Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Discussing Photographic Styles => Topic started by: wolfnowl on November 05, 2013, 02:04:35 AM

Title: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: wolfnowl on November 05, 2013, 02:04:35 AM
Thought these might fit in here.

Mike.

Is Old School the Right School for Photography Education? (http://www.revellphotography.com/blog/2013/11/is-old-school-the-right-school/)
The graying of traditional photography and why everything is getting re-invented in a form we don't understand. (http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.ca/2013/10/the-graying-of-traditional-photography.html)
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 05, 2013, 11:29:56 AM
The answer to "Is Old School the Right School?" IMHO is a resounding NO!

Students spending time learning the correct method for diluting Dektol or how to bulk-load twenty cassettes with Tri-X are wasting their own time and squandering opportunities for learning how to photograph. 

The definition of photography is "Writing with light", not "Dicking About with Arcane and Obsolete Procedures and Technologies"

I open my classes with a slide that says "Welcome!  The Golden Age of Photography is NOW"
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 05, 2013, 11:54:13 AM
All these devices simply enable various ways of working.

Wet plate, sheet film, roll film, digital, and so on. Some approaches work well for one person, some for another. I think it's wise to have some exposure to a variety of approaches. Spending a little time shooting sheet film teaches you the meditative and deliberate approach, where you really really think through each exposure. Working digitally you can work much more iteratively, you can feel your way toward the final picture step by step.

Both are fine approaches. A serious student should, eventually, experience both, and others besides.

Only photographers seem to have this discussion. Musicians don't go on and on about how they're ONLY EVER GOING TO PLAY THE FIDDLE, they learn about the other instruments as well, they learn a little theory, a little bit about scoring for orchestra. Painters do a little this and a little that on the way to becoming a dedicated watercolorist, or whatever.

Photography and computer science seem determined to forget their pasts as quickly as they are made, reasoning that the future cannot be grasped if you're busy looking at the past. This is to the detriment of both, and completely wrong. The future is always best understood in the context of the past, and almost every field of human endeavor grasps this.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: tevo on November 05, 2013, 02:01:25 PM
Great articles. As a young photographer, I find myself caught between the passing era of film photography and the photographers experienced in such a field, and the digital world where people have already had years of experience with the digital medium. I feel the need to achieve a technical mastery of the photographic medium en general, while also using modern digital adaptations to their full potential. At times this seems very difficult, because it requires being ahead of the curve while also having years of experience in the medium itself. It seems to me that I need to embrace the art itself regardless of medium, and utilize the tools I have. Come to think of it, one of the best photographers I know uses a crop sensor- which is generally regarded by graybeards as an inferior photographic medium (lol.)
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 05, 2013, 04:22:52 PM
All these devices simply enable various ways of working.

Wet plate, sheet film, roll film, digital, and so on. Some approaches work well for one person, some for another. I think it's wise to have some exposure to a variety of approaches. Spending a little time shooting sheet film teaches you the meditative and deliberate approach, where you really really think through each exposure. Working digitally you can work much more iteratively, you can feel your way toward the final picture step by step.Both are fine approaches. A serious student should, eventually, experience both, and others besides.

quote]


That's exactly what I used to do with Nikon and Kodachrome, HP3/4 or FP3/4; and also on Hasselblad with TXP 120 or Ektachrome 64. One cassette or film was expected to produce at least one keeper from the girl's take on what she wore and how she worked it in a single set-up; after that, perhaps the same clothes and girl but a different emotional ambience. How else to develop any human shoot?

We didn't need digital to have that option - digital wasn't even on our radars.

I still have the few film images I saved so long ago; would I, with digital files?

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 05, 2013, 04:25:55 PM
After all its good to know many things.
Whats mandatory and whats bot - thats another question ... ;)
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 05, 2013, 05:21:50 PM
Digital cameras with the ability to chimp, or shoot tethered, work a lot more like painting.

It's not just you and the subject, sorting it out. It's you, the subject, AND a version of the final product, a half-finished painting if you will. That half finished painting can generate ideas and directions to explore, in ways that you and the subject by itself don't. You could do, and some people did, do something similar with Polaroids, but the pace can really step up with digital.

