For those who haven't read this yet, here is some perspective on what was and what is. Very well written:
Why a Mechanical Film Camera in a Digital Age? | Leicaphilia
For those who haven't read this yet, here is some perspective on what was and what is. Very well written:
Why a Mechanical Film Camera in a Digital Age? | Leicaphilia
I don't care what gear I have.
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I highly recommend watching the programme "The Lightbulb Conspiracy" about planned obsolescence and the 'need' to maintain a market for new & replacement products.
I agree about the notion of film camera longevity although it's not without the certain irony that some films can no longer be produced or processed (Polaroid / Kodachrome). Ditto the obsolescence of many of the best film scanners too.
I've long held the opinion that digital cameras exist solely for the purpose of emptying one's wallet.
One need only observe the ridiculous frenzies expressed here on GetDPI over every new model.
Those are not based on the idea of making better pictures, but rather on the chest-beating "I have the latest and most expensive" juvenality.
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We can all pine away for the "simple good old days' speaking for myself, my Nikon F yes the one that had the light meter on top - sits on the shelf and next it are 2 rolls of Fuji Acros and two rolls of tri - X. i look at it once in a while with very fond memories, but give me auto iso on digital any day of the week.
The only area where film has has any attraction for me is 8 X 10 and access to a dark room.
There's a popular story in the Baltimore area of a famous photographer who was always winning awards.
Of course, he had a collection of nice equipment with which to take photos.
His colleagues finally got fed up, stole his gear, and replaced it with a Kodak Brownie.
He happily took the Brownie out, shot some photos, and won some more awards.
All the fancy gizmos in the world may make taking pictures faster, easier, more convenient.
But they won't make the photos better.
Either you're a photographer or you're not.
And note that "photographer" and "graphic artist" are not in any way synonymous.
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Thanks for posting this Jorgen. I wish more people would chime in on threads like this because the minutia driven threads are getting close to some sort of mental illness
I find it interesting how indisputably true polar opinions on this subject actually are. We can be cynical from each perspective, but each is informed from experiences that skirt reality in favor of a rosy outlook.
My observations regarding the driving force behind what is referred to as "Obsolescence":
Lets face it, long-lived photographic mechanical wonders, some of which were passed down from one generation to another, where assaulted on two major fronts: All communication media became digital and forced the commercial transition to in-camera digital capture and the immediacy of the internet and cell phones overwhelmingly forced consumer transition to digital. Slim pickings after you subtract all that.
The dual charms of the great film cameras are the tactile feel of using them for decades, and the film aesthetic. The tactile aspect is still supreme and there is something to be said about using a camera for a long time in terms of mastery rather than endless hours fussing with new tech every five minutes yet the imaging part has fast become an orphan.
Progress on that front was never paid attention to as all R&D efforts went to the emerging competitive digital arena. Film technology available to the consumer basically stopped developing and some has gone bye-bye. Or, remember e-film? It promised to allow use of the wonderfully tactile mechanical cameras we already owned. With today's miniaturization and new sensor tech it seems it could have been coulda, woulda, shoulda didn't.
No one solved the film to image, or film to digital post processing issue, effectively leaving it to the tedious tasks of yesteryear, which many recall with 10ND Rosy glasses. Granted, some revel in the old PP ways as a "slow boat to China" method of enjoying photography which makes it a shrinking market unsupportive of any manufacturing advancements that would attract new users in great enough numbers.
On the other hand, after a few decades of digital upgrades and a Tsunami of images flashing before our eyes at rocket sled speed the cacophony of mediocrity is astounding because it takes little effort to post the mundane there is no buffer to weed out lazy photography anyone can upchuck any photo that came out decently, and tout the corner sharpness and acuity of their latest "digital" lens acquisition. It seems like few ask themselves why they took this picture in the first place, let alone show it.
The there is the cost of staying current which has been like a mugger that keeps returning to rob you every few years. Hey You! Stick 'em up! Here's a new sensor that makes your current one crap oh, by the way those old lenses suck with this new sensor, you'll need new ones. See ya again in a little while"
I chuckled at the POV that some old stuff is charming. I just sunk the equivalent of a Leica len$ into a 10 year old Volvo CX90 to breathe another 10 years into it. We bought a Lexus ES350 not just for all the tech, but because of its reputation for longevity (My sister has one with over 250,000 miles that runs like a top). I have a Dulat toaster that is almost 30 years old, looks like a '57 Buick and still works fine just like our 20 year old Sub-Zero Fridge.
