Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 ... 8 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Everything Matters. It's All About The "Small Details" by Mark Dubovoy Jan 2012  (Read 24450 times)
pflower
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 209


« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2012, 09:29:00 AM »
ReplyReply

I always enjoy these threads.

Well yes, of course equipment matters and makes a difference - but surely only in so far as it advances the primary purpose (whatever that may be).  If you want to emulate or follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams or Edward Weston et al then you would probably be ill-advised to rely upon a 35mm Holga with a roll of Tri-X.  Compared to an Alpa with Rodenstock lenses a Holga can undoubtedly be described as a mediocre camera.  But that misses the point that there have been many wonderful photographs taken with cheap cameras and many mediocre (or worse) photographs taken with extremely expensive cameras.

What matters is the mind behind the camera. To (probably misquote) Ansel Adams "There is nothing worse than a sharp print of a fuzzy idea".  If your ideas and perceptions can only be realised with an IQ180 back then so be it.  Commercial photography aside, I can't think of many artists whose work depends upon the level of resolution now available - possibly Gursky and Burtynsky.

If you could have given photographers such as Carlton Watkins, Timothy O'Sullivan - even Eugene Atget - a G10 or an Alpa plus IQ180 would they have produced better work?  Do we really care?  What matters is the work they did produce.  Undoubtedly they would have produced fascinating photographs very different to the ones they actually created but although different we can't really say they would be better.

On the audio analogy - I would suggest that a recording by Alfred Brendel on an ipod would provide a more exciting experience than listening to a 3rd rate musician on a $100,000 system.  The experience of the Brendel recording may be enhanced by playing it on the $100,000 system but this is just a matter of degree not substance.

Mind you against that last thought I would highly recommend a documetary called PianoMania which follows Steinway's chief piano tuner as he prepares concert grands for various artists.  A fascinating insight into the artist's search for perfection.

Logged
eleanorbrown
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 628


WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2012, 09:47:58 AM »
ReplyReply

With great trepidation I'm going to agree with the summation below.  I try to stay away from controversy on this forum but as an owner of a Phase One P65 on an H2 camera with Hassy lenses, and a digital Leica M9 with 4 astounding Leica asph lenses I can't agree with a lot that was said in this article.  On my recent trip to the High Arctic I specifically chose to take only my Leica to reduce travel weight but also because of it's incredible quality.  I got some stunning images which are currently being exhibited for Fotofest and most importantly shared with others. While I want high quality also, in the end the emotional impact of photographic images is what is most important to me personally. Eleanor

I'm sorry, but I have to say it. This article is the biggest load of pretentious nonsense I think that I have ever come across on a photography web site. Each to his or her own I guess, and thankfully this kind of quasi-religious pastiche doesn't turn up very often on LL. But when it does, boy, its a humdinger.  Huh
Logged

C Debelmas
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2012, 10:01:05 AM »
ReplyReply

I've been reading articles on the LuLa site for some years and for the first time I felt that I had to post a comment. And it seems I'm not the only one.
Mark is certainly a great photographer, no comment on that. I also understand that Mark's style and approach of photography is based on what he calls "hyper-reality". Great.
What bothers me is that "hyper-reality" and the need to produce images with a very high level of details is presented as the ultimate goal of photography, the alpha and the omega of a "good" photograph. This is for me a deep mistake; it's been said previously: master photographers have been able to produce masterworks with DSLR, or 35mm argentic films. The second mistake is that the small details that matter are not the one Mark is talking about. I'm afraid Mark missed the point or meant something that he didn't mention.
Or maybe this article was meant to high-end readers not to average ones...
(sorry for my poor english, this is not my mother tongue)
Logged
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1258


« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2012, 10:13:39 AM »
ReplyReply

I agreed that the article was seriously flawed, especially the parts about the ability of humans to detect the "fineness" of various sensory inputs, whatever that might mean. There just isn't any such thing as an objectively fine wine.

