Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Lenswork  (Read 7306 times)
Nick Rains
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 704



WWW
« on: August 14, 2006, 04:54:02 PM »
ReplyReply

After seeing Michael's comments on Lenswork I was prompted to check out their website where I found a curious thing...

Mr Jensen does podcasts, and one of the most recent is a patronising ramble about Bruce Fraser's latest book on sharpening.

"A whole book on sharpening" he rambles, over and over again.

He does not say he has actually read the book, he is just commenting on how things have come to such a pass in the photographic world that we need whole books on something as "obscure" as sharpening.

He goes on to rue the days when we were just photographers taking images, not technicians. Mr Jensen no doubt never did any split-toning, contrast masking, dilute-development etc in the good old days - tasks often considered obscure and technical. Podcasts are not exactly non-technical either.

It's a pity the editor has missed the point so badly, the magazine itself is gorgeous as Michael says.
Logged

Nick Rains
Australian Photographer
Leica Akademie Instructor
www.nickrains.com
61Dynamic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1442


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2006, 07:47:44 PM »
ReplyReply

I've been enjoying the LW podcast for the last few months; a must listen for anyone who hasn't heard it.

Some people are not as focused on the technical aspects of digital photography as others are. Clearly, Mr. Jenson is not the type who would read such a book. I don't think he missed the point of the book, it's just from his perspective, it's not worth heavily mulling over. To each his own.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2006, 07:49:12 PM by 61Dynamic » Logged
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8939


« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2006, 08:45:54 PM »
ReplyReply

I'll also add that I'm one such who prefers the more simple solution. When I downloaded the trial version of the much acclaimed PK Sharpener, I was completely mystified by the total subtlety of many of the routines. There's something completely out of proportion here, I thought. Do I really want to devote this amount of thought to a sharpening routine when there are often many more significant adjustments that an image might be crying out for?

For best sharpness and detail, I resort to a conversion with Raw Shooter and a further tweaking with Focus magic.

Just how complicated do you need to make this sharpening process?
Logged
Nick Rains
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 704



WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 02:40:12 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I was completely mystified by the total subtlety of many of the routines. There's something completely out of proportion here, I thought. Do I really want to devote this amount of thought to a sharpening routine when there are often many more significant adjustments that an image might be crying out for?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73379\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


PK Sharpener is a 'black box' in that it is not necessary to understand what it does, it is usually enough to just use it.

OTOH, for those that are interested it is great to have all the 'under the hood' stuff explained.

I wonder if Mr Jensen would look down his nose at a 'whole book' on darkroom toning? Arguably as obscure and hard to understand as sharpening - I certainly don't understand it but I would nevertheless hesitate to disparage those who do.
Logged

Nick Rains
Australian Photographer
Leica Akademie Instructor
www.nickrains.com
mbridgers
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 156


« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2006, 08:10:34 AM »
ReplyReply

I wouldn't let that podcast turn you off of Lenswork by any means.  Brooks has his opinions like all of us, and doesn't think sharpening in this case is worthy of an entire book.  His philosophy seems to me to be to keep focus (ahem) on the art, and less on the technology.  

Like Ray, I downloaded the Photokit Sharpener trial based on Michael's recommendation, and found the results so subtly different from the sharpening in the original photokit that I didn't find it worth the US $100.  Lenswork always reminds me what it is I want to do, and that art doesn't necessarily mean sharp, or big, or color or B&W.  

Eventually, Lenswork will post all the old podcasts in an archive.  When that gets done, you need to find one call "Passion in the old and new media" -- about Brooks's experience in digital versus traditional darkroom.   That one stirred up a bit of passion on the APUG forums a while back!
Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8213



WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2006, 04:46:15 PM »
ReplyReply

As others have said, Jensen is much more interested in the art of photography than in the nuts and bolts (or pixel peeping). Lenswork is a gorgeous publication, with splendid B/W work, and very thoughtful writing. For my money it is the best of the current crop of photo magazines (if, like me, you share Jensen's biases).

