Editorial comment..ok to delete

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by mysteryscribe, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You know they have all these new things now. Digital camera, photoshop and a hundred clones and pieces of it, schools out the wazoo even, and Forums to discuss photography and yet we still advise younger photographers to find a working pro to observe.

    When I started in 1969, there was a photographer in town who was pretty old by then. He was at least seventy and still working. Photographers did that back then. Finding a kid like me was their retirement plan.

    His problem was that he needed help with the grunt work. He also didn't want to pay for it. He called the local technical school and spoke with an instructon. The instructor was mine. Her name was Barbara and we were friends as well as teacher student. I got the first chance at the job.

    I had a 'real' job at the time so I jumped all over it. It was to carry his bags and load his cameras on location jobs. He ran his studio during the week but did weddings and company picnic kind of things on the weekend. I would have loved to take over his studio, but he made it plain from the start it wasn't going to happen.

    What I didn't realize at the time was how valuable those few months were to me. Flint taught me how to learn and that's a fact. Barbara was teaching me the basics and Flint was teaching me how to learn the practical things that make a photographer work.

    Barbara had me studying classical composition while Flynt taught me to look at photography as a craft, not an art. I was a ball of confusion for a long time till I found my place in it all. What that place is isn't up for debate as flynt was fond of saying. "It is what it is, no more no less."

    The point is that I was damn lucky and hate that everyone doesn't have that kind of experience.

    I used to have a copy of Edward Weston's day books. They were really a journal of sorts. In it there is this story about weston teaching a young photographer toward the end of his life. They were in a deserted mining town rumaging through the old buildings. Weston walked into a deserted cabin, the student was standing there looking lost.

    "There's a picture here somewhere," she said. "I just don't see it."

    Weston walked over picked up a single ragged, discarded boot and hung it from a nail.

    That discription of a boot on a nail was enough, I didn't even need to see it to know what it was. It's the kind of thing I took to heart. Somethings are almost a part of genetic memory. You don't need to go on forever about them. In the words of Flynt "They just are what they are, no more no less."

    Feel free to ignore this since it isn't part of the mainsteam thinking these days. Just remembrances of an old man who needs to go shoot a pin hole or something.
     
  2. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Living in Snapshot reality.
    I envy you. The closest I've got is this and a couple other forums where I can ask questions, and of course, google. There's a lot of information on the internet, and some very knowledgeable and talented people on these fora, but it's all still no substitute. Oh, and Ed, down at the photo lab, who offers observations, comments, and anectdotes--he's like my patron when it comes to photography. Even so, as it stands, it's taken a lot of trial and error, and a lot of examination, reflection, and evaluation, both of my work and my response to it. Technically, artistically, and emotionally. I think I'm getting a little better, though, especially with all the help I get here.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,484
    Likes Received:
    0
    I too envy you having a real teacher, especially one called Flint. For some reason I imagine him being like Robert Shaw in Jaws ("Wedding shoot? I'll get yer wedding shoot!") or Jack Palance, chain-smoking and swearing casually. I'd love to have learnt from someone like that, or maybe from a photographic Sensei... "First, you must photograph a fence". OK so I've just seen too many movies, but still I think it would be neat to have that kind of 'apprenticeship'.

    As for your photographic methods and philosophy, I wouldn't worry too much about it being obscure or unpopular. Some of us have no excuse; having grown up with wonderful developments like autofocus cameras and APS film, and with digital now looking increasingly tempting, we still insist on inhaling dangerous chemicals (sometimes photographic ones too) and shooting with equipment older than our parents. For many here your work has an extra level of interest, because you don't just go out and buy whichever old camera is fashionable in order to be 'retro'; you even build them yourself. That's something many of us brought up with complicated computerised cameras can't even begin to contemplate. And even as the voice of convenience and the gear fetishist in my head are telling me to get an expensive digital, I feel that an approach like yours would make me think more about the image and less about the equipment used to capture it. Maybe occasionally we should all go shoot with a pinhole... (Or maybe I need to stop writing posts at 3 in the morning).
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Go for the pin hole keep writing. It's how you understand yourself. It has helped me to define myself.

