Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Rangefinder Forum > Photography General Interest

Photography General Interest Neat Photo stuff NOT particularly about Rangefinders.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

The Murder of B&W
Old 03-21-2013   #1
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
The Murder of B&W

Why B&W photography has lost its charm? I got into photography because I liked the B&W images of certain photographers. Now, even despite all these years, those photographers and their B&W images still look superior to me compared to anything out there today. Today there are two types of B&W images, flat and dull digital conversions and film scans, contrasty and overcooked digital conversions and film scans. How did it come to this?
 

Old 03-21-2013   #2
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,943
Not hard to figure out:

(1) ANYONE can do a B+W conversion -- no skill involved

(2) Seeing 'real' prints shows you what can be done. Seeing on-screen garbage rarely does (but cf, for example, Chriscrawford's stuff).

(3) Sturgeon's Law: 90% of anything is crap, and with 10,000x as many pictures out there, even of skill levels had remained the same, there'd be 10,000x as much crap.

Cheers,

R.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #3
lam
Dave
 
lam's Avatar
 
lam is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 946
I think this is more about a reflection than an observation..
__________________
website twitter
 

Old 03-21-2013   #4
EdwardKaraa
Registered User
 
EdwardKaraa's Avatar
 
EdwardKaraa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Bangkok
Age: 51
Posts: 697
Someone posted a while ago 2 photos, one inkjet and one scanned wet print, and we all thought the inkjet was the real print. It's all about the skill of the operator. As Roger said, too much garbage covers the good stuff.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #5
Morry Katz
Registered User
 
Morry Katz is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 124
Few photographers develop their own film or make their own prints or go to galleries, or buy high quality photo books so they don't know what a good print looks like and the garbage that appears on screens is accepted.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #6
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 46
Posts: 20,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
Today there are two types of B&W images, flat and dull digital conversions and film scans, contrasty and overcooked digital conversions and film scans. How did it come to this?
You are looking in the wrong places... go to a museum, go to a gallery, etc. Also, you are comparing the edited history of the past versus the unedited present. Not exactly fair I'd say.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #7
mfogiel
Registered User
 
mfogiel's Avatar
 
mfogiel is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Monaco
Posts: 4,658
I think, you have mistaken the MURDER OF PHOTOGRAPHY for the murder of B&W. Giving an auto everything camera to 300.000.000 people is not going to produce 300.000.000 good photographers, but rather a sea of crap with some gems, few and far between. As to the technical aspect of today's B&W images, many of them are of the high contrast, pushed film effect type. The reasons are numerous: the difficulty of producing good tonality from digital sensors, ever more contrasty lenses, perhaps low average post processing technical ability, and finally, the fact that 95% of people taking photographs today, have not seen a good B&W print in their lives, so they don't even know their images suck.
If you want high quality B&W prints, there are many ways of getting there, but it takes some effort and conscious choices. Personally, I work with hybrid workflow and am quite satisfied with the results. BTW, Ilford has just released a new baryta inkjet paper, dedicated for B&W printing.

HP5+ in HC110
MF20130104 by mfogiel, on Flickr
 

Old 03-21-2013   #8
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
This is exactly my point, there are already established standards for great B&W images and yet most people who make B&W images these days seems oblivious to that... This is disheartening because all that legacy and hard work of the past seem irrelevant.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #9
daveleo
what?
 
daveleo's Avatar
 
daveleo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: People's Republic of Mass.
Posts: 3,686
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
This is exactly my point, there are already established standards for great B&W images and yet most people who make B&W images these days seems oblivious to that... This is disheartening because all that legacy and hard work of the past seem irrelevant.
established standards ?

and . . . the legacy and hard work of the past may have an enormous influence on what someone produces, even if their style is radically different.

you know, people don't necessarily want to do the same thing all over again.
__________________
Dave

 

Old 03-21-2013   #10
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
I think, you have mistaken the MURDER OF PHOTOGRAPHY for the murder of B&W. Giving an auto everything camera to 300.000.000 people is not going to produce 300.000.000 good photographers, but rather a sea of crap with some gems, few and far between. As to the technical aspect of today's B&W images, many of them are of the high contrast, pushed film effect type. The reasons are numerous: the difficulty of producing good tonality from digital sensors, ever more contrasty lenses, perhaps low average post processing technical ability, and finally, the fact that 95% of people taking photographs today, have not seen a good B&W print in their lives, so they don't even know their images suck.
If you want high quality B&W prints, there are many ways of getting there, but it takes some effort and conscious choices. Personally, I work with hybrid workflow and am quite satisfied with the results. BTW, Ilford has just released a new baryta inkjet paper, dedicated for B&W printing.

