The Photographer

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Matt Deckard, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Is it me, or is the digital era making better photographers out of everyone. I know there are bad photographers and good photographers out there, yet I think with the ability to look at images on the spot and retake a shot 'til you get what you desire allows even the worst of image takers to become pretty good. Crop here and there, color correct on your computer and you have something on par with the masters.

    What do you think? Is modern day amateur photography and the ability to take a camera anywhere in your breast pocket making what used to be hard to get and hard to take photos into everyday anyone can do photos?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  2. It sure does seem that way. Although the limitation is put on you by what programs you can afford to use. Adobe Photoshop and all of its variants do a pretty good job of fixing even the junk that I take. :p I doubt it makes me an artist though.
    That is on a different par where you have to know what aperture and f stops do. ;)

    Regards to all,

    J
     
  3. Sin Khan

    Sin Khan Familiar Face

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    I agree matt, and you stated why this is happeneing rather well. Practice. It is no different weather it if film or digital it is all about practice and perfection. It is just a whole lot easier and sped up process in digital photography. however i learned on a film camera and some of my pics are great. Was told in my photo class at the junior college that i would be good comercial photo material. But if i can do it anyone can really. But a digital camera will not make you a prefessional photographer either. There are elements of design that you simply must learn in practice and theory to be good.

    But digital helps in other ways too than simply retaking the picture. Most digitals offer a good range of soom qualities and night shots and lighting arrangements that make the amatue a lot more flexable than they otherwise would be. Also, with some digital camerals, the user can adjust light settings and contrast right on the spot. Try that with a film camera.
     
  4. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Matt I think that digital photography is changing the way we make images and can be a useful tool. I still think that knowing lighting and composition are just some of the things that make great photographs. In my opinion I have still yet to see a gray scale image that has the same quality as a beautifully crafted silver gelatin or platinum print. There are allot more people making images but I'm not sure that equals better photographs. Heres what Ansel Adams once said when asked what he thought was a great photograph.

    "A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in its deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. And the expression of what one feels should be set forth in terms of simple devotion to the medium-a statement of the utmost clarity and perfection possible under the conditions of creation and production."
     
  5. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    I tend to agree with the thought that traditionally developed photos which are worked on in a lab end up better than those done with a digital camera. Little nuances in how the image was developed when the acids wash over are some of the artistic points which digital cannot yet emulate.

    It is all artistic interpretation which cannot be measured.
    Practice is making better photographers. As always the cream of the crop rises to the top, though because of digital the general photographer is getting better and better.

    Rather than toil at the lab, the digital amateur can camp out in front of his computer.
     
  6. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    I think because of the investment that you have by learning the right way to process film, learning how and why certain types of light are better for the visual statement you are trying make, and the type of paper that you will make the final image on are all things that in my opinion can't be fast tracked.
    Digital is a very fast way to make images and it can speed up the learning curve but in that lays a danger. People that haven't learned basics are now making inferior images under the thought of fixing it later in Photoshop.
    I personal like the control I have with color that I never had before the digital revolution. I can get images that I only dreamed of before.
     
  7. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Oh Matt great topic by the way. The one real positive is that some people that might not have found there way to photography are no giving it a shot (pardon the pun) so I think that the best is yet to come as far as photography as an art form is concerned. And photography is even going to grow more as a hobby because of the new technology.
     
  8. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    If you want to take good pictures you really need to know how to.
    Having an instant camera doesn't make you better but it does make you more prolific, which may, hopefully lead to faster improvements and an understanding of what you did wrong... or right.

    Photoshop can't fix a bad photo but it can enhance a good one.
    Depends what you consider bad though.

    B
    T
     
  9. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    BT thats funny. The west coast guys (example) Adams, Weston used large view cameras. The act of using those cameras slows a photographer down. Tilts, swings, plane of focus and the image being viewed upside down changes the way you photograph even when you go back to using smaller cameras. The discipline of cropping with the camera and point of view are all lessons that seem to take shape when using a big camera and that will carry over when you work with a smaller one.
     
  10. photobyalan

    photobyalan A-List Customer

    It's you. :rolleyes:

    The contribution digital cameras have made is that people who have some aptitude for photography can develop it much faster than before, mainly due to instant feedback. I don't think that the average Joe Six-pack becomes any better at photography simply by using a digital camera, only more prolific; and that only because of the nature of digital photography: once you've made the initial investment, the photography's virtually free, with no ongoing film or processing costs needed.

    As to any inherent advantage one medium has over the other, that's complete B.S.

    Take a look at my website. The images on my site have been taken with a combination of digital SLR, 35mm film, medium format (6x6 and 6x7) film, and 4x5 inch film, using a large number of different cameras. I defy anyone to tell me which photographs were made with which medium. More imprtantly, does it really matter? If the photograph moves you, if it speaks to you, if it tells the story that was intended, do you really care whether it was made with a Canon G3 or a Deardorff 8x10? Of course not.

    While it's nice for a photographer to be able to process and print his own work, it's certianly not a requirement. Some of the world's most renowned photographers never did any of their own darkroom work, instead choosing to hand it off to someone who was expert in that area so the photographer could concentrate on things like composition, lighting, and posing.

    Finally, B.T. made the comment that Photoshop can enhance a good photograph. True, but only in some cases. It is, however, far more common that the ham-handed use of Photoshop will ruin an otherwise good photograph.
     
