Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drop the machine-gun

For years after starting using digital cameras, I still shot as sparely as if I still had to pay for each frame. But now that's gone, sadly. I feel pity for those photographers whose main job it is to pick out which to use amongst thousands of near-identical frames after every job.

There was a TV show about a Danish photographer. They showed nine photos documenting a farmer, all excellent shots.
They asked her how many frames she'd taken. She said, "well, I took those nine."

A friend had once been an apprentice with her, but he said "she couldn't teach me anything. I asked how long this film needed in the developer, and she said 'it's probably good now'."


Anonymous said...

It seems like she did have plenty to teach him, he just didn't want to learn. He wanted a manual - step by step instructions, do this and this and this for this long. There was a time when people had to go by feel. Also her ability to take only the good ones, rather than take a thousand and have to pare down, is also something that she could have taught.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

He may have taught himself those things with the aid of observing her, but I think she was not able to express anything about why something would be good or not, it seems she was a purely intuitive creature.

(I say was because my friend, father of a school mate, is near 80 now, so she is probably gone.)

Dave Nielsen said...

It's an intersting idea and one that has I think been discussed here before about how technology affects how we approach whatever it is whether writing, or something like photography. Writing longhand you do it differently than if you were using a typewriter, which is different to if you're using a computer. The technology influences your thinking in ways you might not realize.

The same with photography - in the days of film the fact of having a limited number of pictures had to influence you just as having a virtually unlimited number affects you today. There are probably advantages and disadvantages to both and our view of those is probably partly determined by age (in as much as it's whatever we used first; e.g. someone born now will grow up without ever using film whereas both of us grew up using film and had digital take over).

Dave Nielsen said...

(I say was because my friend, father of a school mate, is near 80 now, so she is probably gone.)

If she was still alive you could find out her name by looking it up in the Ginness Book of Records. ;-)

Ken said...

The good photographers generally take lots of photos, and always have. The film that a National Geographic photographer went through was huge. The important part si taht nothing was ever machine gunned, it was always thought about, composed and then photographed, so there was a range of photographs all different covering the scene.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that very much. In fact I know it not to be true - most professionals say they take a lot more with digital because they can.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You can't be a good teacher is you don't have good knowledge. But teaching in itself is also a skill. I've had several teachers who were great Doctors, but utterly lousy at TRANSMITTING it to us.

At the other extreme, you got them teachers who come into class with their hands in their pockets, take a look at someone's notes to remember where we had stopped last time, and simply continue from there, giving a perfectly structured course without so much as a note sheet.
Never fails to impress me.