Ansel Adams

Feedback on the current issue, ideas for articles, questions about Tape Op

Moderators: TapeOpJohn, TapeOpLarry

Post Reply
Brian Brock
buyin' a studio
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:50 pm
Location: Laveen, AZ
Contact:

Ansel Adams

Post by Brian Brock » Wed May 26, 2010 12:52 pm

On the back page subject of specialization - photographers like Ansel Adams do in fact master elements of their craft from conception through capture and presentation, making their own prints, etc. The proliferation of cheap photo gear has enabled many more people to fail at photography, but it hasn't fundamentally changed its nature. I would claim that the ratio of success to failure of musicians in this condition is about the same as that of photographers - ie. very very low. But let's also not forget people like chopin and nina simone, who certainly must be said to have mastered a set of skills spanning the gap between excavation and execution.

kslight
moves faders with mind
Posts: 2714
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Post by kslight » Wed May 26, 2010 4:53 pm

Agreed...especially someone like Abe Morell, who I saw speak here recently.


But I don't think the back page writer was implying that Ansel Adams didn't understand the whole process, but that people might have a camera, somewhere to take pictures, and the fundamentals of a darkroom (no I don't consider Photoshop a dark room at all, but for the sake of modern analogy), doesn't mean that they can make an Ansel Adams photograph. As in, an amateur might have access to a decent camera (which is not at all comparable to what Ansel Adams used, but decent anyway for the money) just like any musician might have access to recording gear, but their results are going to significantly vary from someone specialized with the same tools. The engineer and pro photographer are specialized, Jim Photo and Joe Strummer are not...

TapeOpLarry
TapeOp Admin
TapeOp Admin
Posts: 1628
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 11:50 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Post by TapeOpLarry » Fri May 28, 2010 3:09 pm

Give me the best camera around and I will take lousy photos because I don't try to keep in practice as a photographer. Set me in front of a random pile of recording equipment and I can make the most of what can be done with that. It's called specializing and that's what Paul was talking about.
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
please visit www.tapeop.com for contact information
(do not send private messages via this board!)
www.larry-crane.com

User avatar
;ivlunsdystf
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3290
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:15 am
Location: The Great Frontier of the Southern Anoka Sand Plain
Contact:

Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Sun May 30, 2010 8:31 pm

I think this is one of those things where you can only say: It depends.

Some endeavors work well as one-person vertically integrated projects from start to finish. Like Ansel Adams photos, or paintings, etc. Others work better with various specialists coming and going throughout the project.

It depends.

crookedsound
gettin' sounds
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 6:31 pm
Location: Lansing MI
Contact:

Post by crookedsound » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:41 pm

I took photography in college. My professor once said that although Ansel clearly understood very how to use a camera, he took photographs of scenery that even a refrigerator would think looked amazing.

TapeOpLarry
TapeOp Admin
TapeOp Admin
Posts: 1628
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 11:50 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Post by TapeOpLarry » Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:41 pm

How many of the recordists that we interview have said, "The artists I recorded made me look good"? A lot. Cosimo Matassa told me that to my face, and he was telling the truth. But I always say, "At least you didn't fuck it up."
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
please visit www.tapeop.com for contact information
(do not send private messages via this board!)
www.larry-crane.com

signorMars
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 741
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 12:30 pm
Location: El Paso, TX

Post by signorMars » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:25 pm

i also took the statement to mean that Ansel Adams specialized in a certain type of photography, equating the choice to specialize in black and white landscape photography to deciding to be a tracking, mixing or mastering engineer. it doesn't mean that he doesn't understand portraiture, architectural, etc photography, but he knew his strengths.
---
ross ingram
[brainville]

crookedsound
gettin' sounds
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 6:31 pm
Location: Lansing MI
Contact:

Post by crookedsound » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:25 pm

I myself have taken pictures of mountains and they are very forgettable. I bet it was because I was in a moving vehicle with a bunch of musicians.

User avatar
centurymantra
buyin' a studio
Posts: 916
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:02 am
Location: Michigan
Contact:

Post by centurymantra » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:51 am

crookedsound wrote:I myself have taken pictures of mountains and they are very forgettable. I bet it was because I was in a moving vehicle with a bunch of musicians.
Yeah, I was thinking that I took a bit of an issue with your profs comments about the amazing scenery that Ansel Adams photographed...implying that anyone could have done well with it. It is very difficult and often accidental to capture something significant, profound or out-of-the-ordinary in a photo - no matter HOW awesome the scenery or subject is. Gary Winogrand once said "A photograph is not what was photographed, it's something else", in that the act of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. I think the best photographers simply have an intuitive sense that allows them to capture that "something else" - that special quality that conveys a deeper meaning beyond the photographic subject - without having to think about it. The same thing can certainly be said about the capture of music.
__________________