Lenswork does much the kind of thing Aperture used to do some 40 years ago. As a long-time Aperture subscriber (from Minor White's days) I haven't stopped my subscription yet. But I must agree with Michael's comment that recently (like for the past 20 years or so) Aperture has looked like a parody of itself.    

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1260


« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2006, 07:05:03 PM »
ReplyReply

Now, this is an interesting thread.

Quote
"A whole book on sharpening" he rambles, over and over again."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73354\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think people who have spent a lot of time in darkrooms have a different attitude about "development" of images. There are always accidents in darkrooms; you *never* really get precisely what you want. In the "War Photographer" video, you see Nachtwey and his printer discussing the way to print of one image...and it takes quite a few prints to get where they want to go. You do one, something isn't right, then you do another, and something else isn't right. If you look at a whole series of Ansel Adams' Moonrise prints, you'll see that they're alll subtly different. Maybe he wanted that, or maybe not. With a computer, though, you're encouraged to strive for the utmost precision, and perhaps even believe you can get it. That's why you have whole books on sharpening; in the wet darkroom days, 'Excellent' might have been good enough.

The Aperture comments are interesting, because I have exactly the same feeling. I was a subscriber for a long time (and still get 're-subscribe' pleas) but I've given up. It seems to be stuck in some kind of weird post-modern sump, where theory is more important than image. To use the technical photographic term, about eighty percent of it is bullshit. The fact that toehrs feel the same way is a bad sign for the magzine.

To extend this an inch, I will confess that although I sometimes wear an International Center for Photography hat when I'm playing golf (it has a cool, but obscure logo), I am no longer much impressed. I try to get there whenever I'm in NY, but it has the odd feel of being stuck in the 50s; or maybe the 40s. Like everything is contact-printed from a 4x5. In a way, it's the same feeling I get from Aperture.

JC
Logged
svein-frode
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 92



« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2006, 05:34:05 AM »
ReplyReply

JC, some of us actually like to study theroy of visual communication and photography, just as some actually like to read a whole book on sharpening. Different strokes for different folks!

During the two years I subscribed to Aperture (too expensive IMHO, so I now spend my money on photography books instead) I was very satisfied with its content. (Very little about photography theory though - mostly photographers, images and a few exhibition reviews) It is a breath of fresh air compared to 90% of the photography magazines out there stuffed with boring saturated sunset shots and tiering motifs from the American West... YAWN! Havent seen 2005-2006 issues though, so things might have changed radically for all I know.

Lenswork is also a nice magazine, but there is too little text for my taste. I find the small format claustrophobic, especially to showcase landscape photography.

And Nick, as for mr. Jensens rants, don't forget he's an intelligent individual with the ability to use both sarcasm and irony...! If you read a little between the lines (listen between the sentences?  ) I think Frasers book can be used as a metaphor for many of the things "wrong" with photography today. Not that there are more "wrongs" now than there have been or will be...
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 05:37:45 AM by svein-frode » Logged

Svein-Frode, Arctic Norway

www.svein-frode.com
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1260


« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2006, 08:48:40 AM »
ReplyReply

svein-frode, I wasn't talking about photography theory, I was talking about THEORY -- literary theory as applied to the arts. That is, much of the photogrqphy in Aperture has seemed to me to be working out a post-modernist idea of what art should do; the place of irony, the artist's position vis-a-vis the common culture, vaginal monologues, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it explains sometimes otherwise unexplicable photographs, which look to some people like printing problems.

I agree with you about 90% of photography magazines, except that it's more like 95%. Magazines do have the problem, however, of finding a common denominator so they can sell enough of them to stay alive; and since all photographers use equipment, we get magazines that are mostly about equipment, with a few sunsets, birds, buttes-at-dawn and women-in-gauzy-wind-blown-dresses to hold the ads apart.

I do like Lenswork. I think the format is the product of budget.

JC
Logged
jadazu
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2007, 10:14:15 PM »
ReplyReply

I hope no one minds that I reply to an older post; with Bruce Frazer's untimely passing, I can't help but reply...