However, a 10 or 20 year old car, a 30 year old toaster, and a 20 year old fridge are terribly inefficient, and in the case of the car more likely to kill you if in a bad wreak (there is a lot of crash avoidance tech in my Lexus and so many airbags that you'd be like the Michelin Man in a crash). So, I think those analogies do not apply to the discussion of cameras very well because efficiency and safety aren't germane.
Last edited by fotografz; 14th October 2014 at 01:33.
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doesn't quite cut it. A very eloquent discussion regarding the rationality of film/mechanical cameras vs digital detritus if ever I've read one.
Regarding the more practical life experiences, I'm all for driving a vehicle with LESS electronics that can fail, toasters with microprocessors with engineered in obsolescence to fail in five years, non-stick frying pans that'll delaminate within 6-7 years etc etc. "Progress" they call it but I'd rather be the King Canute on my throne and the incoming tide myself.
However, with all that said, if I wanted a camera that would produce results in any light, at any speed, with any exposure in any situation, I wouldn't hesitate to reach for my Nikon Df and my ancient AIS glass (or modern AF lenses if that floats your boat).
I do think your glasses are a wee bit tinted rosy regarding the infallibility of the mechanical, and overly pessimistic of modern engineering but that's the personal slant isn't it?
What is perplexing is that there does seem to be a market for modern products (even with electronics) that are intuitively simple and built and/or over-speced that few manufacturers seem to cater to. I know for a fact that a fair amount of people like the notion of over-built even if there is less intent to keep something forever. It speaks to a psychologic longing for some sense of permanence in a temporary world.
Leica is capitalizing on that to some degree, but it is a lot to pay for the pleasure of no LCD or some stainless steel version of the M. Most of it is still electronic and certainly NOT over-built to a higher spec inside.
The wily manufacturers do cater to the illusion of permanence with the "retro" looking products designed to evoke that longing but the functional guts have little to do with that promise. "Looking like" and "being like" are two different things altogether.
IMO, far to many digital cameras are designed for the tech obsessed, and less so for photographers more interested in simply expressing themselves so the manufacturers vie for bragging rights as to who has crammed the most functional buttons into the smallest space. I suppose that happens because the tech obsessed are the ones longing for the next thing even as they've just laid hands on a current version they are where the money is I suppose.
I still hate the Sony A7R because if you don't use it every day, or you use other cameras, you have to stop to think about how to do even something relatively simple. "Now which button did what again? Wana switch from "effects on" to "effects off" for periodic use of lighting? Uh, what menu heading was that buried in?" It is such horse manure to deal with that when all you want to do is take a "freaking foto".
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Not even an attempt to talk about the longevity of cameras or other gadgets, but somehow connected I feel.
The biggest manufacturers of Cameras, currently, are Japan and the Republic of Korea. I am talking about consumer products here. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Samsung and whoever else churning out digital cams with ever ' higher, bigger, better ' specs than the other.
However, I was in Tokyo a couple of years back in April, the Cherry Blossom season there. And an event in itself. I, too, joined the thousands and poured into the parks, gardens etc.
There were all shapes and sizes of cameras there. But what surprised me was the
large ( very large number ) of enthusiasts, professionals, and even young ones merrily using their film cameras.
Recently, I was in Seoul. I posted a snap of the Leica shop there. It so happens that the Leica shop I visited was located in a district known for film cameras. Brisk trade. Lovely lovely cams on display. And most surprising finishing places manned by people ( some were university grads in Photography ) who could discuss at length ( a few in English ) whatever one wanted to know about film, developing, processing, scanning ( in one shop I saw a row of drum scanners ), framing etc. Films galore; Push and Pull was the talk here.
Try that at your local Boots or Walmart or Walgreens. Film is not dead, the other side of the world. It might be in a coma, on life support, but with a pretty fair chance of
continuing, not a hectic life, but a more slower pace meditative life..in tune with that culture.
