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Author Topic: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams  (Read 4189 times)

grahamclarkphoto

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How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« on: March 12, 2013, 10:19:01 PM »
The concept of previsualization in photography is where the photographer can see the final print before the image has been captured. Ansel Adams dedicates the beginning of his first book to previsualization, and is often quoted as saying "Visualization is the single most important factor in photography". Understanding then the significance of this approach is of high value for photographers of all kinds, as it has the potential to unlock greater creative vision, and give greater control (and predictability) over the print process.

Although I'm still just a beginner, I have consolidated some of my thoughts on this here: http://grahamclarkphoto.com/how-to-pre-visualize-a-photograph-like-ansel-adams/

Hopefully others can find it useful!

Graham

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How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« on: March 12, 2013, 10:19:01 PM »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 05:02:55 AM »
Pre-visualization is one of the many skills I have yet to learn ... or should I say start learning.
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chauncey

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 07:39:08 AM »
How can someone like Ansel Adams refer to "Pre Visualization" when he descibed the negative as being the score and the print being the performance? 
Much like a maestro that never performs a symphony the same way every time, Adams never developed a negative the same way twice.
That print development is based on one's memory, emotions, at the time of PP.

As Scott Kelby described in his treatise "Crush the Competition", something about the scene caught your eye and it may take a while to figure out what
 it was and properly capture that certain "something".  Then, when you're at home, post-visualizing that scene in your mind through PP.  And, a year later,
when you go back to that RAW image, you may/may not develop that image the same way again because of emotional maturity.

Rienzphotoz

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 07:49:41 AM »
How can someone like Ansel Adams refer to "Pre Visualization" when he descibed the negative as being the score and the print being the performance? 
Much like a maestro that never performs a symphony the same way every time, Adams never developed a negative the same way twice.
That print development is based on one's memory, emotions, at the time of PP.
I understand what you are saying but I think you are interpreting "pre visualization" as "exact replication" at development stage. Visualizing the composition, the elements and the impact/reaction that you want from the viewer etc are totally different from how you want to develop it after you've made the photo.
As Scott Kelby described in his treatise "Crush the Competition", something about the scene caught your eye and it may take a while to figure out what
 it was and properly capture that certain "something".  Then, when you're at home, post-visualizing that scene in your mind through PP.  And, a year later,
when you go back to that RAW image, you may/may not develop that image the same way again because of emotional maturity.
I totally agree (saw that course by Scott Kelby, its one of my favorites). It happened to me so many times, I go back to the RAW images a few years later and I post process it completely differently.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 07:53:47 AM by Rienzphotoz »
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LDS

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 09:46:46 AM »
How can someone like Ansel Adams refer to "Pre Visualization" when he descibed the negative as being the score and the print being the performance? 
Much like a maestro that never performs a symphony the same way every time, Adams never developed a negative the same way twice.
That print development is based on one's memory, emotions, at the time of PP.

Adams could never develop a negative twice (no way to duplicate it before developing it... no RAW files then) , and his technique is exactly to understand how to develop each negative (and print it) to achieve the final image you have in mind since the beginning. Adams' technique was developed for single sheet large format cameras, it is tricky to use with roll films unless you can develop each frame separately easily enough, and requires a lot of pre-shoot decisions. It's very different from taking a picture with a good exposition and then taking advantage of actual RAW processing to change it in ways Adams could have never thought of. For Adams, each negative is a different score and thereby requires a different performance. And like a composer, you pre-visualize the music in your mind before writing the score.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 10:01:40 AM by LDS »

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 09:50:55 AM »
How can someone like Ansel Adams refer to "Pre Visualization" when he descibed the negative as being the score and the print being the performance? 
Much like a maestro that never performs a symphony the same way every time, Adams never developed a negative the same way twice.
That print development is based on one's memory, emotions, at the time of PP.

