Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Being a Photographer > Business / Philosophy of Photography

Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Old 03-13-2008   #81
amateriat
We're all light!
 
amateriat's Avatar
 
amateriat is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 63
Posts: 4,282
Free your mind, and your glass will follow.


- Barrett
__________________

"Print 'em both, kid." -
Frank "Cancie" Cancellare, to a UPI courier, after tossing a 20-exposure roll of film to him.

Here, a Gallery.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-13-2008   #82
mfunnell
Shaken, so blurred
 
mfunnell's Avatar
 
mfunnell is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop
It's the other way around.

It's not that shooting digital results in "empty mind" photography.

It's that you must have an "empty mind" to shoot digital photography.
I see. Your preferences are deeply thought out, while those of others are unthinking. Right.

I hope you're joking. If you are, then I am But if you're not then I'm not

...Mike
__________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." Dave Barry

My flickr photostream has day-to-day stuff and I've given up most everywhere else through lack of time or perhaps interest.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-14-2008   #83
tomasis
Registered User
 
tomasis is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 730
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m
The fact that I actually used a pair of Leica M's professionally means nothing, does it? All one has to do is simply question the myth of Leica's supremacy as a silent, compact, take-anywhere camera and the darts come flying. This place too often resembles a house of worship more than it does a forum.

My point is that if one's camera is too heavy/bulky, too fragile or too valuable to take EVERYWHERE, then perhaps that particular camera is a limitation on one's photography. If one's CAMERA is more precious than the images it takes, perhaps one has the cart leading the horse, n'est-ce pas?

It ain't 1954 anymore.
I agree. The camera should be seen as an usable tool. My M3 is beat up and I'm gonna modify this so I feel that this is no longer "valuable", precious for me. So it makes much easier for me to make photography without any compromises.

When I said plastic, I thought more about weather sealings.

Regarding weight, I found that a designated body of 600gram (like M) is optimal weight compared to smaller of 200gram especially when you take shoots at dark places. I don't think you can get usable images with slower shutter timings if you use 400gram Rolleiflex TLR either. So form follows function (remember saab advertisement?)
__________________
http://tomasisphoto.tumblr.com

100% leica optics. Serious photographer needs only one lens. Really? Yes,im serious. LESS is MORE. It is not possible to bend that truth how much you want. Whether you're 80 years old or young chap, before or later you come to the insight. Stop FONDLERY!
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-16-2008   #84
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
For good or ill I have followed my friend's suggestion and put the M6 aside this past week in favor of the Nikon D200. I made around 100 exposures that I consider within the 3 Prints Project. It's definitely different and I will continue to alternate weekly between film and digital. There is really no way for me to predict where it will lead. Too much to consider right now as I look at them but I will post them on my blog late Monday.

I did drag the D200 around with me most of the week and was mostly happy I didn't break it. There is a lot more to bang around than with the Leica.

Thanks again for your input.
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2008   #85
Tim Gray
Registered User
 
Tim Gray is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
I shoot both, about equally, professionally.

With film, I make the judgement call, frame it, wait for the right moment, click and then move on to the next frame.....that is the key thing, with film, I make the current image and then I move on. I have faith in what I just did and don't even feel the need to chimp.

...

For every time you look at the back of the digital camera, it points your head downward, away from the world, the moment and the life that you live and places you in the past, not the present that will give you the best opportunities for meaningful images.
It's interesting to hear a clearly experience professional photographer say this. One who has extensive experience with film.

My own journey from digital to film taught me how I was using digital (photoshop, RAW, and the LCD) as a crutch. Shooting film taught me to do away with that. I tell this to people and they say you could do the same with digital - set your camera to manual, turn of the LCD. Who actually does that though?
__________________
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2008   #86
slm
Formerly nextreme
 
slm's Avatar
 
slm is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 419
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Williams View Post
Since the end of November I have committed myself (along with a friend) to shoot two rolls of film each week, process, and make three silver prints. At the end of January I started posting the results on my Vespa blog (a Vespa and Leica are similar) and until this past week was quite satisfied with the process.

You can see the 3 Prints Project posts HERE

The key word for this post is process.

Another friend and serious photographer cautioned me about becoming enamored with process and suggested that passion for what I see should be driving me and not the warm fuzzy feelings I get being in the darkroom (yes...*sigh*).

