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Author Topic: Working with retouching artists ?  (Read 5694 times)
RomainVaucher
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« on: July 24, 2010, 03:04:01 PM »
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Hi,

How many of you work with retouching artists for fashion/beauty work ?

Do you think that it would be better to do it by yourself or to let somebody work with you for that ?

I have less and less time to retouch my images and am at a point where I can see myself paying someone to retouch my images.

What is your take about it ?

Romain
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fredjeang
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 05:13:05 AM »
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Quote from: RomainVaucher
Hi,

How many of you work with retouching artists for fashion/beauty work ?

Do you think that it would be better to do it by yourself or to let somebody work with you for that ?

I have less and less time to retouch my images and am at a point where I can see myself paying someone to retouch my images.

What is your take about it ?

Romain
Romain, I would give you of course a very personal approach.

I'm absolutly for delegating the task but I think that the photographer has to also pass by the areas he delegates and that is an important point to me.

It's good to know the retouching and delegate it.
Pablo Picasso knew the etching craft, but he delegated the eching to a master. That is the knowledge of knowing where is your task and where lays others knowledge. This is cooperation.
Picasso was primary a painter and wised enough to understand that even if he could perfectly do the etchings, it is not the same as someone who does that every single day 9 hours.
Because there is something in the craft that in french we would call "le métier" and that means that one adquires habilities and a sort of 6th sense, tricks and maturity only when one does a job on a regular basis.

I'm for the team work. I like to trust the others and delegate as much as I can. This is a human adventure, not a one-man-show.

I'm sorry if that may hurts many people, but I never understand how a photographer can be a very good printer. That does not match at all with my experience.
Many photographers here think that the print is part of their job because they want to control the overall image to their touch.
This is more IMO an ego mystic because delegating does not mean that you do not control, in fact you control even more because a real printer master will be able do give you more than you would do.
Then it is to know how to direct. Because once you delegate, you have to direct like a cheif orquestra and this part is truly creative and exciting, but I guess it depends on each person character.

How much time photographers spend in printing compare to a real master that does that all the day, and how much real knowledge those photographers have on the printing task?
Because I have never met so far a printer master that writes into the forums if the color profile is correct or whatever tech question.
A good printer just know how to do the job, and more than any photographer simply because that is what he does all the time.

Not delegating deprives ourselves from a great opportunity to a professional human experience and cooperation and have consequences on the results, and above all, the time and energy lost in doing things that belong basically to others more prepared.

I find really a better well used money, instead of investing in an expensive printer and loosing many many hours learning the profiles and softwares etc...(like if already we wouldn't have enough of hassles to deal with), the paper,
bla bla bla...going to see a good printer and ask him to print according to what I want. And generally you end having a beer or lunch somewhere in the area. This is human.
I would only have and learn art printing if I where giving workshops, because then it is part of the knowledge you can sell. Same with the retoucher except if your work is based on photoshop as art tool, then you have no choice.
But fashion do not enter in that need.

Do you imagine a make-up artist, a stylist asking internet "gear questions"  about the make-up area? That makes no sense.
But that is what we see. Profiles problems, monitors issues etc rarelly anwsered...I never ever in my life met a real pro that does have these sort of anxiety.
If many wants to print, why don't they do the make-up then, why don't they fly the plane that brings one to that magnificent landscape area? And do at the same time the engine maintenance and the tower controler?
I'm ironic yes, but you have the idea. Why the arquitect is rarelly drawing the techs and has a team? Energy-time-relaibility and efficiency equation.

Even if you delegate and had a bad experience, it does not mean that this is not the right thing to do, it simply means that this was not the right person.
But yes, let a good retoucher do the work for you BUT keep always the control. You are the one who pays aren't you? And the one who decides what is your unique style.
Then, a great retoucher will enhance your work.

Best regards.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 09:38:22 AM by fredjeang » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 01:16:45 PM »
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Actually, the reason I like digital is I control the whole chain from the moment the image is taken to the moment it is printed. I don't have to deal with french idiots who sell me film emulsion  that has been boiled, pay atrocious fees for "professional" medium format development, deal with printers who explain to me that I need to wait "because they have work from real professionals" etc etc. I can make my bad picture of a seashell or a leaf myself, at home, I can bring it up on my own monitor, and print it on the paper *I* want. And yes, I had to spend two years learning to use Photoshop, and had to learn the tricks of retouching people from my friend Stephen Eastwood, and I had to become an expert on color.

But if I were a working pro, I would surely delegate retouch or printing - to someone who would make the client happy. As an amateur I see no reason to pay anyone less competent than me.

