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Photogs / Photo Exhibits This is the place to discuss a particular Photographer (work, style, life, whatever), as well as to post Gallery and Museum Photo Exhibitions and your own impressions of them. As we march on in this new digital world, it is often too easy to forget about the visual importance of the photographic print, as well as their financial importance to the photographer. It is also interesting to remember that some guy named Gene Smith shot with lenses that many lens test reading "never had a picture published in their life" amateurs would turn up their their noses at, as being "unacceptable."

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Old 05-05-2010   #51
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I think the comments on flickr show the worth of comments on art/photograhy/anything of an aesthetic nature by those who have eyes yet cannot see. It's just wasted on them, but ya gotta make the effort anyway. HCB threw away better shots than 99.9% of the people here will ever make, myself included, and it's hilarious seeing how fragile the egos are.
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Old 05-05-2010   #52
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If you cannot appreciate HCB's photos after seeing this exhibit, I'd say you are a fool. I'm not saying you have to like his work, but if you think he is overrated after seeing this exhibit, you probably don't know what you are talking about.
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Old 05-05-2010   #53
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If you cannot appreciate HCB's photos after seeing this exhibit, I'd say you are a fool. I'm not saying you have to like his work, but if you think he is overrated after seeing this exhibit, you probably don't know what you are talking about.
That is a big statement. Can you explain the reasons behind it?
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Old 05-05-2010   #54
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What I meant is that you do not have to like the photos or the photographer, but you have to respect / appreciate his place in the history of photography. I think he has earned that respect and is an important figure in adding to what photography could be in his era.
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Old 05-05-2010   #55
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You gotta love digital cameras...

Because of them, all of a sudden you have all these people who never took an interest in art, who never went to a museum or a gallery or bought an art book, confronted with a whole new world that they dont understand... but they are determined to be a part of it, because now they have a DSLR and that makes them an artist, right? So they go ahead and read on the internet about this new photography thingo (still no intention of going to a museum or a gallery- too hard, internet is easier) and they come across the magic marketing term:

IMAGE QUALITY! Ahhhhh yes! Now it all makes sense! You spend the $$$, you get gooood camera, you get lotsa image quality, and good image quality = good photo! right? And then they discover bokeh, woohoo! Add a healthy dose of bokeh for good measure and you have a winner, right? Gallery stuff!

Nope
Hit the nail on the head.
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Old 05-05-2010   #56
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I think it would be difficult to argue that the group of radical left wing photographers that were active in Europe just prior to and during WWII were anything but the foundation of modern photography and photojournalism, as is arguing that Henry’s stuff is pin sharp and perfectly exposed

It’s an art gallery exhibition not a technical institute after all
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Old 05-05-2010   #57
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While enjoying the Cartier-Bresson exhibit at MOMA in NYC last weekend, a man next to me asked, "Why are so many of his shots out of focus?" To which I answered with a question, "Why does it matter?"
Reminds me of The Emperor's New Clothes. Apparently someone was detached enough to ask what appeared to be obvious to a lot of folks.

As for the Normandy photo - it's obvious why it's out of focus and it didn't have to do with low light, shutter speed, etc. The guy was cold, wet, and scared crapless from the shear amount of lead flying down range in his direction. If that was the only photo he took that day I'd still admire the man. Anyone here ever hear a MG42 in action? Now what's HCB's excuse ?

Last edited by Ken Smith : 05-05-2010 at 06:24.
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Old 05-05-2010   #58
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Reminds me of The Emperor's New Clothes. Apparently someone was detached enough to ask what appeared to be obvious to a lot of folks.

As for the Normandy photo - it's obvious why it's out of focus and it didn't have to do with low light, shutter speed, etc. The guy was cold, wet, and scared crapless from the shear amount of lead flying down range in his direction. If that was the only photo he took that day I'd still admire the man. Anyone here ever hear a MG42 in action? Now what's HCB's excuse ?
It is also difficult for people to see. Is a sharp picture of a beautiful flower beautiful? Just because the picture is sharp and a flower is beautiful does not make the image beautiful. So where does the intrinsic nature of an artwork belong? Simply in subjective criteria for technical quality?

Then you are comparing today's criteria for technical quality to past criteria and technology. This would show a lack of knowledge in the viewer and a rather shallow view of photography.

I hope you are not suggesting that having someone shoot at you is a reason for an image being "good." I think you are confusing bravery with aesthetics.
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Old 05-05-2010   #59
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Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Reminds me of The Emperor's New Clothes. Apparently someone was detached enough to ask what appeared to be obvious to a lot of folks.

As for the Normandy photo - it's obvious why it's out of focus and it didn't have to do with low light, shutter speed, etc. The guy was cold, wet, and scared crapless from the shear amount of lead flying down range in his direction. If that was the only photo he took that day I'd still admire the man. Anyone here ever hear a MG42 in action? Now what's HCB's excuse ?
HCB wasn’t at Normandy on account of being in a German labour camp, where he’d been since he was captured three years earlier while serving with the French army, I expect he had heard rife fire along the way
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Old 05-05-2010   #60
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Well I was gonna say that you gotta take Bresson into context and understand that it was 1930-50, that he was the first to use such equipment in such a manner and he pretty much put the small format on the map at a time when even medium format was called "miniature format". I was gonna say that then he went ahead and put street photography on the map, because maybe there was Brassai and a couple of others but nobody outside those circles even knew back then what street photography is. Then he went ahead and put photography on the map by making it so popular and forcing the art world to accept it as an equal art, because up to that point it was only considered as a bad substitute of painting. And he did that not only with his photos but also with his writings and his definition of photography which, believe it or not, he was the first person to give. Then he went ahead and introduced art into journalism by running Magnum and freeing its members from the burden of only making the photos that editors want to buy. Still pretty much the only agency that rolls this way: first make what you consider a good photo, then see if anyone wants to buy it. Bottom line, the guy singlehandedly revolutionalised photography. And i was gonna say that, by today's standards and compared to modern street/pj photographers his photography might seem a little emotionally detached, superficial or light in content, but it was 1950 for chrissakes and to this day, he is still the benchmark when it comes to composition and timing. And although some of his photos migh seem a little cliche today, in 1950 they were extremely original and he was the first to photographicaly explore all kinds of facets of humanity.

But its not even worth saying it. Because, of all the photographers that you might see exhibited in a museum like MoMA, Bresson is probably the easiest to understand and appreciate. There is no deep and meaningful concept, his photos are just pretty, well composed, highly decorative things. And if you cant even see that and you get hung up on sharpness or lack thereof, well, you may as well start shooting plates of food for some stock agency. Prefererably with bokeh.
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Last edited by Spyro : 05-05-2010 at 06:50.
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Old 05-05-2010   #61
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Because it doesn't matter.

It didn't matter to HCB, it doesn't matter to MOMA, and it won't matter to history of photography.

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Old 05-05-2010   #62
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Well I was gonna say that you gotta take Bresson into context and understand that it was 1930-50, that he was the first to use such equipment in such a manner and he pretty much put the small format on the map at a time when even medium format was called "miniature format". I was gonna say that then he went ahead and put street photography on the map, because maybe there was Brassai and a couple of others but nobody outside those circles even knew back then what street photography is. Then he went ahead and put photography on the map by making it so popular and forcing the art world to accept it as an equal art, because up to that point it was only considered as a bad substitute of painting. And he did that not only with his photos but also with his writings and his definition of photography which, believe it or not, he was the first person to give. Then he went ahead and introduced art into journalism by running Magnum and freeing its members from the burden of only making the photos that editors want to buy. Still pretty much the only agency that rolls this way: first make what you consider a good photo, then see if anyone wants to buy it. Bottom line, the guy singlehandedly revolutionalised photography. And i was gonna say that, by today's standards and compared to modern street/pj photographers his photography might seem a little emotionally detached, superficial or light in content, but it was 1950 for chrissakes and to this day, he is still the benchmark when it comes to composition and timing. And although some of his photos migh seem a little cliche today, in 1950 they were extremely original and he was the first to photographicaly explore all kinds of facets of humanity.

But its not even worth saying it. Because, of all the photographers that you might see exhibited in a museum like MoMA, Bresson is probably the easiest to understand and appreciate. There is no deep and meaningful concept, his photos are just pretty, well composed, highly decorative things. And if you cant even see that and you get hung up on sharpness or lack thereof, well, you may as well start shooting plates of food for some stock agency. Prefererably with bokeh.
But there is nothing wrong in asking the question. By asking you are trying to understand and get more knowledge.
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Old 05-05-2010   #63
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Because it doesn't matter.

It didn't matter to HCB, it doesn't matter to MOMA, and it won't matter to history of photography.
True, true. If the "essence" of the picture is good, then minor technical flaws won't diminish it.
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Old 05-05-2010   #64
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photos should not be completely out of focus unless there is a meaning or effort to give it a different atmosphere. It does not mean that whole image must be pin sharp either

People here always give examples from extremes! Take it easy. Then all of us must use pin-hole cameras or point and shoot cameras.

