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Author Topic: Of Cameras and Art  (Read 17510 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2006, 10:32:39 AM »
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Alain Briot writes in Of Cameras and Art:

So the case that Alain reports of the photo gadgeteer who is convinced that the camera makes the picture is just one symptom of the more general case of the photo gadgeteer who has not yet gotten sucked into that vortex whose maw is Pretty, whose funnel is Beauty, and whose end point is that black hole of Pure Art from which no ego escapeth.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76785\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Dale, seductive but not quite - alot of the people Alain describes may not even be gadgeteers. They simply don't have a clue. I come back to my basic point - why should we expect them to? And why care whether they do or they don't appreciate photography or whether they think digital photography is a lesser art than wet-darkroom photography? The kind of people who want to be educated about this stuff will start asking the right questions and finding the right answers. Most people don't have the consciousness, interest or time, and that's fine - there's universes of stuff in this world that photographers don't have the consciousness, interest or time to get into as well. People like Alain and Michael have the best will in the world and intellectual generosity to educate those who want the exposure; and people who truly appreciate their work and have the means will buy it. For the remainder - why lose any sleep?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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pobrien3
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« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2006, 10:44:31 AM »
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"This class of person"?   "Waste time on conversation" with them??  Good grief, words fail me.  For the record, I once bought a very expensive photograph by a reknowned Australian landscape photographer and it hangs, all 7 feet of it, in pride of place in my hallway.  I had the temerity to "engage in conversation of the technical aspects" with the photographer and he was very charming and personable, and before I left his gallery in the Rocks in Sydney (no prizes to our antipodean mambers for guessing who he is) I'd parted with several thousand dollars and an expensive shipment to HK.

Anyone remember the phrase "the customer is always right", even when (s)he isn't?

I wish I was so good that I could be so choosy in picking my customers...
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2006, 10:53:27 AM »
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"This class of person"?   "Waste time on conversation" with them??  Good grief, words fail me.  For the record, I once bought a very expensive photograph by a reknowned Australian landscape photographer and it hangs, all 7 feet of it, in pride of place in my hallway.  I had the temerity to "engage in conversation of the technical aspects" with the photographer and he was very charming and personable, and before I left his gallery in the Rocks in Sydney (no prizes to our antipodean mambers for guessing who he is) I'd parted with several thousand dollars and an expensive shipment to HK.

Anyone remember the phrase "the customer is always right", even when (s)he isn't?

I wish I was so good that I could be so choosy in picking my customers...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76793\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Peter - that is exactly right. One learns in retail as well as life in general that a bit of humility and perseverance goes a long way.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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pobrien3
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2006, 10:58:41 AM »
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To hell with the technicalities, I had to be there didn't I?[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76782\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Gorgeous shot, Ben.  I've shot in the Lakes for years and never got one this good (and I have several very nice cameras).
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2006, 11:11:10 AM »
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It is at Ullswater Lake you go down the slope from a lay-by about 2 miles before Pattersdale and directly opposite a small path leading to somewhere I can't remember exactly! There is actually a photo by Colin Prior taken from give or take the same place though I only saw it 2 years later. I do prefer mine though..
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2006, 11:29:11 AM »
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I use Abiword and just cannot get articles like that to come out of it.  What word processor did you use?
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pobrien3
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« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2006, 11:39:34 AM »
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It is at Ullswater Lake you go down the slope from a lay-by about 2 miles before Pattersdale and directly opposite a small path leading to somewhere I can't remember exactly! There is actually a photo by Colin Prior taken from give or take the same place though I only saw it 2 years later. I do prefer mine though..[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76798\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
My wife's Cumbrian and bounces around those hills like a chamois on steroids.  Whenever we go to the Lakes I have to take separate 'photo' days, as she hasn't the patience to get up that early or hang around with me while I have a go at my version of art.  She's usually very kind though and tells me my pictures are 'very nice, pet'.  If I took one like yours perhaps she'd understand a little more!
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John Camp
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« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2006, 11:43:05 AM »
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Alain,

Do you think looking at your photos is as good or better than being at the scene itself, and experiencing the canyons and clouds?

