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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Photography art or science...This question will get different answers from different people I recon. Obviously its a weird and wonderfull mix of the ...
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Old 22-12-2005, 00:23   #1 (permalink)
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Photography art or science

This question will get different answers from different people I recon. Obviously its a weird and wonderfull mix of the two. What I really mean is how do YOU apoach your shots?

I'm a scientist at heart (well an engineer so a scientist with practical aplications ) So when I'm thinking about what I'm doing its, I'll have that on a third and crouch to have an upward angle on that and where do I want to be in relation to the sun. Everything sorta planed out I doubt I'll ever be able to do what people Jamey do just sorta SEE a shot as they walk around.

I was going to make a poll to see how many scientisty and arty farty types we had but I can't work out how
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Old 22-12-2005, 00:50   #2 (permalink)
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Agreed - it's a bit of both. My take is this...

It's the science of it that lays down the rules WRT exposure, shutter speed, aperture, film speed, lens magnification. The art is in the application of those rules, combined with the artistic/compositional rules that make an appealing image

It's like playing guitar - it's only a collection of notes. Jimi Hendrix only ever had access to about 45 notes on the guitar... but it's how he applied those notes that defined HIS music.
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Old 22-12-2005, 01:06   #3 (permalink)
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Im neither. I think "that might be pretty" then hit and hope.

Never comes out right though.
I'd love to be able to 'see' shots all the time, and then use my knowledge and ability to capture it. But I tend not to.
 
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Old 22-12-2005, 01:20   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the compliment. I'm touched.

When I'm walking around I leave the camera in one of the auto/semi-auto modes (P, Tv or Av) because if a meteor was to fall out of the sky in front of me I'd want to just point and click and make sure I got something usable. An extreme example but the same applies to anything that might happen - people having a fight as I turn a corner on the street, a car crash, a kid wearing a red jumper chasing a red baloon past a red phone box, etc etc, you get the idea. Basically I want to be ready for anything when I'm wandering with the camera.

But if I find something I want to shoot that's standing still (landscapes, grafitti, buildings) then I'll spend a bit more time being 'scientific' about it. I'll usually try to get the best depth of field I can at ISO 100 while still maintaining a shutter speed fast enough to hand-hold. Where this isn't possible my preference in the past has been to bump the ISO first but I'm starting to try to keep it down more and just find a way to steady the camera.

Once I've got some settings that work I'll start worrying more about angles although I tend to find that I go with the first shot/angle I took simply because that was the view I had when I was inspired to take a photo in the first place, if that makes sense.
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Old 22-12-2005, 08:51   #5 (permalink)
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You have to apply a bit of science to most shots, unless its an off the cuff one like Jamey said in which case it'll be a hit and hope.

I know I've lost a few shots by not thinking about the mechanics enough, i.e. ignoring DoF when taking a photo of a group of people.
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Old 22-12-2005, 10:42   #6 (permalink)
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I like to think art 1st when you see a shot in your head & then the science to make it happen.
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Old 22-12-2005, 11:30   #7 (permalink)
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I'd agree with DJW there, I like to think that I'm an artist first and foremost and that the science (or should that be craft, I've never managed to pin that one down) allows me to try and capture my vision on film or sensor.

It's interesting to me that all the really good snappers that I've met have no, or little, ability to paint or draw. So perhaps we are all just frustrated painters at heart. Saying that, unlike the great unwashed who have little concept of the great trials of creating good photography, I don't value painting as a higher artform.

Over the years I've been lucky enough to shot with people like Charlie Waite, David Ward, Joe Cornish, Andy Rouse and Ben Osbourne (light and land really is a great place to spend your hard earned) and all of them have struck me as being very much artists that have learnt to master the science.

Looking further back in history, to great photographers that have pushed the medium to new levels, I get far more of a feeling that the science had a greater weight. Ansel Adams and O. Winston Link for example were shoting in a way that hadn't really been done before and so had to create their own science to fully realise their visualisation.

These days, as far as the process of creating a photograph is concrerned, little has changed in a long time to we really on established science that we can learn and then fall back on to allow our art to take shape.

Of course, this doesn't include digital post process where there is new science to be learned and discovered again.
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Old 22-12-2005, 11:39   #8 (permalink)
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One of my fave quotes:

Quote:
(Photographer) David Hamilton said that the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is that the amateur thinks the camera does the work. And they treat the camera with a certain amount of reverence. It is all about the kind of lens you choose, the kind of film stock you use... exactly the sort of perfection of the camera. Whereas the professional - the real professional - treats the camera with unutterable disdain. They pick up the camera and sling it aside. Because they know itís the eye and the brain that count, not the mechanism that gets between them and the subject that counts.
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Old 22-12-2005, 12:45   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzajl
I'd agree with DJW there, I like to think that I'm an artist first and foremost and that the science (or should that be craft, I've never managed to pin that one down) allows me to try and capture my vision on film or sensor.
Unfortunately for those who take too scientific an approach, photography has never been an exact science, so they're likely to be somewhat frustrated in their efforts. It's definitely a curious blend of technique, eye and experience.

'Craft' is good - I'll go with that.
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Old 22-12-2005, 17:49   #10 (permalink)
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It's witchcraft, pure and simple - whenever we take an image of someone, we steal their very soul and we will all burn in the raging fires of Hell for all eternity...
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Old 22-12-2005, 18:17   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkady
It's witchcraft, pure and simple - whenever we take an image of someone, we steal their very soul and we will all burn in the raging fires of Hell for all eternity...
Your a warped man

Last edited by Dave; 22-12-2005 at 18:54.
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