#1196. Week Links of Photography (30 Apr 2022)

By pascaljappy | News

Apr 29

The Decisive Moment brilliantly explained, a flourish of monochrome, easy backup, adapting lenses to rangefinders, finding models, meaning in street photography, iconic photo fraud(?), the rise of interesting NFTs (?), film overtaking digital, how to (really) become a great photographer, great set photography, a macro fantasy, the biggest camera maker in the world – not who you think, teaming up on photoshoots, lens and camera news, and much more to read this weekend 🙂

The crew (part of)
 

Last week, in Cambridge, guards dressed in shiny green regularly stopped tourists from visiting certain streets, while a film crew was shooting a movie. Juding by the hero car, a Volvo XC90, the director has impeccable taste 😉 And this was confirmed by the choice of cameras and lenses : Cooke S4 on ARRI.

When we were waved on to continue our walk in between takes, I just had to stay and watch a little longer. The scene being shot was simply the car driving away from point A, in front of a college door, to the end of a twisty street, possibly 60 meters away. 10 seconds of shooting max. No lead actors.

For this, at least 20 extras were hired to simply walk along the street while the car was driving. After every take, the scene unfolded in reverse motion, with the extras being “reset” (placed back at their original location), the car being driven back to point A and the whole crew going through the same lengthy check-list process up to the call of “Action”. When the light wasn’t right, we waited.

Once again, I was struck by how different our two worlds are, in spite of both telling stories through images, using silicium (or gelatin) and glass to do so. So much is hidden inside that truism “films use time in storytelling” that it baffles me that more articles aren’t devoted to it … (Continued below) Quick note: last week was an all-colour post, so this week, I am cleansing my system with an all-monochrome flourish. Ahhhh, that feels better 😉

The Google building
 

Creative

  • A Macro Short Film of Glitter and Ink Simulates Dramatic Astronomical Events (Colossal)

    Not my cup of tea from an aesthetic point of view, but definitely a concentrate of creativity.
  • Spencer (The Leica blog)

    When the director of a blockbuster biopic (“Spencer”) is also an avid potographer, good things happen. See what photos can look like, on elaborate sets, and read what the author thinks about stealing moments.
 
Shiny little duckling
 

Gear

 
On yer bike
 

Training

 
Shine a light
 

Society

 
D Day
 

Back to movies. Beyond storytelling, how does the added variable of time in filmmaking affect the gear market? That probably sounds like an odd question, but bear with me. The two dominant differences between the photography market and the filmmaking market are build-up and aesthetics.

Cine cameras can be built up for the circumstances they are being used in. A Red Komodo can be used in the field with a small battery, a grip and a lens, for a super stealthy and portable reportage setup. The same exact camera can be at the center of a $100k 100kg setup on a movie set. The closer you come to vlogging and to photography the more monolithic and the less adaptable the gear becomes. A battery grip is about the most extreme you can go.

Cine lenses are built for aesthetics (the director of photography will choose their look to suit the mood of the movie being made). They are built for dependability and ease of use (same aperture throughout the range, no focus breathing, same focus throw, same dimensions so as to be switchable with another without rebuilding the setup, …) The closer you come to photography, the more this exciting combo of looks and usability gets sacrificed in favour of theoretical performance.

Also, both are designed to be rented for projects (hence, for extreme sturdiness), rarely to be owned. Which, again, is a complete departure from the photo universe, where all us gas-afflicted users show pride of ownership of far too many bodies and even more lenses 😉 All of this is easy to observe. But how do we tie it all to the one major difference that is the passing of time, in storytelling? Unsurprisingly, the fastest growing social platform – video based, naturally – is called TikTok. This fascinating questions needs more answers.

Radio days
 

Also, what do you prefer? Last week’s all colour? Or this week’s all mono? Same locations, same time, same weather, same gear, same me.

 

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  • Dallas Thomas says:

    Thanks for sharing all this news Pascal. I just adore your really black B&W images congrats. Dallas

  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    This is a tough one, Pascal. I was quite taken with the pop of color in last week’s photos. The brilliance of the colors, and the subject matter (I still see that green lawn chair with silhouette of a subject in my mind’s eye), but these b & w’s are even more persuasive (to me at least). Shiny Little Duckling, Shine a Light, and Radio Days are real winners. Great light; interesting subject matter; and effective mood in the shots, especially in Shine and Radio. Ok, maybe this isn’t so tough. I choose the monochrome images–at least until you surprise me with extraordinary colors again. Let’s face it, there’s room for both. And I want to say that failing to choose is not a problem. There are just too many wonderful photographers. I don’t feel inclined to proclaim what kind of photography is the right kind (though I guess I stated my preference above). On the other hand, defining one’s preferences (such as color vs. monochrome) might be part and parcel to defining one’s vision for one’s art. I’ll have to think about this (though it probably has more to do with what one is shooting as opposed to what is including in one’s manifesto). For now, I just appreciate good photography, which is certainly here.

    Ok, now it’s time to read some of the articles.