JC
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2006, 12:33:01 PM »
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She's usually very kind though and tells me my pictures are 'very nice, pet'. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76805\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That I find is the problem with wives, they are immune to our genius through so much exposure to it that they can be rather jaded in singing our praises sometimes to the level that we expect given the incredibly high level of our work! They sometimes even - no wait for it - critisise!

oh well....  
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2006, 01:27:59 PM »
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Alain, what an excellent article!

After finishing up our show season over the weekend, my wife and I have been concidering the best methods of dealing with this class of people.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76772\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Give them a disposable camera with your business card printed on the back and instructions that if they want good quality pictures to display on the wall to give you a call. Have some good quality prints made from images produced with said disposable camera to show that you yourself have artistic ability, but then of course you use the best equipment, techniques and printing to ensure that your punters are getting the best quality art work possible.

Failing that, try spending a year selling double glazing to people who don't see the value of windows.
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TimothyFarrar
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« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2006, 02:02:29 PM »
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"This class of person"? "Waste time on conversation" with them??

Sorry, that did sound really bad didn't it!

That is definatly NOT how we do business, we talk to everyone who wants to entertain a conversation, expecially fellow photographers.

What I was refering to as "this class of person" is the type who comes in to ARGUE about how the work is not valid giving the same kind of remarks found in Alain's article. This being completely different than someone who has an honest question out of curiosity or just wants a positive lively chat.

But it really does seem that of the people that we talk to about technical details (questions like what printer do you use, what lenses do you shoot with, all the way to who do you buy frames from) are really there to get info for their own business. Which is fine. But 99% of the time they are definatly not there to buy art. It is fun to talk to others in the business, but you have to give your time to customers who are there to buy art first. Sorry for the over generalization!
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Timothy Farrar
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« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2006, 03:40:18 PM »
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Alain,

Do you think looking at your photos is as good or better than being at the scene itself, and experiencing the canyons and clouds?

JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76806\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's not an either/or situation. Each is a unique experience in itself.  It's also an eternal question about art & life.  The Portrait of Dorian Grey comes to mind.
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Alain Briot
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« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2006, 03:48:52 PM »
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So for the possible buyer who has a prejudice against digital, what do you say?

"Digital simply provides us with better ability to present our artistic vision of what we captured from the camera."

"These colors are not the result of filters, but rather we bring out the natural colors captured by the camera through our development process."

Or do you just say it how it is?

"In the same way the master sculptor manuplates clay to produce their art, we transform what the camera records into the art you see on the paper in front of you through our own unique form of skill-full manuplation."
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Hi Timothy,


The questions you mention all fit under one more general question I get asked all the time "Do you enhance/manipulate your work?"

My answer: Yes.  

In short, I say it like it is. I personally see enhancement (or manipulation depending on which word you prefer to use) as part of my work.  The next two essays in this series "The Eye and the Camera" and "Vision and Inspiration" respectively number 5 and 6 in the Aesthetics and photography series will provide the reasoning for this answer.
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Alain Briot
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2006, 04:26:12 PM »
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"Do you enhance/manipulate your work?"

My answer: Yes. 

In short, I say it like it is. I personally see enhancement (or manipulation depending on which word you prefer to use) as part of my work.  The next two essays in this series "The Eye and the Camera" and "Vision and Inspiration" respectively number 5 and 6 in the Aesthetics and photography series will provide the reasoning for this answer.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76850\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Alain - this I am really looking forward to seeing, and I hope it gets published soon. A great topic - not only because I happen to agree with your approach on this matter (in fact with digital capture it is inevitable - the fine points being in what ways and for what purposes), but because it is guaranteed to generate alot of interesting discussion given the passionate views on either side of this issue - within and without of the professional community.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2006, 05:27:28 PM »
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A few points worth bearing in mind:

1: No photographic techniques are really 'new'. Coloured filters, good cameras, darkroom skills etc have all been around for as long as photography.

2: Before the advent of the internet there was far less easily accessible information around about exactly how photographers did what they did - they was an air of mystery about the process.

3. The sorts of questions that are being asked now about photographs are a new phenomenon. In the 'old days' the answers would have meant nothing without some initial knowledge. Now 'a little knowledge is dangerous', as they say.

4. My experience with technical questions in a retail situation leads me to feel that in many cases the asker does not actually know what the question means - much like in HitchHiker's Guide, the answer (42) means nothing unless you understand the question.

"Do you use filters?"

What is a filter?

"Do you use Photoshop?"

What is Photoshop used for?

The true answers to these questions are not what the asker is looking for, since understanding a genuine answer would entail learning a lot more about the whole process than the asker really wants to.

I suspect that these questions arise from a newly arisen suspicion about the veracity of photography - the logic goes like this:

That's a great looking image.

My photos don't look like that and I know I don't use filters or manipulate my images (because I don't know how).

Ergo, your image must be made to look so good by cheating using filters, Photoshop etc.


I have gone through 3 stages of dealing with tech questions. Initially I refused to discuss them preferring to keep my techniques to myself. Then when I realised that this approach could be seen as arrogant and unfriendly I relented and freely explained what I did.

This becomes tedious after a while, especially when you find that the more questions that are asked, the less likely you are to make a sale.

My last stage is to sidestep the question by saying that 'the richness of the image is only fully revealed in high quality printing, which is exactly why many people's photos often don't look as good as they could'.  This makes perfect sense to most people and just about always satisfies even the most curious.
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Nick Rains
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alainbriot
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« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2006, 05:42:06 PM »
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Alain - this I am really looking forward to seeing, and I hope it gets published soon. A great topic - not only because I happen to agree with your approach on this matter (in fact with digital capture it is inevitable - the fine points being in what ways and for what purposes), but because it is guaranteed to generate alot of interesting discussion given the passionate views on either side of this issue - within and without of the professional community.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76855\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your comments.  The email response I am receiving from this essay is very positive and quite numerous. You are right that this subject is of interest to professionals as well as to people that are not professional photographers.  

I actually have part 2 ready and part 3 is in the works.  They are meant to work together.
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Alain Briot
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2006, 07:57:02 PM »
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I, too, am looking forward eagerly to parts 2 and 3. Keep 'em coming!

Eric
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alainbriot
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« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2006, 09:28:01 PM »
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I, too, am looking forward eagerly to parts 2 and 3. Keep 'em coming!

Eric
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=76881\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Eric,

Thank you for your interest.  I have a lot of essays coming up and also a major publication coming up in Spring 07.  

Alain
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Alain Briot
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« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2006, 05:38:58 PM »
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Alain Briot wrote:
>>  What I came to understand is this: many people believe that, by the time the shutter is triggered, the appearance of a photograph is sealed. In other words, the prints that they see framed at my shows, prints which are the result of days and days of work adjusting contrast, color saturation and countless other details, are believed to be the direct reproduction of the negative or transparency I exposed in my camera, or of the raw file created by the camera’s digital sensor.

... the fact that a raw file has a very low saturation and contrast level when in its original state, and that virtually no raw files are printed without some amount of saturation and contrast adjustments, is equally of no concern to the audience.<<


Probably not so many people read the publications of the ICC color.org:
http://www.color.org/ICC_white_paper_20_Di...ment_basics.pdf

To compensate for dynamic range compression
and to work from native Raw to a pleasing /preferred rendition
is a rich chapter for Art as well as for Science.

Neither camera manufacturers nor supplier of Raw conversion software really like to talk about this subject.  Either for IP reasons, or because their algorithms are of limited general applicability and require intervention by the user (often sold as the freedom to adjust everything depending on taste).

So in this sense we are 'manipulating’ because we have to...
(at least by 2006)

--
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alainbriot
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« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2006, 06:40:58 PM »
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To compensate for dynamic range compression and to work from native Raw to a pleasing /preferred rendition is a rich chapter for Art as well as for Science.

Neither camera manufacturers nor supplier of Raw conversion software really like to talk about this subject.  Either for IP reasons, or because their algorithms are of limited general applicability and require intervention by the user (often sold as the freedom to adjust everything depending on taste).

So in this sense we are 'manipulating’ because we have to... (at least by 2006)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77100\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Good point.  Thank you for the link to the white paper.  I had not read it yet.

Alain
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Alain Briot
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