Mark Crean

Mark Crean

Oxford, Oxfordshire

I am currently an MA Photography student at Falmouth University in the UK. My interests are events photography and, above all, stories. My degree course is helping me to make the leap from technically proficient single images to projects and stories ...
Read More

Forum Topics Started

Forum Replies Created

  • Author
    Topic: Members Read 0 Times
  • Mark Crean
    Mark Crean
    Participant
    Posts: 26
    Magnolia
    on: May 31, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Daniel,

    First of all: I see small but possibly important improvements in your revision – at least they might be important if you were planning a wall-sized print. On the other hand I see that you removed the small imperfections in the original that made it more believable, believability being photography’s forte.

    I agree that the subject might make for an interesting discussion in a thread of its own, though I suspect we’ll have covered most of the available ground right here. As far as painters are concerned, if a painter is good he needn’t hunt for an “interesting view.” He can start with an interesting view in his head. It’s the difference that makes street photography the genre most important for photography. The result is – or was until Photoshop came along – believable to most people, even though Stalin demonstrated with his photographic removal of Trotsky that you can’t always believe your eyes.

    Yes, I’m thoroughly familiar with the gyrations Ansel went through to produce the final version of Moonrise Hernandez. (Stalin’s folks could have learned a few things from him.) But I think the reason and the way he shot Moonrise is a lot more important than his later “corrections.” I wrote about it four years ago: http://www.russ-lewis.com/essays/WhyClicktheShutter.html.

    I’ll close by quoting myself from http://www.russ-lewis.com/essays/WhatisPhotographyFor.html :

    “Most people know who Ansel Adams was, and many of them have seen a few of his pictures – often in banks or doctors’ offices. But both Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank were far more influential photographers than Ansel was.”

    That’s not to knock Ansel. Long ago I read everything Ansel wrote and took up the Zone System with a vengeance, at least when I was shooting with a stand camera. But Henri and Robert dealt with people, which is what strikes a note in the hearts of other people. That’s what a camera really is for. As far as I’m concerned, the best picture Ansel ever made was the picture of a woman behind a screen door.

    imperfections … more believable … I think this becoming more and more of an issue in photography. It strikes me as a search for authenticity and connection (other people, as you say) at a time when even PP is becoming automated. In turn that’s influencing what we expect from an image. One can see this in Adobe’s gradually more punchy and colourful defaults in Lightroom. Apple’s defaults saturate everything so far as I can tell and they must be clicked many millions of times a day. This approach is not to my taste but, as they say, if you see something often enough it can start to seem the normal thing.

    More and more folks are switching to film to slow down, think and get away from it all. Good MF or 5×4 images on film can be superb. So I think this is very much a live issue, albeit with no one answer. Or if there is an answer it’s to blow the status quo out of the water to the point where nothing will be the same again which is what Frank did with The Americans. ‘PP’ is the last think I’d think of when looking at images that reach out and compel one’s attention. But I guess that only comes along a couple of times in a century. Maybe about time another one came along!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Mark Crean.
    Mark Crean
    Mark Crean
    Participant
    Posts: 26
    Re: Canon Prograf 300
    Reply #1 on: May 31, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    I have the ProGraf 300 and am very happy with the output and can recommend it. Keith Cooper at Northlight-Images (http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/) has done a comprehensive review of the Pro 200, 300 and the Epson printers. He’s very good and I recommend you read and listen to what he has to say. He makes some very good points about how to decide on the 200 vs 300.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    Mark Crean
    Mark Crean
    Participant
    Posts: 26
    Re: Creating Artistic Photographs 
Film to Digital Paradigm Shift: Part 1
    Reply #2 on: May 29, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Yes, good thoughts. I’ll only take issue with one point, where you say “it’s not about the post-processing”. All the other things you talk about are necessary ingredients to producing a good photograph, but most of time, at least in my experience, competent post-processing is also a necessary ingredient. This, by the way, was also true during the film era, except now we have so much control – and easier control – over it.

    Oh yes I agree. I guess what I was trying to say is that competent processing depends on the other things first or there is nothing worth processing! I’ve often found of my images that the ones that work well don’t need much PP (though they definitely need some). If I find I am doing a lot of PP on an image, it’s usually a sign that the image isn’t up to snuff to begin with and/or I haven’t worked out what I am trying to express. If one starts PP with a good idea of what one is trying to say it always seems to go easier.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Mark Crean.
    Mark Crean
    Mark Crean
    Participant
    Posts: 26
    Re: Creating Artistic Photographs 
Film to Digital Paradigm Shift: Part 1
    Reply #3 on: May 29, 2021 at 6:53 am

    Interesting subject. One point is that both ‘professionals’ (if there still are any) and amateurs use the same kit these days, so the point becomes how to make one’s images stand out from the 1.4 trillion or so made each year while also staying true to oneself. Technical excellence alone is not enough. Besides, pretty well all modern cameras and lenses are capable of technically excellent exposures if used well and can produce prints ahead of anything on 35mm film. For myself, I try to avoid the overprocessed, oversmooth digital look one can see on 1001 images on social media or Flickr. I’ll take a sense of being there ahead of all that. Behind this, I think, is a need to find something authentic in an age of mechanical reproduction, as the man said. No easy answers, but some folks have the knack. Usually, I suspect, it’s not about the post-processing but the composition, framing, understanding of light and the ability to spot the moment – the skills that don’t depend on technology at all. Steve Gosling’s essay on here recently was a real lesson in that. Just 2 cents for the debate …

    Mark Crean
    Mark Crean
    Participant
    Posts: 26
    Re: Canon Prograf 300
    Reply #4 on: May 28, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t have a Prograf 300, but I do print with a Prograf 1000, which is it’s larger sibling. The 1000 also has a couple of additional inks, I think. I love the 1000. When I bought it, I compared it to the Epson P800, and the list of pros and cons then pointed me to the Canon. With the P900, the calculation has changed in one respect: with the P900, Epson has finally stopped requiring that you swap inks when you switch between matte and coated papers. The Canon printers have never required it, keeping all the blacks installed and just using what’s needed.

    However, at the risk of having a lot of people toss tomatoes my way, I do have another question given that this is your first serious printer. That is, do you actually need archival pigment inks? If not, Canon has a similar dye-ink printer, the Pixmal Pro 200. I have never used the 200, but I printed for years with the predecessor, the Pixma Pro 100, as well as the 9000 that came before it. The prints from the 100 are very, very sim9ilar to those from my Pro 1000. I’ve had a bunch of Canon dye printers (multifunction as well as photo) over the past 12 years or so, and I never experienced a single clog, although sometimes the printer would go through a self-cleaning cycle. And that’s with leaving the printer unused for months on end sometimes. The drawback is that the prints will fade more quickly. I’ve had some dye prints up for quite a number of years without fading, if they are out of direct sunlight or protected by UV-protective glass, but they will fade more quickly. I switched to pigment because I sell prints and because I wanted to go bigger than 13 x 19. Just something to think about.

    Thanks for your reply, very helpful. I will look at the 200 series and hadn’t thought till you pointed this out. I was thinking of ‘Go high or go home’ in the sense that I don’t want something that doesn’t look up to the standard of the prints I get from a lab not least since I am thinking of a little expo over the next year and it might be satisfying to prep the prints for it. I have Olympus M4/3 kit at the mo, so up to about A3 size is ideal for the files (though one can go larger to taste). My own preference is either for jewel-like A5-ish up to A3 (with margins) or instead very large like A0 and over. For some reason I find that in-betweener sizes never appeal as much, neither big nor small, but that’s just personal. This is really all for learning and enjoyment.