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Author Topic: OPEN  (Read 7217 times)
popnfresh
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2010, 04:25:09 PM »
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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 plumbing. 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.
Maybe I read your post wrong, but it looked like you said that professionals don't take the same kinds of photographs as non-professionals.
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RSL
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2010, 04:38:18 PM »
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They don't when they're doing their "professional" shooting. But once they take up a camera to do what, for lack of a better term I'll call "fine art" photography they stop being professionals and become amateurs -- in the real meaning of the word: one who does something out of love for it. The trouble's with the term "professional." A pro is a guy who does what he does to make a buck. The most incompetent professional in the world is still a "professional" as long as he's doing what he's doing in order to make a living. Down the street may be an "amateur" who's infinitely more competent and knowledgeable than the "professional," but the guy's still an "amateur" since he's not shooting to make money. What I'm saying is that when people talk about learning from a "professional" I always have to stop myself from laughing. "Professional" doesn't imply knowledge or competence.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2010, 08:16:06 PM »
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They don't when they're doing their "professional" shooting. But once they take up a camera to do what, for lack of a better term I'll call "fine art" photography they stop being professionals and become amateurs -- in the real meaning of the word: one who does something out of love for it. The trouble's with the term "professional." A pro is a guy who does what he does to make a buck. The most incompetent professional in the world is still a "professional" as long as he's doing what he's doing in order to make a living. Down the street may be an "amateur" who's infinitely more competent and knowledgeable than the "professional," but the guy's still an "amateur" since he's not shooting to make money. What I'm saying is that when people talk about learning from a "professional" I always have to stop myself from laughing. "Professional" doesn't imply knowledge or competence.

Of course, there are hacks in any profession. If you take the term "amateur" in its broadest sense, then any professional who loves his work is both a professional and an amateur.
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Mark Anderson
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2010, 02:12:39 AM »
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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.

Pardon my ignorance, but what does cropping & knowing what you are trying to say have to do with each other?
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stamper
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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2010, 05:49:43 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

Rob,
        try typing in notepad or word and copy and paste your reply into the Quick Reply. Less chance of being caught out. Maybe it was the moderator censoring your reply as you were typing? LOL
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2010, 09:04:19 AM »
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Rob,
        try typing in notepad or word and copy and paste your reply into the Quick Reply. Less chance of being caught out. Maybe it was the moderator censoring your reply as you were typing? LOL
Or try investing in a browser that works, i.e., any browser other than Internet Exploiter. Here are some that I have found useful:
   Firefox  (price: free)
   Opera    (price: free)
   Chrome (price: free)
   Safari    (price: free)

If none of these are in your price range, I'll lend you the difference.   Grin

Eric
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RSL
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« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2010, 09:32:28 AM »
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Of course, there are hacks in any profession.

Pop, If you walk past the local photographer's shops in most towns you'll discover that there seems to be an unusually large number of hacks in "professional" photography -- which may help to explain why the truly excellent pros like Steve McCurry stand out so much.
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« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2010, 09:46:35 AM »
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Pardon my ignorance, but what does cropping & knowing what you are trying to say have to do with each other?

Mark, You said, and I quote: '...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.'

I'm not sure how the two things connect either, but you evidently knew when you wrote that sentence. Maybe I'm misreading it but it comes across to me as: "MR goes out and shoots at random, then comes back and spends up to ten minutes on his exposure deciding how to crop in order to make clear what he was trying to say." Having looked at a lot of Michael's pictures I can't believe that's true. Anyone who makes good photographs knows exactly what he's trying to say when he makes the exposure and he frames his statement clearly with the camera. If he fails to do that, cropping isn't going to help. Of course there are instances where circumstances intervene and leave you with an image that has to be cropped in order to give you what you were after in the beginning, but those instances are very, very rare.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2010, 10:29:04 AM »
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Of course there are instances where circumstances intervene and leave you with an image that has to be cropped in order to give you what you were after in the beginning, but those instances are very, very rare.
For example:
(1)   You would need to step ten feet or so past the edge of the cliff to get the best viewpoint, or
(2)   You would need to cut down the nearest Redwood tree, which is in the way, but you left your chainsaw at home today, or
(3)   The image doesn't fit the aspect ratio of your camera.

Does that about cover it, Russ?

Sometimes (but rarely) I also crop when I see that I didn't really see the scene correctly when I was there with camera. I try to learn from these mistakes so I won't have to repeat them.

Eric
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stamper
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« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2010, 11:00:46 AM »
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Quote

MR goes out and shoots at random, then comes back and spends up to ten minutes on his exposure deciding how to crop in order to make clear what he was trying to say.

Unquote

I don't see the connection between exposure and cropping. I am willing to bet that Russ has seen many images that he really likes but didn't realise that they had been cropped? I think that a few weeks ago on the site Michael stated that he cropped for subject? I think it was in the blurb in one of the images he posted when he explained his thinking behind the taking of the image?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 11:04:29 AM by stamper » Logged

popnfresh
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« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2010, 11:26:51 AM »
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Pop, If you walk past the local photographer's shops in most towns you'll discover that there seems to be an unusually large number of hacks in "professional" photography -- which may help to explain why the truly excellent pros like Steve McCurry stand out so much.

We need the hacks to make us look good.  Wink
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kikashi
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« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2010, 12:22:25 PM »
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Sometimes (but rarely) I also crop when I see that I didn't really see the scene correctly when I was there with camera. I try to learn from these mistakes so I won't have to repeat them.
If I admit to including, quite deliberately, parts of a scene which I think I'm likely to remove later, in order to retain a greater degree of flexibility, thus anticipating, indeed planning for, cropping, am I confessing to a heinous sin? I get the impression that I am and I confess that I'm not sure why.

My 5d2 has plenty of megapixels. I can afford to lose a few with a crop. I have more time to think when I'm sitting in front of my computer than I usually have when I'm on site. Certainly, cropping a little is likely to be a great deal easier than going back to re-shoot.

Save from a purist's viewpoint ("You WILL print the WHOLE of your image"), I really don't understand the "Cropping is a Bad Thing" mantra. Should I?

Jeremy
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« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2010, 12:34:31 PM »
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For example:
(1)   You would need to step ten feet or so past the edge of the cliff to get the best viewpoint, or
(2)   You would need to cut down the nearest Redwood tree, which is in the way, but you left your chainsaw at home today, or
(3)   The image doesn't fit the aspect ratio of your camera.

Does that about cover it, Russ?

Sometimes (but rarely) I also crop when I see that I didn't really see the scene correctly when I was there with camera. I try to learn from these mistakes so I won't have to repeat them.

Eric

Eric, I'd agree with the first two and, provisionally with the third, though if your camera isn't giving you the aspect ratio you want you really ought to find a different camera. Situation 1 is what happened to HCB when he shot "Cardinal Pacelli, Montmartre, Paris. 1938." He couldn't force his way to the front of the crowd so he held his camera above his head and shot down. The result needed cropping. Situation 2 is what happened when he shot "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932." In this instance there was a post in the way -- on the left. From the picture itself it's obvious he didn't have time to move -- only time to raise his camera and shoot. That one called for the post on the left to be cropped out. As far as I know these are the only two HCB published pictures that called for a crop. The man's ability to capture geometric relationships in a fraction of a second was phenomenal. It puts most of us to shame. But it's an objective to work towards. I'd add that in every case, he knew exactly what he was trying to say when he raised the camera. The camera is the place to do your cropping, not the darkroom or lightroom.
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« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2010, 12:39:15 PM »
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I am willing to bet that Russ has seen many images that he really likes but didn't realise that they had been cropped?

