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Thursday, 06 March 2008


Mike, This sort of says it all. It's the photographer not the equipment, film, number of digital pixels or contrast range etc. A lot of these were take with Leica F & G cameras. Try looking through that peep hole to frame a shot. Great photography is still made by great photographers. Yes we need decent equipment but like the last post pointed out, I think we have over saturated what it take to make great photos. A lot of us live in a TV world, seeing hundreds of images in a short period of time and thats how we deal with still photography. Very few of us actually see what we have taken a picture of. Minor White and I sat and view a photo of mine he liked for an hour and then we talked about it for another hour. Study the old masters, they had a pure vision not cluttered with larger f#'s and such. Find a good teacher and master your craft, the only thing that will make you a better photographer is you, not your equipment.

The first time I saw a book of DeCarava's work I thought, damn, this is a guy who understands the power and the emotion of zones III and IV. It totally changed how I saw and how I printed.

Roy De Carava is at the top of my personal list of underappreciated photographers. This man's work has always grabbed me since I first saw it as an undergrad back in the mid 1970s. I show some of his work to my current students, who are mostly young, and don't understand the concept of subtlety. They all at least pretend to respond. Some of them are moved enough to change how they see and make photographs.
Thanks for posting this photo.
BTW, Metzger ain't no slouch, either.


Did they have ISO 6400, IS, Shadow Adjustment and the likes? No? How's that possible ... ;-)
Just adverting to some of the previous threads...

Ray's brill..Great, graphic eye and tuned for the moment, love him.

A good point made about zones 3 and 4. Often people found my prints too dark. I must admit to let them influence me, but maybe I should rethink this.

This also matches with the last post about saturation. De Carava's picture lives from ... a different conception of contrast. Uh that film/exposure/developer/paper combination would fail in contemporary reviews ;-)

I mean, this is a good expample why I like this blog so much: it is really refreshing and even teaching, it provides new (old) perspectives. This special example shows that there is no "right" look at all, there are so many approaches, and good is what works. What works, again, can also be defined by a small minority - needs not to meet a broad taste.

Last year I, and a small group of collectors and curators, had the opportunity to spend an evening with Ray Metzger at The Art Institute of Chicago's Photography Department. The AIC has a substantial body of Ray's work and several local collectors have been collecting his work for nearly 50 years. If I had to summarize Ray's style and approach to his photography in one word it would be "relaxed". He's made his own luck over the decades by being intellectually focused but not tense or manic. He loves cameras and films but does not dwell on these subjects. He's a very grandfatherly-like fellow with a tall frame and immensely likable, secure demeanor.

If you like jazz and great black & white photography, check out the work of Ron Hudson: http://www.ronhudsonjazzphotography.com/home.php

Absolutely stunning photograph of Coltrane. Almost as beautiful as his music.

FYI, Ray spells his name with a K, not a G: Ray Metzker. For emphasis, that's Ray K. Metzker (that's how I remember, anyway).

Thanks David--I made the correction.

Mike J.

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