Bryan
Shoeshine Recording Studio
"Pop music is sterile, country music is sterile. That's one of the reasons I keep going back to baseball" - Doug Sahm

User avatar
centurymantra
buyin' a studio
Posts: 916
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:02 am
Location: Michigan
Contact:

Post by centurymantra » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:11 am

I happened to think about this thread when I was reading one of those Yahoo news soundbite articles that was detailing the story of a guy who bought a box of old glass negatives at a salvage shop, which ultimately have been authenticated as original Ansel Adams photographs. There is some dispute over their authenticity from some channels, most notably the Adams estate, but some folks have estimated their value at $200 million. This is a quote from the article about this:
Beverly Hills art appraiser David W. Streets said he conservatively estimated the negatives' value at $200 million, based on current sales of Adams' prints and the potential for selling never-seen-before prints.

Turnage called that figure ridiculous because the value of Adams' work is in his darkroom handcrafting of the prints, and said the negatives are next to worthless.

"Ansel interpreted the negative very heavily. He believed the negative was like a musical score. No two composers will interpret it the same way," he said. "Each print is a work of art."
These comments sort of mirror similar sentiments and comments that could be made about music mixing/production.
__________________

Bryan
Shoeshine Recording Studio
"Pop music is sterile, country music is sterile. That's one of the reasons I keep going back to baseball" - Doug Sahm

Brian Brock
buyin' a studio
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:50 pm
Location: Laveen, AZ
Contact:

Post by Brian Brock » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:23 am

Mr. Mantra brings up a good point. The question may not always be of specialization for the sake of success, but can be of including - or, in his adams example, excluding - another point of view precisely because of the perspective of that view. Also, this quote seems to nicely bring together the idea that anyone could take a good photo of a mountain with adams's taking on of multiple roles in the creative process. Adams, it seems, could make art from what is beautiful to everyone precisely because his ability to perceive beauty extended beyond the object at hand into the creative process. I want to think of Daniel Lanois as a similar artist, not just because he takes on what are often separate roles, but because his raw material is frequently pretty basic and accessible to anyone with an instrument, yet at some point it is taken beyond.

cjogo
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 676
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 4:06 pm
Location: Carmel
Contact:

Post by cjogo » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:25 pm

When ever I went to Ansel & Virgina's -- A A always wanted to play the piano and Virgina would serve drinks :D but, fun to later retire into the darkroom and just view the finished prints drying down .
whatever happened to ~ just push record......

User avatar
mojobone
audio school graduate
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:02 am
Location: down in the boondocks

Post by mojobone » Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:18 pm

centurymantra wrote:
crookedsound wrote:I myself have taken pictures of mountains and they are very forgettable. I bet it was because I was in a moving vehicle with a bunch of musicians.
Yeah, I was thinking that I took a bit of an issue with your profs comments about the amazing scenery that Ansel Adams photographed...implying that anyone could have done well with it. It is very difficult and often accidental to capture something significant, profound or out-of-the-ordinary in a photo - no matter HOW awesome the scenery or subject is. Gary Winogrand once said "A photograph is not what was photographed, it's something else", in that the act of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. I think the best photographers simply have an intuitive sense that allows them to capture that "something else" - that special quality that conveys a deeper meaning beyond the photographic subject - without having to think about it. The same thing can certainly be said about the capture of music.
Excellent point. I started out trying to become a photographer before accidentally ending up a musician/engineer, and the disciplines are very similar; the tools matter far less than the subject being photographed, but there's still a great deal of technique involved in the capture and reproduction, and one could spend months waiting for the proper season and for the moment when the light falls just right. If you're making art, rather than a snapshot, a lot more has to go into a record than just the music.

Heh, before someone points out that since I'm not specialized, I must not be very good at either, I'd like to point out that the music and audio engineering disciplines reinforce each other. At least I enjoy believing so.
The blues ain't got no dental plan

nobody, really
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:08 pm
Location: where the sidewalk ends

Post by nobody, really » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:53 pm

Something that gets brought up a lot in the photo world is how the proliferation of really good, consumer gear has made it hard on the professionals as well as the up and comers, and I've heard this in the audio world as well, but i will say this: as a carpenter a lot of my work is tearing out and properly rebuilding shoddy work done with 'really good, consumer gear'. I think maybe after the honeymoon is over, people may start to realize that it really wasn't the crappy camera(or crappy four track) that made them take that crappy picture, that it was just their crappy crap. There have always been specialists, artisans who somehow manage to straddle the chasm between art and technique.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest