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Author Topic: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?  (Read 18579 times)

ripgriffith

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Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« on: November 21, 2014, 03:55:20 am »

Is shooting without looking through the viewfinder really photography?  Or just the random collection of images?  Or what?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-IOEAlBpSo
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LesPalenik

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2014, 07:59:51 am »

I guess that with some practice and some luck, you can get a few interesting shots.
He made one good point that if you hold the camera close to your eye, you may miss some things happening outside the viewfinder.
(Or even worse, that truck coming at you).
 
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amolitor

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2014, 10:58:13 am »

This just moves all the work to the contact sheet, where a lot of the work has always been. Sure, it's photography. Why wouldn't it be?

Shooting at random is a fabulous exercise. Everyone should do it once.

This guy isn't, though. He just learned to frame pretty well without looking through the finder. He's got something going on, to my eye. 3 out of 150 seems a bit high as a keeper rate, but I think that's probably a kind of first edit number.

1 out of 1000 feels more like it, based on my experiments, and that strikes me as consistent with what we saw in the video. If he culled to 1 in 20 of his current keepers, I think he could have a truly powerful body of work.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 11:06:39 am by amolitor »
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ripgriffith

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2014, 11:01:37 am »

I wonder how it would sit with the HCB notion of "authenticity" (holy rule #1: Thou shalt not crop!).
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Isaac

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2014, 02:20:05 pm »

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jjj

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2014, 02:31:19 pm »

Is shooting without looking through the viewfinder really photography?  Or just the random collection of images?  Or what?
You can shoot without looking through viewfinder, if you are practiced enough, in this case...the photos shown in the video looked pretty much like random shots taken by camera on an intervalometer whilst someone was walking along. I saw no skill displayed, just someone throwing a heap of crap against wall hoping some would stick. Skill is taking a few shots and nailing it, not shooting thousands and hoping for a good pic.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 02:33:01 pm by jjj »
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Isaac

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2014, 02:35:32 pm »

Skill is taking a few shots and nailing it, not shooting thousands and hoping for a good pic.

Winogrand :-)


Quote
"In summer 1954, Cartier-Bresson was therefore the first western photographer to obtain a visa for the Soviet Union since the thaw in the Cold War 15 months after Stalin's death. ... He took 10,000 photographs in ten weeks."

p203-4 Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 02:39:05 pm by Isaac »
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amolitor

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 04:08:15 pm »

What's the difference between

- walking along, seeing a photograph, and shooting it
- walking along taking 1000s of snaps and then inspecting the contact sheet, seeing exactly the same frame, and circling it in red

?

"But I practiced super duper hard and I do the first one, so it's more awesomer" isn't a great answer, by the way.

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BobShaw

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2014, 05:20:35 pm »

"In summer 1954, Cartier-Bresson was therefore the first western photographer to obtain a visa for the Soviet Union since the thaw in the Cold War 15 months after Stalin's death. ... He took 10,000 photographs in ten weeks."

p203-4 Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography.


So what? If the quote is accurate then he would have shot 300 rolls of film so I question the logistics of getting that through Russia in 1954. However if you are the first guy to be allowed into a place then EVERY shot is news. It is only 1000 a week which wedding photographers will do in a day, and they may be all important. That is not the same as machine gunning at 10FPS on the auto everything because you don't know what you are doing. Two photographers can photograph the same thing from the same spot and get completely different results.
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Telecaster

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2014, 05:21:25 pm »

In the late '90s and early aughts I often took photos while driving to & from work. An activity I do not advocate now that I'm older and a bit less crazy.   :D  I used a Contax IIa rangefinder and Zeiss 50mm lens, stopped down in the f/4–8 region depending on conditions, and zone-focused. Anyway, after some practice I got quite good at framing with the camera at chin/neck level. I've attached an example, re-photographed from a small (and kinda dirty) print. I should dig out the original neg (I think it's a neg but it could be Kodachrome 200) and re-digitize it.

-Dave-
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ripgriffith

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2014, 05:45:28 pm »

In the late '90s and early aughts I often took photos while driving to & from work. An activity I do not advocate now that I'm older and a bit less crazy.   :D  I used a Contax IIa rangefinder and Zeiss 50mm lens, stopped down in the f/4–8 region depending on conditions, and zone-focused. Anyway, after some practice I got quite good at framing with the camera at chin/neck level. I've attached an example, re-photographed from a small (and kinda dirty) print. I should dig out the original neg (I think it's a neg but it could be Kodachrome 200) and re-digitize it.

-Dave-
And your point would be?  I hate to be snippy, but the photograph isn't a particularly good example of "getting quite good at framing with the camera at chin/neck level".
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Berliner

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2014, 06:26:02 pm »

He says he gets 3 "flickr-good" pictures per day with his method.

That sounds realistic, given he seems to have practiced for a long time.
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Isaac

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2014, 07:03:25 pm »

If the quote is accurate…

I copied it from the printed pages of the biography myself ;-)


So what?

So it's important to remember that we don't get to see the bad Cartier-Bresson photographs.