It's completely different from shooting sheet film, not just because the former is slower and more expensive, but because that half-finished painting simply isn't there. It's you, the camera, the subject, and your ideas.

Maybe other people can visualize their final pictures better than I can, but I really find that "half finished painting" to be a game [email protected]
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Isaac on November 05, 2013, 06:36:31 PM
Working digitally you can work much more iteratively, you can feel your way toward the final picture step by step.
That's exactly what I used to do with Nikon and Kodachrome...

The delay while you get film processed makes it quite unlike seeing what was done that same minute.

The cost of of film and processing excluded many. They did need digital to have that option.
 
I still have the few film images I saved so long ago; would I, with digital files?

Yes, as long as you transferred digital files to newer media as it became commonplace.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 05, 2013, 09:35:35 PM
It seems to me that I need to embrace the art itself regardless of medium, and utilize the tools I have.
Absolutely.

 
Quote
Come to think of it, one of the best photographers I know uses a crop sensor- which is generally regarded by graybeards as an inferior photographic medium (lol.)
Disliked by those who prefer larger formats, not 'greybeards'. Inferior is also the wrong word. If you need the look a larger sensor gives you, then a crop sensor is the wrong tool. If you use the right tool for the job in hand, then that is the 'superior' tool. On other occasions a different tool may be better.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 06, 2013, 01:13:04 PM
The OP referred to whether older chemical technologies or digital were better for learning photography.
 
I fought this battle two decades ago at a film school.  Since it was a "film" school, the entrenched instructors insisted on using film to teach film.  Fair enough.  However, equipment contention was high and the high cost of film and processing precluded experimentation.  The entire class produced a five films in two years.

Using digital video equipment, every one of my digital film school students had continuous access to their own camera and each student had 24 hr access to an edit station.  Instead of working on a "whole class" film, each student was able to make several films over a period of about two months. 

Guess who learned the most about film-making?
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 06, 2013, 03:20:07 PM
The OP referred to whether older chemical technologies or digital were better for learning photography.
 
I fought this battle two decades ago at a film school.  Since it was a "film" school, the entrenched instructors insisted on using film to teach film.  Fair enough.  However, equipment contention was high and the high cost of film and processing precluded experimentation.  The entire class produced a five films in two years.

Using digital video equipment, every one of my digital film school students had continuous access to their own camera and each student had 24 hr access to an edit station.  Instead of working on a "whole class" film, each student was able to make several films over a period of about two months. 

Guess who learned the most about film-making?

Disclaimer: I have no formal photographic or artistic education.

That said I believe digital is very effective for several reasons.
But I also believe film - with all the hassle (I start hating scanning btw - would prefer either darkroom or full digital) gives you an experience which I believe is harder to achieve with digital.
And vice versa ...

The issue is speed.

Speed has 2 sides - things go faster - but speedy technique tempts to overlook the things that need time.

I want to digress into the field of the other arts.
There are many different tools and techniques: Pencil, Graphite Blocks, Coal, Watercolors, Oil, Etching, etc.
A fast tool, like a graphite block has advantages and disadvantages -its a fast tool, very good not only for certain purposes, but also for a certain mindset or attitude towards the process. (My English leaves me here for the best expression - I simply assume you know what I mean)
Other techniques - lets say sculpting with marble - need a totally different mindset.
The tools play an important role - and whats good for one artist might be bad for another.

The digital process is several orders of magnitude faster than working with film and this doesn't mean its inferior - its just different.

So - from a certain point of view I believe learning film photography - even when going digital for the rest of your photographic life - makes a lot of sense.
But from a different one - equally valid - it would be complete BS.
It depends where you want to go.

A good teacher should know if for a certain student learning film is a good idea and for another possibly not.

my € 0.02

Cheers
~Chris
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 06, 2013, 05:06:02 PM
I think it comes down to expectations.

