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Thread: Ever felt in the minority?

  1. #51

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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    Everytime I try to talk to my friends about the zone system, especially its relevance to today's photography including using it with digital cameras I get a beat down if you will about how it was good then but not now, how it doesn't work today and how digital is so much better than film, etc. What I find interesting is my friends who started in film are the most anti film anything, although they try to say they like film, it is obvious from their arguments they have rejected film anything.

    Things like the zone system won work for digital, which I categorically reject, the adoption of expose to the right for digital, which I also categorically reject, but try to show them how it can work for digital they almost get angry for even suggesting such heresy.

    Or maybe it is just me, as the older I get, the mo e I am flinging I am rejecting technology and yearning for the "old" ways. I wish I could apprentice with an artist from the past.

    Another thing I find is that old school photographers were smart people. They had to be to keep there equipment running in good order. I just overhauled my Durst CLS450 he d I just b ought with a Laboratory CE 1000. That was kinda fun.
    Why worry what others think? Just use the knowledge and experience you have built up over the years to further your work.

  2. #52
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Why put up with it? I'm capturing nearly eighty square inches of photons at a pop; they might be bagging less than one square square inch, or even much less. I can rub that fact in their face. Or I can just whack em with a sixteen pound maple tripod with spike feet like I do to nettles laying across the trail. But the fact is, I nearly always get respect for what I do, even if it's just because my gear looks cool. I'm not personally impressed, however, by someone rattling off Zone dogma. It's like talking about the moon. Everyone knows it's there; no need to make a religion about it. It's just one tool among many.

  3. #53

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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Ever felt in the minority??? NO...

    Cool is for fools, and am finding my own path to discovery...

    No minority complex here...

    Steve K

  4. #54
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeyT View Post
    Scanners can easily chew through any negative density
    I do not think that is true.

  5. #55
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Steve, you are in the minority from the start because you take photography seriously. I mean, seriously as an expressive medium.

    I joke that 99.9% of people have never heard of fine art photography, and the other 0.1% are photographers. This is only a slight
    exaggeration.

    Part of the problem is that images are ubiquitous these days, and almost always about the subject matter. Images that reflect
    "what else it is", to use Minor White's phrase, confuse those who are expecting something else. This is not to disparage technical,
    commercial, or journalistic photography. They use the same basic technology but the purpose and intention is different and
    perfectly valid in its way.

    Follow the work, it gives you all the feedback you need. You will know when it is true and yours alone. Occasionally,
    you may even see certain others get it too.

    Having said that, seeking out the comments of accomplished photographers whose work you respect can be helpful
    to seeing what is in plain sight (or lacking) in your work, especially when you are starting out. Even then, you have a right to decide which
    advice and comments to take to heart and which to leave aside.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  6. #56

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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew O'Neill View Post
    I'd change friends. Friends should be supportive. Used to have a friend who shot film then switched to digital and became anti film. Got tired of him calling me a loser on line because I still use film. Why would I want to hang around with someone like that?
    Why would people call other people losers because of what kind of photography they prefer? That's just ridiculous and not what I call a friend.

  7. #57

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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    Everytime I try to talk to my friends about the zone system, especially its relevance to today's photography including using it with digital cameras I get a beat down if you will about how it was good then but not now, how it doesn't work today and how digital is so much better than film, etc. What I find interesting is my friends who started in film are the most anti film anything, although they try to say they like film, it is obvious from their arguments they have rejected film anything.

    Things like the zone system won work for digital, which I categorically reject, the adoption of expose to the right for digital, which I also categorically reject, but try to show them how it can work for digital they almost get angry for even suggesting such heresy.

    Or maybe it is just me, as the older I get, the mo e I am flinging I am rejecting technology and yearning for the "old" ways. I wish I could apprentice with an artist from the past.

