Once upon a time, ...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Torus34, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    By now, my comments have pretty much identified me as an old curmudgeon who thinks that many beginning photographers are too easily dazzled and seduced by technological 'bling' and not involved nearly enough in exploring and mining the mother lode of composition and lighting. [Hrrumpff!]

    Seems, though, as if a similar situation was noted in the early 1800's(!) in the world of painting. I ran into the following last night:

    "In the nineteenth century Prud'hon* wrote: "There is too much concern with how a picture is made and not enough with what puts life and soul into it."" [The Pleasures of Painting. Adrian Hill, Pitman, London, 1953.]

    Perhaps I'm not entirely alone.

    *Pierre-Paul Prud'hon [French Neoclassical Painter, 1758-1823]
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The way I see it if you want to be able to compose an image well (either with paints, pens or light) you first have to have a good control and understanding of the making process. You can have the best eye in the world and the best vision, but if you can't tell your ISO from your aperture then its going to cripple your work. People need that grounding early on in camera operation - the technical side - in order to be able to control their shots and imprint their vision.

    I also think that for many in photography especailly, the idea of controlling a scene, of imprinting a vision onto it and creating something beyond just a captured moment in time takes a good long while to come to realise. A lot of people approach photography from the mentaility of "see - capture - record" it shapes a lot of peoples early works and might be this "lower grade" of photography that some people lookd down on.
    However its all still skill building, its also a person coming to terms with the level of their interest, those that sit back and feel proud will stop at that level; those who sit back and feel proud, but also have that nagging that it could have been better are likley to start to question their work. Again this will start in the technical side, but eventually it moves closer towards the compositional.

    I think I am waffling a bit now, but my point is lots of newbies are going to start in the beginning - that means ISO, aperture, focus, shake, tripods etc... The more they progress and get aid with that the quicker they will come to start to appreciate the element of composition
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, my goodness! I'm not that much of a curmudgeon that I don't recognize the need for technical mastery to support artistic endeavor. Painters are taught the color wheel and a concern for the characteristics of brushes and pigments along with sketching and perspective.

    My concern is that in photography the one [equipment technicalities] tends to take precedence over t'other [the making of a picture that 'says' something.]

    Although I've not done this, I suspect that a tabulation of newbie questions will show a heavy skew toward concern over things 'mechanical' as opposed to things aesthetic.

    A tabulation of C&C responses which separate the 'highlights are blown out' type from the 'crop off the left half-inch' type would also prove interesting.
     
  4. Blank

    Blank TPF Noob!

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    Firstly, I got a joke (and for all of you sensitive folk, switch off right here).
    A bull and a calf were on a hill overlooking a herd of cows. The calf says...."Hey dad, let's go down there and give it to one of them cows" and the bull replied..."Why dont we walk down there and give it to all of them!"

    As soon as I saw this thread, thats what I thought. Photographers with decades of experience are a very different breed to "book knowledged" college kids.

    I think i'm right in the middle, i'm 40 (I can learn from a book, but I dont want to read the damn thing from cover to cover, i'll get the general idea then trial and error). I lost Torus' OP when you mentioned something in the 1800's and Overread, you lost me at..."The way I see it..." (kidding of course!).

    But, the thought process of different generations is very extreme. Older generations didn't use books and technical data sheets and see a 30 second commercial from Canon or Nikon or Pentax or whoever, about all the great things this new body can do. They just went out and experimented.

    Sorry to break it to you 20 something college kids, but your thought process is not respected by older people and the simple reason for this is, you come across as know it all book educated and to older people who cut their teeth with no college or media art school, or whatever it is out there, you ain't gonna teach an ole' dog new tricks.

    Is it right, probably not, but it is what it is.

    This reply will be picked apart and quoted and highlighted, but fact is exactly what I said.

    Now leave me alone with my lap blanket and crackling fire or i'll call the cops.
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Torus34 I almost totally agree with you. Then again, with over 30 years of photography under my belt, I come from a time when the body was not doing much more than holding the lens and film together :lol:

    My best selling art photo was shot with a brownie with a scratched up lens :lol: So much for technology. At the same time, I have to admit that my commercial work (except for journalism) was shot with either Hasselblad or 8x10 gear.

    Not to put technology down but it will never by itself make a great photo. And a technically great photo is a very different animal from a GREAT photo.

    Having top gear with no understanding of the basics of design is not going to get anyone anywhere. And if you don't even have a "vision," you may as well forget it as an artist. And most well known commercial photographers do have an artistic view of things.

    But, in my opinion, it has nothing whatsoever to do with age. There has always been people with money to throw at equipment with very little interest in the end result. Mostly because they just don't get it.

    But one thing that I believe has changed is our concept (or understanding) of quality. And not just in photography.

    But they are some people here who seem willing to learn and if I can reach one of those, it's not so bad.

    Blank and I have been helping one person design a poster and in less than one day, the thing has come alive... What else can you want?
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I love it! This joke is basically the underlying theme of Dennis Hopper's masterpiece "Colors" depicting gang life in L.A.

    I believe Photography unlike other art forms is a marriage of art and science. Some photographers like the incomprable Edward Muybridge concentrate solely on the science. Others concentrate solely on the art. One of the few truths in photography is that the technical side must become second nature. Takes a long time to get there and in todays technical society it is kind of fun.

    Of course this battle has been going on since day one. People form their own relationship with photography. Not like one way is better then the other. Just different. Gear heads are not missing out on anything. They are simply forming their relationship with the art. Who knows what is in store as time goes by.

    Love & Bass
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've got a few years on you (49 this month), and feel I am in a great place between old and new "methods".

    I have a photography specific library that touches over 200 books and magazines and around 30-40 DVDs. I've read/watched/studied/practiced everything at least 5 times and often go back to refresh. I spend a minimum of 6 hours a week and 20 hours per weekend in photography. I mentor with a good wedding photographer and am VERY comfortable in the computer world.

    Having a mentality of old and new together just seems to offer the best of both worlds for me and is a ton of fun. :)
     
  8. Sachphotography

    Sachphotography TPF Noob!

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    I am 24. I am young. Therefore natural implications would put me in the ignorant tech crazy category. This is not so. I have been shooting for almost ten years. My first camera was a 1969 Canon FT I love that camera. I still do. Though it doesn't always love me back. I have read my share of books. I have had my share of experience. I believe that the quality of my work speaks for itself. I wrote an article on how to take a great picture, Not a good one. A great one. So many people forget that photography, like all art, is a capturing of Emotion. I see a 10 year old kid whose daddy spent 10 grand on him shooting birds and getting great pictures due to the technology afforded him. That kid doesn't know a single thing about what it takes to make a Great picture. All he knows is how many FPS his camera shoot and how many mega pixels it has. Anybody can spend all the money in the world on good equipment and get a good picture but how many of those pictures will be remembered 10 years from now. I can't say I have made a great picture yet but I love what I do. I know the people I shoot and places I see will be captured for the future.
    I think that people forget photography is art. They think it is more about having the latest gear and shooting the latest trends. The guys in whom my respect is laid, are the men who shoot the same way with the same equipment they did 40 years ago. The Men who truly capture the emotion and feeling the way they were. Am I there yet.... well I don't know. Will I ever be there... Maybe. Until then.................................
    My article is posted under my articles on my website. "How to take a Great picture"


    Daniel Sach
    Sachphotography Fine Art Photography The homepage of Daniel Sach and his photography Company
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Amusing, but not accurate. :lol: I have a personal library of 1,000 books in several languages, studied the technical aspects of television and film and taught electronic media at an art school. The ole' dog taught new tricks to the young ones.

    I do not find that some of the college kids sound book educated at all. Quite the contrary, if some of them did more reading, their responses would be a little more coherent. Their photos, instead of being without a centre of interest and with basic technical weaknesses, would indicate that they have read and understood the basics of photography. As a matter of fact, the questions some ask, show that they have not even read the camera manual, let alone any other photo book.

    skieur
     

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