Minor White Fans ?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Jayd, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    Is anyone else studing Minor White and his teaching?
    Jay
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I studied Minor when the second edition of "A Zone System Manual" was published. No different from Fred Archer and Ansel Adams, just far more test oriented.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber
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    Yes I've studied Minor White, as part of my life-long photographic education, (& at University), he's important for taking the Equivalence a step further, and was a key influence in the renaissance of British Fine Art photography in the 1970's. I have a magazine article "Where the wild thins went" that names Minor White's British disciples and includes John Blakemore & Thomas Joshua Cooper.

    Ian
     
  4. Anton Lukoszevieze

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    He's a major main man Minor. :smile:
    Anton
     
  5. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber
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    Seriously, there is an interesting interview with White in the book Dialogue with Photography, by Hill and Cooper. I was interested to read how highly White thought of the FSA photographers, something I have an affinity with, particularly the work of John Vachon.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yes, I have been a 'student' of White's, and some of his ideas continue to provoke the photographs I [try to] compose.

    I went so far as to read Zen in the Art of Archery a few times and to try to think as broadly as possible about what photography is and why it's worth doing. White helped me quite a lot with that level of thinking. I haven't rolled around on the ground with a camera yet but I am open to it :wink: (Hey, that reminds me, Richard Pippin and I are going to Yogaville tomorrow, maybe that will be my big chance to complete my White training! Perhaps I will try to shoot a series while in a lotus position...)

    Seriously though, White was not helpful to me on the technical elements, but then... frankly I think photography -as taught by others- is so constipated by technical elements that the art damn near can't shine through unless you take an approach as radical as White's. The "Zen system" comment by AA is funny on the surface, but also pays respect to White for having gone beyond the technicals.

    I set out for myself a few White-inspired studies and actually, some of those photographs are the ones I am still the most emotionally connected to. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that my White-inspired photographs are quite easy to spot as such, although in my defense, I am very much in a formative phase and plan to stay there as long as possible!
     
  7. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I've always felt I'd love to see the way Minor White did. I never have, not sure I ever will and I don't always "get" his work. I am intruiged by him however. Aperture was a wonderfully produced magazine.

    I rather liked his use of textured targets for ZS testing - it gave me a much clearer understanding of what the H&D curve meant to my work - much more than a grey card and a densitometer.

    Bob H
     
  8. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    (there was a url link here which no longer exists)
     
  9. Ian Grant

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    In the absence ofMinor White I'd guess aworkshop withThomas Joshua Cooper would be the next bets thing :D

    You exceedingly lucky to have had that privilege.

    Ian
     
  10. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    I consider White's book "Mirrors Messages Manifestations" to be the most single most artistically valuable book I own. He really took photography to a different level. Until I read this thread, though, I never thought of White as a teacher of photographic technique, I always thought he was on a plane where technique is taken for granted and it is the spiritual content of images which is important.
     
  11. Marv

    Marv Member

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    Interesting you should ask. I have been studying his paper, "Equivalence: The Perennial Trend". It has made me do a lot of thinking about how viewers form perceptions of photos.
     
  12. OP
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    Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    Thanks to all:
    I found my self attracted to White for two main reasons ; one was to deepen my seeing abilities, and the secound and lesser is that he really did the teaching Ansel Adams was going to do. I have just started and am shochked at how expensive his books are they must be very collectible. I have learned that I am more alinged with white than Adams and Fred Picker both of who I read as well. While I believe establishing a sound consistent practices of exposure ,development and printing ala the zone syten are foundations a photograph needs to be more than just a nice or pretty picture and atleast for the taker have some emotion to it.
    Jay
     
  13. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I've believed for a long time that photography is both art and craft. The craft is necessary to realize your vision - pretty or not - and any art form is really a means of conveying your own emotions to the viewer. I've used bits of the techniques of White, Adams, Picker and Davis which have coalesced over the years into a system that works for me.

    Bob H
     
  14. Bill Harrison

    Bill Harrison Subscriber

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    Read " The Zen of Creativity" by John Daido Loori, former student of Minor's and Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastary in Mount Tremper, NY. A master photographer in his own right and a major figure in the American zen community.
     
  15. Maris

    Maris Member
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    "One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are." Minor White.

    Since I read those words decades ago I don't think I've made a serious photograph that did not consciously have in it at least some part of "elseness".
     
  16. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    White furnished us some marvelous thoughts and quotes, didn't he?

    One of my favourite Minor quotes, from a caption describing the technique he used for a particular photograph: "For technical data- the camera was faithfully used." At a time when I was immersed in Adams' pedagogy, that simple statement came across as quite liberating.

    Another from Rites and Passages:

    "Self-discovery through a camera? I am scared to look for fear
    of discovering how shallow my Self is! I will persist however...
    because the camera has its eye on the exterior world. [The] camera will lead
    my constant introspection back into the world..."
     
  17. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Hi Marv: Where can one find the Minor White paper you allude to above?

    Ed
     
  18. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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  19. Vaughn

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    Being in the right place at the right time, Thomas was my instructor at university almost 30 years ago. Excellent teacher and had a positive influence on my photography.

    Vaughn
     
  20. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Marv may have found it elsewhere; seems like I have seen it in various places (since I first happened on it by accident in the PSA Journal 29:7, pp. 17-21, 1963.). I have a reprint of it in Photographers on Photography, Nathan Lyons (ed.) Prentice Hall 1966. I can check my other books which are in my office at school, also. Oh, now I see someone has linked to it online.

    When I found the PSA Journal in a pile of same in the basement of a partitioned Victorian house where I was living in Portland OR, I was about to register for MW's workshop at the Portland Art Museum. I lived in a small dingy room, most of which was taken up with a Murphy bed, which, when folded up on the wall, enabled me to have a very primitive darkroom, using the laundry tubs and a funky long dresser for my trays. The D3 was on a small desk.

    Minor said "I want to see your darkroom". I was terrified, but I showed it to him. His comment: "I've had darkrooms like this".
     
  21. Marv

    Marv Member

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    Sorry Ed, been away a couple days.....

    I got it from the source John provided although I think there are others, that one is easy to find. Hope you enjoy it.
     
  22. OP
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    Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    Why Minor White

    Thanks for the link to the other disscussion about Minor White.
    I'm Interested in what resources others have found and where I can find more: all I can seem to find at reasonable cost is "the Moment of Seeing"
    Perhaps I should explain my interest a bit farther: after 20+ years in photography mostly as armature and sometime pro in the news and multimedia industries, I find I am not interested in pretty pictures in the since that Ansel Adams made beautiful landscapes or a portrait of a young woman would be pretty. Rather I want to make the images I see in my head when I look at fallen trees, weathered wood, old interesting buildings, Windows, doors, steps and many objects in there found state as much as possible, and documenting the fast decline of the small family farm. My kind of beauty is in the shape, perceived texture, tonality, and emotion.
    I am the extension of Vision type where as much as possible the creation of the image ends at the moment of exposure. Perhaps part my training in the news and slide production for multimedia business and part my purism.

    Jay
     
  23. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    My very first experience in conservatory was my teacher's assignment to read Zen, and The Art of Archery. When I read it I hadn't a clue to what I was to glean from the book, but over time I discovered its' meaning for me: Learning takes place as a consequence of struggle and confrontation with the subject during the intervals between such activity. In other words, a technical hurdle that had been thoroughly wrestled with, perhaps without success, would be surmounted after a night's sleep, or several days "off". If you had made the effort intensely enough you would be rewarded, as if by nearly magical providence, with the solution to your task.

    Interestingly to me, at least, the entire notion of "what else it is" is far too verbal to be useful. "What else it is" is the very likely inexpressible essence of the photographer's vision when he's truly engaged with the subject.
     
  24. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    You might look for copies of Aperture from the 1950's and 60's. Minor wrote a lot in some of the issues. I don't know that these will be inexpensive, but a library might be a good place to start.

    If you are looking for images in your head, you could be barking up the wrong tree. MW was not interested in imagination as the term is used conventionally. His engagement with the image was direct, and as much as possible, with no thought of any kind, no word, no image in the mind. This is not easy. The discipline it takes is something that must be learned, and having learned, must be practiced or it will be lost. It is to be open and receptive, to respond directly in a state of self awareness in the present.

    This is very hard to describe, and I know it is hard to understand.
     
  25. RJS

    RJS Member

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    In the 1960's John Upton taught some excellent courses at Orange Coast College; as part of his teaching one year he obtained a set of photographs, "The Sound of One Hand Clapping", which I didn't really appreciate particularly at the time. But they have remained in my head and give me great pleasure when I bring them up. Which these postings have caused me to do and for which I thank all of you.
     
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