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View Full Version : Ralph Gibson article in WIRED about 'going digital'


Richard G
01-15-2019, 17:03
https://www.wired.com/story/ralph-gibson-digital-color/?CNDID=22536208&CNDID=22536208&bxid=MjM5Njc3NDk4MzkyS0&hasha=d6f7edc2ade1cb07869d701f84cdd3db&hashb=96c122173d519f0ba92f75a58b7c2b4e0ad2ec39&mbid=nl_011519_daily_list1_p1&utm_brand=wired&utm_mailing=WIRED%20NL%20011519%20(1)&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl

Dan Daniel
01-15-2019, 17:12
These are the kinds of things that confuse me. If I ran across those images on Instagram I'd think, ok, well done, he should offer postcards on Etsy along with the 54,000 other people doing those kind of shots.

But- it is Ralph Gibson who, I think, deserves his reputation. He's done some great work over the years. So now it's more like seeing a PBS reunion show of, oh, The Beach Boys. It reminds me of another time but it isn't that time any more. I'm sure Leica has made it worth his while.

intheviewfinder
01-15-2019, 17:25
“I’m not interested in making my images look like analog silver gelatin. Right off the bat I didn't care for that. If I had wanted an analog look, I would've stayed with my film.”

At this particular moment in the photography continuum I think this is an important point, if you go digital don't try to make it look analog. Make the medium work for you.

akptc
01-15-2019, 19:45
If these images are representative of what a digital Leica did to Mr Gibson's art, I think he should go back to film. ASAP.

Ko.Fe.
01-15-2019, 20:46
Images like those are great even with mobile phone. No Leica needed.
So, Pinkhasov beat him on this and while ago.
Well, never late for Gibson, just too late for the statement.
It is kind of late Reznick statement.

gavinlg
01-15-2019, 21:39
I always get the strong sense that most of these film era masters of the art made stronger work on film. There are exceptions - David Alan Harvey and Christopher Anderson who both seem to be able to mould whatever medium they're using perfectly around their content.

Huss
01-15-2019, 22:09
The last two dyptychs are really good.

Emile de Leon
01-15-2019, 23:43
Probably didn't want to be sniffin chemicals anymore...

Richard G
01-16-2019, 00:07
It is interesting that he favours the 135mm lens. There is a youtube or vimeo video of him out with one, looking at detail on the street. I use it occasionally but with a SHOOC finder for framing.

FalseDigital
01-16-2019, 00:29
I love his old work, not really feeling his new stuff.

Also, this feels entirely like an advertorial. (because I'm pretty sure it is)

Leica Marketing Representative:
"Hey Gibson! Be sure to mention how much you don't miss film so we can sell more digital M cameras. Do it or we'll take away your sponsorship."

FalseDigital
01-16-2019, 00:32
I always get the strong sense that most of these film era masters of the art made stronger work on film. There are exceptions - David Alan Harvey and Christopher Anderson who both seem to be able to mould whatever medium they're using perfectly around their content.

I feel like Martin Parr is one of the few photographers from that era that still continue to produce great work even on a digital medium. OH and Jeff Mermelstein! He's really embraced it.

FalseDigital
01-16-2019, 00:39
Speaking of which, and I'm sorry to be talking to myself here.
But does anyone else get the feeling that some of the old Magnum guys are just "phoning it in" these days? The Magnum "2018 Pictures of the Year" gallery was one of the most disappointing galleries I've seen in a long while. I was super shocked at how much mediocrity it contained. Especially knowing how capable of producing better work the people in it were.

Michael Markey
01-16-2019, 01:30
Speaking of which, and I'm sorry to be talking to myself here.
But does anyone else get the feeling that some of the old Magnum guys are just "phoning it in" these days? The Magnum "2018 Pictures of the Year" gallery was one of the most disappointing galleries I've seen in a long while. I was super shocked at how much mediocrity it contained. Especially knowing how capable of producing better work the people in it were.


Agree …. I`ve stopped looking at all the Magnum feeds on social media.

Michael Markey
01-16-2019, 01:31
The man is a master but this stuff is fluff. No better than about a million instagram timelines. Hence, Leica Gallery. I notice MoMA gave it a pass. Lee Friedlander on the other hand ...

Yep …. couldn`t care less if its film or digital but there is nothing special about those shots.

ian_watts
01-16-2019, 03:38
Yes, I'm not sure the medium is even a factor. Gibson's best work is long behind him. It happens with many artists (in all fields) – in fact, I think those who produce as good or better work later in their careers are very much an exception.

jbielikowski
01-16-2019, 04:01
"It’s faster: Whereas back in the day, he might have made 15 signable works in a year, he now completes a full book in the same span."

This. A good picture per month is a golden standard, no matter film or digital.

emraphoto
01-16-2019, 04:23
Speaking of which, and I'm sorry to be talking to myself here.
But does anyone else get the feeling that some of the old Magnum guys are just "phoning it in" these days? The Magnum "2018 Pictures of the Year" gallery was one of the most disappointing galleries I've seen in a long while. I was super shocked at how much mediocrity it contained. Especially knowing how capable of producing better work the people in it were.

An interesting perspective. With that said I wouldn't completely rule any of them out as all members have proven to be exemplary photographers in my eyes.

Let's say a friend of a friend has a few friends in VII, Magnum blah blah blah. He/she wants you to know that these folks arent much different than a wire photographer or image banks/archive hustler. Volumne is key to making the bills. Add to that, as a full member, you also help keep the agency afloat financialy and in some cases, pay a large sum into the agency/collective/whatever to join.