Edmund
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 02:31:56 AM »
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Quote from: eronald
Actually, the reason I like digital is I control the whole chain from the moment the image is taken to the moment it is printed. I don't have to deal with french idiots who sell me film emulsion  that has been boiled, pay atrocious fees for "professional" medium format development, deal with printers who explain to me that I need to wait "because they have work from real professionals" etc etc. I can make my bad picture of a seashell or a leaf myself, at home, I can bring it up on my own monitor, and print it on the paper *I* want. And yes, I had to spend two years learning to use Photoshop, and had to learn the tricks of retouching people from my friend Stephen Eastwood, and I had to become an expert on color.

But if I were a working pro, I would surely delegate retouch or printing - to someone who would make the client happy. As an amateur I see no reason to pay anyone less competent than me.

Edmund
Oh yeah! I also really understand your points.
And Paris is a masterpeace in order to make one feels tiny, as always with this very french arrogance that they confuse with elegance.

But despite of the hassles I would still delegate just because of the human interaction benefits. I was pretty much involved with the scotish community in Paris at that time and it was refreshing.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 04:08:46 AM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 05:40:21 AM »
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I think this theme would find itself almost impossible to imagine in a pre-digital era.

The only time I allowed another pair of hands to touch my work was when it was more than I could cope with in my own studio or darkroom. The end result was very much an extension of my abilities and sensibilities and understanding of when a print was right. Delegation was an act of self-sacrifice.

I never did large display prints myself because I didn't have the physical space or processing facilities required and I never did colour of any sort other than small Cibas because of the rotten financial sense it made to run a line for small quantities of colour print or film. This had nothing to do with expertise: I eventually ran the colour section of the industrial unit where I began my career so I earned that expertise the hard way and that allowed me to learn, too, that commercial labs never would go to the last test - they always opted for 'commercially acceptable' which broke my heart but was a Goliath too strong to battle.

By the same token, when I was doing calendars I never had to do my own scans any more than I had to work the goddam printing machines. I do not believe that being forced into doing a lot of pre-press work today is a great deal for photograhers but simply another piece of the action for which they have to assume responsibility for precious little reward - if any is even allowed. I do my own scanning of 35mm film - because I have to - and whilst I don't begin to pretend it is anything like drum scanning it serves the purpose for which I use the system. I wouldn't have dreamed of getting involved in scanning film myself for pro purposes. I believe that what some call a new freedom is nothing more than a forced cut in the budget to exploit the long-suffering shooter. The job of the photographer used to be very clear: produce the best transparency or print that was possible, all functions which were easily within a pro's grasp.

Was a time the forums were full of the debate/question: how do I get the client to pay for my computer time? Within the question lay the concept, newly discoverd by clients, that they could save a huge amount of money in the new digital age because there was no film and, ergo, no processing involved! No way did anyone want to start paying for a fresh branch of expertise and that's more or less how it seems to have developed, at least with the smaller photographers I have contact with these days.

Got to take the wild bunch to lunch!

Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 06:39:17 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I think this theme would find itself almost impossible to imagine in a pre-digital era.

The only time I allowed another pair of hands to touch my work was when it was more than I could cope with in my own studio or darkroom. The end result was very much an extension of my abilities and sensibilities and understanding of when a print was right. Delegation was an act of self-sacrifice.

I never did large display prints myself because I didn't have the physical space or processing facilities required and I never did colour of any sort other than small Cibas because of the rotten financial sense it made to run a line for small quantities of colour print or film. This had nothing to do with expertise: I eventually ran the colour section of the industrial unit where I began my career so I earned that expertise the hard way and that allowed me to learn, too, that commercial labs never would go to the last test - they always opted for 'commercially acceptable' which broke my heart but was a Goliath too strong to battle.

By the same token, when I was doing calendars I never had to do my own scans any more than I had to work the goddam printing machines. I do not believe that being forced into doing a lot of pre-press work today is a great deal for photograhers but simply another piece of the action for which they have to assume responsibility for precious little reward - if any is even allowed. I do my own scanning of 35mm film - because I have to - and whilst I don't begin to pretend it is anything like drum scanning it serves the purpose for which I use the system. I wouldn't have dreamed of getting involved in scanning film myself for pro purposes. I believe that what some call a new freedom is nothing more than a forced cut in the budget to exploit the long-suffering shooter. The job of the photographer used to be very clear: produce the best transparency or print that was possible, all functions which were easily within a pro's grasp.

Was a time the forums were full of the debate/question: how do I get the client to pay for my computer time? Within the question lay the concept, newly discoverd by clients, that they could save a huge amount of money in the new digital age because there was no film and, ergo, no processing involved! No way did anyone want to start paying for a fresh branch of expertise and that's more or less how it seems to have developed, at least with the smaller photographers I have contact with these days.

