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Author Topic: Your camera definately,still,does NOT matter!!!  (Read 43791 times)
mrleonard
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« on: March 31, 2008, 07:36:48 PM »
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I suppose one of my posts earlier added to all the 'controversy' over Micheal's rebuttal.....and I  suppose even though he felt he had said all there was to say on the subject, he is compelled to prop up his point of view  by some 'essay' by some guy....
Anyway, he say's " It might be a combination that costs forty dollars or forty-thousand but whatever it is, it can play an important role in the creation and look of a given photographers' work."
This gets closer to the heart of the matter...the whole point , and what always WAS the point....and all the 'controversy'...IS the classic argument "It's the photographer and not the Camera",yet a lot of you cant seem to grasp what that question,aphorism, whatever, is actually asking/saying.
 What it IS asking/saying is..."Does a technical (or material..ie..more 'expensive) improvement correlate to an aesthetic /artistic improvement". The answer it infers is NO...and I also believe it is NO..at least as far  as ART is  concerned(as opposed to  commercial work...sometimes called 'craft').
 This DOES get argued to death..it's a shame  there are not many interesting new points of view..or discussions about aesthetics,creative-process....sigh...
 That's all I was hoping to achieve by :  http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=23992

That,  and I thought Micheal's rebuttal was rude...even now ,I hope he isn't insulting me. I don't have sub-optimal reading skills, and it wasn't either of those two points why I disagreed with him.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2008, 07:58:00 PM »
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I understood what the Rockwell article was about. The spirit of it, yes is so obvious it has escaped many. Yes the photographer is what counts, maybe its corny..but it is true.

Maybe Ken should have mentioned that, again, this is very simple..that you have limitations with certain cameras, yes quality of output varies etc etc. If that happened, this entire debate would not even be here.

I think MR took it as the camera is of no importance at all. And if you want, you could read it like that, but it didnt hit me like that I have to say.

So my now modified keep people happy version is

"the camera is of far less importance, than the photographer"

 and I would struggle to find anything to attack that line with. Maybe KR took it as a given that people would know a holga isnt ideal for shooting a wedding indoors, or a pinhole is not your ist choice to do the olympic games with.

The issue, aside from the slightly iffy tone from MR on the newer editorial..I found the MR response too strong..and over emphasising the importance of gear, when he could have just added to the KR article, and if you like "corrected it" for nitpickers out there.
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dilip
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2008, 08:27:51 PM »
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I think MR took it as the camera is of no importance at all. And if you want, you could read it like that, but it didnt hit me like that I have to say.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=185939\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I disagree... as Michael says in the lead in to the new article "Rather, I was simply using his ill-named essay as a jumping off point for my own thoughts on the subject."

I don't think that anyone, anywhere, said that the photographer plays no role in the picture. We all know that being in the right place with the right light at the right time has something to do with it too, but we don't go around saying that photography is like real estate it's all about location location location.

Somehow it is acceptable to argue that it's all about skill and not about tools.  I think that we can all agree that without skill you're snookered. But the old saw is still repeated as gospel.  Camera ergonomics and characteristics are so closely scrutinized because we don't want them getting in the way and instead we want to make sure that they work with our perceptions. If the camera hinders my ability to take the picture the way that I see it, or if it is just not up to the job, then it is important.  As the Brit's so wonderfully say "Horses for courses."

I can't believe the amount of traffic that this has generated.  Is the photographer important? Of course.  Is the gear important? YES!!!

Michael's article wasn't entitled "The photographer doesn't matter", it was entitled "Your camera does matter"
Ken's article was entitled "Your camera doesn't matter"

One of these titles is correct.  It's Micheal's. (If you disagree, I'd be happy to trade you a point and shoot camera for your DSLR kit since apparently it doesn't matter.) If Ken's essay had been entitled "The photographer mattered" then most of this traffic wouldn't have been generated (and the world may possibly have been a better place).

I'm going to try really hard to never think about any of this stuff again.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2008, 08:41:07 PM »
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One of these titles is correct.  It's Micheal's. (If you disagree, I'd be happy to trade you a point and shoot camera for your DSLR kit since apparently it doesn't matter.) If Ken's essay had been entitled "The photographer mattered" then most of this traffic wouldn't have been generated (and the world may possibly have been a better place).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=185949\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


And who was the ist person to put an image up, taken with a "sellotaped camera", I was. And in this case, the camera was not a major factor in getting the shot that I wanted, no need to again state the obvious limitations of certain cameras, which mattered zero in that case

I think that said something a bit more than the super debate we get ourselves into on this one. I disagree, in respect that..and I will repeat it again..what is more important? Gear or person? It is of course the person, that is more important than the camera.

