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Thread: Why Ansel Adams Would Love Photoshop

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Why Ansel Adams Would Love Photoshop

    http://www.simple-snapshot.com/2010/...ove-photoshop/


    Yes, I just used Ansel Adams in the same sentence as Photoshop. And without the words “would hate” in it.

    There were several black and white photographers back in the day who manipulated their images. But Ansel Adams is one of the most well-known ones. In addition, many people don’t realize that he practiced extreme darkroom manipulation.

    When I say manipulation, I mean that he planned how the final print would look from before he pressed the shutter button. Ansel Adams invented the famous “zone system” of photographing to ensure that certain areas of tone in the scene would ultimately print exactly the shade that he wanted.

    In the darkroom, he used a massive amount of dodging and burning, and printed a lot darker than what the scene in reality looked like. Books have been written about his techniques. Ansel Adams was a photographer, artist, and a master at what he did.
    Read more in the link.
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    Ah, Kym, at last, something we can agree on. Ansel Adams did indeed believe that the negative was just the score - the final print was the "performance," the finished work. He would definitely have loved Photoshop, because his focus was on the final presented image. Thanks for the link!
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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Link wont work for me.
    The age of entitlement isn't over, it's just over there where you can't get to it.
    When several possibilities exist, the simplest solution is the best.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agb View Post
    Link wont work for me.
    S(h)ame here!
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Perhaps it is too old and has gone off

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    If you Google 'William Mortensen' you'll see what Photoshop is all about, but at least 50 years before it was invented. William Mortensens work is every bit as modern, composited and 'created' as anything you'll see from gifted modern Photoshoppers, however he did it all with chemicals and various tricks.

    Ansel Adams on the other hand reportedly treated Mortensen like a mortal enemy due to Adams' opposition of the Pictorial style that Mortensen had arguably perfected.

    I don't think Adams style would have been any different had he had Photoshop. I think he would have just done the same thing at a computer instead of at an enlarger. Ironically Mortensen is being recognised for his talent long after his death.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I don't know, I reckon Ansell would have hated photoshop. He loved the time alone in his dark room, away from everyone and everything, just him and his film.

    Today we can use photoshop and watch tv, cook the kids dinner, talk on the phone.. and more, all at once. The solitude of a darkroom is something different and special that photoshop cannot capture.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo did is lot of darkroom work before the digital age. He studied a bit of Adam's work and the extensive "mapping" of the manipulation that was to be used on each portion of each negative Adams took into the darkroom with him. He was a master photographer, artist and manipulator. He was photoshop without a computer. From what Mongo has studied and knows of Adams, he would have embraced something like photoshop if he were here today.

    His artistry came in his ability to :-
    1. see the composition of a great image by just looking around him. If it was there,
    he would see it and compose it in a frame in his mind.

    2. To manipulate the printing of the image in the darkroom to bring out the very best
    there was to bring out. Remember, that some of what he "brought out" was not
    there to begin with be it shadow or light or contrast etc. he was a master of
    manipulating these elements.

    Mongo has no doubt that Adams would have used photoshop to manipulate these same elements. Mongo is also has no doubt that he would not have stopped at using just these elements and ignore all the other manipulation elements that photoshop has to offer. He only used the elements he did because the darkroom limited him to those things (short of adding something into the image which was not there e.g. Superimposing a second image - which to Mongo's knowledge, he did not do). So, in Mongo's estimation, Adams would have used photoshop and many of the additional elements it has to offer if it helped him create his vision.

    Of course, if Adams would like to work outside the darkroom and paper negatives to produce the look and feel of his work is probably another question altogether . If Mongo could go back and produce platinum prints, he would do that in preference to photoshop and digital work for much of Mongo's images. Maybe Adams may have felt the same ??
    Last edited by mongo; 20-02-2013 at 8:44pm.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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