  11. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Photobyalan, I do agree with you about the fact it really doesn't matter with the means to the end; the image. I've seen some incredible images made with Helgas (cheap medium format cameras with plastic lenses). Weston made some of the most beautiful contact prints in a closet with a bare bulb from 8X10 negs. I tend to follow the Adams philosophy that when a photographer takes the photograph exposing the negative its like a composer writing a musical score and when you process the film and print the negative its performing the piece. I would never trust the performance of my piece to anyone else. I'm referring to my personal work. I wish I had the time to do that with all of my professional work. Knowing the dark as well as I do has helped me with Photoshop in ways I can't even begin to explain.
     
  12. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Photobyalan, of course you'll never tell the difference on a computer screen between the different formats but go to 16X20 or larger and you'll be able to see the difference between the 35mm image and the 8X10 Deardorff.
     
  13. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Photobyalan Forgot to say your wedding and portrait images look great.
     
  14. photobyalan

    photobyalan A-List Customer

    Ahh, now you are introducing some severe restrictions into the equation. However, in real life, how many photos are ever blown up beyond 8x10"? Or even beyond 4x6"? Even then, in many cases, you'll have to examine the final print with a loupe to really tell the difference between formats. But is DPI or LP/MM really relevant when discussing the artistic value of a photograph?

    With my 4x5 speed graphic, I can make enlargements that will "technically" blow away anything Henri Cartier-Bresson ever did with his 35mm rangefinder. Using my Canon 20D and Photoshop, I can make prints that have a greater tonal range and as much detail as anything Ansel Adams ever did with 8x10. Does that mean my photographs are better than theirs, or even nearly as good? Hardly.

    The tools just make the work easier. Only the skill of the photographer makes it better.

    Thanks for the kind words, airfrog. As my work proves, if you are prolific enough, you will eventually get some good shots! ;)
     
  15. fedoralover

    fedoralover Call Me a Cab

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    You know, this post is why I like this joint, people with all sorts of talents and trades hang out here from all over the world. Got a question? someone here will probably be in the know about it.

    regards fedoralover
     
  16. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Photobyalan, heres a shot of a retired nurse that I shot a few years ago for a project I was working on for a healthcare client. Hasselblad 500 CM 180 Zeiss lens. I exhibted this image in a group show as a 30X30 and I for one do like to print large images. I got a chance to see some really large Ansel Adams prints in a gallery in Santa Fe and in my opinion some photographs need to be really large.
    The bigger than life portraits that Avedon did. You know the ones he shot with open light on white seamless.
    [​IMG]
    I do agree that its the end that counts.
     
  17. Angelicious

    Angelicious One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Rainy ol' New Zealand
    In terms of capturing in print/pixels what I see in my head, I hate digital. :) But I think digital is great for two reasons:

    1) It's cheaper, at least in the sense that putting a photo on your computer or online costs less than getting it developed. That makes retaking a shot over and over again to get it right less intimidating.

    2) It's more immediate, so you can see what you've taken, and you can get it to other people (or even the world) without delay.

    Other than that, I think the print medium is more appealing, more attractive, and more evocative. Having worked with digital imaging for a while, I break out in hives facing anything less than 4 megapixels, and while Photoshop is a useful medium, it can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. :)
     
  18. Phil_in_CS

    Phil_in_CS Familiar Face

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    Location:
    Central TX
    as someone who mostly just takes pictures of his little girl and the occasional house smashed by a hurricane, I get much better pictures with the digital, if for no other reason that I now take dozens rather than a couple. Blind luck gets me goods every so often.

    That said, my friend Alan took outstanding pictures with film, and takes even more with his digital. His ability to frame and compose is something I don't have, no matter what hardware I'm using. He took that photo in my avatar, and a dozen more, in a 5 minute session in the garden behind church one day. Much higher quality portraits than I could get without spending hundreds on a studio setting.
     
  19. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    In general, I see digital suping up the abilities of the general public who would not have taken the time in the past to get just the right picture because they didn't have the equipment or didn't have the time. Digital is changing all that.

    I am an amateur in the greatest sense, though if it were not for digital I'd still be taking a couple picture a year and it would be offset and in bad lighting. With my digital I have become passionate about photos and for the last couple years I have had a camera usually in my pocket and with time I learn what looks good and what looks bad to my eye.

    I do think that the digital industry and a confident public will cause a drop in attendance to professional photography studios, unless of course you need the giant matte finish portrait of your mother to go over the fire place you can take many of the pics you want at home. I think you will see those studios branching out into more fanciful types of photography rather than portrature. We'll see.

    By the by, that picture of the nurse is fantastic... that is a piece of art... that is why professional photographers portraits will never fall to the wayside.
     
  20. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Location:
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    Matt thanks for the kind words. I see digital photography as a tool. I still shoot film and get direct scans from my negs. But about 80% of the final images I release to clients are in digital format. One big thing that has kept me from digital is auto focus lenses. I almost pulled the trigger on a Canon EOS 1D mark II a while back.

    I don't think there has been technology that has made photography more attractive to the masses than digital has since the brownie and then the SLR. What you say has so much validity because someone that might have been intimidated by the technology of the past because of expense or frustration is now making photographs that he might not have ever made.

    I do like the photos you've posted of you in vintage cloths. Post some more of your stuff I'd really like to see it.
     

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