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Author Topic: Nick Brandt  (Read 29875 times)
tjanik
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« on: September 13, 2006, 07:21:36 AM »
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If you have not seen any of Nick Brandt's work visit http://www.nickbrandt.com/

Remarkable images.  He is rather secretive on how he achieves his focus effects, any ideas?
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brianchapman
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2006, 05:17:52 PM »
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He uses a tilt shift lens.  I love his work also.  

Brian

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If you have not seen any of Nick Brandt's work visit http://www.nickbrandt.com/

Remarkable images.  He is rather secretive on how he achieves his focus effects, any ideas?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76196\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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howiesmith
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2006, 05:49:16 PM »
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If you have not seen any of Nick Brandt's work visit http://www.nickbrandt.com/

He is rather secretive on how he achieves his focus effects, any ideas?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76196\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sounds like a technique (focus effects) and not necessarily talent.  I have never understood why a photogrpaher would have any photographic secrets.  Talent is better than techinique, and nobody can copy talent.

I talked with a photographer in Page, Arizona once.  He wouldn't share even his favorite place for breakfast.  I never understood why hw might be afraid I would go to one of hid "secret" location, use his "secret film," or his "secret filter" and produce better photos than he did, or take away his livelihood.

I once discussed "photo secrets" with Gregory Heisler.  He has no secrets.  Ask him a question about his work, and he will tell you.  He is talented, and doesn't rely on any particular technique.
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mikeseb
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 11:46:31 AM »
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Talent is better than techinique, and nobody can copy talent.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81084\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

howiesmith, I think you're mostly right here. All that secret formula stuff is silly.

Talent = vision, and vision is what separates the excellent from the mediocre. Of course, one assumes a level of technical expertise sufficient to allow vision its expression unimpeded by considerations of technique.

Ansel Adams springs to mind here, but many of the 20th century masters could serve. AA used pretty much the standard cameras, lenses, and film for his day. He had a system worked out to ensure predictable results in exposure and development of his negatives. The rest was eye, brain, and heart. No secret sauce for him.
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 12:43:33 PM »
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He wouldn't share even his favorite place for breakfast.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81084\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Some people are also simply just very private. It doesn't mean they're afraid of anything, they just don't feel the need to share personal details of their life with everyone.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 01:12:05 PM »
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howiesmith, I think you're mostly right here. All that secret formula stuff is silly.

Talent = vision, and vision is what separates the excellent from the mediocre. Of course, one assumes a level of technical expertise sufficient to allow vision its expression unimpeded by considerations of technique.

Ansel Adams springs to mind here, but many of the 20th century masters could serve. AA used pretty much the standard cameras, lenses, and film for his day. He had a system worked out to ensure predictable results in exposure and development of his negatives. The rest was eye, brain, and heart. No secret sauce for him.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81180\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I once attended a lecture where Adams told all his secrets for free,   Armed with all that info, my work got better, I'm willing to assume Adams would have been happy, and I am sure I didn't change his position at all.  Adams certainly was not harmed in any way by the new smarter me.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2006, 01:18:25 PM »
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Some people are also simply just very private. It doesn't mean they're afraid of anything, they just don't feel the need to share personal details of their life with everyone.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81189\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Very true, but I certainly didn't feel like the photographer just wanted to be left alone.  He really didn't seem to mind seeing me when I walked nto his gallery, looking like a buyer.  Maybe I should give him the benefit of my doubt, but I'm not going to.

I met Tom Till in his studio in Moab.  I said I was just looking, had no intention of buying anything.  So he left me alone.  When I asked "Where's this?", he told me exactly where it was, how to get there and I really didn't need 4 wheel drive inspite of the signs.  I didn't pry into his favorite breakfast spot in town.
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Woodcorner
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2006, 12:34:34 AM »
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howiesmith, I think you're mostly right here. All that secret formula stuff is silly.