For folks with an extensive wet darkroom experience, that experience helps greatly to understand how good an image can look, and why it might fail to go where you want it to go. You learn a lot about contrast, for example, and how it changes your message, and I don't think that looking at a monitor with a Curves Tool under your finger is the best way to get sensitized! The temptation to extremes is possibly too strong for the neophyte to resist, and colour is an even greater minefield for fresh minds.

If the 'student' is thinking art as a future, then I think the wet world is a better bet; in fact, if he can afford it now since most film/paper choices have fled the market, I'd ignore digital altogether. I understand that for galleristas, wet still rules the price factor. What's not to like?

If it's professional work he has in mind, then I think it simply has to be digital: that's what makes (and allows) that world to go round.

If just for amateur fun, then probably digital first and if he later finds he likes photography enough to put in the time, then he can try out the wet later.

Rob C

Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 07, 2013, 08:07:57 PM
I think it comes down to expectations.
Indeed it does. And yours may be very different from a 20 year old's.

Quote
For folks with an extensive wet darkroom experience, that experience helps greatly to understand how good an image can look, and why it might fail to go where you want it to go. You learn a lot about contrast, for example, and how it changes your message, and I don't think that looking at a monitor with a Curves Tool under your finger is the best way to get sensitized! The temptation to extremes is possibly too strong for the neophyte to resist, and colour is an even greater minefield for fresh minds.
Alternatively.
For folks with an extensive photoshop experience, that experience helps greatly to understand how good an image can look, and why it might fail to go where you want it to go. You learn a lot about contrast, for example, and how it changes your message, and I don't think that looking at a print sloshing around in the developing dish is the best way to get sensitised!
 :P

Quote
If the 'student' is thinking art as a future, then I think the wet world is a better bet; in fact, if he can afford it now since most film/paper choices have fled the market, I'd ignore digital altogether. I understand that for galleristas, wet still rules the price factor.
No need, just call your prints 'giclée' as a contrived French neologism for inkjet sounds so much more chic and trés expensive. It also being French slang for ejaculate seems apt considering the pretentious usage.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rhossydd on November 08, 2013, 05:42:37 AM
Alternatively.
For folks with an extensive photoshop experience, that experience helps greatly to understand how good an image can look, and why it might fail to go where you want it to go. You learn a lot about contrast, for example, and how it changes your message, and I don't think that looking at a print sloshing around in the developing dish is the best way to get sensitised!
Absolutely.
You can probably learn more about the effects of contrast and it's application to changing an image's impact and mood in a morning with software than you'd learn in a month in a darkroom.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 08, 2013, 06:45:48 AM
Inevitably, the gulfs remain until the end of the world.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: petermfiore on November 08, 2013, 07:01:39 AM
There are gulfs and then there are the oceans disguised as gulfs....

Peter
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 09, 2013, 03:55:12 AM
There are gulfs and then there are the oceans disguised as gulfs....

Peter


That's deep!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: RSL on November 09, 2013, 11:12:42 AM
You guys should be doing stand-up.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 09, 2013, 05:34:41 PM
There wicked gulfs disguising as as gulf disguised oceans ... :P
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: langier on November 10, 2013, 12:07:25 PM
In the first article, we've got a badly-composed, badly-lit and badly crafted digital photo of a darkroom and an ok shot of a film canister and tank…

The bottom line is not what we think but what our customers will accept. For me, the proof is what hangs on the wall, gets downloaded from my site or gets ink on paper. How I got there is entirely up to me.

Good craft is good craft whether it is done in the darkroom or on in an iPhone.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: dbell on November 19, 2013, 03:40:32 PM
A computer with a lens on the front of it can make sure that an image is focused on something and exposed within some modicum of correctness.

It can't pick a subject. It can't choose leading lines. It can't decide what to keep in the frame and when to zoom or move. It can't decide where to focus. It can't decide how much depth of field to have. It can't decide what the overall tonality of the image should be. It can't decide to expose for high-key or low-key or maximum dynamic range.

In other words, it can handle some of the technique but none of the art.

