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Author Topic: Photo Technology Luddites: Can they be Great Photographers?  (Read 21891 times)
Chris_T
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« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2009, 07:47:13 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
I'm afraid not Jonathan. That seems to be a widely accepted fallacy. The sad fact is, we are all ignorant, but it's education that causes us to realise that we're ignorant. However, some are more ignorant than others, but there are none so ignorant as those who don't realise they are ignorant. We could perhaps call those stupid.

Some would argue that we are all born ignorant, and some become stupid after being educated.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #61 on: May 15, 2009, 08:05:09 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
Some would argue that we are all born ignorant, and some become stupid after being educated.

There's a difference bewteen being educated and indoctrinated, albeit some crossover is unavoidable.

When you see someone being shouted down for their unpopular views, suspect indoctrination.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #62 on: May 15, 2009, 08:15:56 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
There is nothing about digital that says manipulation on it's own.

I disagree here. The essential thing about digital is the elimination of physical media and processes in favor of virtual data. It's interesting that nearly all of the unique property of a company like Microsoft is in their source code, and all of that could be zipped and placed on a thumb drive and carried off in a pocket.

The fact that digital is all bytes and doesn't take up any real space lends itself to unlimited manipulation, something no physical media or process could compare to. And that is also the uniqueness of where we're going in digital photography - unlike analogue photography, there are no limits to digital except our imaginations and the time it takes to explore and implement them.
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ecemfjm
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« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2009, 09:17:09 AM »
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It takes a lot of creativity to use technology in a way that can be called art. My view is that if you are really an artist, you can overcome your technical inhabilities and produce a piece of art. But the most technically talented person may be unable to produce a bit of art if he/she has no artistic talent.

Manuel
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fike
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« Reply #64 on: May 15, 2009, 10:10:04 AM »
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Wow. I started this discussion months ago and now it gets new life as digital versus film.

Great photos are great whether they were taken by a 4-year old with a digicam or a 50-year old with thousands of dollars worth of medium format film or digital gear.  

Technique becomes less important with each new technological innovation because the equipment becomes more forgiving of sloppiness. (IS, Auto ISO, Jonathan's facial recognition)

Repeatability or consistency is important only in so much that the photographer/artist is happy with their production.  

So, new technological innovations can easily facilitate the development of a great photographer/artist without any substantial knowledge of the technical craft--within reason.  Exposure, focus, composition are essential skills.  Everything else can be outsourced.



"There are many paths to enlightenment."
Buddha

--and its western corollary--

"The fool who persists in his folly will become wise."
William Blake
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 10:14:20 AM by fike » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2009, 11:24:13 AM »
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[quote name='fike' date='May 15 2009, 03:10 PM' post='283894']
"Wow. I started this discussion months ago and now it gets new life as digital versus film."

That´s why I remarked that most of this thread has been entirely off topic.

"Repeatability or consistency is important only in so much that the photographer/artist is happy with their production."

Not sure what your intention was with the word repeatability, but it is a hallmark of the competent professional that he can repeat something to client request; failure in this ability only indicates the lucky accident and not mastery of craft.  

"So, new technological innovations can easily facilitate the development of a great photographer/artist without any substantial knowledge of the technical craft--within reason.  Exposure, focus, composition are essential skills.  Everything else can be outsourced."

`-within reason´  ah, the opt-out to trump them all!

Ciao - Rob C




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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2009, 11:25:02 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
Where can I purchase this plugin? Does it also produce the chemical fumes?

I always keep a tray of stop bath and one of fixer next to my monitor so I can get the necessary nostalgic aromas. And of course I dip my fingers before typingggggggggg (Dang! I've got to run the keyboard through my Archival Washer again.)


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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2009, 11:27:35 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
Some would argue that we are all born ignorant, and some become stupid after being educated.

My father was the first in his family to go to college, and he eventually got his Ph.D. and spent his career as a college professor. His brother Georg always liked to say (in my father's presence), "Some people quit school while they still know something. Others continue."  
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fike
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« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2009, 12:11:48 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
My father was the first in his family to go to college, and he eventually got his Ph.D. and spent his career as a college professor. His brother Georg always liked to say (in my father's presence), "Some people quit school while they still know something. Others continue."  


definition: Expert (need to read phonetically)

X is a mathematical term indicating the unknown,
spurt is a drip under pressure,
--so--
an Expert is an unknown drip under pressure.