Talent = vision, and vision is what separates the excellent from the mediocre. Of course, one assumes a level of technical expertise sufficient to allow vision its expression unimpeded by considerations of technique.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81180\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I would suggest you both (Mike and Howie) read through the articles and interviews of Nick Brandt. For a start, you should fetch a copy of Lenswork 61 (Nov-Dec 2005). Here Nick discusses his techniques and locations in detail. Nothing secretive.

Or were you looking for something like ' I softened the focus by duplicating the background layer, set the blend mode to Darken at 50%,  then used Gaussian Blur with a radius of 7 pixels, later reduced the opacity on the blurred layer by 16%' Huh
There are some good books out there and a great wealth of tips on this forum.

Cheers,

Andrew
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mikeseb
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2006, 08:47:09 AM »
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Andrew, my comments were not meant as any knock on Nick Brandt's work. It's fabulous work. (Nuance often doesn't survive this medium!  )
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2006, 09:18:12 AM »
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Andrew, my comments were not meant as any knock on Nick Brandt's work. It's fabulous work. (Nuance often doesn't survive this medium!  )
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81335\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Sorry, I must have gotten this wrong somehow. Needless to say, Nicks work is excellent!!!

Cheers,

Andrew
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howiesmith
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2006, 09:44:17 AM »
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I would suggest you both (Mike and Howie) read through the articles and interviews of Nick Brandt. For a start, you should fetch a copy of Lenswork 61 (Nov-Dec 2005). Here Nick discusses his techniques and locations in detail. Nothing secretive.

Or were you looking for something like ' I softened the focus by duplicating the background layer, set the blend mode to Darken at 50%,  then used Gaussian Blur with a radius of 7 pixels, later reduced the opacity on the blurred layer by 16%' Huh
There are some good books out there and a great wealth of tips on this forum.

Cheers,

Andrew
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81280\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I actually know nothing about Nick Brandt.  I was merely responding to the comment that he was secretive.  I don't think I ever said anything personally directed at Brandt.  Merely responded to "secretive."
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Woodcorner
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2006, 11:16:32 AM »
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Sounds like a technique (focus effects) and not necessarily talent. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81084\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I just wanted to make the point that IMHO Nick Brandt is very much talented and capable of using the right techniques to bring across his vision of the world. And that he seems to be sharing information on how he is achieving these great images.

Probably a misunderstanding on both sides here...

Cheers,

Andrew
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tsjanik
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2006, 01:15:46 PM »
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Just for the record: Nick Brandt is not willing to disclose all of his methods.  Below is a portion of a posting from Brandt on a photo.net thread:

"All anyone really needs to know is that I work in a very very impractical way - very manually - and lose a crazy number of potentially great shots with all the faffing around I do. But I do it because occasionally something great comes out of such impractical methods. My friend Rocky Schenck taught me not to reveal my trade secrets some time ago. "

The complete thread is here: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-..._id=00ERse&tag=

Frankly, I don't think he needs any trade secrets, the images would be outstanding even without the embellishments; but I, for one, would like to know how they're accomplished.
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Giedo
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2007, 08:23:53 AM »
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I got Nick Brandt's book from father Christmas: it is lovely. Very inspiring for me as I go to Tanzania each spring. His approach in framing is actually very much my own style (allthough Nick Brandt is far more talented in this area) as I try to accomplish the same thing: animals in their environment. Not just plain portrets.

I was also looking for his technique (or vision or talent or whatever) but he does not clarify anthing in his book, except that he does no use a telelens. The reason for this, he says, is that telelenses show nothing of the beauty of the surroundings but just 'clutter' in the background (I believe he calls it this way in his book).

Now the first thing I find hard to believe: when you see his pictures, some are evidently taken with a short focal length, but also some give the feeling of telework. Not the supertele's, but I think some are at least taken with a 200mm (full frame), considering the perspective.

The second thing that bothers me, is the statement that telelenses do not show any of the beautiful surroundings. I have taken the most lovely scenic shots with the compression telelenses. Take a look at my website to see my point.

