fine folks. And, I take all criticism as positives because they help me grow as a photographer. One day, if I can be so lucky, when the "art" of my photography has plateau'd, I will try to remember that upgrading my gear isn't the answer.
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    They have to train their eyes more than their camera skills.
    The real thrust of Marc's piece is not science vs. art, as I read it; it's looking/feeling inwards to develop oneself (in the process of refining the discrimination of, and the meaning of, the light that hits the retina), in preference to the explicitly outward mental movement of examining/comparing/assessing the gear.

    And I am more in Vivek's camp re. his interpretation of 'science', but feel that Marc meant more to the engineering manifestation of it (and the more popular end because of that). Not to mention that the whole implicit structure of our culture and language is heavily influenced by the processes that all science engages in, so in one sense this juxtaposition is inevitable.

    For me personally, the tension between art and engineering is creative, and I have moved to a radical simplification of my own gear as a response to looking deeper in the way Marc discusses.
    Kit Laughlin, www.StretchTherapy.net/, www.KitLaughlin.com/bodypress/
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I've been saying similar things for the past year too. Nicely written.

    Similar in intent to the message promoted by CJ Chilvers in his "A Lesser Photographer - A Manifesto"


    My own journey towards simplicity and re-focusing on Photography has been interesting as my equipment kit expanded as I worked through to what equipment I was going to use. However, I'm very much settled on what I will use now and find myself becoming increasingly disinterested in discussions of the gear, what's new, etc. What I have is certainly good enough for my photo work.

    onwards!
    G
    Thanks. Actually the iPhone would be all you need. Was a very good reading.
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    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    "A Lesser Photographer - A Manifesto"
    . I just read it, and liked it. Good to be re-reminded of the basics, regularly!

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    The real thrust of Marc's piece is not science vs. art, as I read it; it's looking/feeling inwards to develop oneself (in the process of refining the discrimination of, and the meaning of, the light that hits the retina), in preference to the explicitly outward mental movement of examining/comparing/assessing the gear.

    And I am more in Vivek's camp re. his interpretation of 'science', but feel that Marc meant more to the engineering manifestation of it (and the more popular end because of that). Not to mention that the whole implicit structure of our culture and language is heavily influenced by the processes that all science engages in, so in one sense this juxtaposition is inevitable.

    For me personally, the tension between art and engineering is creative, and I have moved to a radical simplification of my own gear as a response to looking deeper in the way Marc discusses.

    Kit, Thanks for your elegant post!

    Marc, That is what I was trying to say that Kit did very nicely.

    Inner reflection is a heavy ( and an important) subject and isn't restricted to just photography.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    .....
    People want desperately to believe science will be their savor rather than doing the hard work required to become better ... and I think it is a mass epidemic of this sort of thing these days ... with all kinds of people hanging on every hint of yet more technical advancements that might spur on their own brain and creative spirit ... why some think that will happen when it didn't with past "game changing" tech I have no idea.
    -Marc
    Well said.

    It is a game mind versus heart. The mind is collectively under the drug of "objective progress", while the heart suffers badly from this reduction and separation of reality.

    Somewhere I was reading long time ago, that when an age has no more "grand ideas", or you could say the "grandeur" in vision and thinking, when people have narrower field of view and get stuck in details, an era will come to an end.

    I believe we will soon be ready to accept that outer progress is as useful as a great car with no fuel inside, when we do not develop at the same time inner vision, inner hearing and a substantially new form of communication and understanding.

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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    As I was preparing as I always do ...

    -Marc
    Here's an area that is unfortunately suffering from the galloping technological development. Many photographers, pros as well as amateurs, seem to believe that advanced technology can replace preparations. Sometimes I get the impression that people think technology can replace light as well. "No problem, I just use ISO 500,000 and can correct it in PS CSonemillion."

    To some extent, it's true of course. One can get away with things that wasn't even remotely possible just a few years ago. The downside is that, by not preparing properly, one loses the time spent with the subject and scenario in one's mind before the actual shoot. This is all the more a pity when one thinks about all the excellent tools available for preparations these days, like Google Maps, Wikipedia etc.

    Time is a factor that can't be replaced by technology, even though many photographers seem to think that. But the time it takes getting to know a model, or the time it takes waiting for that decisive moment or getting familiar with a scene is exactly the same with the newest, hottest digital wonder as it is with a view camera. Photography can be fast, but good photography is sometimes slow. Great art is almost always very, very slow, although the actual exposure time is just a fraction of a second.
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 21st April 2012 at 16:28.
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    Re: The art of Photography: Subverted by science?