Got to take the wild bunch to lunch!

Rob C
Rob,
Like Edmund, I understand you, but honestly: How did you find the time?

Now for example I had a concert shooting, probably the kind of photography I mostly hate doing but that was an old compromised and I always complish with my compromises, more than 200 hundred shots that I have now to post-processed in the middle of a crazy week where many works are crossing and everybody is of course in a hurry...and me wanting to escape to the beach and forget about all that stuff for awhile.
I hate those concert pics, I'm a backstage photographer if you follow me.
I must tell you that this morning I was with the Capture one with zero enthousiasm. If I could have delegated this I would have done it with no hesitation.
The reason why I'm writing here in the middle of this amount of work is because I need distraction for a moment.

Back to the retouching, I'm not too bad with Capture One, but I'm not an expert, specially when it comes to batch process. I've been trying to follow some Capture Integration lessons, tutos etc... they are great but after a while I just ask myself what the hell I'm doing and why I'm loosing so much hours to acheive a task that someone would for sure do better than me? The only answer is "presupuesto"(budget).

I thought about purchasing the Lu-La C1 5 dvd, I'm sure it is excelent, but I know myself. After the first 30minutes I'll ask myself if I really want to deal with this learning curve and the anwser is simply no. Too much devices, too much softwares to digest for what I'm ready to do and more importantly: where do I want to put my attention and energy on.

Today I just sent a message to an agent I have in Galicia asking her to sell the works to a high %. I just want to get rid off any task that distracts me or that I'm not good at. I want the people to be happy and pay them as high as I can because then they work with enthousiasm and everybody's happy.
That's what I'm doing now, of course that means less money for me, but money is just money after all. What I gain is IMO far more important.
If there is not, fine, I do things myself,;but when there is, no way I'm going to hassle my life with hours of screen and keyboards. I rather go with the printer and have a beer on the street corner.


Cheers.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 11:07:50 AM by fredjeang » Logged
John R Smith
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 08:52:45 AM »
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Fred -

"I'm sorry if that may hurts many people, but I never understand how a photographer can be a very good printer. That does not match at all with my experience."

It seems to me that a certain Mr A Adams was a competent photographer and also a rather nifty printer. I think he might have written a book about it. And I could think of quite a few other good examples. Why on earth would a landscape photographer, at least, want to delegate printing to someone else? Particularly in B/W, the moment of exposure and the printing of that moment are part and parcel of the same process.

John
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 10:48:12 AM »
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Fred -

"I'm sorry if that may hurts many people, but I never understand how a photographer can be a very good printer. That does not match at all with my experience."

It seems to me that a certain Mr A Adams was a competent photographer and also a rather nifty printer. I think he might have written a book about it. And I could think of quite a few other good examples. Why on earth would a landscape photographer, at least, want to delegate printing to someone else? Particularly in B/W, the moment of exposure and the printing of that moment are part and parcel of the same process.

John
But of course john.

Also, if my info is correct Ansel also worked with printers.

But it does not make change my mind about the fact that if some photographers, and specially landscape, art photographers where the printing is a clew part of their final image, can be very good, I do not understand how can they reach the knowledge of a printer artist that does that all day, 8 or 9 hours a day with many different situations, papers (some exotic), machines etc...

Ansel was also a great printer? yes, it is more that famous. Ansel felt that the printing has to be part of his skills and went very far on that knowledge. Very few do that. But it does not mean that because Ansel did it that it is the only possible way for the landscaper.

Many of the current top art-photographers are delegating the printing and even the retouching to others simply because they feel they are more qualified and of course, because they can afford them.

If you do not see the reason why you should or would delegate the printing as a landscape photographer is probably because or you have not met a real printer artist so far or because you estimate that your skills are perfectly fine enough to acheive what you want, and that is great if you are happy with the process and the result. But it is not because you do not see a good reason to delegate that there are not.

Honestly, if a photographer that would do his printings with the Epson from time to time for exhibit, came to see me pretending that he is as good or better as a printer artist I won't take him very seriously. They might be exceptions, yes.
It is difficult to reach the knowledge of a real craftman that does the job all day professionaly and love his work. You would have to be in the same conditions. Picasso was really skilly in etching, but he let the final to a craftman because he knew how important is to spend a life on a craft. Picasso knew his limits and accepted others could be better than him on that area.

As I pointed at the beginning of my first repply, I gave an absolute personal opinion where FOR ME, delegating matches with my vision, character and needs.