Adams could never develop a negative twice (no way to duplicate it before developing it... no RAW files then) , and his technique is exactly to understand how to develop each negative (and print it) to achieve the final image you have in mind since the beginning. Adams' technique was developed for single sheet large format cameras, it is tricky to use with roll films unless you can develop each frame separately easily enough, and requires a lot of pre-shoot decisions. It's very different from taking a picture with a good exposition and then taking advantage of actual RAW processing to change it in ways Adams could have never thought of. For Adams, each negative is a different score and thereby requires a different performance. And like a composer, you pre-visualize the music in your mind before writing the score.
LDS, you need to edit your post coz what you quoted above is not my post ... that was posted by chauncey.
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LDS

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 10:02:46 AM »
Ok, modified, apologize for it, I deleted the wrong line...

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 10:02:46 AM »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 10:09:22 AM »
Ok, modified, apologize for it, I deleted the wrong line...
Thanks
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J.R.

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 10:26:18 AM »
Nice work graham. I'm heartened to know that there still are people who take the trouble of learning the old school way. Too many times I've seen photographers working with a smash and grab attitude not unlike robbing a bank. Mostly people nowadays tend to take too many shots in the hope of getting at least a few of them right. There is so much that is ignored these days - composition, lighting, shot set up and so much other relevant important stuff that makes you wonder what the hell is going on.
Light is language!

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 10:36:45 AM »
Nice work graham. I'm heartened to know that there still are people who take the trouble of learning the old school way. Too many times I've seen photographers working with a smash and grab attitude not unlike robbing a bank. Mostly people nowadays tend to take too many shots in the hope of getting at least a few of them right. There is so much that is ignored these days - composition, lighting, shot set up and so much other relevant important stuff that makes you wonder what the hell is going on.
The awesome gear choices and the luxuries of life have spoiled us or maybe it is the privilege of living in this day and age.
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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 10:46:50 AM »
Nice work graham. I'm heartened to know that there still are people who take the trouble of learning the old school way. Too many times I've seen photographers working with a smash and grab attitude not unlike robbing a bank. Mostly people nowadays tend to take too many shots in the hope of getting at least a few of them right. There is so much that is ignored these days - composition, lighting, shot set up and so much other relevant important stuff that makes you wonder what the hell is going on.
The awesome gear choices and the luxuries of life have spoiled us or maybe it is the privilege of living in this day and age.

I would guess that it is the by-product of having gone digital. The bad images don't cost you a dime so the general feeling is, why bother?
Light is language!

RMC33

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 12:38:56 PM »
Great piece! thanks!

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 01:03:06 PM »
By the way Graham. I LOVE your website. Custom?

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 01:03:06 PM »

distant.star

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2013, 01:25:20 PM »
.
Thanks, Graham. Very useful and a superb job of distilling the essence.

Interesting thing for me is that I've always done this instinctively, and the more I take pictures the more I do it (and the longer it is sometimes before I actually use the camera). My challenge, and the challenge I thought everyone had, is using the camera to reflect the vision. Adams, in his little video clip, says "If you have enough craft, if you've done your homework and your practice, you can then make the photograph you desire."

So, I keep working on it. I'm thankful I get to practice every day. Visualizing is great, but without the craft, I could never be satisfied.

Thanks again!
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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 07:04:47 PM »
I too instinctively visualize what the finished print should look like.

My problem is that I can't make my brain and fingers and feet move into the right positions and make the right settings to achieve what I see in my minds eye. Knowing all the rules of composition and lighting and exposure and all the rest of the settings that make the camera capture what I envision is where I am lacking. Thus, I experiment or practice or "dry fire" a lot. Sometimes I retain what I learn from that and other times I do not.

This and other forums that invite members to post their shots, which are then critiqued by professionals and advanced amateurs are extremely helpful to me. Thanks to Graham and all those advanced guys and gals out there who are willing to teach . . .

Zen 

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Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 07:04:47 PM »