And he went on to suggest that not only might I be hobbled by the process but shooting film might keep me from reaching the Empty Mind, the place where I can let go of my expectations and preconceptions and really begin to see.

Words from him are not something I take lightly. And I have considered carefully how I work with film. Looking at my contact sheets it's obvious that I am careful tripping the shutter and work with what is familiar and comfortable. I don't take risks and don't push. He could see it. (*******)

Ever the rationalizer I suggested that if I wasn't getting the warm fuzzies from the camera and process I wouldn't be shooting. He conceded my point but told me that it did not remedy my careful view of things.

So I have been second-guessing myself for the past week. I parked the M6 in the Domke bag and have been carrying the Nikon D200 with a 20mm lens around. I use it professionally but never much personally. It's a beast in comparison and I don't feel comfortable with it. Strange considering how much I use it otherwise. But there is no doubt that I am face to face with my narrow approach and predisposition with the Leica.

I can't turn this around in my head any longer. (Well, I could but don't want to). So aside from venting existentially I was wondering if any of you have run into a similar fork in the road?

Have any of you long time informal shooters made the transition to a digital SLR and found new freedom? Or new paths?

I carried the Leica everywhere. The D200 is a pig but carry it I do. But I feel myself hating it.

Will this pass?
I just can't find fault in your post, beside the fact that you're questioning yourself. What is wrong with process ? In today's day and age, is that not at least part of the reason why we choose to shoot film ? The fact of the matter is, that is what makes the two types of photography different from each other, why IMO, the question is not an either/or, but a when to use what.

Enjoy both.
__________________
Mostly Minolta ! - X570/SRT101 + 28/3.5 | 50/1.7 | 58/1.4 | 100/2.5 | 135/3.5 | 135/2.8
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2008   #87
Vics
Registered User
 
Vics's Avatar
 
Vics is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: California, USA
Posts: 3,289
Your friend is wrong to tell you how you should be thinking or feeling. If the process is what brings you to photography, and that's what makes you happy, then that's what you should do! I'm one of those process people, and I'm fine with it! Relax and enjoy.
Vic
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2008   #88
larmarv916
Registered User
 
larmarv916 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 411
My, My....My ! Well for what ever it's worth let me through another way of looking at this whole arugement. It is very similar to the Sail vs Power "boats" or another even better angle is the differentce between vintage vs modern propeller aircraft or Prop vs Jet. Digital is final step in the evoultion of the "groof proof" consumer markeing goal going back almost 50 years.

Film requires that you are "piloting" the creative concept every step of the way from take off to landing and the whole time you flying. Your totally responsible for eveything , tacking, sail management and it is all done by......"The Seat of your Pants" No ABS or Auto Pilot, no Crash Avoidanve Systems.

Digital is like playing a video racing game on you Wii or PS3 Back when I was a student,,,,not all that long ago. No one would ever think of claiming credit for a print that came off a automatic lab machine. Now days Digital is making it so the people who are really caught up in it feeling as if they are actually creating something. This is not true. For most of them can not even focus.!!

Auto Focus is really the biggest proof how far down on the passive free ride society the majority if the consumers have moved down. Hell even F-1 dropped traction control and computer conrtolled suspensions because the drivers were not actually responsible for their performance.

When you using film there is no safety net......Crap in Crap Out ! Your skill and Karama is what you get for your final print. It's a high wire act but failure is the best teacher.

Best regards.....Laurance
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-24-2008   #89
Tim Gray
Registered User
 
Tim Gray is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofdanang View Post
Well, I do. And, from what I see at other events where I'm working with other photographers, so do many others. If your shooting action, looking at the LCD is a real liability - chimping = missing the shot.
Cool. I don't think I've ever seen someone do this...
__________________
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-24-2008   #90
rich815
Always carry a camera
 
rich815's Avatar
 
rich815 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray View Post
Cool. I don't think I've ever seen someone do this...
Me neither. Never.
__________________
----------------------------------------

"Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

Light, Shadow, and Tone
http://www.lightshadowandtone.com/

My Commute Photo Blog

http://shootingonthefly.blogspot.com/

My Flickr River
http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-24-2008   #91
Chris101
summicronia
 
Chris101's Avatar
 
Chris101 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by larmarv916 View Post
My, My....My ! ...
Back in the day, when we wanted to communicate ideas, we would type it up with our IBM Selectric, and then mimeo off a few hundred copies and mail them out to a bunch of friends and acquaintances. That would get the ideas across, because they could actually HOLD our words in their hands.

