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tv: the picture in question

Last week's episode of The L Word (which is still mediocre at best) led to curlycutie, mister_biv, and I discussing photography.  Which led to me babbling about darkroom manipulation, and how it can dramatically effect the final product.  I referenced an Ansel Adams picture of Georgia O'Keeffe and Orville Cox that had to be printed from a badly damaged negative. 

I didn't want to dig out the book with the picture then, but here it is now

If you're interested in Ansel's words on the pic and the process(scanned in using ocr, so there are some goofs),

At one rim-edge I was walking around with my Zeiss Contax and I

observed 0 'Keeffe and Orville Cox -in a breezy conversation standing on a

rock slope above me. It was an inevitable picture. 0 'Keeffe and Cox were

engaged in a bit of banter. The moment was now. If the camera was held

level Cox's hat and 0 'Keeffe's figure would be cut into; a side tilt was

necessary. Kneeling, I lowered the position of the camera, bringing more of

the figures against the sky. This was intuitively and swiftly managed and I

made only one exposure.

I do not get along well with the automatic features of today's cameras,

although I acknowledge that they have many advantages - superb lenses,

electronic shutters, motor drives, and ingenious accessories. But I want to

have complete control of lens aperture and exposure,' I prefer to use a spot

meter no matter what camera I am working with.

I developed the roll in Yosemite a few weeks after the picture was

taken. While drying, the roll slipped out of the clothespin on the drying

wire, fell to the floor, and was stepped on! The only frame out of the thirty-

six that was damaged was this one, by far the best of the roll [Note: The

negative is badly scratched and printing it requires considerable manipu-

lation.} When I have a subject that I feel is unusual I try always to make a

duplicate exposure simply because there might be an accident like this one

or a defect in the image area. But if the subject is fleeting, like the facial

expressions in this image, there is no way to make duplicates.

I have done considerable work with the 35mm. I stress the impor-

tance of choosing (if possible) the ideal camera and format for the problem

at hand. In general I favor a tripod-mounted view camera for static

subjects that invite contemplation - or a small hand-held camera for "the

decisive moment. 

This photograph recalls for me the brilliant afternoon light and the

gentle wind rising from the canyon below. The Southwest is 0 'Keeffe s

land' no one else has extracted from it such style and color, or has revealed

the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.


This pic and passage are shamelessly borrowed from The Ansel Adams Guide Book 1: Basic Techiniques of Photography by John P. Schaefer (revised and updated edition).