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  #1  
Old 11-17-2005, 06:37 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

I don't know when it started, probably about the time of the Vietnam War but all of a sudden a photojounalism shot was no good unless it was shot with a wideangle.
Keep in mind that most of HCB's masterpieces were done with a 50mm!
And I can feel some of that same bias (among the more iullustrious members of our confrerie). Shots taken at the short end of a 17-40 are deemed masterpieces far sooner than longer lens pics.
You know, an argument could be made that wideangles, starting with the gentlest, the 35mmm (in 35mmm format terms) aactualy make your job easier, compositionally, because they CREATE drama and dynamism where a normal lens might not.
But seriously it's become a cliche at Nat Geo and Magnum too: you HAVE to shoot wide, at least 28mm or you won't get taken seriously. The assunmption is that shooting wide means getting CLOSE, and getting close means you are a MAN and a hero or something...Regardles sof the fact, my brothers and sisters, that from 28mm on down you can aim straigt at someone and they won't even know they're in the frame, ha ha!
So what was HCB, then, an effete woos, a silly French wimp???
Or was he rather a genuine artistic genius who could create whatever spatial effect he wnated, anytime he wanted, with a normal lens?
Now at least some of us here stop at the 17 end of the 17-40 (in other words at around 28mm). But I have noticed another trend lately: wanting to go ULTRA-WIDE, like some sort of EXTREME sport, where you hang off the edge of a glacier with a tiny parachute...
And few, but I mean VERY few on TE or elsewhere even know how to "tame" an ultrawide, resulting in all these lonely shots with tiny figures skating in a shiny sea of nothing.
I just felt like ranting a bit about what I perceive as the primacy of Wides.
I'd love to hear you all's opinions, though...
Love and peace,
Francis
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2005, 06:58 AM
don_narayan don_narayan is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

Great thread topic Francis. Well, I enjoy wide, sure... it does make the job easier compositionally (even easier when you think about PP cropping). Personally, I am far more impressed with a good composition that is done on a, say, 85mm... you have to think a lot more than with a wide angle (imo). That certainly isn't to say that a wide-angle is a brainless tool... nothing of the sort... but I believe a 50mm or 85mm trains the eye better.

I was wanting an "Ultra-wide" (12-24mm) but now I just want to stick to normal wide (17-55mm). But also craving an 85mm.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:59 AM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

I think people put too much stock in such things. An image is an image, lets judge it by what it is and not how it was made. Thats my feeling on it anyway Francis. I think that people who try to debate this kind of stuff (supremacy of wide, supremacy of b/w, supremacy of film, bla bla bla) have too much time on thir hands. Honestly.
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2005, 08:26 AM
gringofil gringofil is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

I agree with Rafal...sorry to be rude, but there HAS to be something better to do with your day than think about how people shoot and which equipment they use. There are masters of photography that can capture an interesting and evocative shot with a wide angle lens...others prefer a simple 50mm...it's not about how it was made, like Rafal said, but about the final outcome.

You also shoot with a 17-40mm...so it this directed at you as well? I shoot with a 10-22mm and I guess your comment about the tiny people in the frame was directed at one of my shots as well (the one in the tunnel if you remember). Sure, guilty as charged, but that was also an artistic decision. I can get close with a 10-22mm if I want to. Look at Caleb and the work he's done in India with a 10-22mm...great stuff if you ask me.

Perhaps you're getting ahead of yourself and thinking that you have the final say on photography, mate...but to be honest you don't. Posts like this are a bit out of your league...say, if you were McCurry talking about the use of lenses in travel photography I would listen, but here it just goes in one ear and out the other. No disrespect, Francis, but it is a bit hard to take seriously.

Anyway, I like to be called an "EXTREME" photographer...would look good on a resume.
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  #5  
Old 11-17-2005, 08:52 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: Gringofil says FURACHAN is out of his league...

Whoah! Slow down horse.
I merely started a thread that I believe is pertinent to our interest in photography. I din't ask about "favorite intro's" or how we got our "user names".
I think as someone who has been fascinated by photography for at least 30 years now, I have the right to make a comment about a historical trend towards the wideangle, and away from "normal" angles of view, without being insulted!
I have never claimed to be a Magnum genius or Nat Geo regular or anything but I have a perfect right to write a slightly "provocative" rant about matters photographic with a view to getting a discussion going, without being "put in my place" like this.
Your post is just plain rude, Filip, I'm sorry but it is, and I strenuously object.
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  #6  
Old 11-17-2005, 08:55 AM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

heeheh well my post wasnt an attack on Francis:) Although we agree on the idea that it makes no difference how a photo was taken, I think Francis is qualified to raise the issue. I think we all are as we all have a view on photography. I dont think this kind of discussion can be restricted to McCurry..then what would be the point of this forum? If only McCurry vs Webb was a worthwile discussion then it would be pretty bad for the rest of us.

