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Author Topic: Push-button photography  (Read 8435 times)

churly

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2014, 10:33:45 am »

Nowadays, because I have a very good idea of what my camera/lens combination will produce, pre-visualisation is correspondingly much easier and the post-processing also becomes subsequently much easier. That was not always so.

I agree Tony,  experience with your imaging system makes pre-visualization a natural part of the process rather than something that is forced on the process.
Now if I could just do it  :).
Chuck
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Chuck Hurich

luxborealis

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2014, 09:34:20 pm »

I seem to have struck a nerve with you, Isaac (as always, it seems).

Might you be in danger of making a fetish of a technique?
Wow - that's a leap! A fetish, not even close; part of the discipline, yes, of course. Much like any discipline from martial arts to novel-writing to freestyle boarding, being able to visualize a final outcome allows one to work towards that goal, thus diminishing the potential for unnecessarily flailing about. It also allows one to tinker both intelligently and spontaneously.

If you cannot see any difference in the final body of work then I think the value you place on "artistic or documentary decision-making, intent or forethought" is illusory.

I don't believe the end justifies the means, but I understand I may be in the minority. Not to put too fine an edge on it, Isaac, but, there is a huge difference between random button-pushing and thoughtful experimentation.

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luxborealis

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2014, 09:50:41 pm »

Brilliant, Tony. Great insights. I think what too many photographers try to do with post-processing is recreate what the camera saw, rather than creating an image that captures the essence of "being there": the taste of dust in your mouth or the feel of cold frost on your cheeks. Those things can never be captured by a camera, but they can be created through skillful use of a whole range of photographic "tools" including processing (wet or dry).

As you have pointed out, some get there by pushing buttons, but getting there on a regular basis requires a load of skill usually developed over years of practice. We all have photos that don't quite "work", but hopefully these are the "sketches" we learn from.
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Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2014, 11:14:47 pm »

I seem to have struck a nerve with you

Not in the slightest. Maybe I rolled my eyes :-)

I don't believe the end justifies the means, ... there is a huge difference between random button-pushing and thoughtful experimentation.

Well, if we were discussing moral philosophy...

As we're discussing snapshots, if you cannot see any difference in a final body of work created by "random button-pushing" then perhaps the artistic goal was understood but not exactly how that goal might be reached.

otoh --

Quote
"One of the greatest mistakes a photographer can make is to become wedded to an initial vision, no longer receptive to new opportunities along the creative path.
...
I was certain I wanted a ground-level action shot of Lewis springing to life, bolting out of the starting blocks. In my mind, I could see the stretch of his body, his incredible energy unleashed.
...
Later that night at the lab, ... I kept getting drawn to a single frame of him at rest, waiting to ready himself for the start. ... I honestly don't remember shooting that specific frame. It might have been one of the tests. Or it might have been a misfire that I accidentally exposed between starts. It was not an image I consciously made, nor was it the picture I had set out to do. ... It was a complete surprise, an unexpected detour, a gift that I was open to, even in the face of my expectations."

page 34, Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer's Photographer
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 12:44:27 am by Isaac »
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stamper

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2014, 04:39:56 am »

Quote

As we're discussing snapshots, if you cannot see any difference in a final body of work created by "random button-pushing" then perhaps the artistic goal was understood but not exactly how that goal might be reached.

Unquote

discussing snapshots?

Isaac is this a put down or what you consider your level of photography? Russ has been criticised for asking about the possibility of you posting some images to back up your knowledge, or lack of it. He has a good point that has been backed up by this comment. How about getting off your high horse or using it to ride into the wilderness?  ::)

Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2014, 12:26:39 pm »

discussing snapshots? Isaac is this a put down or what you consider your level of photography?

Neither, just a contrast to weighty "the end justifies the means" questions.

I suppose Terry would add -- I seem to have struck a nerve with you, Stamper (as always, it seems).
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 12:28:56 pm by Isaac »
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churly

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2014, 12:43:49 pm »

I don't believe the end justifies the means, but I understand I may be in the minority. Not to put too fine an edge on it, Isaac, but, there is a huge difference between random button-pushing and thoughtful experimentation.

