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Author Topic: Nikon Df. Pure photography vs. a million dials and buttons.  (Read 23350 times)
LKaven
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« Reply #140 on: November 13, 2013, 02:48:11 PM »
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Thank you. I have to agree fully, although I belive many in Street understand this a different way; you never need to ask. I have also been puzzled by the lack of editing in street. Why? IMO you should have the same demands to composition etc as in other photoes.

Street has evolved, but in almost every period I know, the best work is characterized by brilliant composition, as well as a meaningful coincidence of elements in flux.  There are very very few good street photographers, the best work being continuous with the best work in photojournalism.  You could say HCB and Robert Frank were both street photographers.  They had different ideas about composition, but were both very aware of it.  The problems you note in editing have to do with the fact that most street work is junk.  In reality, it's a very challenging genre.  W Eugene Smith shot for months or years sometimes before coming up with a portfolio.  
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Rob C
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« Reply #141 on: November 13, 2013, 03:18:00 PM »
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Street has evolved, but in almost every period I know, the best work is characterized by brilliant composition, as well as a meaningful coincidence of elements in flux.  There are very very few good street photographers, the best work being continuous with the best work in photojournalism.  You could say HCB and Robert Frank were both street photographers.  They had different ideas about composition, but were both very aware of it.  The problems you note in editing have to do with the fact that most street work is junk.  In reality, it's a very challenging genre.  W Eugene Smith shot for months or years sometimes before coming up with a portfolio.   




And then, Pittsburgh; it ended up too big and too late to publish in any representative way at all! Most I saw was a brief essay in an old Popular Photography Annual of the late 50s or early 60s. Indeed, those annuals were seminal in my appreciation of then contemporary photography. I wonder what happened?

Rob C
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TMARK
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« Reply #142 on: November 13, 2013, 03:21:38 PM »
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This is true, but I would add that most of what's on a roll, even from the MASTERS, is junk.  The difference is, they KNOW what is junk and what isn't.  They also shoot with intent and purpose, from a point of view, which is missing from most of the street work I see on the webz.

. . . The problems you note in editing have to do with the fact that most street work is junk. . . .
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jjj
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« Reply #143 on: November 13, 2013, 04:02:40 PM »
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I just had a look through my observational work and it's not much different from my more formal stuff, composition wise. But even then I tend to shoot fairly quickly/instinctively, so that helps with doing street stuff. Though sometimes I wait for the last element to fall in place to make the picture work, other times I get a fraction of a second to grab shot.
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eronald
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« Reply #144 on: November 13, 2013, 04:30:48 PM »
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http://www.openphotographyforums.com/art_Edmund_Ronald_002.php
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LKaven
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« Reply #145 on: November 14, 2013, 04:21:50 AM »
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And then, Pittsburgh; it ended up too big and too late to publish in any representative way at all! Most I saw was a brief essay in an old Popular Photography Annual of the late 50s or early 60s. Indeed, those annuals were seminal in my appreciation of then contemporary photography. I wonder what happened?

I get the feeling he was highly empathic, intransigent, and obsessive.  He struggled to make enough money to support his work.  The Pittsburgh project paid him a $500 advance on a $1200 deliverable.  I'll bet that Pittsburgh material was /incredibly/ hard to print.  He always seems to be walking the fine line of dodging in the shadows of a very thin negative.

In the sixties, he lived in a cold-water flat in NY above the famous Jazz Loft on 6th Avenue.  He wired the apartment for sound and made thousands of hours of recordings of the jazz greats of the day.  He was a nightly presence there and took thousands of photographs.  This collection was ultimately curated by Sam Stephenson from Duke and collected in "The Jazz Loft Project" and I think it sheds a lot of light on Gene Smith as much as his subjects. 

What makes the jazz loft scene interesting was that it came about due to the NY Cabaret Laws, de facto race laws that made it brass and drums (and more than 2 musicians) illegal, without a restrictive city license.  Underground jazz came about because it was illegal to play the saxophone in any place it was legal to play the violin.  These private jazz venues became the places where a lot of musical history was made.  A few of the members of this scene are captured on my record label, Smalls Records, notably the late Frank Hewitt, himself a frequenter of the jazz loft.
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jjj
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« Reply #146 on: November 14, 2013, 04:41:59 AM »
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What makes the jazz loft scene interesting was that it came about due to the NY Cabaret Laws, de facto race laws that made it brass and drums (and more than 2 musicians) illegal, without a restrictive city license.  Underground jazz came about because it was illegal to play the saxophone in any place it was legal to play the violin.  These private jazz venues became the places where a lot of musical history was made.  A few of the members of this scene are captured on my record label, Smalls Records, notably the late Frank Hewitt, himself a frequenter of the jazz loft.
Interesting. I'd never heard about that. Though it explains why it's still so hard to find places to Lindy Hop in NY. It's shocking that in a city like NY this archaic and dumb law still exists.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 04:44:40 AM by jjj » Logged

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LKaven
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« Reply #147 on: November 14, 2013, 05:12:52 AM »
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Interesting. I'd never heard about that. Though it explains why it's still so hard to find places to Lindy Hop in NY. It's shocking that in a city like NY this archaic and dumb law still exists.