We need to be teaching students the art. The important question is: what tools are best for that? Students are probably not learning much of any use if they're spending their time mucking about in changing bags and mixing chemicals. However, they're also going to have a problem (for example) understanding the relationships between aperture, shutter speed and ISO or between focus and depth-of-field if their only exposure is to cameras with terrible or missing manual controls. The instant feedback of digital is compelling. So is the simplicity of a basic camera. Is it better to learn to understand local contrast by burning and dodging in the darkroom or by doing their analogues in photoshop? It probably doesn't matter, as long as the lesson is learned. Maybe the real answer here is that no matter what tools are used, we need good instructors who have full command of the concepts and the ability to impart the same to their students (and indeed, to require mastery).

I'm not sure I buy the notion of a generation gap. Before digital, 90% of images were crap. In the digital world, 90% of images are STILL crap, it's just easier to make them. Most people didn't care then and don't care now. Photographers are those of us who care about making good images, no matter what medium we work in.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: RSL on November 19, 2013, 07:17:33 PM
Photographers are those of us who care about making good images, no matter what medium we work in.

Hear, hear! And the important thing isn't whether or not the picture is technically good, but whether or not its emotional impact is significant. That's one of the many things you can learn from HCB.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: DennisWilliams on November 21, 2013, 01:54:11 AM
Hear, hear! And the important thing isn't whether or not the picture is technically good, but whether or not its emotional impact is significant. That's one of the many things you can learn from HCB.

I disagree. I believe technically good  should always be the baseline expectation,  and that technical excellence, emotional impact or  professional success is to be aspired to.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 21, 2013, 07:41:19 AM
I disagree. I believe technically good  should always be the baseline expectation,  and that technical excellence, emotional impact or  professional success is to be aspired to.
You'd better go and tell that Picasso fella off then, perspective was all over the place and then there's those classic Capa photos at Omaha Beach, not only blurred but badly processed.
Technically good is so very easy to achieve, that it isn't really relevant compared to emotional impact. Which is the actual hard part.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: petermfiore on November 21, 2013, 07:55:48 AM
You'd better go and tell that Picasso fella off then, perspective was all over the place and then there's those classic Capa photos at Omaha Beach, not only blurred but badly processed.
Technically good is so very easy to achieve, that it isn't really relevant compared to emotional impact. Which is the actual hard part.

The issue is after mastering the rules, one  needs to master how to break the rules. That's entering the world of fine art.

Peter
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 21, 2013, 07:59:16 AM
Technically good is so very easy to achieve, that it isn't really relevant compared to emotional impact. Which is the actual hard part.

Yup. But when I see someone doing something in art and being sloppy it pulls me off - be it emotionally interesting or not. Its simply because sloppiness is an attitude not acceptable, when someone wants his stuff to be seen and is wasting my time. I am sloppy enough myself - don't need an artist to be sloppy for me. :P
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 21, 2013, 09:02:44 AM
The issue is after mastering the rules, one  needs to master how to break the rules. That's entering the world of fine art.
Being technically good is not the same as mastering the rules. Because if you've done that then you are good anyway.
And many cameras can take a technically good pic these days with no input other than pushing shutter.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 21, 2013, 09:13:38 AM
Yup. But when I see someone doing something in art and being sloppy it pulls me off - be it emotionally interesting or not. Its simply because sloppiness is an attitude not acceptable, when someone wants his stuff to be seen and is wasting my time. I am sloppy enough myself - don't need an artist to be sloppy for me. :P
Hard to answer this as sloppy is hard to quantify. As it art.
Possibly....Well if they are being sloppy, then they are not doing it well then.
Possibly....That is part of the style and you simply don't like it.

Take Fine art photography which often seems technically or compositionally lacking. Sometimes that's a stylistic choice, though sometimes it's simply because the person has no actual ability so is passing off crap as art and what they are actually good at is bullshitting.





Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 21, 2013, 10:14:31 PM
Fine Art is barely about the work at all these days, regardless of medium. Quite explicitly. It's about process and narrative surrounding the work as much or more than the work itself.

That is to say, it's explicitly and openly about the bullshitting, not the work.

The market for art that falls between decor and Fine Art is remarkably narrow these days. That is to say, work that we the public think of as Art: creative work that inspires, enriches, provokes, reveals, and so on, and which does so on its own merits, is pretty much a non-entity. It's all pretty much technically brilliant and emotionally dead decor, or pictures of poo with a paragraph about playing with the dialectics of space attached.

Here's a fun game:

Go find a popular and successful contemporary landscape photographer. Go find a portfolio of work. You will find that virtually all of it has a color palette made up either of 1 very narrow swathe of colors, or 2 very narrow and complementary swathes of color. These things are shot to match the couch, and that's why people buy 'em.

The majority of Fine Art photographers are shooting insanely repetitive and boring portfolios around a single not very good idea, and then supplying a raft of text to prop it up and explain why it's important and good. Usually they're shooting with crazy expensive gear and making gigantic prints, to further obscure the fact that they haven't actually got any ideas.

Both of these schools are giving technically excellent photography a bad name. They make me itch. They make me want to drill light leaks in all my cameras and spin the focus ring at random before every shot.


Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 22, 2013, 04:04:53 AM
That's all well and good, Andrew; spin and drill to your heart's content, but you'd still need an agent.

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 22, 2013, 06:39:01 AM
If I was gonna to put up with an agent, there's only one thing I'd shoot: nudes!
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 22, 2013, 12:23:46 PM
Excellent rant, Andrew.

"That is to say, it's explicitly and openly about the bullshitting, not the work."

Zacly.

I sold two large canvas prints recently.  The wife made the decision based entirely on the colour swatches of couch material she brought to my studio.

I carefully avoided bullshitting, cashed the checks and bought more ink. : )
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: RSL on November 22, 2013, 12:35:00 PM
The issue is after mastering the rules, one  needs to master how to break the rules. That's entering the world of fine art.

Breaking the rules does not, repeat not, produce fine art. What the hell IS fine art? It's not necessarily what's going out the doors at Sotheby's or Christies.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 22, 2013, 12:45:30 PM
Breaking the rules does not, repeat not, produce fine art. What the hell IS fine art? It's not necessarily what's going out the doors at Sotheby's or Christies.

Art is not "fine".
"Fine Art" is an Oxymoron.
:P
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: petermfiore on November 22, 2013, 01:22:12 PM
Art is not "fine".
"Fine Art" is an Oxymoron.
:P

Sounds like you come from the world of compromise.

Peter
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 22, 2013, 01:28:32 PM
Sounds like you come from the world of compromise.

Peter

The opposite is true and the base of my statement. :)
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: petermfiore on November 22, 2013, 01:31:41 PM
The opposite is true and the base of my statement. :)



That's good to hear.

Peter
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 22, 2013, 01:46:50 PM
Maybe I need to explain my slightly provocative statement a little.
I hope my somewhat limited English doesn't get in the way here.

Art, IMO has something to do with conflict, with debate (more emotional debate) and an relation to the conditio humana in a broader sense.
Beauty, as often produced in various forms of art would be flat and dull if there weren't the ugly, the nasty and evil - the things that are not "fine".
I believe we can only produce meaningful beauty if we know about these things from experience and take this experience into account when producing art.
Greed, hatred, envy, ignorance, torment .... art if it wants to be deep needs to know about these very well.
As you know in Germany, during the Nazi reign lots of art got forbidden, artists harassed and prosecuted when they didn't fit into the narrow scheme of nazi racism, hatred, bigotery and hypocrisy.
Much of nazi art reflects this and looks stupid, primitive and flat.
Similar destruction to art happens when it gets commercialized in a certain way or otherwise abused.
I picked that up and thats why I wrote this statement which might have sounded provocative.
To remember and remind.

Cheers
~Chris
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 22, 2013, 03:23:56 PM
Sounds like you come from the world of compromise.

Peter


I love delicate leg-pulling!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: dbell on November 26, 2013, 12:47:35 PM
I disagree. I believe technically good  should always be the baseline expectation,  and that technical excellence, emotional impact or  professional success is to be aspired to.