Stamper, You're probably right. I've certainly seen a lot of cropped photographs. I'd also bet that most of the very best weren't cropped.
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« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2010, 12:51:57 PM »
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If I admit to including, quite deliberately, parts of a scene which I think I'm likely to remove later, in order to retain a greater degree of flexibility, thus anticipating, indeed planning for, cropping, am I confessing to a heinous sin? I get the impression that I am and I confess that I'm not sure why.

My 5d2 has plenty of megapixels. I can afford to lose a few with a crop. I have more time to think when I'm sitting in front of my computer than I usually have when I'm on site. Certainly, cropping a little is likely to be a great deal easier than going back to re-shoot.

Save from a purist's viewpoint ("You WILL print the WHOLE of your image"), I really don't understand the "Cropping is a Bad Thing" mantra. Should I?

Jeremy

Jeremy, No, I don't think shooting loosely is a heinous sin. It's probably not even a venial sin. But it does indicate indecision at a point where decisiveness is essential. The problem's not the number of pixels, it's the coherence of the vision. When HCB talked about the "decisive moment" he wasn't referring to ""Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932," a photograph everyone takes to be the epitomization of the decisive moment. He was talking about the point at which you have to make a decision. As far as flexibility is concerned, the moment of greatest flexibility is when you have the camera in your hand pointed toward your subject. After you've tripped the shutter the flexibility goes away.
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michswiss
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« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2010, 12:54:25 PM »
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I'm not enough of a student to know this for a fact, but didn't HCB have someone else do all his print work?  The reason I ask is how do we know there isn't some trimming.  Not wholesale cropping, but tightening with that in mind from the beginning.  Are the negatives also available for his most famous works?

Composition should use all the frame that's possible.  It shouldn't be guesswork and needs to be a conscious decision to maximise the format of the camera, but sometimes shooting with primes doesn't leave time to zoom with the feet.

(fwiw, I shoot almost exclusively with primes not that that give me any extra credibility.)
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« Reply #36 on: August 23, 2010, 01:11:12 PM »
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I'm not enough of a student to know this for a fact, but didn't HCB have someone else do all his print work?  The reason I ask is how do we know there isn't some trimming.  Not wholesale cropping, but tightening with that in mind from the beginning.  Are the negatives also available for his most famous works?

Mich, Yes, except in the very beginning HCB didn't do his own printing, but he had a very good printer, Voja Mitrovic, who printed for him. The reason we know there isn't some trimming is that HCB insisted on having his photographs printed with the black borders of the area beyond the frame showing, though it seems to me I remember Life Magazine violating this requirement. Yes, the negatives are in the care of the Magnum Photo Agency, and, if I remember correctly, belong to Martine Franck, his second wife and another very famous Magnum photographer.
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« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2010, 11:11:05 PM »
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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.

Add Albert Watson to the list. He always took extra time after his commercial shoots to "do his own thing" which now comprises the bulk of his activity (fine art). And I would not call his commercial assignments "boring." They were challenging assignments with interesting people to which he applied his trained eye and creative problem-solving abilities. Sounds like an excellent way to spend one's time (and get paid for it to boot)!
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« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2010, 02:45:49 AM »
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Stamper, You're probably right. I've certainly seen a lot of cropped photographs. I'd also bet that most of the very best weren't cropped.

Russ, how do you know they were cropped and how do you know that the very best weren't cropped? You would have to have seen the originals?
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« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2010, 09:29:24 AM »
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Stamper, Sometimes the aspect ratio is a dead giveaway, and sometimes I've seen the originals, or contact sheets for the originals, or at least the same picture with a different crop. But I didn't say I "know" the very best aren't cropped. I said I'd bet that most of the very best weren't cropped. I'd still place that bet. In HCB's case I'd win every time. With Robert Frank I'd win more than I'd lose. With a few others I'd be gambling. But even with those, more often than not the crop wouldn't be arbitrary; it would be a crop required by an inability to get in place for the shot the photographer wanted. That's different from shooting loosely and then, in Photoshop, spending ten minutes deciding what you really wanted to say. The people who make the best photographs know exactly what they want to say at the instant they trip the shutter.
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