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deeyas
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« on: July 16, 2010, 10:02:20 AM »
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Since our host has been posting some neat street shots on the front page, I thought I'd share another one of my recent ones. Comments/critique welcome.

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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 11:47:09 AM »
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Deeyas, Good shot, though it'd have been better if whatever that is on the left side hadn't been there. The problem with that intrusion is that it's impossible to tell what it is. Looks as if it might be another girl in shorts and a frilly blouse, though the bulge of the blouse makes her look pregnant. My other criticism is that the colors look muddy. That's the problem with shooting in that kind of light. How about this as an alternative?:

[attachment=23183:highres_16438561.jpeg]

But let me go back to my first statement: good shot! It's refreshing to see something other than the kind of snaps we've been seeing for the past month: "what I did on my vacation" type tourist pictures followed by "criticisms" consisting of "I like it" or "it doesn't do anything for me." Bravo! and keep shooting this kind of stuff.
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deeyas
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 12:05:01 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Deeyas, Good shot, though it'd have been better if whatever that is on the left side hadn't been there. The problem with that intrusion is that it's impossible to tell what it is. Looks as if it might be another girl in shorts and a frilly blouse, though the bulge of the blouse makes her look pregnant. My other criticism is that the colors look muddy. That's the problem with shooting in that kind of light.

Thanks, Russ! I see your point about the intrusion on the left. It is the butt of another girl... Although if she were pregnant, that would really add to the drama! I had to include a part of her in the frame since that was the scene I walked in on...and moving to find another angle would have alerted them of my presence. The light is pretty harsh - there were 3 sources: the neon light, a tungsten right above the girls, and an orange halogen street lamp. This along with my uncalibrated monitor maybe causing the colors to be muddy. I did think of B&W but feel the neon sign colors (in this case) add to the photo. I do have another one from the sequence which I will post soon. But once people have been alerted of your presence, its not quite the same!
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 05:14:48 PM »
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Quote from: deeyas
...since that was the scene I walked in on...and moving to find another angle would have alerted them of my presence...
...    
But once people have been alerted of your presence, its not quite the same!

Deeyas, How well I know. I've lost an awful lot of otherwise good street shots because the people in them were too alert. Just had that happen this morning with this guy. I walked past him and waited, looking in a shop window. But when I carefully swung the camera he saw me. First he tried to duck but then realized he couldn't. After I made the shot he wanted me to buy him breakfast. When he ducked he got behind some crap on the left side and I had to crop it out. Drat. Could have been a pretty good street shot.

[attachment=23186:Manitou.jpg]
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2010, 05:14:50 PM »
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Next time, ask Miss Butt to move.  
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deeyas
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2010, 06:38:50 PM »
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Here's another version ... with a wider view that shows what is on the left.

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Diapositivo
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2010, 07:17:09 AM »
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In my humble view the second one, if rendered in colour, would be brilliant.

The writing "open", with its double, triple of quadruple sense in the context, is crucial to the image. You can read this image as an ironic image à la Cartier-Bresson (the way I saw it at first) or you can read it as a picture depicting social problems, and this ambiguity adds interest to the picture.

Cheers
Fabrizio
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RSL
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2010, 09:25:53 AM »
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Quote from: deeyas
Here's another version ... with a wider view that shows what is on the left.

Deeyas, Splendid! Good shooting. The balance of tones between the girl's clothing and the OPEN sign is good. So is the ocean of darkness that the smoking girl looks into -- both literally and figuratively.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 09:28:42 AM by RSL » Logged

Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2010, 09:40:10 AM »
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For me the b/w version of the cropped first image posted does it.

The smoke is a plus and the arm of "Mrs. Butt" doesn't get in the way.
The crop also drags you more into the scene.
For me it was clear the defocused something is the back of another
girl standing there. It didn't disturb or irritate me.
The back of the other girl being defocused also suggests you are very  near to the scene
 which is a great plus, not a minus !
It also adds a somewhat voyeuristic perspective into the scene,
which is appropriate in this case and adds expressive value which is not necessarily so.