Note that absolutely nothing I said should be construed as a tolerance for poor technique. I believe quite the opposite: solid technique is the foundation of everything else. Technique isn't a set of rules, it's a set of skills which, once mastered, can be employed to realize an artistic idea. If you want to write an novel, you first need to learn to speak the language. The question posed by the original post had to do with what tools and methods are best for teaching the basics (both technical and aesthetic) of the photographic art form.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 26, 2013, 01:11:34 PM
This is a well worn path, but let me place the usual marker on the other side:

Technical skills are wildly overrated in photography. The ability to put the camera in the right place, pointed the right way, and to press the shutter button at the right time, is the only essential.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Christoph C. Feldhaim on November 26, 2013, 01:15:12 PM
...The question posed by the original post had to do with what tools and methods are best for teaching the basics (both technical and aesthetic) of the photographic art form.

Drawing, painting, sitting still and contemplating, walking around participating....
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 26, 2013, 03:44:01 PM
This is a well worn path, but let me place the usual marker on the other side:

Technical skills are wildly overrated in photography. The ability to put the camera in the right place, pointed the right way, and to press the shutter button at the right time, is the only essential.



If it's art, then I agree; if it's commerce - you'd never get anther job, and if it's a big enough job you blew, possibly end up sued for misrepresentation/malpractice.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 26, 2013, 04:05:24 PM
if it's art, then I agree; if it's commerce - you'd never get anther job, and if it's a big enough job you blew, possibly end up sued for misrepresentation/malpractice.
Not necessarily. If that was your style, that may be why you were used.
I saw a photographer's work only only yesterday that would be regarded as below par by some technical people on here, but had paying gigs from the likes of Budweiser. And the ads were really good. Can't recall the name offhand.
And then there's Terry Richardson who's one of the best known photographers today and yet his style is quite amateurish.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: amolitor on November 26, 2013, 04:35:21 PM
Sure, for most commercial work it's all technical. Product shots, whatever. "High Fashion" and "Celebrity" is all about style comma the ability to reproduce on-demand, which may or may not require technical skill depending on what thing you're being required to crank out on demand. Art is.. something else entirely.

Quite apart from who's getting paid, though, my point is simply that "a good picture" is separate from technical considerations, if we understand "good" in a pretty common and general way.

If we mean "good" in the sense that it allows a magazine's print-shop to accurately and easily print that shampoo bottle in the right color, well, that's all about technique. It's also a pretty specific definition of "good" and therefore not what I'm talking about!
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 26, 2013, 06:17:14 PM
Quite apart from who's getting paid, though, my point is simply that "a good picture" is separate from technical considerations, if we understand "good" in a pretty common and general way.
Fairly recently someone posted some photos online for people to give some constructive feedback. They were slated for their numerous technical flaws and poor quality. The photos were however classic shots by people like Cartier-Bresson.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: tom b on November 26, 2013, 11:09:55 PM
Fairly recently someone posted some photos online for people to give some constructive feedback. They were slated for their numerous technical flaws and poor quality. The photos were however classic shots by people like Cartier-Bresson.

It may have bee this article (http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com.au/2006/06/great-photographers-on-internet.html) in The Online Photographer.

Cheers,
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 27, 2013, 03:12:17 AM
Nope. That's a satirical article, I'm talking about genuine feedback.
I think it was done on Flickr
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 27, 2013, 03:56:37 AM
Fairly recently someone posted some photos online for people to give some constructive feedback. They were slated for their numerous technical flaws and poor quality. The photos were however classic shots by people like Cartier-Bresson.

That doesn't surprise me; it's just a natural development from the digital reality where anyone can get something crisp, and quite possibly correctly exposed because of that digital technology.

The time has passed when basic technique of the mechanical type also was a skill - it's now automatic, and that being so, present perception is no longer totally focussed on content, but on the 'technical' appearance. As a result, I think few now see the content when they look at a work - they obsess over the crispness, fanciful conceits such as bokeh (without which moniker it wouldn't have mattered a hoot to anyone) and all the lens 'characteristics' of which they read online.

In short (which I find difficult), the emphasis has shifted in popular conception of photographic worth.

So yes, nothing surprising anymore.

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 27, 2013, 04:03:44 AM
Not necessarily. If that was your style, that may be why you were used.
I saw a photographer's work only only yesterday that would be regarded as below par by some technical people on here, but had paying gigs from the likes of Budweiser. And the ads were really good. Can't recall the name offhand.
And then there's Terry Richardson who's one of the best known photographers today and yet his style is quite amateurish.


jjj, that's the world of Vogue et al. and quite another matter.

It ranges from the technically exquisite to the, well  - you named it. You forgot to add, to 'amateurish', the question of sexual shock value, pretty much a final resort.

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 27, 2013, 04:18:07 AM
It's highly paid commercial work, which doesn't need to be technically perfect.
The fact TR works in fashion/music doesn't really matter as it was a general point, not one that excludes creative photography and the other photographer whose name still annoyingly escapes me, did work for big conservative brands.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 27, 2013, 04:26:37 AM
It ranges from the technically exquisite to the, well  - you named it. You forgot to add, to 'amateurish', the question of sexual shock value, pretty much a final resort.
TerryRichardson goes way past that as TR looks like a parody of porn actor and basically shoots a lot porn, with himself and young models and yet unlike other people who do exactly the same thing, stays respectable.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 27, 2013, 05:37:51 AM
[kquote author=Rob C link=topic=83803.msg683794#msg683794 date=1385543024]It ranges from the technically exquisite to the, well  - you named it. You forgot to add, to 'amateurish', the question of sexual shock value, pretty much a final resort.
TerryRichardson goes way past that as TR looks like a parody of porn actor and basically shoots a lot porn, with himself and young models and yet unlike other people who do exactly the same thing, stays respectable.


And there the call: whose opinion?

Helmut Newton did the occasional shot of himself and model on a bed, shooting the images from ceiling mirrors (early erotic selfie?) and in his time that was slightly shocking but chaste nevertheless; it became a common event for anyone with such a mirror which, by dint of being where it was, lent spìce to the concept of two on a bed.

I did girlie calendars for years but I don't remember that I ever wanted, or even felt slightly drawn to doing anything pornographic; porn defeats everything to do with charme, as the French call it. It removes the enchanting magic and, in its place, offers you a plate of uncooked horsemeat. That's for savages.

Whether it's a bunch of scrawny femmes showing how little they have in the back pages of POP/The Face, Autum Winter #03, or anything similar by any other clone, it leaves a damp, unpleasant chill on the senses.

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 27, 2013, 10:09:18 AM
And there the call: whose opinion?
The people with the large and/or trendy cheque books. He gets to photograph Presidents. Doesn't get much more respectable than that.
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Rob C on November 27, 2013, 11:31:47 AM
The people with the large and/or trendy cheque books. He gets to photograph Presidents. Doesn't get much more respectable than that.


How can you happily run two such sentences one after the other?

The mind positively boggles. Memories of interns flood my grey cells... but wait! Isn't that the explanation?

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: jjj on November 27, 2013, 12:23:17 PM
Didn't say I was happy.
I may even have been ironic…
Title: Re: 'Old School' Photography.
Post by: Kirk Gittings on November 27, 2013, 01:15:36 PM
The answer to "Is Old School the Right School?" IMHO is a resounding NO!

Students spending time learning the correct method for diluting Dektol or how to bulk-load twenty cassettes with Tri-X are wasting their own time and squandering opportunities for learning how to photograph. 

The definition of photography is "Writing with light", not "Dicking About with Arcane and Obsolete Procedures and Technologies"

I open my classes with a slide that says "Welcome!  The Golden Age of Photography is NOW"

I agree and part of that is that we still have all the old technologies still available plus digital. I shoot LF film digital and even wet plate collodion. I teach digital and analogue photography at two universities. Its all good and its all good for my students.