I've stopped reading user manuals many years ago. When I get a new camera, I figure out the simple functions that I'm going to use and stick with those. Disaster strikes if I, or somebody else, change a setting by accident, particularly anything related to AF. I've actually missed shots because of this, not once but several times.
The tech thing has gone completely overboard and may be one of the reasons why most people use camera phones only. Camera manufacturers seem to have forgotten the fact that many people during film days didn't even know how to unload and load film. I knew people who took the camera to the shop to have the film changed and the old one developed. And now they are suppost to understand WB, art filters, file sizes etc.? They don't.
Back to my graphic design job: People come to me with photos taken at lowest resolution and lowest jpeg quality. That was the setting the guy in the camera shop recommended since it gave space for a more or less unlimited number of images on an 8GB memory card. Most people don't have a clue about what it means for the image quality. It looks good on the camera LCD and fine on their home computer, so where's the problem? None, apparently, until some of the photos is going to be included in the company anniversary book, some over two pages.
The Canon A95, my first digital camera, which I bought in 2004, probably had all the image quality and all the functionality most people need when used correctly. It also ran on AA batteries that you can buy more or less anywhere. For most people anything after and above that is marketing and great, big words with little or no meaning. But selling that same camera only with sensor upgrades won't generate enough profit. The funny thing is that 20 years ago, that was the reality in the camera industry.
When I shoot sports, I use a trio of Nikon cameras, a D300, a D700 and a D2Xs. I don't see any reason whatsoever to upgrade any of them. The newest is the D700 at 6 years. It will easily last for another 6, possibly 16 years, and that is the way it should be. If there is something wrong with a camera that makes it unusable after 6 or 7 years, it shouldn't have been brought to the market in the first place. The question is if I can find spare parts for those cameras in 16 years. I can for my OM-1.
I would say the article is just invented fact to support a conclusion the author wants. Film cameras were designed with obsolescence just as digital. There are tons of film cameras in the landfill. The very first popular film camera was not built to last. As far as tactile qualities, well, that is just in the eye of the beholder. And all the advance in film technology was just allowing a tsunami of mediocrity--nothing has changed there. And ever time I hear the false argument that there are too many bells and whistles on a camera, I just think someone is simply a technophobe and knows little about photography--not the camera's problem. Ironically, people then complain when manufacturers don't include functions.
I also find it ironic that the author pans the digital rush to "resolving power," when it was not that long ago where the film folks were claiming film had better resolution. I have even heard the claim the Leica cameras had the resolution of medium-format film. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone...
Occam's razor is simply not true. Especially if you don't know what it is, as the author demonstrates.
This article is just the grumpy old guy argument of it was always better in my day. Which is just as false as the next piece of technology is going to change photography.
We really need to stop confusing cameras with photography...
Evidently, simplicity escapes you.
IMO, all the bells and whistles just pander to the "got to have more and more and more on my the latest greatest toy laden gadget to take better photos" which is patiently untrue even according to you.
It has little or nothing to do with being allergic to technology. Personally, I'd never return to film, but did find the film tools more satisfying of an experience and much easier to forget about and get on with shooting. So, yeah, "in the touch of the beholder" but then what isn't in photography? Just because YOU don't "behold it" doesn't me it isn't true for others. There are others on the planet other than you.
It isn't those people who are complaining about the lack of more bells and whistles on what really only needs to be simple tool. It is the techo nerds who DO confuse the camera with photography.
As for the Tsunami of mediocrity that is directly related to seeing it all played out on the web in the largest outpouring of average the world has ever witnessed.
Marc, you probably never worked in the private sector. Making products consumers do not want is not a great road to success. I really don't understand your disgust for choices others want to make.
You are also confusing the existence of a choice with complexity. My digital camera can be as simple as I want--I can make it work like a Holga with 100 ASA daylight film if I choose. You don't actually have to use something because it is there--how many VCRs had flashing 12:00s. There are plenty of people that have thousands of choices every day and yet lead a simple life.
