Henri Cartier-Bresson "Eliminated"

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by inneist, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. inneist

    inneist TPF Noob!

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    I'd vote this one Photographic Discussions Thread of 2006.

    Someone posted a Cartier-Bresson's photo without naming it, later the photo was voted out of the competition pool! But the discussion ensued was what made it most interesting:

    Here's the link on flickr:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrerabelo/70458366
     
  2. inneist

    inneist TPF Noob!

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    Really, I'm curious, to what extent the sharpness of a photo means to you personally in street photography?
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    "Had Cartier-Bresson had the technology we do now he would have probably taken a completely different shot, especially knowing the audience he was shooting for."

    Good grief. I had to stop reading after I threw up in my mouth a little there.
    Heck, I enjoy Teru Kuwayama, Michael Ackerman, and Paul Himmel, so I certainly don't mind a little blur.
     
  4. Meh. I'm a huge fan HCB, and his whole body of work. I also like that shot a lot, but I don't LOVE it. That whole thread is a trap and field of landmines. On one hand it's an amateur photo site where people try to help each other out, on the other hand you have some pompuous attitudes. I bet one or two of those kids love HCB because they were taught that he was a master. Show the same kid a Steichen and they'll hate it. Bah.

    There's a link that keeps circulating, here as well, about funny (mock) online photographers' comments about various famous shots...

    Ah, found it:
    http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/06/great-photographers-on-internet.html
     
  5. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    No kidding, he was probably using "high speed" ISO 25 film with a "fast" f/3.5 lens.

    I don't do a lot of street photography, but I try to consider each photo (other folks' and mine) on it's own. I would say that with the majority of my photos I am trying to achieve sharp focus of the subject, but sometimes softness, or just being plain out of focus works too. I've been doing a lot more low light, available light photography in the last few years, and giving up the flash has meant that for most shots I'm giving up sharp focus too, but the look of real world lighting more than makes up for it.

    I find that I'm discarding fewer photos these days just because they are unintentionally soft or even badly out of focus (sometimes a shot comes at me when I'm not ready, and rather than miss it trying to get perfect focus, I take the shot when it has to be taken no matter where the focus is). If the content is strong it can overcome technical failings.

    I took a photo of a groom and his father at a reception this summer that was pretty soft (unintentionally, I just goofed it). But I really got a sense of emotion from it, so I delivered it to the client. It was just one of 200 reception photos, most of which were in better focus, so I figured it didn't matter much. I got three long, praising emails about that photo from the bride, the groom, and the groom's mother. All said it was their favorite shot from the whole wedding, and probably the best photo of the groom and his father ever. No one mentioned that it was soft.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Here's some quotes from HCB regarding sharpness...

    Awesome video with Charlie Rose interviewing HCB.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4074157481455007235
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Sonny: You think Wes is God, don't you.
    Donald: No, not God, Just an ordinary man. Maybe a little ahead of his time, but just an ordinary man.
    Sonny: Wes is an a**hole.
    Donald: Blasphemy! Oh, you'll smoke a turd in hell for that!

    The Survivors (1983)

    Yeah, I agree that there is a tendency to think that everything someone does is great just because they've become known for being great. That's turning off your brain. But at the same time, the guy obviously knows how to make a great photo. At that point, if he creates a shot that someone doesn't like, it's more about taste than anything else, because he knows all about the choices he's made.
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'll have to watch it later, but thanks for the link!
     
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    I look at this from a different angle.

    There is a sharp divide between "pure" art and art that appeals to the populace. It's most apparent in music, where a large chunk of "modern" compositions seem absolutely hideous to 99% of people without a college degree in music, but there's a degree of truth in it in photography as well. There's a difference between pure art and stuff that sells. This particular HCB shot may qualify as pure art, but it's something that if I had shot I would have without hesitation immediately deleted in the camera.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I agree that knowing about how to read a photo can help you appreciate images that you would otherwise not take a second look at, but in this case, I liked the image even before I knew much. I was just starting to learn about "what came before" when I came across this and it stuck in my mind. It's definitely a taste thing; the reasons I like it are more visceral than just art knowledge.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Just looking around the internet I've found several other examples of this HCB photo, and they all are sharper (except for the moving cyclist) with more contrast than the file posted on Flickr, but even soft I like the image. Then again I have a thing for both bicycles and stairs as subject matter.

    Some of the people who dismissed it may have a completely different opinion were they to view an actual print. Many of my photos look significantly different as 8"x10" and larger prints than they do at 500 pixels across.
     

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