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Re: Steve McCurry as a photoartist. What do you say about someone who produces photographs much of the time and photoart some of the time ? (Therein lies the controversy; McCurry's lack of forthrightness means you can't trust whether or not a given photograph is straight). But, gray areas aside, it seems fine to label each work as one thing or the other, but if the person produces both, it's unfair/inaccurate to label him or her. Then you get into awkward clarifications like a "photographer who dabbles in photoartistry" or "photoartist and former photographer" or maybe "photographer and part time photoartist". I just think that some photographers aren't going to to fit the scheme as well as others or as well as individual works.
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on 'Photoart' at The Online Photographer
I've dabbled just enough in flower photography to agree with you. I don't think I've ever taken a flower photograph that I really like. Same with (posed) portraits. Candids, sure, I love candids. Maybe if I just hung around a flower garden with a camera, I could catch them doing something interesting, instead of trying to pose them.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Specialists at The Online Photographer
"... but it would have made a wonderful picture. I can still see it in my mind's eye." That's precisely what I love about photography. As Dorothea Lange (supposedly) said, "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." I love the feedback loop - how the more I photograph, the more I find visually interesting things around me. That's a beautiful photo. Though I think you photoshopped the clouds in ;) Here are a couple of my own farm photos, one taken near Lancaster, PA and the other closer to Hershey (I don't believe either of them is Amish owned, though). As for the honeymoon, it doesn't have to end. My wife and I have been in our current home in a quiet town in CT for 20 years now and still marvel at the wildlife and the scenery. I love coming home after a vacation. We can spend a week away from work and chores, enjoying a new place, then drive 5 or 6 or more hours through cities, but as soon as we're within half an hour of home, traffic drops off, restaurants and gas stations disappear, we see forests and farms and it feels good.
My daughter recently went on her 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. There were 14 kids in her class, roughly that number in another 8th grade class that went with them, and about 8 teachers & staff to chaperone. Out of that entire group, my daughter was the only one with a "real" camera (and that was only a point & shoot, albeit a decent one).
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2016 on iPhone Apocalypse at The Online Photographer
Somewhat relevant to the T.S. Eliot discussion, here's an article that I bookmarked a few years ago and just revisited last week:
That photo appears in her "Homegrown" gallery. The description of the book, on Amazon, says "Though her photographs continue to be undeniably contemporary, references to classic painting and portraiture can be detected: the influence of seventeenth-century Dutch painter Jan Steen mixes with more contemporary figures, such as Balthus, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton and Federico Fellini. " On her website, Blackmon credits Steen "and others". In a WSJ piece showing 11 of her photos, the caption under 'Queen' says "Does this seem familiar? Ms. Blackmon saw her niece dressed up in this princess outfit for Halloween with a serious face on, and immediately thought of Spanish painter Velazquez's 'Las Meninas.'" An article on states "Blackmon’s more recent citations of artists like Edward Gorey and Tim Burton as influences are not as apparent without some closer inspection." I don't know where those citations might be found, but it seems that she's blatant about it. It's part of her "schtick", so to speak. I enjoy her work. This revelation that she interprets classic paintings doesn't immediately change how I feel about it. Time will tell whether it does in the long run.
I was going to say that TOP is getting to be bad for my wallet - first, the Clyde Butcher book, now this set. (I passed on the first book from the museum, but between the D. Lange book and the Civil War book, this set looks promising). But then it occurred to me that I would have paid this for a few rolls of film and processing a dozen years ago. I really need to get back to spending money on this hobby (maybe start printing some photo books) before my wife gets used to the status quo !