However, there is an interesting argument to be made for "hyper-reality" as an aesthetic pursuit. Despite what some of his critics here say, you *can* see things with photography that you can't see with the eye, because photography sees differently, and isn't directly connected to a brain. So you can magnify things, and isolate things, give people time to study things that are always in motion, but with a photograph, are stopped. Would you be amazed by the astonishing structure and color of a dragonfly if you'd only seen them flitting about a pond? There was an American watercolorist named John Stuart Ingle (full disclosure: I once wrote a book about him) who painted highly detailed realist watercolors that were usually larger than life-size, because you could then *notice* things that otherwise you wouldn't. (*Notice* rather than *see.* Of course you could see them, but you'd never notice them without the help of "hyper-reality.") John's paintings are quite striking, and, in fact, after he picked a subject, he'd examine it with a large-format camera before he began work.

But, in the end, "hyper-reality" as an aesthetic simply misses many things that makes photography compelling. I'm not sure that's necessarily so, but in practical terms, that seems to be the case. I've mentioned before that I've never really seen a photograph in which extreme resolution is critical. When you think of possible examples -- some of Ansel Adams' work -- you quickly realize that they were using film and equipment that can't resolve at the level that modern equipment can, nor does it have the dynamic range. So to make, say, a photo at that level (the level of Moonrise) you don't really need Mark's MF equipment.

The bigger problem, in my opinion, is that Mark misses one key to really exceptional photography, and that is the power of the subject, as distinct from newness or unfamiliarity. To take the flower photos as an example, the flowers are boring and pedestrian. ALL flowers are, when simply shot as pretty flowers -- the photos simply can't compete with the reality, and the reality of flowers is common. You can go down and buy a bunch at the supermarket for $5 that are better, and more real, than any hyper-realistic photo. When you look at flower photos by a really good photographer, like Robert Mapplethorpe, you realize that something entirely different is going on; his flower photos aren't just about flowers. They may be about something as strange and powerful as death, or dying.

All really good photos have this kind of power, and it has nothing to do with resolution or dynamic range.   
Logged
prairiewing
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2012, 10:19:56 AM »
ReplyReply

The Luminous Landscape is one of my favorite sites and has been a wealth of information for me for many years.  I've found more references to fine wines, audio and even $2,000 suits here than on any other site.  (for the record I don't drink, lost part of my hearing in the Marine Corps as a very young man and paid $1 at a yard sale for my last suit--that's right, one dollar).

I've always enjoyed Mark Dubovoy's articles and can't wait to read part 2.  I hope it appears in its original version, not edited in response to the feedback to part 1.
Logged

Pat Gerlach
Sheldon N
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 808


« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2012, 10:34:53 AM »
ReplyReply

I too found the article pretentious and uninformative.  I enjoy fine wine, high end audio and nice camera gear too, but I don't delude myself.

The comparison images were worthy of ridicule, if you have to go down to an iPhone to get your point across then maybe you should revisit how strong the original argument was. In addition the discussion of "hyper realism" as something easily seen between two formats at web size images is also something I don't buy. The MFD vs 35mm comparison has been done so many times that we know what characteristics to look for to identify Medium Format, and "hyper reality" isn't one of them (in those occasions when we're even able to tell the difference).

I've come to expect better quality articles from LL, this was a disappointment.

Logged

Quentin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1119



WWW
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2012, 10:40:29 AM »
ReplyReply

The article slightly lost its way when the audio comparison was mentioned. If you think LP's sound better than 24/192 digital files, then there is truly no hope  Grin

In any event, much as I love MF and have invested heavily in a Hassy system, and I could tell the difference between the flower shots (mainly because of DOF differences), the look of MF in my view as much dictaeted by the style of shooting with a particular system as it is these days by the system itself.  Set out with a Nex-7 and work identically to how you would work with MF and you'll end up with most of the look and style of MF digital.