    The pin hole is great fun by the way.,
     
  5. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Living in Snapshot reality.
    I doubly concur. There's nothing quite as satisfying as overcoming the frustration of estimating composition, winging exposure, tweaking development, and manipulating a contact print under an enlarger when you can't see the image your manipulating.

    PH+PN=ROCKS!
     
  6. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You know it wasn't just Flynt and by the way he was a small man with a Napoleon complex. Very dictatorial, but you can learn from anyone even a man with a pin hole camera.

    The funny thing is simultaneously, Barbara, who had never sold a photograph in her life, and Flynt, who's idea of great art was those picture of kids with huge eyes, are both pounding me with information.

    I was working five days a week as a construction news service reporter, and at night listening to Barbara explain about composition, light, dark, texture and the like. Then on the weekend Flynt would tell me to forget all that crap, cause people only bought picture of themselves and their family.

    "Learn how to shoot what the customer wants, and forget that other crap," he would say.

    Usually that was in response to, "Why don't we bring in the family cat for a shot of the whole family."

    "Because when fluffy is gone, there will be ginger and you are dating the picture with fluffball in it." He would respond that way or something like that. No wonder I was so confused.

    Of course Barbara had my attention on a much deeper level than Flynt. So my very first photo decision was to join the local arts counsel as an artist member. Now THAT was a humbling experience. After two shows I had some idea of what it must have felt like to be a black man in the south. Imagine if you will what I thought were good photographs hanging beside local painter's work in an exhibit.

    The visitors just walking right past without looking was humbling but the arrogance of the high art (roflmao) local painters was a trip. If I hadn't been such a tough guy I would have cried. As it was I kicked a lot of furniture around. After all I was only 24 years old and still thought life was fair.

    And Flynt didn't help. Every damn weekend he asked how the art was going, then laughed his ass off when I told him. The man had no compassion, but he was a hell of a craftsman. I wanted to drop that apprenticeship a hundred times but of all people Barbara kept me hanging in there.

    Flynt wasn't known outside of our town, but he was respected in the local circles. So I kept on letting him laugh at me while I lugged his crap around. In exchange, after about six months, he let me shoot the reception pictures. He would float in after the groups, make an appearance, then slip out a side door. I was left to shoot the cake cutting and flower demolision deby aka bouquet toss.

    I learned to make those shots, as well as how to get that disqusting punch down without making faces at the bride or the caterer. I also met a lot of chicks lol... If it wasn't for the chicks and barbara I would never have made it with Flynt. I paid my dues roflmao
     
  7. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Living in Snapshot reality.
    So that's what I'm doing wrong! I was wondering why all the women weren't flocking to me... :lmao:
     
  8. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You got to get yourself a bigger camera lol...

    At the encampment my camera was a big a hit as the actors. I had to leave so they could get their speil going.

    Ya probably didn't know this but some days god looks over your should and forces you to screw up just to save your butt for you.

    For example I made a comment on a portrait. Said something was distracting. The shooter informed that it was supposed to be that way. Of course before I could shut myself up, I had typed, "That's fine but it is still distracting for me."

    Now that was a stupid thing to do. My second comment would not have helped the trigger puller at all. It would only have made me appear to be a pompus jerk (don't say it)... It was off before I could stop myself.

    Then I came back to see how much trouble I was in. the post wasn't there. I had closed the page without publishing it. I was so thankful. I gave that some thought and decided that it should be harder to post here. Something like a twenty minute display with flashing signs 1.) ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO SAY THIS.?..2.) HAVE YOU THOUGHT WHAT EFFECT THIS WILL HAVE ON THE RECEIVER OF IT? 3.) IS THIS TRULY MEANT TO HELP THE TRIGGER PULLER. OR IS IT JUST AN EGO THING FOR YOU? 4.) IS THIS EVEN IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO WASTE THE BITS ON?....... IF YOU ANSWER THE CORRECT WAY TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS COME BACK IN THIRTY MINUTES MORE AND YOU CAN HIT POST.
     
  9. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    One night during my very early days in photography, I was sitting in the apartment, doing I dont remember what, when Mattie aka Barbara (totally different story) burst into the room. She appeared to be angry since she threw a book at me.

    "I hate teaching." She informed me. Since it wasn't the first time, and since I dodged things she had thrown before, I went back to whatever I was doing. Probably watching a black and white tv.

    "Aren't you going to ask what's wrong," she demanded.

    "Why bother? you are going to tell me anyway." I did smile, since I wasn't at all put off by her anger.

    "One of those ******* middle-aged house wives tonight said to me, 'I only signed up to make better shots of my grandson. I don't care about all the rest of this. Just tell me what camera to buy and how to shoot his picture.' Damn it Deke, that isn't why I teach."

    "No love, you teach for the 600 bucks, so that you can paint all day and complain about not being appreciated after class."

    NEVER TRY TO BE LOGICAL WITH AN ANGRY WOMAN.
     
  10. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Living in Snapshot reality.
    ROFLMFAO!!
     
  11. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    What is truly weird is that I can look at the titles of the posts here and flash on things old timers said to me. That one was a memory sparked by tell me what camera to buy as a title in another thread. It's a never ending supply of material here. Of course I'm sure there are plenty who wish I would just shut up.

    Then again, by now everyone knows pretty much what they will get from my posts. It it upsets them, I guess they deserve what they get lol.
     
  12. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    6,071
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    in the middle of north carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yesterday I got an email from my brother. He is one of those compulsive emailers. I get jokes and pictures from him all the time. Since most are humorous I just laugh and delete them. I have to admit sometimes without even reading them. Most are forwarded from one of his friends.

    The one yesterday was forward from someone he knows, from a different lifetime I think. Anyway it had a link to a picture framer's site. The originator had his ART work there. He had about a dozen picture of birds. Now I don't know about anyone else, but a bird is a bird is a bird, unless he has a rattlesnake hanging from his mouth. Good or bad doesn't make any difference at this point.

    My point goes like this. It is so inexpensive to have a presence on the net, that guys use your ego against you. I was once looking to have a novel published. So I tried the print media without much success. I was brand new to the net, so I went looking. The first thing I did was to disregard the pay me a grand and I'll send you ten copies of your book sites. Also the send me a c note and I'll put it on the net to sell for you.

    What I did find was a man who would let me upload it. Make it available to my many, many (both) fans to buy on cd from him. We split the sale price. Sales were dismal to say the least. He did no pormotion, at all, of any of his books, nor did the other guys who charged real money to host your book.

    He made his money from your friends and family buying the one or two cd's. I did it once for the "Look Ma, I got a book published" feeling. After that I sold a few on ebay on my own. I just wandered off the subject, sorry.

    The point is that now there are millions and millions of pieces of photo art for sale on the web. This guy is selling my brother's friend's pieces for a cut and more likely I'm sure, hoping to frame it at full price. Now if he sells friend's family one each on the "Look Ma" list he has a no harm no foul kind of thing going. He doesn't have to have an Ansel Adams photographer. As long as someone buys a pic or two he comes out smelling like a rose.

    So now the net is going to be flooded with sites that sit there with images, just like my web site sits there with my images. Does this water down or add to the Craft. I have no idea, just a whole lot of mediocrity out there these days, but maybe we get what we deserve. It's gonna be too few dollars chasing tooooooo much artwork I think.

    If I were back in the business, I would be even more convinced of Flynt's statement. People buy pictures of themselves or their family and friends. Everything else is a shot in the dark. I suppose with the massive amount of pictures on the net, the dark room has gotten larger.

    Just one old man's opinion....
     

Share This Page