Mike, Is Julie Blackmon the name you're looking for ? I like her work quite a bit, maybe more so because it's a little outside my normal fare. I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations for you, though, because I don't really pay attention to photo illustrators. I did watch a couple of videos by Ben von Wong - creator of "epic" photographs. He's an impressive young man - I particularly appreciate how outgoing he is; how confident and sociable enough to pull people together and do these projects. The end results, to me, look like still frames from motion pictures, and make me think "gosh, cinematographers do this a couple hundred thousand times for a movie". I enjoy the videos on how he creates his images more than the images themselves. And, at least in his case, the images are extreme enough that rather than be disappointed that they're "shopped", I find myself impressed with how much of the image is NOT shopped. But ultimately, having learned a little about him, I'm not likely to revisit his site, at least not often ... meanwhile, Clyde Butcher's book (the one you linked to a while back) arrived in the mail last night.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2016 on Educate Me? at The Online Photographer
"The Nikon D500 is a milestone." But not a game changer ;) On the A6300 versus A6000, it's nice that Sony does these "refinements", but should be noted that along the way, they do some ... UNrefinements ? The A6000 had a lower res EVF than the NEX-6 and, inexplicably, lacked the "virtual horizon", which seems like one of those intrinsic-to-any-live-view-camera types of features that helps them distinguish themselves from DSLRs. So some of the A6300's refinements are really the restoration of things that were made worse in the previous iteration. Much of what makes the A6300 more expensive has to do with video. I'd probably upgrade if it were my only camera, but I still think of my A6000 as a "second" camera to my DSLR (even though I probably shoot it more these days).
Toggle Commented May 23, 2016 on Best Cameras at The Online Photographer
Dogs: My wife and I both commute to work (though one of us or the other works from home a couple days each week). A dog would make life more complicated. Dogs are demanding. They make life better, except when they don't. Cars: The most I would spend is far less than the most I *could* spend, because cars just aren't my thing. Cameras: The max I could image is about $2000, but the max I'd likely spend is more like $1000. (I could see myself going for a nice FF kit down the road, probably not in three years, though). Books: I was influenced by Burton Malkiel's "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". On the photography front, I'm part way through Peter Beard's "The End of the Game" though I'm not really treating it as a photography book. Back to cars and cameras, I've probably shared this in a past comment, but years ago, I attended a one day "Nikon School" seminar (I was shooting Minolta at the time). At one point, the presenter said he was going to talk about super telephoto lenses, and the 600/4 in particular. He prefaced his talk by saying that at a past seminar, a woman came up to him and told him he shouldn't have wasted so much time talking about a lens that costs "as much as a small car". He replied "Do you need a small car ?" He then explained that while the lens obviously isn't for everyone, you have to decide how much photography means to you and if it's important enough, it's worth trying to find a way to afford what you want in order to shoot what you want. I suppose that works the other way, too, if a car is important enough to you.
Toggle Commented May 22, 2016 on Open Mike: Theory of Dogs at The Online Photographer
I wrote that "edit" can mean "change" to some people. Others have no such issue. The Rocky Mountain School of Photography site has a page on workflow that describes: capture, import, edit, output. But words editing doesn't have to be done on the computer. Consider this sentence gragment from "When editing a JPEG file (whether created by the camera, scanner, or in post-processing) ..."
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
I don't pick up on the same negative vibe when I see the term post processing. I interpret it to mean whatever we do after we download our files to the computer, unless it's used derisively on occasion (and then, the derisive person can freely substitute whatever term we choose to replace post processing with !) Whether it makes sense or not depends on how you interpret it. If it's read as "after processing" then it makes little sense, but if it's "processing done after" then it seems reasonable (a shortened version of post-capture processing). Editing, to me, implies changing (even if that's not what editors do in other fields). If the average person hears that you post process your images and that I edit my images, he or she is going to think I'm the one doing unnatural, unethical and possibly immoral things ! Videographers are expected to edit, I believe, so I'm not sure why photographers aren't. But edit also means the process of whittling your photos down to keepers ("edit ruthlessly"). It's probably a good word for it if it weren't already too late. Maybe "finishing" ? Except that you may never be done finishing. I guess we're looking for a term that means "preparing for output" (whether that's print or screen). CER gets too specific IMO - people simply want to distinguish what they do up to pressing the shutter button from what they do with the file after. (After ... post). Image processing comes to mind, but then, the camera does image processing, too. I'm fine with post processing. Processing sounds like something that needs to be done. Post just means after you take the picture - it's probably unnecessary, because you're not doing any processing before.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
McCurry has been criticized for portraying a romanticized view of India and other parts of the world. I'm not bothered by a photographer searching out scenes that portray the world the way he wants it portrayed; photographs intended to send a message. That's the power of photography in a nutshell. But changing scenes to portray a world that doesn't exist is something different. Not bad (unless presented as reality), but definitely different. A friend in Sherman, CT sent me a link to a news story about a man who escaped from a Georgia prison 48 years ago and has been living in his town ever since. The news man is standing in a parking lot with a house behind him saying "this is downtown Sherman and this is about all there is". As my friend points out, if the camera were angled slightly to the left, you'd see the grocery store and a few other businesses share that parking lot. (Granted, there REALLY isn't much to that downtown ... but the camera angle exaggerates the situation greatly). Your post points out how many shades of gray there are in all of this. I do a lot of "corrective" edits (especially shooting events in my daughter's school, where the contrast on the stage is too great for the camera's sensor to deal with in a way that resembles what you remember seeing (you don't remember seeing half the kids blown out white with no detail, nor do you remember seeing half the kids in deep shadow, so you can't make out who they are). The pole growing out of someone's head gets to the point where I start to feel uncomfortable; not adamant, but I thing it over. If the shot is worth it, I'll remove some stray annoyance. The McCurry edit is way over the line. Not an ethical line, just not what I enjoy in taking or viewing photographs.
