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... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sorry Ansel...

I love my job. I have said that quite often, I know. Hey, I am old and I do repeat myself. Old age is an excuse for so many things. Like I said, I love my job. I love shooting pictures. But I also love people. One of the really neat things about my job is the people I meet, new folks every day. I enjoy telling their story, and putting them in the paper.

What I am about to say will seem almost blasphemous to some folks, so be warned. I have never been a big Ansel Adams fan. Sure he did some beautiful pictures, just incredible work. But I can't sit and go through a book of his pictures. Too boring for me. Much rather look at work by Eugene Smith, Avedon, Herb Ritts, or Hurrell. I want pictures with people in them. I want to see faces, and prominently. One of the old newspaper rules of thumb was if you can cover someone's face in your picture with a quarter, they are too small. Also heard from a bunch of the oldtime editors "if it ain't got people in it, don't bring it to me."

One of my all time heros is Eugene Smith. Google some the the above names and look at some wonderful pictures. All of them completely different in subject and approach, but all make me just go "WOW.' People pictures rock.

Some really neat people like Ms. Hazel Floyd who won Best Of Show at the Georgia National Fair with her
crocheting. Never entered a contest like this one, did it on the urging of family who loved her work. A sweet, super-modest lady. Or Brian Hampton and his Bam City Boxing Club. Hanging out with Shane Brooks and other members of the Fort Valley Police Department's SWAT team. People doing the things they do every day. Sorry Ansel, it beats shooting rocks and cacti.


Sue Sapp said...

I'm enjoying the blogs. The photos are great and you are an inspiration. I agree with you about Ansel too.

Dan M. said...

I love ya, Danny, but I love Ansel, too.
Everyone has his own tastes, but I suggest you reserve your judgement until you see Adams' actual prints. His photos are meant to be seen hanging on a wall, not in a book.
I admit I have never seen an Adams print in person (they just had an exhibit last fall in Columbus, but I missed it) but I have seen similar work by a Florida photographer named Clyde Butcher, who had a show at the Museum of Arts and Sciences a few years ago.
These guys use huge cameras to get detail you just can't get with 35 mm or the digital cameras photojournalists use. Butcher uses negatives that are 16x20 inches. They use the smallest possible aperture to boost the sharpness even more. That means long exposures, which doesn't lend itself to shooting people.
It lends itself to shooting nature, though. When you see these huge prints of nature's wonders, rendered sharper than your eye can see, it really fills you with a sense of tranqillity and awe. Not to mention that all Adams' work was in black and white, which allowed manipulation of shadows and light with filters - something you can't do in color.
One more thing about Adams - not only was he an artist, he was a pioneer in the science of photography. You can check out his many scholarly books from the public library and learn a lot.

Danny Gilleland said...

Dan, Glad you love me and Ansel. I don't argue that he was fantastic, I just do not like landscapes, not taking anthing away from his talent. Just a matter of taste...never cared for caviar either

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