Your idea of a good picture

Started Sep 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
For his day...

For the gear (and particularly FILM) of the day, I think Herzog's photos are almost all technically excellent. By today's standards they'd just be technically OK, but for what he was working with, about as good as it got.

Oddly, by today's standards, when street photography is pretty much ubiquitous, I don't find a lot of his to be particularly interesting. Some of them are - some of them tell a real story and are really visually compelling. But a lot of them are just basic street-scapes of everyday scenes without anything in particular going on in the scenes. But we have to remember to even judge the content somewhat in context also. In those days nobody was DOING that, or very few photographers were. Just a simple documentary photograph from that era is worth treasuring today because it gives you a feel for how things looked, how people looked and dressed, what the cars and signs were like (signs have advanced as much as anything over the years and the look has changed radically), and because there's not a lot of that stuff around, its all very cool to see. Whereas today, there are so many people with all different levels of camera (down to cell phones) documenting EVERYTHING that it takes a more interesting composition, a more interesting story to tell, etc, to make a photograph stand out.

So if someone took those very same shots today, with modern gear and modern people and modern streets, I'd be mostly unimpressed - both the technical end and the content would need to be better to even catch my eye today. But given when they were taken, and how hazy my memories of those times are (and I'd never been in that part of the world in those early years of my life), and how rare such photographs are by today's standards, I love 'em! I liked looking through all of them and savor checking out the details in each shot. But take the same shots today and I'd probably pass right by them.


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