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Author Topic: Making Images - Pete Meyers  (Read 8073 times)
Sfleming
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« on: March 21, 2005, 08:32:26 PM »
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So is he a photographer, a graphic artist .... or something new?
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2005, 08:57:21 AM »
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What takes "weeks and weeks and weeks"?
What usually takes a lot of time in Photoshop is the preparation and creation of layer masks, particularly if you have a lot of fine detail which needs to be separated out. The other side to the 'why does it take so long' is that it can take quite a lot of time experimenting, reviewing and reworking an image before it reaches the point where the final print matches the original vision. I know that I sometimes work on an image, and come back to it several times over a number of weeks, before I can adequately express what I originally wanted to show. This may involve a certain amount of twiddling in Photoshop to develop new techniques and utilise different tools to get where I am going.

In the deepest depths of winter when the light and weather is not conducive to going out and taking pictures, then photoshop provides an opportunity to keep a hand in with the trade. In spring, summer, autumn, then there is more time spent out and less time spent in front of the computer.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Bobtrips
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2005, 02:15:55 PM »
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Oh, come on Digger....  You claim to not be interested in these "artistic/terminology" topics.  And then you dive right in.  

BTW, how was India for you?

(I recently returned from a month in the southern parts.  Found some good places to make photographs, but they're wider spread than in the more northern parts.  At least IMHO.)
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2005, 02:08:37 PM »
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I found this topic very interesting. I was recently in Palm Springs and I saw a gallery showing some very good photographs of a gentleman, his statement on the welcoming literature was something like this. " These photographs represent what I actually saw in the field, THEY ARE NOT CORRECTED IN THE DARKROOM!! "  and went on about the importance of capturing light in the right moment etc.He finalized his essay with "....ah! and please don't insult my intelligence asking if it is digital. " Well, you could say that he is a purist.....or was is he?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2005, 08:38:40 PM »
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I too thought Pete Myers' article is excellent, and also very well-timed given the recent outbreak of so much (often not terribly enlightening) discussion of this camera model versus that camera model. Your post complements his nicely. Really well put. My late Father, once lamenting certain aspects of the human condition, used to say "you don't teach old dogs new tricks", but for those of us getting into our later years having so much fun expanding our horizons with this wonderful new technology, I think that saying has had its day.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2005, 05:59:49 PM »
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He wrote this in his article:

"What I often see in landscape photography are photographers taking beautiful pictures, and performing minimal work on the image in postproduction before printing the image. For these photographers, they believe that their work relies on mastering the tools at hand – the camera and lens – and using them to best advantage in the field – not working on the image in postproduction."

When I read it, I thought to myself, "That pretty much describes me..."  

While I will certainly "work" an image in post, I don't usually spend more than a few hours in the most extreme cases on them.  

Cheers,
Jack
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2005, 09:26:11 PM »
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So is he a photographer, a graphic artist .... or something new?
I have no idea, but he seems to equate post-processing of digital images with wet darkroom work a-la Ansel Adams...  In which case it would seem that would make him a photographer.

Frankly, I think Pete has a point.  A lot of Ansel's negatives were troubled and needed his special darkroom talents to turn them into exceptional prints -- and we have no trouble calling him a "photographer" as opposed to a darkroom technician, though he was obviously both.

It is probably time for us to get our arms around what a modern-day photographer is.  IMO it is okay to post process an image to recreate the vision you had when you snapped the frame and still call yourself a photographer.  However when you start cutting legs off dogs (digitally of course) and sticking them in peoples ears, I think you are more of a graphic artist.  In the old days we referred to that kind of stuff done in a darkroom as "trick" photography, which was still a form of  -- photography...

I don't like it, but it seems convention.  Perhaps we can surmise that grapic art skills were derived from the same creative gene as trick photography?

IMO the hard part is defining the inbetween area where the cross-over occurs.  After all, is blending two exposures to increase DR really any different than blending an exposure of a dog and a person?  

In the end, I think it comes down to the venue the final image is destined for.  My initial suggestions:

If it is reportage, then no tricks are allowed -- the image has to represent a single slice of time and space?

If it is "fine art" perhaps it is okay to enhance, but not alter? (or significantly alter??)

If it is graphic art, then perhaps anything goes?  

Cheers,
Jack
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diuser
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2005, 08:44:12 AM »
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How does he make 30” prints from a 3K x 2K Kodak PhotoCD of a bad negative (Tornado Ranch)?

Does he repaint every detail? Deconvolution?

What takes "weeks and weeks and weeks"?
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2005, 09:31:07 AM »
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How about -

-----------------------------------------------------------

If the final output is a photograph, it's photography.  

Where the work lies on the 'photojournalism/evidence gathering -> digital art continuum' is an adjective.

------------------------------------------------------------

Some people are so hung up on the original capture it feels as if Nobel prizes were awarded for pre-shot skills.  

(I have a feeling that this attitude largely arose from shooting transparency film.  Especially if one did not have any darkroom/pro lab experience.)