HP5+ in HC110
MF20130104 by mfogiel, on Flickr
with all do respect, that image is really a good example of what I was talking about, the sort of B&W which is more like gray&gray... this is not abut film and digital, infact some of the worst looking b&w today are film scans.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #11
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveleo View Post
you know, people don't necessarily want to do the same thing all over again.
That is not a good excuse for incompetence... People should only discard established standards if they have something better to offer.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #12
daveleo
what?
 
daveleo's Avatar
 
daveleo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: People's Republic of Mass.
Posts: 3,686
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
That is not a good excuse for incompetence... People should only discard established standards if they have something better to offer.
what ?
THEY believe that they DO have something new, refreshing and better to offer.
If YOU personally don't like the new stuff, just keep looking at the old stuff.
__________________
Dave

 

Old 03-21-2013   #13
thegman
Registered User
 
thegman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Age: 40
Posts: 3,813
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
That is not a good excuse for incompetence... People should only discard established standards if they have something better to offer.
I disagree, people should discard established standards for whatever reason they please. When i got into photography, digital was the established standard, I shouldn't have prove film is better to shoot film, I use film because I want to, no other reason.
__________________
My Blog
 

Old 03-21-2013   #14
semilog
curmudgeonly optimist
 
semilog is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
Why B&W photography has lost its charm? I got into photography because I liked the B&W images of certain photographers. Now, even despite all these years, those photographers and their B&W images still look superior to me compared to anything out there today.
You've looked at everything out there today? Where do you find the time?
__________________
There are two kinds of photographers:
those who are interested in what a particular camera can't do,
and those who are interested in what it can do.

semilog.smugmug.com | flickr.com/photos/semilog/
 

Old 03-21-2013   #15
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 46
Posts: 20,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
This is exactly my point, there are already established standards for great B&W images and yet most people who make B&W images these days seems oblivious to that... This is disheartening because all that legacy and hard work of the past seem irrelevant.
How about a learning curve and the fact that not everyone is going to be great? Again, you are comparing the edited history of the past (and its masters) versus the glut of images today (many from non-masters). You have to try harder in the present to find the great stuff. It does exist though.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #16
williams473
Registered User
 
williams473 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA U.S.A.
Age: 46
Posts: 292
I have to agree that it's just a matter of where you look. It is actually quite difficult to convert images to black and white with the click of a button. Having a background in the zone system for instance, helps a lot. Like anything else in photography, it's a learned skill to work in black and white, and there will be a vast curve in success throughout all those working at it.

I say this with all good will, but maybe unplug from the internet a while (he says as he posts on RFF ) - but really, go see a good show in person, or if that's not possible, go buy/borrow a good photo book and refresh. Seeing the trillions of images on the web over and over can numb any palette...

Matt
 

Old 03-21-2013   #17
tsiklonaut
Registered User
 
tsiklonaut's Avatar
 
tsiklonaut is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Estonia
Posts: 1,063
Just to annoy you I'll post some more of the "modern" B&W film garbage. Yes, I know the film is considered garbage and also it's hated by many people in the age of digital convenience. Thus I'm deeply sorry for the inconvenience by posting a simple film scan...




Sublime by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
 

Old 03-21-2013   #18
f16sunshine
Moderator
 
f16sunshine's Avatar
 
f16sunshine is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Seattle
Age: 52
Posts: 6,255
Arguing over subjective viewpoints is akin to insanity.

To the OP.
Sorry, I won't be going to the funeral.
Too busy doing what some may see as my part in twisting the knife
__________________
Andy
 

Old 03-21-2013   #19
user237428934
User deletion pending
 
user237428934 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
That is not a good excuse for incompetence... People should only discard established standards if they have something better to offer.
And you are the one who defines "better"?
 

Old 03-21-2013   #20
ibcrewin
Ah looky looky
 
ibcrewin's Avatar
 
ibcrewin is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Age: 43
Posts: 738
Have you ever been to Times Square? It's like eating dinner at Red Lobster in Times Square, you're going where everyone else is going. You're looking in the wrong place. There are really great seafood places in NYC, but for some reason Red Lobster is booming.
__________________
Shooting, developing, and scanning more film in 2013! My Flickr Gallery


Bessa-R w/ J8 lens, Lubitel 2, Rebel XT, Elan 7e, Konica C35, Olympus Mju
 

Old 03-21-2013   #21
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 46
Posts: 20,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Too busy doing what some may see as my part in twisting the knife
Amen to that!!!
 

Old 03-21-2013   #22
mfogiel
Registered User
 
mfogiel's Avatar
 
mfogiel is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Monaco
Posts: 4,658
@upceci

I would be interested, for the sake of comparison, to see a photo, that you would consider as a technically proficient B&W image, so that the whole thread could have a reference point, otherwise the discussion could be useless.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #23
Jan Pedersen
Registered User
 
Jan Pedersen is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vicinity of Portland OR
Age: 65
Posts: 562
Quote:
Just to annoy you I'll post some more of the "modern" B&W film garbage. Yes, I know the film is considered garbage and also it's hated by many people in the age of digital convenience. Thus I'm deeply sorry for the inconvenience by posting a simple film scan...




Yes, how dare you showing an image with delicate whites and well defined shadow details in the middle of this discussion
__________________
_____________________________
http://janlpedersen.com/
 

Old 03-21-2013   #24
L Collins
-
 
L Collins is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 355
Iwould argue with the assumption that B&W images are "supposed" to look like anything in particular.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #25
ferider
Registered User
 
ferider's Avatar
 
ferider is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 11,249
Well, it turns out to be very tricky to share anything online without some form of scanning . And sometimes, grey in grey might be just fine.



Note that this photo was not possible 20 years ago. And neither could this one have been taken:



Cheers,

Roland.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #26
tunalegs
Pretended Artist
 
tunalegs's Avatar
 
tunalegs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,599
There is more than one way to print a photo, don't ya know?
 

Old 03-21-2013   #27
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
This picture's main issue is the horizon which is right in the middle and at the very center a tree, the image thus divided by four, a big no in any "art" because the viewers eye gets confused without any point of reference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut View Post


Sublime by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
 

Old 03-21-2013   #28
OurManInTangier
An Undesirable
 
OurManInTangier's Avatar
 
OurManInTangier is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,057
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
Today there are two types of B&W images, flat and dull digital conversions and film scans, contrasty and overcooked digital conversions and film scans. How did it come to this?
1. There's nothing quite like a generalization that hasn't been recognised as just that, a generalization. It's akin to me moaning about TV becoming nothing but 'Reality' shows when 'back in my day' we had good drama and documentaries. The fact is we still do, but with more channels you have to sift through things that others like which you may not before you find something you deem worthy.

2. I don't believe it did.

P.S. Out of curiosity, which photographers do you think made excellent black and white images? Ansel Adams? Robert Frank?
__________________
Cheers
Simon

| SLP: Work website
 

Old 03-21-2013   #29
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
Run an auto contrast on the first image in any photo editing software and see the difference. Right now the image looks like it has incorrect gamma.

The second image needs midtone contrast to differentiate between the foreground and background, there is no sense of space even though its a landscape shot of a huge area.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Well, it turns out to be very tricky to share anything online without some form of scanning . And sometimes, grey in grey might be just fine.



Note that this photo was not possible 20 years ago. And neither could this one have been taken:



Cheers,

Roland.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #30
tjh
Registered User
 
tjh is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut View Post
Just to annoy you I'll post some more of the "modern" B&W film garbage. Yes, I know the film is considered garbage and also it's hated by many people in the age of digital convenience. Thus I'm deeply sorry for the inconvenience by posting a simple film scan...




Sublime by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
I wish my garbage looked half as good.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #31
DominikDUK
Registered User
 
DominikDUK's Avatar
 
DominikDUK is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 1,047
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
This picture's main issue is the horizon which is right in the middle and at the very center a tree, the image thus divided by four, a big no in any "art" because the viewers eye gets confused without any point of reference.
I hope you are joking.

The eyes are led into the middle of the image, not only by the subject but also by difference of the light. The viewer is forced to concentrate on the middle of the image. This print is in fact a very good example of good composition in my opinion that is.

Dominik
 

Old 03-21-2013   #32
upceci
-
 
upceci is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 75
I'm simply a disgruntled B&W fan that has been totally disappointed with anything out there. What I need is some good B&W images to make me feel that there is hope for B&W. I'm not going to get into silly arguments so keep the sarcasm and eyerolling for other topics.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #33
OurManInTangier
An Undesirable
 
OurManInTangier's Avatar
 
OurManInTangier is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,057
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
This picture's main issue is the horizon which is right in the middle and at the very center a tree, the image thus divided by four, a big no in any "art" because the viewers eye gets confused without any point of reference.
Whereas my eye/brain loves this image and the stimulation that comes from such blatant rule breaking. This, of course, is no more than opinion from us both
__________________
Cheers
Simon

| SLP: Work website
 

Old 03-21-2013   #34
semilog
curmudgeonly optimist
 
semilog is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
This picture's main issue is the horizon which is right in the middle and at the very center a tree, the image thus divided by four, a big no in any "art" because the viewers eye gets confused without any point of reference.
Yeah, I was like, totally confused by that image. Head spinning. Feel dizzy. Disoriented. Might hurl. Can't navigate. Soooooo confused.
__________________
There are two kinds of photographers:
those who are interested in what a particular camera can't do,
and those who are interested in what it can do.

semilog.smugmug.com | flickr.com/photos/semilog/
 

Old 03-21-2013   #35
semilog
curmudgeonly optimist
 
semilog is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
There is more than one way to print a photo, don't ya know?
That is not the question. The question is what is the right way. The right way is best. Tell us what is the right way.
__________________
There are two kinds of photographers:
those who are interested in what a particular camera can't do,
and those who are interested in what it can do.

semilog.smugmug.com | flickr.com/photos/semilog/
 

Old 03-21-2013   #36
user237428934
User deletion pending
 
user237428934 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
I'm simply a disgruntled B&W fan that has been totally disappointed with anything out there. What I need is some good B&W images to make me feel that there is hope for B&W.
Enlighten us. Post examples.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #37
OurManInTangier
An Undesirable
 
OurManInTangier's Avatar
 
OurManInTangier is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,057
Quote:
Originally Posted by semilog View Post
That is not the question. The question is what is the right way. The right way is best. Tell us what is the right way.
Auto contrast, judging from an earlier comment
__________________
Cheers
Simon

| SLP: Work website
 

Old 03-21-2013   #38
dave lackey
Registered User
 
dave lackey's Avatar
 
dave lackey is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Posts: 8,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut View Post
Just to annoy you I'll post some more of the "modern" B&W film garbage. Yes, I know the film is considered garbage and also it's hated by many people in the age of digital convenience. Thus I'm deeply sorry for the inconvenience by posting a simple film scan...





Sublime by tsiklonaut, on Flickr

Heh, my friend, the title is appropriate for this post, IMO. When I first read the original post, I thought about you and then you post a wonderful black and white film scan! Bravo...once again.
__________________


Dave
 

Old 03-21-2013   #39
hipsterdufus
Photographer?
 
hipsterdufus's Avatar
 
hipsterdufus is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ferndale, MI
Posts: 883
I don't know if I could find a better example of trolling...

Convince yourself that good black & white still exists, OP. It's not our job.
__________________
-Eric K.
 

Old 03-21-2013   #40
Bill Clark
Registered User
 
Bill Clark's Avatar
 
Bill Clark is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota
Age: 71
Posts: 2,623
That's all I use film cameras for is B&W. Still have the analog darkroom set up in a bathroom. Having a room made just for the darkroom. It will be the first ever for me!
__________________
Predictions are hard, especially about the future.
-Yogi Berra
 
Closed Thread


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 14:41.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.