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Thread: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

  1. #51

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    A purer view of that photograph but not a better sense of the experience of actually being there at that time interacting with the landscape. In my case I am far more interested in getting the feel of a place rather than just an accurate representation of what it looked like.
    That's what I'm trying to say--by a "purer view of the photograph" I'm trying to say that another person might see the photograph--not the scene--with all the whatever you put into it...but not with all the other stuff that you feel when you see the photograph but which you did not actually get into the photograph. By not seeing the original scene or being these at the time, all the other photographer has to react to is what is in the photograph, both what is depicted and how it is depicted.

    Just pointing out that the photographer my "see" more than is actually in the photograph because they are inadvertently remembering things associated with the shooting of the photograph, things that weren't captured in the image. It' all mixed up.

    Something worth thinking about.

    --Darin

  2. #52

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    In my case I am far more interested in getting the feel of a place rather than just an accurate representation of what it looked like.
    I actually find that I rarely want a truly "accurate" representation of any scene.

    My photography is not about trying to present an unbiased account of what was there or what happened, that's not my roll; I'm not doing this as a reporter, I'm doing this to tell stories. For example I've worked weddings where there was obvious tension in the room, but even with that tension hanging there it was still my job to show a happy crowd and couple.

    My photographic intent is nearly always to manipulate or encourage the viewer into an "ahhh", "eww", "giggle", "tear", or "wow". My intent is to create an idealized, sanitized, surprising, expanded, or simplified version of a memory or myth or dream. Whether I succeed at this or not, is a completely different matter.

    I do find that getting composition, lighting, timing, exposure, and focus right at the time of the shot are my most important tools. I find that when I get these five right it actually gets pretty hard to make a "bad" print from the resulting negative. A whole range of interpretations seems to become very workable. If I miss one or more of those five things, making a good print becomes a real chore, if even possible.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  3. #53

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    For the same reason you don't have expert photographers making the negatives.

    Would you load your camera, then hand it to someone else to shoot the roll, yet claim the shots to be yours?

    - Leigh
    With me it is $. I'd love to have someone else do my work. I'm years behind even looking at my photos.Although this is digital work. film work only a few months behind cause I'm not doing much film anymore.

  4. #54
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    The intent of the photographer is more important than image quality in Facebook selfies, but galleries may demand better printing than the photographer has the time or ability to produce. To return to AA's analogy, many have tried to complete Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. If any have succeeded, we at last know why Schubert didn't bother to finish it himself.

  5. #55
    Michael Alpert
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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Jeez AA's statement is about as simple and clear as one can get. . . .
    Kirk, It is obvious that AA was giving himself license to interpret his own negatives in various ways. That is clear and simple. But the statement is also a misapplied metaphor. And, more importantly, it says nothing about aesthetic quality. That's what is being debated (or at least hinted at) in this thread. I feel that Adams's formula unintentionally gives license to less accomplished photographs to engage in self-deception under the rubric of "performance." As a teacher, I am sure you have seen this problem many times (I assume that you are not one of those teachers who sees every misdirection as "experiment" or "performance"). In any case, I feel that "performance" is best defined as a public event (like a musical performance) where an artist interacts with an audience. Gallery exhibits and book publications are two situations where photographer-artists perform.

  6. #56

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    The intent of the photographer is more important than image quality in Facebook selfies, but galleries may demand better printing than the photographer has the time or ability to produce. To return to AA's analogy, many have tried to complete Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. If any have succeeded, we at last know why Schubert didn't bother to finish it himself.
    I think it must be remembered though that we are not talking about music, printing isn't nearly as complex or as demanding a skill. IMO most anyone with the will and the interest to print well can get quite respectable results that a gallery would be happy with in pretty short order.

    I'm not saying that a newby could print any negative throw in front of him nicely by the end of tomorrow, but we aren't playing live at the Met either. If it takes us a month to figure out how to print a certain negative so what, once we know we can knock out 10 or a 100 at will.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  7. #57

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Mark, I would disagree with you.

    First of all, if a printmaker approaches printmaking as an artist, then there is certainly a lot of skill they can develop over time. Printing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. For some it isn't part of their aesthetic. For me, it definitely is. To suggest anyone past a beginner could make the prints I make for my work, is simply not true. So much so as to be offensive, or to be ignorant of what the possibilities are. Printmaking is definitely an art.

    Second, galleria owners (and museum curators) are no judge of anything. On occasion you find someone with some sense about things, and its great. Most of them are not artists, and its unfortunate they are in the positions they are in, with respect to what gets shown, who is "good" or "bad" at this, etc. They are second only to the philosophers, who should be lined up and disposed with. Photography is in ruins as a result of their efforts in the past 30-40 years.

    Third, I know the quote is from AA, but we ought to stop talking only about his work. We should take a break. I have nothing against him or his style, but there are other photographers. It is essential, if you are going to learn to print well, I think its imperative that you look at other photographers work besides AA. He was great in his style, but there are a lot of other styles to look at. My own aesthetic journeys took me back to the 19th Century, looking at the prints of Frederick Evans, Cameron and Sutcliffe. I moved up to the PhotoSecession, and was amazed to find brilliant work by a lot of different photographers, from Stieglitz and Clarence White to Alvin Langdon Coburn, Demachy, Karl Struss, Baron deMeyer and others, too numerous to mention. This was an incredibly rich time, and there were a lot of great printmakers.

    By focusing only on AA, we miss out on the discussions of some of these people, who deserve to be remembered. I think its important that if one wants to call one's self "educated", that one should look at the work of more than one other photographer... While naiveté can be novel and fresh, it is the educated photograph that has more depth and meaning. It's why many of us choose a large format camera, to slow down and actually consider what we are photographing, in a hundred different contexts. It is my view that education is the only way to succeed.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  8. #58

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Larry the point I'm making is that Silver Gelatin prints can be well exposed, the contrast nicely adjusted, they can be clean and clear of dust, in sharp focus, properly developed and fixed; all-in-all made very presentable by simply being careful, asking for a little advice when stumped, and practicing a bit; I'm not suggesting that they can become an artist with the print medium in a month.

    I don't disagree that a lifetime could be spent improving and exploring the art of printmaking and all it's possibilities.

    What successful Gallery owners/operators are generally good at is understanding their markets, that's their job. They know when something is good enough, when a product has reached a level of quality that their markets will buy. They also understand that while print quality, framing, matting, et al is important and is not to be ignored; interesting content trumps great paper.

    I do tend to agree with you about Ansel getting too much attention too.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  9. #59

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    Larry the point I'm making...
    Who's Larry?

  10. #60

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    Re: If the negative is the score and the print the performance....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Who's Larry?
    Ahh, technology is a wondrous thing.

    My apologies to Lenny.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

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