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

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    Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    I thought I would post part of an on-going face-to-face conversation between myself and another Get Dpi member regarding the state of photography and our own personal quest of how to move forward. Perhaps of interest to others here ... and better yet, more insight could be contributed by other members.

    - Marc


    "Jim,

    I thought about our conversation some more after you left.

    Like many other photographers these days, including myself, there is something of a crisis of indecision going on ... quite confusing for many.

    I think we covered the various problems yesterday, but not many solutions.

    The decisions regarding gear and process seemed well represented ... how much gear?, film verses digital?, color verses B&W?, printing the results (silver prints verses inkjet?) ... even the effects of advancing age in our case, the proliferation and democratization of photography, and how society reacts to the photographer when the main subject is people. All well defined issues.

    However, I believe we were dancing around the primary core issue. All of those discussion points we covered are actually an array of answers in search of the real question. They cannot be answered because they are answers themselves. To use them as answers first requires defining the purpose of our photography.

    In essence, all the gear/process stuff keeps getting rehashed over and over because the key tool in any visual art including photography is the eye and brain. All the other stuff is just enabling the eye/brain ... to make visible what we think and see.

    Jean-François Leroy says it quite well in a video recently included on the Burn Magazine site ... scroll down to it and give it a look:

    burn magazine

    Consider subscribing to Burn, as well as Photo RAW because they are much more oriented to purpose, subject matter and art, than the means to take photos that dominates most photo forums.

    Photo Raw Magazine | The voice of a photographer..

    These two websites offer some relief from the usual web chatter, and tend to point to the desperate need to think about what we want to say visually, and how that informs our choices. The notion that "all eyes are equal" is no more true now with a trillion images being taken by the cell-phone/shutterbug collective, than it was when photography was more technically specialized.

    If the public can't distinguish our efforts, than it may be so because we aren't thinking enough, we don't have "the eye" that Leroy so well defines in the above video, or the audience is simply wrong. Since when did distinguishing creative or artistic success fall to the masses anyway? Just because we take photos doesn't make us a photographer. To become one requires the brain/eye development meshed with RAW talent as a base ... then the means to make that visible is a minor issue that is more easily answered.

    Your thoughts?"


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

    Hi There Marc
    Thank you for that - I enjoyed Jean-Francois Leroy's piece very much.

    It seems to me that it boils down to two issues.

    1. developing one's 'eye' to the extent that it works unerringly, and so that the equipment (whether it be an iphone or an S2) doesn't get in the way.

    2. directing one's 'eye' to produce coherent work.

    Neither of these things has a great deal to do with the kit - mind you, personally I think that an interest in kit is an honourable occupation . . . it just doesn't have a very close relationship to the images one takes.

    all the best

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    However, I believe we were dancing around the primary core issue. All of those discussion points we covered are actually an array of answers in search of the real question. They cannot be answered because they are answers themselves. To use them as answers first requires defining the purpose of our photography.


    - Marc
    Gold Dust!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Neither of these things has a great deal to do with the kit - mind you, personally I think that an interest in kit is an honourable occupation .
    Sure, if one gets paid for it.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Sure, if one gets paid for it.
    I suppose it would be, if one did

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post


    "
    If the public can't distinguish our efforts, than it may be so because we aren't thinking enough, we don't have "the eye" that Leroy so well defines in the above video, or the audience is simply wrong. Since when did distinguishing creative or artistic success fall to the masses anyway? Just because we take photos doesn't make us a photographer. "

    I think the public in general is very uneducated about the qualities that make up a "good" photograph or what truly goes into making one. The majority of images floating around are very poor & that number grows exponentially everyday. So the average person looks around & says to themselves.. "I can do that or I can take a better picture." In their logic, someone who takes a picture is a photographer. Though, I don't think that most people go as far enough to call themselves artists.

    So maybe the better question to ask to differentiate ourselves is how we make our photographs art. All genres of photography have images that call fall into some definition of art. It's certainly possible, just more challenging.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Jean-François Leroy is right, and it's annoying. The iPhone crowd is easy to live with, being directly related to those who took photos with Kodak Instamatics during the sixties and seventies. The biggest difference is that they take a zillion more photos, mostly of themselves.