Please don't tell me what I behold or don't. You simply don't know. But I am for an open system rather than one dictated by others. I would rather photographers be unite by our craft, not divided by it. Since neither of us actually know how others want to use a camera, it would be hard to say whether a particular function is irrelevant or not. The difference between you and I, apparently, is that I am aware there are others on this planet and I am happy for them to pursue their photography however they would like.
As far as techno nerds confusing cameras with photography (you might not be allergic to technology, but you are condescending to those that use it), apparently the author of the article is under the same confusion. It does not matter which side of the camera divide you want to be on, the mistake is the same. As far as what excites people about photography, who are you or I to judge? Ansel Adams was a film geek. Bernice Abbot was fascinated by science and technology. Eliot Porter was a scientist. National Geographic and the BBC have certainly benefited from being technology nerds and their photography does not seem to suffer because of it. Other photographers are less interested--Cartier-Bresson and Avadon are prime examples.
Just because the internet makes mediocracy more visible, does not mean it did not exist before. We are talking about a matter of degree, not an actual change in photography or its production. You press the button and we will do the rest.
So .. I guess I'll read this article through when I have the time to waste on it. Meanwhile, I'm pretty happy with the film AND digital cameras I've got now, of any age, and most work well enough to enjoy.
But, "why a mechanical film camera in a digital age?" Well, if you like the look in your photos that film produces, you won't get it without a film camera and film. I think there's some simple logical truth in that. ;-)
Hmm, I should finish the roll of film in the M4-2 some time, maybe by Halloween...
Great and valid points all around. The problem with investing exclusively in a mechanical film camera is it sits on the shelf next to the M8 when film is no longer available.
As for the technological debate I read an article years ago essentially eluding to the difference between the generation born post 1995 and how they are "technologically native" versus those born before who were only "technologically adapted" beings of the digital age. They used 1995 as that's the year the internet became widely distributed and affordable to the masses through AOL and public schools. I can't remember where I read it but it does echo quite a bit with the arguments for/against film or digital.
I agree we often look back on favorable memories for how they made us feel versus how they actually were. I've revisited many things in life that I've once held dear and I can say often the rosy glasses of nostalgia was the cause I held them dear after reacquainting myself with them.
As usual, taking the thread down to the innuendo and personal is useless. It was a friendly personal exchange until you had to support your POV by discounting the linked thread in a mean spirited manner, and other's considered preferences with sly innuendo and polarizing personal digs. Feel free to state your own case as you see fit, and leave me out of it.
The post was about obsolescence and whether one need to ONLY have the complex to select from not that those who do want it shouldn't have it, or have to use it if they do not want to. It is about having a choice for less and not paying for complex choices and the attendant obsolescence based on the "more is better" principle. Right now, to get a simple, high quality, camera you have to pay more which is somewhat counter intuitive.
Trotting out your laundry list of iconic photographers and conveniently polarizing them to support your POV is another weak tactic to win some argument which isn't winnable because it is all opinion, not fact based.
Personally, I'm more interested in why someone took a photo with how they did it as a far distant second point of interest if of interest at all. That is all.
At the end of the show, he turns to the camera, takes a quieting breath, and says (paraphrasing), "You know, with all said and done, modern Glasgow is very different from the Glasgow of my youth. But it isn't that Glasgow I miss as much as I miss my youth."
The same can be said of my beloved film and film cameras. They belong to a time past, a youth that cannot be reclaimed by any means. And that is what I miss the most.
you beat me to this astute observation...
sex was better at 17....
tactile sense sublime then less so now....
memory and abstract reasoning...who are we kidding....
So a lot of the nostalgia for the past is inherent in the memory pathways that associate it with wonderful experiences...
My first exposure to film was on a three month exchange student visit to South America...on a shoestring budget. Got a Watson bulk loader and tried to load a bunch of film in a wardrobe in Rio de Janeiro on the third floor of a very modest hotel at night....as no darkroom to get the film into and no dark bag knowledge.
Not only did I load the film backwards....but the bottom of the wardrobe fell out as I was attempting to make the insertion.
Then when I returned to the US with countless wonderful irreplaceable photos ... my story I am sticking to it...I dropped the film off at one of those drive through kiosks circa 1971...and the folks destroyed some 3000 pictures. I ended up with a couple hundred useable slides and negatives.