    Another thing I find is that old school photographers were smart people. They had to be to keep there equipment running in good order. I just overhauled my Durst CLS450 he d I just b ought with a Laboratory CE 1000. That was kinda fun.
    I find retired people are the worst about lecturing me on why digital is better. People who shot film most of their lives. Young people tend to love film these days, and everything else "analog". Young people were brought up in a digital world and for whatever reason, prefer the grain of film and the crackle and hiss of vinyl. They love to lecture me on why analog is better. The truth is, they're both better at different things.

    I shoot both, film and digital. I will say that I don't see much use in 35mm film these days due to digital. But medium and large format film still has it's place. I embrace technology. I also embrace the "old ways". I especially embrace the combination of the two. I don't get caught up in the technology debate. They're just tools. You pick the right tool for the job. Two weeks ago I went on a road trip and stopped off at Carlsbad Caverns. I took my digital camera with me in there, because the low light and terrain made more sense with a digital camera. When I went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I pulled out my Speed Graphic mostly. But I did run into some wildlife, for which I went back to digital. They move fast, and I don't have time to set up and meter a large format camera before they're gone. Plus, I don't have any ultra long lenses for my 4x5.

    Young people are just as smart, and dumb, as old people. Some don't know how to work on anything. Others know how to work on everything. I'm the kind of guy who feels comfortable working on 100 year old shutters and SMD electronic components. I prefer to fix things myself, rather just throw them out or send them off for service. If I don't know how to fix them, I learn. Thanks to the internet, that's fairly easy to do these days. I've got some friends who are good with software and always writing programs to do interesting things.

    One of the things I've learned in life is that every generation thinks they are different, but in reality, they're really all the same, just at different stages of their life. Old people will always be grumpy and hate change. Young people will always be lazy and disrespectful. Middle aged people will always be too focused on work and social status. The world will always be chaotic.

  8. #58
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim10219 View Post
    I find retired people are the worst about lecturing me on why digital is better.
    I am retired, and I welcome anyone. Some of us are too old to stand by an enlarger, have become impatient, or are in some kind of persistent existential crisis. Old age ain't for wimps.

    Hang in there. When it comes to experiencing others' work, all is good!

    The only people, old or young I find disturbing are those who have, probably through no fault of their own, stopped growing and learning.

  9. #59

    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    It’s absolutely a minority... being a famous photographer is like being a famous plumber, only Plumbers know other plumbers.

    I studied with Nick Nixon, helped make pictures with Abe Morell, enjoyed coffee and looking at prints with Barbara Bosworth, scoured over edits with Laura McPhee.

    If I sit down with 99.9% of the people in my life, even people who LOVE photography, no one knows who they are and some consider them giants in our world.

  10. #60

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    Re: Ever felt in the minority?

    As it happens, I'm one of the photographers/friends Steve references in his post.

    For the record, my issue with Steve's use of the "Zone System" is that when he photographs digitally, he's not actually using the Zone System, which involves both determining the optimal exposure and compensating development accordingly.

    Instead, he's using only the metering part of the Zone System to determine where he wants to place his middle grey tone and then ignoring the other part.

    Which is fine by me -- Hey, whatever works, right? -- but to my way of thinking, his calling what is really just an exposure strategy the "Zone System" is somewhat misleading and/or inappropriate, that's all.

    Yes, this might seem pedantic on my part and Steve is certainly welcome to meter any way he wishes, but I do admit to bristling a bit when people co-opt an existing, time-honored label to mean something else.

    But that's just me and I meant (mean?) no harm. I certainly didn't realize the extent to which my comments about this bugged Steve and I hereby apologize for having done so.

    As for my taking issue with his use of film, well, I'm a bit less apologetic about that. There are two sides to every story and clearly, we each see things rather differently here.

    From my perspective, I'm not so much slagging on film and his use of it, but what I perceive to be his sometimes excessively enthusiastic proselytizing about it compared to digital photography.