Quentin
Logged

Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
w/puppiesandkitties
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2


« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2012, 10:52:04 AM »
ReplyReply

I have been reading articles on the Luminous Landscape for years now, It has definitely been the most influential source of information for me as a developing enthusiast photographer. This is the first time an article has bothered me so much that I was compelled to register for to this forum just to respond to this article.

The image comparison proved absolutely nothing. Those images look different, not better or worse than one another. There are differences in color, there are differences in depth of field, and there are differences in perspective (I don't even see a real difference in lens distortion, Mark's first observation. It's a curvy chair with bendy flowers, the author even admits before the comparison that camera A was higher and at a steeper angle than camera B. I'm sure the Rodenstock lens is less distorting, but honestly, that comparison doesn't show it.)

Isn't it nice that over 100 years after the advent of photography we take our greatest joy from comparing unoptimized images from cameras? I'm sure Ansel Adams used to hang out with his buddies looking at 8x10 contact prints counting grain with a magnifying glass instead of looking at the dramatized final print he intended to make.

I also get the sense that the hyper-real quality of super high resolution formats are being used more as a crutch by photographers rather than aiding an already strong composition. Does anyone else get that feeling? I find nothing less impressive than a boring composition of ultra sharp detail.

Indeed Mr Dubovoy, the internet is full of enthusiast and experts alike mulling over minutiae, thanks for contributing.
Logged
deejjjaaaa
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 887



« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2012, 11:47:18 AM »
ReplyReply

yet another "6 stops of DR advantage" moment from mr Dubovoy.
Logged
Tim Gray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2002



WWW
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2012, 11:48:55 AM »
ReplyReply

I'm halfway through the biography of Steve Jobs - and Steve was clearly of the "everything matters school of thought".  The color of the robots that assembled the circuit boards matters, the color of the floor of the factory matters, even the degree of finish on the inside of the NeXT box matters - at least it mattered to him.

Even if I subscribed to that school of thought - it still begs the question of "what's it worth?"  Even if there is an objective perceptual difference between a and b, what's that difference worth, to who, and why.

Finally (and I'm going on foggy recollection here) both Dan Arieley (Predictively Irrational) and Maclolm Gladwell (Blink) make the point that what is perceived is as much - or more -  based on the not objectively wired brain than any objective reality.  Specifically any preconceived notions that you might carry into an observation carry an unexpected weight in formulating an opinion.  Yes, I could learn to discern whether a particular vintage came from the north east or the north west facing part of the vinyard, or whether the grapes were picked in the am or pm, by hand or by machine, but why on earth would I want to invest the 10,000 hours (another reference to Gladwell) to be able to do that?
Logged
dmerger
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 686


« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2012, 11:52:24 AM »
ReplyReply

Mark Dubovoy wrote “a power cable in an amplifier made a significant difference, and not only that, you had to break in the cable for a couple of months and the sound got even better …” 

Electrical power starts at a power plant, maybe local or one very far away via a power grid.  The power likely goes through many transformers, circuit breakers, switches etc., then after travelling many, many miles through ordinary wires, the power finally enters Mark’s home, and then flows through his home’s internal, ordinary wiring to an ordinary wall outlet.  But lo and behold, you need some super duper special wire for the last six feet to get the best sound?  Mark, or anyone else, can you explain?
Logged

Dean Erger
RobSaecker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 272


WWW
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2012, 12:00:56 PM »
ReplyReply

Like many others, I found this to be one of the least convincing articles I've read on LuLa. To pick on just the audio analogy, among my audiophile acquaintances none will argue that any sound system will accurately reproduce all the subtleties of a live performance, nevermind details like the visual aspects or audience-performer interaction. Why then does anyone bother to spend vast sums of money on equipment that doesn't give you the full experience, when one could instead spend it on live performances? The answer, I think, is that it's as much about owning the gear, and justifying that, as it is about the experience. And the article reads to me to be Mark justifying his photo gear, but why bother? Use what works for you and let the images do the convincing, and ignore those who can't see past the gear.
Logged

Rob
photo blog - http://robsaecker.com
kwalsh
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2012, 12:10:15 PM »
ReplyReply

Mark Dubovoy wrote “a power cable in an amplifier made a significant difference, and not only that, you had to break in the cable for a couple of months and the sound got even better …” 

Electrical power starts at a power plant, maybe local or one very far away via a power grid.  The power likely goes through many transformers, circuit breakers, switches etc., then after travelling many, many miles through ordinary wires, the power finally enters Mark’s home, and then flows through his home’s internal, ordinary wiring to an ordinary wall outlet.  But lo and behold, you need some super duper special wire for the last six feet to get the best sound?  Mark, or anyone else, can you explain?


Let's stay on topic.  There is enough charlatanism in this article on the photographic side without having to dive into the trivial targets he's provided in the audio and wine tasting categories.

Ken
Logged
KLaban
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2012, 12:21:42 PM »
ReplyReply

It's All About The "Small Details"

On the contrary, it's all about the big ones, conception, inspiration, dedication, communication, creation, innovation…

By comparison the small details are masturbation.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 12:26:20 PM by KLaban » Logged

popnfresh
Guest
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2012, 12:24:01 PM »
ReplyReply

"The basic explanation is that Medium Format cameras have much higher quality pixels."

Now there's a gross generalization for you. I suppose we should ignore the fact that DxOMark gave the Sony NEX-7 a higher sensor score than the Hasselblad H3DII 50 and the Leaf Aptus75S and the Phase One P45 Plus and the Hasselblad H3DII 39.

A worthless article, IMO.
Logged
popnfresh
Guest
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2012, 12:29:49 PM »
ReplyReply

It's All About The "Small Details"

On the contrary, it's all about the big ones, conception, inspiration, dedication, communication, creation, innovation…

By comparison the small details are masturbation.


No, you're both wrong. It's all about everything.
Logged
KLaban
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2012, 12:40:17 PM »
ReplyReply

It's all about everything.

All fings bwight and butiful...
Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2835


« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2012, 12:56:09 PM »
ReplyReply

So you can magnify things, and isolate things, give people time to study things that are always in motion, but with a photograph, are stopped.
Without wishing to be trite, let's remember that telescopes and microscopes (and magnifying glasses) brought the ability to magnify and isolate, long before photography existed.
Without wishing to invite discussion of Planck time, the very fact that photography slices frozen durations from our experience of a continuous reality makes photographs unreal rather than hyper-real. (Eadweard Muybridge provides a similar but slightly different example to the point you make about image quality with the example of Ansel Adams.)

When you look at flower photos by a really good photographer, like Robert Mapplethorpe, you realize that something entirely different is going on; his flower photos aren't just about flowers. They may be about something as strange and powerful as death, or dying.
I think you've drawn a line between finely-crafted picturesque photographs and art.
Logged
Ben Rubinstein
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1733


« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2012, 01:11:09 PM »
ReplyReply

It did seem like an incredibly long winded self justification for buying expensive toys...

(note: about to buy an Aptus II 8 for a new studio I'm setting up but I could write the justification for that, financial justification, in about 70 or so words)
Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2835


« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2012, 01:20:13 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Very few will endure as true works of art. ... For instance, among the huge volume of war photographs that have been taken through the years, there are very few that remain and endure as true works of art. ... Similarly, of the huge numbers of landscape photographs taken every year, there are very few that will endure as works of art and survive the test of time. The same can be said for any other kind of photography, be it sports or fashion or product photography.
There's an implicit claim that "the huge volume of war photographs" and "the huge numbers of landscape photographs" and "sports or fashion or product photograph{s}" were intended to be "works of art".

That's blatantly untrue.
Logged
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 ... 8 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad