Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Rob C on September 06, 2016, 02:51:53 pm

Title: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 06, 2016, 02:51:53 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU7ugil5oEM

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 06, 2016, 04:26:41 pm
The very latest trend seems to be shooting a red-haired model on MF using a 10 year old expired neg film, home processed in C41 with a green-cyan cast. I've seen it from at least 4 photographers in the last week. Extra points if she has freckles, and if you shoot from very close. Forest setting optional.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 07, 2016, 08:59:04 am
My first real camera was a gift from my parents in 1970 – an Argus Cosina knockoff of a Pentax SLR. Try as I might, it just wouldn't produce any art, and I wondered why. At the local photographic gallery, the artists were all filing out their negative carriers so that their prints proved that they never cropped an image. I was reluctant to go to such lengths for art's sake. Besides, I'd already decided that it was hip to be square. I traded in my Argus on a really beat up Hasselblad. But, in the back of my head, I knew real art was produced with a loupe on a ground glass under a dark cloth. Roll film was for those with no real commitment. The beat up hassy was eventually traded for a scruffy 4 x 5 Linhoff Technika. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford (nor did I have the space for) a 4 x 5 enlarger, and no one was interested in my contact prints. Sigh.

I remember reading about the massive 20 x 24" Polaroid camera, and thinking "Man, I could produce some real ART with that baby."

Probably not.

John.
JBurnett.ca (http://jburnett.ca)
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 07, 2016, 09:43:27 am
Weston of course was overjoyed to trade down to 4x5, because he could then refuse to retouch the negs :-)
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 07, 2016, 02:31:44 pm
Weston of course was overjoyed to trade down to 4x5, because he could then refuse to retouch the negs :-)

Anybody here - anybody else living, for that matter - remember using glass plates? I do. Much sharper images because they didn't buckle... I think they were Ilford R10.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Mousecop on September 07, 2016, 02:50:58 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU7ugil5oEM
Erm... no, film is not a "New Art." It is the tired old medium.

Anyone who wants to work with film, go knock yourself out. But spare me the rationalizations of your retro obsessions.

I for one do not miss the chemicals, the delays, the discomfort of working in a darkroom, the environmental nightmare, the limited options, the cost.

The only thing I miss is the form factor of the good ol' Hasselblad.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: mbaginy on September 08, 2016, 01:01:26 am
... the cost.
I'm surprised when people mention cost.  In analog times I bought bulk film and loaded my cartridges to minimize costl.  I bought my enlarger plus lenses once.

Today I have running cost of software (LR & Photoshop CC).  Sure, there's free software but I prefer LR (workflow and quality).  Printing isn't free today - paper and (especially) ink cost money.  When I upgrade to a newer camera body, the raw file size increases and it isn't long afterwards that I need to upgrade my computer.  Backup hard drives cost money.  I'll bet I spend more today on my photography than 30 years ago.

I simply can't understand references to the high cost of analog photography.  The comparison may hold true only when someone keeps their images on a hard disk.  Apples & oranges.  I still create albums and print.  Far nicer to share memories thumbing through a tactile medium than on a phone or pad.

Maybe it's a generation thing.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 08, 2016, 03:40:49 am
I just bought a 2TB hdd for 73€. That would hold about 20,000 50MP image files. Double it for a RAID array and you're looking at 0.73c (that is 3/4 of a cent) per image. That's cheaper than a sheet of neg file, even without a box to put it in... and I have the ability to purge the duplicates and technical failures.

I don't notice a sheet of inkjet paper being more expensive than a sheet of the same size BW Ilford... and quite a bit less than colour paper.

The only thing that is more expensive is a 35mm DSLR compared to a film SLR, but then since it gives you the quality of MF.... hmm.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 08, 2016, 05:24:53 am
Erm... no, film is not a "New Art." It is the tired old medium.

Anyone who wants to work with film, go knock yourself out. But spare me the rationalizations of your retro obsessions.

I for one do not miss the chemicals, the delays, the discomfort of working in a darkroom, the environmental nightmare, the limited options, the cost.

The only thing I miss is the form factor of the good ol' Hasselblad.


On that we do agree!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Otto Phocus on September 08, 2016, 06:20:27 am


I simply can't understand references to the high cost of analog photography.  The comparison may hold true only when someone keeps their images on a hard disk.  Apples & oranges.  I still create albums and print.  Far nicer to share memories thumbing through a tactile medium than on a phone or pad.

Maybe it's a generation thing.