[attachment=1450:attachment]
[attachment=1449:attachment]
[attachment=1451:attachment]
Try to guess which lens I used for these 3 pics (see attachments)! 28mm? 50mm? 200mm? 400mm?

Makes me think... Wouldn't that be an excellent subject for a new contest: guessing what lens was used at what settings for a given picture?
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Giedo
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2007, 04:09:34 AM »
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When Nick Brandt and his work were reviewed in the UK magazine, 'Black and White photography' a few months back it was explained that his work is actually very simple and also VERY dangerous in that he 'simply' works at getting closer and closer to the animals and then uses relatively short lenses on Pentax 67 medium format cameras.   His work relies on excellent back up from game wardens.
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thechrisproject
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2007, 08:55:57 AM »
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This is a little off topic, but this discussion on technique secrecy reminds me of Loretta Lux.  http://www.lorettalux.de/

She produces these amazing and surreal photos of children.  She's also very reticent to discuss her technique.  If you look around, you can find people that have experimented and deconstructed it as much as possible.  I used to think that people shouldn't keep techniques secret.  But now I'm not so sure.  You can't keep your technique wholly secret unless you aren't showing anyone your photographs.  But by keeping the details vague or hidden altogether, you force the people who want to learn about it to go through a much more involved process.

I think I'd compare it to a poet or lyricist who won't discuss the meaning of their songs.  They leave it up to interpretation.
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filip baraka
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2007, 06:06:49 PM »
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This is a little off topic, but this discussion on technique secrecy reminds me of Loretta Lux.  http://www.lorettalux.de/

She produces these amazing and surreal photos of children.  She's also very reticent to discuss her
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=101049\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Techniques and art aside, those kids looks like aliens not kids
IMHO
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st326
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2007, 08:34:52 PM »
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My own take on this is that I always like to tell people how I work, because it helps me understand how I actually do it in the first place! I tend to work quite intuitively, and some of my images are very complicated to achieve (even though they might not look it), so I often don't really know what I did myself until I've actually explained it to someone. I'll often take many separate shots and composite them, and sometimes I'll add elements that are purely CGI.

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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2007, 10:51:42 AM »
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st326

I think your shot is rather well done, but that still doesn't make me think that the technique/facility you display makes it any more worthy.

To be honest, there is something about that sort of photography - not just yours, I hasten to add, and no disrespect - that simply shuts a door in my mind. It is the same with movies: after the first Matrix, the rest that followed held no buzz for me at all, all I saw was technical magic which succeeded in suspending belief in what was on the screen, rather than inspiring me to greater appreciation. Put simply, it a case of manipulation being so utterly omnipotent that the thrill of something clever has gone out of the window; the techniques have killed themselves by their ubiquity.

It could, of course, just be me.

Ciao - Rob C
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st326
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2007, 12:31:06 PM »
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st326

I think your shot is rather well done, but that still doesn't make me think that the technique/facility you display makes it any more worthy.

To be honest, there is something about that sort of photography - not just yours, I hasten to add, and no disrespect - that simply shuts a door in my mind. It is the same with movies: after the first Matrix, the rest that followed held no buzz for me at all, all I saw was technical magic which succeeded in suspending belief in what was on the screen, rather than inspiring me to greater appreciation. Put simply, it a case of manipulation being so utterly omnipotent that the thrill of something clever has gone out of the window; the techniques have killed themselves by their ubiquity.

It could, of course, just be me.

Ciao - Rob C
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, better a bad reaction than no reaction.

And at least it wasn't my fault. My photo has no merit because the second and third Matrix movies sucked, and ceased to allow you any openmindedness. I can rest happy now.    

Each to their own, no one is forcing you to like it. Just don't dismiss it as being easy or trivial -- CGI is a lot more difficult than straight photography, particularly if you're going for photorealism. If you don't believe me, try it sometime!

(If anyone is interested, I wrote up the whole process of making the image [a href=\"http://findatlantis.com/wiki/index.php/Sliced]here[/url]).
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 12:53:15 PM by st326 » Logged
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