Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/11/25

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Two weddings and a few portraits.
From: "bdcolen" <>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 09:27:50 -0500

Obviously we all see different things in this shot, which makes you
absolutely correct in saying that it would not make a good advertising
shot...but I see it as warm, innocent, capturing the essence of
childhood exploration....go figure...

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of John
Sent: Sunday, November 24, 2002 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Two weddings and a few portraits.

I am going from memory now and I have to agree about the carefully 
contrived. Didn't he spend days in the darkroom burning in the foliage 
to get it just right? Of course being Smith there may well have not 
been any foliage there to begin with. My take is the darkroom work 
removed the sentimentalism and gave the dark foliage a sinister 
connotation that would not have been present with translucent and 
dappled leaves. The effect is more like the children are leaving a hole 
in a wall; a hole in the jungle. This is especially emphasized with the 
high key paradise. The stark black wall of foliage is unsettling. It 
makes me think that it looks good ahead but where the h*** have they 
been? That he did this is obvious and that he said it was cathartic I 
also seem to recall. Now whether, this being Smith, it actually was 
what he was feeling or only what he wanted us to think he was feeling 
is another unanswerable question.

I disagree about it being a good advertising shot as that would require 
the translucent leaves and all the sentimental/romantic rest.  
Advertisers do not want us to have such dark thoughts associated with 
their products.

John Collier

On Sunday, November 24, 2002, at 03:16 PM, bdcolen wrote:

> I think it's being set up matters, in the sense that setting up -
> posing
> - a photo, and taking a photo of something occurring "naturally," are
> really two different things, requiring two different skill sets.
> Clearly, Smith had both - skill sets. But there are people - many of
> them terrific photographers - who really don't. Some people need to
> conceive of something they want to photograph, set it up, and shoot it

> -
> and some either can't do that, or don't want to, but have the ability 
> to
> see that which most people don't, and capture it on film.
> In some respects, the Walk to Paradise is no different than an 
> advertising shot - captivating, yes, but carefully contrived to 
> captivate. I'm not saying that's "bad" - I'm just saying we should 
> recognize it for what it is.
> BTW, I love it....:-)
> -----Original Message-----
> On Behalf Of John Collier
> Whether or not it was set up does not matter to me and I would have to

> agree with you that I am expressing personal opinions: no argument 
> here either.
> On Sunday, November 24, 2002, at 11:17 AM, bdcolen wrote:
>> How do we know that's what Smith's picture is, John? What do we 
>> really
>> know about it other than, like not a little of Smith's work, it was 
>> set up?
>> BTW - I am NOT trying to start an argument here - just ask a 
>> question,
>> as you make a statement about the purpose of the photo, but then give

>> what you acknowledge to be a personal observation about what it 
>> implies..
>> -----Original Message-----
>> On Behalf Of John Collier
>> I find the work well realized but sentimental and romantic. Whether 
>> that is good or bad or indifferent depends on your viewpoint. Smith's

>> picture has neither of those attributes. The Walk to Paradise Garden 
>> is a desperate longing for sanity and normality after the horrors of 
>> war. To me it seems to imply that the photographer can never follow 
>> his children, never return to innocence and peace.
>> On Sunday, November 24, 2002, at 10:33 AM, Daniel Ridings wrote:
>>> I liked the little girl going up the hill/steps in the woods. 
>>> Reminds
>>> one of the W.E. Smith picture of his two children.

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