    Claude

    • pascaljappy says:

      No, you are right, Claud. There is no ‘proper’ photography, only sensitivies and different ideas. In my photographs, monochrome appeals to me more. But in the work of someone like Saul Leiter, colour is both incredible and indispensible.

      Thank you for the kind words, I hope you find the articles interesting 🙂

  • Steve Mallett says:

    Pascal Hi

    Not had time to read the links yet but in answer to your question; I (already) can’t remember last week’s images. This week’s mono ones will stay with me ‘coz I’m going, “how does he do that?” The detail on the crane, the light on the duckling and bike pics all get me wondering. Can’t just be that bloody Hassy surely! Wonderful images all. Hope you are now well and truly bonded with your grandson!

    Steve

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Steve, the Hassy does help a lot, for my style of photography, which is why I chose it in spite of its shortcomings. It has great dynamic range and the breakup of highlights, though not perfect, is better than most. Since most of my fave pics are contrasty b&w, it helps to have a lot of data to play with. The rest is mainly PP and a lot of walking to encounter scenes that beg to be photographed 🙂

      Yes, perfect bond with my grandson, whom I miss already. A lovely little lad, so awake in spite of his young age, and so gorgeous 🙂 Thanks!

      Cheers

  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    You’ve really got a handle on B&W and I applaud you for revealing this prowess in the images you’ve chosen to display in the above post. I envy you 🙂 I also liked a couple of support articles provided in the above ‘Training’ links, too. In particular, the The PetaPixel and the PhotoPXL articles. They are both informative and help lift the veneer of ill-informed crap that is often layered over, and impedes, good understanding of this type of photography.
    Regards
    Sean
    PS: Congrats on becoming a proud grandparent. My spot in the grandparent queue materialises late July.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you very much, Sean. Becoming a grandparent has been much more emotionally wonderful than I could have ancticipated and I look forward to our next encounter, regretting the great distance between us. Enjoy every second in July, those are precious moments 🙂

      Thank you as well for the kind words. I’ve seen your photographs and you have nothing to be envious about 😉

      Those two articles are among my fave in a long time. We live in times of shallowness and sparkle, it’s so nice to see someone dig a little deeper!

      All the best.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    So how come if one of us tried to set up like that opening shot, to take a bit of “street”, we wouldn’t just get told to pack up and move on? BTW, I have always imagined that “street” was supposed to be a little bit more spontaneous than that!

    Love you “shiny little duckling” – it reminds me of the glory days of the former Swan Brewery, here in Perth. Not that I’ve ever been much of a beer drinker, but that “Swan” image was plastered all over the place here.

    People in England ride bikes down the sidewalk, too? I thought they only did it here, outside my house, to see if they can annoy me! “Tick” for the regulation bike shot!

    Next in line – gazing at the ancient Imperial typewriter, made in Leicester, where my school friends from England came from, and wondering where . . . Surely you haven’t been to Bletchley Park? Hmm – looks like it – with that ancient phone, “War Emergency” pamphlet [if you weren’t shooting with your Hassy, I probably couldn’t have read that!], next up is a “humorous” D-day sign, and after that an ancient radio. MUST be Bletchley!

    Back to photography lessons. Concentrate!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Pete, the first shot depicts part of the crew in a high budget movie (I’m guessing high budget because the one camera, among others, that we got to see, costs around 6 figures, with lens and kit). So they must have obtained all the necessary authorisation prior to shooting. It was interesting to watch 🙂

      I know that brewery well, just below King’s park. The photo appeals to me as well. It was so interesting to see that tiny boat – compared to its neighbours – tucked away in the dark under a low bridge, yet receiving so much direct light. That’s the beauty with street photography, things just happen, waiting to be photograhed 🙂 It’s all random. Someone coming along 5 minutes later might not have seen that light, but might have seen something else. That everchanging set of opportunities is what appeals to me most in London.

      The bike was surprising, because the street was empty. Also quite aggressive. I turned around, a bit surprised, saw that light and my jaw dropped. Again, the beauty of walking randomly 🙂

      Well done, it is Bletchley indeed. Paul’s recent post made me want to go and since my son lives near Paul’s place and near Bletchley, both were on the must-see list 🙂 Interestingly, the park had set up blinds to keep the heat out, so it was impossible to see Paul’s wonderfully geometrical patterns on the wall. But we did get to see other photogenic things. He was right, it really is an interesting visit!

      Cheers, and enjoy the articles 🙂

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    FYI Pascal – there is an article on Thailand in the “travel” section of today’s “Weekend Australian” newspaper – and it describes Thailand as “the land of smiles”.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Henri Cartier-Bresson was much brighter than I am, and I’ll cheerfully accept his views on “rules” of composition. Would he have regarded the modern substitute for his genius – video the damn shot, and choose the best of a hundred frames, to “capture the moment”, as a suitable way of arriving at the destination? I certainly see the point of it, with sports photography. Weddings too, perhaps. And every now and then I wish I did it with my pet photography.