Furthermore....a PHD is a person who learns more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.
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« Reply #69 on: May 15, 2009, 12:13:39 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
...

`-within reason´  ah, the opt-out to trump them all!

Ciao - Rob C



YES!  Everyone who speaks in absolutes is an idiot~!




(Note, the ~! is punctuation for sarcasm.)


Quote from: Rob C
...

Not sure what your intention was with the word repeatability, but it is a hallmark of the competent professional that he can repeat something to client request; failure in this ability only indicates the lucky accident and not mastery of craft.

I think there is a lot of room between complete serendipitous luck and the mastery of a genius technician.  Complete ignorance of photography that perhaps a chimp might bring to the task would certainly mean luck is the entire defining variable for success.  From there, a basic competence in exposure, focus, and composition will result in a exponential increase in the chances for success.  Must I point out how many very pathetic pro photographers we have all seen working in this business.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 12:20:09 PM by fike » Logged

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Ray
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« Reply #70 on: May 15, 2009, 07:09:28 PM »
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Quote from: fike
"The fool who persists in his folly will become wise."
William Blake

Echoed by Winston Chrchill when he said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”  

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #71 on: May 15, 2009, 11:52:55 PM »
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Hi,

In my view, yes absolutely. On the other hand knowledge often comes handy. Not being able to learn or benefit from own experience doesn't rule out that one can make great pictures but seeing life as life long learning certainly helps.

The other issue is that, while it certainly possible to make excellent pictures without much insight in technology, understanding the underlying concepts is helpful. Where beauty is seen it can be captured, but it may deserve to be captured well. Just pushing the button may result in a washed out picture. When we make decisions it can be based on experience or insight. Experience is perhaps like: "I need to set compensition -1 stop in that kind of light". Insight may say that I need to reduce exposure to keep highlights in the histogram.

Once you process your pictures knowledge again will be helpful. Knowledge may come from experience or understanding the basic principles. Understanding the technology can be most helpful, but not really necessary.

In my view any photographer can make great pictures, but want for knowledge, curiosity, exploration and the ability to gain experience from mistakes will make anyone a better photographer.

On the other hand, bad pictures are bad pictures even if brilliantly executed.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: fike
I have been spending a lot of time thinking of the tradeoff between the photographer as technician/engineer and the photographer as a creative artist.

I got thinking about this because of a young (teenage) photographer I know who freely admits her lack of technical knowledge of photography, yet she has a great deal of talent.  I am trying to decide whether to push her to mastering the more technical aspects of her craft, but she seems to have NO INTEREST.  So I got to thinking...



In the age of digital, is it really necessary to understand the technology to become a great photographer?  Can serendipity and experimentation create excellence without knowledge of the underlying principles?  What do you think?



P.S. Sorry about the forum posting location.  I couldn't really see where it would fit, so I stuck it here.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2009, 08:15:59 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Not sure what your intention was with the word repeatability, but it is a hallmark of the competent professional that he can repeat something to client request; failure in this ability only indicates the lucky accident and not mastery of craft.

Agreed. That's what separates a pro from an amateur photographer. An amateur can produce great work, but not necessarily repeatedly, or need to repeatedly. A pro has to in order to earn a living.

Repeatability is a sign of craftsmanship, and not necessarily artistry.

As an aside, "anyone can take a good picture" is one reason why many consider photography less an art form, say than painting.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 08:19:42 AM by Chris_T » Logged
John Camp
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« Reply #73 on: May 18, 2009, 12:08:27 PM »
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But "taking a good picture" won't get you there. There are great news photos that nobody considers art -- they just are. I think most photos that serious people consider to be serious art are made only after the artist has gone through an apprenticeship and a period of study and contemplation. I'm not sure about this -- this may be a rash statement -- but I don't believe I've ever seen anything that I would consider serious art on an internet forum. (Although I have seen some on private websites, or reproduced on forums.)

JC


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Bronislaus Janulis
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« Reply #74 on: May 18, 2009, 11:07:51 PM »
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Ahh, the great ponderables. Art, craft, craft, art. There's something a little wrong with the mouth, his grain is showing, the focus is off, and great gobs of that paint is going to fall off soon. Regardless of craft, technique or insufficient exposure, and the shadows are all blocked up, every so often, the forces of man and nature conspire to produce an object that after much study and contemplation, can still elicit a "wow", or even a quiet smile. 6 monthes is my golden rule; if I still look at it, it's OK, ART or whatever.

I'm very accepting of "randomness", art with out craft, but I also respect craft, but my emotional and aesthetic response is mine, and sometimes I value the craft, but am willing to discard craft that gets in my way. So, in answer to the original question, if the young artiste needs craft, she will find it; it is available. As to craft leading to art (ART), I don't know; I think of Pavarotti, who wasn't noted for his work ethic, but whose voice was, for me, just glorious, high art indeed.

I blather, I must be an artist.

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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #75 on: May 18, 2009, 11:11:20 PM »
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There is a vast body of brilliant work that was produced before digital reared it's pixilated head.

Most of it will probably be around long after most of the current stuff has been relegated to the delete button of history.

I hope the question was rhetorical.
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #76 on: May 18, 2009, 11:17:10 PM »
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As an aside, "anyone can take a good picture" is one reason why many consider photography less an art form, say than painting.
[/quote]

Jackson Pollack?

The common joke during the abstract expressionism period was "My kid could do that".

And then there's Warhol.
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fike
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« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2009, 03:58:46 PM »
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Quote from: schrodingerscat
As an aside, "anyone can take a good picture" is one reason why many consider photography less an art form, say than painting.


Jackson Pollack?

The common joke during the abstract expressionism period was "My kid could do that".

And then there's Warhol.

Why are we so insecure about the idea that ANYONE can make art--even a child.  Art isn't some rarefied club that only admits the masters.  A child can make great art.  An untrained adult can make great art.  Consistency and determination may make that person call themselves an "artist," and someday they may be "successful."  

"Successful," "artist," and "art" are such loaded words that after their use our conversation instantly devolves into pretentiousness.  Why don't you just let that amateur digicam user have a fantastic photo?  Why can't we just let the 5-year old take a beautiful photo?  ...and why can't we call what they do "art?" Not acknowledging this misses the point that artist like Pollack, or even Duchamp, were trying to make.

It needn't diminish our work to acknowledge the accomplishments of others-the art in everyday life--even from the unwashed masses.


Sheesh!!
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« Reply #78 on: May 19, 2009, 05:35:18 PM »
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Well, here's some kid work, done a while ago, but pretty nice; of course it may not be ART.

http://nytimes.com/2009/05/13/arts/design/13pain.html
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John Camp
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« Reply #79 on: May 20, 2009, 12:09:34 AM »
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Quote from: fike
Why are we so insecure about the idea that ANYONE can make art--even a child.  Art isn't some rarefied club that only admits the masters.  A child can make great art.  An untrained adult can make great art.  Consistency and determination may make that person call themselves an "artist," and someday they may be "successful."  

"Successful," "artist," and "art" are such loaded words that after their use our conversation instantly devolves into pretentiousness.  Why don't you just let that amateur digicam user have a fantastic photo?  Why can't we just let the 5-year old take a beautiful photo?  ...and why can't we call what they do "art?" Not acknowledging this misses the point that artist like Pollack, or even Duchamp, were trying to make.

It needn't diminish our work to acknowledge the accomplishments of others-the art in everyday life--even from the unwashed masses.


Sheesh!!


I don't think anyone can make art. There are people with substantial training who *think* they are making art, and after some years of work, most serious observers say, "No, that's not art. Sorry." And they are correct. A child can't make great art, either. Probably the greatest artist of the 20th century (Picasso), who was trained from early childhood (his father was an art teacher), really only started nailing the drawing and the creative aspects of his craft when he reached his late teens...after more than a decade of work. What these non-trained people -- and monkeys, elephants and cats -- do is make "art like" work. A chimp can push a button, and with an automatic camera, shot from inside a cage, could probably get some pretty interesting photos. Not art. Members of the unwashed masses can certainly make art, but it's not with little effort. In fact, their art is usually the product of mental illness or obsession.

Art is like most products of human activity -- some do a particular thing supremely well, and some can't do it at all, just like playing basketball or hunting deer or singing or discovering new mathematical theorems.

The thing about a camera is that it makes one part of creating art easy -- mastery of photographic technique, to the point of competency, is easier than mastery of paint. It's also easier to lie about. If somebody spends an hour being instructed on how to create a photographic portrait, and is then given an automatic camera, there is a good possibility that even with little talent, he or she can come up with something that is at least credible. Can't do that with a pencil.

One big mistake in photography is to confuse competency with art; they are not the same. I think that "pros" are less likely to create real serious art than are "amateurs," because pros focus on the easy ways to do things, and more often produce glossy cliches than serious observations.

JC
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