On that basis, and on that alone. Rockwell is in the right camp (albeit failing to mention a few obvious points), and Michael is..sadly in the techo gear camp, placing too much importance on the camera IMHO. Also, I will again point out the article which the owner of this site put up himself, saying he won the battle of being a good photographer using cheap stuff..that kinda kills the argument from my point of view.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 08:44:58 PM by barryfitzgerald » Logged
luong
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2008, 08:50:36 PM »
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If Ken's essay had been entitled "The photographer mattered" then most of this traffic wouldn't have been generated

Isn't it the goal of Ken to generate web traffic ? Would Ann Coulter be a best selling author without her outrageous statements ?
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2008, 08:57:39 PM »
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Isn't it the goal of Ken to generate web traffic ?
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Of course it is! The thing with Ken is, some people really take him too seriously, honestly I do not. Not to say he does not say some worthy things (and some iffy ones too), but its designed to provoke a response. He even says this himself...

The only shock was, this site owner fell for it! But then are we looking at this right? Both sites got a likely notable increase in web hits, and likely some benefit from that.

I really do not agree with everything on ken's site, but then I dont buy everything put up here either, you use your own judgement on things. If rockwell played to the crowd on this, then Michael provided it in the ist place! Silence is golden sometimes..
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 08:58:58 PM by barryfitzgerald » Logged
mrleonard
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2008, 09:16:07 PM »
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Of course it is! The thing with Ken is, some people really take him too seriously, honestly I do not. Not to say he does not say some worthy things (and some iffy ones too), but its designed to provoke a response. He even says this himself...

The only shock was, this site owner fell for it! But then are we looking at this right? Both sites got a likely notable increase in web hits, and likely some benefit from that.

I really do not agree with everything on ken's site, but then I dont buy everything put up here either, you use your own judgement on things. If rockwell played to the crowd on this, then Michael provided it in the ist place! Silence is golden sometimes..
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=185959\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What "fell for it"Huh What nonsense....He speaks his mind...he says what he says...period. Why is it important to question one's 'intention' as it applies to expressing  an  opinion. This is a skewed view of communication...as if one's ideas and opinions are molded ,formed with only the view of getting more 'web hits'. Ken Rockwell states his opinion,so does MR, so do you and I...period.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 02:57:42 AM »
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What "fell for it"Huh What nonsense....He speaks his mind...he says what he says...period. Why is it important to question one's 'intention' as it applies to expressing  an  opinion. This is a skewed view of communication...as if one's ideas and opinions are molded ,formed with only the view of getting more 'web hits'. Ken Rockwell states his opinion,so does MR, so do you and I...period.
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I am afraid I do not agree, no nonsense about it, you have few allies here, dont attack the one who is backing you up!

The style of KR is blunt and designed to draw attention, it is meant to be like that. How many people would visit a low key..ho hum, nicely said article website. There is way to present things, and KR decides to do that in a no nonsense way.

I assume his goal is to make some income from his site, he has no problems being upfront about it. If you copied Ken's site, but used a very mild form and choice of wording, you would get a lot less traffic.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 07:58:45 AM »
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The style of KR is blunt and designed to draw attention, it is meant to be like that. How many people would visit a low key..ho hum, nicely said article website. There is way to present things, and KR decides to do that in a no nonsense way.

I assume his goal is to make some income from his site, he has no problems being upfront about it. If you copied Ken's site, but used a very mild form and choice of wording, you would get a lot less traffic.

The obvious refutation to this is that Luminous Landscape gets more web traffic than Ken's site, most likely because much of what Rockwell writes is nonsense. Sensational nonsense, but still nonsense written more for sensation's sake than actually useful photography information. Michael's stuff is less sensational, but contains a higher ratio of useful information.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 08:01:24 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

mrleonard
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 09:51:42 AM »
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I am afraid I do not agree, no nonsense about it, you have few allies here, dont attack the one who is backing you up!

The style of KR is blunt and designed to draw attention, it is meant to be like that. How many people would visit a low key..ho hum, nicely said article website. There is way to present things, and KR decides to do that in a no nonsense way.

I assume his goal is to make some income from his site, he has no problems being upfront about it. If you copied Ken's site, but used a very mild form and choice of wording, you would get a lot less traffic.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=186032\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is meant to be like that? No one can know KR's 'intentions' but himself. The truth is though..he just speaks his mind. I don't think it is as convoluted as that he, A> thinks of a subject and writes an article...and then B> thinks of a more agressive wording and rewrites his article. I mean...he doesn't have an editor he answers to, he's solo. Maybe you're reading into his style of writing too much...
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DonWeston
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 02:19:45 PM »
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Each to their own so to speak, on any site the message can get lost in the noise for sure, but what is nonsense to one person makes perfect sense to someone else. How much is written by style or design is also up to interpretation. Each site has its pros and cons. If a site is of no value to you, then why bother visiting, and even more why would one care what someone else reads or thinks about something anyway....
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2008, 06:06:34 PM »
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"Does a technical (or material..ie..more 'expensive) improvement correlate to an aesthetic /artistic improvement". The answer it infers is NO...and I also believe it is NO..at least as far  as ART is  concerned(as opposed to  commercial work...sometimes called 'craft').
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If you try to correlate 'more expensive' to 'aesthetic improvement' then you fall into the classic logic trap of trying to relate the objective to the subjective.