Clearly producing the best possible film or digital capture makes the rest of the process easier.  But to value one set of skills over another strikes me of some sort of snobbery.
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Sfleming
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 05:37:17 PM »
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I've been waiting for someone to start this  topic and I'm surprised  it falls to me.  I'm probably the last person on this forum to agree with Mr. Meyer's methods.

I cannot render an opinion due to lack of experience but his methodology certainly makes me wonder about the 'Photographer  vs  Graphic Artist'  debate.  I process my raw images.  I boost the contrast with levels or curves.  I kick up the saturation when it  needs it  and I sharpen the best I can.  I may  clone this  or that out of the image or burn down  a blown highlight.  

St Ansel did as much in his darkroom and  this is all pretty much within the purvue of traditional photography.  Mr. Meyers talks of  spending  weeks on an image.  Is he photographing  .... or  is  he  painting by computer with a 'camera obscura' (or read photographic  device) to give him a base for the overlay of  his own art?
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Sfleming
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2005, 10:14:27 AM »
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Bob,

I don't feel  your comments regarding which set of skills, pre-shot or post-shot, might be considered superior ...  are necessarrily directed to me however you prompt me to comment.

The camera obscura was used by painters to get proper perspective and scale for thier paintings.  I  don't know ... maybe artists still do that.  The image projected was I  suppose  sketched over and then the  painting begun later in the studio  or wherever.  The finished  product  in  no way was  associated  with photography.  It was a painting.

One taking 'weeks' to photoshop an image could be considered  to be actually  painting with  the computer.  They have rendered  something wholly other  than reality.  I'm not saying  fine art should be like reportage.  Not at all.  I just 'wonder' if this  level of production  of  prints is  not ... really .... a new art form.
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didger
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2005, 11:32:52 AM »
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The issue(s) here fall into two categories.
1) Semantics.  Who cares?  There are countless combinations and permutations of film and digital photography and darkroom and digital processing and integration of other techniques (painting, ray tracing, other computer graphics, etc.) that can go into producing a final image covering the range of accurate as possible police evidence or scientific documentation photography to wild things that no one would consider truly "photography".  Do we really need to invent and quibble over names for all of these possible kinds of works?  Have at it, but count me out.  As some of these new possibilities become routine and popular, names will emerge.
2) Marketing.  This is a more practical issue.  If you want to market your work as "fine art landscape photography", there may be boundaries you can't cross if you want gallery owners and landscape photography customers to support you.  I try to stay withing those loose bounds, but sometimes while Photoshopping an image, it simply won't stay "sane" and it ends up pretty psychedelic or whatever.  At some point there's lots of things I want to use my growing archive of images for as raw materials for all sorts of directions that would not be regarded as "photography" per se.  Even now, trying to stay withing the boundaries of landscape photography for marketing purposes, I consider the shooting and Photoshopping as almost entirely separate fun things.  I almost never try to "recapture" a feeling or recreate the exact "look" of the original scene (which I hardly ever remember anyway, and don't care).  I regard the raw images as starting material for a creative adventure, which appears to be the way St. Ansel also worked at least now and then.  I prefer not to bind myself with any rules while composing images in my viewfinder nor while turning those raw images into some final vision evolving from my creative inspiration and adventuring.  Semantics and "rules"?  No fun for me, but OK with me if that's your fun.  I might even like your images and maybe you'd like mine (unless "no rules" automatically pre-conditions you to dislike the results).

If you want to market altogether new and different kinds of works based at least partly on photographic elements, but in the end too far out to readily "fit" into any conventional category of "photography", then you have to find or create a niche and invent a vocabulary to describe what you do and to label your work.  A few people have actually managed a measure of commercial success with this (like John Paul Caponigro).  I know from my lifelong creative efforts that always go outside of all the boundaries that this sort of success has far more to do with marketing efforts than whatever effort it took to develop the new directions.
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paulbk
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2005, 03:05:00 PM »
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you must Read the four “introduction” pages on Pete Myers web site. He says “…his work in blending traditional photography with photo-realism in creating a new art form.” It goes on. Well worth reading in full.

Clearly there’s a point where a print is more “creation” than photograph. You know it when you see it. And Pete Myers’ work is well into the creation zone. Mr. Myers’ “Frisco” will not appear in National Geographic because it doesn’t belong there. NG uses ‘traditional photography’ to show the reader something about the REAL world we live in. I like it that way.

In the end it’s a matter of purpose and personal taste. Art is what you say it is. But a photograph is not what you say it is. And Mr. Myers images are not photographs by his own admission. The photograph is merely the inspiration. That’s why he calls it fine art.

The older I get the more I understand the wisdom in ‘less is more.’ Maybe I’m just caving in to laziness and my own limitations trying to find a graceful rationalization. But for me, weeks and weeks of ruminating, leveling, curving, and toning is not more.

