Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/31

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: RE: [Leica] What makes a good photo (was: Lee's week four)
From: "Mark Cohen" <>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 15:40:24 -0800

I've been thinking about this thread for a while, with little to include
until now :)

For me, its about the act of being in the right place at the right time
getting the images. I don't think about photography while Im doing it, Im
looking through the viewfinder composing... with my instincts. Listening to
music in my head. (For me, photography and music go hand in hand) I take a
LOT of pictures, blow through tons of film and get a few good shots. I don't
believe in filling a 36exp roll of film with 36 perfectly composed/perfectly
exposed shots.. I believe in getting the image on the film and moving on.

When I start thinking is in the Darkroom, when I look at the roll (not a
proof sheet.. they don't do anything for me other then waste time) I pick a
neg that strikes me and put it in the enlarger.. When I look at that
reversed image on the easel is when I start thinking of all of the things
that make a photograph good. I crop or leave full frame whatever.. and
print.  My goal is to get that magical feeling in my gut.. you know. that
feeling you first got when you developed your first print and saw it comming
up in the developer.. That to me is what photography is all about. Not
selling images.. making images that Im happy to look at and give me that
magic feeling every time I look at it.

- -Mark

- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] What makes a good photo (was: Lee's week four)

I'm late getting back to this Ted, sorry. You know, I agree with you. I have
a nervous reaction when I think people are saying 'don't think about this
stuff'. What worries me so much is not really the attitude of  photogs, but
the lack of thought by punters of the difference between good, bad, and
mediocre photography. I had an English teacher when i was at school who used
to talk and teach about photography at the same time as teaching English. i
saw my first Don McCullin photo in one of his classes, but now... I dunno.
You are dead right abouit shooting with the gut - I get the same buzz out of
shooting as I used to playing jazz. It's the afterwards that any reflection
comes in.

Thanks for the dialogue!

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Grant" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 3:38 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] What makes a good photo (was: Lee's week four)

> Julian wrote:
> > OK Ted, I'm a fan and I'm nervous tangling with you BUT two points:
> > 1: gut feeling is easily manipulated and if people didn't think about
> > photography the newspapers would be full of shit lifestyle colour
> > taken on zoom lenses that meant bugger-all...<<<<<<<<<
> G'day Julian,
> Never fear tangling with me anytime, as underneath it all there beats the
> heart of a pussy cat!  A tiger! ;-)
> Well some newspapers look like they're full  >>> "of shit lifestyle colour
> pictures
> > taken on zoom lenses that meant bugger-all"<<<  all the time. But that
> not be the fault of the photographer, but quite probably the visual
> illiterate editors who know no better.
> >>>>>gut feeling is easily manipulated <<<<<      Yep if you take a
> laxative. ;-)
> But what I'm talking about isn't easily manipulated, as it's your feeling
> when you're looking through the viewfinder and everything in your body is
> screaming "shoot it!"  Maybe it's motivation of the photographer through
> or her  talent, experience, instinct, whatever, but inevitably there is
> than "brain in action" doing a cold hearted analysis.  I'm not saying the
> brain doesn't function during this feeling, sure it does, as it holds the
> experience to motivate the eyes to understand this is a cool photographic
> moment.
> There are some folks, well we all start out taking pictures "by number,"
> this isn't meant to be derogatory, if we didn't know about aperture
> settings, shutter speeds and the other intricacies of photography we'd
> achieve "gut feeling!"  But there are some people who never get beyond the
> number stage, where others not only learn the numbers but they have an
> sense of feeling a moment and capturing it.
> They see "the light" and know instictively what to do to make an exposure
> because they "feel it!"
> Unfortunatetly not everyone experiences this "gut feeling" simply because
> it's human nature that some photographers have a natural instinct of what
> works and what doesn't.  Much like the piano player who's never had a
> in her life and yet plays like an angel! It's a natural inner thing.
> >>>>> 2: you can't mean that photography is so superficial and meaningless
> that it
> > ain't worth struggling with otherwise how could us lesser mortals
> appreciate
> > the stuff that you and TIna do?<<<<<<
> Sorry if I've made it sound superficial and meaningless as that's not
> intended at all. Far from it, as photography has been my life and quite
> probably will be my death at some time, so be it.  Great life and I
> change it for a second!  We all work very hard at it, I know Tina and many
> others, pro and amateur do because, it's a "calling" so's to speak.
> For those who think it's a superficial thing, shame on them, as
> is a blessing. We photographers, all of us, are the recorders of our times
> for generations to come, much as the early shooters are the motivators and
> teachers for us.
> I'm not sure if this is addressing your thoughts and questions, hopefully
> is.
> ted
> Ted Grant Photography Limited