A lot of great talent was suppressed that way, I can tell you.  The Cabaret Laws pertaining to live music were overturned in 1988 after 60 years, due to the brilliant efforts of Paul Chevigny, who wrote a book about it called "Gigs".  The book was reprinted in order to further a movement to overturn similar laws in Great Britain, especially in London.

The Cabaret Laws pertaining to dance are still very much in force.  It is simply illegal to dance in most places in New York.  I've been in bars many times when a couple of people got up to dance to the jukebox, only to get shouted down by the management, who stood to lose their license if caught.  "HEY HEY, you can't do that in here!"
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LKaven
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« Reply #148 on: November 14, 2013, 06:02:32 AM »
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This is true, but I would add that most of what's on a roll, even from the MASTERS, is junk.  The difference is, they KNOW what is junk and what isn't.  They also shoot with intent and purpose, from a point of view, which is missing from most of the street work I see on the webz.

So true.  I think for the many who attempt street, very few people get even a single good shot in their lives.  If only they'd edit themselves entirely out.  They don't understand that the artist is responsible for /everything in the picture/, and that means /everything/. 

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TMARK
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« Reply #149 on: November 14, 2013, 08:56:35 AM »
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I see stuff on the web where I understand what the guy/gal was trying to do, but something is off, something is wrong in the frame, some elemnt that ruins the photo.  This should be edited out, not be shown.  It's almost there, but the photo fails, yet its "published" online.  People need editors, and the issue with self publishing of all sorts is the lack of editing. 

So true.  I think for the many who attempt street, very few people get even a single good shot in their lives.  If only they'd edit themselves entirely out.  They don't understand that the artist is responsible for /everything in the picture/, and that means /everything/. 


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bcooter
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« Reply #150 on: November 14, 2013, 09:40:54 AM »
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The problem with self assigned "street" work is not just the lack of an editor, or a third party to critique, it's the lack of purpose.

Since photojournalism is almost dead in regards to still photography, we've lost those human interest stories, where an editor assigns a shoot by saying "there is a young black preacher in Alabama tonight speaking on civil rights, go cover it".  

That's how iconic images were made, but today if a Martin Luther King reappears and if he's unknown he'll be covered by mobile phones, which will probably be awful imagery, or once he gets famous, the photographer will be restricted by mangers, PR groups and have to stand with the rest of the pool in one spot.

I may be wrong, but i think people are actually interested in well written and illustrated news stories, but the media got lazy and greedy way before the internet, turning celebrity PR into news, making every cover a massaged portrait or pseudo fashion image on white of anyone that is popular for the moment.

But in regards to shooting the street, I know one person that does it very well, but his best work comes from planning and hard work.

He also isn't doing the facebook, instigram thing where he inserts himself, his dog or his girlfriend into every photo, he goes out with a plan to come back with something unique to the moment and is up early to late.

It's very hard to do, few do it well, most do it the easy way.   While on vacation in Rome, They shoot that woman making bread.  Got it,.   Now they see a guy on a bicycle on a cobblestone street.  Got it.

When I started in photography, I was driving from location to location on the gulf coast.   It was a blue foggy morning and I saw a man jogging.  I swung the car around, got ahead of him and as he appeared started to shoot, but immediately in my head I knew I'd seen this same photograph 12 billion times before, so I just tossed the roll of film got back in the car and drove on.

Sometimes what you don't shoot is as important as what you do.

If you love street work I strongly suggest getting a press card and calling some publication for spec work.  Ask them what would they love to do if they were allowed.  Some of it might be beyond reach, but I'll bet someone will have a good idea or know something they need.  In a way I hate suggesting it, because I guess I'm advocating working for free, (and I don't think free and work belong in the same sentence), but if it's personal and you want to excel, having that kind of directive and the fact that you can say your shooting for the _____________ might get you more in the end.


IMO

BC

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Rob C
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« Reply #151 on: November 14, 2013, 10:57:46 AM »
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The problem with self assigned "street" work is not just the lack of an editor, or a third party to critique, it's the lack of purpose.

 BC




BC, do you know what you've just paraphrased? Exactly the same thing as did Terence Donovan, and if you ever read within the 'philosophical' zone, the one about coffee and corners, you'll realise that you had better get ready for a lynching.

Maybe not; this zone here may be safe. You are, as was Donovan, absolutely correct, of course: the greatest difficulty in photography is finding a reason to do anything. And that, as Donovan said, is more true of the amateur who, by definition, lacks the commercial imperative to do something, anything!