Soooo, are they all portfolio candidates? No. Sometimes you do the work, submit the files and move on. Often, it is whole other group of people/person who decides what makes it to print/web. Portfolio material is rare. Sometimes a frame or two a year. Paying the bills material comes in volumne.

Ricoh
01-16-2019, 04:28
I remember Gibson offering advice to not copy others, and he went on to say he doesn't want to copy himself. I see the dilemma and the need to develop, but many photographers hit their peak and then gradually go down hill. The change in direction doesn't always work.

Out to Lunch
01-16-2019, 04:41
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.

Ko.Fe.
01-16-2019, 04:42
Speaking of which, and I'm sorry to be talking to myself here.
But does anyone else get the feeling that some of the old Magnum guys are just "phoning it in" these days? The Magnum "2018 Pictures of the Year" gallery was one of the most disappointing galleries I've seen in a long while. I was super shocked at how much mediocrity it contained. Especially knowing how capable of producing better work the people in it were.

I recently purchased Magnum contacts book. Looking at images only and keep on asking myself - why is it special? I think, it is time to put reading glasses on and find out. It is huge book with tiny text.

FujiLove
01-16-2019, 04:58
I always get the strong sense that most of these film era masters of the art made stronger work on film. There are exceptions - David Alan Harvey and Christopher Anderson who both seem to be able to mould whatever medium they're using perfectly around their content.


I had the same feeling looking at some recent digital photos by Martin Parr. Very uninspiring. But then again, most people do their best work when they're young, whether they're photographers, musicians, sculptors, writers or scientists; so maybe it's just an age thing.

-----------------------

As Irvine Welsh put it in 'Trainspotting'...


Sick Boy: It's certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life.
Mark: What do you mean?
Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed.
Mark: Lou Reed, some of his solo stuff's not bad.
Sick Boy: No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just sh*te.
Mark: So who else?
Sick Boy: Charlie Nicholas, David Niven, Malcolm McLaren, Elvis Presley . . .
Mark: OK, OK, so what's the point you're trying to make?
Sick Boy: All I'm trying to do, Mark, is help you understand that The Name of The Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.
Mark: What about The Untouchables?
Sick Boy: I don't rate that at all.
Mark: Despite the Academy Award?
Sick Boy: That means F**k all. It's a sympathy vote.
Mark: Right. So we all get old and then we can't hack it anymore. Is that it?
Sick Boy: Yeah.
Mark: That's your theory?
Sick Boy: Yeah. Beautifully f***ing illustrated.

Dogman
01-16-2019, 05:14
The photos in Gibson's "Mono" were pretty strong, in my opinion. I think the book was done in 2013 with a Leica Monochrome camera. Akin to his work from the 1970's. I've never been a fan of his color photography. When he shoots color, he finds the same subjects as he shoots in B&W. They don't translate well as color.

I agree about the Magnum Pictures of the Year being weak.

olifaunt
01-16-2019, 05:29
I had the same feeling looking at some recent digital photos by Martin Parr. Very uninspiring.

Also Stephen Shore. I went to his show at MoMA. The earlier work is fantastic; the later part lacked everything that made the earlier work interesting IMO, though I don't know if it is really about digital/analog or simply his moving into different directions and the influence of digital imaging and Instagram on him.

I think social media can be a negative influence on quality, since it favors simple pictures that are understandable and look striking as miniatures (on cell screens).

Richard G
01-16-2019, 05:32
I had the same feeling looking at some recent digital photos by Martin Parr. Very uninspiring. But then again, most people do their best work when they're young, whether they're photographers, musicians, sculptors, writers or scientists; so maybe it's just an age thing.

-----------------------

As Irvine Welsh put it in 'Trainspotting'...


Sick Boy: It's certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life.
Mark: What do you mean?
Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed.
Mark: Lou Reed, some of his solo stuff's not bad.
Sick Boy: No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just sh*te.
Mark: So who else?
Sick Boy: Charlie Nicholas, David Niven, Malcolm McLaren, Elvis Presley . . .
Mark: OK, OK, so what's the point you're trying to make?
Sick Boy: All I'm trying to do, Mark, is help you understand that The Name of The Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.
Mark: What about The Untouchables?
Sick Boy: I don't rate that at all.
Mark: Despite the Academy Award?
Sick Boy: That means F**k all. It's a sympathy vote.
Mark: Right. So we all get old and then we can't hack it anymore. Is that it?
Sick Boy: Yeah.
Mark: That's your theory?
Sick Boy: Yeah. Beautifully f***ing illustrated.


OK. And despite Bach and the guy who cracked some centuries old maths problem recently in the time after his retirement, I’m going to learn from this post and finally see Trainspotting.

MCTuomey
01-16-2019, 05:45
An interesting perspective. With that said I wouldn't completely rule any of them out as all members have proven to be exemplary photographers in my eyes.

Let's say a friend of a friend has a few friends in VII, Magnum blah blah blah. He/she wants you to know that these folks arent much different than a wire photographer or image banks/archive hustler. Volumne is key to making the bills. Add to that, as a full member, you also help keep the agency afloat financialy and in some cases, pay a large sum into the agency/collective/whatever to join.

Soooo, are they all portfolio candidates? No. Sometimes you do the work, submit the files and move on. Often, it is whole other group of people/person who decides what makes it to print/web. Portfolio material is rare. Sometimes a frame or two a year. Paying the bills material comes in volumne.

I admire this man. At 83 he is still putting out his work.


Thanks for the practical perspectives, fully agree. As I've aged, I admire long-haul persistence at one's craft more than critical acclaim, as the latter is usually fleeting and shallow. Keep on, Mr. Gibson.