Great shot!
Thanks for sharing.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 09:44:13 AM by ChristophC » Logged

tonysmith
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 02:14:41 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
It's refreshing to see something other than the kind of snaps we've been seeing for the past month: "what I did on my vacation" type tourist pictures followed by "criticisms" consisting of "I like it" or "it doesn't do anything for me."

As a recent submitter for critique of some pictures I took while on vacation in Norway, I was hurt by this comment. I have delayed my response until I thought I could respond objectively, not emotionally.

I am a hobby photographer, not a professional, and I sincerely wish to improve. I have noted over the past couple of years that the responses to my requests for critiques have been more positive, suggesting that I really am improving. I have been encouraged by this. In particular I was most grafeful for a recent positive comment from Kurt Gittings about some photographs I took at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I have seen this avenue as a way of getting valuable feedback that would help me improve.

With respect to my recent submission of photographs from my vacation in Norway, I was aware that many of the pictures I took, but did not submit, were simply "vacation snaps" of no value to anyone except me and my wife in preseriving memories. I had thought, however, that some which I had taken more trouble over were better than the rest and I sought feedback that would help me. I appreciated the comments I did get, which were helpful.

Russ's comment on this post, while perhaps not aimed specifically at my submission, gave the disparaging message that some high level of competence is a prerequisite for asking for critiques/comments, and that submissions such as mine are simple stuff that is beneath the attention of the "real" photographers who inhabit this site. The only purpose this serves is to inhibit me, and perhaps others, from posting images for comment in the future. Perhaps that is what Russ intended.

I do understand that this site is aimed at very proficient, experienced and talented photographers, and that I have not yet reached that rank and perhaps will not. Nevertheless, encouragement is to be preferred to condescension. I had hoped that I could get encouragement here and had understood this to be one of the objectives of the site.

Russ, I think you have been disappointingly "snotty", but if I am being over-sensitive or have misunderstood you, I do apologize.

Best wishes

Tony


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RSL
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2010, 04:25:41 PM »
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Tony, I'm sorry my comment hurt your feelings, but it seems to me that for the past couple months we've mostly seen tourist pictures -- or their equivalent -- on User Critiques. No, my comment wasn't aimed specifically at your Norway pictures. It wasn't even really aimed at tourist pictures, but rather at a class of picture I call "tourist pictures."

There's nothing wrong with tourist pictures. Some of my family members used to bring back 35mm Kodachromes of their vacations, and when I visited, sit me down and give me an extended slideshow of the places they'd been while on vacation. The pictures always were of scenery -- sometimes with a building or two in them, but rarely, if ever, a human being to give a bit of the flavor of the place. The colors were unbelievable -- Kodachrome always raised color saturation far beyond what you actually perceive -- and the scenes were pleasant.

But as you pointed out, the intention in tourist pictures is to make a personal record of the trip -- one you can turn back to later on and say, "Wasn't that a wonderful vacation..." To the involuntary viewer of the slides, who wasn't on the vacation trip, who intends never to come near the locations in the slides, and who couldn't care less about photographs of scenery in general, that kind of slideshow is a sleep aid.

Let's go back to your Norway pictures. Yes, they're very pleasant. But when you say you'd like feedback that would help you, you have to understand that the feedbackers need some indication of what you're trying to achieve. What were you trying to show when you made that shot of a pleasant Norwegian town? That it's pleasant? The third picture in that series is a fairly good abstraction. Was that what you intended?

You say that you're a hobby photographer. So am I. So what? "Professionals" don't do the kind of photography you do and I do. They do weddings, debutant balls, and other intensely boring things, like product photography and fashion (sorry Rob). And I take issue with the idea that this site is aimed ("exclusively" was the implication) at "very proficient, experienced and talented photographers." Look back through the postings for the past several months and you'll find that most of the postings are from "hobby photographers" just like you and me.

It seems to me that the whole purpose of a photograph is to convey something important to the viewer. I'll go beyond that and say that the finest examples of visual art, photographs included, leave the viewer with a transcendental experience. I'm sure a number of people on here who've read my previous head-rattlings are convinced I dislike landscape photographs. That's not true, but I do believe that landscape is one of the most difficult forms in which to produce the kind of transcendental experience we all should be after. Constable and Turner occasionally could bring it off, but I don't know of any photographer who's been able to do the same thing -- not even Ansel.

Tony, how many books of photographs do you have in your library? How much time do you spend looking at them -- critically. How many of those books contain tourist snapshots? What do they contain? Is there a particular genre that interests you? Landscape? Street? My personal opinion, which I've expressed many times on LuLa, is that the best way to learn and improve your work is to spend time with the work of the masters: people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Steve McCurry, Robert Frank, Gene Smith, Paul Strand and, yes, even Ansel Adams. But for that to be productive you first have to decide what genre appeals to you most, and you have to decide what you want to achieve when you pick up your camera.

Again, I'm sorry to have offended you, and I've probably offended you again with this reply, but I really am tired of the tourist snapshots I'm seeing, for which the only reasonable "critiques" can be things like "I like it." "Good shot." "It doesn't do anything for me." "The steeple is tilted." "etc." Happily, today Seamus Finn came up with a contemplative Irishman who's about to set his beard on fire. And on this very thread Sayeed posted a couple shots that illustrate the unfortunate world of the Asian bar girl. Neither is a "tourist shot."

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stamper
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2010, 05:25:49 AM »
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I was a member of a camera club for six years and participated in and looked at competitions. Most images were the same in respect to "seen it all before" and I suspect that the judges felt the same. They were obliged to comment on them however. What the experienced club members and the judges were looking for was something out of the ordinary to "excite" them. When you saw something that you really liked there was an emotional and dare I say it a physical reaction, sometimes an intake of breadth. The long time posters on here probably feel the same way and look for something out of the ordinary, otherwise they will ignore what they see or give the stock replies such as nice etc etc. Occasionally they will give a damning assessment. I am a member of another website on photography which in the main is a good site but is struggling to keep members posting. My opinion is that it is struggling because of too many tourist type images being posted and the site looks like it is mainly for photo assessment. It is like walking a tightrope in getting the balance right. I found out through being a camera club member you have to be thick skinned with respect to showing your images to the public. I think that Russ was broadly correct in what he was saying.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2010, 06:56:27 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Tony, I'm sorry my comment hurt your feelings, but it seems to me that for the past couple months we've mostly seen tourist pictures -- or their equivalent -- on User Critiques. No, my comment wasn't aimed specifically at your Norway pictures. It wasn't even really aimed at tourist pictures, but rather at a class of picture I call "tourist pictures."

There's nothing wrong with tourist pictures. Some of my family members used to bring back 35mm Kodachromes of their vacations, and when I visited, sit me down and give me an extended slideshow of the places they'd been while on vacation. The pictures always were of scenery -- sometimes with a building or two in them, but rarely, if ever, a human being to give a bit of the flavor of the place. The colors were unbelievable -- Kodachrome always raised color saturation far beyond what you actually perceive -- and the scenes were pleasant.

But as you pointed out, the intention in tourist pictures is to make a personal record of the trip -- one you can turn back to later on and say, "Wasn't that a wonderful vacation..." To the involuntary viewer of the slides, who wasn't on the vacation trip, who intends never to come near the locations in the slides, and who couldn't care less about photographs of scenery in general, that kind of slideshow is a sleep aid.

Let's go back to your Norway pictures. Yes, they're very pleasant. But when you say you'd like feedback that would help you, you have to understand that the feedbackers need some indication of what you're trying to achieve. What were you trying to show when you made that shot of a pleasant Norwegian town? That it's pleasant? The third picture in that series is a fairly good abstraction. Was that what you intended?

You say that you're a hobby photographer. So am I. So what? "Professionals" don't do the kind of photography you do and I do. They do weddings, debutant balls, and other intensely boring things, like product photography and fashion (sorry Rob). And I take issue with the idea that this site is aimed ("exclusively" was the implication) at "very proficient, experienced and talented photographers." Look back through the postings for the past several months and you'll find that most of the postings are from "hobby photographers" just like you and me.

It seems to me that the whole purpose of a photograph is to convey something important to the viewer. I'll go beyond that and say that the finest examples of visual art, photographs included, leave the viewer with a transcendental experience. I'm sure a number of people on here who've read my previous head-rattlings are convinced I dislike landscape photographs. That's not true, but I do believe that landscape is one of the most difficult forms in which to produce the kind of transcendental experience we all should be after. Constable and Turner occasionally could bring it off, but I don't know of any photographer who's been able to do the same thing -- not even Ansel.

