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Author Topic: Boat yard  (Read 481 times)
GEOFFREYJAMES
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« on: February 17, 2013, 02:43:09 PM »
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I was in Kingston, Ontario last week visiting the Kingston Penitentiary,  a vast 1835 pile that is about to close in the fall.  Came across this ancient boatyard.  Leica M9  Elmarit 28 v4. 
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Bruce Cox
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 05:48:45 PM »
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I think it is in danger of being too good a photograph.  If the image is more substantial than the subject we must keep looking for what we are looking at.

Bruce
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 01:23:44 AM »
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I love boatyards.

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kikashi
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 02:45:47 AM »
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I think it is in danger of being too good a photograph.  If the image is more substantial than the subject we must keep looking for what we are looking at.

Eh? I like to think of myself as a tolerably bright chap, but you've lost me.

Jeremy
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amolitor
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 07:48:59 AM »
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I keep coming back to this one.

It feels flat, blah, and like a picture of nothing. But I keep coming back to it. There's *something* here that appeals to me, but I am damned if I can figure out what it is. I think this might be a good photograph, maybe even an excellent one, but I can't figure out why. Which makes any critique kind of pointless, but I thought I'm throw this out there since it's all I've got for now.
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 08:34:05 AM »
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I was in Kingston, Ontario last week visiting the Kingston Penitentiary,  a vast 1835 pile that is about to close in the fall.  Came across this ancient boatyard.  Leica M9  Elmarit 28 v4. 
There's a good photographic idea contained here. This kind of setting is a good discovery and you were certainly smart to photograph it. I think that it didn't quite work in the camera though. 

I think the framing is just too tight in all respects. We are in the awkward zone. Not close enough, or not far enough back. All the key subjects are cutoff at arbitrary places which don't say anything very specific. Sometimes rubbish looks great, sometimes it just looks like rubbish, you know? Here, it is not the photogenic kind of rubbish (whatever that is). It's just messy, and it messes up the scene in a way that can't be explained by the rest of the photograph. When I lay eyes on this photo, the only thing I am drawn to is the dumpster and its contents. I doubt that's the picture you were thinking of. Having the peak of the blue building almost touching the top edge of the photo is not so good.

I think the idea here would have been captured if you could pull back. If not, then maybe make the attempt to isolate the most interesting small section, and capture that? for instance, raising the camera up to eliminate the ground and homing in on the ice cycles or smoke stacks or blue tin or something less than the whole? Another idea would be to walk to a location where the rubbish isn't so prominent.

On the chance that the rubbish is to be a key element of the picture, I would say walk to the left and shoot it head on. Then it would be the prime subject. Might work, I don't know.

I like this scene very much. The duo-tone of blue/white is wonderful. The ice is beautiful. The tin doors are beautiful. I enjoy the scene however more than the photograph of it.

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GEOFFREYJAMES
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 09:04:21 AM »
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Thank you for the interesting comments.  I posted for a while on the Leica forum and sometimes ran into actual hostility if I showed images that did not fit easily into well-defined genres.  I have a taste for rather ordinary subject matter -- I have been working in Sudbury,  a mining town famous for its degraded environment and lack of glamour,  but it seemed extraordinarily rich in subject matter.  I could post some, I suppose.  Anyway,  the boatyard had some constraints,  like a crowded parking lot right in front of it,  so I couldn't really back up at all.  The rubbish doesn't bother me -- maybe it looks like crap in a jpeg,  but in a big  print I think it's quite rich.   Redwood Guy, I did try a facade (attached)-- you will notice a slight convergence of verticals,  which bothers me slightly.  But I love the lake steamer,  a wonderful bit of rococo.  But again,  thanks for the comments. 
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 09:20:05 AM »
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Thank you for the interesting comments.  I posted for a while on the Leica forum and sometimes ran into actual hostility if I showed images that did not fit easily into well-defined genres.  I have a taste for rather ordinary subject matter -- I have been working in Sudbury,  a mining town famous for its degraded environment and lack of glamour,  but it seemed extraordinarily rich in subject matter.  I could post some, I suppose.  Anyway,  the boatyard had some constraints,  like a crowded parking lot right in front of it,  so I couldn't really back up at all.  The rubbish doesn't bother me -- maybe it looks like crap in a jpeg,  but in a big  print I think it's quite rich.   Redwood Guy, I did try a facade (attached)-- you will notice a slight convergence of verticals,  which bothers me slightly.  But I love the lake steamer,  a wonderful bit of rococo.  But again,  thanks for the comments.  
Believe me, when it comes to hostility over fitting into well defined genres, I am all too familiar! I am also a fan of ordinary subject matter and in other milieus I present a lot of it. So good - I am happy to hear of your interest.