You seem to be taking the position that the gear does not affect the aesthetic value of a piece of work. How can this be? I would say that gear need not affect the aesthetic value, but equally well, it might. It's up to the artist to decide this. Saying the camera does not matter is as pointless as saying only the camera matters.

Gregory [a href=\"http://www.aperture.org/crewdson/]Crewdson[/url] is by all measures an artist, and secondarily a photographer. He uses a camera operator and DOP plus production and lighting crew to produce works that sell in the high art market for very large amounts.

Crewdson uses equipment of the absolute highest quality (and cost) to produce exquisite works of art. Tell him there is no correlation between equipment and art. For him the technical quality of his works contributes greatly to his creative vision.
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Nick Rains
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mrleonard
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2008, 09:13:22 PM »
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If you try to correlate 'more expensive' to 'aesthetic improvement' then you fall into the classic logic trap of trying to relate the objective to the subjective.

You seem to be taking the position that the gear does not affect the aesthetic value of a piece of work. How can this be? I would say that gear need not affect the aesthetic value, but equally well, it might. It's up to the artist to decide this. Saying the camera does not matter is as pointless as saying only the camera matters.

Gregory Crewdson is by all measures an artist, and secondarily a photographer. He uses a camera operator and DOP plus production and lighting crew to produce works that sell in the high art market for very large amounts.

Crewdson uses equipment of the absolute highest quality (and cost) to produce exquisite works of art. Tell him there is no correlation between equipment and art. For him the technical quality of his works contributes greatly to his creative vision.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=186244\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well..lol..that's what Im saying..you CAN'T relate them. The answer to the  question is obvious....though to most it seems obviously the wrong one because I don't think they read the question the same as I do...or you do (apparently, though you seem to think i'm advocating something i'm not)

 I am saying the Field acts upon the Form and only then does the Form affect the Field. You brought up a  good example of a photog (gregory).If he now 'improved' his art with a technically better lens say, it would not necessarily translate to a better image. Thats all i'm saying....it could be expensive gear, it could be cheap gtear..Im not refuting expensive equipment. Saying the camera does not matter is (to me) the better position to take...I dont think Gregory had to wait for a crew and high end equipment to express his vision...it is just an outgrowth of the particular creative path he takes.
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lovell
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 10:50:57 PM »
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I think the wrong premise people have is that a more expensive camera will produce better IQ.  I would submit that a better camera, regardless of cost, will provide better IQ.  Sometimes a lessor costing camera provides better IQ, and I think we all know more then a few instances of this.

But I speak of IQ here....And as to composition, what a better camera cannot do is make one compose better.  Usually.  And as to composition, every single 35mm camera made, every single DSLR ever made, regardless of make, of model, will never prevent one from composing a picture, so long as he has a lens with the required FOV, and aperture setting.  But lenses aside, any and all cameras will not prevent one from composing their best work.

But, if one wants that composition to have the highest IQ, then well, the camera does in fact matter.

A resulting composition is the result of a conspiracy between the photographer and his kit.  If the kit does not support the photographer's vision, then the resulting composition will suffer.  Therefore, kit matters, and often it matters a great deal.

It's not becoming of a photographer to get "macho" on us with statements like "a great photographer can take any camera and produce a masterpiece".  I don't believe this and never will.
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2008, 11:26:34 PM »
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Saying the camera does not matter is (to me) the better position to take...I dont think Gregory had to wait for a crew and high end equipment to express his vision...it is just an outgrowth of the particular creative path he takes.
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Taking the position that 'the camera does not matter' is simply too limited. It leaves you nowhere to go, whereas saying the 'camera does matter' is by no means the opposite and makes no comment on how much it matters: it matters to a certain degree depending only on the photographer using it.

I think people are failing to realise that there are three positions to take, not two.

1. The camera never matters.
2. The camera does matter to an unspecified degree.
3. The camera is the only thing that matters.

I'm sure most people would agree that 1 and 3 are too extreme and by my measure, wrong.

Can we agree that the camera can matter to both technical and aesthetic quality?
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Nick Rains
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Ray
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2008, 02:17:25 AM »
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Can we agree that the camera can matter to both technical and aesthetic quality?
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No, we can never agree on both points. The only certain thing is that the camera matters with regard to technical quality.