If Brooks Jensen's words are an example of any sort of schism in the photographic world, it is one that pre-dates computers. Years ago, had someone writen a book about unsharp masking, Mr Jensen could have and might have said the same things about that book. I don't know it, but I doubt that any fine art photographer has made a photo print using an unsharp mask. I do know enough to think that very few images in coffee table books of fine art photography have been set to half tone print without unsharp masks. Since the start of half tone seperation printing, a majority of professional photography has been displayed or reproduced on paper, with ink. More or less, that was and is the dicodomy of the fine art and the commercial photographers' worlds.

Bruce Frazer jokingly gave himself the mantle of the 'World's Worst Photographer'. It wasn't quite true, but it reflects the difference between the image or art centered world and the output or ink printing centered world. He was a guru and genius when and where 'the ink hit the paper,' the output centered world.

With the demise of wet, chemical photography, and the ubiquity of inkjet printing, we photographers will all have to enter the 'ink and paper' world, and understand the 'old' pratices of the image setting world. (Some art photographers, like Michael, got it quickly.) With the inkjet, we are now all our own image setters.

vis the Photokit Sharpener, if you know sharpening and can sharpen your printed images well, PKS won't do any better than what your already doing. But if you don't know sharpening, use PKS or another plug-in, or don't sharpen at all, for bad sharpening looks dumb, much worse than no sharpening.

As an aside, I just bought a photography magazine, partly on the strength of the inside cover advertisement, for an inkjet printer. The ad' is a double page studio pic of a beautiful woman model, laying supine. Emphasized crops of the picture show the brand-of-printers' ability to render, in print, the model's perfect skin color, her vivid red lipstick lips, and the individual sharp black hairs of her eyelashes. I was 45 minutes on my way home, fantasizing about printing my own pictures with one of those printers, before I realized that the image I was attributing to 'that-brand-of-printers' was, in fact, just an image of processe inks on web fed press paper... The rest of my way home I fantasised of having the unsung (but I hope, well paid) pre-press person who did the ad, of having that person set my photos to print.... as if I could buy him or her for the price of a inkjetprinter

Also, most important to those who make their living from these subjects: The sub-titles of Bruce's books are 'Industrial Strength Production Techniques For The Real World etc' They are exactly aimed at the world where 'the invoice smacks the client'...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 11:59:27 PM by jadazu » Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2007, 07:59:57 AM »
ReplyReply

jadazu

All anyone has to do is pick up a copy of Vogue (at least, the Spanish or Italian editions) and look at the print quality. It blows one away and makes 'inkjet at home' fade into the sunset (yawn, as someone wrote on that topic!).

I don't know if this book is available in the US or wherever you live, but it's worth looking at to see how digital capture (reputedly Canon) can look:

Sirens of Costasmeralda (sic) by Marco Glaviano.

I found a few examples of the same bits of cloud appearing in different  images which, considering I wasn't even looking for such artifice, disappointed me somewhat; however, if 35mm full-frame digital can really do what the book seems to indicate that it can, then who really needs more for non-technical photography? Having said this, I seem to remember an image or two from earlier publication in French PHOTO magazine where, unless I'm wrong, provenance was said to be courtesy  Nikon film cameras...

So what do you believe these days?

Ciao - Rob C
Logged

Tim Gray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2002



WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2007, 09:06:13 AM »
ReplyReply

I'm a fan of Lenswork and particularly enjoy the DVDs that you can get to supplement each issue - that's the only way to get any color images.
Brooks Jensen is just one of the characters inhabiting the interesting space of fine art photography, and whether or not I agree with everything he says, I find it's usually worth thinking about.

As for the point made by the OP, I spent several days over Christmas with the Fraser Sharpening Book and it certainly wasn't the best investment of time I've made - On a "willing to recommend" scale of 1 to 10 I'd have to rate it about a 3.
Logged
BernardLanguillier
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 8348



WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2007, 08:39:59 PM »
ReplyReply

This discussion is sort of yet another version of the art vs technique threads we have had before, isn't it?

