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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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What is photography FOR?
Old 06-03-2013   #1
Roger Hicks
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What is photography FOR?

Photography can make a difference. We can make people appreciate beauty; or oppose cruelty; or just think about the world in which we live

Or we can photograph cats and coffee cups, or pontificate about which version of a particular Leica lens is better. Who else wondered if it was worth quitting RFF when "Help cry for freedom of Turkey" was locked? With a patronizing "OK kids"?

No, look, kiddiwinks, some things in the world matter.

To quote Gabriel M.A., Hard to believe a gear forum is a photo forum at times.

Addendum (from further information from Gabriel M.A.): Delete indefensible posts, perhaps. But even then, reflect upon who will appear the bigger fool: the person who made the indefensible post, or the person who deletes it and then closes the thread for reasons no-one can see unless they saw the deleted post.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-03-2013   #2
ferider
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Dear Roger,

consider that there still is a life thread about Istanbul (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=133375) that appears to me more photography related than the closed one.

Roland.
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Old 06-03-2013   #3
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The photography which speaks to me says something about the world or individuals within it. About the human or environmental situation (and the interaction thereof sometimes) if you wish.

I can see why people might not want overt political discussion on a photo forum (I have this issue on cycling fora, too, surprisingly). But I want to talk about what our photos mean, and why we take them.

There is no more meaningful photography being discussed on this forum right now than what's coming out of Turkey.
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Old 06-03-2013   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Dear Roger,

consider that there still is a life thread about Istanbul (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=133375) that appears to me more photography related than the closed one.

Roland.
Dear Roland,

We live in hope.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-03-2013   #5
Gabriel M.A.
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I just hope some maroon doesn't go saying crazy things in there that spoils it for the rest of us.
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Old 06-03-2013   #6
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
The photography which speaks to me says something about the world or individuals within it. About the human or environmental situation (and the interaction thereof sometimes) if you wish.

I can see why people might not want overt political discussion on a photo forum (I have this issue on cycling fora, too, surprisingly). But I want to talk about what our photos mean, and why we take them.

There is no more meaningful photography being discussed on this forum right now than what's coming out of Turkey.
This is how it seems to me.

Some truly stunning and deeply moving pictures have come out of this topic. But because they have political content, we are supposed to ignore them?

Sure. Who needs pictures of the Nuremberg rallies? Or the tearing down of the Berlin Wall? Cats and coffee cups are MUCH more important.

Yes, I like still lifes too -- see http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=133400 -- but to pretend that there is nothing more to photography is not merely feeble: it's feeble-minded.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-03-2013   #7
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Roger,
I didn't know that thread was closed, and I must say I do find the moderation on RFF excessive. Having said that, RFF is among the most civilized forums I've been on. Of course, correlation and causation is not the same thing, as you well know.

I would rather an encouragement of civilized discourse rather than the censorship we have now though.

Photography for me is basically a desire to go to nice places and attempt to do them justice.

The Turkey thread is about something more important though, the possibility of changing a government's actions by exposing them to the world may literally save lives.

In closing, I hope you don't leave RFF, Roger, your posts are generally the ones most worth reading here.

Garry
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Old 06-03-2013   #8
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I see politically-slanted threads the same as I do gear-related ones or anything else: if I'd rather read about something else, I can find another thread. I don't care about digital cameras, so I skip over them. If I tire of political ones, I skip them too.

These images out of Turkey have a politically-bent subject matter, sure, but they are for the most part photographically oriented, in that the main mode of information being discussed and dissected originates from photographs. I don't think such images, and subsequent commentary on those images, are irrelevant to photography. Political discussion for its own sake I would have no interest in reading about here on RFF. But to me the discussion about Turkey is relevant to photography. Unfortunately, it begins to walk a fine line when we start comparing/contrasting with the Arab spring, etc. As long as it's mostly about photographs and their content, it shouldn't be problematic.

Edit: I guess I never answered Roger's question. I don't really know what photography is for. It's for whatever one wants it to be. Just like music. Sometimes it's background noise, and sometimes it's to push a political agenda, and sometimes it's to dance to, etc. For me, photography is about trying to convey a sense of time, place, mood, and emotion in a single image frozen forever in time. I don't have a problem with coffee mugs and cats, nor do I photojournalism. Perhaps a better question is what is a photography forum for?
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Old 06-03-2013   #9
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Meeting Babes.
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Old 06-03-2013   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjoca76 View Post
I see politically-slanted threads the same as I do gear-related ones or anything else: if I'd rather read about something else, I can find another thread. I don't care about digital cameras, so I skip over them. If I tire of political ones, I skip them too.