Thanks for the giggle.

;-)

Rob
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jjj
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« Reply #152 on: November 14, 2013, 11:03:37 AM »
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The problem with self assigned "street" work is not just the lack of an editor, or a third party to critique, it's the lack of purpose.
Just as well nobody told Vivian Maier that.
Don't forget the amateur who does street photography, does it for the love of it - that is their reason or purpose. Hence the term 'amateur'.
Doing the work for someone else is not necessary to validate it. Work done for one's own pleasure may be much better than those done for a commission, only the end result counts.

Quote
When I started in photography, I was driving from location to location on the gulf coast.   It was a blue foggy morning and I saw a man jogging.  I swung the car around, got ahead of him and as he appeared started to shoot, but immediately in my head I knew I'd seen this same photograph 12 billion times before, so I just tossed the roll of film got back in the car and drove on.
It's nigh on impossible to take a photograph that is genuinely unique in any genre, so why do any photography?
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Rob C
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« Reply #153 on: November 14, 2013, 11:04:38 AM »
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A lot of great talent was suppressed that way, I can tell you.  The Cabaret Laws pertaining to live music were overturned in 1988 after 60 years, due to the brilliant efforts of Paul Chevigny, who wrote a book about it called "Gigs".  The book was reprinted in order to further a movement to overturn similar laws in Great Britain, especially in London.

The Cabaret Laws pertaining to dance are still very much in force.  It is simply illegal to dance in most places in New York.  I've been in bars many times when a couple of people got up to dance to the jukebox, only to get shouted down by the management, who stood to lose their license if caught.  "HEY HEY, you can't do that in here!"


Heysoos! And to think that I grew up believing in the ubiquity of Mel's Diner and constantly twinkling teenage feet! What a crushing reality! I shall never trust Hollywood and tv again.

Lucky they had different mores in New Orleans way back! God bless the hooker houses, with or without rising son's of bitches!

;-)

Rob C
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jjj
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« Reply #154 on: November 14, 2013, 11:08:23 AM »
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Maybe not; this zone here may be safe. You are, as was Donovan, absolutely correct, of course: the greatest difficulty in photography is finding a reason to do anything. And that, as Donovan said, is more true of the amateur who, by definition, lacks the commercial imperative to do something, anything!
The commercial imperative may actually be the least interesting reason for doing something like photography.
Have a goal by all means, but doing it just for the money…..
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KLaban
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« Reply #155 on: November 14, 2013, 11:28:15 AM »
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The commercial imperative may actually be the least interesting reason for doing something like photography.

Agreed.
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bcooter
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« Reply #156 on: November 14, 2013, 11:31:48 AM »
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Vivian Maier was a fluke and I'm not saying don't shoot for the love of photography, I'm saying don't just push the button because you like pushing the button.

Has everything other than below the surface of Pluto been photographed?  Yes.

Has everything been photographed the same way . . . No because sometimes I'm surprised.

I'd love it if pretty pictures just paid for everything and life was easy and good, but it's not that way.  Regardless of the artist, unless you've inherited wealth or you are willing to starve, it's usually four for them, one for you and that's on a good day.

IMO

BC
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Isaac
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« Reply #157 on: November 14, 2013, 11:32:17 AM »
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I hold to my position that photographers usually use cameras to make photographs, tourists and onlookers always use phones.

fwiw

"The photogs of the paper used their phones' GPS to post constantly updating coverage of the floods and it would show up on a map indicating where the damage was. This let them have images up in seconds rather than minutes. Not 'good' images but something usable, and, in the case of the floods, telling and helpful, as the situation was constantly changing. The 'good' images were uploaded maybe hourly."

Scroll down to the NOAA photo by Will von Dauster
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Rob C
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« Reply #158 on: November 14, 2013, 11:32:50 AM »
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The commercial imperative may actually be the least interesting reason for doing something like photography.
Have a goal by all means, but doing it just for the money…..


Nobody claimed that.

In my own case, looking at the talent I was able to work with because a client was picking up the tab, you can easily see why I no longer have that possibility in retirement. You have to have the money, or you might as well not bother shooting anything if you are only able to pay for (or con) 'amateur' models. It's the same as paying for 'amateur' photographers without the professional experience in the discipline in question.

Of course, if all you want to do is shoot Coke bottles, that can be had for nothing if you steal the empty. But one wouldn't be comparing buzz with similar buzz.

;-)

Rob C
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LKaven
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« Reply #159 on: November 14, 2013, 12:31:07 PM »
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By American conventions, Vivian Maier had an artistic literacy and aesthetic sophistication that was beyond her station in life.  If anything surprises people, in America anyway, it is this.  The pictures highlight her quirky and wry artistic sense.  But they are very much also about her, as someone who chose to do this for a reason, a reason that partly intimates itself in her pictures, but only partly.
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