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Thread: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Question: Is the lack of greats that Marc is noting the same through out the art world in this century or is it a photography thing?
    I just don't really subscribe to it - with people like Salgado and many others around and still shooting.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I just don't really subscribe to it - with people like Salgado and many others around and still shooting.
    I agree even if you discount Salgado and such. Just because someone's favorites are all deceased doesn't mean decent photographs and photographers do not exist.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Question: Is the lack of greats that Marc is noting the same through out the art world in this century or is it a photography thing?
    Crikey! I never said there were no contemporary "greats" ... although, to some extent time WILL be the measure of whether they endure as "revered icons" I guess.

    Perhaps the question is more about what or who influences us and the art of photography now? Maybe that could be more revealing and constructive than rehashing history.

    However, I fully admit to being heavily influenced by photographic icons of the past ... HCB, Chim, Doisneau, and that group in terms of the whole decisive moment/humanistic approach ... Kertesz, Meatyard, Rodchenko, Levitt, Brandt in other ways ... Alfred Neuman being my favorite portrait photographer (I had the good fortune to meet and speak with him when purchasing his portrait of Igor Stravinsky).

    Not that other photographers past and current don't speak to me, but the interest and influences are less pronounced. Cindy Sherman is already an Art Icon that uses photography as her medium ... but it is hard for me to relate to that when I pick up a camera.

    Of the modern masters Josef Koudelka comes to mind ... I suspect his body of work will endure. Related to what I mentioned previously, he was strongly supported by a Czech art critic and Cartier-Bresson ... now both dead.

    Ben, the question you ask is a good one. As far as I can determine, contemporary Art is stuck in 1975. Perhaps that is directly related as you suggest?

    - Marc

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I wonder if social media and the social frenzy as it is today is going to continue as a constant? Last year my students (18 year olds) were posting on facebook every day even though only two had smartphones. This year every single one has a smart phone and they post on facebook an average of about once a week. I found it interesting. The social media world is consolidating from so that there are far fewer albeit far larger addresses for social media-ing and in general, at least what I'm seeing, it's settling somewhat. Human behavior and social human behaviour does not IMO change that drastically permanently. It will change but I wonder if the mad rise of social media over the past few years will end up having been a blip before it settles to a more relaxed norm. Or am I completely wrong?
    Ben, current studies tend to support your premise. Just Google "The rise and Fall of social media".

    Here a good example right from the horse's mouth:

    The Rise and Fall of Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Giants - Maximize Social Media

    I just read an article on how more people are beginning to close their FaceBook accounts than expected ... for various reasons ... public personal information being one, "a waste of time" being another.

    I doubt it'll go away, just settle down to being just another communication medium. That may be good as it'll give other types of media a chance to flourish.

    - Marc

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Question: Is the lack of greats that Marc is noting the same through out the art world in this century or is it a photography thing?
    Not all, as I see it, and they follow different rhythms. Music is an obvious candidate, and more troubled than photography in my view, but with music, commercial forces come in to play as well as other factors. As with photography, the talent and skill is, and probably always will be, present. The question is if they will be seen through the cacophony of commercial noise which is ever present.

    Obviously, it wasn't easy to to be seen 200 years ago either. You had to belong to the upper social classes. Today, the challenges are different.

    One of the most dramatic changes in photography is that, while to start with, one needed several skills; artistic, as well as technical and practical, now, only the first two are required, and the need for the second is diminishing while I'm not sure how many would recognise the first (except, of course the tiny elite posting here on getdpi ).
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Ben, current studies tend to support your premise. Just Google "The rise and Fall of social media".

    Here a good example right from the horse's mouth:

    The Rise and Fall of Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Giants - Maximize Social Media

    I just read an article on how more people are beginning to close their FaceBook accounts than expected ... for various reasons ... public personal information being one, "a waste of time" being another.

    I doubt it'll go away, just settle down to being just another communication medium. That may be good as it'll give other types of media a chance to flourish.

