Stop thinking and start photographing

Discussion in 'Philosophy of Photography' started by stillshunter, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    I realise this article is a little long-in-the-tooth, but I love Dante Stella's straight forward style. It had me nodding and shaking my head - often simultaneously - this morning...like some demented bobble head doll :blush:. It's also reassuring to hear that the gear-head rut is not a modern-day phenomena but was just as prevalent in the days of film....

    Interesting to find that according to Dante's taxonomy that I appear to be on the cusp of a transition from Magician to Slacker....though I'm sure we have more than one Scientist among us :wink:
     
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  2. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Real Name:
    Bill
    I stop reading after the first few minutes - as I do not think I fit into any of (his) three categories, (even if only weakly - as he puts it)

    Quote
    I. Photography in failure mode
    The problem is that photography is democratic, but talent is not. A lot of people who photograph would have painted if they could. Their assumption was that because you could use equipment to paint the outlines, the artistic bar was lower. They were wrong. Faced with a lack of vision, poor photographers went in one of three ways:

    A. The scientists. Some failed photographers attempt to turn photography into an exercise in metrics: how many tones, do I have a 1:255 range, how many line pairs per millimeter, how many megapixels? Their thought is: if you don't have the ability to succeed at photography in the classical, pictorial sense, redefine photography so there is some objective standard you can meet. This is "pixelography," not photography. Photography is not solely (or even primarily) about objective measures. If it were, computers would be very good at it.

    B. The magicians. Other failed artists seek the answers in ritual magic: ABC pyro, Azo, Amidol, Acros (why do all of these things start with 'a'?). These are people who cling to unnecessarily complicated methods. Maybe it is a twist on the Velveteen Rabbit in which suffering, not love, makes you real. People who used these old-fashioned methods when they were current largely did so because they were current at the time. They would have reached for Tri-X if they could have. And if using the same paint as Picasso doesn't make you Picasso, why would using any particular photographic material make you into an Adams?

    C. The slackers. And some pursue badness for its own sake: using the poor imaging qualities of Lomography, reheated counterculturism, and pictures of pieces of litter to cover for lack of an artistic vision.

    Search your conscience. To some extent, every photographer today fits into one of these categories - even if only weakly.

    Unquote

    I just take photographs, (images), because I enjoy taking images - when I stop enjoying taking images, I will stop photography
     
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  3. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I wonder how long he had to stop photographing in order to think all that, though?
     
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  4. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Real Name:
    Bill
    PS - have bookmarked his site - there is lots of interesting stuff on there, (in his Archive)

    (I like his M8 review - but then I would)
     
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  5. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Real Name:
    Stephen Noel
    If you don't read the whole thing, you will miss the point of the summation. Some very hard thinking here about where we've been and where we're going. Classic: .... what, why, where, how and when.
     
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  6. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I'm a Scientist.

    this morning, I made this lens out of two parts J-3's, one from the 1950s and the other from the 1980s, and a 1934 Sonnar formerly in Contax Mount.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I prefer the term "Mad Scientist"

    Wide-open at F1.5
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Glad you found some useful stuff here Bill. Like I said I like Dante's, albeit often polemic, style. Some articles are really down in the weeds...especially when he starts measuring resolution, etc., the formulas make my head spin.

    Yeah I hear you Paul, but then again we all often need to visit the terminal between shots. :blush:

    I do really like some of his observations further in:

     
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  8. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Never doubted it for a second Brian :wink:

    ...and I am in complete awe of what you can do while 'tinkering' Brian. My only real achievement in this realm is to reassemble anything you place in front of me with the uncanny knack of economising on parts and finding at least 5 'spare' screws as well as launching and lodging a spring into a light fitting 3 metres away :blush:
     
  9. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I'm somebody who thinks a lot, and thinks we all ought to think about what we do ... it raises my suspicions when someone says "stop thinking" ... especially when it seems thinking's good for them but not for anyone else ...
     
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  10. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    I don't know what the hell I am. I don't care about the metrics etc. It annoys me. Long forum threads discussing the science annoys me. It annoys me that some of the people in pentaxforums wanted me immediately to rush out and test the adapter I bought so I could use my old MC/MD Minolta mount lenses on a Pentax: they wanted to know EXACTLY what the focal length now was. I was curious too, but I don't care enough to start measuring. I just want to take photographs, and sometimes I want what the Minolta lenses do.

    I don't think any of us fit any of the categories. He's talking about failed photographers and I dont think anyone has failed, as long as they still are taking photographs (or making them, depending on your viewpoint).

    The article is worth reading in full, though, because the first part where he attempts to categorise, really does need to be read in the context of the whole. At the end, the recovery bit... I guess I have always done B (or tried to, when not distracted by new toys)

     
  11. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    He has an interesting site. That article really didn't pertain to me too well but I can see where he is going. Had a good article on rangefinders and all the cliché's about rangefinders making you a better photographer though. Rangefinder as a Conceit? And something in favor of GAS LOL The Case for Gearheads
     
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  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Affiliate Patron

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    Luke
    From all the comments, it seems like it must be a good article. Unfortunately, I'm too busy creating images to read it.

    Just kidding.....I'm actually too busy with work to do either. Just catching a bit of a forum fix before a quick game of Settlers of Catan before nighty night time.
     
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  13. Petach

    Petach SC All-Pro

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Real Name:
    Peter Tachauer
    'scuse me whilst I lower the tone, but.......I just wanna take nice pic'chas :smile:
     
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  14. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    I hear ya Pete, but it does make you think....even if he asks you not to :confused: I found it pretty motivating too. Read it, closed the browser and went a'walking.