If you want to step the Adam's path, really fine, respectable and perfectly understandable.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 11:09:37 AM by fredjeang » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 11:42:22 AM »
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[attachment=23343:1[attachment=23345:1compvisit.jpg]isit.jpg]Fred,

 The extent of Photoshop manipulation nowadays is such that one gains hugely by creating an "Artificial Emulsion" in Photoshop and by setting color. Everyone in this forum probably knows how to do it, we call it a "look". If you know your look you can shoot for it, but it's hard to paste it over a random image.

 And frankly, as a member of the ICC, I think there are few people in France who can match my own Epson profiles, and fewer who could match my ability to use those profiles for printing - fine art printing is a skill. The few other guys who I know who have the ability to create finely tuned outputs would also not go outside for prints.

 Anyway, I'm a third-rate photographer, but I think that delegating is a choice, and not an easy or obvious one for fine art printers. If you are in fashion then I think that you have to be able to set color yourself if you want to get to the top.

 I'm attaching my card, which demonstrates the "look" I created for my runway shots. These are very heavily retouched.

Edmund


Quote from: fredjeang
But of course john.

Also, if my info is correct Ansel also worked with printers.

But it does not make change my mind about the fact that if some photographers, and specially landscape, art photographers where the printing is a clew part of their final image, can be very good, I do not understand how can they reach the knowledge of a printer artist that does that all day, 8 or 9 hours a day with many different situations, papers (some exotic), machines etc...

Ansel was also a great printer? yes, it is more that famous. Ansel felt that the printing has to be part of his skills and went very far on that knowledge. Very few do that. But it does not mean that because Ansel did it that it is the only possible way for the landscaper.

Many of the current top art-photographers are delegating the printing and even the retouching to others simply because they feel they are more qualified and of course, because they can afford them.

If you do not see the reason why you should or would delegate the printing as a landscape photographer is probably because or you have not met a real printer artist so far or because you estimate that your skills are perfectly fine enough to acheive what you want, and that is great if you are happy with the process and the result. But it is not because you do not see a good reason to delegate that there are not.

Honestly, if a photographer that would do his printings with the Epson from time to time for exhibit, came to see me pretending that he is as good or better as a printer artist I won't take him very seriously. They might be exceptions, yes.
It is difficult to reach the knowledge of a real craftman that does the job all day professionaly and love his work. You would have to be in the same conditions. Picasso was really skilly in etching, but he let the final to a craftman because he knew how important is to spend a life on a craft. Picasso knew his limits and accepted others could be better than him on that area.

As I pointed at the beginning of my first repply, I gave an absolute personal opinion where FOR ME, delegating matches with my vision, character and needs.

If you want to step the Adam's path, really fine, respectable and perfectly understandable.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 11:52:31 AM by eronald » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 11:43:06 AM »
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Fred

Yes, I sort of understand what you are saying. But I can't agree with it. It all depends on so many things - the kind of photography one does, the subjects you choose, and most importantly, the intended use of the end product. If I was a wedding photographer (and I have done a bit of that) I would be very happy for the lab to do all my prints. Most newspaper photographers never printed a frame, they just handed in their rolls of film.

But I have always enjoyed darkroom work just as much as the taking of the photograph out in the field. Now, with digital editing and printing, we use different media and methods, but to the same end. I think Ansel would have loved Lightroom  

When I shoot in B/W, the negative (or RAW file) is just my starting point. I have never printed a picture "as it comes out of the camera".  The image evolves as I work with it, into an expression of my feelings about and for the subject when I framed the picture out in the Cornish countryside. I am often not at all sure when I begin editing of what the final form will be. I will alter lightness, contrast, frame and crop, high-key, low-key via a series of treatments and work prints often over two or three days, evolving the RAW image into a picture which satisfies me. I used to do just the same in the darkroom. How could I hand over this RAW file or negative to another printer, no matter how accomplished, and try to explain to them what my intentions for the print were, when I don't know myself at the outset? I would have to trust their artistic judgement (which might be better than mine, granted), but it would not be mine.

My pictures are my pictures, for better or worse, and by them I shall be judged  

John
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 12:29:47 PM »
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I can not say that you are not right, there is no truth in this topic but different solutions according to each one experience and needs. All the paths lead to Rome and each individual has many reasons to choose a way or another, delegating or not.
As I explained, to me delegating has something to do not strictly with the results but with a human exchange and experience I want to keep and for time issues.
But that's just me and this will be different for others.
It is true that I love delegating as much as I can, I enjoy it a lot really. Others will hate that.

Edmund just posted a fashion shot with his touch. (and Edmund, maybe you should stop writting that you are a third-rate or bad photographer because you're not but you might end beleiving it...thoughts have power. I'm french: don't listen to the french arrogants from enlighted-city. They are poison)

Well, I would have done that retouching, yes. But then I would have given the file to the retoucher and say "that is what I want, keep the style".

But that also means that a close relashionship has to be created with the printer or retoucher or however.  Then they get used to your style and they (or they should) work for you respecting the imagery but adding their own knowledge. Is it then a 100% fred's work? No it is not. It is a team's work under the name of fred.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 01:10:57 PM by fredjeang » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2010, 01:32:46 PM »
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Fred

Yes, I sort of understand what you are saying. But I can't agree with it. It all depends on so many things - the kind of photography one does, the subjects you choose, and most importantly, the intended use of the end product.



That sums it up.  

Really....if you are doing ports...maybe a plus to give it to someone who knows. if you are doing cars...someone who knows cars..

Doing production, you can only have 1 assembly line per person. If you are shooting...thats what you continue to do.

But shooting for a vision you have...you control A to Z if you can...To your level of perfection, satisfaction, etc.
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2010, 02:10:57 PM »
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Hi,

First of all thanks for all your replies. I was asking more for beauty/fashion work. For example for magazine's editorials or campaigns.

R.
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2010, 02:11:14 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Well, I would have done that retouching, yes. But then I would have given the file to the retoucher and say "that is what I want, keep the style".

But that also means that a close relashionship has to be created with the printer or retoucher or however.  Then they get used to your style and they (or they should) work for you respecting the imagery but adding their own knowledge. Is it then a 100% fred's work? No it is not. It is a team's work under the name of fred.

Cheers.


- Well, to take the other extreme of this argument, the only skill which is worth *not* outsourcing is getting the job, and making sure none of the "famous photographer's"  assistants or contributors puts his name on it  


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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2010, 02:39:05 PM »
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Quote from: RomainVaucher
Hi,

First of all thanks for all your replies. I was asking more for beauty/fashion work. For example for magazine's editorials or campaigns.

R.


OK, beauty fashion...whats your pace?  Are booked and cant find the time?  DO you have time now...if so learn to do some retouch.. then when you are busy shooting you outsource it.

That is the only times I have sent my files out, when I am booked.

What Fred says about the expert level and the nuaces and the "le Meiter.etc.?" is very true.  I don't think controlling or retouching your work makes you a Jack of Trades if you know at expert level. but if you are not an expert at it...thats pretty much what you end up doing.  so unless you know at expert level, (which is knowing how to handle a good variety of situations)  or your clients are not important ;-P enough to give them the best work, then learn from it. Otherwise if its for mational print you DO give it to someone who is an EXPERT.
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2010, 02:54:50 PM »
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Quote from: RomainVaucher
Hi,

First of all thanks for all your replies. I was asking more for beauty/fashion work. For example for magazine's editorials or campaigns.

R.
I would at least 80% delegating the retouching for fashion and beauty, having some good samples of your style.

In repply to previous posts, I think that what makes the vision is the brain more than the hand(s).
A cine director does not do the lightning, but he directs it anyway to his vision, and a good photo director will embrasse the director's vision, not imposing his own vision.

If a director likes to work with a certain photo-director it is because both styles and vision match.

The brain is the vision. Not the person who makes it possible.
People remember Gandhi's vision, but he did not acheive it alone, but he had the ideas and directed them.

You can decide to use your own body to direct your vision, or decide to cooperate with others, still it will be your vision.
There is a lot of mystic about the artist's vision.

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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2010, 03:59:48 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
I would at least 80% delegating the retouching for fashion and beauty, having some good samples of your style.

In repply to previous posts, I think that what makes the vision is the brain more than the hand(s).
A cine director does not do the lightning, but he directs it anyway to his vision, and a good photo director will embrasse the director's vision, not imposing his own vision.

If a director likes to work with a certain photo-director it is because both styles and vision match.

The brain is the vision. Not the person who makes it possible.
People remember Gandhi's vision, but he did not acheive it alone, but he had the ideas and directed them.

You can decide to use your own body to direct your vision, or decide to cooperate with others, still it will be your vision.
There is a lot of mystic about the artist's vision.


Sometimes directing takes longer, and when you know how to achieve a certain look etc...you just know how it is done...If you find such a person that syncs with you, super...otherwise, I find that 80% of the time I can get it done faster and more the way I intend when I do it myself.  Beauty and fashion will play out very different for me. Beauty I would do myself. Fashion, I will have a retoucher depending on client, image usage (high volume catarloque vs 1 to 5 glossy spreads etc.).
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2010, 04:39:18 PM »
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Unfortunately, my first crack at a reply today went zooming off into the wastes of the ether this morning because I hit the wrong button. So, unable either to remember now what I wrote then, nor able to face a rewrite at the time, I suppose that it's better late than never. Of course, you may think otherwise, but that's okay too.