    - Marc
    Thanks for that Marc.

    BTW I used the phrase 'lack of greats' rather than 'no greats', there is a lack perhaps in comparison to 50 years ago but is it not always that way with innovation? The golden years of innovation in technology will always produce stand out products that will still be remembered but eventually everything just becomes the same until the next huge shift when the innovators are seen again. I think this is as true in art/music as it is with technology. As always, for any given generation the innovative greats can be counted in tens, tens out of the entire world population. I doubt our generation will be that much different even if it was a generation of innovation rather than of refinement and me too-ing which I believe it to be.

    My generation (I was born in 1980) will be known as the generation that saw the revolution in communication. Cable TV, Cellphones, Internet, Social media, Smart Phones. Ironic as it was the generation that saw the fall of the Berlin wall and the USSR but who will remember that? Not sure what you older generation's think however I would have been more proud to have seen the changes you did and which defined your generations. I'm not sure just how good for the human race this communication race is in the long term. I am personally sure that it has stifled innovation. Instead of competing within a small circle we are now, all, always competing against the entire world, if you try anything new you are instantly copied and or shown to have just been copying, it's almost impossible to innovate or more importantly to have the drive to innovate anymore.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Thanks for that Marc.

    BTW I used the phrase 'lack of greats' rather than 'no greats', there is a lack perhaps in comparison to 50 years ago but is it not always that way with innovation? The golden years of innovation in technology will always produce stand out products that will still be remembered but eventually everything just becomes the same until the next huge shift when the innovators are seen again. I think this is as true in art/music as it is with technology. As always, for any given generation the innovative greats can be counted in tens, tens out of the entire world population. I doubt our generation will be that much different even if it was a generation of innovation rather than of refinement and me too-ing which I believe it to be.

    My generation (I was born in 1980) will be known as the generation that saw the revolution in communication. Cable TV, Cellphones, Internet, Social media, Smart Phones. Ironic as it was the generation that saw the fall of the Berlin wall and the USSR but who will remember that? Not sure what you older generation's think however I would have been more proud to have seen the changes you did and which defined your generations. I'm not sure just how good for the human race this communication race is in the long term. I am personally sure that it has stifled innovation. Instead of competing within a small circle we are now, all, always competing against the entire world, if you try anything new you are instantly copied and or shown to have just been copying, it's almost impossible to innovate or more importantly to have the drive to innovate anymore.
    Good observations Ben. In addition to other comments posted here, they make me question a few premises, and to consider the alternatives to what is happening now.

    First is the premise that photographic invention must be something totally new. While art icons Picasso and Braque "invented" cubism and revolutionized visual thinking, David Hockney continued on with it to great success ... because he felt it had not been completely explored ... including using photography for some Cubism images.

    David Hockney on cubism - Bing Images

    The other consideration could be to counter the cacophony of highly public and ubiquitous ... with private and personal. This thought reminded me of when I first showed my work to my mentor (a very accomplished photographer in NYC) and his first assessment was that the work was "very personal" ... which was a very good thing in his opinion. It took me a while, and some wine fueled dinners with him to grasp what he meant

    -Marc

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    BTW, his photo titled "Les Pains de Picasso" hanging on the stair wall up to my studio is still as humorous as it was when he shot it.

    - Marc
    That photo is hilarious. He could be from the same gene pool as Homer Simpson.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I'm not sure just how good for the human race this communication race is in the long term. I am personally sure that it has stifled innovation. Instead of competing within a small circle we are now, all, always competing against the entire world, if you try anything new you are instantly copied and or shown to have just been copying, it's almost impossible to innovate or more importantly to have the drive to innovate anymore.
    I have wondered along these lines. I feel writers like Edgar Allen Poe were able to create their because of the "spare time" great thinkers had long ago. Today we are time poor and huge amounts of information going in (internet, TV etc), when do our minds have a chance to create? Perhaps others can overcome the hurdle but many of us just consume without finding the time to create.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Who said there weren't hacks back then? Who said that the great image makers made gold with every touch of the shutter button? The hacks are long forgotten, and what gold the artists did make remains. Cream floats to the top.
    Right, so nothing has really changed. There is still gold being made today. but the cream will not always rise to the top. If it was not for a few individuals, we would not have the work of Atget, Disfarmer, or Maier. We have no idea how many great photographers and work have been lost to time.

    I'd also forward the notion that the increase in photographic noise has NOT been due to just a population increase as you suggest. That is the rose colored POV. Both the means to make photos, and the ways to view them have become exponentially promiscuous and/or democratically equal ... which is at the core of this discussion.

    Most people have snaps, formal portraits, and albums of previous family generations. The question is will subsequent generations have them?
    Certainly the ease of taking photographs has added to volume. I don't see more photographs and more people using photography is a bad thing. To say the opposite would be hard to support. Are you going to argue that more literacy and better word processors have been bad for literature?

    I deal with the public a lot, and I can tell you the trend is clearly they won't. Family members have always been in a unique position to capture the lives of their loved ones on a day-to-day basis, however the vast majority of family photos are now taken with cell phones and never printed or preserved in any way. Here today, gone today.
    But that has always been true. Photos get put in boxes and then thrown away or they go moldy. Photographs are not less impermanent today. In fact, you could say the opposite. Load it up on the internet and you photograph could be duplicated and share an unlimited number of times. And as always, photographs will survive if they are valuable to someone. The media does not change that.

    The whole infrastructure of Professional photographers that served the public (as opposed to art type photographers) has been decimated. Despite the population increase you mention, all forms of professional portrait, event and related publicly consumed photography has headed over a cliff. Print labs have disappeared at a ferocious rate. A wedding photographer that bases their business model on print sales goes out of business very quickly.
    What you are saying is the old business model is not viable. Are you going to suggest keeping a business model that no longer works? Photographers, just like everyone else in the world, will need to learn to deal with change. They will have to develop new models and learn new skills.

    Obviously this is due to computerized digital technology allowing the public to do it themselves ... in their opinion. However, the impact has been that no applied methods of preservation remains intact. When Kodak said "You press the button, we do the rest.", that meant prints ... the very thing that is in those family albums of past generations. You HAD to print the photos to even see them ... now you don't.
    I think you are forgetting Polaroid.

    But my point is convenience and ease of use has always been around. The difference today is simply a matter of degree, not a radical shift.

    As I mentioned earlier, common public snapshots, and the advancement of photography as an art form are two different subjects. The public has never been the arbitrators of "what is art" in any form of visual expression (except perhaps the motion picture industry).
    Actually, the public taste does influence things like commercial photography including wedding photography. They also influence "art" photography--look at all the photographic galleries around the country that sell landscapes. If you are going to separate "real art" from commercial photography, I am going to have a hard time with that as I think you cannot ignore Avadon, Margaret Bourke-White, Gordon Parks, Iving Penn, Horst and a whole host of photographers.

    Personally, I'm interested in both segments.

    I try to urge my clients to get prints, to make an album, or a book if I do not make one for them. It is like pulling teeth sometimes. Intentions are good at first, follow through almost never happens. I have clients that pre-paid for an album that never followed through after I sent them the design. If I load a set of images onto SmugMug with a link, some clients never come and pick up the prints they already paid for as part of their package. In discussions with other pro portrait and event shooters, I found I'm not alone in this telling experience.

    The Art of photography is the subject that most interests me, and one that I am currently re-kindling after decades of paid photography with a pre-arrainged purpose. I see it as a two part effort ... curating my past efforts with the aid of a few "editorial" friends who's opinion I value ... then making a few books ... and simultaneously getting back to making more of those type images again, which will take some considered thought and refined intuitions. All I can say for sure is that is isn't easy.

    - Marc
    Any creative profession is hard. It is only "easy" if you are independently wealthy. But there is not golden age where it was easier for artists. You are just going to have to figure it out.