Had a couple of good decades with film then my last few experiences with very good labs were a signal that it was time to migrate...scratches...blobs of matter stuck to the stock...poorly developed negatives.
Dropped the analog is best attitude...hated most digital for a while and have to admit that now it is acceptable...heard that Saldago might even be doing a bit of digital....not that the reality of his experience has any bearing on my existence...in a Cosmo Kramer frame of mind it affirms my narrative.
You nailed it ...
Many of our precious moments are just that ... moments where everything aligned to a wonderful degree.
However I still pine for the F3HP viewfinder...if I could just get a decent refraction.....
I work most of my time for a company that on a regular basis sends installation and service teams to customers around the world. Because we need to document the work they do, they all bring cameras. By the nature of their work, these are people with a sound understanding of mechanics and engineering. Still, being able to understand and remember the settings they should use for the relatively simple cameras they bring (mostly Nikon P330 at the moment), is mostly beyond their reach. So every camera is pre-set by me before they leave. Unfortunately, far too often, somebody fiddles with the settings, and we get back a pile of blurry VGA resolution photos.
What this tells me is that current cameras are too complicated with too many choices for the average user. This reminds me a bit of the frequent, and often heated, discussions between Apple and Windows users on the internet. At the top of the discussion, when an Apple user has claimed that it's difficult to do certain things on a Windows computer, som MS nerd will come to the help with a list of twenty something parameters that has to be set and voila... it's sooo simple. He then goes on to say that those who don't build their own computers aren't really worthy of using one... etc.
As for obsolescence: Yes, there has always been obsolescense, but Olympus still had parts for my OM-1 in the late nineties, 25 years after the camera was launched. Some independent repair shops still have parts in stock, 40 years later. My first DSLR, a Fujifilm S3, had more trips to Fujifilm during its 4 active years than the OM-1 had to repair shops during its entire 35 year life (the Olympus went in for repair one time only, and many camera shops could fix this and other cameras when needed). After 4 years, vital parts for the S3 weren't available any longer, and although it can still be used, it is with limitation that don't make it very tempting. The S5 that followed it developed a faulty mainboard after 3 or 4 years and doesn't AF. No grand prize to those who have guessed that the main board isn't available any longer. While it was, changing it cost as much as buying another, used camera. Batteries for the S5? Nope, no have, at least not from Fuji.
So I buy second hand pro cameras with low shutter counts nowadays. They last longer and parts seem to be in stock longer too. But I also use an OM-2, and to those who claim that old cameras only look good with rosy tinted glasses: That's simply not true. The OM-2 is a much more satisfying camera to use than all of my digital boxes and it features all the functionality I need. If there was a digital version, something like the Leica 60, I would be all over it.
The greatest irony is still the Nikon F6. It was designed at the same time as the D2H/X and shares many features with those cameras. Still, it's a much better camera, smaller, lighter, more nimble, simpler... a gem in every way. 10 years later, after the D2H has been replaced a dozen times, the F6 still soldiers on and is still, from a camera body perspective, a better camera than either the D4s or the D810. Not because it can compete on features, but because it's still, smaller, lighter, with a better grip, nimbler and easier to use.
Rosy glasses? I leave that for the memories of my old Citroen cars with which I spent countless hours in cold, Norwegian winters hoping that they would finally start. But thrugh those pink glasses, they still look good.
When all that has been said; yes, there has been progress, but the progress lacks focus on photography. It seems to me that camera manufacturers are run by a team of marketing people and bean counters. Maximise the marketing value (lots of features) and minimise the cost (minimum spare parts, none after 5 years). I enjoy the new cameras, but mostly because some of them are lovely gadgets.
Grain-free daylight photos taken at midnight? If that is the target, by all means, but it isn't for me. Call me a grumpy, old man if you want
I don't care what gear I have.
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BTW: I went back and read the article. There are half a dozen logical flaws in the argument being presented, the principle one being that it proposes obsolescence as being one thing for digital cameras and another thing for film cameras. That makes the comparison pretty useless. Mixed up, mushy logic like that means that it's just an emotional piece addressing how the author like film cameras more than digital cameras.
Feh, stupid. Why did I waste the time?