To answer Fred's question, where did I find the time to be my own Renaissance Man? Easy, the answer lay in my own first line: I specified film.

If I was fortunate to find three days of work, that took around two or three more to finish the jobs. It wouldn't be that way with digital. The temptation to overshoot, way beyond the naturally productive part of a session, would be untempered by the thought of the relationship between time and money: digi is free, why not shoot? The answer to that should be obvious: free at the camera but boy, expensive in terms of time at the friggin' computer, your time or that of the monkey you hire to eat the peanuts.

And you have to consider motivation. I never ever had the slightest interest in becoming a big studio, to employ people and be responsible for finding them work and keeping the bloody edifice solvent. I already knew people doing that. My thoughts about myself were basic, simple and never changed: I was a photographer and making pictures was what I was about. And pictures meant the whole darn thing right down to the print.

I was fortunate in that I did spend my training period in an industrial photo unit that was a service to the engineering part. There were no restrictions on quality: you worked until it was right. I ended up running the colour lab and so yes, I do know (or did!) how to produce transparencies and prints from liquids and powders. Big deal. But, the really important lesson, was that to do that to the nth degree you need to work to the same level, and when I went out on my own I was faced with the dilemma of doing or not doing for my own business what I did well as an employee.  I soon decided that it wasn't an option. To run a colour line cost-effectively you need a high throughput. I didn't have it, so the only option was farming it out, as most of you seem to suggest, to the 'experts' who do it all the time. Cool. Except that those guys were also tied to the commercial restrictions and would not take it to the nth degree I mentioned earlier, wouldn't run that extra filtration test that I knew would make it a better final print.

You really think the same guys on a Mac today instead of on that Durst think any differently? And if you are sitting on their shoulder, you might as well be doing the work.

I look at some of these shots posted on the Pro Pics page here and yes, they are 'modern' and somewhat bizarre, but few of them make me wish I was working today. Mr Detroit Cars and the RusRuth partnership of NY and Texas certainly do inspire, but as far as I see it, that's because of the content of the shots, the casting and the feeling, not just because of added weird that seems to be the new goal. I looked at some recently shown skin tones just now - I far prefer the look of my own, simple CanoScan scanned 35mm Kodachromes and even the 120 Ektachromes made file thanks to the D700!

I don't know what many of you guys are thinking or talking about at times - it's as if there's a world of theoretical digispeak bullshit going down that's nothing to do with the reality of making pictures but everything to do with some mindgame in which there are ever-changing rules that nobody but the individual understands at any given moment... like the profession thinks it has a terminal disease and is talking itself into a state of perfect anaesthesia where it dies without ever knowing that it was really suicide after all. Maybe that's sweet.

Of course the Old Masters (paint) had assistants, but they were production lines for the church and the aristocracy; the demand made it impossible for one pair of hands, and what motivated them? Greed, exactly as with so much today. And how many of them died happy old men? I'm not particularly of a religious bent, but there's a lot of common sense in that thar book, a specific piece of which I never forget: what shall it benefit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

So much for people shots. Someone mentioned how odd it would be for a landscape shooter to delegate the final, most important part of his work to other hands; dilute the vision, as it were. I couldn't agree more. I think of Keith Laban, not exactly landscaper and not exactly architecture either, but working in a nice niche he has carved for himself after many years as artist in both paint and photography. I look at his site, the subtleties of colour and can I imagine him handing out the work to other people to do in his name? You have got to be joking or hallucinating.

On that happy note, bedtime beckons...

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 04:45:12 PM by Rob C » Logged

fredjeang
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2010, 03:51:13 AM »
ReplyReply

As Phil, I would do the beauty myself and delegate the fashion to a retoucher.
Then you can check a few beauty with the retoucher and if he or she understood your style and you don't see differences with your retouching,
you can feel confident to delegate also the beauty pics.

Maybe a good way to do (if possible) it is to hire full time a young person and train him/her until this assistant become an extention of your photography.
Also, and I know that times are not easy, I would try as much as possible to pay well and the reason is obvious so I won't extend on that part.

------

Rob,

We have obviously different approach on that matter,
but it is always a great pleasure to read your posts really.
You like to write and you do it very well.
In the end it does not matter if arguments match or not, thank god we are different and not clones of one unique way. I just enjoy your style of writting as I enjoy your style of photography
with the ladies.

When I read your posts and some other members also that write damn well like J.Russell, I wish my English would be more consistent and could also bring a certain styling and contents. But I do what I can with what I have.
Still, bringing that quality posts into the forum, against the strong tyde of my-gear-is-the-best, is a great aportation. Thanks for that Rob.