This second photo presented is what I had in mind when I said, step left -- ha! Seems like you had it all covered. I really like this second photograph better. It says all the things the first one wanted to say. The boat wasn't that big a part of the scene for me. 

Ok, it has some convergence, and sometimes in some photographs that is unattractive. Here? No problem. I wouldn't give it a second thought. If you had enough top margin (which you don't) you could attempt to straighten it without hurting anything. Doesn't matter here. The photo is plenty strong just as is.

The rubbish here plays the proper role of being a secondary part of the subject. It works great and I am not focusing on it. The colorful rubbish on the left is rather nice - more photogenic as I was saying before.

I'll get roasted for even suggesting this, but these photos begin to reveal YOU.

Thanks for posting these. I really enjoy them.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 09:26:56 AM by RedwoodGuy » Logged
Bruce Cox
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 09:38:44 AM »
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For me in this photograph: Though there is the immediate and convincing photographic elusion of three dimensions, it is forcefully present literally and symbolically in two dimensions.  It reminds me of a painting of grain silos in the thirties in the American Midwest by what's his name entitled "My Egypt".    
Blue and black are figure.  White and brown are ground.  The ship's stacks invert the ice sickles in several ways.  Because the ship is white and the center of window on the right edge off white the figuration tenuously bridges the engulfing ground.  It was good of them to paint their trash containers blue with white markings.  The verticals of the ships arcade are continued by the siding.  The door's markings vertically echo the horizontal traces of the hand [or foot] of man and nature on the ground.

Therefore I like it.

My problem with it is that rather than seeing a boat yard I see how it has been made into a grand tomb which is more important perhaps but a lot of work.

Bruce
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 09:52:07 AM »
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"I have a taste for rather ordinary subject matter."
----------------

If you have more to say on this, like what you attempt to do with this subject matter, please explain if you like. This is a topic of much interest to me, and I think it is a rich vein of photographic gold. Only if you feel like explaining, of course.
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GEOFFREYJAMES
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 10:28:33 AM »
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I am bit reticent about saying anything about what I am trying to do.  I have a friend in NY who runs the photography department at Columbia and one of his rules when students present work is that they cannot talk about what they are trying to do,  only about what is in the photograph.  I started studying photography on my own when quite young -- no formal training,  but I was lucky to get to know people like Andre Kertesz and even Jacques Henri  Lartigue.   But the photographers who blew me away were Atget and Walker Evans.  They are,  of course,  both hugely influential on other photographers,  but they seemed to be able to endow simple things with a kind of enchantment.  They understood light and where to stand,  and neither had a look-at-me kind of technique (like Ansel Adams for example.)  I am interested in what photography can teach me about the world -- it's a way of investigating the world, and I tend to work in series around certain topics.  I started off photographing formal gardens in Europe,  and then I photographed the work of the landscape architect FL OLmsted.  I  worked in the asbestos mining landscape of Quebec,  and I got interested in cities -- as disparate as Paris,  Lethbridge,  Toronto,  Sudbury. One crazy project was to photograph both sides of the Mexican border south of San Diego (alone with an 8x10 view camera).   I finally started shooting digitally about three years ago,  and I find it totally liberating.  The Leica M's are brilliant -- I just got the B/W one -- and the printing technology is mature,  so I don't have to spend days developing.  Projects are multiplying at an alarming rate,  but I have never been more productive.  Don't know if that helps,  but that is where I am coming from. 
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Johnny_Johnson
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 10:45:27 AM »
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"I have a taste for rather ordinary subject matter."
----------------

If you have more to say on this, like what you attempt to do with this subject matter, please explain if you like. This is a topic of much interest to me, and I think it is a rich vein of photographic gold. Only if you feel like explaining, of course.

