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Thread: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

  1. #21
    Peter J. De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    I respect Mr. Barnbaum, but my reaction to his essay was very similar to Jay's.
    "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." - Helen Keller
    www.peterdesmidt.com/blog

  2. #22

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by jloen View Post
    Ah, the big environmentalist comes out in favor of using precious metals and timber products.
    It is a lot cleaner and greener than the computer industry, but by no means clean and green.

  3. #23
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    So what about his essay? Criticize it all you like, the essay is Bruce Barnbaum's opinion, and that's it. On the same page index for that article, he has essays about Alan Greenspan, the economy, GDP and RDP, the environment, and timber. Once again, so what?

    I bought his book, The Art of Photography. I was really disappointed with the section on darkroom printing. I can sum up the chapter with two words: "wing it." He works by approximation and experience. Publishing a book with so little information from such an experienced darkroom worker really devalued the book for me.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  4. #24

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    After the negative comments about Bruce's writings, I re-read it. I still find it to be a well thought out and even-handed article. It does not trash digital and even praises it. A bit wordy, perhaps, but without repeating himself too much.

    I can see where those who do not consider their own photography (traditional or digital) as being an artistic pursuit might miss Bruce's main point...or just see it as not important nor as meaningful. A valid POV, but not mine, so I appreciated Bruce's point -- "Thought can — and should — be injected into the digital process right from the start." And as he points out, this also holds true for traditional photography.

  5. #25
    Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    A lot of nonsense in that article. Barnbaum doesn't seem to know what he's talking about, he's just making things up.

    He talks about an "over-reliance on Photoshop to make everything right". Really? Serious digital photographers try hard to "get it right in camera" and minimize the need for post processing. Less serious one's upload straight to facebook without any post processing.

    students who approach photography digitally seem to universally ignore the idea of learning about light, about composition, about the relationship of forms in both black-and-white and color, and even fail to understand their own emotional relationship to the subject matter they have chosen
    He's either making this up or has really bad luck with student selection (and that latter alternative carries some obvious implications).

    there is a great deal of misinformation written about traditional photographic methods by noted digital practitioners
    Then he debunks one example of misinformation he found in a magazine and proceeds to devote many paragraphs to nonissues in the section titled "Problems with the Digital Approach".

    Bruce Barnbaum is a great photographer but here he's writing about stuff he just doesn't understand.
    Mike → "Junior Liberatory Scientist"

  6. #26

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Among many other logical fallacies, he consistently makes the false distinction between "digital photographers" and "traditional photographers", ascribing various and contradictory characteristics to each, when the reality is that more often than not, any given serious photographer probably belongs to both "categories". He seems to want us to believe a photographer's entire approach changes with his camera. Barnbaum should not write about digital photography from a position of authority, as he wants to do here; he's clearly out of his depths.

  7. #27

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    I do not get that impression from Bruce's article, Jay.

    None of what he wrote refers to "serious" photographers, but instead, about those who are just getting into photography -- and how the characteristics of the equipment and process can help or hinder the learning process if the person is not aware of the possible traps. The basic trap being using the shotgun effect instead of thinking about such things as the quality of light and composition before one clicks the shutter. He only points out that the trap is easy to fall into with digital because of relative ease and the large number of tools available to making corrections with digital after the fact. He does neglect to point out that much learning can be done by looking at one's results.

    His whole point is that digital photography requires as much thought and "seriousness" as film-base photography to be successful. In that respect he makes no distinction between film and digital users.

    Except for the last bit where his bias towards silver gelatin prints surfaces, he goes to some length to not be anti-digital. His bit about costs, etc, seem to be right on...at least from my experience of running a 20 enlarger darkroom for 20 years, and seeing the expense of maintaining and upgrading a 24 station Mac digital imaging lab (along with printer/ink and paper costs).

    But, that is just how I approached his writings...YMMD, and probably will.

  8. #28

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Bruce is right-on! There may be those who achieve greatness thru utilizing some aspect of digital; but it won't be achieved by merely being a proselytizer for the superiority of those digital methods/equipment. Get back to work in whatever is your chosen medium.

  9. #29

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    You might enjoy this recently updated article entitled New Thoughts on Digital Photography by photographer Bruce Barnbaum.

    A long-time large-format darkroom printer, he has recently made inroads into digital photography, and shares some astute and well-considered observations.
    Same old BS as before Barnbaum.

  10. #30

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Howk View Post
    ...Get back to work in whatever is your chosen medium.
    The best advise! Time for me to develop the last carbon print of the evening (early morning, actually...)

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