    The one thought I come away with, after junking “rules” – or (rather) postponing their application, until they are used to analyse the genius of the photo in a final print of it – is that pretty much ALL the advice on “how to” is junk. That kind of analysis will help you do better next time – but doing it “on the fly”, to help you compose the shot . . .. perhaps not.

    The article that followed Henri, on street contains this passage – “The picture of a guy eating quietly at a restaurant’s outside table is street photography, but unless the subject is interacting significantly with a second person or there’s something in the surrounding environment that impinges on him in a significant way, or there’s something in his expression or his posture or his manner that transmits subtle meaning, the normal viewer’s inner reaction is “so what?” There’s simply no meaning the viewer can take away beyond the fact that a guy is sitting there, eating.”

    I would respectfully disagree with the author. Once in my life I did see just exactly that – a lone person, eating. Which I did then and still do think of as a “perfect” example of street.

    I deliberately chose NOT to photograph the lady in question – an elderly chinese lady eating dinner in a restaurant – quietly dignified, but no longer capable of using chopsticks to eat her meal. The image of her still haunts my mind. But it would have been quite wrong to intrude into her life by pointing my camera at her. Had I captured that image, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that her image would speak to anyone seeing the print today – and, likely, haunt their minds too, just as it has haunted mine for the past three decades. Maybe it passes on the test of “there’s something in his expression or his posture or his manner that transmits subtle meaning” – it sure as hell did that!

    Or maybe I’m with Henri – these “rules” are no more than “helpful suggestions” – the best photos, however, are more than likely to be “exceptions” to rules and guidelines. To be “different” – if for no other better reason!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Pete, you can probably approximate the process through frame selection from a video. But where’s the fun in that? We might as well grab frames from surveillance camerasif we choose that path 😉 The Decisive Moment is about becoming a better observer and artist. That feels more interesting to me 😉 Of course, with fast moving subjects, things are different …

      This afternoon, I was talking to a bow hunter who gets up close to wild animals, but doesn’t shoot. He could, but doesn’t. Sometimes, getting the photograph in our mind is just as good and doesn’t disturb others. The memory of that lady stays with you and that’s enough.

      The problem with photography rules is often that they are only effective in a very limited context, but authors pushing them present them as universal truths. Besides, when faced with a live subject, noone has the time to go through the rules before clicking. Intuition is the only guide. And becoming a good photographer is about training that intuition, to recognise great scenes when they turn up. As I wrote previously, rules are only useful a posteriori to evaluate our work and learn from it, to train our intuition.

      Cheers

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Why I mentioned the lady was to make a point. I was happy – sort of – with my choice, my decision NOT to take the photo. I would have liked it – but then I have to live with my own moral compass, and on this occasion they were simply incompatible. The more often I glanced at her, the more obvious everything became. That is why the image is wedged in my brain.

        But from a purely photographic viewpoint – that lone figure, eating, DID give the viewer “something to take away” with him. It WAS “complete in itself”. And any half decent photo of it WOULD have “captured the moment” – her loneliness, her incapacity, her silent dignity.

        It was an incredible image. Hey – I should mentioned – everything about it – her image, the lighting, everything! – was absolutely MADE for a B&W image. PERFECT for a Hassy! So we both missed out – LOL

  • Pascal O. says:

    Dear Pascal,
    My two cents: no question for me this time, between the two posts no doubt in my mind that I prefer the second one. Not that your color pics are any less than remarkable, but the b&w are even better (for me) – this time round.

    Fully agree with that film is far from dead. Bastian Kraztke of Philip Reeve fame wrote a series of posts recently that details his selection, restoration and then use of a film camera. Leica M6 to be precise. Interesting.
    Does this mean I am tempted to unearth my Nikons of yore? Not yet. Not only because of my laziness but also because what I saw from above mentioned posts did not give me enough motivation to do so at this time.

    Thank you again for taking the very substantial time to dig out all those news. Quite interesting and the effort deserves an unquestionable round of applause and recognition from the humble readers/contributors of DearSusan.
    Cheers.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you for the kind words, Pascal 🙂 Film offerings aren’t compelling enough for me either. I think what makes them desirable to many is the lower price and the greater simplicity. If someone made a simpler more affordable digital camera, it would be successful. In a way, that’s what phones do. Cheers

  • Mer says:

    Another fine set of links. Great curation.

    I enjoy the b&w images more, with On Yer Bike the standout for me. Absolutely nails the feel of the light and has great depth. So good. Sitting on the fence – a mixture of mono and colour images is always welcome.

    The Decisive Moment is all about composition . . . brain fried, lightbulb on. Easy to see how the mistake was made when images such as ‘Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare’ capture people doing stuff at an interesting moment. I always had the wrong idea about the decisive moment.

    There’s no escaping the truth of The Boring Secret – consistent practice pays off. It helps to read it and be reminded, because I won’t be getting better at taking photos without taking photos.

    Cheers

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Still absorbing half of the content 🙂

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