    But you are also picking and choosing your your data. If you going to say technology is a bad thing, and only bad, you are missing opportunities. Because today, you have the technology and distribution methods to publish your own work--those photo books you talked about. (BTW, don't use Blurb or LuLu, get a real printer.) Self publishing is seeing a huge growth and a very legitimate growth. Photograph is still hard--it was always a difficult part of the book market--but you have the technology in which you can make it work.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    The virtues of the past will become the vices of the future. The vices of past will become the necessities of today--Joseph Campbell (at least how I remember it)

    The world has always been messed up. There was no time in history that was ideal. It might have been ideal for a small group, but it was alway bad for someone--it is a tough time for slave owners in the US, for example. Every opportunity has a down side. Every hurdle has an opportunity. See proceeding sentence.

    I really maintain the question. As a photographer, what can you do now? Nothing else really matters. You can only change the realities of your situation. Abstract conditions, whether historical or ideal, just don't exist.

    And you have seen this--if only I had that other camera, I had the wrong lens, I was not tall enough, my timing was off, people hate me because I am beautiful. But none of that is really an excuse for inaction. Mostly that points to the condition where you had the "wrong" answer to the situation. Instead of dwelling on what you cannot affect, you really should be worrying about what you can.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    BTW, I think we need a new rule that if you change your avatar, you need to give the community a heads up as it can be disorientating.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    BTW, I think we need a new rule that if you change your avatar, you need to give the community a heads up as it can be disorientating.
    You speak of me? Sorry . . . . you might be interested to know, that I've changed mine from a picture of me at 18 . . . . to a picture of me at 61, I felt the need to catch up with myself

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Jono, I just got so used to you as 18. I was just scrolling down the thread and I see someone "new" posting and start reading and it seems familiar...

    I had this problem when Guy and Jack updated their avatar. I am just going to have to keep my dog (that is not actually me).

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Jono, I just got so used to you as 18. I was just scrolling down the thread and I see someone "new" posting and start reading and it seems familiar...

    I had this problem when Guy and Jack updated their avatar. I am just going to have to keep my dog (that is not actually me).
    Hi Will
    Well . . . it's taken . . erm. . . . 43 years, before someone else took a snap of me I liked, I guess it would be more poetic if I had been 16 for the other shot. (61/16) but hey. I don't do it very often, and I promise this one will stay.

    You should keep the lovely dog though!

    all the best

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    That guy is posing as Jono.

    LOL ah your still a cute old dog.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I am just going to have to keep my dog (that is not actually me).
    The dog avatar is perfect. Diogenes is often represented by a dog and our experience together at Get DPI has convinced me that you're a Cynic in the grand tradition.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Right, so nothing has really changed. There is still gold being made today. but the cream will not always rise to the top. If it was not for a few individuals, we would not have the work of Atget, Disfarmer, or Maier. We have no idea how many great photographers and work have been lost to time.

    Certainly the ease of taking photographs has added to volume. I don't see more photographs and more people using photography is a bad thing. To say the opposite would be hard to support. Are you going to argue that more literacy and better word processors have been bad for literature?

    But that has always been true. Photos get put in boxes and then thrown away or they go moldy. Photographs are not less impermanent today. In fact, you could say the opposite. Load it up on the internet and you photograph could be duplicated and share an unlimited number of times. And as always, photographs will survive if they are valuable to someone. The media does not change that.

    What you are saying is the old business model is not viable. Are you going to suggest keeping a business model that no longer works? Photographers, just like everyone else in the world, will need to learn to deal with change. They will have to develop new models and learn new skills.

    I think you are forgetting Polaroid.

    But my point is convenience and ease of use has always been around. The difference today is simply a matter of degree, not a radical shift.

    Actually, the public taste does influence things like commercial photography including wedding photography. They also influence "art" photography--look at all the photographic galleries around the country that sell landscapes. If you are going to separate "real art" from commercial photography, I am going to have a hard time with that as I think you cannot ignore Avadon, Margaret Bourke-White, Gordon Parks, Iving Penn, Horst and a whole host of photographers.