    His enthusiasm for film is commendable and even a bit contagious, but I believe he's conflating his use of film with his use of a view camera and the slower, more contemplative approach to photography they demand.

    From what I understand, Steve came to film and view cameras from a history of spraying-and-praying with a DSLR (i.e., taking 14,000 photos at a single air show?!). He wants to both slow down his process and achieve better results, especially with larger prints, and he sees using both film and a view camera as instrumental to achieving these goals.

    On the other hand, I came to digital photography from shooting color transparencies in an 8x10. Needless to say, my approach to photography was about as slow and contemplative as it gets!

    And one of the reasons I eventually transitioned to digital -- besides the expense, which wasn't too bad when outdated and/or surplus film could be bought on eBay for a buck-a-sheet, but increased significantly when that supply eventually dried-up and it had to be bought new at $7-8 per sheet -- is because I ultimately found the process of shooting 8x10 color transparencies to be too slow and contemplative for my taste.

    Whereas Steve had the option of slowing down his process with digital photography, I didn't have the corresponding option of speeding up my film photography and especially not when I was using an 8x10 view camera!

    I did consider returning to running roll film through my 2x3 view cameras, as I had done for more than decade prior to stepping up to larger formats, but the benefits of shooting film instead of digital diminish as the format becomes smaller and the convenience of shooting digital ultimately won me over.

    And me being me, it wasn't but a few years after I started shooting digitally that I found myself using a Contax 645/Phase One outfit. To my eyes, it significantly outperformed the results I used to get from roll film and was plenty good enough compared to the results from my 8x10 days that I stopped looking quite so fondly at the past and began looking with some excitement toward the future.

    (As an aside, it turned out that medium-format digital, for all of its good qualities, proved not to be the best choice for the type of nighttime photography I started doing in 2008-9 -- and have been doing almost exclusively ever since -- and I gravitated away from it and have been working happily with smaller digital formats ever since.)

    For Steve, using film was a necessary part of the changes he wanted to make to his overall process, whereas for me, it was necessary to transition away from film. It's not surprising that he's excited about what he's doing these days, including his use of film, but just as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz didn't need an actual heart to experience love, I don't think Steve had to embrace film to transition away from his spray-and-pray approach to photography, either.

    Yes, it certainly helped -- even with Grafmatic backs, it's difficult to spray-and-pray when using a 4x5! -- but I don't believe it was as essential as Steve sometimes makes it seem. Or maybe it was ... for him.

    As for his comments about his fellow photographers taking issue with his shooting film (presumably during our trip to the Palouse last summer, because on our local outings, we rarely shoot together but instead wander around on our own in the vicinity of each other), I believe he's overstated things a bit.

    Speaking solely for myself -- because our mutual friend leans more toward the run-and-gun approach than I do and definitely can be a bit testy at times -- I had no problem with it at all. Heck, so far as I'm concerned, he can channel his inner Sally Mann and shoot wet-plate collodion if that's what floats his boat! ;^)

    It was only when he wanted to shoot the same scene with both film and digital, one after the other, that I would become somewhat impatient with him. Of course, my nature is such that I generally prefer to photograph alone, so my tolerance for such things might be lower than it is for most photographers. <shrug>

    All in all, reading Steve's posts in this thread -- which I stumbled upon over the weekend as a result of an online acquaintance pointing me to one he'd posted here about his DSLR-based film scanner -- have come as a bit of a surprise to me, as I thought I was being supportive of his decision to embrace film and use a view camera.

    After all, he's using equipment (meter, lenses, film holders, dark cloth, loupe, etc.) borrowed from me and when he first got his camera, I accompanied him on a couple of outings to show him how to use it and help him develop an appropriate workflow.

    Clearly, there is some miscommunication occurring between us and I suppose this means we need to get together for drinks one of these days so we can clear the air and resolve any misunderstandings.

    Because I like to think of myself as being a gentleman and as my late father taught me, a gentleman never offends anybody unintentionally! 8^)

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