U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: curves and gum and Christopher James book

Re: curves and gum and Christopher James book

Hi Christina,

As a former University professor of 32 years, in Philosophy, of all things, being critiqued comes with the turf. I don't know if you are new at this although I seem to remember that you announced your new teaching position last year, so unless I am mistaken, you are new at teaching. Please correct me if I am wrong.

So from an old teacher to a new teacher, I wish you the best and, most of all, enjoy what you are doing and, hopefully, the students will follow suit, but keep an open mind and roll with the punches. University teachers are not gods, and I saw enough gods in my career, so I have a healthy skepticism for these "know it alls". We are not the end all of all things nor the ultimate fount of all knowledge. A good teacher is one who is always ready to learn and knows how to pass on what s/he learns.

Enjoy your career; it's a great one! And have fun doing it. And when the fun stops, time to stop!

All the best,

Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

A couple things.

In your post:

I find it very strange that a University professor finds that linearized

> tone mapping is hitech when it's in fact the worst approach one can use.
> It
> is as if you never eard of Tone mapping operators (Adaptive logarithmic
> mapping (F. Drago, 2003), Dynamic range reduction inspired by
> photoreceptor
> physiology (E. Reinhard, 2005), Gradient domain High Dynamic Range
> compression (R. Fattal, 2002) and others)

You are critiquing my role as a University professor, which I don't take kindly, and yes, I was offended (as if you couldn't tell). So many thanks for the apology.

Oh, and yes, BTW, I have never EVER EVERRRRR heard of tone mapping operators. Unabashedly.

My father was a consultant metallurgist physicist and wrote the book on stainless steel and fractology as well as a book disproving Einstein's special theory of relativity, yet he ran a boy scout troop for 30 years with the motto that if you can't explain Einstein to a boy scout you don't know what you are talking about. He also raised us 8 kids to believe that motto and I love him for it (God rest his soul, he's been dead since 94). He is directly responsible for why I am in photography today--his laboratory was in the basement of our house (large house) and I would tinker with chemistry and such with him as well as expose and develop macro fractology prints in the darkroom within the laboratory, which photographs he used in legal testimony to prove who was at fault when a coke bottle blew out someone's eye, for instance. As an 8 year old, mind you. And I understood!

So when you come out in an email with all this mighty speak above, it makes my head spin, and it tells me more about you than it does about your point, and it does not make your point more palatable which is, I think, your original goal--to spread "correct" information to the masses of the uneducated--apparently us.

My original point of my post was exactly this: there are many ways to skin a cat. Tony Gonzalez does amazing prints. He has two in the book. His curve looks like caca. But the proof is in the pudding. Dan Burkolder (if I am smart enough to get this correct) does linearized curves. His prints are gorgeous and he displays all over. For my litttle pea brain and my students' little pea brains Burkholder and Nelson's systems are as high tech as I can teach and want to teach--it is NOT a digital class, it is an alt class. But I guarantee you that the digital professor in my department would also consider Burkholder and Nelson "high tech". (BTW David Hatton, do you know your curve is also in James' book??!!)

I guess, since the proof is in the pudding, I don't agree that linearized curve systems are not the right way to go. The great thing about teaching is that over the course of a semester you get 300 prints per class to prove otherwise. I would suggest that you translate the information you think is correct to a usable system/program, and then let some alt listers use it on negs and then you will have practical proof whether it works. I will gladly volunteer--perhaps I can send you an image, you can do your magic to it, send it back and I will print? If the proof is in the pudding, you need alt prints to prove it, and I am sure there are those like myself on the list that will help with that. I did download the article (12pp) and will read sometime after spring break. So thanks for the original message even if your way of saying it bordered on rude, and let's get this going.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Yves Gauvreau" <gauvreau-yves@cgocable.ca>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: curves and gum and Christopher James book

Dan and Sandy,

This may surprise you but I totally agree with what you say about ART.

Just as you find the images used in the article "plain terrible" I find any claim of precision and of being techy about PDN just as terrible.

Basically you both said "SHOW ME THE PRINTS" and I say SHOW ME THE NEGS. You can't have one without the other.

My point is that there is no METHODS, no SYSTEMS and no PROCEDURES out there that can claim: make your negative my way and your PRINTS will have SOUL. Especially, the idea of "calibrating" a process is just "plain terrible" because it implies you can apply this same "calibration" to all your images, that's not art, that's printshop work. Ok, "calibration" can help bring your negs and prints in the CITY but when in the city you need to give an INDIVIDUAL ADDRESS to each prints. Each image as it's own SOUL and to bring it out in the PRINT you need a UNIQUE way to process it.

Best regards,

----- Original Message ----- From: Dan Burkholder
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 2:42 AM
Subject: Re: curves and gum and Christopher James book

Hi Yves,

I appreciate your reference to the article mentioned but I gotta tell you, when the photographs used to illustrate a point are just plain terrible, I find it difficult to take the information that seriously. If the authors' sensitivity to content and design is divorced from concepts of beauty and esthetics how are they going to get anyone other than academic nerds to pay attention? Good grief, did this duo have to use photos of a PC sitting on a counter and cars in a parking garage? I literally fell asleep trying to read that piece. Is there a special word processor that these folks use to produce the most uninteresting verbiage possible?

In so many photographic issues it comes down to SHOW ME THE PRINTS! There are so many firm theories and absolute approaches by pixel pushers and algorithm humpers who never make a goddam print. If the final prints have soul, beauty and intrigue, who cares what "operator" was used in the production? Theoretical precision has close to nothing to do with art.

Sorry if this sounds bitter. When I awoke after trying to read that article, I was much like a bear, resentful of being disturbed during hibernation. ;^)


On Mar 6, 2008, at 11:40 PM, Yves Gauvreau wrote:

basically it fails to reproduce local contrast as well as other characteristics of the original amoung which there is a potential for loosing details. If you have time take a look at Reinhard introduction (http://www.cs.ucf.edu/~reinhard/papers/tvcg2005.pdf) it's only a page and he explain all this in plain english (I think) much better then I can.


  Bogdan Karasek
  Montréal, Québec                     bogdan@bogdanphoto.com
  Canada                               www.bogdanphoto.com

                     "I bear witness"