Monday, April 18, 2005

What Would Steiglitz Say?

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I took this photo yesterday -- we finally had some clouds after about a week of pure blue skies. I used a Red 25A filter on the front of my Fuji Finepix S7000. To do this, you need to buy the tubular adapter (sold by a number of manufacturers) so that you can use screw-on filters in front of the lens. Actually, this is a good idea even if you don't use filters, because the tube gives you something to hold onto, and it protects the lenses. Mine has a 52mm filter thread, so a lot of my filters fit without any step-up/down rings. It also allows me to attach a diopter in front of the lens for better macro shots, too.

In this example, I used the camera in Black & White mode, which is what I always do when I take b&w photos with it. Since it is an EVF camera, the viewfinder is in b&w too, and that is helpful when evaluating tones in the photo. The red filter darkens the blue sky and makes the clouds stand out.

As for the title, What Would Steiglitz Say? -- it's a bit tongue in cheek. I never really thought much of Steiglitz's series of photos, The Equivalents, which are a bunch of 4x5 cloud photos. Not there there is anything technically wrong with them, I just think they received more adulation than they deserved. I saw the set of those photos last year at an exhibit at the UM Museum of Art. Perhaps at the time Steiglitz took them, nobody else thought of photographing clouds. Perhaps its just because they were done by Steiglitz. To me, they underscore that when Steiglitz took them, his most creative (photographically) years were behind him. But that is what happens when one is a legend. Everything you do becomes valuable, whether it was good or not in the first place. I still think Steiglitz was a true pioneer in his field, and he did much to advance the acceptance of photography as an art form, and of course, his introduction of modern art to the US is undeniably a huge accomplishment. But let's just say I am ambivalent about his Equivalents...

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