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  1. 1. REVISED EDITIONTHE PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE Learning to See with a Camera Michael F. OBrien & Norman Sibley
  2. 2. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EYELearning to See with a Camera Michael E OBrien & Norman Sibley Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts
  3. 3. Copyright 1995 Davis Publications, Inc. Worcester, Massachusetts U.S.A. To the photography students of Seoul American High School, past, present and future. No part of this work may be repro- duced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechan- ical, including photocopying and re- cording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, unless such copy- ing is expressly permitted by federal copyright law. Davis is not autho- rized to grant permission for further uses of copyrighted selections or im- ages reprinted in this text without the permission of their owners. Permis- sion must be obtained from the indi- vidual copyright owners as identified herein. Address requests for permis- sion to make copies of Davis mate- rial to Permissions, Davis Publi- cations, Inc., 50 Portland Street, Worcester, MA 01608. Editor: Claire Mowbray Golding Design: Greta D. Sibley Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Catalog CardStudent photograph by Gregory Conrad. Number: 93-74644 ISBN: 0-87192-283-5 1098 7 6 5 Cover: Student photograph by Leah Gendler.4 The Photographic Eye
  4. 4. Contents 7 IntroductionPart 1 Getting Started 11 Chapter 1 From Blurs to Big Business History • Photographic CareersPart 2 Elements of Composition 35 Chapter 2 Tools Manual or Automatic? • The Camera, Inside & Out • Exercises: Testing the Shutter & Aperture • Loading Film 51 Chapter 3 What is Composition? Snapshots vs. Photographs • Structure, Balance, Dynamics • Exercises: Mat Frame • Cropping 67 Chapter 4 Developing A Critical Eye Critique Session • Evaluating a Print • Exercise: Sample Crit 83 Chapter 5 Point of Departure (f!6 at 1/125) Starting Simply • Doing it Right 87 Chapter 6 Line Pattern, Structure, Direction • Exercise: Pattern 95 Chapter 7 Texture Expressing the "Feel" • Exercise: Leaves103 Chapter 8 Shape Mass, Proportion & Relation • Using Negative Space * Exercise: Circles & Ovals113 Chapter 9 Light Controlling Exposure • Information & Mood • Using a Light Meter • Other Functions of Light • Depth of Field * Exercise: Bracketing129 Chapter 10 Motion The Science of Blurs • Stop and Co • Exercise: Blurred Movement137 Chapter 11 Perspective Lenses • Different Ways of Seeing • A Point of View • Exercise: A Point of View
  5. 5. Part 3 People, Places & Things: Exercises & Examples151 Chapter 12 Things Exercises: Bicycle • Hubcaps & Taillights • Eggs • Object & Its Shadow • Bottles & Classes • Water • Old Things167 Chapter 13 Places Exercises: Landscape • Architecture & Environment • Neighborhoods • Zoo/Farm • Store Windows * Construction Sites181 Chapter 14 People Exercises: Hands • Elders • Children • Soft-Light Portrait • Side-Lit Portrait • Prop Portrait • Detail Portrait • Mood Portrait197 Chapter 15 Putting It All Together Exercises: Fairs • Open Markets • Rain • Playgrounds • Sports Events209 Chapter 16 Breaking the Rules Exercises: Night • Monotone • Silhouettes • Grain and Diffusion • Double Exposure • Photo-Copy Photos • Panel Panorama • Text and ImageAppendixes227 Appendix 1 Processing Processing Film • Printing • Manipulation243 Appendix 2 Color From B&W to Color • Technical Considerations253 Appendix 3 Manipulation & Presentation Presentation * Manipulation265 Appendix 4 Advanced Techniques Tools272 Mat Frame (template)273 Cropping Ls (template)275 Bibliography279 Glossary281 Index287 Acknowledgments6 The Photographic Eye
  6. 6. Introduction hotography is both an art dimensional scene. The process by control each of these factors to P and a science. As an art, it expresses a personal vision. As a science, it relies on technology. which this is done may seem like magic. (In fact, when cameras were first introduced, many people all over achieve the effect you want. But it will take time. As you may already know, its often hard to keep all of This double nature is not unique to the world thought that they were them in mind every time you take a photography. Every kind of creative magic.) Fundamentally, however, picture. expression —such as music, dance or theres no magic in the camera. Its Fortunately, it is possible to begin painting —has both a purely artistic just a box with a hole in it. You more simply. This book is designed side and a more scientific or tech- supply the magic. When you, the to help you do that. It begins with a ological side as well. For example, photographer, use a camera creative- brief summary of photographys paints are a kind of technology, and ly, it changes from a simple, past, present and future, including a using them well involves a consid- mechanical machine into an artists discussion of photography careers. rable amount of technical skill. The tool. Instead of making random This is followed by an introduction main difference between photogaphy copies of things, it begins to say to the camera itself. Chapters 3 and and more traditional visual arts, such something about them. 4 provide a set of guidelines for com-as painting, is the complexity of its Here are some of the technical posing and evaluating photographs. technology. questions a photographer must Chapter 5 explains a simple way to In any of the arts, the first step answer for every photograph: How start producing correctly exposed toward excellence is mastering tech- will the lighting affect the clarity and photographs. As soon as you get that ique — learning to use a specific tech- mood of the photograph? How fast basic background behind you, you ology skillfully and effectively. In should the shutter speed be? How will begin your first photograph photography, this means that you large a lens opening should be used? assignments. Chapters 6 through 11 must learn to control the camera and What should be in focus? What deal with specific "elements" ofdarkroom equipment, rather than let- belongs in the frame, and what photography. At the end of theseting them control you. doesnt? What lens should be used? chapters are exercises that will help No artist, however creative, can All these factors influence each you learn to recognize and use eachproduce a masterpiece without a other, and they all affect the final element discussed.sound basis in technique. On the photograph. A photograph is "suc- The remainder of the book is com-other hand, no amount of technical cessful"—in the technical sense — posed of additional exercises (withskill can make up for a lack of artistic when these factors all work well examples) and an Appendix, cover-vision. Both are essential. The goal together and are combined with cor- ing most of the technical informationof any artist is to use good technique rect darkroom procedures. When a (including a section on color photog-creatively. creative composition is added, the raphy). Finally, theres a glossary to Simply speaking, a camera is a photograph becomes aesthetically clarify any confusing terminologymachine that produces a two- successfully as well. and a bibliography to help you locatedimensional (flat) copy of a three- Eventually, you will learn how to more detailed information. 7
  7. 7. part 1 Getting StartedStudent photograph by Edward Maresh. 9
  8. 8. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936. Gelatin silver print. Library of Congress,Washington, D.C.
  9. 9. chapter 1 From Blurs to Big Business urprisingly few new art made between 1816 and 1840. The rhe cent stone (one that would glow in theIS forms have been invented in the course of recorded his- tory. Depending on how such terms first recorded discovery that certain chemicals turned black when exposed to light was made in 1725. The basic ain dark). He mixed powdered chalk into a nitric acid solution and was sur- prised to discover that the mixture as "art" and "new" are defined, the design of the cameras we use today turned purple in sunlight. After in- novel as a form of literature may has been in use since the 1500s. The vestigating, he discovered that his ex- qualify, as may rock n roll and Chinese figured it out even longer ago periment had been contaminated with other kinds of electric and electronic than that — as early as the fourth cen- silver salt (silver chloride) and that music. More recent candidates in- tury. So, photography is between this was causing the reaction to light. clude computer graphics and the 1,500 and 150 years old. Schulze was curious enough about current wave of digital creations this phenomenon to experiment with known as multi-media. Prelude it. He covered bottles of his mixture One form that certainly qualifies The first stage of photographys with stencils so the light would is photography. From its beginnings evolution in Europe was the camera "print" letters onto it, but the letters as a technological curiosity, it has obscura, which is Latin for "dark would disintegrate as soon as the mix- grown into one of the most impor- chamber" (camera = chamber or ture was disturbed. Evidently, he tant influences in our society and room; obscura = dark). The camera never thought that his discovery culture. Every day, we encounter obscura was a room, or a small build- might have any practical application. hundreds of images produced with ing, with no windows. One tiny hole, cameras and film. We learn about fitted with a lens, projected images Early Prints the latest fashion trends from photo- from outside the room onto the far In 1777, a Swedish chemist, Carl graphs — and about the latest war or wall inside it. Wilhelm Scheele, repeated Schulzes famine. We also learn about the re- The image was upside down and experiments. He also discovered that markable planet on which we live not generally very clear, but it was ammonia would dissolve the silver and about the people with whom we good enough to become a useful tool chloride and leave the image intact. share it. for artists. The projected image could With this second discovery, the basic be traced, providing an accurate chemistry of photography (exposing HISTORY sketch, which might then be devel- silver chloride to produce an image oped into a painting. Portable ver- and "fixing" it with ammonia) wasThere is no single correct answer to sions of the camera obscura were established, but —again —what itthe question of how and when pho- developed by the 1660s. The camera might lead to was not recognized.tography began. No one person can existed, but photography hadnt even Forty years later, the plot began tobe credited with inventing it. In- been imagined yet. thicken. A number of people beganstead, it emerged through centuries In 1725, a German professor of trying to produce a photographicof tinkering. anatomy, Johann Heinrich Schulze, image on paper. In France, Joseph The first printed photographs were attempted to produce a phosphores- Nicephore Niepce developed an 11
  10. 10. Joseph Nicephore Niepce, worlds first permanent camera image. Courtesy Gernsheim Collection, Harry RansomHumanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.emulsion (a light-sensitive varnish) named Louis Jacques Mande Da- vapor, and finally "fixed" with a saltout of bitumen of Judea, a kind of guerre was also trying to produce a solution, then a visible, permanentasphalt. Instead of turning black, this camera image. He got in touch with image would result. This discoverymaterial is hardened by light. So, to Niepce and the two worked together formed the basis for the first photo-produce an image, Niepce coated a on the problem. Niepce died, poor graphic process to be used outside ofglass or pewter plate with his emul- and discouraged, a few years later, a laboratory: the daguerreotype.sion, exposed it to light and then but Daguerre continued (with In England, William Henry Foxwashed the plate with solvents. The Niepces son Isadore as his new Talbot was also experimenting withsolvents dissolved the unexposed (and partner). camera images. By 1835 he too hadstill soft) emulsion, producing a Daguerre was convinced that silver succeeded in producing a number ofprint: the worlds first permanent was the key to producing a better im- photographs. With his process, thecamera image. It was only some blurs age than Niepces asphalt prints. In first exposure produced a negativeof light and dark, and the exposure 1835, his conviction paid off. He image on paper treated with silverreportedly took eight hours, but it discovered that if a silver plate were compounds. The exposed paper waswas a real image. iodized (treated with iodine), exposed then placed over a second sheet of Meanwhile, a painter in Paris first to light and then to mercury treated paper and exposed to a bright12 The Photographic Eye
  11. 11. light, producing a positive image onthe second sheet. Thus, Talbots process —called acalotype or talbotype —enabledphotographers to make multiplecopies of a single image. This was notpossible with a daguerreotype, whichproduced a positive image directly ona metal plate. Because the calotypes image was transferred through a paper negative, however, it was not as clear as the daguerreotype. In 1851, another Englishman, Frederick Scott Archer, introduced the collodian wet-plate process, which offered the best of both worlds: a high-quality image and multiple copies. Talbot tried to claim credit and licensing rights for this new process as well. In 1854, the courts overruled him and followed Archers wishes by making the process freely available to everyone. The collodian process, like the daguerreotype, was difficult to use. First, a clean glass plate had to be evenly coated with collodian (a sub- stance similar to plastic and contain- ing potassium iodide). While still damp, the plate had to be dipped into a silver nitrate solution, inserted into the camera and exposed. It was then developed immediately, and finally thousands. The stereoscopic camera Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred allowed to dry. If the plate dried (which produced a three-dimensional Tennyson with his sons Hallam before the process was complete, the effect by combining two images) was and Lionel, 1865-69. Albumen emulsion would harden and the pho- introduced in 1849. By the 1860s, no print, W/2 x 8>/4" (27 x 22 cm). tograph would be ruined. It wasnt parlor in America was considered Gift of David Bakalar, 1977. easy, but it worked. complete without a stereo viewer and Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, a stack of slides to entertain guests. Boston.Photography Goes Public Photography had more seriousPhotography, dominated by the col- uses as well. As early as the 1850s,lodian and daguerreotype processes, books of photographs were publishedbegan to take off. Cameras were set showing the harsh conditions of lifeup in studios and loaded onto carts in the streets, factories, mines andto photograph portraits, landscapes slums of England and the Unitedand battles. Tourists collected inex- States. Lewis Mine, a sociologist,pensive prints of local attractions, produced powerful photographs ofcalled cartes-de-visite, by the children who worked long hours in From Blurs to Big Business 13
  12. 12. Lewis Mine, Doffer Girl in New textile mills and other industries. His that he did so to settle a bet as toEngland Mill, c 1910. work helped to bring about new laws whether or not running horses lifted to protect childrens rights. all four hooves off the ground at one At the start of the Civil War, a suc- time. By photographing a horse with cessful portrait photographer named his device, he proved that they do. He Mathew Brady asked President Lin- also contributed tremendously to our coln for permission to carry his understanding of how animals (and cameras onto the battlefields. Per- humans) move. mission was granted, and Brady and These and other similar uses of his staff compiled a remarkable photography often achieved a high record of that tragic period of degree of aesthetic quality —a high American history. Like many of pho- degree of art. Their primary pur- tographys pioneers, he paid for the poses, however, were practical: to project almost entirely by himself and promote social reform, record his- died penniless as a result. torical events and aid scientific In the 1880s, Eadweard Muybridge investigations. invented a device called a zooprax- iscope which produced a series of im- ages of a moving subject. It is said14 The Photographic Eye
  13. 13. Mathew Brady, Magazine inBattery Rodgers, 1863. Library ofCongress, Washington, D.C. From Blurs to Big Business 15
