Stop thinking and start photographing

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
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:
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
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
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
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.





I prefer the term "Mad Scientist"

Wide-open at F1.5
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
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:

"Using only what is necessary to execute your vision.
When you are looking at equipment and techniques, select them to be good enough to meet your intended output but not so bad that it unnecessarily cripples you. Remember, at best your equipment and techniques do not detract. At worst, they get in the way. Resist the temptation to look at some technical measure the same way you resist looking at centerfold models: they just aren't good predictors of what you get in real life. I would be surprised if 1:1 pixels ever figured into the process of selecting what serves your vision, just as you would never care much about what film equipment could do at a 50x enlargement. Theoretical or numerical performance not a real world measure. At best, it can only distract you."
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
I'm a Scientist.
Never doubted it for a second Brian :wink:

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.
...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:
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
Yeah I hear you Paul, but then again we all often need to visit the terminal between shots. :blush:
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 ...
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
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)

B. Using only what is necessary to execute your vision. When you are looking at equipment and techniques, select them to be good enough to meet your intended output but not so bad that it unnecessarily cripples you. Remember, at best your equipment and techniques do not detract. At worst, they get in the way. Resist the temptation to look at some technical measure the same way you resist looking at centerfold models: they just aren't good predictors of what you get in real life. I would be surprised if 1:1 pixels ever figured into the process of selecting what serves your vision, just as you would never care much about what film equipment could do at a 50x enlargement. Theoretical or numerical performance not a real world measure. At best, it can only distract you.
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
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.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom