Didn't Ansel Adams called it the "Fuzzy wuzzies"?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber
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  2. Andrew O'Neill

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    That is probably the only thing I do not like about AA and his group. Writing the Pictorialists off the pages of history.
     
  3. Huss

    Huss Member
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    Thanks for the link, I had no idea... what a shame to do that, those photos in the link are beautiful.
     
  4. Helinophoto

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    I have a Mortensen book from the 30's, since I wanted to get into that sort of darkroom wizardry.

    "Print finishing"

    And another one "Picture making with paper negatives" Nowell Ward

    Though it seems that a lot of the negative manipulation is best suited for large format (biggest I shoot is 6*9)

    The paper negative techniques seem to require very thin paper, doesn't seem that this kind of paper is produced all that much anymore :/
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You might check with Japanese or even Chinese suppliers since they use all sorts of paper. Perhaps a paper used for sumi watercolor prints.
     
  6. Theo Sulphate

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    On a wall at home I have two photos I made in Yosemite: one is of El Capitan; the other is of Half Dome. I made them with an SX-70 on original Polaroid film, then scanned and enlarged them to 8x10. These photos look like paintings in their pleasing softness and colors; they are among my favorites.
     
  7. jnanian

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    personally i have no real interest in f64 type grand photography. i find it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination of the viewer.
    part of making art of any sort isn't to spoon feed every single thing to the viewer, whether it is a building, chair photograph or painting.
    while i appreciate the great lengths it sometimes takes to get an image where every square inch is in focus and sharp .. for me it just lacks
    what i think is the essential ingredient ... john garo, karsh's mentor was an amazing pictorialist from the boston area. he is one of the people
    who brought PT/PD printing back from the dead, and was doing gum-overs, giving lectures overseas, and was such an extreme craftsman and
    technician that george eastman asked him to be in charge of the whole photofinishing division of EK ... he declined saying he was an artist, not a technician
    and eventually died penniless. i was fortunate to see one of his photographs in a frame shop i n boston, off of newbury street hidden amongst some of the owner's private collection
    absolutely beautiful ... and i met someone years ago who was a relative of garo who had some of his original images as well, and tried get them recognized ... unfortunately
    AA's shadow was still quite long at that time, and the images were considered to be just pictorial photographs .. i'd take f4 over 64 any day of the week
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  8. paul_c5x4

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    You might want to try Film Washi - A slow "film" (25 ISO) coated on a thin Japanese Kozo paper. Apparently available in most popular sizes from 35mm up to 10x8 and custom sizes to special order.
     
  9. Jim Jones

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    In 1937 Mortensen also wrote another book which is still useful today, The Model, on the problems of posing. A second edition with few changes was published in 1948. In 1956 Mortensen and George Dunham produced a skimpier version, How to Pose The Model. This is the one that has been republished. The first two editions are more interesting. We can learn much from earlier artists. Rembrandt and Vermeer have much to show us on posing and lighting the model, even after three and a half centuries.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    one can also coat xerox paper, it is perfect for paper negatives. it waxes well too and can be
    used for cyanotypes and silver gelatin paper negatives, or left unwaxed ...
    the problem with some japanese papers is not only are they thin like tissue paper ( which is reall really hard to process )
    but when you print through them they are all fibers ... great for some things, but not for others ...

    YMMV
     
  11. Jim Jones

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    True, but it respects the subjects. Many of us would not appreciate the wonders of the Great American West if it was not for the honesty of Timothy O'Sullivan, Eadward Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, Ansel Adams, and their likes. The basic integrity of their photography was more convincing than the exaggeration of Albert Bierstadt. The imagination of the f/4 photographer often pales in comparison. The fuzzy wuzzies certainly had their moments. Anne Brigman's idealistic fantasies were diverting. Mortensen's grotesqueries were provocative. As in all art, it is a matter of taste.
     
  12. bdial

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    What I find interesting about our "modern" era of photography is that in some respects, Digi photography has taken the place of the f/64 group way, and Pictorialism has gotten much more acceptance than it had at any time back to the 1920's, along with all the other alt-processes, old processes, and even film photography in general.
    I think there is a place for both. It's interesting times we find ourselves in.
     
  13. OP
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    Mainecoonmaniac

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    Today, that type of photography seem prosaic. Back in the 20's, I'm sure this seemed cutting edge and going against convention of softness and painterly looks. I'm not absolutely true, but wasn't Pictorialism as an attempt as a photographic style that tried to mimic painting? The f/64 group went against this dynamic and made the most of a mechanical medium by trying to make everything sharp.

    F/64 school of photography prevailed in modern culture until the 80's. I remember in the 90's reading a Photo District News article titled "The art of being blury". fashion photographers like Mathew Ralston setting the trend of using bokeh in his work. When I assisted out of college in the late 80's and early 90's, one commercial photographer wanted assistants that could calculate the focus on a Sinar 4x5 camera for maximum sharpness. Today, photographers treasure Petzval lenses with a swirly bokeh.
     
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  15. markbarendt

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    Fully agreed.
    f/1.8 and be there is my ideal, f/5.6 if I absolutely have to stop down.
     
  16. AA's and my problem with the Fuzzy Wuzzies is that they were painter wannabees. If they wanted their work to look like paintings, they should have been painting.
     
  17. markbarendt

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    Did you and AA get a metaphysical promotion I didn't hear about? :wondering: :tongue: :getlost:
     
  18. Vaughn

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    Much ado about nothing, IMO. We have always had pictorialism, we'll always have F/64, we'll always have Alternative, and on and on. Too many conspiricy theories already in the world for another imaginary one concerning who killed what off photographically. I think it is just something for people to get paid writing about.

    I was in one way of another connected to a university art photo program from 1977 to recently. Even looking at work done before I arrived, there was never a push towards an F/64 aesthetic. More like a push towards everything. We had some of the F/64 folks talk (before my time, but not by much), but we also had folks like Duane Michals. When I took over the darkroom management, it was 'interesting' dealing with the aftermath of student experiments -- Dektol in spray bottles, Strange liquid Light covered objexts going thru the trays, etc.

    And don't forget AA's point of view -- he was trying to get his particular type of photography accepted, 'fighting' against the status quo -- so perhaps was a bit overboard sometimes.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member
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    I just returned from a two-week backpack trip to the Lyell Fork of the Merced River. It's a spectacular area and nobody else was around. But once at
    the main meadowed natural mountain park, it's impossible not to notice the exact spots where AA took some famous images in 1942. Yet is has been
    fascinating to compare the lesser-known images he took at the same location twenty years before. And these are in fact in the Mortensen pictorial
    style; in other words, when he was of the fuzzy-wuzzy persuasion himself. Only one of these early images has frequently been published, and is perhaps the only soft-focus lens shot he ever did that he explains in some of his books. But there were numerous others.
     
  20. mrred

    mrred Member

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    While not a big fan of AA, I consider myself a "photo realist". When too much manipulation happens, it seems more like graphic art than photography. For this I am in agreement with AA. They should have been within out of the history of photography and put into the books of fine art, where they belong. It's not just photography and thus makes it not pure photography. Post processing should not be all the art.
     
  21. DREW WILEY

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    The best pictorialists like Mortensen, Kasebier, and early Steichen often transcended their own cliches, and produced timeless images. The same could be said for how Julia Cameron transcended Pre-Raphaelite stereotypes. However, it's pretty hard to accuse even the worst of such practitioners
    of being pretentiously painterly when, in this era, all it takes is a click of a mouse or touch of a screen to turn a photo into a corny pseudo-painting.
     
  22. Yep :tongue:
     
  23. OP
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    Mainecoonmaniac

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  24. If the "fuzzies" want to sit in their sandbox with water bucket, mixing up all sorts of muddies to stimulate their creativity, that's ok with me. Just not my thing. There's no right or wrong here, only differences. Adams had his own sandbox, mixing up concoctions in the darkroom, dodging/burning, all manner of manipulations, to achieve his visualized end result. I doubt any of his straight prints were ever published. BUT I'll not bash anyone, least not publically.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  25. DREW WILEY

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    Fuzzy really had nothing to do with it. Take a look at some of Clarence White's work. It's more about defining shape and space by de-emphasizing something else. And people like him and Gertrude could do it with a remarkable degree of sophistication. It like the difference between Monet painting a pond, and somebody just applying a smudge filter via Fauxtoshop, then pretending he's created an Impressionistic photograph. The problem
    that came with the f/64 rabid Manifesto counterreaction to all that, is that to get everything really in focus, they were shooting a lot of flat subject matter, like AA's fence details. EW really went overboard in terms of doctrine. I have an old Encyclopedia Britannica article where he dragged all the pictorialists to the Inquisition, but in effect damned himself, since much of his own best work might legitimately be categorized under that heading.
     
  26. LAG

    LAG Member

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    Thanks for sharing ...

    That web headline should have been written out better "How Ansel Adams tried to Wrote Pictorialism (Photographers) Out of Photography History". However, fortunately, he did not succeed. But the fact - or the truth - is that some of them (specially whom he referred with a special kind of hatred to as "The Antichrist": William H. Mortensen (1897-1965)), were somehow excluded from a doctrine that even was not new, and morever based on William's painstaking knowledge, skills & wealth of experience (...) More or less same thing happened with "his" Zone System. | "Give a dog a bad name, and hang him"

    Furthermore jnanian, that feature was "almost" the only setting he couldn't leave to the print. Curious, right?

    That's it Vaughn ... but for both points of view!

    Not the same, in addition to his Pictorialism Style (or others before and after), Mortensen reached and contribute with many other studies and merits to the History of Photography.

    Same touching-thing happens with film, though not so easy, and perhaps that simplicity could be the annoying matter for somebody ...
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  27. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    hey LAG

    what do you mean, you kind of lost me ...

    sorry for my confusion !

    john
     
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