Critics and Critiques

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Ed Sukach, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    This is a subject that I have been kicking around in my mind for many moons now.

    I'm going to put my thoughts up as "Fair Game" for discusson.

    I believe that the "vision" of each and every photographer is SACRED, and as such is not open to modification in any form. The reason - quoting:

    "A photographer's main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it seems, many photographers choose to see through the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind."

    Manuel Alvarez Bravo
    Mexico City, 1986


    What Bravo labels as "seeing through the eyes" I call "vision." That vision is the underlying stimulus that sets the photographic process in motion - we CHOOSE to make the photograph. We "see" the image we wish to capture (whether or not we have staged it), select the tools, compose it, trip the shutter, etc.

    The decision to act is, to me, sacred, and If I try to exert influence on the photographer through critique, I am trying to make him "see through MY eyes", and therefore I am *blinding* him.

    When I post a critique, I can only report on *MY* reaction to the work. I can only report a very subjective introspection into the way the photograph has affected my emotions. I won't even come close to assuming that my "vision" is the "right" one - certainly there is no coherent conclusion I can make to support that idea. I'm no "better" than anyone else.

    The reactions of a body of critics are useful to some *minute* level - However, I really do not think that it should be anything like a primary moving force in my, or anyone else's future work.

    APUG has been wonderful in the way photographs have been critiqued - I can't see any of the pettyness, ego bashing, or pompous posturing infecting some of the other sites in the web world.

    Submitting a photograph for critique takes a certain amount of courage - it is a lot like dropping your pants in fron of an audience. Instead of darts and barbs directed to the person of the photgrapher, all the comments I've read here are concentrated on the image. In considering the emotional responses here, I've been able to shift my viewppoint of some of my own work, and add to some of the peception "tools" I use.

    Significantly, we here on APUG have the courage to write in our critiques, "Damn - I LIKE this - and I wouldn't change a thing." where it is appropriate.
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Have decided to shoot my Nikon F100 and stick with Arista premium(tri-x) I am also using D23 which I mix myself. I have been having great results with this developer. Simple and cheap to mix myself. Using it at 1:3 I think I will try to pick up a ND filter or 2 to help control some of the light. Will try to post pics when I have them.
    Arthur
     
  3. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    very nice work indeed!
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Thanks for the response.

    Yeah, I believe I understand. I should have said enlarging would be taking a photo of a photo, and developing would be making a photographic image from a negative. I pretty much based what I said on pictures I've seen of the equipment used. I should probably try harder to separate printing and enlarging in my mind.

    So, what does one need to make photos from a negative? I may start using negatives more in addition to my slides, and I want to stay true to the "analog" theme. I assume I need an imager of some kind and paper and chemistry.
     
  5. Mark in SD

    Mark in SD Member

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    John Schwind gets his film perfed from Kodak. He orders thousands of feet at a time, and they do it for him.

    You can get 16mm double perf reperforated into regular 8mm. The person doing this is named Edward Nowill, and he's in the UK. He doesn't have a website, and I don't have his email address on hand, but you can find it on the internet.
     
  6. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Kodachrome. Always. I am now trying the Elite Chrome and Elite Chrome Extra Color in ASA 100. Kodachrome will always be the best, though. I have some vintage obsolete films in the fridge that I need to try.
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    Yeah, I am with you guys. I was in an internet print club before joining APUG.ORG. WE would send a print to everyone on the list about every quarter and then we would talk about the prints. It was a critique. The problem for me was two fold. First not everyone would critique and this is one of the reasons I got out. Second the critique always seemed to be like I would have printed it darker in this corner and I would not have used this film combo or I would have placed my camera more to the (pick one) right or left. Well, that would be YOUR photo and not mine. so, after a couple of years, I had to get loose from that. It is kinda the same thing with my local camera club and the blankity- blank competitions. Enough ramblin' I am off to drink my wine and get ready for dinner.

    lee\c
     
  8. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I never liked the idea of critiques, unless the photograph presented is that of a very new person and glaring technical faults can be pointed out to improve the shot next time I find it very hard to critique photographs by people who are experienced. As lee pointed out, there are many what if and why didn't you comments. Frankly I loose patience with this, once I am done in the darkroom the picture is exactly as I want it. If someone comments on the content, saying this makes me feel like.....fine I can live with that, but when people start telling me to print darker here, or lighter there or why are the leaves so dark?....well I just tune them out. This is the problem I saw in many clubs, people critiquing me were many times much less capable than I, so I tried to be polite but in the most part their comments were in one ear and out the other. OTOH I had the opportunity to get some commnents by a couple of well known photographers by incredible coincidence, and that was really cool. Most of the things they said were right on target and one even commented on my matting. I had done the mounting and matting and I had not burnished the edges of the matt, he simply grabbed a burnishing tool and went at it in all my prints...lol...He then said, never miss any details in your presentation, even the smallest one makes an impression....now, that to me was a lesson! I like this kind of comments, where someone obviously much more experienced than I shows me some little thing that makes a world of difference.

    Recently there was a thread along the same lines in that other site, and I think Jay said it best, consider the source.
     
  9. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Recently I have started photographing Harman Direct Positive paper. I do like it. I would like to find a way to reduce the contrast a bit. If anyone has ideas please post them. The pink surface threw me off at first. It goes away with fixing and you won't even see unless you have the paper in light. I do use a red safelight bright enough to see what I am doing and have notice no negative effect. Anyone else using this positive paper or anything like it?
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

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    My thought in starting this group was a place to discuss those of us that especially appreaciate photographs created without any digital means. Welcome.
    Stereo-- In order to make a print from a negative one simply needs an enlarger, some paper, 3 trays, some developer, some stop bath, and some fixer. It is a very rewarding process that can be pretty economical too. It's really not all that hard. In order to print slides, you would just need to buy reversal paper that is made for printing slides which could be bought right through Freestyle. It's quite nice.
     
  11. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council
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    Updated my web site with images made on the Harman Direct Positive fibre paper. If anyone else has images I would love to see them. I am curious to know what is being done on positive paper. If you can add a link or post some images in this group.
     
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    Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Hey folks, hope all is well. Just a note to let you know my band Machinery Hill is playing at the Lake Harriet Bandshell tomorrow night (8/19/10). I think it starts around 7:30. Stop by and say hey if you have the time.:cool:

    Thanks!
    Steve

    http://www.myspace.com/machineryhill
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Feb 12 2003, 06:03 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    Now, to the gallery.

    Invariably, some critic, most often unsolicited, with the zeal of a crusader, will say something like, &quot;You know, you have to (note the imperative) dodge here, and burn the upper right corner for ten seconds to make this &quot;worth anything&quot;.

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Hi Ed,
    You need to find a different set of galleries to hang out in. Just kidding! I agree with what you have said. The thing you must do is made the print the best you can do and SO PERFECT that there can be no critique. That may not be possible, I don't know. I just thought of that. I have always thought that really the only things I can control is how I live my life (and that has a set of hobbles on it too) and what sees the light of day from my darkroom. I explained that to a couple of guys in LA one time and it was like a light going on. They were showing everything in an informal critique that asked that I do. They thought they weren't any good because there were some clunkers in the portfolios. I explained that EVERYONE has those but some of us CHOOSE not to include those in the portfolio. I was pretty stunned when they reacted like that.

    lee\c
     
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  15. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Hi Mike, I'm also new to this group.
    I have a Yashica Mat which I use for B&W photography, not as often as I'd like to use it. Although I am now retired I still don't seem to have the time to "smell the roses".
    I have digital camera's and quite a selection of 35mm but the Yashica Mat is a bit like roiling your own cigarettes, it takes time if you really want to enjoy it.

    I am fortunate in having a few friends with the same interest but the times we can get together is limited, but very enjoyable when it happens.
    I hope to post some photos a recent day out real soon now.

    Regards Dai.
     
  16. frank

    frank Member
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    Anyone tried accessing the pictures lately? I clicked and landed in the Scandinavian group and it's all about LF sales in Danish.
    Murray
     
  17. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Erik, I have never tried scanning sub-mini negs , should be possible though with a modified neg holder.

    Murray, I am able to access pictures without any problems going through the "Group Tools" feature. Is this what you are using?
    Steve
     
  18. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council
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    Well, I've come to the conclusion critics do not define art, artists define art. Can someone show you a shortcut (dodge here/burn their)? No. There is no short cut. Only you know where to dodge and burn. Could a critic make you wealthy, probably.

    I think there are two reasons to make photographs; one is because you gotta and the other is to make money.

    Any of us can work in a Mall and take baby pictures for a living but I doubt many of us would make a comparable living trying to make art. But those who do sure must be proud, and rightfully so.

    It's soul searching today and looking at yesterdays efforts and realizing "I got better today because yesterday I sure sucked." No critic is going to warm your soul like looking back and realizing you've grown in your vision; perhaps the old vision was met when you weren't looking and another, more grand vision is in front of you. Just gotta keep pushing that boulder up the mountain.

    Well, I'm rambling now, talk soon...

    Bruce (who is not edgy enough)
     
  19. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Bruce,
    You have expressed my sentiments as well. If one is going to march to anothers drum beat then where does self expression enter? If economics or the accolades or criticism of others are one's sole motivation, in my view, those are ego driven attempts at self gratification. Those are fine if one realizes that they are selling themselves in that way, but I promise that this will leave one feeling empty and unfulfilled.
     
  20. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    You have to do what YOU want, not what some professor says. You already have a vote of 2 to 1 in favor, if that really matters to you (it shouldn't). One said you were great, the other wants you to teach him. So what is "too pedestrian"? That sounds awful vague to me. Is it like "not edgy enough"? Blah. If that was the "critique" I would just blow it off, shine it on. It is an absolutely useless remark. What about the log? Do you leave it in or kill the tree? Leave it in. Assuming you are an amateur like me, the best advice I can give is this.... Look at other people's work, take from it the lessons and things you like or aspire to, and discard the rest. Don't be too shy once in a while to tell yourself "Damn I'm good". [​IMG]
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I'm going to be visiting Mansfield on Monday night /Tuesday morning because my partner has an interview at the hospital there. Brian, if you see an odd looking person with an 8x10 camera come up and say hello.
    I've only got a few hours there before I have to take her home and the next morning get her on a plane back to Alice Springs.
    cheers
    Mike
     
  22. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council
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    I managed to buy a lot of Fujicolor 200asa cassettes recently. The film is out of date, but I wanted them for the cassettes so that I can reload with B&W. If you need any I can sell some to you for a reasonable price. Let me know, Dai.
     
  23. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I also have problems accessing pictures, where do I find the "group tool"?
     
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    Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I could email you a pdf file which is an alignment manual for a beseler 45, close enough to be of use I am sure.
     
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    Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Posted a picture of the darkroom....haven and home away from home.
     
  26. steve

    steve Member

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    Steve, I am just using the screen picts and click on that. 'Group Tools' doesn't come up on my screen.
    As for scanning I have one that allegedly does 4800 ppi but it's like watching grass grow. I tape the strip to the glass at each end and go from there. Should probably use black paper or tape down the sides.
    Murray
     
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