One might not want to know how sharpening works, but there IMHO no doubt that sharpening when properlly done can make a significant difference on screen and in print.

Since fine art is all about getting the most out of a file, I don't think that spending time working on tones without going all the way to include sharpening is a sound approach. A non technically perfect image can of course be great, but it will be even better if processed well.

Not all image benefit from being super sharp, but learning about sharpening can help achieving the desired effect in a more consitent way.

I happen to be reading Fraser book at this very moment and find it interesting, although it could have been written in a much more compact way I feel. On the other hand, I would have liked him to spend more time writting on Smart Sharpen. The book feels like he didn't really master this new CS2 sharpening tool as well as the other ones.

Cheers,
Bernard
Logged

A few images online here!
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1260


« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2007, 10:06:47 PM »
ReplyReply

I just got the book, but haven't started reading it yet.

There sometimes seems to be a split here (and on other forums) between art photogaphers -- or perhaps just amateur enthusiasts -- who are oriented toward the "best image" concept, and squeezing the most out of it, and photographers who have to worry more about production -- professionals who do weddings, or shoot stock, or catalogs. The latter may be exceptional photographers, but "good enough" is good enough and now it's time to move on to the next client and the next job. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that -- it's called making a living as an adult. But those folks, I'm inclined to think, wouldn't be as interested in entire books on sharpening. They just want to know what they need to know to keep their heads above water. Art people, on the other hand, want to fix every pixel, and the primary concern isn't time or production; production might amount to a single print, or accepting a single print after twenty attempts. They are different ways of doing things that may lead to valid, but different, opinions on subjects such as sharpening books.

JC
Logged
tgphoto
Guest
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2007, 07:27:50 AM »
ReplyReply

I too subscribe to the LW podcasts, and enjoy them very much.  I don't always agree with Brooks, but then again, I don't always agree with Michael, or Jeff Curto over at Camera Position, or Jeff Schewe from PixelGenius, or any of the other experts.

What I really love about LensWork is that it doesn't focus on technology.  Take a look next time you find yourself in a Borders or B&N, at the number of magazines available on the technical aspects of digital photography--it's quite exhausting, with many of them offering nearly identical information, reviews on gear, etc.  But take a look over in the Arts section of magazines, and you see very few devoted to the actual Art of Photography.  It then becomes clear which aspect of photography receives the most attention.

Publications like LensWork, BW, Camera Arts, etc., provide necessary balance to the Tech vs. Art scale.  For me, reading the publications which focus on the art help me keep my own workflow in check -- it helps me question whether am I spending too much time in the digital darkroom, or not enough time thinking about what it is I am trying to say in my work.

I have seen this all too many times on photographers' websites--a photographer lists the tools used to create his images, and provides detailed information on his technique, but skims over his artist's statement, or what the work means.  The resulting images on the site usually fall into the category of "Technically Superb but Aesthetically Lacking".

All the Photoshop and sharpening knowledge in the world will not breathe life into an image that doesn't connect with the viewer on some level.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 07:28:14 AM by tgphoto » Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8213



WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2007, 10:57:24 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I too subscribe to the LW podcasts, and enjoy them very much.  I don't always agree with Brooks, but then again, I don't always agree with Michael, or Jeff Curto over at Camera Position, or Jeff Schewe from PixelGenius, or any of the other experts.

What I really love about LensWork is that it doesn't focus on technology.  Take a look next time you find yourself in a Borders or B&N, at the number of magazines available on the technical aspects of digital photography--it's quite exhausting, with many of them offering nearly identical information, reviews on gear, etc.  But take a look over in the Arts section of magazines, and you see very few devoted to the actual Art of Photography.  It then becomes clear which aspect of photography receives the most attention.

Publications like LensWork, BW, Camera Arts, etc., provide necessary balance to the Tech vs. Art scale.  For me, reading the publications which focus on the art help me keep my own workflow in check -- it helps me question whether am I spending too much time in the digital darkroom, or not enough time thinking about what it is I am trying to say in my work.

I have seen this all too many times on photographers' websites--a photographer lists the tools used to create his images, and provides detailed information on his technique, but skims over his artist's statement, or what the work means.  The resulting images on the site usually fall into the category of "Technically Superb but Aesthetically Lacking".

All the Photoshop and sharpening knowledge in the world will not breathe life into an image that doesn't connect with the viewer on some level.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=95961\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Well said, Tim. I'm with you 100% on this.

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Carmine
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2007, 06:38:48 PM »
ReplyReply

Saw this post and needed to chime in as I’m a reader of Lenswork. Brooks Jensen and staff deserve a lot of credit and respect. The publication is produced with the utmost care and shows their commitment to the art of photography as a craft.

The artists and images showcased are always inspirational. The quality of the paper and printing makes for an image quality that seems unmatched in any other bi-monthly. The editorial is always fun and enlightening to read.

And they pull this off with no 3rd party ads (for an extra 3 bucks). That is rare to come by in today’s cluttered standards for showcasing fine art photography.  It is a very special publication that does not compromise its standards. I say bravo to the publishers!!
Logged
jadazu
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2007, 12:37:18 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I just got the book, but haven't started reading it yet.

There sometimes seems to be a split here (and on other forums) between art photogaphers -- or perhaps just amateur enthusiasts -- who are oriented toward the "best image" concept, and squeezing the most out of it, and photographers who have to worry more about production -- professionals who do weddings, or shoot stock, or catalogs. The latter may be exceptional photographers, but "good enough" is good enough and now it's time to move on to the next client and the next job. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that -- it's called making a living as an adult. But those folks, I'm inclined to think, wouldn't be as interested in entire books on sharpening. They just want to know what they need to know to keep their heads above water. Art people, on the other hand, want to fix every pixel, and the primary concern isn't time or production; production might amount to a single print, or accepting a single print after twenty attempts. They are different ways of doing things that may lead to valid, but different, opinions on subjects such as sharpening books.

JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=95910\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Again, I'm repling to an old post... About what you said, John, I think it's the oposite way. Photographers who have the largest volume of output want (need) the quickest, one step, PS plug-in, or one-time-read-a-book solution to the 'best quality' output. Time saved using an "expensive plug-in" pays for the said plug-in in about two days working, or less! And pros who output to (the more or less lower quality) halftone or stochiastic offset press output have the biggest 'quality gap' to make up for, and have to make up for it with image editing, for higher image rez or larger color gamut aren't part of the picture. They'll make a good name for themselves and and money by the best 'targeted' image editing, by 'spreading' the image tones and colors to 'fill' as much as possable the small process ink and paper output gamut. Sharpening is a big part of that, the press output image quality. Art photographers seem to want to create image quality with max capture image pix resolution and inkjet maxest ppi printing in the largest gamut, but sharpening is an still important part of inkjet print quality (aside; and they're often dissatisified with a 'too small' inkjet gamut, they maybe think the in-gamut colors in their image seem too dull, without them having edited the image 'all-the-way-into' the full printer color gamut.) So... I think...sharpening is no part of the art of photograhy, but an important part of the ink and paper output... (Like CM. I think a book like Andrew Rodney's CM for photographers is indespensable for anyone doing digital photography and printing, but friends of mine that I have recomend it to look at it and say it's just computer stuff, and then struggle in the morass of color inkjet printing...
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 12:55:10 AM by jadazu » Logged
jadazu
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2007, 01:20:33 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
What I really love about LensWork is that it doesn't focus on technology.  Take a look next time you find yourself in a Borders or B&N, at the number of magazines available on the technical aspects of digital photography--it's quite exhausting, with many of them offering nearly identical information, reviews on gear, etc.  But take a look over in the Arts section of magazines, and you see very few devoted to the actual Art of Photography.  It then becomes clear which aspect of photography receives the most attention.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=95961\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree with you!

About your magazines numbers survey, I think it just reflects where the numbers are (and money is,) in a comparison of, in a year say, of the number of sheets of magazine paper printed with images on them vs the number of sheets of photogloss or fine art rag with images printed on them...
Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad