U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: R.I.P. HDR

Re: R.I.P. HDR


Well said!

On Sep 18, 2009, at 9:18:22 PM, "Judy Seigel" <jseigel@panix.com> wrote:

From:"Judy Seigel" <jseigel@panix.com>
Subject:Re: R.I.P. HDR
Date:September 18, 2009 9:18:22 PM CDT

The subject line of the following e-mail should really be "Fools rush in 
where angels fear to tread," because.... really:

To valorize or condemn a process simply as a process is inane, because any 
process can be misused or be, alternatively, sublime. I don't see the 
photo mags that were mentioned in this thread, but of the very few HDR 
prints I have seen (in reproduction only), several were stunning.

Still, what came to mind reading this thread was .... oops, what's that 
elixir they give for l oss of memory? I need some immediately: I'm 
forgetting who it was who declared whichever painter in the 19th century 
was "throwing a pot of paint in the public eye" or words very close to 

My point, however, is obvious, in fact axiomatic: to praise or condemn a 
process AS a process, is useless. There isn't a one, from the purest 
platinum print to the most wild constructed negative that can't be 
exquisite or a stupid cliche.

I also wonder if there's a photographer who's worked more than a few 
years, who won't denigrate some style or process s/he has used (and once 
LOVED), but has now moved on from. Which is to say, A NY style or process, 
from a photogram to a giant view camera can be brilliant or dumb... tho 
generally speaking the gifted artist tends to use it so that other 
qualities than the process itself are paramount, or at least shine 

I'll say also (at risk of instant assassination) that, although I found 
Keith Carter's gum technique awesome, most of those images were pure 
convention. Tho it's probably easier to see this in history: I tried to 
find the source of that "pot of paint" line from my shelf, but lacked the 
patience. However, what I picked up was a P eter Henry Emerson book titled&n bsp;
"Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art." (Reprint of the 
original 1899 edition.)

Opening (I swear) at random (page 153), I found: "For artistic reasons we 
are of the opinion that Collotypes, Woodburytypes and all such methods, 
are undesirable, and this we say deliberately, after long study of the 
subject...." etc. etc. etc.

In fact, P-F #3 is full of quotations laying down "laws" we mostly laugh 
at now... along with a bunch of other Emerson "rules" of photography I'm 
not finding at this minute, but ... just think for instance how Mortensen 
was derided... and think what you could get for one of his prints today. 
(And don't you wish you had that old bathtub on legs your grandma threw 
out?) I've also heard from more than one photographer on this very list: 
"Mortensen is my favorite photographer." And here's another dictum from 
Emerson (page 14, P-F #3): "Handwork on a picture made by camera and lens" 
is "aesthetic miscegenation." And in his 1904 "Plea for Straight 
Photography" Sadakichi Hartmann said that to be seen as art in its own 
right, photography "must be absolutely independent and rely on its own 
strength." That is, he explained, minus " trickeries" of any sort.. Paul&n bsp;
Strand said in 1917 that "the full potential of any medium is dependent on 
the purity of its use." But we know, don't we?, that "purity of use" is 
generally speaking in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps above all in 
the date of the beholding...

Besides, which of us, while "maturing" in the medium has not at some point 
dismissed a style or oeuvre that when we first saw it, we loved..... And 
possibly even vice versa.

Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.....