    The art of photography is being subverted by technology, laziness and an ever declining standard for excellence. Kirk Tuck discussed this on his blog last week and I concurred for the most part with this posting:

    Kirk Tuck, who makes me think every now and then - and I hate that - has a very interesting article about camera equipment and the craft of photography. Go see his VSL posting Everything has Changed. To quote his thoughtful piece "We’re moving from a craft mentality which demanded a long and detailed mastery of all areas of a discipline into a post-craft world where the latest apps and styles take cultural precedence over perfectionism. " He contends that the 19th century craft sensibility is now gone and technology has brought us to instant production of mediocre quality. While I would not want to return to a time when leeches were the cure of choice for most medical maladies, photographers, especially those just starting out, would benefit from a more rudimentary approach to the art or craft or whatever you would want to call it. It is not possible to find a digital camera without auto-exposure, auto-focus, four hundred and twenty two scene settings and video functions. Hell, it's hard to find a cell phone without those features either. If one wants to learn any craft, one should start with the basics. For new photographers in particular, that means turning off all automatic functions and learning the relationships of aperture to shutter speed to ISO. Some will make that choice, others will leave the camera on full auto and start snapping.


    In my April Fool's send up of a new Leica M10.af, I invented a camera without an LCD screen. I said it would encourage a film like approach to photography. Like waiting for the film to come back from the lab, one would have to wait until the files were downloaded to the computer to view them. Were I to make a camera to teach with, it would have a "learn" button that would disable the screen, turn off AF, AE and motor drive functions and limit the amount of captures to 36. That would force a more thoughtful approach to creating a photograph, one would have to think before shooting - wouldn't that be refreshing? The digital shotgun approach to photography, shooting three hundred images to uncover one good one would be eliminated. As an alternative this could easily be done with an inexpensive used Minolta SRT 101 and a few rolls of Ilford FP4. This is all great in theory, but it probably won't catch on and the reason goes beyond photography, art or music, (diatribe alert) it goes to our inability as a society to delay gratification and our willingness to accept mediocrity as a standard.


    I have a number of theories as to when this started, one of which is with stock photography. Instead of paying photographers to create a unique image to fulfill a need, advertising agencies and magazines started using existing photography, later to be called stock shots, instead. The driving reason was of course cost. Why pay a photographer thousands of dollars for a unique, defining image when you can license use of an image for $400.00? The public wouldn't notice the difference. Many photographers started creating stock images and cataloging them to fill this need. To their credit, it least the images were to professional standards, many created in studio. Unfortunately the net result for many professional photographers became the loss of assignment work. It didn't stop there.


    As the demand for quantity in anything accelerates, quality often falls. For example, You have three hundred cable channels and you still fall back on one to watch well written Law & Order episodes every evening. Digital auto-everything cameras make it possible for anyone with ears to generate (notice I did not write create) marginally acceptable images, and there is always someone willing to use them. With royalty-free images now available, this further lowers our standards. CNN took this to the bottom of the pit with their "i-report" model, described as "Accepts video, photos and audio from a computer or cell phone. A compilation of news items submitted by citizen journalism". Translated this means, you give CNN shitty images so they do not have to send someone out to cover a story and they put your name next to the photo or video, you get 15 seconds of fame, instead of paying for something worthwhile. Last week a tourist was beaten in Boston while a bunch of people, none of which helped him, recorded the assault on their cell phones. The images of course, later broadcasted. This could launch me into a separate diatribe, but I limit these to one per posting.


    Leaving this path for awhile, one of Kirk's other points (among several good ones) is that by constantly upgrading our gear in pursuit of the shiniest technology, in essence, we no longer own our gear, we sort of rent it. We buy a $3,000 camera, keep it a year, sell it for $2,000 and buy the next $3,000 version. Cost of use of the camera for a year is $1,000, we are renting it for $85.00 a month.


    This brings me to our collective inability to delay gratification, something Nikon, Canon et al depend on. Mea Culpa. I am one of the worst offenders. Since going digital I have not kept a camera more than 18 months, even as these purchases are made in the belief that I have bought the best thing and it will serve me well for a long time. It could of course. My clients use my work in brochures and on web sites. Do you really think there would be any difference between the files generated with last years Nikon D3 and next years Nikon D5? Not for their purposes. I would guess the images of a five year old camera would serve as well.


    We should all get off this treadmill. We should be more craft oriented. We should aspire to use our gear to create images of higher and higher quality instead of sinking into the pool of mediocrity. We should give our credit cards and bank accounts a chance to exhale at the same time.


    I've been trying to follow my own advice. I've cut back from a 7 lens medium format system to a 3 lens version. I cancelled my pre-order on the Nikon D4 and I have spent more time learning the finer points of post-processing my images. It ain't easy, it is akin to trying to walk away from a perfectly prepared rack of dry-rub ribs. I hear the siren call of megapixels in the distance ... must resist.
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