Terry - I don't think anyone suggested that the 'end justifies the means' but it was indicated that there are clearly a variety of ways to get there.  Nor do I suspect that you are in a minority. 
I don't really understand your point.  Are you implying that before you can appreciate an image you have to have its pedigree or are you saying that you approach your own images with a personal certain set of restrictions?
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Chuck Hurich

luxborealis

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2014, 01:06:16 pm »

Are you implying that before you can appreciate an image you have to have its pedigree or are you saying that you approach your own images with a personal certain set of restrictions?

Neither. When I walk up to an image and admire it, I admire it for its outward qualities. If it' same great image then it's a great image. The backstory, though, becomes meaningful in the long run... If the photo I've just admired was produced by monkeys pushing buttons, I'd say, "Wow - that's amazing!" and I might even buy it because of its inherent uniqueness.

If I learned the work was done by a person pushing buttons, I would admire it just the same, but wouldn't buy it and wouldn't be too interested in the body of work of that person and might be missing out on genius).

However, if, the photograph were made by a photographer who puts thought and effort into their work, then I would, in the long run, be interested in seeing more of their work as they have something beyond sheer luck working for them.

With respect to approaching my work with a set of personal restrictions, I try my best to be open-minded and not to be restricted by preconceived notions. I am however, human, and am aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a photographer. I tend to work to my strengths while, at the same time, strive to improve upon my weaknesses. What more can I do?
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2014, 01:14:43 pm »

Chuck, I think the point is rather human. We all like to attribute our successes to skills and our failures to accidents.

When we succeed, we "knew it", we planned it, we pre-visualized it, we worked hard to get it, etc. We do not want to admit, even to ourselves, that our success could have been, and often is, a result of chance, luck, fluke, "playing around," etc. When we screw up, it was, of course, accidental, bad luck, due to unexpected circumstances, "who could have seen it coming," or somebody else's fault.

Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2014, 02:14:54 pm »

If I learned the work was done by a person pushing buttons, I ... wouldn't be too interested in the body of work of that person...

When the body of work is good (not just a single photo) why wouldn't you think "they have something beyond sheer luck working for them"?
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Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2014, 04:50:52 pm »

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Rand47

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2014, 08:31:42 pm »

Quote
Now, these days, I do have some notion where I am going. But that notion today is a result of accumulated experience from yesterday, when it was more of a happy accident and fooling around.

Slobodan... wonderful... isn't this an apt description of the creative process in general?  Sometimes I think we might tend to be a bit too "stuffy" about photography as art.  I can imagine the early impressionists... fooling around, making happy accidents as they played with non-literal renderings, non-literal colors, etc.  In the digital world we have a veritable plethora of tools.  Exploring them, playing with them, combining them in new ways is not only OK, it is an exploration of the creative process.

The more we play with tools, mess about, the more we understand their potential and their limitations.  As this happens, we create a reservoir of what's possible that we may use with greater intention later on.

Ansel Adams was once asked (in my presence) what was the most important piece of equipment in his darkroom.  His reply has stuck with me ever since (and this is a direct quote), "A capacious trash can."

Rand
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Praki

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2014, 09:36:37 pm »

Rand:
Great comment. Today probably Mr. Adams would have said "My favorite computer instruction is Command Delete." (of course for the Mac Users). While pre-visualization of a good image  may be the result of accumulated experience, fooling around or happenstance (as Slobodan rightly points out), I am still at the stage of taking a technically good exposure (good histogram, interesting subject, ETTR etc. etc.) and "post visualizing" it to find out what impact I want the image to have in the print, so I can use the appropriate tools and relatively small adjustments to get there, rather than playing the parameter or slider roulette which is why I still have a large physical trash can. Hope always springs eternal and keeps Ilford and Epson in business.
Praki.
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Ed B

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2014, 12:23:27 am »


Cameras now shoot perfectly exposed and focused photos especially with the various "Scene modes" that make technical decisions for the photographer. Push-button apps now take those images and make them magically more alluring to fit a current trend, colour palette or "look". So, there is no longer any  "intention" by the artist like there is in putting carefully crafted words on paper or notes on staff paper or paint on canvas or paper. Shoot enough frames (or point a camera randomly) and sit at a computer long enough pushing buttons and one will produce something worth framing or publishing. Granted with some modern art, one must wonder if there was intent on the part of the artist or just random playing!

Perhaps the only pre-conceived decision someone with a camera has now is being at the right place, at the right time and choosing a focal length and a composition that "work". But even these can now be overcome with digital cameras that hold thousands of images - just keep shooting, zoom in zoom out, shoot, shoot, shoot - something will come of. Imagine hiking up mountains with only 20 sheets of film for a few days, or going on a trip with only two or three rolls of film. Have we lost the uniqueness of photography under a tidal wave of souped-up snapshots?


I didn't read through this whole thread but I'd like to address these two paragraphs. It is true the technical aspect of photography has become easier but the compositional aspect still remains. That is something that happens with purpose more often than not. You could shoot a thousand images of a subject but that doesn't mean you will get "the"shot. It may increase your odds but the odds are still against you when it comes to randomness.

Is PP really that different than a painter or writer or musician "playing" around with color or words or sound? I've always believed that processing was just as important as shooting, it's no different in the digital age as it was with film (the exception being chrome film for obvious reasons).

Infinite monkey theorem? Doubtful.
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gerafotografija

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2014, 02:03:44 am »

Sorry I'm coming in late to this thread, but hope it's not too late to jump in.

Wasn't it Gary Winogrand who was known for having said that his process was essentially to frame his subjects in order to see how they would look as pictures or something to that effect?

I got the impression from a recent retrospective exhibit of his work that he snapped 1000s of frames for every one that he winnowed out from the fluff afterwards in his contact sheets. It seems safe to say that most photographers don't get exactly the result they hope for each time they release the shutter. The main difference between the best and the rest seems to be how many imperfect photos they are willing to just let go.

So, although I am all for the process of visualizing the end product while shooting images, I suspect it is at best an iterative and error filled one. The only thing I know for sure is that my skills in the darkroom were never good enough to save as many poorly exposed, but somewhat interesting captures as I can today using mediocre RAW files.
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jerome_m

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2014, 01:17:40 pm »

Wasn't it Gary Winogrand who was known for having said that his process was essentially to frame his subjects in order to see how they would look as pictures or something to that effect?

"I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed." - Gary Winogrand.

But I don't think he meant that he photographed things at random and afterwards selected what looked nice on his contact sheets.
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Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2014, 03:13:16 pm »

... to save as many poorly exposed, but somewhat interesting captures as I can today using mediocre RAW files.

I'm puzzled where the time comes from to save mediocre images, rather than make the good images better or go take a better photo?
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luxborealis

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2014, 11:26:30 pm »

fwiw Previsualization heresy

Yes, good article, but he, too, missed the point entirely. Like painters, we are always sketching with out cameras, shooting frames we know are less than ideal, but all the while learning from what we see and shoot and "post" visualize.

Pre-visualization is not a panacea and it's not for everyone (as I have learned here). It works wonderfully for me and I bet it would work better for others if they choose to pursue it. Like most disciplines, it takes work and I've found the rewards worth it. If, as a result, you think my photography suffers for it, then hopefully I will realize it one day and ditch it. But I'm not at that point yet.
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Isaac

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2014, 01:48:32 pm »

Yes, good article, but he, too, missed the point entirely.

At least once a week I write a reply that has little chance of being understood by anyone but myself.

Which point does he miss entirely?
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churly

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Re: Push-button photography
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2014, 10:47:15 am »

Yes, good article, but he, too, missed the point entirely. Like painters, we are always sketching with out cameras, shooting frames we know are less than ideal, but all the while learning from what we see and shoot and "post" visualize.

With all respect Terry, I am curious then - if we have all missed the point entirely.  What is it?  I'm not interested in an arguement but would truly like to know what I am missing for my own develpmental benefit.

Pre-visualization is not a panacea and it's not for everyone (as I have learned here). It works wonderfully for me and I bet it would work better for others if they choose to pursue it. Like most disciplines, it takes work and I've found the rewards worth it. If, as a result, you think my photography suffers for it, then hopefully I will realize it one day and ditch it. But I'm not at that point yet.

It would seem to me that anyone that makes an effort to effectively compose an image is involved is some form of pre-visualization.  To me, with lots of practice, the pre-visualization should become part of the natural process at which point you shouldn't have to think about or worry about putting a name on it.  You mentioned the use of visualization in sports.  The value of visualization comes after you have trained the eye-brain-muscle system with lots of practice, not before.


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