Archive for January, 2009

The Black Triangle

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

This interesting passage came up recently in my google reader, via Merlin Mann:

Afterwards, we came to refer to certain types of accomplishments as “black triangles.” These are important accomplishments that take a lot of effort to achieve, but upon completion you don’t have much to show for it – only that more work can now proceed. It takes someone who really knows the guts of what you are doing to appreciate a black triangle.

There’s some cute backstory to that term relating to game development, but I think the concept applies very nicely to some aspects of photography. I’m thinking of types of photography or photographic techniques where technical fluency is not easily achieved but is absolutely necessary before going on to intuitive practical application with consistent results. Some examples I’ve been wrestling with over the last few months include controlled lighting, infrared, and black and white processing.

With each of these areas, I’ve experienced a moment that oscillates perfectly between, “Oh my god, I can’t believe that just worked,” and “Oh my god, I’m such a tool, why am I excited that that worked.” I’m not talking about Minor White infrared landscapes or Ansel Adams prints here, I’m talking about, “Oh, wow, I managed to focus and expose that correctly.”

It’s different for things like manual focus technique or even composition, where I tend to improve steadily with practice. Instead, I have to engage in this carefully planned, supplied, and fought battle with my own ignorance, and when I achieve victory, I don’t really have anything to show for it, except some bullshit shot or print that demonstrates that yes, I have the technical capability to use this technique — but that has no other virtue. And I don’t even have anyone handy to issue me a fucking gold star.

But at the same time, even though the result may be worthless in itself, there is this intense sense of both accomplishment and of the scary/exciting prospect of what is to be done next.

So next time you see an aesthetically pointless but technically correct image in someone’s flickr stream, just think of it as a photographer leveling up. : )

YOU LOOK NICE TODAY

Monday, January 26th, 2009

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS NO PICTURES, JUST MANY THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME. AND MANY INSTANCES OF THE WORD “AWESOME.” AWESOME.

Okay, there aren’t pictures associated with this post yet. But I had a very exciting day (for mostly non-photographic reasons), and I want to get this down while it’s still fresh.

Went to SF today to see a live taping of You Look Nice Today with my mom and sister and Andrew

Some things that happened:

We had delicious things from Miette, Mijita, and Delica RF-1.

Andrew fought an epic battle with an eldeberry “refreshment drink.” And yes, there will have been blood.

Later, I spread cheese from safeway on other cheese from safeway and ate it. It was delicious.

You Look Nice Today was AWESOME. Jordan Jesse Go was funny, too.

My sister got a free YLNT t-shirt. This is both more and less awesome than it sounds. (She always gets stuff at events. Sexism, I say.)

She got Scott, Merlin, and Adam to sign said shirt. Awesome.

During the Q&A session, I asked if there was going to be a CD at some point with “Baby on a Dog” and the theme to “Barber and the Balls.” They all slowly backed away from the mics and milled around. Then Jesse got on a table, and it broke.

Despite SF Sketchfest’s Orwellian proclamations about photography, I got some shots with my Olypmus XA and my new (ancient) Koni-Omega. Hopefully awesome — we’ll see once I get it developed. ::crosses fingers::

Took a picture of Adam through the box office window, stalker-style. He played it cool, but then I waved excitedly at him. Because I’m a fourteen-year-old girl. But not really, or else I probably would have gotten a fucking shirt, too.

Then he came out and asked me about the camera (second person today to ask me about it, because it’s awesome), and we talked about surreptitious photography, and it was awesome. Then Merlin told us to make sure to “watch our backs” while taking BART home. Because no, it’s not too soon. Awesome. Scott mentioned his work on a Wii game (“Heavy Metal Food”). Awesome. Also, Merlin said something about a YLNT “Behind the Music.” AWESOME.

There was some kind of alcoholic after-thing, which none of us went to, because some of us have jobs, some of us don’t drink, and some of us had to find a place to stay. Less awesome, but I’m okay with that.

Then, while walking back to BART, Andrew mentioned that something during the evening had reminded him of a Borges story he’d been reading on the train up, but he couldn’t remember which one. I asked to see the book, explaining that sometimes I can figure these things out. He was, to say the least, doubtful regarding my ability to divine what he had been reading that YLNT had reminded him of. Need I say that I got it on the first try?

Fuck yeah.

Good times had by all.

book mini-review: Bresson: Europeans

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

This is the second in a series of short reviews of photography books. See the first, along with disclaimer, here.

Bresson: "Europeans"

* Title: Europeans
* Photographer: Henri Cartier-Bresson
* Wikipedia
* Text: Jean Clair, tr. Anthony Rudolf
* Publisher: Bulfinch
* Date: 1998
* Librarything
* Size: About the same as a MacBook
* Paid: $40.00 (Used)

This books collects images taken in various countries in Europe over a period of fifty years, grouped mainly by country. It’s the first volume of Bresson’s work that I’ve encountered — although obviously it’s not my first exposure to photographs by Bresson. The images are, of course, fantastic, and the reproduction quality is very good. (As is the construction of the book.)

There’s a great deal to the photography — far more than I can speak to with my more or less nonexistent grasp of art history. As someone who has handled a camera, however, it’s not hard to divine from his work how skilled, committed, and attentive Bresson must have been. I was, of course, aware of the concept of the “decisive moment,” but I think I had understood this merely as a matter of good timing. But it is not (or at least not just) a matter of capturing the right instant in a series of instants for a moving subject. It’s more a matter of a truly impeccable sense of composition (coordinating the relationships of landscape, architectural, human, and symbolic elements) being extended to include time as well as spatial positioning and relationships.

I’m not sure how much farther I want to go in describing the photography. If you’ve looked at Bresson’s photography, I’m sure you already know, and if you haven’t, there really isn’t a substitute for doing so. At some point, I would like to try to articulate more of what I’m seeing, particularly in comparison to Doisneau, and particularly regarding their senses of humor. It seems to me that there is a great deal of human comedy in Doisneau, whereas in Bresson, there is often a sort of sublime, absurd, and inhuman humor arising from the juxtaposition of elements which is only observable from the very specific place and time which are chosen; with Doisneau, there are moments which are familiar and which you feel you might share with Doisneau, or anyone else, if you happened to be in the vicinity. With Bresson, there is often the feeling that only by being Bresson and standing in his precise position could you have fully participated in the joke, and thus his images give more of a sense of looking through his particular eyes. This makes it sound like I think there is more to Bresson than to Doisneau; I don’t know that that’s really the case, however.

Bresson: Europeans"

The only complaint I have with the book is the text by Jean Clair. As mentioned, I do not have any background in art history, and I don’t suppose I’m qualified to judge the text. On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that if I can keep up with Foucault and Nāgārjuna and at least fake it with a smile when confronted with Zizek, then the horror I feel at reading Clair’s prose can’t just be a question of it being over my head.

I mean, is there any degree of specialized knowledge which could possibly justify this passage:

What is it that speaks to us in a European landscape if not this invitation to walk across it, the thrill of crossing it, of penetrating it on foot, so unlike those landscapes of India or America which you can barely traverse with your eye and seem eternally elusive?

Or this,

Did [Proust] not also say genius…that its owner has the power to turn his personality into a mirror, ‘genius consisting in reflecting power and not in the intrinsic quality of the scene reflected’? An axiom which a follower of the Tao would not deny, for so strongly does the writer insist here, not on the brilliance of an intelligence, the grandeur of a culture or the worldly quality of a mind…but, to the contrary, on this somewhat passive power, on this ability of the body to reflect — unhindered by refraction — the image of life passing by.

If there is some context in which this effusive, almost masturbatory prose registers as good writing, I don’t want to be a part of it. And what relevance does this have to the photography of Bresson? I cannot see Bresson (at least not in the photography in this volume) as a symbolic “penetrator” of landscapes. (Although some photographers certainly are.)

And while I may know next to nothing about art, I feel comfortable guessing that Clair knows even less about Taoism. Surely someday we will reach the point past which westerners no longer feel comfortable pointing to any particular quality/idea/sense/brainfart that strikes their fancy and dub it “Tao” or “Zen”?

Also: “Unhindered by refraction”? Please.

This is why people hate the French.

Note: This is a translation, so some of the douchiness might be the fault of the translator. However, I doubt it; the majority of the douche factor here is coming from the content rather than the particular arrangement of phrases.

With apologies to Mr. White.

Friday, January 9th, 2009

On my way home from work yesterday, my attention was caught by a fallen branch. The branch sat at the top of a gentle slope up from the Channel park to the East 8th sidewalk. I would not have noticed it — in fact, I probably walked past it for days or weeks without doing so — except that I happened to be off the path.

