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Author Topic: J'Accuse  (Read 28153 times)

Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #100 on: March 31, 2012, 11:49:36 am »

I do understand what Rob means by the term The Golden Age of Photography and tend to agree with him when he applies it to that particular era, but not when it is then re-applied to the cameras and the medium of the era.  



Hey, we're closer than some might have been led to believe!

I don't want to discount digital as a receiving medium; I've posted here at some stage or another - or maybe elsewhere when I first bought and was still excited by my D200 - that the colour I was able to get from the digital files was probably the best I'd ever experienced. Period. But now I'd claim that for the D700. I did not feel that happy about digital b/w, though b/w conversions from Kodachrome (with dear old PS6) were beautiful. IMO.

However, that said, I can't make claims of affection for either camera! Neither can I truthfully claim that spending all this time on PS is any huge thrill. Neither was scanning and then spotting, but those are not problems associated with camera design and the stuff that goes on inside it, and how you may or may not get to those bits. Those actual production problems, post capture, are all problems associated with the digital medium per se, whether you start from film or from a sensor.

In my own situation, living in an area where water is at a premium, I had already closed my make-do darkroom because of the sense of wrong that I felt ever time I ran the tap. Digi allowed me a way back into print. For that, at the very least, I owe it a debt of gratitude. But not of love or blind adoration.

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 11:53:08 am by Rob C »
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John R Smith

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #101 on: March 31, 2012, 01:42:47 pm »

In my own situation, living in an area where water is at a premium, I had already closed my make-do darkroom because of the sense of wrong that I felt ever time I ran the tap. Digi allowed me a way back into print. For that, at the very least, I owe it a debt of gratitude. But not of love or blind adoration.

That's very interesting. I had forgotten just how profligate film was in its use of water - for washing the films, and then the prints. Gallons and gallons of water, just tipped down the sink. Especially with fibre-based papers, which needed hours of washing every time I printed. Back then, I thought nothing of it, and just turned on the tap. But now it would make me think twice, even though we are not short of water here in Cornwall.

John
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #102 on: March 31, 2012, 02:50:29 pm »

That's very interesting. I had forgotten just how profligate film was in its use of water - for washing the films, and then the prints. Gallons and gallons of water, just tipped down the sink. Especially with fibre-based papers, which needed hours of washing every time I printed. Back then, I thought nothing of it, and just turned on the tap. But now it would make me think twice, even though we are not short of water here in Cornwall.

John


That was the cruncher: I had been using resin-coated papers since coming here, hated them and their look, and decided that it was best to write off the whole thing, since that part of it was personal and not business; for business, for me, Kodachrome was uncrowned king!

Rob C

MarkL

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #103 on: March 31, 2012, 05:04:34 pm »

I have always found it easy to ignore what I don't use.

Agreed, I don't understand this comment from people. I went from my Nikon FM to D700 and have never read the instruction manual. If you want you can only use it in manual and the only difference you'd notice is the weight, even the lens aperture rings are fully functional.
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #104 on: March 31, 2012, 06:02:28 pm »

Agreed, I don't understand this comment from people. I went from my Nikon FM to D700 and have never read the instruction manual. If you want you can only use it in manual and the only difference you'd notice is the weight, even the lens aperture rings are fully functional.




Let me be the first to congratulate you, if only because you avoided the later version of the FM, the FM2 that disallowed the use of non-AI'd lenses, rendering almost all of my many Nikkors instantly useless with that camera. Fortunately, I only had the FM and FM2 for one use: higher flash synch. The F and F2 were better for everything else, thank goodness.

I went to the D200 from the F4s, F3 and Pentax 67 11, and had I not read the manual first, I'd still  be looking at it in dismay, never mind what I'd have been doing with my D700!

As I've said repeatedly, there are those for whom digital is perfectly okay, and others, such as myself, for whom such cameras are a nightmare. And yes, I have managed to turn both of them into as near to manual as is possible.

Perhaps this might help your problem with understanding that others do have a problem where you do not?

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 03:54:52 pm by Rob C »
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #105 on: April 01, 2012, 07:24:49 am »

As for the multi-ISO of digital, yes, it can be a boon if you go out to shoot in a club or something like that, but it wasnít my need then, and now, when I have shot musos, I find that auto ISO, indoors, is indeed useful. But it never was part of my pro life. Hell, there is a legacy of wonderful jazz and rockíníroll photography shot way back when digi wasnít even a bad dream in the film industryís mind, and the quality/mood of that stuff is beyond the clinical sterility of digital, even my own.
I remember a similarly daft point of view on LL a few years back about how much more real/better/less sterile film was to digital. I posted a couple of B+W shots and the digital naysayers used them to prove their point as these photos were so much better than digital imagery could be. Except of course they were not only shot digitally, but with a small sensor pocket camera.

The problem with your memories of the 'Good Old Days' Rob, is like most memories is that they are flawed. The perfect example of this is when people go on about how much better music was 'when I were a lad' as they only remember the tunes that they liked and do not recall all the crappy songs they didn't. Despite the fact that rubbish music [i.e. music one does not like] has always been the larger part of the musical canon.
I also used film for many years and was a dab hand in the darkroom, but would never go back to such an inconvenient way of working again. There's nothing I cannot do better and easier with digital capture.
I'm taking about 35mm + MF sizes here. Large format is an entirely different beast with no real digital counterparts.
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #106 on: April 01, 2012, 07:36:15 am »


That's part of the problem: I have PS6, which gives me all of the control any of my pix ever need; to buy newer PS systems and get into 'Bridge etc, costs even more money on top, and I just don't have the financial return on photography since I retired to make that make sense; in fact, there is no real financial return on it, and the thrill of new, technical, photographic discoveries (to me) is far from thrilling. I know how to do what I think I want to do, and I see no reason to throw money at what has turned from job to time-passer.

Nikon's own NX2, which I have, allows something similar to Bridge, too, but these all become steps added to the process, which if that's the part of photography one enjoys, then fine, enjoy. To me it is just more interference with what was of divine simplicity.
I think possibly that if you were to invest in some modern software, you may enjoy that side of things far, far more. LR4 is is simply remarkable in what it can do compared to PS6 and very much cheaper than a newer version PS+Br, not to mention the ease of use and with a lightbox like ability too.
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #107 on: April 01, 2012, 07:45:17 am »

Firstly that is hardly a problem of digital vs film: the profusion of "gizmos", and lack of DOF buttons on some SLRs, goes back to about the dawn of AF in film cameras, as far as I recall.
Much earlier. The Canon A1 was a camera that could stump seasoned camera shop assistants at times.
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #108 on: April 01, 2012, 07:50:14 am »

That's very interesting. I had forgotten just how profligate film was in its use of water - for washing the films, and then the prints. Gallons and gallons of water, just tipped down the sink. Especially with fibre-based papers, which needed hours of washing every time I printed. Back then, I thought nothing of it, and just turned on the tap. But now it would make me think twice, even though we are not short of water here in Cornwall.
I always felt uncomfortable about that and even worse was the chucking of noxious chemicals into the drains.
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #109 on: April 01, 2012, 03:59:11 pm »

I always felt uncomfortable about that and even worse was the chucking of noxious chemicals into the drains.




Agreed; and then they introduced legislation to prevent it (UK), and you had to organize some form of collection... I'd already left by that time, I think, as I have no memory of doing it.

Rob C

jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #110 on: April 01, 2012, 08:43:42 pm »

Legislation? - I don't recall ever hearing anything about that.
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #111 on: April 02, 2012, 04:20:44 am »

Legislation? - I don't recall ever hearing anything about that.

Yes, there was stuff in the BJP (of the time) about it. I think there were collection services set up to take the stuff away (or you had to collect and deliver to them) and extract the silver from the sludge. I left in '81, and I'd long been doing not a lot more than transparencies by then, so that's probably why I have no concrete memories of doing anything along those lines myself, only of knowing about it.

Rob C

MikeMac

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #112 on: April 02, 2012, 06:27:37 am »

I think I understand what Rob really means about the "golden age".

Here is an interview of my boss they did for a small retrospective of his work in Madrid:

I wouldn't like to be back on film age. But I'd like to live in the profession what those older guys have been living. I think the interview talks about what Rob is saying. (my boss is shooting digital and likes it, it's not about cameras, it's something else, and in this I agree with Rob, I don't see it now. Maybe it's there but I don't see it)

Thanks for posting that link, his words were fascinating, and as for Pepe's photography ... I hope one day to see prints rather than just low-res video.

There is a lot of what Pepe says that is relevant to this discussion, but to my mind it is what he doesn't say that is more interesting to this discussion and the thread in general.

Does he talk about this camera or that, this lens or that, this technological frustration or another, this upcoming camera that will ...? Nope, he talks about photography, about his love for the medium, and more importantly about his love for his subjects. Not only his words, but the love for his subject is evident on his face.

Compare that to many of the discussions and posters on this photography forum, that photography forum, or any other forum. Gizmo this, Brand X camera that, this one is crap, mine is best, this interface/design is not good ... blah blah.

I call BS on 'the golden age of photography' and 'digital vs film'. This, IMHO, is a product of our marketing driven age. We strive so hard to have that perfect experience. We fit in a photoshoot in our spare time and expect to be creative. Our ideals of perfection have been learned by 1000s of adverts, magazines, tv, blogs...

Having worked as a professional landscape photographer for 8 years; having lived, loved (and photographed) in the landscape for nearly all my years; and having run landscape photography workshops; I continue to be fascinated by people 'trying' to make photographs, in the way they think the camera will do the work, in their trying to fit it in, in trying to achieve a certain image.

We all lead busy lives so trying to find time can be hard, but perhaps if we stopped for longer to watch and empathise. Certainly in 'The Golden Age' people probably had more time to watch, to go on "clicking away through the moment. Watching is important for photography, or any art. We need to watch our subject, understand it, empathise with it or at least understand what we want our photograph to say about the subject or the moment. The guy I met on Northumberlands coast one day who had visited 3 locations (with about a 10-20min drive between each) over the course of one sunrise was far from the path.

We need time to suffer too. Not in that existential way, but in having time to give to something till we are exhausted from doing it, from letting it seep into our bones, from letting our subject get into us and our whole outlook being our vision of that subject.

And we want to achieve certain images, maybe successful or a pre-defined notion of beauty ones. Joe Cornish in the UK has a lot to answer for. How many of us try to emulate his work? How many super wide angle shots in a Joe Cornish style do we see in magazines/websites? Don't get me wrong, Joe's work is beautiful and I enjoy visits to his gallery and reading/viewing his books. But he is his own voice that is his response to his subject and his feelings on it.

As others have pointed out product marketing seduces us. And camera interfaces further compound this. Even if we don't use those 'scene' modes they still IMHO subliminally suggest to us that the subject or moment before us must fit a certain category. We are distracted by extras on the camera that flash and beep. Extras that may only work in certain situations forcing us to further categorise the subject.

And they look pretty, damn it if I haven't walked back to my own camera sat their in it's space age and trick glory, on that carbon fibre tripod, and thought "wow, that looks just the thing for making photographs".

I've spent the last year on a commission for the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts producing 360x180 panoramic images and virtual tours covering the whole of the UK. As a commission it has been a true privilege to undertake, both in the subject and with a brilliant client who was fun to worth with and willing to take creative risks. I did a large part of my travel by bike and usually wild camped near to or on location for most of that year. I spent more time under canvas outside or under the skies than I spent time in my house. My empathy for the landscape during this time was unparalleled compared to any other time in my life. On the last month I was exhausted, ill and the weather was bad so I had to slum it and resort to hotels. Immediately I felt my empathy drop, my understanding and love for the landscape and my subjects reduced. It was an awful way to end such a sublime journey.

I took delight in the photography too. Whilst the panoramic setup to make parallax free shots for easy stitching looks a bit complex (to some), after a while I reduced the setup to simple, it became ritual. Screwing the head together, manual metering after evaluating the whole scene, manual focus always the same at 2.5m (with a fisheye at f/11 this is plenty dof). Wait, watch, wait, watch, click click click. Record sound after careful listening. Make supplementary photographs of details within the scene.

And then tieing it all together on computer. Photoshop became a joy (really), watching the image stitch on the screen like a print in the tray of developer, editing the sound, pulling it into a virtual tour with all the sounds and supporting photography, going full screen with the final tour and letting it spin away with the sound of waves, birds, people, bikes, dogs, it took me right back into the moment.

So here's my point. It's not the manufacturers at fault. It's us. Ignore the marketing, ignore the menus no matter how good or bad they are, whether you are Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, Hasselblad doesn't matter a damn. Rather than loving your camera, learn to love your subject, watch it, caress it with your thoughts, pre-visualise, whatever, just get into your subject.

J'Accuse? Yes, I accuse YOU, (and me).

PS Lots of coffee today and I think the straightforward Russian attitude is starting to rub off on me:-) No offence meant, especially to workshop clients who were always fun to work and photograph with.
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Tony Jay

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #113 on: April 02, 2012, 06:45:28 am »

Rather than loving your camera, learn to love your subject, watch it, caress it with your thoughts, pre-visualise, whatever, just get into your subject.

You do have a point!

Regards

Tony Jay
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telyt

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #114 on: April 02, 2012, 08:47:46 am »

So here's my point. It's not the manufacturers at fault. It's us. Ignore the marketing, ignore the menus no matter how good or bad they are, whether you are Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, Hasselblad doesn't matter a damn. Rather than loving your camera, learn to love your subject, watch it, caress it with your thoughts, pre-visualise, whatever, just get into your subject.

J'Accuse? Yes, I accuse YOU, (and me).

Thank you!!!
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theguywitha645d

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #115 on: April 02, 2012, 09:55:11 am »

But if it is not the camera's fault, who can I blame for my crumby photographs?
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Richowens

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #116 on: April 02, 2012, 11:04:16 am »

The dog..........?
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MikeMac

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #117 on: April 02, 2012, 01:07:26 pm »

But if it is not the camera's fault, who can I blame for my crumby photographs?

I'm sure this is tongue in cheek, but it's a good point none the less. For me when it goes wrong it's a sliding scale between "I'm an idiot" to "I'm just not getting in the groove with this subject today" to "I'm not good enough to photograph this. Yet!"

I mean the last one, there are days when I don't even get the camera out as I would rather not take a photograph than try to make one that didn't fit the subject. That would be disrespectful. And that is why I didn't make much money as a professional:-(

With the exception of focus issues (i.e. autofocus picking the wrong subject, which is really my fault for not checking) I can't think of a single time when the camera was at fault.

BTW, I've not see any of your work, but I'm sure it's not crumby. I mean, you've got a MFD if your username is anything to go by, how can it be bad with such a camera????

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theguywitha645d

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #118 on: April 02, 2012, 07:13:41 pm »

I'm sure this is tongue in cheek, but it's a good point none the less. For me when it goes wrong it's a sliding scale between "I'm an idiot" to "I'm just not getting in the groove with this subject today" to "I'm not good enough to photograph this. Yet!"

I mean the last one, there are days when I don't even get the camera out as I would rather not take a photograph than try to make one that didn't fit the subject. That would be disrespectful. And that is why I didn't make much money as a professional:-(

With the exception of focus issues (i.e. autofocus picking the wrong subject, which is really my fault for not checking) I can't think of a single time when the camera was at fault.

BTW, I've not see any of your work, but I'm sure it's not crumby. I mean, you've got a MFD if your username is anything to go by, how can it be bad with such a camera????



Mike, I did not type my post with a straight face. But thank you for your thoughtful reply. BTW, my Pentax 645D can take pretty mundane images even though the technical quality may be there--and unfortunately I cannot blame Pentax.
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MikeMac

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #119 on: April 13, 2012, 04:49:48 am »

There was a bit of engineer bashing above, and looking for something light to add to the copyright discussion I found this old gem. As an ex-engineer I sympathised with much of the above, and much of the following. Sorry I don't know the original source, it appears a lot on the Internet so could be anyone, but thanks to him/her anyway. Enjoy, and have a good weekend all.


Understanding Engineers - Take One

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?". The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want.". The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

Understanding Engineers - Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers - Take Three
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!"
The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."
"Hi, George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters who lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."
The group was silent for a moment.
The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Five
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil
Engineers?
Mechanical Engineers build weapons. Civil Engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers - Take Seven
"Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet." -Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle

Understanding Engineers - Take Eight
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.
The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.
The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.
The engineer said, "I like both."
"Both?" they asked.
Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."

Understanding Engineers - Take Nine
An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."
Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."
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