    Any creative profession is hard. It is only "easy" if you are independently wealthy. But there is not golden age where it was easier for artists. You are just going to have to figure it out.

    But you are also picking and choosing your your data. If you going to say technology is a bad thing, and only bad, you are missing opportunities. Because today, you have the technology and distribution methods to publish your own work--those photo books you talked about. (BTW, don't use Blurb or LuLu, get a real printer.) Self publishing is seeing a huge growth and a very legitimate growth. Photograph is still hard--it was always a difficult part of the book market--but you have the technology in which you can make it work.
    I agree to disagree.

    More importantly, it'd be interesting to know what printers can make good photographic monographs?

    Once one goes through all the agony of editing and compiling a set of images and designing a book, it'd be nice to have them reproduced well. Something with a lower production of 10 or 15 books to share with those in your life who would appreciate it. A more "private" edition so to speak.

    BTW, this reproduction subject was part of the original discussion I alluded to in post #1 of this thread.

    - Marc

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Marc, if it is run a small run for family and friends, then Blurb and Lulu is fine. I was thinking you were going to release this onto the world. If you enjoy bookbinding and making handmade books, and at 10-15 copies that would be very possible, you could print this yourself with a good inkjet and some really nice paper. You could even use some more exotic bindings like some Japanese varieties.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I'd wager that the person who takes 100 photos a week, but throws away 99 of them will do a great deal better than the person who only takes one.
    Maybe it's the "same" person,
    distinguished by time --younger & trying/learning/keen,
    then older/wiser/less-keen!?

    -d.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    I doubt age is a factor. Regardless of age, I shoot more and experiment more than a beginner or a student. And I am with Jono, I would never take just one image if I can help it. Although, I have certainly made that single magical frame, but I would no rely on that approach.

    Keenness? I am not sure. I would not describe myself as keen when I work. I just understand it is work and I need to work at it. One reason I can shoot fluidly is I am simply more efficient and I see more compared to someone with little experience--I work with college students and I do see how they work.

    The idea that volume of work is somehow a bad thing is just fuzzy logic. Now, if you are running a studio or business, there are economic reasons to limit the number of shots. If you are just going to have someone stand in front of you with the same pose and then take a hundred pictures, then you are crazy and think if you keep doing the same thing it will lead to different results. The number of images is usually a technical constraint. You are simply not going to go out and shot the same number of images with an 8x10 view camera as you are a 35mm--whether film or digital. As you change format and camera, the number of images you shoot changes accordingly. It is not a mark of skill, but a constraint of the equipment and process. I have more of a documentary background and I am not doing myself any favors by shooting less and it has nothing to do with skill. However, when I am in the studio, the number of shots changes accordingly--I don't need hundreds for a simple portrait.

    I also find the contemplation argument weak, which is usually brought in (better photography come from contemplation). How long does it take you to contemplate something? An hour? A minute? A second? View cameras slow you down because you are setting up the equipment. You are not contemplating while you are doing that. Most people that goes to large format sees a huge jump in technical qualities, but also have a great loss in experimentation. The contemplation time, that time you are looking at the image in the viewfinder/ground glass does not really change with the camera.
    Last edited by Shashin; 28th September 2013 at 09:53.

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by drofnad View Post
    Maybe it's the "same" person,
    distinguished by time --younger & trying/learning/keen,
    then older/wiser/less-keen!?

    -d.
    Hi There - you must be young if you think people get less keen as they get older!

    I'm with Will - I need to keep shooting to get 'in the zone', a single shot doesn't cut it.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    The Online Photographer: The Cream Sometimes Rises

    I thought this recent article by Ctein is on topic... My take away: older works seems better because they are naturally filtered by time, so if you wait a while, most of what we have today will get filtered down to the really good stuff to be seen by our children's children.
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Being dead also helps...

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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