I don't have an ethical issue with post processed images (outside of photojournalism) but like you, I'm just not terribly interested. I watched a video by Ben Von Wong about his "epic" photography recently, and I'm very impressed by the work he does to pull people together to create his results. I find the process far more intriguing than the end result. Similarly, I can find something to appreciate in an abstract image; in a print as an object, a bounded, two-dimensional image, but that's not really why I look at photographs. My appreciation comes from what's intrinsically unique about photography; from the fact that this print or image on my screen originated from something in front of the lens and the beauty of the image is augmented by how I interpret it. Knowing that whatever I see in the picture was in front of the lens can make me wonder or laugh. Knowing that what I see in the picture may not be all that was there or may not have been there at all takes away that connection to the real world. Now the image has to stand entirely on it's own.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2016 on Faked-up Photos at The Online Photographer
Apparently, Ctein didn't now about the monochrome dress code ;) Looks like a very worthwhile get together !
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Meeting the Man at The Online Photographer
Anyone choosing between mirrorless systems for portability is going to pick the FE 24-70/4 and not the GM (I think that stands for "giant monstrosity"). And yeah, I don't think anyone picks Sony specifically for it's (native) lineup. (For it's adaptability, maybe). Thom Hogan posted suggested mirrorless travel kits yesterday, and his m43 option was an Oly body with the two Panasonic f/2.8 zooms you mention (for portability over the Olympus versions). Olympus & Panasonic's lineups strike me as very competent. Between them, Olympus seems like it has more "desirable" lenses (i.e. lenses that don't just do their job, but that have that certain something that makes you want them). Could be marketing, because I've only spent mere minutes trying them out at shows. But Fuji has the most compelling lineup for my tastes. All that said, I shoot Nikon & Sony. You can't go wrong with Nikon or Canon lineups if you don't mind the sizes of the lens and the lack of some APS-C specific options and you don't mind using a DSLR instead of mirrorless ... I also note that your commentary addresses the camera manufacturer's lineups, but Sigma is becoming increasingly intriguing, and the day may come that (more than a few) people pick a body to go with a lineup of Sigma lenses. I picked up the 60/2.8 to use on my Sony A6000 and while I already own the FE28/2, I've seen many really nice samples from the new 30/1.4. And I know many Nikon & Canon shooters are happy with Sigma's higher end "Art" lenses.
I subscribe to method 2, for the most part. Method 3 is appealing, particularly for "toy" cameras (i.e. cameras I'd like, but really have no justification for). The problem with 3 is that by the time the camera in question is at fire sale pricing, the new model really makes it look a lot less desirable. One camera I bought this way is the Nikon J1. Technically, I bought it used, for the sole purpose of using in an underwater housing that was on clearance at B&H for $70. The appeal to method 2, aside from not paying the beta tester premium, is that you have time to get to know the camera. Cameras are so complicated these days, there are aftermarket books on how to use them. Settings to fine tune to your liking. Accessories to buy that are likely to be incompatible with your next camera, including, but not limited to batteries and memory cards.
"I'd be more than happy to put up click-bait if it would draw a huge audience. Occasionally I try. I just don't know how." That's no surprise ... having read many of your posts in which you go out of your way to explain your thoughts in an effort to avoid having them taken the wrong way, it seems that click-bait content would be alien to you. In a way, it's kind of like photographing for "likes". You throw away every last shred of integrity; you dissociate yourself from the content that you're producing; you take a cynical look at the market, and come up with a calculated approach to your work. Sounds miserable ! On the topic of mastery, I think that it's a fine thing that automation has made photography easier. What we have is more and more of the worlds population taking pictures that are "competent" (reasonably sharp and reasonably well exposed and enjoyable for somebody to look at) and then a small portion of the population working as hard as ever to produce really good photography. (I don't include myself in that, by the way !) Sure, technology makes it easy to go out and take a decent enough shot, but success still requires hard work, whether it's mastering lighting, learning your subject, or hiking for days on end, all the technology in the world isn't going to let dilettantes like myself match their work.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2016 on Mastery Is Useful at The Online Photographer
Sorry, no experience with the binocular strap, but I love my RRS sling strap. I'm looking for a "sleeker" (less geeky) version for my A6000; the RRS handles a DSLR and large lens w/no problem, but is serious overkill for something small. I have a desk job. No neck pain, but have had lower back pain for a long time. I found stretching exercises that helped a great deal. But I really need to be more diligent about getting up every 45 minutes. (I work in a building where I can do a nice loop up & down a couple tall flights of stairs in about 3 minutes so it's just a matter of remembering). My wife is a fitbit addict and is looking at the newest model because I think it has a reminder feature ... the devil will be in the details. (That's such an obvious feature, you'd think it would have been there already, but I guess it's kind of like cameras ... put all the features in on the first go around, and nobody will buy the upgrades).
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2016 on Binocular Harness? at The Online Photographer
I agree with you. And I'm very far behind on my editing. I will add, though, that there is another side to "all those captures". Not the ones taken by enthusiastic photographers who are exploiting digital to shoot more, but the volumes of snaphots taken by masses of people who don't consider themselves photographers. I think that most of these pictures are never intended to be long-lived. I think they're the illustrations that accompany texts and social media updates. And as such, they're promptly forgotten (by both the viewer and the shooter) shortly after they're viewed. They're visual small talk, and quantity over quality is the expectation. This is my main use of my phone's camera. I'll occasionally take a snapshot with it with the intent of possibly saving it for memories, but don't go looking to take pictures unless I have a real camera. But I do find it an amazingly handy tool for taking pictures of things that I just want to share with someone ... rather than texting or telling them "hey, guess what I saw today", I show them. Like I said, I don't think those photos are the subject of your post, but I think they probably constitute a big percentage of the astronomical numbers of photos taken each day.
Pneumatic cleavage isn't worth looking at longer ? Never mind. I remember a VHS tape on the topic of "Competition Photography" by an elderly photographer who gave advice based on his experience in winning hundreds of such competitions over the years. His main point was that you have a split second to grab the judges attention and then, if you're lucky, another couple seconds to impress them. So it leads to a certain kind of shallow photograph, just like you describe. I think you may be right about the culture changing because people look at photos online, on sharing sites where there are more photos to look at than you'll ever have time to look at. So the ones that grab your attention do so; they get the "likes", they get featured, they get copied. The clever ones go viral. They're eye candy; pop music - here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe the whole process has become more democratic because of the web. Centuries ago, the common folk didn't have access to music, while the elite enjoyed their symphonies. Radio brought music to the masses and consumers demanded what they liked. Before the internet, you had to make an effort to see a display of someone elses photography; go to the library or buy a book or go to a gallery (or watch Aunt Ethel's slide show ... something you had to make an effort not to see !) And so books and galleries showed stuff that appealed to people who appreciated photography enough to make that effort. There's my thirty second theory.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on Engaging With Photographs at The Online Photographer
"So, is it fair to conclude that you choose convenience over quality?" That's kind of like asking a father if he chooses money over family because he works 40 hours a week. I presume Mike's answer would be that he chooses a compromise between convenience and quality that suits his needs; not one over the other. And furthermore, the point of the article is that, depending on your needs, convenience factors might be significant contributors to quality.
I mentioned in my earlier post that this would be a task that I'd have to do over time. But there is one photo that, every time I look at it, makes me wish I had a print of it. I'm not even sure it would make it into my top 5, but it's the one that comes to mind right now. It's by Jay Maisel:
You didn't mention heating or cooling. I can see photographs getting ruined in short order between humid summer heat and dry winter cold.
One of the things I love about this blog: I'm on the fence about ordering this book. But I'm likely to order a book by Peter Beard now that I've done a little digging after reading Zack S' comment. I'll sometimes revisit a post a couple times over the course of a few days to see if any new comments have been added.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2016 on Exclusive Book Offer at The Online Photographer