The equiment issue though. I guess this is taking it out of the realm of the lens discussion. But look at Alex Majoli taking awesome photos with a point and shoot. In the end the equipment can help make better photos but you will have guys with the eye and technique to squeeze the best out of a point and shoot. So you know my position: equipment in the end doesnt matter if the photographer is getting what he wants. Now, if the photographer wants the bokeh but has a p&s that cant give it to him, then its an issue. But as long as the cam dos what the photog wants, does it make a difference?

Its the image, not the camera.
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2005, 09:08 AM
gringofil gringofil is offline
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Default Re: Gringofil says FURACHAN is out of his league...

Yes, perhaps I did put you in your place, Francis, and, yes, perhaps it was rude, but I don't like sugarcoating my opinions and serve it out straight and to the point...just to avoid misunderstanding. If you cannot take a critical view to your original post than I shall not continue this "discussion" you have started.

I just feel that sometimes, Franics, you are a bit smug in your opinions...be it here in the forums or when you reply to critical critiques on your images. Perhaps I'm reading a bit too much into it, but maybe I'm not. For whatever it’s worth each and everyone has their own opinion and we should share it without being PC in the process. Like someone once said: if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen.

Please continue with your "discussion" and forget that I ventured into this thread in the first place. In the future I will remember to do the same...I will just stay away.

Over and out.
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2005, 09:43 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

well, here's the rebel, Francis!

Most of my shots taken last winter, with the 28-105 are definitely on the long end (which means 150-170mm with the 300D). So much that i have come to think I need to shot a bit wider so that the context comes out as strongly, compo-wise, as the main subject. Your comment is refreshing, in making me think that maybe I should nto go against my own grain and keep shooting as it fits me the most naturally. If it's unlike most of the trends out there, sounds like a plus from where i come from.

very interesting thread. many people on different forums seem indeed to lean towards wide-angle photography, as they talk lenses. For now, I have come to be very excited in making the change from zoom to 50mm prime (again, from using the sigma 30mm) these last weeks. i think i have found another range I feel very naturally for. I thought zooming with the feet would need practice, specially getting closer to people, but none at all, it seems that the first year of serious people-shooting here and there have already taken care of that.

Anyway, no 10-22 afficionado here, so far. Just have to keep improving so HCB becomes HB! :-))))
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  #9  
Old 11-17-2005, 09:59 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: The bizarre primacy of WIDEANGLES!

I see Mc Curry's name so much, as if he was the standard, and i respectfully disagree. He is a wonderful photographer, a great journalist, I mean chronicler, but IMO, not one of the giants, in terms of pure photography. So, yes, a standard for "being there" reportage photography, no doubt, but i find this kind of extraordinary achievement is not 100% about photography. Some of HCB's pix (and i am not crazy about all HCB's pix), you can take the context away, there is still something left still accounting for his artistry, his genius.
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2005, 12:22 PM
joseelias joseelias is offline
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Default From a viewer POV

Francis,

Only photographers with at least 32 years and 5 months of photography are allowed to raise these questions… With only 30 years on photography you don’t comply… Grow up child! ;-)

Personally I cannot add much in the terms of the photographer using those lenses POV, as my camera doesn’t allow them. Still I think I can contribute as a viewer of those photos.

I may say that as a viewer I really enjoy the drama created by those wide angles with the distortion they sometimes carry. In fact it’s not that far from the drama I try to bring to some of my shots (namely historical architecture) where I explore many times perspective and strong guidelines and eventually a crushing effect.

The WA lens bring this drama as they seem to suck you into the action, they are involving you with the regular geometrical lines in the center and a stretching them in the borders which force you to look into the more “correct” geometrical lines. It’s a like a play with our natural work of the brain or something. You first look at what it’s easier to interpret, and then you look for what is beyond that.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why they are so popular among photographers. The reaction and impact they provoke in the viewer. Some may use them to prove their bravery by needing to sit in the lap of the photographed person in order to get them in a regular size in the frame, who knows.

If besides this it makes easier to take photos of people because they unaware of the framing the photographer is doing, I don’t know as I never used them. This doesn’t sound very brave anyway. It’s a bit like using tele-lens.

Eventually with the expansion of photography as it is having by now, and the use and abuse of this sort of technique it may become less fashionable as people will get tired of them. But soon another trend will arise…

Hope this helps you in any way.
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