Timmyjoe
01-16-2019, 05:56
"Gibson took the camera outside, pointed it at a manhole cover and snapped a photo. Just as he did, a bicycle zipped by, casting dramatic, spoked shadows across the pavement within the frame."

When pigs fly.

There's no way a photographer who has mastered the art of seeing as Ralph Gibson has, would be caught with an image of a manhole cover that just happen to have this bicycle shadow appearing in it. He saw what the image would be and waited for the moment where the bicycle shadow would be where he wanted it.

After reading that ridiculous statement, I lost total interest in the article.

Best,
-Tim

emraphoto
01-16-2019, 06:15
Also Stephen Shore. I went to his show at MoMA. The earlier work is fantastic; the later part lacked everything that made the earlier work interesting IMO, though I don't know if it is really about digital/analog or simply his moving into different directions and the influence of digital imaging and Instagram on him.

I think social media can be a negative influence on quality, since it favors simple pictures that are understandable and look striking as miniatures (on cell screens).

Totally agree with the Social Media observation. It (SM) has a profound effect on photography in ways we have yet to realize (yes professor obvious).

One of those effects is a shift towards large scale palatability. Clicks equals $.

creenus
01-16-2019, 07:03
Nowhere near his earlier analog work, IMO.

airfrogusmc
01-16-2019, 07:14
The last two dyptychs are really good.

Totally agree and the work still looks like Gibson's work. I would also add that 2 & 3 are very Gibson like photographs. And I would argue that many now are taking photographs trying to emulate Gibson's work not the other way around.

FujiLove
01-16-2019, 09:01
OK. And despite Bach and the guy who cracked some centuries old maths problem recently in the time after his retirement, I’m going to learn from this post and finally see Trainspotting.


Yes, my comment is a huge generalisation, but applies to most people. Unfortunately you can't beat a youthful brain.


Trainspotting: great film, greater book. The problem with the book is, like most of Welsh's work, it's written in a Scottish accent and uses a lot of slang which can make it difficult if you don't have an 'ear' for it. Both highly recommended though.

ptpdprinter
01-16-2019, 09:05
After reading that ridiculous statement, I lost total interest in the article.
At 677 words, it hardly qualifies as an article.

ptpdprinter
01-16-2019, 09:13
Ralph Gibson went digital because Leica gave him a special edition Monochome and a pile of money to promote their digital cameras. He now has a show whose raison d'etre is that the images are digital, hence the title.

FujiLove
01-16-2019, 09:53
Ralph Gibson went digital because Leica gave him a special edition Monochome and a pile of money to promote their digital cameras. He now has a show whose raison d'etre is that the images are digital, hence the title.


In fairness to him, if Leica gave me a load of free gear and a ton of money I'd also shoot digital.


Kidding, obviously. :D

ptpdprinter
01-16-2019, 09:55
In fairness to him, if Leica gave me a load of free gear and a ton of money I'd also shoot digital. Kidding, obviously. :D
I am thinking of calling my next show Digital Images. At least it would give me something to talk about. No one ask me if my images were film or digital the last time around.

sepiareverb
01-16-2019, 10:09
Calling this an 'article' is a bit of a stretch. It's more like a pair of tweets.

karateisland
01-16-2019, 10:21
Per the age thing: It's pretty common for authors to produce their greatest work when they're older, and I can name more than a handful of painters who did the same.

So it is pretty common for artists to improve with age. If we don't see many photographers doing their best work when they're older, I wonder why that's the case...

Pioneer
01-16-2019, 10:34
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.


This.


...& another 5 characters or so...

Richard G
01-16-2019, 10:48
Totally agree and the work still looks like Gibson's work. I would also add that 2 & 3 are very Gibson like photographs. And I would argue that many now are taking photographs trying to emulate Gibson's work not the other way around.

Yes, I liked 2 and 3 too.

I love WIRED magazine. I often heard about it when some new tech thing was mentioned in our local paper, "according to WIRED magazine." Eventually I found it by chance on the shelf in the newsagency at work. The graphics and layout are great and the articles are fantastic, often without fear of favour, and long enough to get the message across. The recent piece on John Allison's work for the Nobel Prize in Medicine was a terrific detective story, immunology primer and analysis of success in science. https://www.wired.com/story/meet-jim-allison-the-texan-who-just-won-a-nobel-cancer-breakthrough/

Sure this is more of a "couple of tweets" but the point is Ralph Gibson is in WIRED. That says a lot for him and for WIRED. It's interesting. We're a tough school, which is great. Ralph Gibson no doubt has perspective on who he now is and where he is at. What is he to do? Leica want to make a silver Monochrom with his signature on it. Should he have said no? He wants to shoot a 135mm focal length on a digital rangefinder or pair his Monochrom with the DR Summicron, for the close range: are we going to learn nothing from knowing about that?

Good someone mentioned writers and painters doing good work into old age. Composers too - Richard Strauss for one. One of the advantages of youth is uninterrupted time and boundless energy. My thirties and early forties were consumed by work and family. I had more ideas in my field towards 50 and in my early 50s. Now I'm working too hard again on the core work of my work to get all but a couple of those ideas to go anywhere. I am up before dawn to write something; but I am doing this post first...

Bike Tourist
01-16-2019, 11:31
Speaking of which, and I'm sorry to be talking to myself here.
But does anyone else get the feeling that some of the old Magnum guys are just "phoning it in" these days? The Magnum "2018 Pictures of the Year" gallery was one of the most disappointing galleries I've seen in a long while. I was super shocked at how much mediocrity it contained. Especially knowing how capable of producing better work the people in it were.

