Andrew Williams's picture

ala Stieglitz "Equivalents"

I'm taking the holiday weekend off from posting the "Underfoot" series. This has nothing to do with anything. "Equivalents is was Stieglitz called his cloud pictures. I am not equating my work to his, but I've never understood quite what the big deal was beyond mastering the technical elements. I'm certain all that was much more difficult when he did it than in 1970 when I did this.

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8 Comments

Ruth Carll's picture

Hi Andrew, the trouble with cloud photos is that there isn't a point of reference or anchor for the image. And, there still needs to be some compositional element even in abstracts or shots like this. I am sorry to say that I think this shot is missing both a point of reference and some compositional element Stieglitz clouds almost always had very high contrast and strong diagonals. I do think you are on a good path here. I'd just like to see more lines, shapes or exposure grading

Chris Jablonski's picture

From what I've read, Stieglitz, while an important and influential figure, seems to have been a zealous self-promoter who numbed gallery visitors with his constant spiel. In other words, I think others wonder about the "big deal" too, Andrew!

I like this image, and pure cloudscapes in general (when well executed, of course) and don't share Ruth's reservations about the lack of a point of reference. I'm happy for my eye to cruise around aimlessly, just enjoying the cloud forms.

I do find the noise distracting, and editing it out reduces the definition of the clouds too much. There is also some pallor at the film edges, especially evident at top right, suggesting light leakage or slightly uneven processing. I'd burn that in, and apply a subtle vignette if this were mine. Perhaps increase overall contrast, getting further removed from reality. Not to everyone's taste, of course.

Andrew Williams's picture

This was 35 mm Tri-X developed in HC-110-I forget which dilution-which accounts for the grain, which never bothered me that much or I'd have used a larger format. Considering when this was shot almost 50 years ago, I'd say it held up OK.

Brian Gayley's picture

I am with Chris. Being somewhat of a daydreamer sometimes it's refreshing to just be able to stare at something without having a focal point. Also, I found interesting that if I stare at this and let my eyes blur there is movement in the clouds. (LSD was not used in the viewing of this photo). Thanks for sharing.

Reed Page's picture

I like cloud shots and when interesting, find myself coming back to them more than once to see what I'll 'find' in them. The grain is a little distracting, but that's film and can be overlooked. Not sure about a vignette either, but a touch of contrast on clouds is always nice. Well executed shot. I've been back multiple times and am sure I will come back to this shot again. Clouds also don't need a POR, everyone knows what a cloud looks like and the relative size of one.

Ruth Carll's picture

PS - Please consider commenting on other work in the group. We seem to have a lot of posting a little commenting. It would be great to have your support for other members of group! Thanks!