Tony, how many books of photographs do you have in your library? How much time do you spend looking at them -- critically. How many of those books contain tourist snapshots? What do they contain? Is there a particular genre that interests you? Landscape? Street? My personal opinion, which I've expressed many times on LuLa, is that the best way to learn and improve your work is to spend time with the work of the masters: people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Steve McCurry, Robert Frank, Gene Smith, Paul Strand and, yes, even Ansel Adams. But for that to be productive you first have to decide what genre appeals to you most, and you have to decide what you want to achieve when you pick up your camera.

Again, I'm sorry to have offended you, and I've probably offended you again with this reply, but I really am tired of the tourist snapshots I'm seeing, for which the only reasonable "critiques" can be things like "I like it." "Good shot." "It doesn't do anything for me." "The steeple is tilted." "etc." Happily, today Seamus Finn came up with a contemplative Irishman who's about to set his beard on fire. And on this very thread Sayeed posted a couple shots that illustrate the unfortunate world of the Asian bar girl. Neither is a "tourist shot."
Many interesting statements.

Lu-La embrasse both pro and amateur photographers. Sometimes the frontier between the 2 is narrow and difficult to see, sometimes it is clear.
The amateur photographer is probably the most interesting part in the sense that they shoot first for passion AND with no time equation. But the amateur is also where the biggest differences in experience and talent is found. There are real artists, and also many week-end shooters.
The pro are not specially artists or genious, but the technical skills is much more constant. Less unconsistent works.

Russ spoke about Rob. That's interesting. From an observer, and knowing that I have great respect and admiration for both, they are exactly on a symetrical position.
Russ is the arquetype of the amateur photographer, passionate, can't stop shooting, very good critics...Rob is the arquetype of the professional photographer, when retired he shoot much less, have harder time to find a reason to do it...
Both Russ and Rob know a lot and make great pictures. They are just in a different approach. But...all the paths lead to Rome don't they?

But Russ made his living piloting planes and shooting for passion, Rob earned his money shooting models, his source of incomes. That plays a huge role in the way both live and feel photography. One is not better than the other, they are just different experiences. But Rome is the final image and as I said, both paths leads to that.
But Rob had a human experience with his models, not only photographic, and when the career ends a big part of the equation is missing and that is why shooting wals, doors or tourists is not the same at all. I can underrstand this feeling of "something important is missing". Photography after all is just a medium. But for the amateur, photography is the pretext itself.

It is true that I also miss more human shots here. But hey, we are basically in a landscape website. Curiously, Michael is one of the most active in street photography. Maybe he should rename the website and call it the luminous boulevard.

Anyway, I will maybe appear a little bit provocative for some, but...landscape is the easyest genre to acheive decent result, and agreeing with Russ, the most difficult to acheive exeptional results.
So there is really no surprise if we see so many week-end shots. Nicely boring and repetitives.
I am not that often recently in this section so I do not know about the latest pics, but I understand Russ anyway.

Make good fashion shots require a minimum of skills that many do not have and shoot lands, fences and seas. (skills that are not only photographics but psychologicals and socials).

Nature has no ego, no humors, no time table.

To me, the reason why we see so much "tourist imagery" is exactly what Russ pointed: "what do you want to say"? and that is what I miss most in many landscapes. Very nice lights, textures, views etc...but...what do you wanted to say?
Because photography is a language and language is made for a purpose. Most of the time the purpose lacks if not a vague idea to catch a beauty in the instant given. (that would be enough if clearly expressed)

Put any gizmo with a compact on a moutain summit on the right time and he will be back home with some keepers. Nature likes you to photograph, and always play the game fairly. And you have many tries.
Put the same person in the middle of Chicago and it will be another story. Street is one try, one shot. You got it or you do not. There is no averageness.
Landscape photographers, even experienced will see how their amont of keepers will dramatically reduced in a street environement.
And human is not like nature. Human is moody, not ready that you take a shot. Trees and clouds are perfectly safed.