The old guys and gals (and I'm as old as they are) were the best of their age, during a time when photography was still relatively fresh and new paths presented themselves. Many made contacts by assisting earlier famous photographers. They still rose to the top of their era.

But, there's nothing difficult about photography, especially if you have the "eye" for composing in the viewfinder, which many people do. Many of the revered iconic images would not fare well in any blind competition where the name of the artist was not known. Technical excellence, while not everything, was certainly lacking in many of these images. Digital and the internet has devalued most art and its ubiquity devalues it even further.

Anyway, I give these pioneers credit for being on top of their game when it mattered.

jsrockit
01-16-2019, 11:43
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.

Exactly. It is very easy to be critical, but has anyone else here had the career he has had in photography? He`s earned the right to make whatever he wants, but you are also free to not look. Leica has enabled this for him and I think it is wonderful. We should be so lucky. Many of us will be very lucky to be able to be making photos outside of our house or our beds by the time we are his age.

icebear
01-16-2019, 12:12
From:
http://us.leica-camera.com/Leica-Galleries/Leica-Gallery-Los-Angeles/News-Program/%22Digital-Color%22-by-Ralph-Gibson

"Digital Color" Exhibition
January 17 - February 24, 2019
Celebrate the milestone 80th birthday of renowned photographer Ralph Gibson with Leica, featuring his new exhibition "Digital Color" at Leica Gallery Los Angeles on January 17.

Obviously the guy his still interested in taking photographs and he is bold enough to think that they are worth publishing. If I reach that age and still take photos, I'll be glad, not talking about publishing any of them:o.
He takes pictures to have new work up at his studio wall, to prove himself that he can still produce work that he is satisfied with after a couple of weeks looking at them. Obviously he has found a certain camera type to work best for his vision. And yes, there is some mutual benefit for him and Leica out of this fondness for the Leica M. Once you have found your vision, you CAN work with any camera, still you will have a preference. And it doesn't make any difference if you use a digital or film camera to capture your vision. If you use grainy film or Pan F, a 10 year old 12mp camera or the latest and greatest 240mp digital back, it doesn't produce a great picture if you don't have a vision.

Ralph has taken a zillion pictures over the course of his creative life. And he found a personal way of keeping it up. Creating challenges for himself e.g. by using the odd 135 Apo Telyt on a RF camera to find a new angle.

He is a great guy who shares his knowledge and if you are open to grab what is relevant to you, you will greatly improve your photography. Worked for me.:cool:

FujiLove
01-17-2019, 02:09
I am thinking of calling my next show Digital Images. At least it would give me something to talk about. No one ask me if my images were film or digital the last time around.

Or go crazy and call them 'Digital/AI'.
The press, Canon, Nikon and Leica will be beating down your door ;)

willie_901
01-17-2019, 05:27
“I’m not interested in making my images look like analog silver gelatin. Right off the bat I didn't care for that. If I had wanted an analog look, I would've stayed with my film.”

At this particular moment in the photography continuum I think this is an important point, if you go digital don't try to make it look analog. Make the medium work for you.

Agreed.

About a year into transitioning to digital imaging I made this mistake. I discovered this recently when I started to edit (select) and organize images that spanned a three year period when I shot both film and digital for personal projects. Soon after receiving an X-100 in 2011 I stopped using film.

So, I had to re-render many color negative film scans I had attempted to render with a digital image look.

One exception were some B&W digital renderings. In low light levels the noise in digital camera images rendered in monochrome seems aesthetically similar to ISO 400 and B&W film, especially B&W film pushed to 800. I don't try to simulate film rendering, it just seems to turn out that way. In well-lit circumstances I don't add simulated grain and monochrome renderings don't have an analog look.

drewbarb
01-17-2019, 07:15
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.

You realize you said this on his 80th birthday, right?

Snark aside, I'm with you; I have admired his work for 30 years. I liked his older work better, but he's still making some good images. It's worth remembering that the 54,000 instagramers some posters above have compared him work to were all influenced by Gibson, directly or indirectly. Their work exists because Gibson and a few other artists started that movement.

Anyway, I'm not particularly impressed by this article/infomercial/fluff piece, and I think Gibson peaked a while ago and is now sliding into old age doing the same thing he's done, but what's wrong with that? He made his mark, and he's living his life and still making his art. His new stuff may not be as ground breaking as his work of 40 years ago, but that's ok with me.

Emile de Leon
01-17-2019, 08:54
Look...he's having a good time..livin a long life..actually makin dough using a luxury cam..
Doesn't get better than that..

robert blu
01-17-2019, 09:26
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.

This! He made great work and still is challenging himself...
robert

kbg32
01-17-2019, 12:27
I loved Gibson's early work and his tryptic books. I had the opportunity to attend two lectures on his work. In the last presentation he gave, at New York's Midtown Y back in 1980, Gibson cried a little and said he never became the photographer he wanted to be. No one understood what he was talking about and he didn't elaborate. Maybe he was after money....? I always thought it was interesting that he was Dorothea Lange's assistant back in the 1960s.
I haven't cared for Gibson's work since he started doing those Avenue magazine covers years ago. Now that was money....

olifaunt
01-17-2019, 12:58
I loved Gibson's early work and his tryptic books. I had the opportunity to attend two lectures on his work. In the last presentation he gave, at New York's Midtown Y back in 1980, Gibson cried a little and said he never became the photographer he wanted to be. No one understood what he was talking about and he didn't elaborate. Maybe he was after money....?

No, I doubt that. My guess would be that he was comparing himself to the photographers he admired “growing up,” or remembering the ideals he had, and felt he fell short (even if he objectively may not have).

nightfly
01-17-2019, 14:10
I think most artists peak and consensus seems to form around their best period.

With photography because it's a technical art, the medium the photographer was using at the time of that peak become inextricably tied up with their art.

So Stephen Shore's Uncommon Places can't really be separated from the look of the film he was using at the time. The 70's emulsion and colors of auto paint then and the other elements of the time meld into that art. Same with Gibson and his super sharp pushed Tri-X in Rodinal or William Egglestons dye transfer prints of Kodachrome.

I don't think it's a digital vs analog per se but the look of the art is just bound up with the medium. Few artists are able to transcend this and keep producing great work.

There will probably be great Instagram artists whose later work with 100 megapixel iPhone 20s won't be good as their work with their iPhone 5s and people will be scavenging the junk piles for them.

helenhill
01-17-2019, 17:33
Always enjoyed Gibson.
His work rouses my Imagination
Pushing the scales of Shadow & Light, Contour & Shapes

fireblade
01-17-2019, 17:44
"Gibson took the camera outside, pointed it at a manhole cover and snapped a photo. Just as he did, a bicycle zipped by, casting dramatic, spoked shadows across the pavement within the frame."

When pigs fly.

There's no way a photographer who has mastered the art of seeing as Ralph Gibson has, would be caught with an image of a manhole cover that just happen to have this bicycle shadow appearing in it. He saw what the image would be and waited for the moment where the bicycle shadow would be where he wanted it.

After reading that ridiculous statement, I lost total interest in the article.

Best,
-Tim

You gotta sell it. Any which way will do. :D

DwF
01-17-2019, 21:06
There is another thread currently here about using a tripod and landscapes. Ralph Gibson on the other hand has and likely will continue to inspire many from his hand-held shooting, with his eye and his vision and seeming spontaneity.

There is a poignant aspect in Gibson's ability to communicate visually that comes through for me in most of the images from this article. The strong lines and shapes make me think of Franz Kline at the same time creating a sense of wonder about what may lie outside the frame. And particularly the diptychs point to his strong sense of narrative.

Thanks Richard for sharing the article here!

David

gnuyork
01-18-2019, 02:35
I always get the strong sense that most of these film era masters of the art made stronger work on film. There are exceptions - David Alan Harvey and Christopher Anderson who both seem to be able to mould whatever medium they're using perfectly around their content.

But I vastly prefer David Alan Harvey's film work to his recent digital...I did see the Ralph Gibson article the other day, and I suspect I would feel the same about his digital work. Either way, he did pave the path for his style, that I really like. I'll look at anything he's done.

Always enjoyed Gibson.
His work rouses my Imagination
Pushing the scales of Shadow & Light, Contour & Shapes

Exactly

telenous
01-18-2019, 02:46
I loved Gibson's early work and his tryptic books. I had the opportunity to attend two lectures on his work. In the last presentation he gave, at New York's Midtown Y back in 1980, Gibson cried a little and said he never became the photographer he wanted to be. No one understood what he was talking about and he didn't elaborate. Maybe he was after money....? I always thought it was interesting that he was Dorothea Lange's assistant back in the 1960s.
I haven't cared for Gibson's work since he started doing those Avenue magazine covers years ago. Now that was money....

Perhaps the fact he strayed from work that inspired him to begin with explains this. He rates Walker Evans, Atget, Cartier-Bresson, Frank as influences, yet they were all documentarians with an artistic bend, not the other way round.

Anyway, kudos to him for still doing the work.

MISH
01-18-2019, 09:17
Ralph printed for years on a Leitz enlarger given to him by Robert Frank that Frank had used to make the prints for his book The Americans. If he doesn't need it anymore I would be happy to put it to use


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

xayraa33
01-18-2019, 09:36
Mr Gibson has changed his mind regarding using digital cameras in these last 11 years.

Back then he said he was not interested in using a digital camera (5:14 in the video), but things have move so far in the digital world since then that it is hard to blame him for doing so.

BTW, lots of wise advice and commentary on photography in that video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzMQcE2E-1o

Steve Bellayr
01-18-2019, 12:13
If I was given a free Leica digital camera I would go digital too.

jsrockit
01-18-2019, 13:29
If I was given a free Leica digital camera I would go digital too.

Would you really? I wouldn't change my medium just because I got a free camera.

B-9
01-18-2019, 13:40
Would you really? I wouldn't change my medium just because I got a free camera.

I would,

Simply speaking from a low income.

If I could be given a brand new tool I would use it!

Yes, I would even get rid of all my film for a new Leica!

Steve M.
01-18-2019, 18:01
The gallery should have done a better job editing which images they were going to hang. Some are quite good, some aren't.

I learned a long time ago to ignore what artists/photographers said and concentrate solely on the images. What they have to say isn't really important, but galleries like to have those little quotes for their shows, advertising and brochures. Still, the remark about not wanting his images to look like analog is a curious statement.

How exactly is that done? Everyone knows that film has a longer useable tonal range than digital, and grain sure don't look like noise. I'm not knocking digital because I can't always tell one from the other, but I just don't think I could take any of my digital images and make them look like a film shot. In the end, does it even matter? The image either works or it don't.

Maybe this wasn't representative of the overall quality that is on the walls? Always a little risky critiquing web images. Well, as long as he likes them.

I do agree that at a certain stage in people's career they may start to phone the stuff in because they know that the galleries will sell it anyway, but of course not everyone does or did that. Can you imagine Walker Evans, Ansel Adams or Matisse showing something that wasn't their absolute very best?

emraphoto
01-18-2019, 18:25
The gallery should have done a better job editing which images they were going to hang. Some are quite good, some aren't.

