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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

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Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Old 07-12-2017   #161
jsrockit
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But some "NoName", "NoFrills" guys from the crowd like me are fine with mucho affordable and reasonable archival inks and 100$ inkjet printers for upto 8.5x11 size. And just archival paper from Epson with next to nothing price .
But your expectations are different no?
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Old 07-12-2017   #162
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To Bill Pierce -

I think you are discounting film a little too severely. You are right that film is not "pure" and today digital and film are interconnected in processing for instance. But digital is just ordinary; film is cool and different, and attracts aficionados. Stupidly when digital tries to be "different" it apes film looks. The other point is that the crisis of film, marked by steadily declining usage and shuttering of factories, is over. Film production is actually growing again.
I'm not discounting film even though the majority of my current work is digital. For a number of reasons, much of it to do with the delivery of images, the great majority of professional work is now digital. A lot of important film photography exists outside of those limits.

What does distress me is someone saying the digital technology is to blame because they can't make an inkjet print from a digital file that has the same tonal characteristics as a silver print. Superb black-and-whte photographers, for example Salgado, can mix their early film work and recent digital work and make them match in either exhibits or books. When I have time, I'll try to outline all the ways you work on that. But the easiest way to start is just to put some b&w silver prints on the desk next to your computer, look at some digital images on your computer screen and say what do I do to those raw files to make them look more like the prints on my desk.
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Old 07-12-2017   #163
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But digital is just ordinary; film is cool and different, and attracts aficionados.
This all depends on perspective. Many of us here started in photography when there were not any consumer digital cameras. Film is not different to me. Film was the norm. Digital was different. I'm certainly an aficionado and I use only digital at this point. I prefer the look. I know that is hard for some to believe, but it is true.

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Stupidly when digital tries to be "different" it apes film looks.
No, when PEOPLE try to emulate film with digital.

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The other point is that the crisis of film, marked by steadily declining usage and shuttering of factories, is over. Film production is actually growing again.
and this is a good thing for photography in general.
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Old 07-12-2017   #164
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But your expectations are different no?
From what I have seen as Piezography, no. Last time it was at local Arts Center few months ago. Some big (locally) name photographer and huge prints.

I'm happy with OEM Epson pigment inks or compatible inks (for ten times less) from reputable seller in Canada and Epson archival paper. I print and it is not wet right away. Instant pleasure. Cheap and quick bw prints.
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Old 07-12-2017   #165
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Or, you could do what Winogrand did, and leave a bag (2500 rolls?) of unprocessed film behind. I spend as much time in post as I did in a darkroom. Plus, I have to soup and scan my film. If you only have 90 days, let someone else worry about it..
Hi,
I meant i'd just shoot, and leave files without postprocessing if on digital.
In case of doing it with film, I'd develop, but I wouldn't print.
I imagine Gary Winogrand developed most rolls he considered important because of any interesting scene he remembered and he'd like to see... I've never thought the rolls he left unprocessed were for him his best work.
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Old 07-12-2017   #166
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Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Hi,
I meant i'd just shoot, and leave files without postprocessing if on digital.
In case of doing it with film, I'd develop, but I wouldn't print.
I imagine Gary Winogrand developed most rolls he considered important because of any interesting scene he remembered and he'd like to see... I've never thought the rolls he left unprocessed were for him his best work.
Winogrand said he delayed the developing of film to put some distance between taking the pictures and selecting which ones to print in order to increase the objectivity of his selections. Donít know if itís true, but thatís what he said.
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Old 07-12-2017   #167
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Thanks for the info, Bill !
He could have delayed selecting only, though...
Anyway, so many many rolls left that way have always been a mystery to me...
Lazy? Sad? Bored? Feeling he did enough? Depressed?
Hard to know.
Absolutely wonderful photographer, of course.
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Old 07-12-2017   #168
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It's a good question and my own, very personal, reasons are:

I like film itself, I mean the actual stuff, and the process of developing it. Yes, it's time consuming but to see a roll of negs coming out of the tank is magic. So far, for me, there is no equivalent in the digital world.

I shot my first rolls of monochrome film at age nine and I still have them. Now I'm in my mid sixties and I can look back over the years and see a certain continuity right back to those old negs. For me digital is a totally different thing, not worse or better but different. I do shoot digital but there is less emotional attachment.

There's a lot about shooting/developing film that I don't yet know or haven't yet mastered. While this remains the case why should I switch to something else?