Fashion is not as easy as it looks and sometimes notice a certain condesendence from some members to that genre. First you have to work in team (at least 2) with time and money factor. A model, even professional and well paid is a human being with all the complexity involved without talking about the arrogance and uncompetence of many AD. Then, you have to think about the client, going out of your self.

Reportage, social, street, fashion, arquitecture, art...I consider all those genres much more challenging at least to a basic level than landscape.
Landscape is difficult, only to be really really good.

IMHO.

Ps: Russ, there is a Turner one in the Prado this summer. But I won't go because I hate to cue.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 02:25:28 PM by fredjeang » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2010, 09:15:23 AM »
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Sayeed, Congratulations on the Merit Award in Color Magazine. Interesting stuff.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2010, 10:18:23 AM »
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I give up.

Spent a while writing an answer to Fred and Russ only to have a notice telling me I had already submitted the post when I most certainly had not!

On switching out of and then re-entering this site, I discovered that part of the post I was writing had been posted!

I'm afraid I can't hack this sort of nonsense - I try my best and am not prepared to see it mucked up, write blind or any of the other stuff.

I shall probably return when this is all sorted out, which I hope it will be.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 10:32:05 AM by Rob C » Logged

Mark Anderson
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2010, 12:01:30 PM »
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An interesting discussion.

Last spring I bought a day with Mr. Reichmann at his now-closed gallery in Toronto, his Printing 1-on-1 deal. We did a lot of things that day, but one question I had was how much time MR spent on each image in the process of readying it for print, and the reply was 20 minutes on average, and half of that time was deciding how to crop the image. Part of the "what am I trying to say" process.

Looking at the color version, my temptation would be to crop in from the left side, probably to the point that the woman's left hand is now butting up against the left crop. That eliminates the second woman entirely. When I put a piece of paper over that side of the image on my monitor so I can see it cropped in that manner, now all of a sudden the exhalation of cigarette smoke from the woman's mouth is much more evocative. And for me, evocative of film noir movies from the 1940's. A lovely image, so deep and dark.

It works for me, but if that is not the message the photographer is trying to convey, well, that is really the question, isn't it?
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2010, 12:30:51 PM »
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You say that you're a hobby photographer. So am I. So what? "Professionals" don't do the kind of photography you do and I do. They do weddings, debutant balls, and other intensely boring things, like product photography and fashion....

Okay, I need to take issue with that statement. The list of photographers who relied on steady income from their day job as "professionals" so they could afford to make fine art is as long as my arm.

Here are a few that come to mind immediately: Michael Kenna, Joel Meyerowitz, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe. ! could dig up many more. Being a successful commercial photographer hardly precludes one from making great art. One the contrary, I would argue that a professional's work ethic and attention to detail generally helps.
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RSL
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2010, 04:14:01 PM »
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Okay, I need to take issue with that statement. The list of photographers who relied on steady income from their day job as "professionals" so they could afford to make fine art is as long as my arm.

Here are a few that come to mind immediately: Michael Kenna, Joel Meyerowitz, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe. ! could dig up many more. Being a successful commercial photographer hardly precludes one from making great art. One the contrary, I would argue that a professional's work ethic and attention to detail generally helps.

Pop, I was really surprised it took this long for someone to take issue with that. I never said being a commercial photographer precludes one from making good art. Neither does being a plumber. My favorite guy who did that was Elliott Erwitt. He did what he called his "personal best" when he put down his commercial gear for the day and picked up his Leica. What I said was that photographing things like weddings and debutant balls is intensly boring. I'll stick by that statement.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 04:40:30 PM by RSL » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2010, 04:19:07 PM »
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...20 minutes on average, and half of that time was deciding how to crop the image. Part of the "what am I trying to say" process.

Mark, As far as Cartier-Bresson was concerned, and I heartily agree, if you don't know what you're trying to say at the instant you frame the picture in the camera, you're lost, and no amount of cropping is going to salvage the wreckage.
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2010, 04:21:20 PM »
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I give up.
I shall probably return when this is all sorted out, which I hope it will be.

Rob C

Rob, I just finished doing several posts where the type ducked beneath the frame and I was astonished to find that it worked. Give it another try.
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