Perhaps because you are including optional costs to digital.  You choose to use expensive software (either purchased or rented) and you choose to print.  Neither of which is necessary to have a usable image.

With film, if I choose not to develop the negative, I did not have a usable image. I needed the necessary chemicals and the equipment to even make an image. This is, of course, not including the costs of printing.

Also consider that when people are commenting on the costs of film photography, they are not necessarily limiting themselves to only financial costs. There are other costs to consider.

But then, no one has even claimed that digital photography was cost free, it's not.  But, speaking only for myself, my costs have gone down when I moved from film to digital.  I don't think I am unique in that.

That is not to say that someone could not make their digital photography process actually cost more than film, but that would probably be their choice.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: mbaginy on September 08, 2016, 06:42:46 am
Perhaps because you are including optional costs to digital. ...
I'm comparing my photography today with mine in analog times.  I printed then, I print today.  I'm not comparing output quality or quantity.  I'm delighted to being processing my images in a light room.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: wmchauncey on September 08, 2016, 08:38:27 am
Can anyone legitimately claim that yesterday's film IQ surpasses today's digital output.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 08, 2016, 09:00:27 am
Aside from the nostalgia factor for some older photographers, I have to think that some of the motivation to return to film is "differentiation" (i.e. not like the billions of others who are using digital imaging). One would be further differentiated by using an even older photographic process, perhaps. There are instructions on the Internet for making tintypes and albumen prints and the like. In the art (fine-art photography) world, being different is one way to attract attention, or to suggest added value. But being different doesn't automatically mean better. A selenium-toned, wet darkroom, fibre print of a teenager displaying her tongue piercing is no more art than the same "selfie" taken with a cell phone and posted on facebook.

Some of the other reasons cited for the return to film really have nothing to do with film: "It slows me down. I have to be more disciplined." Hmmm. Use a hand-held light meter (or, at the very least, manual mode). Use manual focus. Use primes (or take only a single prime). Use a tripod. THINK about what you are doing. [Alternatively, get older. I'm slower and have to be more disciplined than I ever did. Did I charge that extra battery or not? Where are my SD cards? Have I got my meds/water bottle/sunscreen/hat? Where are my glasses? I'd better use the toilet one last time before we leave.  :-\ ]

I gave a short presentation called "inspiration and influence" to my local camera club. It was nothing fancy or academic in any sense. Just a few images from photographers I've admired, or whose work has had an influence on me (Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock, W. Eugene Smith, Arnold Newman, etc. etc. etc.). I talked a bit about what I've learned from looking at their work. Funny thing. Although almost all of the photographers I chose are pre-digital, I've never concluded that I need to return to film.

I'm going to do another inspiration and influence talk this year, focusing on contemporary photographers. And I won't be talking about camera brands, or sensor sizes, or post-processing.


Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 08, 2016, 09:03:18 am
Can anyone legitimately claim that yesterday's film IQ surpasses today's digital output.


In 'look'' I would step up and posit that claim insofar as black/white goes.

That digital processing can micro-manage a square centimetre concerns me not at all. My concern is about the overall look of a finished print, assumimg both from competent technicians. Colour is a different matter, but for me, colour is hardly relevant anymore as I tend to see less and less of it that turns on my valves. Of course, you have to consider my zones of interest for this to make sense to anyone other than myself.

I say all of this from the background of being a professional photographer and printer in both colour and b/white for many years.

I have no interest in convincng anyone else; I preach no faith and will not debate the point, happy to allow everybody their own opinion based on whatever experience they have.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 08, 2016, 02:24:11 pm
But, Rob, what are you using as a comparison? Ten+ year old printer technology and rag papers?


Partly, but more than anything else, I'm actually thinking about the look of digital capture. That hits my eyes before anything hits paper. It's there, right on the monitor. At least, it seems to be with my own original stuff, and in the end, it's all I really give a damn about. Currently, I don't even print. I suppose I might be missing great things... who's going to buy, buy and buy in an endless chase? Not I.

In a recently posted video of Peter Lindbergh I see a beauty in some old images that is perhaps more pleasing to me than some of his later, super duper electronic stuff, though he does seem to keep his original look quite well. And on the other hand, Hans Feurer has managed to do the opposite: make his digital colour look like Kodachrome! Both guys are as state-of-the art as photographers can be - top guns both. As a side note, I see that both have been using Canon of late, which as they were both long-term users of Nikon, is saying something or other - product placement even? As they are totally out of my world I can't ask 'em.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 09, 2016, 04:02:35 am
Printing, even if just to look at for a day or two before throwing it in a box, is a joy for me. I wouldn't get all moral about completing the photographic process and so on, but seeing it on paper is a different experience. And handing someone a print as a little present is a good thing too :-)
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 09, 2016, 08:59:57 am
Printing, even if just to look at for a day or two before throwing it in a box, is a joy for me. I wouldn't get all moral about completing the photographic process and so on, but seeing it on paper is a different experience. And handing someone a print as a little present is a good thing too :-)


Ay Graham, I have several A3+ boxes full of what I thought delightful prints off the HP B 9180. All on Hahnemeuhle, Photo Rag Bright White (pace Keith!) and predominantly in black and white. Each resides within the appropriate Silverprint Polyester Archival Print Sleeve and cost me a small fortune to create.

Seen within said sleeve, the quality is pretty damned close to what I'd expect from a straight glossy print made via my darkrooms of yore, were I then printing in the more sombre tonality that I now like... On the fond assumption, borne out in practice, that behind glass the prints would satisfy me, I was surprisingly happy with the status quo. Then HP abandoned the format.

But, outwith the sleeves, the prints look decidedly dull. I did try using HP's glossy paper, but the inks, the inks: gold plate had nothing on it.

I only used matt papers in the wet days out of curiosity and abandoned them almost right away: they couldn't look a real, full-toned glossy (actually glazed, not air-dried) in the face.

So yes, despite now no longer printing, I do have a bit of a clue how to do it, just choose not to if it means a constant 'upgrade' of technology (at my expense) every three years or thereabouts. As with all things temporal, were there actually real money to be found at the end of the trials and tribulations rainbow, then I'd gladly invest. I have just realised that those pictures have not escaped their cardboard tombs since, several years ago, my granddaughters wanted to see what I used to do when I was alive. Today, as of this writing, the boxes were moved sideways so that I could see how to spell Hahnemeuhle - which always escapes me if it's to be a memory-dependent trick. That little movement may give them false hope, aka my revenge.

;-)

Rob

P.S.

Bullshit: I just realised that no, the pictures reside inside the cardboard boxes in which the Hahne was shipped! Sleeved, they no longer fit. No wonder I gather so much junk.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 09, 2016, 09:31:29 am
The B&W I get out of the canon pro-100 on pleb-grade lumi่re RC Brillant (I think it's the same as the 310gsm Ilford... less OB than the 270gsm) looks like RC gloss Ilford multigrade to me. I never got into glazing FB papers. It's what swung me back to doing >90% BW: my previous printer (CcMmYK) was pretty useless on B&W, having the extra greys made a huge difference.

I put my favourites in poly?? sleeves in A3+ albums and the sleeve, although very clear, tends to kill a little shadow detail because of reflection. Bit like putting them behind glass.
Ink runs a little less than 2€/A3+, same as the paper.

Anyway, just my experience.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: chez on September 09, 2016, 10:05:23 am
Can anyone legitimately claim that yesterday's film IQ surpasses today's digital output.

How do you measure IQ. I find my b&w images from medium format film gives me 'better' results than my manipulated colour digital images.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 10, 2016, 04:16:37 pm
60s art was the best:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQBKpV9emKc

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 10, 2016, 05:59:57 pm
 :D
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 14, 2016, 10:56:12 am
60s art was the best:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQBKpV9emKc

Rob

As the blues musician Howlin' Wolf said, "And women, great googly moogly!"
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 14, 2016, 11:08:34 am
Yep, that brunette certainly knew how to make the most of a gig! But then, she came equipped.

With hindsight, the singer shouldn't have made her appearance with that girl competing for camera time.

Have any of you tried to do the footwork? It's the most tiring thing I've ever attempted in the way of exercise: almost impossible to do. One really needs some invisible Photoshop supports holding the weight of the body off the feet. Thought it looks a bit Charleston, it's not. Shame FFF isn't here any longer - he'd have known what was what.

;-(

Rob C
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 17, 2016, 09:08:45 am
And here's a bit of another - possibly with undercurrents!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzKd0aiaK4c

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Peter_DL on September 18, 2016, 08:17:02 am
Some of the other reasons cited for the return to film really have nothing to do with film: "It slows me down. I have to be more disciplined." Hmmm. Use a hand-held light meter (or, at the very least, manual mode). Use manual focus. Use primes (or take only a single prime). Use a tripod. THINK about what you are doing.

Another little trick is to use a small memory card of just some few gb which only takes a limited number of images – like it was with film. To keep this limitation in mind can contribute to more conscious shooting approach, without imposing too much complication.

Also, it is certainly part of the charm of retro styled digital cameras to have a more physical/mechanical interaction with the camera again, as opposed to being distracted from the photographic subject by digital menus and sub-menus.

Peter
--
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 18, 2016, 10:11:17 am
Another little trick is to use a small memory card of just some few gb which only takes a limited number of images – like it was with film. To keep this limitation in mind can contribute to more conscious shooting approach, without imposing too much complication.

Also, it is certainly part of the charm of retro styled digital cameras to have a more physical/mechanical interaction with the camera again, as opposed to being distracted from the photographic subject by digital menus and sub-menus.

Peter
--

Which Nikon blew with its Df by not giving the choice of a split-image screen. 'Confirmation' lights can't replace a split-screen image because you still have to move your eye/attention off-image to see that blasted light come on. That's a killer with non-af lenses, which most of mine are.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: N80 on September 18, 2016, 08:36:25 pm
I would like to see split-screen as an option on all cameras. There was a company who made them even for AF cameras without interchangeable screens but it was tricky and expensive. Split screens do not work well with slow lenses so that is one downside.

I have a few nice MF primes and do not have any real problem with the focus light on my D750....but would still prefer a split screen.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 19, 2016, 10:20:18 am
Another little trick is to use a small memory card of just some few gb which only takes a limited number of images – like it was with film. To keep this limitation in mind can contribute to more conscious shooting approach, without imposing too much complication.

Peter
--

The first DSLR I owned was a Canon 300D Digital Rebel. That camera broke new ground with its pricing (something I could afford). During the boxing day sales, I purchased 3 primes, and that became my "kit". I remember one of the first "walkabouts" I did with the kit. I walked for almost 4 hours through the city, looking at many things, and framing the odd scene. But I took only 4 exposures that day (and one continues to be a favourite). You'd think I was still carrying my old 4x5 Technika with 2 film holders, back when I didn't have two cents to rub together!  :)

Today, I still take fewer images than friends who visit the same places with me. However, I'm not so miserly with my exposures anymore. One advantage of digital (and not worrying about the number of exposures) is that I can take many slight variations of the same subject. If a scene is visually exciting to me, then I'll take quite a few pictures, perhaps bracketing apertures for slightly different DOF, or shifting my perspective a bit this way or that way. I like to "walk into" a scene, exploring new perspectives as I go. In the early days of digital, I often bracketed exposures on bright, contrasty days, with an eye to making sure I had both highlights and shadows captured. But modern sensors have quite good dynamic range, and I do much less of that.

Having said that, it's remarkable how many times it's the first exposure I take that turns out being the best.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Peter_DL on September 19, 2016, 01:57:53 pm
 
two further related articles on this trend:
http://www.europeanceo.com/culture/film-photography-makes-a-stunning-comeback/
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-have-we-reached-peak-digital-photography

In order not to get too much drawn into the idea to shoot film again, I was recently reactivating my old film scanner and spent a long evening with it - to get just some few slides scanned & post-processed. Done. No thanks. I'll stay with digital capture.

Nonetheless, the question remains which aspects we may have left behind which we would want to recover again, in some (digital) way.

Peter
--
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: N80 on September 19, 2016, 02:35:38 pm
I had a similar experience with my film scanner recently. A fairly high end one that Nikon no longer supports. I purchased VueScan to drive it. I recently developed (at home) some Acros B&W negs. The whole process was slow and tedious and the rewards, out of 36 frames, were few.

But, I still like dabbling in film, older film cameras and a few chemicals. I'm glad I don't have to do it all the time anymore but I enjoy occasional exposure to the old process.

And I would still never put forward an argument that film and its processes have any remote advantage over digital. I don't do it for the results.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 19, 2016, 03:48:55 pm
The first DSLR I owned was a Canon 300D Digital Rebel. That camera broke new ground with its pricing (something I could afford). During the boxing day sales, I purchased 3 primes, and that became my "kit". I remember one of the first "walkabouts" I did with the kit. I walked for almost 4 hours through the city, looking at many things, and framing the odd scene. But I took only 4 exposures that day (and one continues to be a favourite). You'd think I was still carrying my old 4x5 Technika with 2 film holders, back when I didn't have two cents to rub together!  :)

Today, I still take fewer images than friends who visit the same places with me. However, I'm not so miserly with my exposures anymore. One advantage of digital (and not worrying about the number of exposures) is that I can take many slight variations of the same subject. If a scene is visually exciting to me, then I'll take quite a few pictures, perhaps bracketing apertures for slightly different DOF, or shifting my perspective a bit this way or that way. I like to "walk into" a scene, exploring new perspectives as I go. In the early days of digital, I often bracketed exposures on bright, contrasty days, with an eye to making sure I had both highlights and shadows captured. But modern sensors have quite good dynamic range, and I do much less of that.

Having said that, it's remarkable how many times it's the first exposure I take that turns out being the best.


I almost never do a similar shot of the same thing at the same shoot with 'fun' photography.

The moral, which you probably prove to your own satisfaction, is: go with your instincts! They live in the first take.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 19, 2016, 04:52:05 pm
What did Margaret Bown say? "The first and the last shots are always the best, so I stopped taking the ones in between" :)

Anyway, today I found this

http://www.simonerosenbauer.com/LIKE-ICE-IN-THE-SUNSHINE-1

If you're going to be an art photographer, it's best to have a sense of humour, I think. Since I grw up in Sydney, I can identify nฐ 8 as a "Golden Gaytime," which was named long, long ago...  ;D
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Peter_DL on September 19, 2016, 05:56:31 pm
Aside from the nostalgia factor for some older photographers, I have to think that some of the motivation to return to film is "differentiation" (i.e. not like the billions of others who are using digital imaging). One would be further differentiated by using an even older photographic process, perhaps. There are instructions on the Internet for making tintypes and albumen prints and the like. In the art (fine-art photography) world, being different is one way to attract attention, or to suggest added value. But being different doesn't automatically mean better. A selenium-toned, wet darkroom, fibre print of a teenager displaying her tongue piercing is no more art than the same "selfie" taken with a cell phone and posted on facebook.

The emulation of film or retro styles is also a popular field in digital post processing.

Even said teenager taking a "selfie" with a cell phone would possibly use an app to furnish the image with some vintage look.

Not sure if the motivation is only "differentiation".

Basically, these techniques introduce/produce some partial abstraction, leading away from a "clean/accurate" depiction of reality.

I'm not solid enough on art/psychology to understand the driving force here.

Just can say that it is often enough my preference as well.

Peter
--
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 20, 2016, 05:17:08 pm
Here's an opinion from a while back:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BON9Ksn1PqI&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C&index=6

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 21, 2016, 03:01:14 am
Similar things were said about that other dreadful idea, adding sound  ;)
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 21, 2016, 04:38:55 am
Similar things were said about that other dreadful idea, adding sound  ;)

Were they wrong?

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 21, 2016, 06:27:06 am
Depends on the purpose, of course...
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: GrahamBy on September 21, 2016, 11:41:21 am
Of course it's a moving game: digital video has improved a lot, so the fact that someone loathed it in the past doesn't necessarily mean anything now.
The second point is that while Tarantino is a superbly gifted director and film writer, he's also out of his tree (the two may be related). Viz the rant about the magic of still pictures at 24fps, which of course is no different in modern digital (was he still thinking interleaved analogue TV??)

Probably the greatest advantage of film, in my mind, is that it made it harder to go overboard with processing. Give people a tool and someone will use it to excess, then competitive human nature will lead 95% of the market to follow them, just to show they can. In related news, SanDisk have announced a prototype 1TB SD card. That would allow me to take 19,200 photos without stopping to up-load to a pc. That's one every 3 secs for 16 hours straight, rather a lot of decisive moments. Better order 3.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Alan Klein on September 21, 2016, 11:27:43 pm
I enjoy the technical aspects of digital but also the traditional aspects  of using  film.  It depends when and where.   If I'm on a vacation, I take my small digital to record the trip in stills with some movie clips and then put it all together in a DVD show for my TV with background music, menus etc.  However when I'm in the mood, I'll shoot  my medium format film camera with tripod and separate light meter.  I'll spend the time looking for the "right" shot and then shooting even bracketing the shots. Love Velvia color.  Lately I've been messing with Tmax BW film and using contrast filters.   Then waiting for the develop film from a pro lab.  I don't have a dark room.  Scanning (which can be a drag) the film and editing and lately just posting on the internet.  So even film has a touch of digital. 

But so what. It's all good.  They all have their place. 
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 22, 2016, 04:58:33 am
I enjoy the technical aspects of digital but also the traditional aspects  of using  film.  It depends when and where.   If I'm on a vacation, I take my small digital to record the trip in stills with some movie clips and then put it all together in a DVD show for my TV with background music, menus etc.  However when I'm in the mood, I'll shoot  my medium format film camera with tripod and separate light meter.  I'll spend the time looking for the "right" shot and then shooting even bracketing the shots. Love Velvia color.  Lately I've been messing with Tmax BW film and using contrast filters.   Then waiting for the develop film from a pro lab.  I don't have a dark room.  Scanning (which can be a drag) the film and editing and lately just posting on the internet.  So even film has a touch of digital. 

But so what. It's all good. They all have their place.


That's actually the bottom line.

I find that it's really down to what's possible at the time. I tried film here in Mallorca before the advent of digital, and had to close my darkroom due to the water shortage and the impossibility of filtering out enough grit. As bad, due to said water shortages, I went onto plastic multigrade papers and hated them.

In the end, I shot only transparencies for work (which was nice) but stopped doing much personal stuff at all.

Only through digital, compounded with the eventual loss of my wife, did photography return as something to spend my life doing as a way of filling the void it would otherwise have remained. So I guess that I have to thank digital for allowing me to find a solution to current life circumstances.

But insofar as film is concerned, I owe it everything. I also feel that unless one takes the process, personally, right through to its logical conclusion, not a lot is gained. Were I an art photographer with gallery back-up etc. I'd want to print wet, but that would mean setting up an entirely new way of life to the one I have at present.

Perhaps, when I boil it all down, what I miss most of all is using my old film 'blads. God, it felt good, on so many levels.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: John R on September 22, 2016, 09:35:21 pm
John, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed viewing your website, the stories and anecdotes, and its many fine images.

JR


...
I remember reading about the massive 20 x 24" Polaroid camera, and thinking "Man, I could produce some real ART with that baby."

Probably not.

John.
JBurnett.ca (http://jburnett.ca)
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 24, 2016, 04:08:56 pm
John, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed viewing your website, the stories and anecdotes, and its many fine images.

JR

Thank-you so much, John. I'm just an amateur enthusiast who got back into photography in 2003 after a long hiatus. At the time, I deliberated over picking up a good film camera, or trying digital. During my film days as a young man, I experimented with lots of different equipment (almost all of it used and beat up): Leica IIIC and M3, Rollieflex, Hasselblad 500C, Linhof Technika 4x5, Nikon F, and Olympus OM. So, when Rob pines for his 'Blad, I have some empathy. Beautiful machines. Alas, aside from the Nikon and Olympus, I usually hadn't the money to afford additional lenses. That might have been a good thing, though, because I worked for a long time with just the standard focal length. Anyway, I would trade in one beat up system to purchase a different beat up system. My darkroom was the bathroom – a real crapper. So, although I know what a beautiful wet darkroom print can be, I wasn't really producing them. Not enough time in the crapper, I guess.

In 2003, Canon released the Digital Rebel, and I could afford it. Compared to my film cameras of old, it felt cheap and 'bloated' for what it gave me. And the digital aspect was like a whole new confusing and frustrating world. At first, I tried very hard to 'recreate film'. Gradually, however, I thought less and less about that, and turned my attention to what I enjoy about photography – the creative outlet that it affords. I call it my 'therapy'.

So, like other non-professionals, I wonder what to do with the results of my therapy. There's only so much room on my walls, and the prints have to compete with other art that I'm fond of. I've sold a small number of prints, and I've given many away. I have a Flickr account, but that seems like a bit of a dumping ground. And so, recently, I decided to work on a photo blog. Why? Just another creative outlet, I guess. More therapy!
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 24, 2016, 05:15:09 pm
"I have a Flickr account, but that seems like a bit of a dumping ground. And so, recently, I decided to work on a photo blog. Why? Just another creative outlet, I guess. More therapy!"

Quoted from JNB_Rare.

John, beware therapy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqNUdtCwkU

;-)

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 24, 2016, 07:11:30 pm
John, beware therapy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqNUdtCwkU

;-)

Rob

Ah, yes. The Woodmans. I ran across Francesca's work before I knew anything about her, and I found them very intriguing. There are times when the context – the back-story – enhances the art. But sometimes I'd prefer to look at the images alone, and to make of them what I will. I still like her photos. There are some distasteful aspects to this film, however, not the least of which is the family lens.


Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 25, 2016, 04:33:21 am
Ah, yes. The Woodmans. I ran across Francesca's work before I knew anything about her, and I found them very intriguing. There are times when the context – the back-story – enhances the art. But sometimes I'd prefer to look at the images alone, and to make of them what I will. I still like her photos. There are some distasteful aspects to this film, however, not the least of which is the family lens.


You have a point there - that internal lens.

I have difficulty accepting a paternal presence in nudity. As father of one girl and granddad to two, I couldn't handle that at all. I'm not sure if it's a moral stance based on some kind of cultural/religious conditioning, or whether it's just a natural and genetic-level disapproval beyond conscious thought. It simply feels all wrong. My two granddaughters both have good figures and faces, but I have never felt able to photograph them even in their swimsuits. I simply won't go there; I'm so glad they never came to me saying shoot me, I want to try modelling! Maybe they would have felt the same barriers, too. I hope so. Sally Mann comes to mind; maybe it's different for a mother.

Perhaps it was the script - should there have been one - but it made me feel that both parents were quite removed, emotionally, from their child(ren). I also worked in the arts as a photographer, had a studio outwith the home which I eventually closed, only to feel obliged to build another several months later, alongside the family home, when studio-based work returned to me. The kids were in and out of the second one as they saw fit, often finding themselves obliged to stand in front of a roll of paper holding cards with 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 etc written on them as I checked out flash meter and film realities. Sometimes they modelled for young fashion and back-to-school work. Result? They made some pocket money, the job got done, and nobody got hurt. I would never have dreamed of having family in any of my calendar work, even had they been old enough and talented enough to do it at the time - would have felt all wrong. You have to be able to feel totally removed from any personal connection - or at least, that's my take.

One video I saw about Francesca made the statement that she flew off that roof because she couldn't get into fashion magazines. With her style and treatment of whatever she or her friends wore, it's hardly surprising. Even fairly way out editiorials of the time did offer a crumb of comfort to the manufacturers and editors; it's too easy to think back to editorial photography and imagine it was all an ego trip; on the contrary, I think it was very brilliantly designed to cover both sides of the pitch: art and sales, the reason d'๊tre for all such magazines. She should have known that and made a portfolio to suit. Looking at videos can never really tell one enough about the artist: are the pictures chosen because they happen to fit within the genre for which that person becomes known? Did she also make other, commercially viable pictures? One can't really tell, so any opinion has to be a tentative one at best.

But, at least it lets us learn about other artists, and anything's better than an emotional/cultural vacuum.

Really liked your site and the work therein, by the way; nice clean design with both. Clean is a damned good quality to have.

Rob C
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: N80 on September 25, 2016, 09:05:08 am
I feel the same way Rob. As I mentioned in another post, one of my favorite photographers is Sally Mann (all film by the way). At the same time her work makes me uncomfortable and I do not own any of it, even in books.

I also have a daughter, now grown, who I used to photograph. Never had any desire to produce images of the sort we are referring to and primarily took pictures that she asked me too. One day, we were at the beach, she was 15 or so and asked me to take pictures of her. She was in a swimsuit. I declined.

It is sad in a way, but socially and culturally justifiable to feel the way we do.

Sally Mann's photos of her often nude children attracted a lot of negative attention. My wife and I were discussing this when she brought up a number of issues related to double standards and the passage of time and how they relate to Brookgreen Gardens.

Brookgreen (http://www.brookgreen.org/sculpture.html)

One of my favorite places on earth is Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. It is a sculpture garden of figurative sculpture a lot of which is done in classical styles and mostly from the late 1800s to mid 1900s. There are any number of these sculptures featuring children of all ages in the nude. Not an eyebrow is raised and these are seen by millions of tourists regularly.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: sailronin on September 25, 2016, 09:37:01 am
IMHO many of the "film photographers" today are trying to differentiate themselves from the masses of digital photographers as noted above. Unfortunately they seem to believe that light leaks, poor processing and other flaws we worked so hard to avoid in the "old days" are now somehow indicative of "Art".

After a hard disc crash and changing computers ("rated" work was saved) resulting in the loss of thousands of images I looked fondly at boxes and sleeves of 15-40 year old negatives which are perfectly usable wonder about the progress of digital.  I've begun shooting more film as I enjoy the medium and like having a tangible negative instead of zero and ones on a magnetic plate. I'm not retiring the digital cameras but it's nice for a change and using film presents limitations which can be interesting while shooting.
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 25, 2016, 10:13:43 am
IMHO many of the "film photographers" today are trying to differentiate themselves from the masses of digital photographers as noted above. Unfortunately they seem to believe that light leaks, poor processing and other flaws we worked so hard to avoid in the "old days" are now somehow indicative of "Art".

After a hard disc crash and changing computers ("rated" work was saved) resulting in the loss of thousands of images I looked fondly at boxes and sleeves of 15-40 year old negatives which are perfectly usable wonder about the progress of digital.  I've begun shooting more film as I enjoy the medium and like having a tangible negative instead of zero and ones on a magnetic plate. I'm not retiring the digital cameras but it's nice for a change and using film presents limitations which can be interesting while shooting.

Yes, longevity of original capture is a worry. It's one of the reasons I have a website. I don't imagine any monetary value to any of it really - more it's a hope that after I'm gone the kids may feel like keeping it alive for a couple of years longer. It's the only way they're going to have memories left. I have old stuff of theirs from my grandparents' day - but after I turned pro in 1960 all of my own stuff stopped pretty much dead, to be replaced with commercial work that, when I moved countries, I decided to sell back to clients and/or destroyed where there were no takers. How I regret that today. But hindsight's wonderful; there were no galleries, Internet, anything like that on my horizons. What to do with all of that stuff?

In a way, a website represents a convenient way of accessing material without having to hunt old hard drives or negative wallets. It's easy enough for the casual visitor, so he/she may care enough to have a browse now and again.

One of my most treasured possessions is a tiny headshot I made of my wife for her International Driving Licence when she was about 40... negative vanished, never thought of any value. Now, with wife also lost, it's the one thing I look at first every morning and say goodnight to as I switch off the bedside light. Thank God for that tiny silver print.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: sailronin on September 25, 2016, 11:14:21 am
Rob, I'm sorry for your loss. Glad you have that tiny print.
Your web site is lovely.
Dave
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 25, 2016, 03:29:45 pm
Rob, I'm sorry for your loss. Glad you have that tiny print.
Your web site is lovely.
Dave


Hey, thank you for your comments, Dave!

Ann lost her BigC fight almost 8 years ago; it feels and seems like yesterday: I could run the movie without missing a frame. They say time heals all things, but not always: I think what it does do is allow you to move from almost physical mental pain to a state where you eventually accept the new reality if for no better reason than that you realise there's nothing you can really do about it. Then, with luck, you are able to move on to include other things in your mind, and learn to accommodate several different things in the same little space. I suspect that bereavement is a different thing if you are still working; the daily pressures of that will certainly add to the problems you face, but also distract you a bit more from emotional ones related to loss. Until you close your eyes. Either way, there are huge problems in trying to run one's life as a single person when before it was split into separate areas of responsibity borne by two people; suddenly you have to learn how to do all sorts of things you noticed everyday but never thought to learn for yourself. And not having much aptitude for many of them doesn't help!

Now, I'm at a stage where I can talk out loud to her (I live alone - nobody hears me!) and tell her all sorts of inconsequential stuff I wouldn't have thought of doing before. You know, there's a sort of intimate happiness in doing that. ( I'm not yet making up replies. ;-) ) I suppose that each individual finds his/her own way to handle these situations. Best advice is to avoid them for as long as anyone possibly can!

Having said all that, I must add that photography has not only given me a reasonable and interesting way of earning my keep, but is still saving me today as it does its bit to prevent vegetation and a very rapid degeneration.

Again, thank you for your kind remarks.

Rob
Title: Re: Is it the New Art?
Post by: JNB_Rare on September 25, 2016, 05:11:01 pm
Rob, I hear you on the "family" perspective. I have a daughter and granddaughter and I can't imagine doing Sally Mann with them, although I respect her work. And I really don't understand Woody Allen's relationship with his adopted daughter, or John Phillips (Mamas & Papas) incestuous relationship with his daughter, or the relationship portrayed in "La Luna (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Luna_(1979_film))", Bertolucci's 1979 film. On the other hand, I have no problem at all with tasteful nudity or erotica.

My wife's mother passed away recently, the last of her generation in our immediate families. We've already had one of our generation pass -- a sister-in-law, to cancer. My own mortality stared me right in the face a few years back. Still, I can't imagine losing my soul mate, or a child. In older times, family, friends and the community would step in to provide support. Sometimes that still happens, but in our modern world, friends and family are often far-flung and busy, and the community isn't always known or tight-knit. This is one area where the internet -- and a community built from shared interests -- can at least provide a distraction and intellectual stimulation.

Best regards,

John.

P.S. Thanks for your comments about my navel-gazing blog.