Any hack can do this internet stuff. We don't even have to use our real names. What kind of commitment or talent does this take?
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-24-2008   #92
larmarv916
Registered User
 
larmarv916 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 411
Back when the IBM Selectric was in it's years of prime power as the communitaction tool of choice. Most of the memo's that went out the door were never seen by the intended target. The secratary of other office gard dogs. Filtered out the daily mail and maybe....it got to it's group of intended targets.

I do not have a problem with people choosing a particulart tool for gemeration of photo images. what Iam saying is that the medium is not the same. When all of the actual accountability or risk for the final image is handled by a software program that corrects for all of the actual faults of the lens or takes over the vast bulk of actual decisions for the end product.

If digital is the tool of choice for someone else that is fine but do not say that the process of creative birth or output is the same. A painter and a digital photographer do not have the same skill levels for reaching the similar final goal. That is lke saying a digital 3D sculpture from a cad scaned sample is the same as the one generated by one EYE and Hammer of a single artist.

I can remmeber many authors of paper memos that we negative reaction came back would disavow that the memo had been incorrectly released without their permission. Think back to Watergate and several other paper based scandals where the authors swore......"Hey man I didnt write. that" !!

When the human element is removed from the actual creative birth and delivery and the skill gets down to push this button and walk away....As in email your flash drive or FedEx it to some art director thousaands of miles away so they can choose 1 or 2 images from the 500 shot during a couple of hours...Well you get my point.

35mm was still a film media....digtal is almost a robotic simulation process. Iam not lossing sleep over this idea and for those who need it actually they enhance the world view of film as a art from.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-25-2008   #93
swoop
Registered User
 
swoop's Avatar
 
swoop is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York City
Age: 37
Posts: 1,709
omg dude. Wow. I read your page back in August when I was mulling over buying a vespa. Because of you I kept debating the merits of a GTS versus the LX. Weird to see you frequent another forum. I ended up getting a black LX 150 by the way. My ex ended up taking a photo 1 class and her personal project was on vespas. She was the one pushing hard for me to get one because she had one. And then because of her for some odd reason I end up taking shots of vespas whenever I pass by one.

As for film versus digital. However you shoot is how you shoot. Personally. I find myself in the opposite position. I often grab my M7 over my digital M8. The only time I use it is when I'm on a deadline, or just goofing around or when I know they're just going to be shots for the internet. Otherwise, it's always my M7 in the camera bag when I'm out the door. And I don't hesitate at all because it's film. I think that argument is just silly. No personal offense intended. But I simply don't think that way. There are times I'm checking over my fresh negs and it's like two rolls of the same thing. If it's cost prohibitive, I can understand that. Then maybe the D200 is best for you. If it's the time spent on processing. Maybe you should just start taking your stuff to a lab to get it processed. There's no shame in that.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-26-2008   #94
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by swoop View Post
omg dude. Wow. I read your page back in August when I was mulling over buying a vespa. Because of you I kept debating the merits of a GTS versus the LX. Weird to see you frequent another forum. I ended up getting a black LX 150 by the way. My ex ended up taking a photo 1 class and her personal project was on vespas. She was the one pushing hard for me to get one because she had one. And then because of her for some odd reason I end up taking shots of vespas whenever I pass by one.

As for film versus digital. However you shoot is how you shoot. Personally. I find myself in the opposite position. I often grab my M7 over my digital M8. The only time I use it is when I'm on a deadline, or just goofing around or when I know they're just going to be shots for the internet. Otherwise, it's always my M7 in the camera bag when I'm out the door. And I don't hesitate at all because it's film. I think that argument is just silly. No personal offense intended. But I simply don't think that way. There are times I'm checking over my fresh negs and it's like two rolls of the same thing. If it's cost prohibitive, I can understand that. Then maybe the D200 is best for you. If it's the time spent on processing. Maybe you should just start taking your stuff to a lab to get it processed. There's no shame in that.
Definitely a small world.

The Vespa and the camera seem like a natural pairing, at least to me. Sorry to hear your inspiration for the Vespa is now your ex but at least you still have the scooter.