Finally, I like the look of film. There's something about digital monochrome that I find less attractive, even though it may be technically more perfect. Some have mentioned Salgado. For me his work lacks the kind of feeling that appeals to me - it's technically very proficient but give me a grainy, lopsided Frank or Moriyama any day.
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Old 07-12-2017   #169
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So, really... it comes down to romanticism and process. Nothing wrong with that. What a wonderful time to be into Photography. So many different ways to do it and basically every process (from its history) is still available if you want to pursue it.
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Old 07-12-2017   #170
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So, really... it comes down to romanticism and process. Nothing wrong with that. What a wonderful time to be into Photography. So many different ways to do it and basically every process (from its history) is still available if you want to pursue it.
The choice doesn't have to include romanticism. Could just be process.
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Old 07-12-2017   #171
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Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
I was very lucky to work for magazines that let me witness incredible events and spend time with exceptional people, but it was the events and the people that were important, not the photographer. From Facebook to photo sites, I see photographers talking and writing about themselves when what is important is in front of the camera, not behind it. Were there adventures and wonderful times? Of course. Thatís why I chose to be a news photographer rather than an advertising or commercial photographer. But, Iím a little reluctant to join the ďlook at meĒ crowd. I feel a lot more comfortable as part of the ďlook at thatĒ crowd.

Hereís one story (and then Iím going to shut up). I have a friend who is a fairly well known actor. Iíve photographed films and plays heís been in. Even done the ubiquitous head shot a number of times. Heís approached a lot in public and is always warm and courteous to fans, even when it takes a little effort. Once we were in the lobby of a theatre after the production when a fan started charging towards us. He put on a smile, but carefully positioned himself with me between him and the fan. She ran up to us, stopped and said, ďYouíre Bill Pierce, the photographer.Ē We both went into shock. Thatís the first and last time that has ever happened. He got approached by another fan on his way out of the theatre, and things went back to normal.
there is a profound cult of personality in photojournalism today that has sent some of most dedicated and talented photographers i know in other directions.
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Old 07-12-2017   #172
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The choice doesn't have to include romanticism. Could just be process.
Ok...I should have put and / or!
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Why film?
Old 07-12-2017   #173
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Why film?

I wonder what Zizek prefers? As a self-professed old school dialectical materialist does he embrace the tangibility of Tri-X? Or as a 21st century slayer of romantic shibboleths does he fire up a Canon 1DX? His view would be fascinating, no doubt. How do we get him to join RFF?
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Old 07-12-2017   #174
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Winogrand said he delayed the developing of film to put some distance between taking the pictures and selecting which ones to print in order to increase the objectivity of his selections. Donít know if itís true, but thatís what he said.
I recall, that he said he would wait at least a year.
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Old 07-12-2017   #175
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So, really... it comes down to romanticism and process. .
And the fact that it doesn't look the same. Which, since we are talking about something we look at, matters to some people.
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Old 07-12-2017   #176
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I usually stay out of these discussions because I'm not a pro photographer. When I realized that I have to take pictures of my guitars to sell them online, so pictures are a part of my income stream. So I use my digital camera for that because I need the pictures fast.
I like to take my other pictures with a film rangefinder, because I enjoy it. That is all.
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Old 07-12-2017   #177
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And the fact that it doesn't look the same. Which, since we are talking about something we look at, matters to some people.
Completely, as long as we understand there is a camp that actually prefers the way digital looks too. It seems that many cannot come to terms with that. I like both. My favorite photographers used film, I cannot dispute that (but they had no other choice). However, for what I want to do, I prefer digital. It's not laziness. I love the clarity and the process. However, a nice 6x6 camera could be fun though.
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Old 07-12-2017   #178
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Lmao, here we go again. Digital shooters desperately trying to sell the idea that people shoot film because we have an emottional attachment, or we like faffing around with it. Not, no definitely most assuredly not because we think it looks SO MUCH BETTER, and in the face of that, the convenience of digital isn't much at all. It just a compromise.

Hilarious!

No, not at all... but I understand it is your style to be sensationalist. If you read all of my posts in this thread, you know that I do prefer digital, but also know my favorite photographers use film. I also hit upon the differences and the reason people might choose to use one or another. I honestly (YES HONESTLY) do not care one bit what people choose to use to photograph with as long as I enjoy looking at their images ... enjoy looking at the framing, content, and style of their imagery. Beautiful photography has been done with every single photographic process ever invented. I truly believe that. If anything, you are the one who has been insistent that only one process can ever be considered legitimate. I love photography plain and simple...not just a process or a product.
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Old 07-13-2017   #179
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I like film for the fact it is a real thing, a negative (mainly) and then a print that I made from the negative.

I could make a photograph thing in other ways but I like this way.

That's my "why film?" It doesn't stand against/at odds with any other why (or why not), it is what it is.

I like the combination of craft and art, it gives me 'the good feelings.'

I definitely don't feel like I answer to anyone about all of this, or that anyone else needs to share my POV. Whatever floats your boat, enjoy.
Ah! Great - someone listens. Thanks for your feedback, and appreciate your comment.

Seriously all the comments here are great to read.
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Old 07-13-2017   #180
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The choice doesn't have to include romanticism. Could just be process.
or results
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Old 07-13-2017   #181
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From what I have seen as Piezography, no. Last time it was at local Arts Center few months ago. Some big (locally) name photographer and huge prints.

I'm happy with OEM Epson pigment inks or compatible inks (for ten times less) from reputable seller in Canada and Epson archival paper. I print and it is not wet right away. Instant pleasure. Cheap and quick bw prints.
KoFe,

Nothing wrong with prints with Epson OEM inks or less expensive archival pigment third party inks. Epson OEM makes fine prints.

Piezography is a medium with its own voice that allows me a lot of flexibility and creative potential. I blend my own K7 inkset; with the new Piezography Pro I have infinite control of a three way split toning; I have the option of printing digital negatives for wet contact printing.

Certainly if you pay Jon Cone for a fine art print from his studio you pay dearly, but if one runs Piezography at home it is less costly than running Epson OEM.

To be honest one only notices the advantages of Piezography over Epson OEM on big or really huge prints. It seems on really large prints the extra resolution becomes evident, and the tonality really opens up. On some of my 20x30's the look I would dare say approaches large format. On 13x17 prints the impact is lower and not great. Print size effects the visible shadow detail a lot.

A Piezography print has its own look, and a B&W print from Epson OEM surely has its own look.

Cal
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Old 07-13-2017   #182
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Thank you, Cal! It is good to have different options and methods.

I printed in BW on Epson yesterday couple of family pictures (taken on bw film) and showed it to my wife. 5x7 size. She said - "clear and sharp". I think, it was in comparison to my wet prints.

To me yesterday inkjet prints from bw film scans were too sharp and clear. If size is between 5x7 and Letter I prefer darkroom prints. They are kind of smooth, yet, not dull. But larger than 8x10 wet prints are less sharp for my taste and this is where MF negatives makes difference. Since both, MF and large darkroom prints are problematic for me, I like your method and with your's explanations what it is not very expensive I like it even more!

Ko.
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Old 07-13-2017   #183
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What does distress me is someone saying the digital technology is to blame because they can't make an inkjet print from a digital file that has the same tonal characteristics as a silver print. Superb black-and-whte photographers, for example Salgado, can mix their early film work and recent digital work and make them match in either exhibits or books. When I have time, I'll try to outline all the ways you work on that. But the easiest way to start is just to put some b&w silver prints on the desk next to your computer, look at some digital images on your computer screen and say what do I do to those raw files to make them look more like the prints on my desk.
Bill,

Because I cut my teeth on film the look of a silver wet print has become embedded into my work.

Salgado's work in Genesis surely displays how seamless digital and analog can be, but a trained eye can tell the differences between an analog image capture and a digital image capture by Salgado by looking at and comparing the shadows and the highlights in the exhibition that was at ICP. The digital image capture has enhanced shadow detail, and the analog image capture has a smoother roll off in the highlights.

So it came down to better shadow detail, or smoother highlights, but the differences were so minute that only a very careful trained eye can recognize the difference.

Today I use Piezography, and it is amazing that much of the technology has trickled down to where a guy at my level can do some of the things Salgado did, but without the best lab in Paris.

At PhotoPlusExpo two years ago I made a 13x19 print on 17x22 paper to gift Robert Rodriguez, the Artist In Residence for Canson Paper. When I went to the Leica booth I went there with my SL2-MOT and made fun of the guys there saying, "Why would I want a new SL when I have an old one?"

I met Richard Herzog who was one of the guys manning the SL booth and he inquired about my work, so I went back to the Canson booth to borrow back the print I gave Richard Rodriguez.

The image was a panoramic view of the old Domino Sugar Refinery on the East River taken with a Leica Monochrom and 28 Cron at F5.6 shot from a vantage point from above on the Willimsburg Bridge.

Anyways I blew the guys in the Leica booth away. First off they thought it was film, and not only film but possibly large format. For me a larger 20x30 print really opens things up and is a totally different experience than holding a 13x19 print in your hands.

It so happens that Richard Herzog was a marketing director for Phase One and an avid large format shooter. Richard was very keen and wanted to know more about Piezography for his own work.

So one reason to shoot mucho film is to learn the look. After that transfering it to digital is not too difficult. I tend not to be heavy handed with post processing, my digital skills are low and really basic, but I have that trained eye. BTW I tend to shoot like a large format guy because I try to optimize everything at image capture to minimize post processing.

Cal
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Old 07-13-2017   #184
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I'm sure some on here will say with the software/firmware film emulation effects they can't tell the difference. I've always wondered, if digital images are so much better, meaning that they look better, why is so much time (and money) spent on trying to make them look like film? Do you remember all the "grain effect" tools. And, now Fuji has a Neopan Acros emulator.
Yeah, I see your point. However, I never try to make my digital photos look like film. Many people love that task, and will stress over it, but I never understood it. If I wanted that look, I'd go for the real thing i.e. film. I let digital be digital. I've had people show their disappointment when I tell them I've never tried using the ACROS emulator on my Fujis. I have no interest in it at all.
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Old 07-13-2017   #185
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Thank you, Cal! It is good to have different options and methods.

I printed in BW on Epson yesterday couple of family pictures (taken on bw film) and showed it to my wife. 5x7 size. She said - "clear and sharp". I think, it was in comparison to my wet prints.

To me yesterday inkjet prints from bw film scans were too sharp and clear. If size is between 5x7 and Letter I prefer darkroom prints. They are kind of smooth, yet, not dull. But larger than 8x10 wet prints are less sharp for my taste and this is where MF negatives makes difference. Since both, MF and large darkroom prints are problematic for me, I like your method and with your's explanations what it is not very expensive I like it even more!

Ko.
Ko,

Costs add up fast, and it surely can get crazy expensive.

A while back my friend Joe gave me a file to print from his MM. I was perhaps 9 months into learning printing digitally, but when I looked at the print I noticed this squirrel in the shadows of a tree that I didn't see on my calibrated EIZO dimmed down to 80 Lux in a darkened room.

This day was an epiphany for me: basically I found out that with Piezography I can print what I can't see, even with a dimmed down calibrated monitor in a dark room. WOW.

After that I started printing differently, knowing that if I pushed contrast I masked shadow detail.

Joe made a 13x19 of the very same file, but on his 3880 loaded with Epson OEM inks. I had printed on my 3880, but my printer was set up with Piezography K-7. I was expecting my print to crush Joe's OEM print, but that did not happen. Joe's print held it's own and the better print was a coin toss.

So really to see what is good about Piezography one has to print big. The advantages then get amplified and are visible. I can print bigger with Piezography, also the prints get more depth as you scale up, and there is a transferance where the image moves up in format. It becomes less about contrast and the voice of the print is in the huge midrange. The dynamic range jumps in format/formats.

Our film backgrounds are very valuable assets. Very important.

Cal
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Old 07-13-2017   #186
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The answer is overed by a cartoon in The New Yorker:

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Old 07-13-2017   #187
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Yeah, I see your point. However, I never try to make my digital photos look like film. Many people love that task, and will stress over it, but I never understood it. If I wanted that look, I'd go for the real thing i.e. film. I let digital be digital. I've had people show their disappointment when I tell them I've never tried using the ACROS emulator on my Fujis. I have no interest in it at all.
Another thing I see as completely crazy, is commercial clients who insist their job is done with 40 MP or higher capture (some want 100 now), when the image will be printed no bigger than 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller or be sized down for web use. They will enlarge portions on a big monitor.. and OOOO' over them. Just a crazy waste of money by ignorant, mostly young, ADs. Even old 6 MP capture were made into billboards.