As a result, there was a brief moment in which the branch was silhouetted against the late afternoon sky, revealing a strange and compelling shape. And also a familiar one — the branch twisted in on itself is a common element in Minor White’s photography, and some of his most striking and enigmatic images feature them. That brief glimpse stayed with me through my commute, and I resolved to see whether I could make something photographic of it.

Branch, Three Views (C)

I knew there was no way I could convey anything interesting about the branch if I photographed it in situ. There was quite a lot of clutter in the area and in the skyline beyond; even if I got down on the ground, there was no way I could get the thing silhouetted against the sky — my initial view of it depended on the eye’s ability to immediately discard visual clutter.

So, during my lunch break today, I did something which I do not normally do — I moved the damn thing. (I usually prefer to document things where and as I find them.) I dragged the thing down next to the channel, leaned it against a bench, and propped it up (to prevent it from rolling) using the card wallet I use to hold my business cards, bard tickets, and bus pass. (I managed not to forget it when I left, although it was close.)

I made many different exposures with three lenses (35mm, 105mm, 400mm), varying my camera position extensively. My two main considerations were the relationship between the shapes within the branch, and the relationship between the branch and the rest of the scene. The primary factor in determining these relationships is camera position; the secondary is the choice of focal length and aperture.

The image at the beginning of this post is the last one shot, using my 400mm f/5.6 to fully isolate the branch from its context. In this shot, I chose a camera position such that the rear fork of the branch crosses behind the forward main segment. This preserves the three-dimensionality of the object despite the flattening effect of the long-range perspective and shallow depth of field.

Branch, Three Views (B)

Proceeding in reverse chronological order, the middle image to survive the culling process was made with my 105mm f/2.5, with my tripod legs fully extended and the center column somewhat extended, so that the camera is looking down past the branch. This permits the shapes of the background to come through, but no detail. In this vantage, I was able to capture birds moving in the air or water in several shots. (These are my normal lunchtime subjects.) In this one, two egrets perch on the far bank of the channel, just above forked end of the branch, while two others fly, one with cupped wing mirroring the penultimate curve of the branch.

Branch, Three Views (A)

The first surviving image (there were a few other test shots before it) was made with a normal lens (35mm on crop sensor), stopped down to f/11 or f/16 for depth of field. The result does not render the background sharply, but does allow a degree of detail to come through. This, together with the flattened background and foreground created by the square-on camera angle, allows for useful juxtapositions in the composition, with the branch bracketed between the four bare trees, the two lower works cupping the boundary between the far bank and the channel, and the top of the tallest tree becoming another fork of the branch, extending from the vertical segment.

For each image, I adjusted the saturation and color cast of various segments, warming the branch and cooling the background, or the opposite, and then applying a blue- or yellow-filtered black and white conversion in Capture NX.

These images are, as suggested earlier, derivative to a greater or lesser extent (or, put more favorably, they are a reference or — for the ultra-mega-douches in the audience — “an homage”); I consider them basically an exercise in composition. And while I wouldn’t blame anyone for being unimpressed by them, I consider them a success, and a well-spent forty-five minutes…

Goldeneyes

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

I had a good bit of birding at lunch today. In particular, I had some particularly good luck working with goldeneye ducks. These birds are tricky, because their plumage contains very intense contrast. This makes it very difficult to expose them correctly. They also, for some reason, seem extremely prone to chromatic aberration. Partly this is due to the aforementioned contrast, but the CA issues when shooting goldeneyes for some reason are even more annoying than those encountered with other high-contrast birds, like buffleheads. It may be due to their eponymous eyes, which are susceptible to CA in a way that the black eyes of buffleheads are not. The fringing on the eyes diminishes their apparent sharpness in a way that is quite frustrating…

Goldeneye -- unedited, with rockin' CA

I was able to clean up the CA, for the most part. It helped that I was shooting with the 400mm f/5.6 ED AIS rather than my 300mm f/4.5 non-AI. I shudder to think what the CA would have been like without the ED glass, and the extra reach is essential in having enough image to crop in and sharpen appropriately.

My approach to dealing with CA is generally to drop a control point on the fringing in Capture NX, crank the saturation down, drop some other control points in adjacent areas, and then tweak until it looks right. It works. There are more elegant solutions, I’m sure, but I don’t know that those elegant solutions are up to some of the gonzo CA I occasionally get shooting with my old lenses….

Male Goldeneye

Female Goldeneye

Another stroke of luck — got a couple more shots of the Hooded Merganser x Barrow’s Goldeneye hybrid that drops in from time to time:

Hooded Merganser x Barrow's Goldeneye

CA is even more irritating in this case, because the bird has purple plumage that isn’t all that far from the color of the purple fringing…

portrait therapy: andreas reeg | Mrs. Deane

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Mrs. Deane: Andreas Reeg

Mrs. Deane has a nice write-up on a documentary project by Andreas Reeg. I really like this passage in particular:

Somehow the photographs correspond to my own hands-on experience of meeting people in the world, in their environment, and not isolated and disconnected. Reeg presents me with slices of situations that seem likely and natural to me, whereas a lot of portraits fail to come across to me as "likely", even if they try mimicking real life by getting their subjects to do things like sit on a bed or stare out of a window. To me, such 'unlikely' portraits smell too much of camera and set-up and the ego of the photographer, triggering all the wrong images and associations in my mind.

This does a pretty good job of encapsulating a distinction which is sometimes very tricky to articulate. Of course, it doesn’t really resolve the issue, because of course how do you explain to someone what makes a photo “smell” a certain way? It is tricky…and it points back to the more or less perennial problem of the relationship between photographic representation and “reality” however defined, or the even more difficult and slippery “authenticity.”

portrait therapy: andreas reeg | Mrs. Deane.

Tea

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

I’ve been thinking about tea quite a bit lately. Tea is pretty much a constant in my daily routines — I generally drink multiple pots in a day — but I’ve been thinking about it more since this guy mentioned George Orwell’s rules in “A Nice Cup of Tea”.

Bodum Double-Walled Glass

I’m not sure quite what to say about Orwell’s rules. As with religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, or “Science,” I suppose I would have to say that it is a valid approach, but not necessarily the valid approach.

It definitely got me thinking about how I go about making tea. In many ways, making tea is rather like photography — particularly film photography. Ingredients matter, tools matter, procedures matter, time matters, and, above all, attention matters. Photographers who are new to developing black and white film (such as myself) often wonder what the “right” way to handle development times, agitation, choice of chemicals, etc. Of course there is no “right” way, not because these things don’t matter — they matter tremendously — but because these choices vary with the film, how it was exposed, the conditions under which the photographer is working, and their intentions.

One does not brew green tea the way one brews black tea, and one does not necessarily brew one kind of black tea in the same way as another, etc. Nor is the same result always to be desired in the evening versus the morning, even when brewing the same tea — and details like water source are also significant.

That said, I’m happy to say that I do not keep a careful notebook of tea brewing times and temperatures, the way I do when working with film. I’m not quite that crazy, and in any case it’s not necessary. I know how to get the results that I want, so I only encounter problems when my attention wanders (in which case a prescribed time would be useless anyway), or when advising others on how long to steep tea, when I give the standard answer of frustratingly enigmatic cooks everywhere: “until it’s done.”

That being said, I see no reason not to provide my own pretentious disquisition on how tea ought to be made. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I seldom see any reason to avoid pretentious disquisition on any topic.

Water

Good water is better than crappy water. I have not been known to buy bottled water especially for tea (again, I am happy to say that I am not that crazy), but if your tap water sucks, it’s something to bear in mind when considering why your tea sucks.

Electric kettles are nice, but avoid plastic. A regular kettle on the stove is also nice, provided you don’t drop food in it while cooking and fail to notice. Also, whistling kettles are vastly superior to non-whistling kettles, unless you’re the sort of person who actually does watch kettles.

Leaves

Obviously leaves are preferable to bagged tea. This was something Orwell did not have to comment on, of course. Sadly, it no longer has to go unspoken. Someone once said to me at a restaurant, regarding a pot of tea I had ordered, “Oh no, they must have torn the tea bag.” Tragic.

Upton Ti Quan Yin

There are exceptions to this rule, however. If someone is making tea for you (at Peet’s, for example) and has no idea what they’re doing, a preset quantity of tea restricts one of the variables, and limits the damage they can do. Scented teas are also good in this regard; bergamot masks all sorts of sins, in the tea itself as well as in preparation. This is why a little yellow Twinings label dangling off the side of a mug can be a downright reassuring sight under some circumstances.

