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Thread: My work vs Atget's (Part II)

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    I also like the workshop idea. Most people need feedback on their work. If possible try to find some local people to get together with and look at prints. I feel you can't see enough high quality work. Personally I just don't get the same feeling looking at web sites that I do with the real thing. Lot's of people are out there working day jobs and producing art. I'm retired now but I find that more time does not necessarily equate with better photography. Sometimes your best work comes in short bursts. Talking about found landscape images here. As others have said sometimes the equipment can become a burden. You should also use an easy camera sometimes. I like to take out an old Agfa folder loaded with Ilford d3200 and shoot anything that catches my eye. Loosens you up and some nice images result. If you can get beyond the belief that everything has to be an 8x10 contact print. You just have to go with the flow and enjoy the process. Making it into work or trying too hard never seems to work for me.

  2. #12

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)


    Please don't take me literally when I said follow your obsession to the ends of the earth --- I couldn't afford to go to Antarctica, but I was obsessed with it, so I made my "Imagining Antarctica" series here in the Northeast states. If something occupies your mind, you must find a way to express it.

    I strongly disagree with your suggestion that it may not be possible to make landscape pictures with a preconceived "vision." You do not have to set up a still life to have an idea and go looking for ways to fulfill it. The landscape work I respond to most is quite visionary and quite specific. Richard Misrach works in very specific series in a limited geographic area, the desert Southwest. He goes out with ideas, knows his country, and comes back with magnificent, heartbreaking pictures that have something to say about place and what happens to it when mankind makes mistakes. Sally Mann, likewise in the South. These people are very educated about their part of the country. I admire the printmaking of someone like Ansel Adams and he has some transcendent individual photographs, but I prefer seeing a body of images where some idea is being worked out. The idea could be psychological, political, sociological, but it should always also be personal. Again, if you don't have some connection, affinity, or obsession with the subject your pictures will be sterile.

    If you want to do landscape, set yourself a project having to do with your favorite kind of landscape, or kind of light. Examples: open treeless country only. Dawn pictures only. Closeups of different grasses only. Windy days only. The beaches of the Gulf of Mexico only.

    But don't pick one of those. Pick YOUR place, your weather, your time of day. Then shoot it till you get it right.

    Cheers, Sandy

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    I have two suggestions: (1) In addition to reading Edward Weston's "Daybooks," a very good suggestion that someone else made, also read "Art and Fear" by Ted Orland and someone else whose name I've forgotten; and (2) beg or steal the money and attend a John Sexton workshop. Any one will do since the purpose isn't necessarily technical knowledge (though you'll get plenty of that) but rather inspiration and instilling a renewed love for the medium which John will provide in abundance.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #14
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    hi aaron - have you ever tried to put into words what you want your pictures to be about? jotting down your thoughts might help you define what you want to accomplish. i also think it is a good idea to grab a small format camera and just shoot as much as you can. without the barrier of setting up a bigger camera whether it is 4x5 or 8x10, a small camera can sometimes help work things out. i tend to get "writer's block" and rather than try to force my self to shoot big negatives, i shoot 35mm or 110 film until it leaves. a change in "venue" helped me when i was wearing similar shoes to yours. rather than photograph people, buildings, and urban landscapes i was swallowed whole by my darkroom and printed things like glass with ink and wax, discarded plastic scraps i found on the street, anything and everything i could, so i could figure out what the heck i was doing. in the end (5 years later) it helped my printing technique, and helped me dig way down inside myself and figure things out - a little ... i have to admit nothing gets fixed right away - and like you, i wrestle with similar thoughts all the time. it isn't easy to work things out, but when you see a little bit of blue sky the sun sometimes follows, and that is a good thing . best of luck - john

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    I am much better now getting things out of my chest. So the general consensus we gather here is re-work approach, loosen- up, take a break, practice, attend workshops, show your work, improve techniques, plan, have fun, don't self-doubt, have a vision, move-on. Great Team! Thanks. I need a little clarification about having a "vision" which I'll post in a new thread.


  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jun 2000

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    Just like to add a couple of thoughts.

    I think you need to think back to what it is that drew you to the pursuit of photography in the first place. Was it a particular image, a specific photographer or body of work, a feeling you got during the process? Think about it, write it down and decide what you need to do to get back to that point. If your concerns are mostly with the quality of your work, seek out someone qualified who can give an honest critique of your work.

    Second, I don't know how old you are or if you are married with a family. If you do have a family, welcome to the reality for a lot of us. I have a career, family, financial responsibilities etc. Sometimes I am lucky to get 2 or 3 hours in the darkroom a week. I began to work with night phtography because 4am was about the only time I had to myself for awhile. I have always had a goal of producing at least one "fine" print a month, mounted and matted for the last 10 years. I have exceeded that number from tme to time and yet if someone asked me to provide material for a showing, I would only consider 20-24 as demonstrating my finest work to others. That is after exposing hundreds of rolls and sheets of film, going through boxes upon boxes of paper, and gallons and gallons of chemicals. And I have even sold a few prints over that time. Yet I consider 20 to 24 to be quite an accomplishment.

    Someone mentioned vision. I think vison evolves over time. It starts by photographing things you are interested in and love, maybe very familiar with or comfortable with. For me the camera is how I "write" about the world as a see it. Vision for me has evolved into using light, film and paper (or pixels someday) to present my unique take on the little pieces of the world I turn my camera on.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    My work vs Atget's (Part II)

    As another thought, do you like color? Taking LF color photographs can be rewarding. You might consider color negative, since you have greater latitude with negatives, and since color prints from negatives can be better than color R-type prints from transparencies. I've gotten some great color shots with which I'm very pleased.

    You might try one of the Fuji, daylight corrected, four-layer films. I liked Agfa Optima, but it's no longer available in 4x5 sheets. Others may also have suggested films that they would recommend.

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