  14. 14. Eadweard Muybridge, Attitudes of Animals in Motion, c 1881.But Is It Art? what a painting should look like was with their cameras, specializing inAt the same time, another group of heavily influenced by the Romanticist peaceful scenes of country life. Theyphotographers were dealing with the painters (such as Delacroix). The Pic- were also increasingly fond of usingpurely aesthetic issue of how photog- torialist photographers, like the soft focus (blurred edges) in theirraphy relates to the traditional arts, Romanticist painters, believed that an photographs.particularly painting. Is photography artist should improve upon nature by Despite the differences betweenan art at all? If so, how should it be using it to express noble ideas. Both them, both the Pictorialists and theused? What should "art photog- favored elaborate illustrations of Naturalists believed that a work ofraphy" look like? These same ques- scenes from ancient mythology. art ought to express a "correct senti-tions continue to provoke discussion The other faction called themselves ment" and that it ought to be decora-and argument even today. Photog- Naturalists. They were led by Peter t i v e — p r e t t y . This is what most setraphy is still defining itself. Henry Emerson and George Davison. them apart from the "practical" pho- By the 1850s, two opposing fac- The Naturalists believed that a tographers, like Brady and Muy-tions of artist-photographers had photograph should capture natures bridge, whose work showed the hardbeen established. The Pictorialists, own truth. They preferred the Bar- edges of reality, with all its flaws.led by Oscar Rejlander and Henry bizon painters, who took their easelsPeach Robinson, believed that a out to the forests, fields and streams,photograph should look as much like and painted them directly. The Nat-a painting as possible. Their idea of uralist photographers did the same16 The Photographic Eye
  15. 15. Peter Henry Emerson, Gunner Working Up to Fowl, c 1886. New Tools & Processes another 100 photos. Eastmans Autochrome produced transparencies In the late 1880s, flexible film ap- slogan was "You press the button; we (slides) that could not be enlargedpeared for the first time, replacing do the rest." (The name "Kodak," in- very much without showing the grainclumsy and heavy glass plates. By the cidentally, doesnt mean anything. of the starch dyes used to create the 1890s, George Eastman had intro- Eastman selected it because he felt it image. It also took fifty times as longduced the Kodak camera, the first w o u l d be easy for people to to expose as black-and-white film.that was reasonably easy to use. The remember.) Then, in 1935, Kodak introducedcamera itself was simple: a box with In 1925, Leica introduced its "mini- Kodachrome, an improved slide film,a lens, a cord to cock the shutter, a ature" camera, the first to use 35mm followed in 1941 by Kodacolor, forbutton to release it and a crank to film. Though not quite as simple to making color prints. The familywind the film. What made this use as the earlier Kodak model, it was photograph album, which had existedcamera special was that it came technically more sophisticated and for only 100 years, was now bothloaded with enough film for 100 quite a bit smaller As a result, widespread and increasingly in fullphotographs. When the film was amateur photography became an in- color.used up, the entire camera was ternational passion.returned to the Eastman Kodak Other technical advances con-Company. The film was then devel- tinued to appear all t h e time. Theoped and printed, and the camera first commercial color film, Auto-was reloaded and returned, ready for chrome, hit the market in 1907. From Blurs to Big Business 17
  16. 16. FOCAL POINT: Alfred Stieglitz, 1864-1946Alfred Stieglitz was in many ways thefirst "modern" photographer.Though his early photographs werecarefully manipulated to imitatepaintings, he soon recognized thatphotography was an art in its ownright —and deserved to be treated asone. He saw the need to free photog-raphy from the conventions and lim-itations of painting. Consequently,Stieglitz promoted what came to beknown as "straight" photography —making prints with little or no crop-ping, retouching or other alteration. He was a founding member andleader of the "Photo Secession," agroup of photographers who weredetermined to break away from pho-tographys past and to chart itsfuture. Stieglitz was editor andpublisher of the groups magazine,Camera Work, the first publicationto deal seriously with photography asan independent art form. He work-ed with Edward Steichen to establish"Gallery 291" in New York City,which exhibited contemporary pho-tographs along with paintings byPicasso, Matisse and GeorgiaOKeefe (whom Stieglitz latermarried). Alfred Stieglitz, The Rag Picker, New York, 1895. When photography was first in-vented, it was a scientific novelty. record. He returned to the straight- we use it today —as a familiar tool forSoon, it evolved into an excellent forward approach of the early exploring reality.record-keeping tool. Photographers photographers, but he did so with the The attitudes and interests thatcould be hired to make a lasting insight and confidence of a true Stieglitz brought to photography canrecord of a person, place or event. By artist. be traced to his upbringing. He wasthe late 1800s, photographers were Stieglitz was among the first born in Hoboken, New Jersey, thestriving to elevate their craft into a photographers to produce work that, son of German immigrants. He orig-recognized art. They did this by im- even today, does not look "dated." inally intended to become a mechan-itating the content and visual effects Though clothing and architectural ical engineer. While in Berlin study-of paintings. Stieglitzgreat achieve- styles have changed considerably ing for this purpose, he happened toment was to bring photography full since his time, his best work still looks see a camera in a store window. Hecircle: he merged its artistic potential thoroughly modern. The main reason bought it and soon decided it waswith its ability to produce a factual for this is that he used the camera as more interesting than engineering.18 The Photographic Eye
  17. 17. Alfred Stieglitz, The Flat Iron, 1902.When he returned to the U.S. at theage of 26, he was delighted to findthat photography was extremely pop-ular. But he was also dismayed by thelack of publications and galleries pro-moting it as an art. For the next 56years, he devoted himself to correct-ing this situation. Along the way, he Alfred Stieglitz, Sun Rays-Paula-Berlin, 1889.produced some of the finest photo-graphs in history.
  18. 18. FOCAL POINT: James Van Der Zee, 1886-1983 James Van Der Zee, Couple in Raccoon Coats, 1932. Courtesy Donna Van Der Zee. James Van Der Zee was unique in "straight" prints in the style of the studio, and produce a double- many ways. First and foremost, he Photo Secessionists (Stieglitz, exposed print showing their yet-to-be- was perhaps the most accomplished Weston, Steichen, etc.) as well as born child as a ghost beside them. black photographer in history, and is heavily manipulated images, which Van Der Zees photographic career certainly the best known today. His the Photo Secessionists had rejected. was far from easy. Though he record of Harlem in the 1920s is un- Moreover, he used both approaches became interested in photography at surpassed, in both quantity and interchangeably, according to his in- the age of 14 (when he purchased a quality. But he was unique in other terpretation of a particular scene. mail-order camera and darkroom ways as well. One day he might do a straight out- kit), he was 30 before he was able to Stylistically, he employed both door portrait of someone on the earn a living at it. In between, he stark realism and dreamy roman- street. And the next day he might worked as a waiter, elevator operator ticism. Technically, he produced pose a newly-wed couple in his and even as a violinist in a dance or-v. 20 The Photographic Eye
  19. 19. chestra. His first photographic job,in 1914, was as a darkroom assistantin a department store in New YorkCity. Two years later, he opened hisown studio in Harlem. Though heoften had to change its location, VanDer Zee kept his studio in businessuntil 1969. In addition to skill and creativity, he was blessed with good timing. Black culture was flourishing in Harlem during the 1920s. Duke Ell- ington and others were redefining American music. Adam Clayton Powell, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Marcus Garvey were help- ing to build a new black identity. And James Van Der Zee was the official and unofficial photographer for all of it. He photographed proud black couples in the streets of Harlem and in elegant clubs. Celebrities and "or- dinary people" posed in his studio. He photographed weddings and funerals. All together, he compiled some 75,000 glass plates, negatives and prints. All of it revealing a world that was all but ignored by the better- known photographers of that time. Van Der Zee received virtually no recognition outside of Harlem until Eugene Atget, LEscalier de LHotel Charron, 7900. 1967. At that time, he was featured in an exhibit, entitled "Harlem on My A New Breed proaches to photography. Mind," at New Yorks Metropolitan Photography was coming into its In Europe, Andre Kertesz, Eugene Museum of Art. For the last 14 years own, both as an art and as a business. Atget, Brassai, and Henri Carder- of his life, his photography was Alfred Steiglitz united photography Bresson were among the most not- widely exhibited, published and and painting by opening "Gallery able of the new wave of artist praised. He died at the age of 97, 291," which exhibited new work in photographers. They each devoted while in Washington, D.C. to receive either medium. In his own photog- themselves to capturing life as it an honorary degree from Howard raphy and in his critical judgment really was, in the boulevards and University. Steiglitz promoted a lively realism back alleys and country lanes of that eventually became the standard Europe. Yet each did so with a for art photography. From 1902 to distinct and original style, a unique 1917, he published Camera Work, the "way of seeing." They saw that first magazine devoted to artistic ap- photography was a new and indepen- From Blurs to Big Business 21
  20. 20. Edward Steichen, Gloria Swanson,1924.dent art, not merely a cheap imitationof painting. Because of this, they —along with Steiglitz and otherAmerican peers — may be thought ofas the first modern photographers. More practical applications ofphotography also continued. One ofthe most notable examples was aphotographic survey, begun in 1935,of conditions during the GreatDepression. Dorothea Lange, Walk-er Evans and other first-rate pho-tographers were hired by this pro-ject by the U.S. governments FarmSecurity Administration and com-piled hundreds of photographs thatrank among the best ever produced. The use of photographs in publica-tions, a novelty as recently as 1900,was expanding rapidly. Life magazinestarted in 1936 and began a wholenew kind of publishing: photo-j o u r n a l i s m . Alfred Eisenstat,Margaret Bourke-White and otherphotographers on Lifes staff quicklybecame famous as they recorded theworlds events with their cameras. By the end of the 1930s, all thebasic ingredients that continue todefine photography were in place:Photography was increasingly ac- 1937 1938 1939 1947 1954 The SLR Automatic Electronic First First (single lens exposure flash Polaroid high-speed reflex) initiated by developed by camera film, Tri-X, camera Kodak with Dr. Harold developed by comes onto introduced to its 6-20 Edgerton. Edwin Land. market. the U.S. by camera. Exacta.22 The Photographic Eye
  21. 21. Yousef Karsh, Ethiopian Bride, 1963. Courtesy Woodfin Camp and Associates. cepted as an art in its own right. Photojournalists were a major source of information and insight for the general public (a role that has since been largely taken over by television reporters). Advertising had begun using photography to catch attention or communicate a message. Portable cameras had made snapshots a na- tional hobby. Where Now? The list of technical advances in photography continues to get longer and longer (see the photographic time line), and the ranks of great photographers has expanded steadily as well. Edward Steichen, Minor White, Sebastiao Salgado, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Ernst Haas, Eugene Richards...the list is long and subject to fierce debate. Photography is still a young art. Painting, sculpture, writing, dance, acting and music have all been around for thousands of years. Even they continue to change at an often alarming rate. This is all the more true of photography, which has 1959 1966 1972 1985 1987 1991Development Konica Polaroid Minolta Canon Kodak of first introduces adds introduces debuts first launches zoom lens, first color the first "Commercial Photo CDthe Zoomar professional toils professional Still Video" system and 36-82. quality instant quality system. digital automatic cameras. automatic camera. exposure focus camera, camera. the Maxxum. From Blurs to Big Business 23
  22. 22. FOCAL POINT: Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1902-Throughout the world, photog-raphers have used the camera toobserve, interpret and record theirown cultures and environments. Inthe process, some have also achiev-ed unique styles that are particularlyappropriate to specific times and places. Manuel Alvarez Bravo is among a select group of photog- raphers who have gone a step further —discovering a way of seeing that seems to express the spirit of an entire culture. Great works of art are rarely created in a vacuum. Instead, even the most gifted artist draws on a lifetime of experiences and impres- sions. The work of other artists is almost always an important in- fluence. Additional influences may include ones level of wealth or poverty; the personalities and values of friends and family; the climate, colors, sounds and rituals that are part of daily life. By combining a variety of local and international in- fluences, some artists are able to create art t h a t breaks t h r o u g h cultural barriers without losing a Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Retrato de lo Eterno (Portrait of the Eternal), sense of cultural roots. Bravo is one 1935. Courtesy The Witkin Gallery, New York. photographer who has done this. In his case, the culture is that of leaders of a creative surge in Mexican In his best work, Bravo combinesMexico. He was born in Mexico City, art. the technical skill and confidence ofand has continued to be based there His first solo exhibit was held in photographers like Strand andthroughout his life. His father and Mexico City in 1932. Soon after, he Evans; the ability to capture agrandfather were both artists, one a became acquainted with Paul Strand, "decisive moment" that is char-painter and the other a photographer. Henri Carder-Bresson, Walker Evans acteristic of Carder-Bresson; and theBefore becoming interested in pho- and other photographers who were often disturbing dreamlike qualitiestography, Bravo studied literature, gaining international attention. of Surrealist paintings. To this mix ofmusic and painting, beginning in Bravo also met Andre Breton, who artistic influences, he adds a deep and1917. In 1922, he began experimen- is credited with creating the Surrealist proud understanding of Mexican cul-ting with photography. By 1926, he style of painting. Surrealism, which ture and a keen awareness of lightwas using a camera to produce employs the symbols and imagery of and mood. The result is a vision thatabstract images of folded paper. By dreams, became a major influence on is both highly private and universallythe early 1930s he was among the Bravos photographic style. accessible.24 The Photographic Eye
  23. 23. Minor White, Moon and Wall Encrustations, 1964. barely passed its first century of wide- and how it works) is in the midst of The old distinctions between one spread use. radical transformation — a techno- form of art and another are breaking With most of the traditional arts, logical revolution. Photography it- down. Words, images and music arechange has primarily been a matter self is mutating into something new all beginning to merge. The musicof style. Michaelangelo and Picasso and strange and unpredictable. videos on MTV are one typical ex- used essentially the same materials Compared to that, stylistic changes ample of this trend. They arent sim-and techniques to produce vastly dif- hardly seem to matter. ply songs and they arent quite ferent results. Writers may use com- What is actually happening is that movies. They are a new hybrid: mu-puters now, rather than quill pens, but photography (along with computer sic and film merging into a new formthe process of writing hasnt really graphics, electronic music and other of creative expression. Some of themchanged very much since Shake- technology-based arts) is moving tell stories. Some are more like mini-speares day. Writing styles, however, away from the traditional, "manual" documentaries. Some resemble thehave changed enormously. arts (such as painting or classical song-and-dance numbers of a In the case of photography, al- music). As a result, we are discover- Broadway musical. Similarly, it is in-most the opposite is now true: Pho- ing entirely new ideas of how art may creasingly difficult to define the dif-tographys essential nature (what it is be created and experienced. ference between a painting and a From Blurs to Big Business 25
  24. 24. photograph, or even between a pho-tograph and a poem. In addition, all of the arts are be-coming more participatory. In thevery near future, it may no longer bestandard procedure for an artist tocreate some specific "thing" - a photograph or a symphony — which others simply receive by looking or listening. Instead, each individual viewer or listener will have the power to edit, combine and transform an enormous array of images and sounds. Your photograph will be raw material which you may manipulate in any way you please, and to which others may then add their own inter- pretations — and it will all be done by computer. It is far too early to tell if all of this is actually an improve- ment, but it is certainly a change. That is whats coming. But it isnt quite here yet. We are standing on the bridge be- tween photographys past and its fu- ture. And so we are able to move back and forth between them. We can shoot a roll of film on Uncle Franks old Pentax, make a print in a traditional darkroom and then re- interpret it on a copy machine — or scan it into a Mac and make it all look really weird. There is still a se- cure place for conventional art pho- tography, and a wide open field for experimentation. We are at the end of an era — and Wedding photography requires technical accuracy, good social skills and and at the start of a new one. This is a the ability to quickly arrange natural poses for individuals and large groups. privileged place to be. Enjoy it. Photograph by Donald Butler. PHOTOGRAPHIC pictures for pleasure. Even many of photographers have died penniless. CAREERS the best-known art photographers At least a few have made good liv- pay their bills by doing commer- ings without having much skill orThe number of people who earn a cial photography or other work on creativity. Thats the way of all art —"living wage" from any art is always the side. timing, luck and who you know arerelatively small. Photography is cer- Unfortunately, being "good" or at least as important as masteringtainly a case in point. Most pho- even "the best" wont necessarily your craft.tographers are hobbyists who take make any difference. Many excellent26 The Photographic Eye
  25. 25. Fortunately, however, commercial the day. Freelancers tend to earn Arnold Newman, Igor Stravinsky, photography can be a very rewarding more than staff photographers for 1946. career or sideline. Everything from each day they work, but staff photog- weddings to wars seems to require a raphers work more steadily. In other flash photography, since much of photographic record. Most commer- words, staff photographers are less their work is done indoors on loca- cial products rely on photography for likely either to get rich or to go broke. tion. In addition, they must be skilled packaging and advertising. And there Freelancers take more risks and have at interacting well with all sorts of is even a steadily growing market for a better chance of making it big. people. By and large, wedding photographs as pure art — though its photography does not demand much not likely to make you rich. Weddings and Portraits artistry —most clients dont want art. The basic categories of profes- Probably the largest number of pro- Its a good line of work for anyonesional photographic work include: fessional photographers are primarily who enjoys the technical side ofweddings and other social events, devoted to photographing social photography and who likes toportraiture, journalism, product events, especially weddings. The pay and fashion. Depending can be quite good —several hundred Closely related to weddings andon the work you choose, the time you dollars per day. Many wedding pho- social events is p o r t r a i t u r e -devote to it and your luck and skill, tographers are represented by an photographing a single person oryou could earn from a few hundred agent who sets up photo assignments small group. Whether its for ato over a thousand dollars a day. for them. Many work only a couple passport photo or a prom portrait, In each of these categories, there of days each week, generally week- everyone needs a photographer some-are two ways of working: staff and ends (when weddings are most com- time. Virtually every town in thefreelance. A staff photographer is monly held). Wedding photographers country has at least one studio forjust like any employee, receiving a must be able to produce consistently just these kinds of things. Here again,salary and clocking regular hours. A good results, since theres no chance the main requirements are technicalfreelance photographer is hired for for re-shooting if things get messed consistency —particularly in terms ofspecific jobs and is generally paid by up. They must be especially good at studio lighting —and social grace. From Blurs to Big Business 27
  26. 26. PhotojournalismJournalistic photography ranges FOCAL POINT: Margaret Bourke-Whitefrom covering a fire on Elm Street forthe local newspaper to traveling to Today we take photojournalism for After becoming a staff photog-Tahiti for a major magazine. Photo- granted. We expect our magazine ar- rapher for Life magazine in 1936,journalists must possess good in- ticles to be illustrated with photo- Bourke-White continued to coverstincts above all else. Sensing when graphs that add insights and impact both technological progress anda photo opportunity is about to oc- of their own. But, like photography human suffering. The very first issuecur and knowing how to handle it are itself, photojournalism had to be in- of Life featured one of her photo-of vital importance. Being a first-rate vented. One of the people who played graphs on the cover: a dramaticphoto-technician is helpful . . . but a major role in inventing it was image of a massive dam constructionnot strictly essential. Margaret Bourke-White. project. She provided extensive A more commercial field related to While in college, Bourke-White coverage of World War II, most photojournalism is freelance location discovered that she excelled at pho- notably the horrors discovered when photography. Corporate annual tography. After graduating from the Allies liberated the concentration reports, slide presentations, promo- Cornell, she began working as a pro- camps. She photographed the gran- tional brochures, in-house publica- fessional photographer. She was deur and starvation of India in the tions, trade magazines (Plumbers especially intrigued by the surge of late 1940s, black South African Digest or New England Beverage technological developments at that Miners in 1950, and the Korean War Retailer, for example) all require time and used her camera to convey in 1952. professional-quality photography. the power and beauty she saw in By the mid-1950s, Bourke-White Being able to handle any lighting or everything from clock parts to steel was suffering from Parkinsons composition challenge quickly and mills. From 1929 to 1933, she was an Disease, which progressively reduces accurately is the critical factor here. industrial photographer for Fortune the bodys ability to control its move- An ability to blend into the corporate magazine. Her work there was not ments. She left the staff of Life in environment is also essential. limited to machine parts and con- 1969 and died two years later.Razzle Dazzle struction projects, however. In 1934, Though she was neither a masterAt the top of the career heap finan- she covered the drought known as the stylist nor an exceptional technician,cially are illustration, product, food "Dust Bowl" that swept through the Bourke-White was among the first toand fashion photography. This is Great Plains, showing how that trag- clearly understand the cameraswhere knowing the right people and edy affected the lives of farmers and power to record "history in the mak-being in the right place at the right their families. This article was a mile- ing." She helped establish standardstime are of critical importance. A stone in photojournalism. Though for commitment, concern and sheerflair for style helps too. You also other photographers, such as Lewis energy that photojournalists havehave to be very good if you expect to Hine, had done similar reporting on struggled to live up to ever since.have more than a brief career. The social issues, none had done so for acompetition is stiff because the major magazine.rewards are high. A top-notch pro-duct, food or fashion photographerwill charge $2,000 or more per day.A comparable illustration photog-rapher might earn the same amountfor a single photograph. Nice workif you can get it.28 The Photographic Eye
  27. 27. 1904-71Margaret Bourke-White, Airship Akron, Winner Goodyear Zeppelin Race, 1931. From Blurs to Big Business 29
  28. 28. A flair for the exotic and a sophisticated sense of humor are important assets in fashion photography. Photograph byBane Kapsu.30 The Photographic Eye
  29. 29. Variations services to other photographers. prints, but be sure to include the run-Mixed in with these general categories Retouchers, for example, are paid ning head or foot that indicates theare numerous photographic special- handsomely to fix mistakes or other- name and date of the publication.)ties: scientific, sports, underwater, wise alter a photos appearance. Your portfolio should also be tai-travel, architectural, art reproduc- Skilled darkroom techicians, special- lored to the kind of work youretion, etc. Matching your skills and in- izing in black and white or color, are seeking. If you hope to be hired as aterests to one of these niches may be highly regarded and well paid. lab technician, emphasize printthe most satisfying career path of all. Finally, there are many other jobs quality. If you want to cover localBy specializing in one particular that dont require regular use of a news events, include some goodaspect of photography, rather than camera or darkroom but can, none- action shots. If advertising interestscompeting in a broader category, you theless, keep a photographer "in you, try to create some still-life pho-have a good chance of establishing a touch." These include selling and tographs that have the "look-and-clear identity and of focusing in on repairing cameras, maintaining feel" of studio composition anda steady market. Word-of-mouth rec- photographic libraries or stock- lighting. If youd like to pursue fash- ommendation is always a photog- agency files, curating in photography ion photography, you might team up raphers best advertising. You stand galleries or museums, or even help- with a friend who aspires to a career to benefit most from it if you earn a ing to develop new designs, formulas in modeling — working together to good reputation for a specific set of and processes for cameras or film. produce some fashion shots that you skills. both can use. And, of course, if you If you enjoy photographing build- Looking Ahead hope to sell your work as art, then ings, for example, you can make a In virtually any photography-related your portfolio must show that youve career of it, hiring yourself out to ar- field, the key to getting started is to attained a high level of skill and crea- chitectural and construction firms or put together a winning portfolio — tivity. to design magazines. If youre very an elegant, professional collection of As you progress through this precise and detail oriented, you might your best work. Your portfolio will course, it is a good idea to keep your get into photographing art for tell a prospective employer or client long-range goals in mind. Its never museums. If you like flying, you what you can do, so it should be of a too early to begin preparing for might consider aerial photography. If consistently high standard — right them. Even if you have no interest in you prefer swimming, consider down to the details of excellent print a photographic career, your portfo- underwater photography. quality, good mounting technique lio is your own record of achieve- There are career opportunities in and slick presentation. If you are ment. And you never know when it photographic processing as well. fortunate enough to have some of may come in handy, so you may as Here again, developing a specific set your photographs published (by a lo- well do it right. of skills is recommended. Some pho- cal newspaper, for example, or even Effective presentation (and atten- tographers specialize in a photo- in a school publication) these - tion to detail) is vitally important in graphic style that requires certain called tear sheets (as in a torn-out any line of work. Mastering photo- processes, such as antique style sepia- page) — should be included as well: graphic technique and preparing a toned or hand-tinted prints. When Cut out the full page on which your good portfolio will teach you valu- someone needs that particular style photograph appears and mount it as able skills which will serve you well, for a magazine illustration or cor- you would a standard print, or slip it no matter what career you ultimately porate annual report, a specialist will into a plastic sheet. (Use part of a choose. generally be selected. The same rule page if the whole thing is too big to applies to those who offer processing fit the size mat youre using for your From Blurs to Big Business 31
  30. 30. part 2 Elements of CompositionStudent photograph by Michael Grassia. 33
  31. 31. Student photograph.34 The Photographic Eye
  32. 32. chapter 2 Tools hotographic technology isIP changing so fast that it is ut- terly impossible to define the standard tools-of-the-trade with any degree of precision. Cameras now in use range from clumsy boxes with lots of knobs and dials to the latest high-tech whiz-bang contrap- tions which look like props from Star Trek. Photographic images can now be stored on an astonishing array of films — plus CDs, computer disks and video tape. By the time you read this, it is likely other new technolo- gies will have appeared, promising even greater ease, efficiency and op- portunities. This is all well and good, but there is also real value in understanding the basic principles of photography — and that is much easier to do with the old fashioned, manual ap- If you choose your camera carefully and practice with it often, youll soon proach. True, it does take more time learn to use it with very little effort or conscious thought. It will become to produce a photograph in this way. simply an extension of eyes and hands—responsive, accurate and And potentially great shots can be comfortable. (Student photograph by Trevor Bredenkamp.) missed while you fiddle with those knobs and dials. But there is a writing with an antique fountain pen full of clever attachments and acces- unique satisfaction in knowing ex- is infinitely preferable to tapping at a sories. In fact, odds are that you will actly what your camera is doing and computer keyboard, there are bene- become a better photographer if you why, controlling it to achieve the ef- fits to cameras that lack the latest begin with a second-hand, second- fect you choose rather than merely automation. rate old clunker that looks like an pointing and shooting. The essential point to all this is artifact from the Stone Age. So, it is perhaps fortunate that that theres no need to worry if you Not everyone needs the same kind technological advances take some cant afford to buy a slick new cam- of tool —whether that tool is a time to settle in and push aside the era with all the bells and whistles, a camera or a musical instrument. A past. Just as there are times when stash of fancy lenses and a suitcase concert violinist may require the best 35
  33. 33. violin money can buy, but a bluessinger may make fine music with anold beat-up guitar. Similarly, some ofthe worlds best photographers usethe latest "high-tech" cameras; othersuse antiques held together with rub-ber bands and tape. The right choicefor most of us is somewhere betweenthese extremes. Like any tool, each camera has a"personality" —a mixture of oppor-tunities and limitations that you con-trol to express your personal vision.The goal in selecting a camera is tofind one that does what you need itto do, no more and no less. In otherwords, the right camera for you isone with a "personality" that matchesyour own. So, the first rule for choosing a Manual cameras provide a greater amount of creative control, especially camera is to make the best of what with lighting. This photograph would have been virtually impossible with you already have or can easily afford. most purely automatic cameras, since the lighting effect is not "normal." After you become more experienced, (Student photograph.) youll be more able to decide exactly what features you need. Thats the used to make distant objects appear want to try other lenses, so it is a time to invest in your particular closer. good idea to use a camera that will dream machine. For now, however, The most popular and inexpensive allow you to do this. Once again, use what you have. If you dont yet cameras have a fixed lens. A fixed however, it is not essential. If your own a camera, buy the least expen- lens cannot be removed and, there- budget restricts you to a fixed-lens sive one that meets your basic needs. fore, cannot be changed. Though not camera, you will still be able to take The money you save can be spent on essential, interchangeable lenses can perfectly good photographs. film and chemicals, which are far be a great asset. more important at this stage than the Some modern cameras offer a Manual or Automatic quality of your camera. compromise between fixed and inter- If you are buying a camera, you have One thing that is important, no changeable lenses: permanently at- two basic choices: manual ormatter which camera you buy, is tached zooms. Others allow you to automatic. Manual cameras havedurability. No matter how careful switch from a wide-angle to a tele- been in use far longer than automaticyou are, your camera is likely to get photo lens, both of which are at- cameras, and they are still preferred knocked around a bit. Get one that is tached to the camera body. by many professionals. They requirestrong enough to take abuse. Generally, these kinds of lenses are you to load and wind the film, select One of the most important dif- too limited to be very useful, but the shutter speed, set the aperture,ferences among cameras is the lenses theyll do in a pinch. and focus. Automatic cameras willthat can be used with them. An inter- There is no need to rush out and do some or all of these things for you.changeable lens can be removed from buy a telephoto or any other non- The big advantage of a manualthe camera body and replaced with standard lens immediately. For your camera is that you always controlanother lens that produces a different first assignments, you will be using what it is doing. You make the deci-effect. For example, a telephoto lens, only the standard 50mm lens. Even- sions, and the camera does what youwhich works like a telescope, may be tually, however, you will probably36 The Photographic Eye
  34. 34. what the camera is doing, you can use the automatic light meter most of the time and still learn how to use light effectively. If you dont make that ef- fort you wont learn much, and youll end up taking a lot of "normal" and probably boring pictures. If you are shooting a lot of "can- dids" (quick, unposed photographs), like most photojournalists, the automatic option can be a big help — since you wont miss a good shot or annoy your subject while you fumble with knobs and dials. If youre doing a lot of still-life or nature photog- raphy, or if you prefer to take your time, as most art photographers do, a manual camera will do just as well, and will teach you more. All the other automatic featuresAutomatic cameras are especially useful for "grab shots," when theres no are far less important. Loading andtime to fiddle with knobs and dials. By letting the camera make the winding the film manually will soontechnical decisions, the photographer is able to concentrate on getting the become second nature to you, so hav-timing just right. (Student photograph by Lauren McDermott.) ing it done automatically is not much of an advantage (unless you havetell it to do. As a result, you will learn this may sound very appealing, there reason to be in a real hurry). Auto-what works and what doesnt. You is a problem — and that problem is the focus is another asset for the "grab-will also make mistakes (which is how "probably." shooter," though focusing shouldntyou learn). The main disadvantage of As you become a more experienced take more than a split second oncea manual camera is the amount of photographer, you will sometimes you get the hang of it.time required to set up a shot. disagree with your cameras choice. Most manual cameras now avail- You may want a picture to be a bit What Format?able in the 35mm format have a built- darker or lighter for effect, or the Most modern cameras use 35mmin light meter. The meter informs you camera may be "confused" by a com- film. This is a relatively small formatof the lighting conditions, and you set plex lighting situation. With full that allows many frames to fit on athe speed and aperture accordingly. automatic, theres not much you can single roll. As a result, it costs less perOlder cameras, and many studio do to change the cameras decision. shot than larger formats. In addition,models, require you to use a hand- This is a poor choice for anyone the smaller format means the cameraheld light meter to "read" the light, who really wants to learn about can be smaller and lighter, so itsbefore you set the camera. photography. easier to carry and use. Cameras with automatic light Manual-override offers a solution. There is one advantage to largermetering also fall into two categories: When youre sure the camera will formats: the grain of the film. Allfull automatic and manual-override. make the right decisions (i.e. when film stores images in tiny dots. WhenA full automatic chooses the aperture you want a normal photograph in a the film is enlarged, the dots begin toor shutter speed, or both, according normal lighting situation), you let the show. This is grain. If you are mak-to a built-in computer that is pro- camera decide. When you disagree, ing a large print (such as for an ex-grammed to make the decision you you set the camera manually. If you hibit or a full page in a magazine),would probably make anyway. While make an effort to pay attention to grain can be a problem. Too much Tools 37
  35. 35. Each kind of lens has its own characteristics and uses. The wide-angle lens used for this photograph produced aslightly surreal effect. Much of the photographs impact would have been lost with either a normal or a telephotolens. (Student photograph by John Berringer.)grain reduces the image quality. It Choosing a Lens look the same as what you see withbegins to look "grainy." In many ways, choosing the right lens your own eyes. Whatever lenses you For most uses, including most ex- or lenses is even more important than eventually buy, you will want to in-hibit formats, the ease of using choosing the right camera. clude the 50mm range. (By the way,35mm outweighs the drawbacks of Once youve selected some brand if you find 50mm lenses and 35mmgrain. And, as films continue to im- names you trust and can afford, you film confusing, dont worry. Theseprove, grain is becoming less and less face another choice: which lenses to and other terms will graduallyof a problem. After youve devel- buy. Most cameras come equipped become familiar to you as you useoped your skill and style, you may with a 50mm lens. This is the stan- them.)want to move up to larger formats, dard lens for 35mm photography, If you have a choice (and you oftenbut you can decide that later. because it is closest to normal vision. wont) you might consider buying the What you see through the camera will camera body and lens separately.38 The Photographic Eye
  36. 36. This will enable you to choose a your photo career with only a wide- camera manufacturers make lensesvariable focal-length, or "zoom," lens angle or only a telephoto. Its per- for their cameras that you can trustinstead of a "fixed focal-length" lens. fectly all right to start it with only a to be as well-made as the cameras. In As explained in Chapter 11, the 50mm. Once again, the best pro- addition, cameras with automatic focal-length of a lens determines how cedure is probably to start simply, features may require that you staywide an area you can see through it. with just a standard lens, and add with the same brand when buying In effect, the 50mm lens draws a box others as you decide you need them. lenses. However, many companies within which objects are normal in If you are thinking of investing in produce lenses designed for use with size and proportion. A shorter lens, more than one lens, review Chapter a variety of cameras. These may be such as a 35mm, draws a larger box, 11 before making any decisions. as good as or better than the camera and makes objects appear smaller manufacturers own lenses and often and somewhat "bent" or distorted. A What Price? cost less. Read the reviews in camera longer lens, such as a 135mm, draws How much should you pay for a magazines and ask for the advice of a smaller box, making objects appear camera? Well, it really depends on experienced photographers before larger and more compressed (with what you can easily afford. Good you decide. less space between them). With each cameras are available for as little as One final note on lenses: Buy a UV fixed focal-length lens you have only $50. Top professional models can (ultraviolet) or a "skylight" filter for one choice. cost several thousand dollars. each lens, attach it and leave it on at With a zoom (variable focal- If your budget limits you to under all times. Either of these filters will length) lens, you have many choices. $100, buy the best manual camera help a little to reduce haze under A zoom lens is essentially several you can f i n d —perhaps a good some lighting conditions, but their lenses in one. For example, if a zoom second-hand model. If you can af- real use is to protect the lens itself lens ranges from 35mm to 135mm, ford more, take a careful look at the from damage. Should you acciden- you will have the same choices as you $100 to $500 range, keeping in mind tally scratch the filter, it can be inex- would if you bought the three focal- the features you care most about pensively replaced. Replacing the lens lengths just mentioned (35mm, (automatic features, manual features, would of course be far more costly. 50mm and 135mm), plus all the durability, lenses), and buy the one focal-lengths in between. that best suits you. A fully profes- Summary Any good modern zoom lens will sional camera system —which you ab- There are only three key points you match the image quality of a typical solutely do not need at this stage — i s need to understand at this point: fixed focal-length lens. (Early zooms likely to cost over $1,000, depending First, start with the basics —a simple, produced poor image quality at "in- on your choice of lenses. relatively inexpensive camera with a between" focal-lengths, such as Before buying any camera, read 50mm lens. Ideally, your camera will 42mm. This problem has been cor- reviews of several in camera permit you to use other ("inter- rected on most modern models.) You magazines (see the Bibliography for changeable") lenses as well. You will, however, almost certainly lose names of some good ones). Ask should have at least one lens thatsome of the lower (larger) apertures someone you know who does a lot of opens up to f/2.8, and all lensesoffered by fixed focal-length lenses. photography to give you some should have UV or skylight filters at-Since a large aperture lets in more recommendations. Then make an in- tached. Second, choose a camera thatlight than a small one, a zoom lens formed decision. includes manual controls for aperturemay limit your ability to photograph Selecting a lens may be more dif- and shutter-speed. Full manual isin low-light situations or at high shut- ficult. The quality of the glass and fine; automatic features are nice ex-ter speeds. construction varies considerably. A tras, but they are not necessary. If your budget permits, it is useful cheap lens may result in photographs Third, make sure that both yourto have the three basic lens ranges: that are always out of focus, blurry camera and lens are manufactured bywide-angle, "normal" (50mm), and around the edges or grainy. a reliable company. If you begin withtelephoto. However, the normal lens A good rule of thumb is to stick these essentials, youll be wellis the most important. Do not start with the brand names you know. All equipped to learn photography. Tools 39
  37. 37. Additional Tools tions for your camera available at all mini-computers. Many are utterlyOnce youve selected a camera and times. If you are buying a new unlike the traditional models. Somelens (or lenses), you have taken care camera, this will be easy. If not, you new ones, for example, come with aof the big decisions. Later, you may may have to search a bit, or buy one built-in auto-winder and dont havewant to add other tools, such as a of the many books available describ- a film advance lever at all.tripod and flash, but they can wait. ing different camera models. If you So, the following pages are not in-Refer to Appendix 4 for more infor- cant locate instructions, have some- tended as a substitute for yourmation on them when the time one who knows the camera well show cameras manual. No one list can becomes. There are, however, a few you how it works —and be sure to correct and complete for all cameraother inexpensive tools youll need in take notes. brands and models. You may have toorder to get started. hunt a bit to locate some of the com- As soon as you begin producing Basic Tools Checklist ponents on your camera, since each photographs, youll want to store The following tools are all you will model tends to have its little quirks. your negatives and prints, to keep need to get started. Check to see that Check your own manual to be sure them clean and organized. Plastic you have them, and that your camera that you know where each compo- sheets specially designed for storing and lens meet the key requirements nent is located on your camera and negatives are available that fit into a listed here: how it works. standard three-ring binder. Buy a box The following pages are intended Camera Requirements of these and a binder to file them in. as a summary of the basic com- Durability Immediately after developing and ponents of a typical, traditional Manual Aperture & Shutter- drying each roll of film, you will cut camera. This will give you an idea of Speed Controls the roll into shorter lengths (five how your camera compares to most Reliable Manufacturer frames each) and slip them into the others. Interchangeable Lens negative file. The next step is to place You may not find all of the com- Capability the film directly onto a piece of ponents that are listed here, either photographic paper to make a con- Lens Requirements because they are not included in your tact print (see Appendix 1 for ex- Standard Focal-Length camera or because they have been planation). With a plastic negative (50mm) replaced by an automatic feature. It file, this can be done directly. Paper 172.8 is still a good idea to become familiar files are also available. They require Reliable Manufacturer with all of them. Understanding each you to remove the film to make a _ UV Filter component of a traditional camera contact print, however, so are not as will help you understand how even Additional Tools easy to use as plastic sheets. the simplest or most automatic Plastic Negative Files Similar sheets are available for camera works. And knowing how a Plastic Print Sheets storing prints. If your photo store camera works is vital to using it well. Grease Pencil doesnt carry them, you can probably As you read this section, compare find them in an office supply store. Operations Manual or Other each description with your own Any plastic sheet that will hold Instructions for Camera camera. Be sure to have your own 8/2" x 11" paper, with holes for a THE CAMERA, INSIDE cameras manual on hand to clarify three-ring binder, will do fine. & OUT any questions. Look for each compo- You will also want an ordinary nent as it is described, and try it out.grease pencil (yellow or white) to Most 35mm cameras are fairly similar Do not put film into the camera un-mark your contacts when youre in the design and placement of key til instructed to do so.deciding which frames to print. controls. For example, the film ad-Grease pencil marks show up well vance lever (the "winder") is generallyin the darkroom, and they can be on the top right, next to the shutterrubbed off if you change your mind. release. Advances in electronics, Finally, be sure to have the instruc- however, are turning cameras into40 The Photographic Eye
  38. 38. The Camera Body: Outside • ViewfinderThe first thing to look at on yourcamera is the part that allows you tolook through it. The viewfinder, insimplest terms, is just a rectangularwindow that shows you what will bein your photograph when you clickthe shutter. (Actually, viewfindersgenerally show you a bit less thanyoull actually get. This is usually anadvantage, as it gives you a little"slack" when youre making a print.) Your viewfinder is probably quitea bit more than just a window,however. It certainly will includesome kind of focusing aid. One com-mon focusing aid is a split circle(called a split-image focusing screen)in which out-of-focus objects do notline up correctly. Another commonkind is a series of circles (called aground-glass focusing screen) that goin and out of focus as you turn thefocusing ring on the lens. The split-image screen is especiallyhelpful if youre at all nearsighted. Touse it, you simply adjust the focus-ing ring until both sides of the circleline up. It works best when the splitis placed across a line of some kind,such as an eyelid or a branch, so youcan see what youre lining up. In addition, most modern camerasuse the sides of the viewfinder toshow you important information.This may include the aperture of yourlens, the cameras shutter-speed, Tools 41
  39. 39. whether the camera is in manual or You must remember to change theautomatic mode, whether your flash ISO setting every time you use a dif-has recharged, etc. ferent kind of film. If you are using Take some time to explore your any automatic exposure system, yourviewfinder. If you arent certain what camera will base its decisions on theeverything in it means, consult the ISO setting youve selected. If itsusers manual for your camera or ask wrong, all your photos will be incor-an experienced photographer. rectly exposed. The same holds true for the cam- eras internal light meter. If youre • Shutter-Speed Control setting the shutter speed or aperture The shutter-speed control is almost according to the meter, your ex- always on the top right of the camera. posures will only be correct if the ISO It determines how long the shutter setting is correct. Even if youre do- will remain open for each photo- ing everything manually, the ISO set- graph. It is simply a timer. When you ting is an important reminder of what press the shutter release, the shutter kind of film youre using. opens, light enters through the lens, To change the ISO setting, you and the timer begins counting. When generally turn a knob that moves the the shutter has been open for the • ASA/ISO numbers through the indicator win- amount of time you have selected, it The first step of any photo assign- dow. You may first need to press a closes again. The numbers on the ment is to set the correct film speed. button, lift the knob or otherwise shutter-speed control indicate frac- This will be listed on the film carton, release a lock designed to prevent you tions of a second (60 = 1760 of a sec- or box, (and also on the canister, the from changing the setting acciden- ond, and so on), so the timer has to metal container holding the film) as tally. On many modern cameras, count very quickly. ASA or ISO. These two terms are youll change the ISO by pressing a The most commonly used shutter used to describe the same thing: the button until the right number comes speeds are probably 60 and 125. Both films sensitivity to light. In fact they up in a display panel. Some cameras are fast enough to stop most actionoften appear together, as ASA/ISO. will set the ISO for you automat- with a 50mm lens, while allowing for ISO is becoming the more common ically, reading the proper setting from a fairly small aperture in most term, however, so well be using it a code on the film canister. (Film that lighting conditions. throughout this book. (Both "ASA" has been coded for this purpose is Notice that 125 (or 1/125 of a sec- and "ISO" are the initials of labeled "DX.") ond) is almost exactly twice as fast as organizations —the American Stan- Locate the ISO indicator on your 60 (or 1/60 of a second). The next dards Association and the Interna- camera. Adjust the setting to see how speed above 125 is 250— twice as fasttional Standards Organization —that low and high it goes. Professional again. Depending on your camera,establish scientific measurements.) cameras will provide ISO settings as the highest speed may be 1000 or even The ISO indicator is generally built low as 6 and as high as 6400. Many higher, fast enough to "freeze" a birdinto the rewind knob, on the left side popular models have a range of 12 to in flight or a race car at the Indy 500.of the top of the camera. The ISO 3200. Dont worry if yours doesnt go Moving down from 60, the nextnumbers are usually visible through as high or as low as that. Most films speed is 30. Again depending on youra little window in the rewind knob. fall between ISO 25 and 1200. camera, the shutter speeds may go asEach number is usually double the Once youve checked out the limits low as 1, for 1 second. Some cameraspreceding number: 25, 50, 100, 200, of your cameras ISO indicator, set provide even longer automatically400, 800, etc. Dots between the it to ISO 125. This is the speed for timed exposures, even as long as anumbers indicate settings in between Kodaks Plus-X film, which you will minute or more.these numbers. So, for example, ISO be using in your first assignment. The last indicator on the shutter-125 is one dot above ISO 100. speed control should be a "B." This