I'll finish the roll in the M4-2 and load the SWC ... Meanwhile, I'll make a few hundred exposures with the X. No need to cloud my mind with silly tripe like this.
How'm I doing with the grumpy? ]'-)
People hope if they click the shutter release enough times, they might get one good photo.
And this qualifies as "photography" in the Third Millennium? More like a crap shoot.
Honestly who cares what one uses to make images.
The philosophy of photography, the obsolescence of cameras, the super duper tech, all this in my view is good for a few seconds of read.
I want you to show me what you felt, what you saw, what you want me to see, what you want me to feel..not what equipment you used; not what someone famous did, not what the book tells you to do..
All such discussions lead to no conclusive results. Just opinions. You said, I said, he/she said or did. What did you do with what you have.
And this thread is without images to support any assertions made so far.
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The beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if they like it that's all that matters. There will always be purists and perfectionist. For every 100 Instagram users doing "lesser" art there's someone on 500px, Deviant Art, or Flickr who is doing/ displaying some great work. It's all relative though.
Arguing against technological advances being included is a bit ridiculous in a way because we always buy things out of convenience even we don't use all of the abilities.
For instance most soccer moms don't off road their SUV's but they buy them because they "need space." A minivan or station wagon make a lot more sense but are becoming more uncommon. To use your computer analogy - what if they sold computers that only came with one type of software and it was only optimized for that? You're not going to buy one computer for MS Office and another for Photoshop, and yet another to surf the web or listen to music on. I hear people gripe about cameras that add video... I've even been guilty of it... The thing is as long as I don't switch it on it's really not in my way and it's not hurting anyone.
The fact is the market is shifting to computer integrated because someone is asking for additional functionality. To not keep up with market demands means that you risk not being competitive. Not a huge deal for a smaller company like Leica (although they were close to bankruptcy) but for the bigs they have to remain relevant.
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Having the great opportunity of working at a camera company, the "bean counter" comment just is silly. Do you think companies should work at a loss? But that does not mean great products cannot be made--there is no correlation to engineering and accounting. But every company has accountants.
Should companies ignore customer demands? That is want marketers bring to the process. And there is a lot of input from engineers that want to bring great product to the market as well.
But I am not sure what camera is made without photography as a goal. It is rather fundamental in a camera.
Now, exactly why would you not want to have your camera take noise-free images in really low light? You would reject a camera because of this?
I believe we ought to care, and even discuss, but up to a point of understanding. Because what happens after that is, as you say, empty and directionless debate.
I have been shooting mostly the park this year.
But I suspect I'll get back to people soon enough.
Every form of photography is valid. Every form has advantages and disadvantages. Each has a look. None is inherently better than another. To say one is better because it is mechanical, digital, chemical, grammatical, symmetrical, or philosophical is not rational
I may feel for me that photography is X, Y, and Z. But that is me. That does not invalidate nor reduce the significance of anything that falls outside that. I don't see an exclusionary system or view of photography as productive.
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I honestly feel that the root of this issue is from the earliest possible days of photography. Painters claimed that photography would entice image makers and viewers alike with "reproductions" of life that didn't rise above snapshots to the level of Art. They claimed that the painstaking process of composition and consideration that went into a painting was a better way to communicate larger-than-life truths than a snapshot. They were absolutely right in predicting what would happen with photography. We've become excessively adroit snapshot makers. We're good at recording "real life" (HONY anyone?) and to a great many enthusiasts who frequent forums, it's clear that reproduction of life is more important to them than making Art.
On the other hand, painters at the time failed to grasp how the rigorous, mechanical, and chemical discipline known as photography could be elevated beyond making snapshots into the realm of Art. Their view was too narrow and antagonistic. I completely agree with them that snapshots aren't Art and, contrary to some Modernist assertions, I think history has shown that not everything in existence is Art no matter how it's contextualized. But that's not to say that a photographer can't use a tool like a smartphone or a DSLR, take a bunch of photos that he or she may not even understand the value of at the moment of capture then come back some time later (after due consideration, editing, and potentially post-processing) and be able to show a work of Art where otherwise a snapshot existed.
I use an RB67 and film to try and work toward that ideal I never seem to actually attain which is, for me anyway, to always produce something that could be considered Art no matter whether it was a portrait for a parent or a sports picture at a football game. But some of my most moving images have been captured on continuous drive and I was completely unaware of what I had captured until I teased the image out later (sometimes much later).
The images we capture, using whatever tools we have at our disposal, using whatever means we deem necessary, are simply raw materials. They are not the image that could be called Art. Printing out Instagram pics and hanging them in a gallery is simply no different than placing a urinal in a gallery and putting a sticker on it calling it "Art". Context is important but there's way more to it than that. On the other hand, an image that is contextualized with other images that tells a story but is otherwise unremarkable in composition, color, or other technical details, I do think could be called Art.
Posting all the photograhs in the history of photography would constitute a majority of boringly nauseating photographs, of interest only to the one who made it and/or his/her marketing agency or agent.
Not unlike viewing the uploads to photography sites in one day in our age. And not unlike most of the images I post.
The most wonderful photographs I have ever taken are those I keep in my wallet, those of my family. No photograph ever made would be better than those, to me.
But to another viewer? That is another question. And the important one when images are posted for an unkown audience to view.
Thank you for your insights and comments.
In the case I wrote ("finish the roll of film in the M4-2 (18 exposures left) and load the SWC and finish it (12 exposures), meanwhile shoot a hundred exposures with the X"), the intent was that I'd be done with making 30 film exposures and 100 digital exposures by the end of the month or so.
Why so many more digital exposures?
Well, for one thing, the X is smaller and lighter than either the SWC or the M4-2 so it's easier to have with me all the time. For another thing, with the X I'm not locked into one film speed for all the shots I'm going to make so I can use it in a greater range of circumstances (I don't shoot when I know I can't get good results, that would be foolish and a waste of film...). And thirdly, well, processing film and scanning it does involved a considerable amount of additional time involvement in addition to importing my images into Lightroom, curating them, selecting the ones to render, rendering, and outputting them.
I don't think I'm much of a "machine gun" digital shooter. My entire day at the car and motorcycle show netted about 90 digital exposures, two-three rolls of 35mm film. It would have been nice to do more, but the light was a bit harsh and (as above) I don't make pictures when I know I'm just wasting shutter clicksa long habit with cameras like the SWC and 12 frames per load. I was happy with the Baker's Dozen I posted, most of the rest are either photos that I don't post to the public (they're only to be shared with the people they are of) or aren't up to my standards for posting. That's a decent percentage for a day's casual shooting, but not something I wave a flag about. :-)
I know I got strange looks when I first started shooting with my M9 and NEX-5. I actually got "told/ advised" that I should get a digital camera like a Nikon or Canon since the intent was to post images to the website as well before she was corrected by one of the pros. Some on the team barely know me (or know me as the weird camera guy who doesn't use Canon/Nikon) even though they know my images through metadata (I'm the only one shooting Leica in the past and Sony now) in Lightroom.
Let's face it, you really don't know what a photograph will look like until it's taken and processed. So the ability to shoot freely can be very beneficial. This is especially true for the more fast-moving genres of photography.
No question, the ease of digital can instill laziness. But it does not HAVE to. And if it does, blame falls on the one pressing the shutter, not the technology.
But when the button-pusher substitutes volume for discipline, everybody loses.
The viewing public loses because we're inundated with nonsense photos.
And the shooter loses because he never learns the art of photography in the first place.
Photography is both an art and a science. Some shooters are only interested in art, and shun the science / technology completely.
I'm reminded of one famous photographer who supposedly didn't know how to load a camera or set an exposure, and still got great shots.
There's certainly nothing wrong with that.
But when a shooter embraces the technology while ignoring the art is when the problem arises.
At the time of his death there was discovered about 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures, and contact sheets made from about 3,000 rolls. The Garry Winogrand Archive at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) comprises over 20,000 fine and work prints, 20,000 contact sheets, 100,000 negatives and 30,500 35 mm colour slides as well as a small group of Polaroid prints and several amateur motion picture films.
I also think Eugene Smith - fired away
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These type discussions will never resolve. Conscience regarding what is essentially an "informed intuitive process" resists such rationalizations and categorizations. Every opinion has a counter opinion selectively supported by some past example of some successful photographer so all we have are opinions.
