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Re: [OM] Aesthetic sense.

Subject: Re: [OM] Aesthetic sense.
From: Winsor Crosby <wincros@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 18:48:34 -0700
>There has been some great feedback to my original question. I am in the same
>position as most on the list. The technical aspects of the picture, i.e.,
>correct exposure, proper focus, dof correct, composition technically correct
>(rule of thirds and other such observed), I have no problem with. These
>things can be perfected simply through an understanding of the technical
>aspects of photography and as many have said, practice, practice, practice.
>Developing the "vision", the "eye", the way of "seeing", I find harder. Yes,
>I have studied the work of the greats, and for the most part I understand
>what makes those pictures "work". But unless I want to duplicate exactly
>what they've shot, it doesn't help with developing a vision of my own. There
>are several books on the market that show great landscape shots, and tell
>exactly what equipment was used, the time of day, the season, the weather,
>and even EXACTLY where to stand or place one's tripod. Ansel Adams was even
>guilty of producing one of these. Providing you can read and have access to
>the location and the equipment used, great photos are almost guranteed.
>How does one develop a sense of "seeing" a great photo as one observes the
>things around them. I think Doris and Matthew come close when they talk
>about evoking a mood or emotion that transmits what you are trying to say to
>the viewer. But what if you have nothing to say. How is it that two people
>can look at a scene and one of them sees nothing worth saying anything
>about, and the other sees an emotion that they then convey to the viewer
>through a photograph. That is the "vision" that I'm talking about. How does
>one develop that vision? Or is it something that one is either born with or
>isn't, and it's not possible to "learn" to be a good photographer?
>John Austin
I think that you have to have an emotional reaction yourself if you are
going to transmit it to someone. I think that many of us started(once past
the family record stage) by taking travel pictures because we were so
excited by what we saw that we wanted to share our experience with more
than just talking about it. If you are bored by what you observe, what is
the point of taking the picture. So go see something new that gets you

Beyond that is realizing that what you see going down the trail or down the
road is not what you see in the viewfinder. Walk around and just look
through the viewfinder. See how many ways you can see your surroundings
through that little tunnel. You do not even need to trip the shutter. Just
look.  I had a friend in the Army who got a twin lens reflex and he carried
it around all the time for a couple of months before he put film in it. He
had lost his Nikon in a card game. He took some great pictures with the

I think abstraction, at least in nature and travel photography, helps in
spite of the usual selling point for SLRs that the view is unobstructed and
is what the lens sees. My friend's TLR had everything reversed. Some of my
best efforts have been through a rangefinder. You get accurate focus where
you want it and the framelines and shaded portions of the viewfinder force
you to concentrate on composition. I have thought of getting an I-10
Checker/Matte screen for my OM just to reintroduce some distance from the
image again.

And you know, *all* writers, painters, sculptors, composers start out by
imitating the people they really admire and learn a lot of craft in the the
process. That makes them feel powerful and they feel free to develop their
own vision. Go to the library and look at a lot of photographs. Find some
that make you suck in your breath because of their beauty and power. Then
go out and do your best to do the same thing.

Sometimes, it is just time to do something different. Put the camera safely
away and take some drawing, painting, or sculpture classes. I can heartily
recommend any of the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain classes. All
your life experiences will inform your photography.

Winsor("Put a cork in it") Crosby

Winsor Crosby
Long Beach, California

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