There is no time or money issue with film or digital. Whenever I struggle it's a mental issue that appears as sloth or laziness with roots too numerous to go into here. The book "Art and Fear" does a good job rounding them up. This week things are going much smoother. Shooting digital this week and have primarily been shooting with the Canon G9. Nice little camera.
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-24-2009   #95
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nh3 View Post

Anyway, I want to be prepared and focused and wait for the right subject. So, I guess what you need is to findout the right subject for you and then give it all.
NH3: I've read your post a number of times and it has a lot of things in it that resonate with me. Determining the what the right subject is for me is a real challenge. Waiting doesn't work for me. I just need to slog on and make pictures until something touches a creative chord.

Ah photography...
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-24-2009   #96
pkuglin
Registered User
 
pkuglin's Avatar
 
pkuglin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR USA
Age: 62
Posts: 69
interesting read. I have gone from film to digital and back. I found firing the shutter was too easy with digital. Even though I would take shots I passed up on film, but I also put less thought into them. Film teaches you to think and therefore to see since you see with your mind, not your eyes....
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #97
Ara Ghajanian
Registered User
 
Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
 
Ara Ghajanian is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Age: 49
Posts: 154
Seriously, I used to hem and haw about which camera to use and had all these idealistic phases where Mamiya ruled, then Hasselblad ruled, then Nikon manual ruled, then Leica ruled, etc. I don't really think the camera matters at all, it's all in your mind. It's your mind's eye that captures the image initially. All the camera does is record it. Your skill refines it. My work hasn't gotten better or worse due to the camera I use, my mind just adapts to the medium and I have an image. How you work it (i.e. film, digital, photoshop, darkroom) is irrelevant to the final image.

I don't expect people on a film forum to be open to such a suggestion, in fact, most here would consider not putting a camera on a pedestal to be blasphemy. The camera is not important, the mind is the key. This is not to say that you shouldn't master your tools, but one tool is not the key to unlocking anything Zen-like. It's when you accept that these tools are just extensions of your mind, then you will become a photographer and not a camera stroker.
__________________
Leica M6, Summicron 35, 50, 90

lichtaffen.com

My flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #98
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian View Post
Seriously, I used to hem and haw about which camera to use and had all these idealistic phases where Mamiya ruled, then Hasselblad ruled, then Nikon manual ruled, then Leica ruled, etc. I don't really think the camera matters at all, it's all in your mind. It's your mind's eye that captures the image initially. All the camera does is record it. Your skill refines it. My work hasn't gotten better or worse due to the camera I use, my mind just adapts to the medium and I have an image. How you work it (i.e. film, digital, photoshop, darkroom) is irrelevant to the final image.

I don't expect people on a film forum to be open to such a suggestion, in fact, most here would consider not putting a camera on a pedestal to be blasphemy. The camera is not important, the mind is the key. This is not to say that you shouldn't master your tools, but one tool is not the key to unlocking anything Zen-like. It's when you accept that these tools are just extensions of your mind, then you will become a photographer and not a camera stroker.
I'll respectfully disagree. I believe what works for you or me may have little bearing on what works for another. There are many paths to the same destination.

While I agree that the mind is the important part I do not think you can dismiss the tools as unimportant. Each brings it's own character to the creative process. If we were all equally emotion-free then perhaps you would be correct in your larger statement. The tools, environment, and media in which we work affects what we do. I've seen painters and photographers who can only function amidst chaos and materials that would drive me mad.

I don't think we disagree on how one becomes a photographer. We just see things differently on the affect tools might have on how we get there. What works for you might not for someone who is not you. The real challenge might be can they see if it's not working? And if it's not where do they look for the solution? The mind does not work in a vacuum or in absolutes.

Working professionally I work much like you do. I use whatever camera I need to render my vision. I will make mental leaps of technology and gear to achieve my goals. For personal work I am navigating the world differently and generally sketching with a camera and not producing images in the same manner as I do for money. And that process is just different.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughtful words Ara. There is much to consider.
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #99
Yammerman
Registered User
 
Yammerman's Avatar
 
Yammerman is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Wales
Age: 61
Posts: 250
The digital process just doesn't excite me in the way a darkroom does. The whole experience of the wet process is just more enjoyable for me. I'm not against digital and shoot a fair amount but that whole post processing thing is just a bit dull. The fact you have to get so many parts of the process sorted from the monitor, the printer, software etc and then it all needs upgrading at some point.