-----

Now back to the topic's arguments.

OP asked about delegating for fashion and beauty.
You talked about Keith Laban, yes I had Keith in mind also as you know that I like his work when I was writing about this topic.
If I was doing kind of Keith's works I would not delegate the work, except if huge enlargement would be required.

But my point and where I mostly disagree with you is that I do not beleive that mystic about the fact that delegating is leading to sell your soul to the devil,
or in other words that you prostitute your work etc...

You said that it must be a great sacrifice to delegate. Yes, it is, for who? For your self or for our egos?
Because ego likes to make us feel that we are special, unique and separate. Therefore, delegating for an artist's ego is unbearable.
And we all know that artists egos are on steroids most of the time, aren't they?

But nature wants us to delegate and cooperate. Nature wants interaction, brains fusions.

Not delegating is fine, it is a choice. IMO being against delegating is another story; it means that one walks with suspicion, can trust only himself, has a sort of bad taste about
the beings in the profession. And above all, that one thing that his unique style (wich is never unique) only deserve (and can de served by) the brain who conceived it.
This is where the mystic lays. And that mystic has really strong roots on the collective unconscient.

But again: the brain IS the style and the vision. Not the hands. Many different hands can serve a single brain. We are not dancers.

That is why there is such a mystic about the artist from A to Z. Of course, there are niches where you have to do all the work yourself. No doubt about that.
Of course it depends on the kind of task, and also on each mentality. Some artists get stronger and more creatives when they delegate, other feel that this is not their way.
Both are perfectly fine. The important thing is not to fool yourself. If you do not feel deeply, honestly that delegating is your path, well avoid it.

But confusion is often made that delegating will put ones work down to low levels and that creativity, style and vision will be lost. It is almost an heresy.
I know many artists that would never ever delegate and their vision is really average, and they are far from being genious for that or more pure (I'm very cautious with this pureness stuff).
And there are many examples of exeptional artists that did delegate part of their works. Picasso is one of them. So there is no golden rule there but many accepted magical one-man-show properties.
Those are inventions from the artist's ego.

Your argument about the artists that worked with assistants for the churches and powers and died unhappy does not stand rock solid according to me, because there are the same amount of artists that where
doing all the chain alone like Rembrand in their dark studios and mostly died also unhappy and lonely. You know that perfectly.
Delegating or having assistants is not what makes one happy or not and certainly not what determines the quality of a work.

All this reminds me a lot the too famous argument that an artist to be good and authentic has to suffer like hell, being a sort of psycho disconnected from the naughty capitalist world, the more autistic the better
because it looks profund etc...all those are social etiquettes, completly accepted and distortionned. But many artists play that game because they bought the sinopsis and end playing that conditionned role.

IMHO

Cheers.

Ps for Rob: You know, what I find with digital, a part from the goodies that we all agree, is that the craft is completly different that the one you loved and mastered.
In film, once you had master a technique, let's say to developp this particular emultion, that was a stable knowledge where you could relly on it and improove each time more.
The problem with digital IMO, the incredible amount of softwares and constant upgrades. To keep the learning curve intact, you have to constantly re-do the things. Digital is
totally unstable, it is moving constantly and the many years of learning can just become obsolete in one update. That happened with Flash for example.
When I was talking about time issue, this is not a little factor with digital but a real problem.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 11:37:08 AM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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Posts: 12215


« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2010, 11:43:45 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: fredjeang
As Phil, I would do the beauty myself and delegate the fashion to a retoucher.
Then you can check a few beauty with the retoucher and if he or she understood your style and you don't see differences with your retouching,
you can feel confident to delegate also the beauty pics.

Maybe a good way to do (if possible) it is to hire full time a young person and train him/her until this assistant become an extention of your photography.
Also, and I know that times are not easy, I would try as much as possible to pay well and the reason is obvious so I won't extend on that part.

------

Rob,


"In the end it does not matter if arguments match or not, thank god we are different and not clones of one unique way."

My feeling too: great that some can hold differing views and also mutual respect at the same time.

"When I read your posts and some other members also that write damn well like J.Russell, I wish my English would be more consistent and could also bring a certain styling and contents. But I do what I can with what I have.
Still, bringing that quality posts into the forum, against the strong tyde of my-gear-is-the-best, is a great aportation. Thanks for that Rob."

Fred, believe me, you do contribute a certain je ne sais quoi to the forum; I hope my equivalent Spanish is as well received in my everyday life. I give an example of what happens: we were in a local eatery a month or so ago and the menu del dia claimed gallo, which as you know, is a cockerel. I was surprised but pleased to received a fish. Apparently, it's what they call John Dory. Ever since, I am very careful to make damn sure that a potato is not a cabbage and that ice cream without sugar is not suncream.