How to make photos from a more accessible technical POV has made it all more available to more people than ever before in visual history. So, the notion that it was the same in the film era belies that fact it is like saying all Tsunamis are equal in their destructiveness. Even that sort of thinking lacks discrimination.
IMO, the notion that one can better learn photography by merely shooting a lot assumes that a level of discrimination already exists to make directional choices afterwards, and that anyone can be successful given that they shoot enough.
Likewise, the thought that all photography is valid, that none is better that the other, reminds me of the trend to provide trophies to every participant of sporting events just for showing up. There is a famous story in advertising where the agency creatives told the client they had ten ideas to share, and the client famously quipped "I'd rather see one good one".
Winograt's ultra-prolific remaining unedited work can only be curated with guess work based on looking backwards, not what he may have done going forward if he even did anything with it. Perhaps his pile was left as the ultimate act of discrimination? We'll never know, he's dead. Many famous painters made decisive decisions to make dramatic creative changes, and in one famous case bought back older work and burned it.
Creativity and talent never seem to get the same level of discussion and (IMO), creative discrimination has taken a body blow in the process.
Why did someone shoot an image or select it afterwards? What is the intent? What is the purpose? Is it a one hit wonder, or a part of a consistently insightful body of work? It may have been captured in a flurry of intuitive creative response, and recognized later for being above other images made at the same place and time yet, that again assumes an ever improving sense of discrimination is being developed in parallel with the act of making the images.
My personal proclivity (opinion), is to be in the camp where discrimination is exercised when shooting and again with rigorous editing but was informed by initial studies of those who's imagery struck a cord with me and why it did, not just shooting indiscriminately and hoping for the best afterwards (which is NOT to say prolific techniques can't result in something rising above something else, just that hightened discrimination then has to be present afterwards).
I like the idea of contextual validity. It makes photography intimately personal, or it can be more universal depending on intent. Just showing up is okay if the audience is limited and only interested in snapshots as a result where just about any image of a subject suffices. It steps upward when a body of work can be consistently recognized as contributing something to a more universal insight of the ever changing world around us, yet do it with a personal edge to it.
We are never without something new to shoot, the trick is to be tuned to what that may be, and leave the rest to happy snappers.
Even a Tsunami has a crest.
There's nothing wrong with volume in practice but I will agree with you that not every example of a "work in progress" needs to be displayed to the world. As for the art factor that is somewhat subjective IMO. To be honest I see a lot of amateurs that wow me more than the pros and I see a lot of modern day photographers that move me more than some legends do. To each their own in what is art to them.
Oddly enough, professional sports photographers take hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of a game and share those too. Sports photography and photojournalism are really not contemplative forms of photography. There are different skills and the "button pushers" can have great skills.
Photography can have mundane uses and still not devalue the medium. Just as my grandmother's horrible paintings (which I cherish) did not change the value van Gogh added to a canvas.
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Everybody seems to ignore the last sentence of my previous post:
"But when a shooter embraces the technology while ignoring the art is when the problem arises."
I'm not criticizing folks who do rapid-fire shooting when the situation requires it.
I shot sports for four years in high school, using a 4x5 Speed Graphic. It's a challenge.
You learn to anticipate action and synchronize your shooting with the movement.
Did I miss shots? Of course. When actions don't match your expectations, you're bound to miss things.
This is where machine-gunning is advantageous, because it minimizes dependence on your expectations.
I learned the basics before I ever got to high school. Rules of composition, pre-visualization, and such.
What I'm criticizing is the folks who push the button as soon as they walk out the door and hold it down until they return.
They have no clue what they're doing or why.
They just hope something interesting will magically appear.
And if it doesn't... so what?
Erase the memory card and do it all over again.
Ahem. So why did you bring up this stuff after my statement? I suggested that I'd be making 30-40 exposures on film while I was probably going to make about 100 exposures with my digital camera. I'd hardly call that suggesting one, "embrace the technology while ignoring the art" nor is it really any kind of 'machine gun shoot and spray digital shooting' business.
Seem to me that it was an inappropriate, grumpy thing to say.
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