I find it easier to get in the zone when out with a film camera and it seems to me a function of my character or personality. Each to his own and the realisation for me that its wasn't just about the picture was fine. I came late to photography, it has been a delight to find how it makes me think about the world and my view of it in a way that my music making never really did. Maybe its just because its new but for the moment I love the whole process and the way my interaction with it evolves.

It'll be a cold day in hell if I ever have to give up the darkroom but if I never touched Photoshop again it wouldn't bother me.

Great post Steve and its reassuring that other folks roll this stuff around there heads to.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #100
Charlie Lemay
Registered User
 
Charlie Lemay is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 322
I don't understand why one would have to do one or the other. I make complex Photoshop art using scanned film and digital capture, and I shoot a roll of Acros every week on my M cameras. Roger, I think my straight black and white work is more like "empty mind," while the digital collage is more like "cluttered mind." I just got a G1 and am waiting for the Novaflex adapter to arrive from Germany. It's all rich! We make the rules, not to inhibit us, but to push creatively against. All that said, I still prefer film for most things and Leica M cameras.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg The Great Wave.jpg (16.7 KB, 34 views)
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #101
Merkin
For the Weekend
 
Merkin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 867
If one is looking to examine their personal art photography using a buddhist framework such as the 'empty mind' concept, one might want to consider examining the "Noble Eightfold Path of Photography" first:

First, this assumes that photography is something that you find rewarding, and it makes you happy. Since this is obviously the case...

1. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to reflect what you feel is the right or correct vision, perspective, view, and understanding for your work?

2. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to reflect what you feel helps you execute the right or correct thought, resolve, and conception for your work?

3. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to assist you in producing images that are true to your style, and to yourself?

4. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to allow you to physically produce the images that are right or correct for you, your style, and your enjoyment?

5. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel most enables you to best engage in your livelihood? Note that this is not necessarily in terms of monetary income, but in the quality of your livelihood, and the enjoyment you derive from it.

6. Photographically, what do you feel is the right method or combination of methods that brings out your best effort?

7. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel helps you bring the right or correct attention and awareness to your work?

8. Photographically, what method or combination of methods helps you engage in the highest level of focus and concentration in your work?

Just as Buddists (which, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not) follow the noble eightfold path as a method of reducing suffering, you might be able to reduce a bit of the photographic angst you are experiencing by honestly answering these questions to yourself. Also, don't necessarily expect every one of those questions to only have one answer. Life and photography would be too easy if they did.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #102
Charlie Lemay
Registered User
 
Charlie Lemay is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 322
Digital Image from 2008.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Too Clever by Half.jpg (73.2 KB, 29 views)
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #103
mojobebop
Registered User
 
mojobebop's Avatar
 
mojobebop is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: nyc
Posts: 243
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian View Post
Seriously, I used to hem and haw about which camera to use and had all these idealistic phases where Mamiya ruled, then Hasselblad ruled, then Nikon manual ruled, then Leica ruled, etc. I don't really think the camera matters at all, it's all in your mind. It's your mind's eye that captures the image initially. All the camera does is record it. Your skill refines it. My work hasn't gotten better or worse due to the camera I use, my mind just adapts to the medium and I have an image. How you work it (i.e. film, digital, photoshop, darkroom) is irrelevant to the final image.

I don't expect people on a film forum to be open to such a suggestion, in fact, most here would consider not putting a camera on a pedestal to be blasphemy. The camera is not important, the mind is the key. This is not to say that you shouldn't master your tools, but one tool is not the key to unlocking anything Zen-like. It's when you accept that these tools are just extensions of your mind, then you will become a photographer and not a camera stroker.
---------------------------------------------
& what's so wrong w/camera stoking?
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #104
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkin View Post
If one is looking to examine their personal art photography using a buddhist framework such as the 'empty mind' concept, one might want to consider examining the "Noble Eightfold Path of Photography" first:

First, this assumes that photography is something that you find rewarding, and it makes you happy. Since this is obviously the case...

1. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to reflect what you feel is the right or correct vision, perspective, view, and understanding for your work?

2. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to reflect what you feel helps you execute the right or correct thought, resolve, and conception for your work?

3. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to assist you in producing images that are true to your style, and to yourself?

4. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel is most likely to allow you to physically produce the images that are right or correct for you, your style, and your enjoyment?

5. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel most enables you to best engage in your livelihood? Note that this is not necessarily in terms of monetary income, but in the quality of your livelihood, and the enjoyment you derive from it.

6. Photographically, what do you feel is the right method or combination of methods that brings out your best effort?

7. Photographically, what method or combination of methods do you feel helps you bring the right or correct attention and awareness to your work?

8. Photographically, what method or combination of methods helps you engage in the highest level of focus and concentration in your work?

Just as Buddists (which, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not) follow the noble eightfold path as a method of reducing suffering, you might be able to reduce a bit of the photographic angst you are experiencing by honestly answering these questions to yourself. Also, don't necessarily expect every one of those questions to only have one answer. Life and photography would be too easy if they did.
Oh no! Homework.

There is a lot of work and reflection in answering those questions. I appreciate you posting this and I will spend some time with them while I am in the darkroom, for me a great time to reflect on things.
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #105
Ara Ghajanian
Registered User
 
Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
 
Ara Ghajanian is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Age: 49
Posts: 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojobebop View Post
---------------------------------------------
& what's so wrong w/camera stoking?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with camera stroking, there's just a big difference between being a visual artist and a camera lover. The original post seemed to me to be a struggle with creativity, not a struggle with which mediums to choose. I may be wrong. I'm sure someone will correct me.

Steve,
Just shoot and stop thinking about how a camera is going to make you a better photographer. Shoot both mediums. Draw, paint, sculpt. Write a short story. Stop thinking about it and just do it. The more time you spend on rangefinderforum means less time you spend behind any camera, film, digital or otherwise.
__________________
Leica M6, Summicron 35, 50, 90

lichtaffen.com

My flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #106
Ara Ghajanian
Registered User
 
Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
 
Ara Ghajanian is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Age: 49
Posts: 154
If you want a real perspective on Zen, read Zen in the Art of Archery. The point of the whole book is that when you do something so much, it becomes a part of you and you do it effortlessly without thinking. I don't think the archers in the story sat there and wondered which bow and arrow combination was going to make them a better archer. They just did it.
__________________
Leica M6, Summicron 35, 50, 90

lichtaffen.com

My flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #107
mojobebop
Registered User
 
mojobebop's Avatar
 
mojobebop is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: nyc
Posts: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian View Post
There is absolutely nothing wrong with camera stroking, there's just a big difference between being a visual artist and a camera lover. The original post seemed to me to be a struggle with creativity, not a struggle with which mediums to choose. I may be wrong. I'm sure someone will correct me.

Steve,
Just shoot and stop thinking about how a camera is going to make you a better photographer. Shoot both mediums. Draw, paint, sculpt. Write a short story. Stop thinking about it and just do it. The more time you spend on rangefinderforum means less time you spend behind any camera, film, digital or otherwise.
----------
i know. sorry, i was being facetious.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #108
pkuglin
Registered User
 
pkuglin's Avatar
 
pkuglin is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR USA
Age: 62
Posts: 69
Not sure I agree the tools doesn't matter to the final output. For example when woodworking - I may finish the wood with a hand tools (smooth plane/scrapper) or use a power tool and sandpaper. Each result in two totally different finishes. I choose which to use depending on the finish I am after. The tool has attributes which I use to develop my vision.

This also is true for photography. The camera is important because the medium isn't perfect. However, I agree it is up to the user to decide when to use what tools to develop your vision.

Last edited by pkuglin : 02-25-2009 at 21:30.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #109
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian View Post
Just shoot and stop thinking about how a camera is going to make you a better photographer.
Hello Ara,

I smiled when I read that sentence. Your recent posts have pushed me ahead I think. For years I shot and shot and did not think a lot of what I was doing or why I was doing it.

Then graduate studies in an art school. An experience I carefully avoided for over two decades, something I dismissed as mindless mumblings and worse. There was no place in my life or in my thinking for artistic nonsense. It was, however, nothing like I thought it would be. I discovered so many more paths in front of me.

In school began intense, personal shooting, more than I was doing professionally, and on top of that a lot of thinking. They want to make teachers and professors there and really do embrace critical thought as much as art making. So it wasn't the craft experience I imagined.

