… it's not just a moment when everything in the scene is in balance; it's the moment at which YOU are in balance with the expression life's offering you. You make the photograph at that moment, not later in the darkroom.
… there's little if any difference between saying you want a correct rendition of what you saw when you tripped the shutter and saying you want a correct rendition of what you felt when you tripped the shutter. If it's a "decisive moment" the two statements say virtually the same thing…
Becoming quite a philosopher, aren't you Russ
But that is ok, you are quite good at it.
I hear what you are saying and tend to agree, up to a point. But I like to shed light from different angles, so here it goes:
Once an image becomes a two-dimensional representation of reality, confined to a set of restraints idiosyncratic to the chosen medium (e.g., crop/frame ratio, paper contrast, etc.), it becomes a world of its own. And that world then needs rules of its own
, hence the need to continue our work in the darkroom (or Lightroom, for that matter).A digression here: this reminds me of an old joke, where a drunk explains how it is possible that he claims he had only one drink: "Well, when I get a shot, I feel like a completely different man… and that other man then needs a drink too".
Sorry for the interruption, folks… we are now back to our regular programming:
That "other man" (e.g., a print) needs its "shot" or fix too. Exactly how much, if any, depends, of course, on the type of shot (photographic shot, not alcoholic, this time
). No amount of dodging and burning is needed for Robert Capa's shot of the falling soldier… nor it would matter if the orientation is horizontal or vertical… flipped or not… 8x10 or 24x36. I think we all would agree on that.
But not all photography is about human drama, there are other genres, the landscape for instance (although there are some, and we won't mention here our friend Rob
, who would deny any artistic value to anything else but human presence, with a nice set of boobs, if possible). And landscape is notoriously difficult to translate into 2D: it gets stripped of the huge vistas we see when we are there, fragrance of the spring, scorching hot sensation on our skin of a mid-summer noon, light breeze bringing first rain drops to our face…
This 3D world, engaging all our senses, evoking our memories, now needs to be shoved into a Procrustean bed of, say, a black and white print, horizontally oriented, 8x10, paper contrast #2. And that medium now has a world of its own, with rules of its own, with the task to recreate that abundance of sensations and emotions we felt when we pressed the shutter, using whatever artificial means there are to "deceive" and create illusion that the viewer was there too: say, slight vignetting to concentrate viewer's attention; dodging and burning for the same reason; rules of composition necessary to bring balance and harmony into this new world; cropping (yes, Russ), if for no other reason (and there are many), then to fit the chosen paper ratio.
So, Russ, my friend, it is not HCB's vs. AA's shooting philosophy, but choosing correctly the one that matches your preferred subject. If you shoot like HCB, then do not crop and do not post-process much, if at all. There is very little point, however, in shooting landscapes the way HCB shoots people, or vice versa.
Now... I need a drink