Just keep writing.

"You said that it must be a great sacrifice to delegate. Yes, it is, for who? For your self or for our egos?
Because ego likes to make us feel that we are special, unique and separate. Therefore, delegating for an artist's ego is unbearable.
And we all know that artists egos are on steroids most of the time, aren't they?"

Absolutely, and that's the only reason I can imagine for being a photographer; why else would there even be amateurs?  There is the school of thought, usually associated with the aristocracy, that some people become photographers only after they have failed at everything else. For those in that position with the money to deliver the lifestyle, it seems possible; for anyone else, it has got to be the most difficult life path you can choose to follow. Most don't even discover a way into the business because as in the war, the natives alter the signposts..

"But nature wants us to delegate and cooperate. Nature wants interaction, brains fusions."

Only in the sense of improving the gene pool, not the images! ;-)

"Not delegating is fine, it is a choice. IMO being against delegating is another story; it means that one walks with suspicion, can trust only himself, has a sort of bad taste about
the beings in the profession. And above all, that one thing that his unique style (wich is never unique) only deserve (and can de served by) the brain who conceived it."

Sorry, I don't see the flaw in that belief at all; of course one walks with suspicion; you'd have to be Rambo-out-of-Terminator to avoid doubting your fellows, particularly at night. Try living in Spain if you think you can even trust other Brits! Trusting other French people living in Spain may be something else. What you cannot do now, is try to be a fashion photographer in Glasgow during my period there. The reality of it was that other shooters who had models as girlfriends would make offers of shoots sans model fees to MY clients; one couldn't even trust the goddam girls one was paying!  I don't know if any succeeded, but I was told about the offers by different clients.

"But again: the brain IS the style and the vision. Not the hands. Many different hands can serve a single brain. We are not dancers."

I suggest you re-read my post: the economics makes subcontracting the danger that it always is. The different hands are working for different masters wth different agendas, least important of all of them being yours.

"That is why there is such a mystic about the artist from A to Z. Of course, there are niches where you have to do all the work yourself. No doubt about that.
Of course it depends on the kind of task, and also on each mentality. Some artists get stronger and more creatives when they delegate, other feel that this is not their way.
Both are perfectly fine. The important thing is not to fool yourself. If you do not feel deeply, honestly that delegating is your path, well avoid it."

Your last sentence justifies my stance for me, regardless of anything else I might have written.

"But confusion is often made that delegating will put ones work down to low levels and that creativity, style and vision will be lost. It is almost an heresy.
I know many artists that would never ever delegate and their vision is really average, and they are far from being genious for that or more pure (I'm very cautious with this pureness stuff).
And there are many examples of exeptional artists that did delegate part of their works. Picasso is one of them. So there is no golden rule there but many accepted magical one-man-show properties.
Those are inventions from the artist's ego."

Yes, I did accept that many famous artists delegated, but that was probably because of the same thing: too much work and not enough time. Taking on less of what is offered and doing more that satisfies is a natural method of birth control for the busy photographer  - not so many orphan works, in a slightly different sense of the phrase! Okay, work you don't disown if you can!

"Your argument about the artists that worked with assistants for the churches and powers and died unhappy does not stand rock solid according to me, because there are the same amount of artists that where
doing all the chain alone like Rembrand in their dark studios and mostly died also unhappy and lonely. You know that perfectly.
Delegating or having assistants is not what makes one happy or not and certainly not what determines the quality of a work."

That was too literal a reading of what I wrote; I agree with you though, because it is my impression from knowing the few artists that I do, that we all do suffer from some form of mild or even severe depression. Whether it's what drives us to this masochistic life in the first place is uncertain, but few I have known are ever truly happy for long, satisfied with their own oeuvre or able to stop looking at the competition and wishing they had a different style. I remember writing here that a model once said something very similar to me: Rob, there is something wrong with all of us models...

"All this reminds me a lot the too famous argument that an artist to be good and authentic has to suffer like hell, being a sort of psycho disconnected from the naughty capitalist world, the more autistic the better
because it looks profund etc...all those are social etiquettes, completly accepted and distortionned. But many artists play that game because they bought the sinopsis and end playing that conditionned role."

That's partly true, but more likely that it is an attitude that has been propagated by generations of agents who are, as with all sub-contractors, more interested in raising the percentage of their share of the miserable cake than in the part they want to offer the baker!

On the bright side, my two granddaughters took up my offer of sailing courses and have just returned flushed with joy at their first experience out on the Bay of Pollensa! Few cool prints can match the feeling that gave me!

Rob C
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