Creative lessons | Today I discovered Henry Peach Robinson
How? I was doing my usual morning online research into a topic so that I can be better equipped to answer the questions being posed to be about my photography style and aesthetic. I dug into tonal photography after realizing that I have tended to edit and finish my work with moody tones. Being an Engineer, I often seek to learn the technicalities of aspects of photography usually after discovering them. My current finishing style is heavily influenced by light, shadows and tones. I usually finish each shot with edits where I am not able to achieve desired results in camera. I wanted to make some sense of a technique that I was using but was not familiar with technically. So my topic of interest now is learning and absorbing as much as I can about tonal photography. So let’s go..
In photography tone is the range of lightest to darkest part of an image. Human eye can distinguish brightness range from details in the lightest areas to darkest with ratio 1:1,000,000. Film or digital image sensor have tonality range of 1:200. It’s 5,000 times less sensitive than our eye.
THE ZONE SYSTEM
The Zone System is a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development, formulated by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer. Adams described the Zone System as "[...] not an invention of mine; it is a codification of the principles of sensitometry, worked out by Fred Archer and myself at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, around 1939–40."
The technique is based on the late 19th century sensitometry studies of Hurter and Driffield. The Zone System provides photographers with a systematic method of precisely defining the relationship between the way they visualize the photographic subject and the final results. Although it originated with black-and-white sheet film, the Zone System is also applicable to roll film, both black-and-white and color, negative and reversal, and to digital photography.
Ansel Easton Adams
Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white images of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, books, and the internet.
Adams and Fred Archer developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs. He primarily used large-format cameras because the large film used with these cameras (primarily 5×4 and 8×10) contributed to the clarity of his prints.
FRED R. Archer
Fred R. Archer (December 3, 1889 – April 27, 1963), was an American photographer who collaborated with Ansel Adams to create the Zone System. He was a portrait photographer, specializing early in his career in portraits of Hollywood movie stars. He was associated with the artistic trend in photography known as pictorialism. He later became a photography teacher, and ran his own photography school for many years.
Along with Edward Weston, whose portrait he took, Archer was known as one of the "two big names in art photography in those days out on the west coast". He socialized with and exchanged ideas with many other artists and intellectuals in Los Angeles for decades. He was "without a doubt, the individual with the longest history of participation in the Southern California Salon movement."
In 1869 English photographer Henry Peach Robinson published a book entitled Pictorial Effect in Photography: Being Hints On Composition And Chiaroscuro For Photographers. This is the first common use of the term "pictorial" referring to photography in the context of a certain stylistic element - chiaroscuro ‒ an Italian term used by painters and art historians that refers to the use of dramatic lighting and shading to convey an expressive mood. In his book Robinson promoted what he called "combination printing", a method he had devised nearly 20 years earlier by combining individual elements from separate images into a new single image by manipulating multiple negatives or prints. Robinson thus considered that he had created "art" through photography, since it was only through his direct intervention that the final image came about. Robinson continued to expand on the meaning of the term throughout his life.
Other photographers and art critics, including Oscar Rejlander, Marcus Aurelius Root, John Ruskin, echoed these ideas. One of the primary forces behind the rise of pictorialism was the belief that straight photography was purely representational ‒ that it showed reality without the filter of artistic interpretation. It was for, all intents and purposes, a simple record of the visual facts, lacking artistic intent or merit. Robinson and others felt strongly that the "usually accepted limitations of photography had to be overcome if an equality of status was to be achieved.
three question for my readers:
I will be choosing one person from the responses to work with me on a photography project they have in mind, after discussion and determining feasibility, of course.
How do my photos touch or inspire you?
What feelings are you filled with when you experience my photography?
what would you like to see more of?
With love from Freeport