I still work professionally and shoot constantly. And work is regular on personal projects. As you've said Ara it is absolutely essential to keep working. Nothing happens if you sit around thinking without any action. What I have found though is that the more I shoot the more questions I have. I don't shoot the way I did when I was 30 or 40 relying completely on technical skill and intuitive process. I still use those but I am more methodical and efficient. I can see pictures now in a way I could not before. But they arrive wrapped in ideas, questions and revelations. One of those personal revelations is the machinery does matter and at a level beyond what kind of image it can make. If I want to continue to improve I can't dismiss anything. And let go of ideas that don't help or don't make sense.

Like the camera not mattering. Or the computer. Or the chair I sit in. Or the glasses I wear. They all matter. It's just up to me to make the right choices for me.

It's been so long now since I first posted this thread and thinking back to my friend and the empty mind comment. He was right. I needed to let go. He just didn't know what letting go would mean for me. And it took me awhile to understand.

The camera is sitting in front of me. Time to work.
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2009   #110
Jonnyfez
Registered User
 
Jonnyfez is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 65
Hmmm...A Vespa enthusiast with an M6, a D200 and an existential crisis. I could be describing myself. I've used my Leica almost exclusively for the past 6 years. Love it. I recently picked up a used D200. Love that too. But my favorite PHOTOS of late have been made with my grandfather's Hawkeye Brownie. Go figure. So to build on Ara's thoughts - the practice of shooting, whatever the format, is key. Though there's nothing like a new or different piece of equipment to motivate oneself to get out and shoot.
  Reply With Quote

The Empty Mind
Old 02-26-2009   #111
Haigh
Gary Haigh
 
Haigh is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 982
Smile The Empty Mind

Steve, I am currently taking pictures with both film and digital. Digital has got me taking many more chances that I would with film and I am enjoying this. It is also easier and cheaper to do this and post them on the net and it keeps me practicing photography. I use film in the M4 and Hasselblad when I think something wiil eventually make a good b&w print.

These are two shots in Paris which I would not have done using film. The flouro shot was whilst waiting in a queue so I borrowed my wife's digital point and shoot to pass the time. Sorry to talk about myself so much but hope it helps.

Regards,
Gary Haigh
Australia
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Flouro reflections.jpg (57.3 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Reflections in a shop window.jpg (97.7 KB, 21 views)
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-27-2009   #112
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyfez View Post
Hmmm...A Vespa enthusiast with an M6, a D200 and an existential crisis. I could be describing myself. I've used my Leica almost exclusively for the past 6 years. Love it. I recently picked up a used D200. Love that too. But my favorite PHOTOS of late have been made with my grandfather's Hawkeye Brownie. Go figure. So to build on Ara's thoughts - the practice of shooting, whatever the format, is key. Though there's nothing like a new or different piece of equipment to motivate oneself to get out and shoot.
So, what kind of Vespa are you riding?

A friend just dropped off a small box camera for me to admire and put on a shelf. He thought it required 620 film but when I opened it I was happy to see that it ate 120 instead. The camera seems to function fine so I hope to put it to good use for something.

I agree with you and others --- shooting is the key. And god knows I have pursued all shapes and forms of motivation including new cameras...
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-27-2009   #113
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigh View Post
Steve, I am currently taking pictures with both film and digital. Digital has got me taking many more chances that I would with film and I am enjoying this. It is also easier and cheaper to do this and post them on the net and it keeps me practicing photography. I use film in the M4 and Hasselblad when I think something wiil eventually make a good b&w print.

These are two shots in Paris which I would not have done using film. The flouro shot was whilst waiting in a queue so I borrowed my wife's digital point and shoot to pass the time. Sorry to talk about myself so much but hope it helps.

Regards,
Gary Haigh
Australia
I definitely take more chances with digitally. Or so I thought. What I found was I may just be taking more of the same pictures I do with film. At least compositionally. Big difference between the B&W film and digital color.

I will just keep shooting and see where I end up.

Thanks for your comments!
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-23-2017   #114
Steve Williams
Registered User
 
Steve Williams's Avatar
 
Steve Williams is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Age: 65
Posts: 68
I last commented on this thread in February of 2009. A lot has happened since then photographically. And the years have taken a toll on my body. The Vespa has remained the same throughout and I continue to pile on miles.

Sadly, I surrendered my Leica M system a few years ago when the projects I was using it for came to an end. Not long after my third 8x10 system departed and I shut down the darkroom. Professionally I'm dunked in digital though there some changes -- abandoning decades of Nikon use for Canon -- brought on by the acquisition of a Canon C100 for video and it just didn't make sense to buy two of every sort of lens. The C100 uses the same lenses that the 5D Mark III does.

So I've been wandering the digital landscape, making prints with an Epson P800, and feeling disconnected from just about any subjects save for the Vespa on my travels.

And then a Hasselblad fell into my lap. And a few rolls of film exposed and I'm replumbing the darkroom. And processing film, making contact sheets, and watching 8x10 prints appear in a tray of Dektol. It was the same feeling I had 45 years ago -- thrilling magic.

Even though my wife said, "You can always buy another Leica," when I sold mine on eBay I haven't told her I've been searching for Leica cameras and lenses. And pondering a Bessa R2M. And a Zone VI view camera.

Damn, the world changes unexpectedly sometimes. But I can happily say that the darkroom has provided a welcome, perhaps critical, escape from the rat race I've been part of.

I retire in five months. I won't be playing golf or wandering the park feeding the squirrels, but I may be making photographs and giving away black and white prints -- all with a quiet, empty mind, except for the nagging regret of selling the Leica...
__________________
Steve Williams
ScooterNSticks on Twitter
Scooter in the Sticks
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-23-2017   #115
Charlie Lemay
Registered User
 
Charlie Lemay is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 322
These days I get young people in my photo classes who are familiar with digital cameras and phone photography. I have to teach most of them how to focus a lens, or they seem to be oblivious as to why their images are blurry. Here's what I have found about digital capture and film capture for them. With it's immediate feedback, digital capture confirms all of their preconceptions and is an obstical to their developing personnal vision. Film capture, because the feedback can be hours or days later, especially if the capture is in B&W, forces them to reorient their way of thinking about images, because they will often not resemble what they remember photographing. It's a powerful way to get them to see what they are actually looking at when they shoot again, instead of seeing what they expect to see.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-24-2017   #116
robert blu
quiet photographer
 
robert blu's Avatar
 
robert blu is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Italy
Age: 70
Posts: 5,826
Steve thanks for letting us know how your relationship with photography is evolving. Interesting.
robert
__________________
Remember: today is the Day !
from Ruth Bernhard recipe for a long and happy life

my quiet photographer's blog

My RFF photos and my albums on RFF
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-24-2017   #117
willie_901
Registered User
 
willie_901's Avatar
 
willie_901 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,304
Steve,

I also appreciate your follow-up post.

Thanks for sharing.

If you really want a Leica M, a high-value deal will surface at some point.

In my mind 135 format film negatives are just too small to be worth the trouble.

I have really enjoyed my retirement. Circumstances evolved such that I could retire at a (relatively) young age. It seems you are well on your way to enjoying yours. My only comment would be it it takes months to reach a new world-view equilibrium. Enjoy the journey!
__________________
Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
Garry Winogrand
williamchuttonjr.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-24-2017   #118
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,285
Nice to see how OP takes care of readers after so many years!

In 2008 (this thread started) I went huge on digital with Canon DSLR. This year I'm getting good pigment ink prints from Leica M-E files by Epson C88+ printer. But no plans to quit from darkroom, lith printing on old FB paper is great experience. Also mixed Dektol for first time and it seems to be better than Ilford paper developers.
Few days ago I reprinted some of 6x6 negatives and no regrets of getting rid of it and using 135 film instead.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-24-2017   #119
mich rassena
Registered User
 
mich rassena is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 245
A couple of years ago I got into film, and film cameras, with enthusiasm after starting with digital about eight years before. To give an idea, I have my own darkroom where I do black and white prints and develop 4x5 sheets and 120 rolls. What I've found is I don't have time to take a lot of photographs, develop them and print them. I have time for just a few photos. So, naturally it becomes necessary to make those count, and that leads to either being more conservative, or wasting my limited time in the darkroom.

So, after awhile, I felt my work getting sparse and stagnant, so I decided what I needed was to open up my creativity. I bought a micro 4/3rds camera and have put cheap adapted lens on it. I'm able to photograph a lot more now, play around, take good photos and bad, and generally just enjoy the process again. Back when there were photo processing places in town, things were a bit better since I could snap off a few photos and not have the effort of development and printing in the back of my mind.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-24-2017   #120
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7,458
An alternative idea is to stop taking pictures for a while and see what happens; it's nothing to do with photo gear...

Regards, David
  Reply With Quote
Reply


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 22:51.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, 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.