Artistic qualities, almost by definition, transcend the tools used for their creation. If this were not the case, we could always judge artistic merit by its modernity.

The Empire State building would be a greater work of art than Angkor Wat, a Bartok piano concerto would be a greater work of art than a Mozart piano concerto, and Blue Poles would be a greater work of art than any cave painting at Lascaux or Altamira.

Sorry! On this point, Ken Rockwell is right.  
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 02:58:54 AM »
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No, we can never agree on both points. The only certain thing is that the camera matters with regard to technical quality.

Artistic qualities, almost by definition, transcend the tools used for their creation. If this were not the case, we could always judge artistic merit by its modernity.

The Empire State building would be a greater work of art than Angkor Wat, a Bartok piano concerto would be a greater work of art than a Mozart piano concerto, and Blue Poles would be a greater work of art than any cave painting at Lascaux or Altamira.

Sorry! On this point, Ken Rockwell is right. 
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Sorry but newer does not always equal better technical quality - Stradivarius anyone? The aesthetic qualities of a performance by a top concert violinist depend to some extent on the quality of the violin. The violin might not affect the quality of the written music but it certainly does that of the performance - equally an 'art'.

Since we do agree that the camera matters with regard to technical quality, I'm not sure why you insist that technical quality can have no relevance to aesthetic qualities.

Again [a href=\"http://www.aperture.org/crewdson/]Crewdson[/url] is a good example of technical quality being critical to (his) art. He could not do what he chooses to do with anything other than a large plate camera. I'm sure he could do lots of other good things with any camera, but the point is he chooses to use a particular piece of gear for a particular creative effect.

How then is the aesthetic quality of Crewdson's work not influenced by the equipment?
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Nick Rains
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2008, 07:27:11 AM »
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No, we can never agree on both points. The only certain thing is that the camera matters with regard to technical quality.

Artistic qualities, almost by definition, transcend the tools used for their creation. If this were not the case, we could always judge artistic merit by its modernity.

You can't really be that stupid. The technical side of photography is an integral foundation for artistic expression. Try capturing the majesty of an eagle in flight with an 8x10 view camera. If the artistic vision always transcends technical capabilities, then this should be easily doable. But the reality is that no matter how skilled the photographer, using that particular tool for that particular task is pretty much guaranteed to result in an unrecognizable blur. The technical aspects of the tool simply do not support the creative vision, regardless of the skill of the user. Every camera has strengths and limitations, and large part of effectively expressing your artistic intention is choosing an appropriate tool for the task.

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The Empire State building would be a greater work of art than Angkor Wat, a Bartok piano concerto would be a greater work of art than a Mozart piano concerto, and Blue Poles would be a greater work of art than any cave painting at Lascaux or Altamira.

Sorry! On this point, Ken Rockwell is right. 

You're engaging in a strawman argument here. Nobody is arguing that modernity always equates to superiority, either technical or artistic.
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2008, 01:21:28 PM »
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..."Does a technical ... improvement correlate to an aesthetic /artistic improvement". The answer it infers is NO...and I also believe it is NO..at least as far  as ART is  concerned...

If this is the question, then the answer cannot be "NO." The answer has to be "SOMETIMES." It has to be sometimes, because it's easy to imagine where a technical "improvement" - a choice of camera more or less expensive - will result in an aesthetic/artistic improvement. Example: The choice of a Holga photographer, looking for that style, using a Holga produces an improvement aesthetically and artistically over a Nikon D3 being used in attempt to reproduce that same Holga style.
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dilip
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2008, 04:08:16 PM »
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No, we can never agree on both points. The only certain thing is that the camera matters with regard to technical quality.

Artistic qualities, almost by definition, transcend the tools used for their creation. If this were not the case, we could always judge artistic merit by its modernity.

The Empire State building would be a greater work of art than Angkor Wat, a Bartok piano concerto would be a greater work of art than a Mozart piano concerto, and Blue Poles would be a greater work of art than any cave painting at Lascaux or Altamira.

Sorry! On this point, Ken Rockwell is right. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=186320\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

As noted by another, you're setting up a straw man argument.  I'm somewhat sleep deprived, so I'll indulge in knocking some things down.

But some of Bartok's work is better than some of Mozart's.  I agree that when you compare their best pieces, Mozart is superior, but it's not universally true.

Some times improvements in technology allow for a better expression of the artistic vision (which goes to the point that tools are important).  Instead of comparing Angkor Wat with the Empire State Building, I'll compare it to the Taj Mahal, which in my mind vastly exceeds Angkor Wat in beauty and its ability to inspire awe.  Refinements in tools and techniques allowed for an expression of an artistic vision that wasn't possible in the time of the construction of Angkor Wat.
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