If you look back to the beginning of all this digital stuff, and the marketing people having their way with the technology, much of the crap you see will make sense. Pixels don't matter..Photosites matter. The reason the pixel count was used as apposed to Photosites to describe a sensors image quality is marketing. The marketing people liked Pixels because it was a much bigger number (4x for Bayer) and "Pixel" sounded better. Do you remember the old Carry Grant film: Arsenic and Old Lace? The Aunt's were "Pixellated".

Much of digital photography is driven by marketing people. The market for cameras to people who know little about photography and where the cameras change every 18 months is huge. Much bigger than with film cameras. Think how the whole market changed with Auto Focus. Now we have auto everything, and it's in your phone if you like.
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Old 07-13-2017   #188
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Some people are so involved in the sound they fail to hear the music.
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Old 07-13-2017   #189
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Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
John, for me it's not so much trying to replicate film, but rather tone down the purity of digital. It's the wabi-sabi thing; some of us just appreciate distressed jeans, two-day stubble, rumpled shirts, and brassed cameras.

I loved my MM1 output, but sometimes it was just TOO clean. Beating the files up a bit improved things. Nothing to do with film -- just a natural, more organic look that film happens to share.

John
Understood... and in some things, I'm the same way. When I first fell in love with photography (1990), I loved experimenting with process. I used crappy cameras with 110 film, 126 film, minox, etc and made the prints huge. I loved the grain and lack of detail. Used pinholes and plastic cameras. Made my own emulsions. Had my own darkroom. Most of the images sucked though content and framing wise. Then I went color film (C-41 / C-Prints) and starting using flash in order to record all information. Then took off 10 years from photography. Once I came back, digital was mature... I could now get all of the info without the flash, but with a more natural look to the light (compared to flash). I learned to love the look of digital. I learned that framing and content interest me most now. I must note that I still mostly use color with the occasional B&W image. This may be why I'm ok with digital as well.

One thing about film... Of course I see the way film deals with highlights as superior, but I've learned to deal with highlights in digital by using new (to me) methods. A blown highlight on B&W film can still look ok... in digital, its downright ugly. I get that.

I just can't put myself into a Black or White category. There is a lot of grey in the world and my tastes change frequently. For all I know, I might go back to film next year.
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Old 07-13-2017   #190
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I like the look of digital especially the B&W files from the MM. I still love film and that look to. But they are different and look different. If I want a B&W film look I will shoot film. I like the look of the MM files and I like the fact I can get clean really large prints from 3200 ISO.

Thats not to say I don't like the look of B&W film. If I were to shoot a project where that look would fit with the way I see the project in the end then thats what I would shoot that project with.

I have always tried to play to the tools strength and whether that look is what I need to achieve what I am trying to say visually. It shouldn't be about one is better than the other (vs) but what is best for what one is trying to say visually.
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Old 07-13-2017   #191
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Understood... and in some things, I'm the same way. When I first fell in love with photography (1990), I loved experimenting with process. I used crappy cameras with 110 film, 126 film, minox, etc and made the prints huge. I loved the grain and lack of detail. Used pinholes and plastic cameras. Made my own emulsions. Had my own darkroom. Most of the images sucked though content and framing wise. Then I went color film (C-41 / C-Prints) and starting using flash in order to record all information. Then took of 10 years from photography. Once I came back, digital was mature... I could not get all of the info without the flash, but with a more natural look (compared to flash). I learned to love the look of digital. I learned that framing and content interest me most now. I must note that I still mostly use color with the occasional B&W image. This may be why I'm ok with digital as well.

One thing about film... Of course I see the way film deals with highlights as superior, but I've learned to deal with highlights in digital by using new (to me) methods. A blown highlight on B&W film can still look ok... in digital, its downright ugly. I get that.

I just can't put myself into a Black or White category. There is a lot of grey in the world and my tastes change frequently. For all I know, I might go back to film next year.
John,

For me you have done matured. The film was just a stepping stone for you, and now you have your own style, which is a great thing.

Exploring a medium and moving to a new medium results in growth. As much as I am a film fan presently, digital taught me a lot and made me a better photographer. I love both mediums, but because of the familiar I have a preference for film.

Both mediums make me happy, but basically my identity is still old-school, and perhaps I'm a retro-slob. LOL.

Cal
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Old 07-13-2017   #192
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Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
That's what does it for me -- the highlights. I recently scanned...
If you scan it and the look you want is still there it is not a problem of "digital". Itīs a problem of the process when highlights look blown.
And itīs a problem of our screens where white parts are often not paperwhite but cool white like the light that comes from the LEDs in the panel.
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Old 07-13-2017   #193
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Bill,

Because I cut my teeth on film the look of a silver wet print has become embedded into my work.

Salgado's work in Genesis surely displays how seamless digital and analog can be, but a trained eye can tell the differences between an analog image capture and a digital image capture by Salgado by looking at and comparing the shadows and the highlights in the exhibition that was at ICP. The digital image capture has enhanced shadow detail, and the analog image capture has a smoother roll off in the highlights.

So it came down to better shadow detail, or smoother highlights, but the differences were so minute that only a very careful trained eye can recognize the difference.

Today I use Piezography, and it is amazing that much of the technology has trickled down to where a guy at my level can do some of the things Salgado did, but without the best lab in Paris.

At PhotoPlusExpo two years ago I made a 13x19 print on 17x22 paper to gift Robert Rodriguez, the Artist In Residence for Canson Paper. When I went to the Leica booth I went there with my SL2-MOT and made fun of the guys there saying, "Why would I want a new SL when I have an old one?"

I met Richard Herzog who was one of the guys manning the SL booth and he inquired about my work, so I went back to the Canson booth to borrow back the print I gave Richard Rodriguez.

The image was a panoramic view of the old Domino Sugar Refinery on the East River taken with a Leica Monochrom and 28 Cron at F5.6 shot from a vantage point from above on the Willimsburg Bridge.

Anyways I blew the guys in the Leica booth away. First off they thought it was film, and not only film but possibly large format. For me a larger 20x30 print really opens things up and is a totally different experience than holding a 13x19 print in your hands.

It so happens that Richard Herzog was a marketing director for Phase One and an avid large format shooter. Richard was very keen and wanted to know more about Piezography for his own work.

So one reason to shoot mucho film is to learn the look. After that transfering it to digital is not too difficult. I tend not to be heavy handed with post processing, my digital skills are low and really basic, but I have that trained eye. BTW I tend to shoot like a large format guy because I try to optimize everything at image capture to minimize post processing.

Cal
I believe Salgado used DxO FilmPack, the Tri-X and TMax 3200 settings for his black-and-white digital images. A lot of folks use Tonality Pro and Silver Efex Pro 2. And just the controls in a lot of basic digital processing programs often have the necessary features.

What we have to remember is that silver prints are the product of two curves - the filmís and the paper. If Iím using a program that provides a film curve or creating one in a basic program, my tendency is to add a little clarity in addition to the film curve. This means you are going to see much lower shadow contrast and higher midtown contrast than a ďstraightĒ print once the overall range is set. As you mentioned, there is often still a little more shadow detail in the digital files. You just use the black slider or setting to drop out the darkest tones. Since many photographers have spent considerable effort to maximize shadow detail in silver and digital, you can understand their reluctance to clip it. Frankly, itís a matter of taste. What to do with highlights seems to vary with camera and processing program, ditto emulating grain (although I donít really care about that).

When Ansel Adams could write 5 books on the Zone System and the prints it produced, what Iíve just said is obviously minimal and incomplete. Being an old person I probably favor the tonality of a black-and-white silver print and try to mimic it in my inkjet prints, but I really donít care whether a print is silver or pigment. What I do care about is that printing is part the picture taking/making process that directs the viewer to what is important in the picture to the photographer. I do believe that in many cases the computer is a more efficient way to do that. But the wet darkroom is a better place to have a little private time.
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Old 07-13-2017   #194
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Here some thoughts on black-and-white vs, color and bw film vs. digital that are well worth perusing...

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...w-nasties.html
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Old 07-13-2017   #195
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I believe Salgado used DxO FilmPack, the Tri-X and TMax 3200 settings for his black-and-white digital images. A lot of folks use Tonality Pro and Silver Efex Pro 2. And just the controls in a lot of basic digital processing programs often have the necessary features.

What we have to remember is that silver prints are the product of two curves - the filmís and the paper. If Iím using a program that provides a film curve or creating one in a basic program, my tendency is to add a little clarity in addition to the film curve. This means you are going to see much lower shadow contrast and higher midtown contrast than a ďstraightĒ print once the overall range is set. As you mentioned, there is often still a little more shadow detail in the digital files. You just use the black slider or setting to drop out the darkest tones. Since many photographers have spent considerable effort to maximize shadow detail in silver and digital, you can understand their reluctance to clip it. Frankly, itís a matter of taste. What to do with highlights seems to vary with camera and processing program, ditto emulating grain (although I donít really care about that).

When Ansel Adams could write 5 books on the Zone System and the prints it produced, what Iíve just said is obviously minimal and incomplete. Being an old person I probably favor the tonality of a black-and-white silver print and try to mimic it in my inkjet prints, but I really donít care whether a print is silver or pigment. What I do care about is that printing is part the picture taking/making process that directs the viewer to what is important in the picture to the photographer. I do believe that in many cases the computer is a more efficient way to do that. But the wet darkroom is a better place to have a little private time.
Bill,

I read "The Digital Negative" and "The Digital Print" by Jeff Schewe. He is an early adopter of digital and worked as a consultant for Adobe in helping develop Lightroom. There is a lot of redundant informationion and crossover in these books, but the jist is to present the new technology as if Ansel Adams wrote it.

What I found the most useful were the explainations of how interactive the controls are and how best to exploit them for control. It basically made things less complicated for a guy like me who is digitally dumb. My approch is kinda like film in keeping things simple. If I had to buy only one book I would get "The Digital Negative" because it is the first book, and everything one would need to understand Lightroom is there. "The Digital Print" is pretty redundant.

For me I can use the expanded dynamic range to transend formats. I seldom add contrast, and if I do I use tone curves. I let the file speak. My post processing is kinda minimal and in this manner my images remain somewhat film like or suggest film. Not sure I do this on purpose, but perhaps it has been ingrained in me. It happens kinda orgnically.

Film is a way of seeing in my case, and it seems my digital work gets framed from that view.

Cal
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Old 07-13-2017   #196
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The answer is overed by a cartoon in The New Yorker:

https://condenaststore.com/featured/...x-gregory.html
Hillarious! (I'm into vinyl too )
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Old 07-13-2017   #197
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After googling a pic of that cartoon (so I can text it to a friend)

I found this variant:

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Old 07-13-2017   #198
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It would be disingenuous to deny that that mentality doesn't exist among some film aficionados. It is certain true about a segment of the high end audio crowd.
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Old 07-13-2017   #199
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...I really donít care whether a print is silver or pigment. What I do care about is that printing is part the picture taking/making process that directs the viewer to what is important in the picture to the photographer...
Bill,
You just touched a subjet that Iīve been worried about for years...
I don't want to be controversial in any way, and I don't expect anyone to share my opinion, and even less hurt anyone's preferences...
I feel the special treatment of certain parts of the image, is something that's not related to real photography... Please everybody, don't tell me x image by y photographer has done it: I know. Even HCB's printers. I was taught to do it both in the darkroom and in the computer, but I feel it's something more related to a different art: painting... If we start changing parts of an image to direct the viewer or even worse, make them say wow, we end up like Ansel Adams, who was more a painter than a photographer (a darkroom painter with complex diagrams to surprise with a print seriously different from his negative) and I loved him when I was young, and I studied all his books before they were available in Spanish, and I love nature, but his work is horribly cold... As time goes by, I feel the more we keep photography away from painting, the healthier it is... The more we keep the scene untouched (I mean partially), the more we reach a discipline that's apart from painting... It's like being a war photographer and just chase blood and the wildest drama faces... There are better ways to do it, more delicate ones... Why shout always?
Sorry for the comment: I don't consider myself a better photographer than you in any way, and I don't think you haven't considered this before, it's just that when the objective is selling photos for the masses and moving all kinds of people, the bussiness requires procedures because others do it, but, again, only IMO, I think it's philosophically relevant to have the double honesty Winogrand talked about and use the camera for what it's good: reflecting reality, and reflecting it just as it is... "Hey, it's just a little change...", well, we shouldn't because the camera already captured what was real the way it was visible... Well, I won't insist and I won't answer other related comments because this is a little away from the thread... All I meant was, if a good direct print is not enough, there's a problem elsewhere... Maybe I'm just part of the school that says photography ends exactly when you press the shutter...
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Old 07-13-2017   #200
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It would be disingenuous to deny that that mentality doesn't exist among some film aficionados. It is certain true about a segment of the high end audio crowd.
Are you guys profiling me? LOL.

I have a pair of 300B meshplate monoblocks running single-ended triode.

The soundstage is incredible.

My gal once said, "Why do the speakers have to be so big?" LOL.

Cal
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