RedwoodGuy,

If you don't mind me asking - what's your take on the photography of William Eggleston? Several of the images that you've posted here recently reminded me of his work.

Later,
Johnny

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Johnny Johnson
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 10:55:40 AM »
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I am bit reticent about saying anything about what I am trying to do.  I have a friend in NY who runs the photography department at Columbia and one of his rules when students present work is that they cannot talk about what they are trying to do,  only about what is in the photograph.  I started studying photography on my own when quite young -- no formal training,  but I was lucky to get to know people like Andre Kertesz and even Jacques Henri  Lartigue.   But the photographers who blew me away were Atget and Walker Evans.  They are,  of course,  both hugely influential on other photographers,  but they seemed to be able to endow simple things with a kind of enchantment.  They understood light and where to stand,  and neither had a look-at-me kind of technique (like Ansel Adams for example.)  I am interested in what photography can teach me about the world -- it's a way of investigating the world, and I tend to work in series around certain topics.  I started off photographing formal gardens in Europe,  and then I photographed the work of the landscape architect FL OLmsted.  I  worked in the asbestos mining landscape of Quebec,  and I got interested in cities -- as disparate as Paris,  Lethbridge,  Toronto,  Sudbury. One crazy project was to photograph both sides of the Mexican border south of San Diego (alone with an 8x10 view camera).   I finally started shooting digitally about three years ago,  and I find it totally liberating.  The Leica M's are brilliant -- I just got the B/W one -- and the printing technology is mature,  so I don't have to spend days developing.  Projects are multiplying at an alarming rate,  but I have never been more productive.  Don't know if that helps,  but that is where I am coming from. 
Thank you. That was perfect.  I just wanted to check-in on your meaning of 'ordinary.'
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GEOFFREYJAMES
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 10:56:08 AM »
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Johny,  He is an interesting case.  I remember the almost total opprobrium that greeted the show that John Szarkowski did in the 70's --the catalogue was The William Eggleston Guide.   I was sort of interested in his work -- it was like nothing I had ever seen,  but  I wasn't that interested in colour per se.  Interestingly  someone gave me the three-volume Steidl book of the rest of the work  done at the same time,  which taught me two things: what a great editor Szarkowski was,  and how much Eggleston was influenced by Evans (as was William Christenberry,  who work I like  lot.)  I sense he has been running on empty for a while -- he has this huge reputation as the artist maudit,  constantly drunk etc. I hada dinner with him once, and he was very  charming.   But looking back the early work produced by someone who was raw meat,  with nothing between him and the world.  Colour is something new for me,  and I am still trying to figure it out.  Don't know if that helps.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:58:06 AM by GEOFFREYJAMES » Logged
RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 11:12:51 AM »
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RedwoodGuy,

If you don't mind me asking - what's your take on the photography of William Eggleston? Several of the images that you've posted here recently reminded me of his work.

Later,
Johnny


I think he's a powerful artist that expanded the world of photography dramatically. After all, he legitimized color photography. His photographs explain to all the power that photography has which painting and the plastic arts can't duplicate. He schooled everyone on the range of possibilities that are unique to photography. He gave us all permission to see the ordinary world through individual eyes.
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Bruce Cox
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2013, 03:10:34 PM »
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My jest, that all I could find to criticize in the photograph was that its artistic success required more of me as a viewer, was, perhaps, unfortunate.  The photos technique is subtle, not at all "look-at-me".

Bruce
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