Quote
…“I did remember that I saw his contact sheet of this picture (means Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare), I am so surprised that people these days doubt that picture is a “Set Up Picture”, I know it is NOT because I read the contact sheet from Henri Cartier-Bresson for that picture.” David Hurn told me that Henri Cartier Bresson was actually stand in a same place and waiting people to jump over the water, he captured every best moment and choose the “Best of the Best” moment to become this most famous picture - “Behind the Gare St. Lazare”.

Quote
Everyone thought his was a pure chance, a piece of luck. Once again, it was but only to a certain degree. The contact sheet showed us that HCB had tried some 10 times to obtain that shot. With other cyclists, passers-by, pedestrians and such. He then chose the best one out of all those other ones and it became this incredibly famous image. [Th]e rest of them never saw the light of day.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 11:32:59 am by Isaac »
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luxborealis

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2014, 09:41:27 am »

Is shooting without looking through the viewfinder really photography?  Or just the random collection of images?  Or what?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-IOEAlBpSo

It's all just a random collection of images whether you want to call it photography or not. These days, what's in a name, anyway?

Whether you shoot 1 16x20 Polaroid in an hour or 12 to 20 glass plates over a week or 1000 images a day, looking through a viewfinder or not, in the end, it's what you'll be remembered by. After a lifetime of photography, how many photos does the world  remember EW, AA or HCB by?

I figure, if I get one "keeper for the wall/book" per outing, I'm doing well. I know that if I'm wasting my time blasting away, I'm not really looking and the quality of my seeing suffers. I also know that if I'm spending time pouring over contact sheets or LR Grids of images, I'm wasting good time that could be spent refining my work either in the field or on a print.

I'm am constantly coaching my students that their time should be spent in the looking and the seeing, not the shooting. That way they spend less time editing and more time photographing - which is what it's all about. For me anyway.

Ed. For spelling
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 11:53:48 am by luxborealis »
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Isaac

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2014, 10:46:03 am »

These days…

Coincidentally, I turned a page and:

Quote
Eggleston says it was in 1976 that he first abandoned using the viewfinder. As a result, he felt, 'You end up looking more intensely as you walk around'. He made an analogy between photographing without a viewfinder and firing a shotgun rather than a rifle: 'You don't look down the barrel and line things up'. Instead, 'With a shotgun it's done with feel'. Such analogies help explain the extraordinary liberational and open aspect of so many of Eggleston's pictures -- their sense of perceptual freedom, a roaming, lyrical, unencumbered response to things in the world.

page 94, Photography Today



I also know that if I'm spending time pouring over contact sheets or LR Grids of images, I'm wasting good time that could be spent refining my work either in the field or on a print.

Unless "pouring over contact sheets or LR Grids of images" contributes to refining your work.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 12:08:12 pm by Isaac »
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amolitor

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2014, 03:22:50 pm »

The idea that ones photography is some sort of legacy is silly in this modern era. If you're shooting in order that you be remembered for something, I'm terribly sorry for you. It's not going to work out.

There are a billion photographers now. A million of them are excellent. 10,000 of them are astonishing.

None of them will be remembered. Most of them will never even be noticed. There are too many.
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Telecaster

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2014, 04:44:23 pm »

And your point would be? I hate to be snippy, but the photograph isn't a particularly good example of "getting quite good at framing with the camera at chin/neck level".

 :D  I quite like it.

-Dave-
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luxborealis

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2014, 06:25:42 pm »

The idea that ones photography is some sort of legacy is silly in this modern era. If you're shooting in order that you be remembered for something, I'm terribly sorry for you. It's not going to work out.

There are a billion photographers now. A million of them are excellent. 10,000 of them are astonishing.

None of them will be remembered. Most of them will never even be noticed. There are too many.


Wow - chill! You need to broaden your thinking and understand that people have perspectives different from your own. Not everyone or everything has to be only about the present!

If all I did was compare my photography in terms that you suggest, then I should pack it in today and put my gear up on Kijiji. I mentioned EW, AA and HCB only to provide context to the discussion. I'm not in those leagues, nor do I expect to be.

Being remembered for one's photography can occur at different levels - family & friends, regionally, nationally. We can' tall be international sensations. But we can be happy with our own small corner of the world.

Perspective, man, perspective.
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amolitor

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2014, 08:32:50 pm »

It's one thing to be remembered for your photography by people who would remember you anyways. It's quite another to be remembered by people who would never have been aware of you.

I don't mean to be negative or discouraging. Only pragmatic.

You can't shoot for some legacy. That road leads to despair and failure. There are lots of other reasons to shoot and to make art or whatever you're doing. Pick one or more of those.
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jjj

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Re: Is it really "Photography" or "Autography"?
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2014, 02:32:06 pm »

You can't shoot for some legacy. That road leads to despair and failure.
That's exactly the same as telling someone who wants to be a pop star not to bother or an inventor to give creating new ideas or a whole heap of other human activities. Rarely does anyone knows what will be important in the future or who will make it. The number of famous artists who were rejected again and again is not exactly a short list, possibly the majority of them. Probably by naysayers like yourself.
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