I learned a long time ago to ignore what artists/photographers said and concentrate solely on the images. What they have to say isn't really important, but galleries like to have those little quotes for their shows, advertising and brochures. Still, the remark about not wanting his images to look like analog is a curious statement.

How exactly is that done? Everyone knows that film has a longer useable tonal range than digital, and grain sure don't look like noise. I'm not knocking digital because I can't always tell one from the other, but I just don't think I could take any of my digital images and make them look like a film shot. In the end, does it even matter? The image either works or it don't.

Maybe this wasn't representative of the overall quality that is on the walls? Always a little risky critiquing web images. Well, as long as he likes them.

I do agree that at a certain stage in people's career they may start to phone the stuff in because they know that the galleries will sell it anyway, but of course not everyone does or did that. Can you imagine Walker Evans, Ansel Adams or Matisse showing something that wasn't their absolute very best?

Most of the work that Matisse produced in the later stages of his life was mostly ridiculed and often referred to as trivial experiments by an old man.

gb hill
01-18-2019, 19:33
Good to see he is still at it. Ralph’s at the point in his life it really doesn’t matter what he shoots. It’s his name that sells.

I still want a Ralph Gibson signature MP. :(

MIkhail
01-18-2019, 19:36
Man has to eat. What you going to do...
I would not pay much attention to what he says, that's not what RG is rightfully famous and valued for :-)

Keith
01-18-2019, 21:57
Would you really? I wouldn't change my medium just because I got a free camera.


Bold statement ... and not very convincing sorry.

jarski
01-18-2019, 23:35
The old guys and gals (and I'm as old as they are) were the best of their age, during a time when photography was still relatively fresh and new paths presented themselves. Many made contacts by assisting earlier famous photographers. They still rose to the top of their era.
...

Then there’s the nostalgia aspect also. World looked different back in -30s, -50s or even -70s. That can’t be brought back with any technology, besides time machine :D

MrFujicaman
01-18-2019, 23:37
I admire this man. At age 83 he is still putting out his work.

Uhhhhh...RG was born 01/16/39...he just turned 80.

Source-bio in "Deus Machina"

gnuyork
01-19-2019, 02:06
But I vastly prefer David Alan Harvey's film work to his recent digital...

Well, I say that, and then I see his most recent post on IG this morning (the one from DC with the tree outlining the comp of a man inside a building)...
excellent comp...Wow

Michael Markey
01-19-2019, 03:45
The photography world is full of nice safe bubbles from which you can look at what other people are doing and wonder.

My advice is to look at stuff that you don`t like ….. you might learn something.

jsrockit
01-19-2019, 05:05
My advice is to look at stuff that you don`t like ….. you might learn something.

I agree and also your own bad photography can teach you a lot if you let it.

jsrockit
01-19-2019, 05:07
Bold statement ... and not very convincing sorry.

Keith, we both use the cameras we already want to no? I`m very comfortable with the camera I use and am in a good zone right now with my photography. Why would I mess that up just for a free camera? I guess I like photography more than cameras.

robert blu
01-19-2019, 05:08
The photography world is full of nice safe bubbles from which you can look at what other people are doing and wonder.

My advice is to look at stuff that you don`t like ….. you might learn something.

I agree and also your own bad photography can teach you a lot if you let it.

I fully agree, 100 %
robert

willie_901
01-19-2019, 05:45
But I vastly prefer David Alan Harvey's film work to his recent digital...

What aspect of David Alan Harvey's work deteriorated recently.

If digital cameras did not exist, do you think you would like David Alan Harvey's recent work?

willie_901
01-19-2019, 05:46
Would you really? I wouldn't change my medium just because I got a free camera.

But it's a Leica.

willie_901
01-19-2019, 06:57
...Still, the remark about not wanting his images to look like analog is a curious statement.

How exactly is that done?

It's straightforward.

Use a relatively recent digital camera with at least a 255 square mm (signal-to-noise ratio counts).
Avoid using post-production or in camera-rendering methods designed to simulate film grain, film formulation response curves and, or film color hue rendering.
Don't use very high camera ISO settings that result in severe sensor underexposure


[/QUOTE]
Everyone knows that film has a longer useable tonal range than digital, and grain sure don't look like noise.

In some tonal range comparisons this would be the case. In some it would not. Quantitative comparisons are difficult because film formulations have a non-linear response while raw file data is linear.

The dynamic range recent affordable digital cameras equals or exceeds the dynamic range of film. The bit depth of a digital rendering is also relevant to perceived tonal differences. People who digitize their film images have the same bit-depth limitations as people with digital cameras. A pure analog workflow does not automatically maximize tonal range.

Analog film grain is noise. It is signal-dependent, spatial noise. A grain increases the spatial uncertainty for the image increases. Film grain is well-modeled as photon (shot) noise. Photon noise in digital images and film grain are described by Gaussian distributions.

I'm not knocking digital because I can't always tell one from the other, but I just don't think I could take any of my digital images and make them look like a film shot. In the end, does it even matter? The image either works or it don't.


I agree.

I recently attended an exhibit "Voices from the Photo League (http://lightfactory.org/photo-league/)". The images were mostly large digital prints scanned from the large-format negatives made from 1945 - 1950 by Sonia Handelman Meyer and George Gilbert. These prints were excellent. The detail and lack of grain were In many ways they resembled images I have seen from well-exposed digital images.

jsrockit
01-19-2019, 08:35
But it's a Leica.