I live in New England and never fell in love with the south west United States. It’s a desert. I like green, granite, and Grandma Moses. Myers’ images are stunning. But I prefer the Michael Reichmann style and subject matter. It’s more better.

p
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paul b. kramarchyk
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2005, 07:50:46 PM »
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The older I get the more I understand the wisdom in ‘less is more.'
This is probably the most salient point made on this forum in weeks...  I may just use it in my signature  ::

Kudos!

Jack
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2005, 04:28:48 PM »
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Narrow-minded foolishness. Cameras, sensors, films, scanners, Photoshop, Inkjet printers, photo-enlargers  -  all different tools and materials for creating images that make statements or serve some other purpose. It is only the results that count.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
NeilFiertel
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« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2005, 07:46:15 PM »
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When I was 16 I got my first camera, a mouldy ( really green with mould) Argus C3.  This was in 1957.  I fixed it, cleaned it, took it apart, rebuilt it and along the way, built an enlarger (to do mural sized images) from old bellows cameras from the 20s.  I obtained the print paper army surplus which was cheap albeit requiring rather some arcane post processing to prevent fogging.  Why do I mention all of this antiquated tech?  Because what I really wanted was to be able to create images like a painter and not merely shoot some snaps and be done with it.  My dreams were to create something that did not exist, could never exist.  It was not possible to do what I wanted...until now.  Mr. Myers' article on post processing hits the mark in all respects and those that are willing to give up instant gratification and wish to make a mark in this world with their images need to learn as an artist learns, delving deeply into whatever modalities they chose, be they film or digital, computer manipulations...whatever.  I, too, have chosen the path of using computers to enhance, create, modify and so forth and it is through this wonderful new medium of computer enhanced image making, my dream of childhood is finally coming true.  As a professional artist ( sculpture and photography) for nearly half a century one can always grow with new ideas and if those ideas require tech, it is for the taking.  Learn your tools but do not let them dictate their terms...dictate your own and make it happen.  One can take fine pictures even with a pinhole, after all, and one can take garbage with a Canon 1DS mk2.  It is all in the eye of the artist and her or his mind.  The main thing is to work and work, paint and paint photograph and paint whatever be it on canvas or camera  or on computer. It is all the same thing.  Be honest to yourself and get critiques from others who you respect.  Learn from your successes and your mistakes.  Don't be offended by comments that do not reaffirm your images but try to understand that just maybe this critique points out ways to get better.  Think openly about what you are trying to do and see if those ideas are being communicated as well as they can be.  I think that Mr. Myers says that it is not the particular technique that is significant but that the artist is determined no matter to make the image count and be as wonderful as he can make it.  That is what an artist must do and if it takes weeks and weeks to do it, so be it.  Life without the pursuit of a passion is not a life at all.  Good for Peter Myers for being honest about his. Professor Neil Fiertel, Dept of Art and Design, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
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Sfleming
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2005, 08:45:06 PM »
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BRAVO! Professor Fiertel. Truly.

I still want to know:

Do we need to append some adjective to photography for extremely enhanced digital photography.

I have used every art to avoid making any value judgment about  this.  I  strive simply for a definition.
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wjkotze
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2005, 12:13:08 PM »
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How does he make 30” prints from a 3K x 2K Kodak PhotoCD of a bad negative (Tornado Ranch)?

Does he repaint every detail? Deconvolution?

What takes "weeks and weeks and weeks"?
If you go to his site you will see that he repaints the image pixel by pixel. He probably re-sizes the file to an appropriate resolution for a given print and then magnifies the image to about 400% or higher and repaints it pixel by pixel.  The reason why he can print so large from a small file is because he adds his own detail. It is quite amazing to see this in the enlarged section of a wooden shed.
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etmpasadena
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2005, 05:50:35 PM »
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I imagine it takes him weeks because he is experimenting, perhaps even making many test prints. As B&W is an abstraction, I have no problem with people really 'intensifying' a photo with heavy post-production work.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2005, 10:39:48 PM »
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So is he a photographer, a graphic artist .... or something new?
I have no idea, but he seems to equate post-processing of digital images with wet darkroom work a-la Ansel Adams...  In which case it would seem that would make him a photographer.

Frankly, I think Pete has a point.  A lot of Ansel's negatives were troubled and needed his special darkroom talents to turn them into exceptional prints -- and we have no trouble calling him a "photographer" as opposed to a darkroom technician, though he was obviously both.
I think that St. Ansel was definitely a stellar photographer but he certainly knew how to get a silk purse from a sow's ear at times ... we gush over Moonrise over Hernandez for example but that wasn't much of an original before he created his masterpiece from it. I remember seeing the vast differences in his interpretation of some of his images as he printed them over time - not subtle differences, vast differences.

Kudos to Pete Myers for coming out about the difference between shooting great images and making great images. I think we can all appreciate the difference between his art and the PS junk that some people construct (fake skies, wild colour manipulation and other unsubtle manipulations). I 'read' most of the digital photo magazines out there and I'm constantly horrified at some of the butchered material that a few of them publish.

I think I'll retreat to my bunker at this point ....
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Graham
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