Tea leaves (at right, Ti Quan Yin) are sold in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and conditions, which are accompanied by all sorts of hilarious abbreviations, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll refer you to the dictionary provided by Upton, which is my favorite tea source, if you care to peruse them. The differences matter, but there’s no necessary correlation between leaf size and quality. The only reasonable instruction is to experiment.

Teaware and steeping

I have yet to own a tea pot which I was not capable demolishing in short order. Sometimes I am at fault; sometimes the design or manufacture of the dish is to blame; often, all these factors are working in perfect harmony. Bodum glassware, in particular, tends to last just long enough for me to be surprised at how long it has lasted before falling apart in my hand. Literally, in the most recent case — a lovely double-walled glass that somehow contrived to break in two while I was washing it.

Tea Steeping

Generally speaking, plastic or metal are not ideal materials, because they can impart flavor. Nissan thermoses are so useful that their metal nature can be forgiven. Plus, if you store tea in them often enough, they tend to build up a nice (and nearly impossible to remove) coating of tea stain that insulates you from the metal taste.

Ceramic and glass are both good, although unless the glass is in a thermos, glass tends to dissipate hate very quickly. As to glass-lined thermoses, they work great, unless of course you treat them with less than total respect and caution. Then you’re drinking a nice cup of shards…

Orwell is right that tea should be free to circulate. This isn’t always practical, however, and contrary to Orwell, it’s not acceptable to have more than a minimal amount of leaves circulating in the pot, let alone the cup. If you can’t separate the tea from the leaves, then you have no way to stop the steeping process, and thus no control over the strength of the tea. Plus, while swallowing tea leaves probably is not harmful, as Orwell says, it’s hardly desirable. So, if possible, get a tea pot with a mesh insert or what have you that is as large as possible, in order for tea to circulate, but still be fully removable.

Temperature matters. Boiling water for black, not so boiling for green or oolong. Time matters, but to varying degrees and with varying times depending on what the tea is and what you want it to taste like. I like sencha steeped as briefly as thirty seconds, but an assam which will be consumed with milk I will steep the crap out of.

Drinking

When drinking black tea, it’s preferable to put milk in the cup and then pour tea on top of it. Why? Because Douglas Adams said so, that’s why. If sugar or honey is being added, I will often do that before the tea is poured, also. (This does not necessarily connote wussiness. It depends on what the tea is, how it’s prepared, and how quickly you plan to drink it.)

Astia-003-18

Beyond that, there’s not much to say. Make sure to be aware when you’re drinking the tea, and actually taste it.

Misc. tips

* Coffee is disgusting. It should be avoided.
* When pulling an all-nighter using tea, make sure to have regular access to a bathroom.
* To semi-decaffeinate tea, steep for a minute, discard the water, and re-steep. Much of the caffeine will have been leached out.
* I simply do not understand the appeal of darjeeling teas. Just don’t get it.

Recommendations

Go-to tea types, for me, include:

* Sencha. Japanese green tea. Extremely “vegetal,” which means it tastes somewhat like spinach. This is a virtue, or not, depending on how much you identify with Popeye. This is my favorite tea for when I’m sick, and one of my favorite morning teas.
* Lapsang souchong. This stuff is actually smoked over a pine fire, which imparts a (surprise) smoky flavor. Great for cooking with, or just drinking, or using to frighten children. Favorite tea of mutant Emma Frost and also, if memory serves, John Bellairs’s Miss Eells. Note that if you like smoky, but not this smoky, some black tea blends include a lapsang souchong component. (Scottish Breakfast, Russian Caravan.)
* Ti Quan Yin: Probably my favorite tea overall — nothing harsh about it, and it’s missing nothing. The Buddhist association implied by its name is fully justified by the meditative experience of drinking it.
* Assam black teas: These are backbone of most of the familiar blended back teas. If you shop from Upton or similar vendors, you can get crazy selective and go into estates and whatnot. It’s been a while since I ordered an estate-specific assam from them which I really loved, and those recommendations wouldn’t necessarily be valid today (since crops vary from year to year). Experiment.

Berkeley on New Year’s Day

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

For quite a while now, I’ve been shooting a stream of birds and strobist shots. As I mentioned in a previous post, that’s mainly a function of how freaking cold it’s been here, although there are other factors — how busy it was at work before the break, how quickly it’s been getting dark, etc. And I’ve also been pushing myself on a lot of sedentary and non-photographic tasks, like updating the site.

But I got myself out the door for a while today, packed just my three essential lenses (35mm f/1.4, 55mm f/3.5 Micro, 105mm f/2.5) and left the strobist junk at home. Good thing, too, because I’ve been all too conscious as I go back over my images of 2008 and put the site in order that my best images are made just walking around with open eyes and seeing what’s to be seen.

I was expecting to see a lot of post-New Year’s Eve detritus, but surprisingly, there was very little. I mean, even on mornings after non-holidays, streets in my neighborhood are strewn with underwear and single shoes; however, the streets today were free of both. I surmise people just left their underwear and shoes at home last night before they went out to party.

There were a few signs of the festivities — a discarded box of Lindt chocolates, an apartment building door propped with a newspaper (next to a beer can and some unidentifiable spillage), and this wonderfully ironic benchside tableaux:

The spray that does it all

I sincerely hope that no one took seriously the suggestion to spray their bedsheets with lysol. ::shudder::

The light was…weird. More directional than it should have been, or so it seemed at the time.

Behind Church, Dana and Haste, Berkeley, CA (View Large)

This scene caught my attention because of the way the little area behind the church — framed by the two staircases — was illuminated by the sun, while the entire street and the side of the church and surrounding street where I stood was shaded. I initially set up my composition and exposure with the garden house in mind and no idea that there was a man pacing along that elevated area. He only was only visible after I corrected my camera position by taking a step to the left. I was surprised to find him, and as you can tell by his tiny expression if you click there, he was also somewhat bemused.

Somewhat later, as I was starting to head back, I passed by these two elderly ladies with their banner:

Young people these days... (View Original)

I switched from the 35mm f/1.4, which I had been using before, to the 105mm f/2.5, in time to catch the rather blase young men passing by the banner…

Book Mini-Review: André Kertész: The Early Years

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

This is the first in a series of brief book reviews. There are blogs (like 5B4 and The Photo Book) devoted to reviewing photography books, and I’m not going to try to achieve the the level of depth they can provide. Nor am I in any way qualified to review a photo book, except inasmuch as I am a reader of them. Consider yourself disclaimed. (Usage fail, I know.)

Andre Kertesz: The Early Years

I figure it makes sense to start off with my newest and smallest photo-book. Vital stats:

* Title: André Kertész: The Early Years
* Photographer: André Kertész
* Wikipedia
* Editor: Robert Gurbo and Bruce Silverstein
* Publisher: Norton
* Date: 2005
* Librarything
* Size: Little. (A bit over 5″x5″)
* Paid: $6.00 (New)

I picked up the book on a whim while I was browsing at Moe’s today. I suppose my attention was caught by the small, squarish form factor — this is also true, by the way, of one of my favorite works of fiction, Kay Boyle’s novella The Crazy Hunter. When I opened it, I found to my amusement that the images contained within are scale reproductions of contact prints.

Andre Kertesz: The Early Years

This is an awesome idea. The usual paradigm for photographic reproductions is that bigger is better, and this has certainly led to some aggressively sized photobooks. These usually wind up sitting on my floor, because they don’t fit comfortably onto my shelves.

This isn’t just a novelty thing, however. Gurbo goes into the history underlying the form factor:

Many of the ealry photographs are simply of family gatherings on the porch or out in the countryside, yet within this period André also created a number of images that would later be considered among his masterpieces.

At first, without an enlarger, the brothers made only contact prints. In a 1912 diary entry, Andre describes one of these prints as a “tiny picture, but sharp,” which he “could stare at endlessly.”

If there’s one thing I can respect, it’s the creative value of economic restraint. : )

The photographs themselves do not seem to be, for the most part, my cup of tea. They’re certainly significant for their historical value relative to Kertész’s later work, and the book is well worth buying for that reason. And it is certainly worth buying as an antidote to huge reproductions of heroic landscapes…

But before I can reach a final verdict, I’ll need to go over it closely a few more times, and perhaps do a bit more “endless staring.” I’ll post an update if appropriate.

By the way, miniature reproductions of photographs seem potentially quite relevant to contemporary popular photography, since so much of the photography we see online is presented via flickr or similar sites, and appears in thumbnail or near-thumbnail size….