Yes, that seems to be the issue. BUT, I`ve been there and done that I know it isn`t the right tool for me. A Leica CL (digital) I would use though for free... but I would not give up my X-Pro2 for a Leica M.

Steve Bellayr
01-19-2019, 08:59
Who would not go digital if given a free Leica M10?

sjones
01-19-2019, 10:47
Giving up film for a free M10; I wouldn’t. I’ll gladly stick with my M2 and Tri-X.

As for the latest Gibson photos, some of them are very good. Could I find similar stuff on Instagram (if I bothered to look)? Well, 500 trillion photos taken each microsecond across the globe, so yeah, most likely. So?

Godfrey
01-19-2019, 12:24
https://www.wired.com/story/ralph-gibson-digital-color/?CNDID=22536208&CNDID=22536208&bxid=MjM5Njc3NDk4MzkyS0&hasha=d6f7edc2ade1cb07869d701f84cdd3db&hashb=96c122173d519f0ba92f75a58b7c2b4e0ad2ec39&mbid=nl_011519_daily_list1_p1&utm_brand=wired&utm_mailing=WIRED%20NL%20011519%20(1)&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl

Why is this even an issue worthy of being noted in an article?
Who freekin' cares whether someone is using digital capture or film? and why?

The only question is whether the photographer is making compelling photographs, telling interesting good stories, et cetera. For camera enthusiasts, sure: What tools were used is of interest in a geeky kind of way. But beyond that debating it, disparaging it, making absurd pronouncements that value the recording medium over the photographs ... it's a total waste of time.

I don't know Ralph Gibson's work enough to conclude whether I like what he's doing now more or less than what he did before. But it's very rare I like all of any artist's or photographer's work.

G

Huss
01-19-2019, 12:40
Who would not go digital if given a free Leica M10?

Is the stipulation that if you accepted the M10 you would have to go digital and forgo film?
If that's the case, not me.

Ricoh
01-19-2019, 12:43
"Who freekin' cares whether someone is using digital capture or film? and why?"

That's a very good question indeed. It is really about the image, not the tools. However for some strange reason I do enjoy the analogue way more, but use both as I choose. Sometimes I like the near instant feedback of digital, and to some extent it's a good learning tool if used correctly, in other words to shoot digital as though it was film without becoming machine gun operator.

ChipMcD
01-19-2019, 13:03
Giving up film for a free M10; I wouldn’t. I’ll gladly stick with my M2 and Tri-X.

As for the latest Gibson photos, some of them are very good. Could I find similar stuff on Instagram (if I bothered to look)? Well, 500 trillion photos taken each microsecond across the globe, so yeah, most likely. So?

Like geting enough chimpanzees in front of typewriters to produce "Hamlet."

Dogman
01-19-2019, 13:20
... but I would not give up my X-Pro2 for a Leica M.

Neither would I. But I would certainly give the Leica a run.

emraphoto
01-19-2019, 13:28
"Who freekin' cares whether someone is using digital capture or film? and why?"

That's a very good question indeed. It is really about the image, not the tools. However for some strange reason I do enjoy the analogue way more, but use both as I choose. Sometimes I like the near instant feedback of digital, and to some extent it's a good learning tool if used correctly, in other words to shoot digital as though it was film without becoming machine gun operator.

i used to think this way. i now believe there are many valid reasons for one medium over the other. nature photographers, working in extremely cold environments, shoot slide film on manual focus cameras could be one example.

the image is of absolute importance. that doesn't rule out what's necessary to take said image.

emraphoto
01-19-2019, 13:30
Like geting enough chimpanzees in front of typewriters to produce "Hamlet."

And Leica isn't paying them to push cameras. In that difference lies a whole world of hustle.

Godfrey
01-19-2019, 16:46
i used to think this way. i now believe there are many valid reasons for one medium over the other. nature photographers, working in extremely cold environments, shoot slide film on manual focus cameras could be one example.

the image is of absolute importance. that doesn't rule out what's necessary to take said image.

Of course, that goes without saying. How many occasions to work in such extremely cold environments that necessitate manual, mechanical cameras and film exposures have you experienced in the past decade? Or anyone else on this forum?

In fifty years of doing all kinds of photography, I never have. In those fifty years, any camera—film or digital—that I had or have would have done just fine for any of the conditions I've been in, some of which were fairly severe (like 125°F on the Black Rock Playa and -20°F ice racing on the lakes of northern New York State...). I'd take any of my cameras there now and get my photos still, if I cared to.

I've also never been to Antarctica or the Sahara Desert and needed the kind of special-prep equipment typical for those locations. I have been to Greenland on the glaciers once upon an age ago, but the option of any digital camera at all (except the imaging radar system that I was there to support) wasn't available in 1985. :D

G

emraphoto
01-19-2019, 18:28
Of course, that goes without saying. How many occasions to work in such extremely cold environments that necessitate manual, mechanical cameras and film exposures have you experienced in the past decade? Or anyone else on this forum?

In fifty years of doing all kinds of photography, I never have. In those fifty years, any camera—film or digital—that I had or have would have done just fine for any of the conditions I've been in, some of which were fairly severe (like 125°F on the Black Rock Playa and -20°F ice racing on the lakes of northern New York State...). I'd take any of my cameras there now and get my photos still, if I cared to.

I've also never been to Antarctica or the Sahara Desert and needed the kind of special-prep equipment typical for those locations. I have been to Greenland on the glaciers once upon an age ago, but the option of any digital camera at all (except the imaging radar system that I was there to support) wasn't available in 1985. :D

G

Well, i have different cameras, using different capture mediums, for different environments, budgets and so forth

But i understand your point.

