Mere Witness?

Susan on the Cape Cod Ferry 1998

“There are photographers who are mere witnesses, who see things and scoop up events. And then there are those who say what they think in their photos – those are the artists….For them, the “I” is so cumbersome that they can’t separate themselves from it.” – Robert Delpire

10 thoughts on “Mere Witness?

  1. Dogman

    Matt Black’s photos are excellent but they seem a little too polished for the subject matter. And the book is over designed. I was disappointed when I got it in the mail. Tim’s grainy photo style would have fit the subject better IMO.

    1. Dan Newell

      Yeah, I don’t get that. I live in the Valley and it’s a grimy place with light filtered through the dust mostly.
      I gave up on shooting the 240 and converting, I just use the 246 when I’m in those areas. I just can’t seem to get the mid-tones right on the conversion.

      Maybe I’m just not with it anymore but the HDR/High Wax look just doesn’t get it for me, especially in reportage.

  2. Rob Campbell

    Hope this piece can be understood by some of you; basically, Salgado says that photography has maybe twenty years left before it gives way to “image”, which isn’t photography. He states that photography is about a tangible print, which isn’t what image is about today, in the sense to which he refers to it. I guess he’s right.

    There are many reasons for this, in my book, and perhaps one is the perfect storm of high cost of print combined with the loss of patience and the “need” to download onto social media right away, before even the author’s own interest in the picture wanes.

    Unless I’m mistaken, and at this late hour of the evening I often am, it seems he has a digital negative made, and then prints from that. Expense upon expense… it must be nice (drop in your own wish!).

    Incidentally, just rediscovered Mel Torme, who’s distracting me as I type. My son-in-law gave me a kind of pencil with a rubber tip that makes typing on this iPad – or even on the cellphone – a lot more accurate. I thought that typing on a screen of this kind required body electricity, but if the tip of this pencil is indeed rubber, that kinda kills that supposition. Amazing world.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      I think I agree with him. The print is becoming an anachronism, all the more reason we should be printing our favorites and matting and hanging them up for posterity. IMO, photography IS the well made print. All else is peripheral.

      1. Dan Newell

        I think it may just be a small group that will print but we’re still going to keep doing it. We’ve been smearing our hands with ochre and slapping it up against a wall for over 25 thousand years so I don’t think we are going to stop.


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