These images out of Turkey have a politically-bent subject matter, sure, but they are for the most part photographically oriented, in that the main mode of information being discussed and dissected originates from photographs. I don't think such images, and subsequent commentary on those images, are irrelevant to photography. Political discussion for its own sake I would have no interest in reading about here on RFF. But to me the discussion about Turkey is relevant to photography. Unfortunately, it begins to walk a fine line when we start comparing/contrasting with the Arab spring, etc. As long as it's mostly about photographs and their content, it shouldn't be problematic.
Exactly. About as relevant as it gets, in my book. This sort of photography is not what I've done for a while, because of the trouble with Indian visas, but politically or socially active photography is, in my book, one of the noblest applications of the art.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-03-2013   #11
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The Help for Turkey thread was closed due to totally unacceptable comments which were a violation of RFF's Terms of Service, and had nothing to do with Turkey or photography.

I've opened it back up.

Its an important subject, but its not an excuse to violate RFF rules.

Best,
Stephen
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Old 06-03-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Exactly. About as relevant as it gets, in my book. This sort of photography is not what I've done for a while, because of the trouble with Indian visas, but politically or socially active photography is, in my book, one of the noblest applications of the art.

Cheers,

R.

Hear hear.

I may have posted on this before, but if so, here goes again. My uncle was killed in El Salvador in 1982 while he and three colleagues were reporting on the upcoming elections. They ended up in a gun battle between government and guerilla forces and even while they were very recognizable as being press people, were shot.
To this day when this comes up people are discussing the political 'truths' of that time and place, while it would be best to just say that they died doing something they believed in (reporting the events to the rest of the world), and as a result they deserve our respect.

These events should not be politicalized in our threads here. Let history figure out who was wrong or right. Let us just pay hommage to those that decide it should be shown to the world and stick out their necks in doing so.
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Old 06-03-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
The Help for Turkey thread was closed due to totally unacceptable comments which were a violation of RFF's Terms of Service, and had nothing to do with Turkey or photography.

I've opened it back up.

Its an important subject, but its not an excuse to violate RFF rules.

Best,
Stephen
Dear Stephen,

Thank you very much indeed.

There are strong arguments for not turning this into a political forum.

There are also strong arguments for not turning it into a forum that ignores some of the greatest power of photography. As Frances said, "Yes, sure, why did we need photographs of the liberation of Auschwitz?"

Sometimes, as photographers, we need to stand up and be counted. This is, I think, one of those times. Can Erdogan's photographers be as convincing?

Thanks again.

R.
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Old 06-03-2013   #14
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Thanks, Stephen.
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Old 06-03-2013   #15
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I think photography is for recording what you notice so you can look at it later to see if you were really paying attention, and maybe sharing what you noticed with others to encourage them to share what they notice.

I am headed to Turkey in 11 days to photograph ancient ruins. It will be my first time with only a day on either end in Istanbul. I promise not to make any political images on purpose, but that depends on what I notice.
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Old 06-04-2013   #16
Gabriel M.A.
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Yes, thanks Stephen. I think deleting the cause of a thread closing is the wrong thing to do -- it should have stayed to show that was exactly why it was closed, so it wouldn't degenerate into a shouting match. Deleting takes actions such as these out of context.

A "temporarily closing thread" post would also have been helpful, if that was the intent. It gives people time to figure out what happened, and not let people think that it was merely because the subject itself was a touchy one. Then removing the thread prior to re-opening would have been good.

I also understand this is work for the mods -- good forum moderation is often under-appreciated, but quick-and-fast-without-explanation is often counter-productive.
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Old 06-04-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
There is no more meaningful photography being discussed on this forum right now than what's coming out of Turkey.
Agreed completely.

The interaction between the photographer and the world is what the RF camera was designed to mediate. Without that context, discussions of RF gear and technique are sterile stuff.

Thank you fore re-opening the thread, Stephen.
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Old 06-06-2013   #18
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Um, what? Cat pictures are not important?! What is the world coming to?

Look, I've been writing about pictures; taking them; and writing about social injustice in my small country for more than a decade. You know what? I can't take the beating anymore. It's one thing to put up pictures like the ones from Turkey on a lovely forum such as this one and quite another to do it within the country itself for people to see the reality. Anyway, I deleted most of my work a few months back.

So now I take pictures of cats and coffee cups and I talk about gear.
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Old 06-15-2013   #19
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@ ferider
I like this art of photography which describes the living style of natives of some region..In this way we can also check out and get the knowledge of culture and people of different regions.
Nice and useful sharing.
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Old 06-15-2013   #20
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My friend David Turnley, a photojournalist, said recently: A political demonstration or action NOT DOCUMENTED , is an action in vain, useless...A journalist`s duty is to document, not to take sides. Preventing this is a violation of free speech or expression of ideas.
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Old 06-16-2013   #21
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Quote:
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My friend David Turnley, a photojournalist, said recently: A political demonstration or action NOT DOCUMENTED , is an action in vain, useless...A journalist`s duty is to document, not to take sides. Preventing this is a violation of free speech or expression of ideas.
Hang on. How many competent journalists DON'T take sides? And why would they bother to shoot otherwise? Without passion, all you can take is pretty pictures.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-01-2013   #22
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To capture the moment. To symbolize the moment. If you've ever travelled South from Yellowstone Park and have first seen the Tetons over the lake ... remember the emotion of that moment? can you catch it in an image? if you did, and have it on your wall, there it lives. That is photography.
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