Bill Clark
01-19-2019, 19:42
From reading, appears to be an interesting person. Lots of his books on Amazon. Proflic writer/photographer.

gnuyork
01-19-2019, 21:18
What aspect of David Alan Harvey's work deteriorated recently.

If digital cameras did not exist, do you think you would like David Alan Harvey's recent work?

Idk... I just know when I see something he posts (even on Instagram) from the earlier days, I can spot it right away...but has a look (mood) to it, and yes that's partly due to Kodachrome and his Leica. I can's explain it. I know it when I see it.

I'm not knocking digital either. I happen to shoot both, but unlike some opinions here, I want my digital images to look more like film or at least I try. It's just an aesthetic I prefer.

There are a few other artists I follow that have gone digital, and in some cases have both film and digital images in their galleries... The majority of the times i can tell which images are digital and I just prefer the look film gives.

So if digital did not exist would I like DAH's work? That's hard to say. I guess that would depend on what he shoots. There are some recent portfolios of his that didn't spark my interest like his earlier portfolios. And I do wonder if part of that is due to a different medium not only for the aesthetics but for choice of subject matter due to the choice of a different medium (if that makes sense?)

Choosing to shoot digital sometimes gives us more freedom to shoot more or different subjects, I personally shoot less with film, just because lately I'm conscience of it's cost, it's scarcity, and the effort to actually produce an image from film. That's what I like about digital is that I tend to experiment more because there's really not much to lose. I also have a lot more bad digital photos than I do film ones because of this practice, but that's just the numbers game. At the same time I have several digital images that I personally like a lot (and may even be some of my very best images) and I do wonder if I should just give up film altogether. Then I recently get a Rolleiflex and shoot some expired Tmax developed in Xtol and it blows my mind. I'm so conflicted.

I guess I continue to be inspired by the works of film shooters more so than digital shooters. Elliott Erwitt, and Ralph Gibson are two of my very favorite photographers. Also Jay Maisel's earlier color work, as well as Constatine Manos' film work, especially his color work.

Dogman
01-20-2019, 05:23
i used to think this way. i now believe there are many valid reasons for one medium over the other. nature photographers, working in extremely cold environments, shoot slide film on manual focus cameras could be one example.

the image is of absolute importance. that doesn't rule out what's necessary to take said image.

https://petapixel.com/2012/12/20/frozen-camera-what-a-dslr-looks-like-when-shooting-in-a-25c-environment/

airfrogusmc
01-20-2019, 07:09
"Who freekin' cares whether someone is using digital capture or film? and why?"

I totally agree. I love film and would still be shooting it in some capacity if i still had a darkroom.

Gibson can surely afford an M 10 or an MM so whether he is given one by Leica is kind of irrelevant. He has always shot with Leica's. He has always been one of my favorite photographers and still is.

The tool should only be relevant to the artist And only relevant in the sense that they find a tool that helps them create. To go from a film M to a digital M is not a big stretch for someone that has shot with Leica Ms for decades.

As stated already the work is what is important and Gibson's photographs look like his photographs not matter if it's made with a film M or digital M.

Not his fault if there are a lot of imitators out there. And who cares what he creates with besides gear geeks on forums. It really doesn't matter to anyone but Gibson.

These digital vs film debates get old. They both have their place. Find one that works for you and be very happy that you found the right tool for you. That is all the matters in the end.

robert blu
01-20-2019, 07:14
I totally agree. I love film and would still be shooting it in some capacity if i still had a darkroom.

Gibson can surely afford an M 10 or an MM so whether he is given one by Leica is kind of irrelevant. He has always shot with Leica's. He has always been one of my favorite photographers and still is.

The tool should only be relevant to the artist And only relevant in the sense that they find a tool that helps them create. To go from a film M to a digital M is not a big stretch for someone that has shot with Leica Ms for decades.

As stated already the work is what is important and Gibson's photographs look like his photographs not matter if it's made with a film M or digital M.

Not his fault if there are a lot of imitators out there. And who cares what he creates with besides gear geeks on forums. It really doesn't matter to anyone but Gibson.

These digital vs film debates get old. They both have their place. Find one that works for you and be very happy that you found the right tool for you. That is all the matters in the end.

+1
robert

emraphoto
01-20-2019, 08:03
https://petapixel.com/2012/12/20/frozen-camera-what-a-dslr-looks-like-when-shooting-in-a-25c-environment/

Im not sure what your point is with the article posted? Im definitely not attempting to create dogma or rules. In fact, just the opposite. Not all who work in extreme cold can afford to pack/change so many batteries which, from brief chats with them, is why i mentioned it.

The film vs digital capture medium is simple for a bunch of enthusiasts. The needs and considerations are different. For folks making considered bodies of work, on the job or in environments without access to power supply, the choices are more complex.

oldwino
01-21-2019, 16:49
Use whatever makes you happy.

olifaunt
01-22-2019, 06:45
Idk... I just know when I see something he posts (even on Instagram) from the earlier days, I can spot it right away...but has a look (mood) to it, and yes that's partly due to Kodachrome and his Leica. I can's explain it. I know it when I see it.


Nothing really compares to the look of the Kodachrome of that era. The palette was special and it is too bad it is gone; it's almost like removing oil paint (e.g.) as a medium forever.

gnuyork
01-22-2019, 07:23
Nothing really compares to the look of the Kodachrome of that era. The palette was special and it is too bad it is gone; it's almost like removing oil paint (e.g.) as a medium forever.

100% agree.