In the name of art, so many people try extremes to be different, not for me thanks...
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Old 05-05-2010   #65
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I hope you are not suggesting that having someone shoot at you is a reason for an image being "good." I think you are confusing bravery with aesthetics.
This guy was in the middle of the greatest military feat of all times and documenting it via a camera. If no other pictures were taken that day - this one would say enough of what was a dire situation. It doesn't have to have aesthetics - it has authenticity of the human spirit to defy all odds.
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Old 05-05-2010   #66
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But there is nothing wrong in asking the question. By asking you are trying to understand and get more knowledge.
yeah I know, sorry. Its just that this whole discussion seems totally bizarre to me...
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Old 05-05-2010   #67
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yeah I know, sorry. Its just that this whole discussion seems totally bizarre to me...
you’ll not be from round these parts then? :joke smiley:
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Old 05-05-2010   #68
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There's a difference between admiration and deification, and besides, our tastes change with age and with what else we have seen. For example, I'm a lot less keen on Ansel Adams than I was 30 years ago, and I'm no longer quite such an HCB-worshipper. Looking at what I consider their 'best pictures' (i.e. the ones I'd most like to own) I'd put quite a lot of Willy Ronis's work ahead of any but the very best HCB.

There's also a difference between seeing originals and repros. Sometimes the repros are better, especially if the picture has not been grotesquely over-enlarged. At other times, the prints are vastly better, sometimes because of their size. My AP column for May 1 addresses this question (among other things).

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Old 05-05-2010   #69
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yeah I know, sorry. Its just that this whole discussion seems totally bizarre to me...
Agreed.

Anyways, what kind of answer is "Why, does it matter?"
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Old 05-05-2010   #70
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This guy was in the middle of the greatest military feat of all times and documenting it via a camera. If no other pictures were taken that day - this one would say enough of what was a dire situation. It doesn't have to have aesthetics - it has authenticity of the human spirit to defy all odds.
He was one of many photographers that day, his photos were spoiled by the lab I suspect he got the shots OK, little seemed to scare the chap, very magnanimous of you to praise a communist like that btw
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Old 05-05-2010   #71
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This guy was in the middle of the greatest military feat of all times and documenting it via a camera. If no other pictures were taken that day - this one would say enough of what was a dire situation. It doesn't have to have aesthetics - it has authenticity of the human spirit to defy all odds.
Or to be able to dodge a bullet. I am sure the people that died that day did not have less spirit.

However, this is way off topic and nothing to do with the topic of photography.
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Old 05-05-2010   #72
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Reminds me of The Emperor's New Clothes. Apparently someone was detached enough to ask what appeared to be obvious to a lot of folks.

As for the Normandy photo - it's obvious why it's out of focus and it didn't have to do with low light, shutter speed, etc. The guy was cold, wet, and scared crapless from the shear amount of lead flying down range in his direction. If that was the only photo he took that day I'd still admire the man. Anyone here ever hear a MG42 in action? Now what's HCB's excuse ?
It's two fold. Slow shutter speed and lots' of very angry MG42's. Anyone in their right mind would have had a severe case of the shakes.

I've only ever heard an MG42 in the movies, but apparently an uncle of mine was there on June 6th and he had an awful lot of respect for them

I say apparently, because even after 50 years he still didn't want to discuss any part of that chapter of his life, except the funny stories. So we're still not exactly sure where he was. I'll have to look up his records some day.

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Old 05-05-2010   #73
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He was one of many photographers that day, his photos were spoiled by the lab I suspect he got the shots OK, little seemed to scare the chap, very magnanimous of you to praise a communist like that btw
If I remember correctly there were only two photographers in the actual landing that morning.

I would have to look up the name of the other fellow, but he landed on a relatively quiet beach and I'm not sure he got of the landing craft. Capa landed smack in one of the worst sections.
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Old 05-05-2010   #74
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If I remember correctly there were only two photographers in the actual landing that morning.

I would have to look up the name of the other fellow, but he landed on a relatively quiet beach and I'm not sure he got of the landing craft. Capa landed smack in one of the worst sections.

Tony Vaccaro.

In the BBC documentary, The Genius of Photography, maybe third or fourth episode, they talk about Capa and Vaccaro. IIRC, Vaccaro's images were destroyed by the Army censor. ...but in the documentary he talks about developing the rolls at night, in the woods, using chemicals he found in a bombed out camera strore, using helmets. Not sure if the two parts, censor and developing were connected in the documentary or two different conversations.

John

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Old 05-05-2010   #75
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And if you cant even see that and you get hung up on sharpness or lack thereof, well, you may as well start shooting plates of food for some stock agency. Prefererably with bokeh.
Oh, god here we go.

Someone dared to say something critical about Hank Carter.

I don't think that anyone is trying to take away anything from the artistic genius of the man. And I don't think that anyone is trying to diminish his work, because of technical imperfections. You want to know how good HCB was? His artistic vision was so good that no one gives a damn about his technique. That's just about the highest compliment you can make.

But once you step back from the blind hero worship and look at his work objectively you have to speak truth to power. The man had little interest in the technical side of his art and it shows. That's simply a fact and a mature individual should be able to acknowledge that, especially in light of the fact that is takes nothing away from his artist achievements.
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