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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hmmm - Bill posted something about my going digital at photo.net and here is the friendly thread so far.  Seems like whenever I'm mentioned my photography draws a fair amount of flak.

- - -

On a serious note, regarding the "Kill Dave Vol. II" thread from yesterday: I can only say that it is lucky that they didn't get me when I was just starting out - they could have done some serious damage.  What if I had been a 15-year old kid starting out - as I once was.  What if I didn't have hundreds of prints hanging in living rooms around the country?

At this point, they are no more annoying than the 17-year old guitar salesmen at any of the bigger New York music stores who are all attitude unless you are someone famous and then they are all fawning.  And no, though I thought of it, I'm not going to enter that fray on photo.net with some response because you will find a cyber-mob there that have the cyber-rope in their hands and there ain't no deputy around.  They are just gnats - swarming around looking for an open sore to feast on.

Now, whether this is a generational thing - i.e. teenagers out to make a reputation by knocking off an older gunslinger - I don't think so.  I think the whole country is polarized about everything and to paraphrase a line from the Paper Chase - their minds have turned to mush.  You can hear the same rigid, desperate attitude on any talk-show; or any C-Span call-in program. 

I have an aunt who was always giving advice to me and to anyone that would listen about just about everything.  One day, after I found her particularly annoying - my father took me aside and said: "Look -  your aunt is a very unhappy woman.  The reason that she gives you all this advice about your life is because she has lost control over her own life.  So don't pay her any mind." 

Now, if Uma Thurman made some disparaging remarks about me - that would lay me low for a long time.  I haven't seen either of the Kill Bill movies but I love her in those ten second clips I see on t.v.  I just like that shot of her looking into the camera and saying, "I'm going to kill Bill."  I have no idea who Bill is, though I thought she would have killed him in the first movie... But okay - I digress, and not only to I digress but I digress badly.  How I got from my ancient auntie to Ms. Thurman... I will leave that to you.

8:14:39 PM    

Finished a darkroom session.  I do think this darkroom stuff is coming to a rapid end for me.  I haven't solved the problem of larger prints yet - but the labor involved - esp. in this cramped apt. is getting to me.  While the prints are washing, I ran out to Best Buy and picked up a small pack of their Soft Gloss Premium Plus paper and have been knocking out fantastic prints on it.  The high glossy paper was a little too much gloss for my taste.  This soft-gloss is more like the Ilford Smooth Pearl (which I like a lot but which isn't archival with this ink set).

- - -

how do you reconcile the fact that you say you can always tell the difference between a digital BW print and a traditional BW print with the fact that you are now basically abandoning traditional photography? Robert

- - -

A combination of factors:

1) the HP 7960 is giving me b&w prints that are "as pleasing" in their own way as darkroom prints. 

2) nobody wants to pay for the work involved in doing darkroom prints.

3) Art is art.  Hard to believe, but it isn't even related to size.  E. Weston prints were contact printed with a light bulb, and a sheet of glass from an 8 x 10 negative.

4) And this is the main point: my time is better spent shooting, then in the post-production phase, whether that phase is digital or darkroom.  (Let me know if you are interested in purchasing a used Zone VI enlarger, lenses etc. at a reasonable price.)

5) Art can't be defined.  I see the photographer as more of an artisan.   If he/she approves of what comes out of the shop, that's about all you can hope for.  The method used to produce the objects is not relevant - so long as in the case of photography the print will last a reasonable amount of time.  Even there you have to wonder if you think of all the great films (art) that have shifted to red over the years.  Does that make them some sort of lesser art?  I don't think so.  And to bring up Weston once more - his prints were generally not fixed well - either over-fixed or not properly washed and many faded quickly.

12:55:39 PM    

"Hi Dave,

I'm wondering how you find the 300D DLSR compares with the M6 for street
photography? I'm seriously considering switching from the 10D outfit I
currently use to an M7 + 50mm.

One of the reasons is size - it seems to be more convenient to just sling an M
series over the shoulder. Another is the attention and apprenhension when you
start pointing an SLR." J.L.

Dear J.L.

When I was looking at the specs for the 10D and the 300D I was leaning towards the 10D.  When I actually looked at one I dismissed it as too scary-looking and hefty for street photography.  Although - and this is a big although - it depends on what you mean by street photography.  I won't get into that too heavily but let's just say there are street photographs where you make contact with the subject and those where you are just sort of invisible.  I don't know if this makes any sense but contrast HCB with Paul Strand (I'm thinking of a shot he did of a few waiters - was it in Italy) where he has obviously caught their eye and made contact.

Anyway - I've been shooting with the Elan 7 for the past few years and the Rebel with a prime lens is slightly better for street photography of the "contact" type than the Elan since you can use the immediate image to get closer to your subject.  I don't think the d300 with say the 35 mm f2.0 weighs anymore than the M7 and it is just as easy to walk around with.  (Without the Russian firmware hack though, the D300 is pretty much useless to me as any sort of camera).

If you want pure "I'm just an idiot tourist and there is no reason to worry about me" invisibleness (is there such a word?) - then the Canon A75 or the S60 type of camera is better - though there is that shutter / blackout lag and extra noise at the faster ISO speeds.  But I was able to take some pictures with that sort of pocket camera that I don't think I could have done with the M6/7 or the D300.

All the new pictures in the Recent Prints section were done with either the A75 or the D300 - so that should give you some idea of how it is working (or not working) for me.

Best,

DB 

6:33:50 AM