    At the other end of the universe are the storytellers and those who take truly beautiful photos. There are probably as many of those as there ever was, but being seen has become increasingly difficult in a world filled with digital noise. Related to them is a small army of commercial, event and wedding photographers who soldier on, fighting diminishing profit margins but survive on their enthusiasm and hopes for a better future.

    Somewhere in between is a community of pretentious, well healed semiprofessional amateurs with camera bags filled to the brim with red dot gear. You see them in the streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, cities with more "international" photo workshops than inhabitants, taking portraits of children who are probably poor and hungry since they have no iPhone, before they return to the safety of a western style bar and an air-conditioned hotel room. I wouldn't mind if they didn't see themselves as a cross-breed between HCB and Christopher Columbus and posted all their photos on every Facebook, Instagram, 500px etc. street corner available on the world wide web, expecting "likes" in the thousands. And the claqueurs are there, ready to click the mouse. Increasingly many have too much these days, and somehow confuses ability to buy with ability to create.

    I'm not sure if much of this have changed dramatically, but there is so much more of everything now than before. At least there's more junk; iPhone junk, Leica junk, Canon Junk etc.

    In the middle of all this, there are photographers who try to create images that make a difference. It's tempting to give up. Challenging the wall of noise seems an impossible task most of the time. My criteria are changing. Photos of friends and relatives are safe bets, in addition to the commercial work I do.

    I bought a smartphone a few weeks ago. It's probably the most pointless device I've ever owned. It has no keypad, making it awkward to work with, has a great camera with a useless interface and has so many functions that I've never felt a need for that I feel dizzy just looking at the thing. A stupidphone and my F6 work better for me. Much better. I don't mind carrying a camera, and when I don't, I can live with not getting a photo of whatever crosses the road on my way to the toilet. The fact that a device looks and works like something from a science fiction movie doesn't make it more useful.

    But I'm wrong of course. Smartphones will take over a huge majority of the camera market, and it's happening right now. This happens at a time when photographers who need something more advanced have started to realise that they don't need to upgrade at every street corner. All the cameras that I own produce more than acceptable results, and most of them will continue to do so for the rest of my life. So I've started looking more at which cameras give me the most satisfaction to use. Then I go out and take photos with today's choice, if I find something worth capturing. Yesterday, I took 2 photos. Happy memories captured on Ilford Delta 3200 with my OM-3.

    So camera manufacturers are in a very vulnerable position. There aren't many left, but still I think some will die or at least be considerably reduced in the years to come. One can of course hope for some kind of revolution, but I already question much of the inventions that have appeared the last decade. I predict lots of plastic fantastic sci-fi inventions but few new cameras that better my F6 or my Contax RX when it comes to what I try to achieve: Create images that make a difference for at least one more person than myself.

    Sorry for the rant.
    Things I sell: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/epixx?language=en
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Jorgen, that was one of the most enjoyable posts I've read in months.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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

    Reality is always a moving target.
    Philip
    www.pg-pg.com
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Jean-François Leroy is right, and it's annoying. The iPhone crowd is easy to live with, being directly related to those who took photos with Kodak Instamatics during the sixties and seventies. The biggest difference is that they take a zillion more photos, mostly of themselves.

    At the other end of the universe are the storytellers and those who take truly beautiful photos. There are probably as many of those as there ever was, but being seen has become increasingly difficult in a world filled with digital noise. Related to them is a small army of commercial, event and wedding photographers who soldier on, fighting diminishing profit margins but survive on their enthusiasm and hopes for a better future.

    Somewhere in between is a community of pretentious, well healed semiprofessional amateurs with camera bags filled to the brim with red dot gear. You see them in the streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, cities with more "international" photo workshops than inhabitants, taking portraits of children who are probably poor and hungry since they have no iPhone, before they return to the safety of a western style bar and an air-conditioned hotel room. I wouldn't mind if they didn't see themselves as a cross-breed between HCB and Christopher Columbus and posted all their photos on every Facebook, Instagram, 500px etc. street corner available on the world wide web, expecting "likes" in the thousands. And the claqueurs are there, ready to click the mouse. Increasingly many have too much these days, and somehow confuses ability to buy with ability to create.

    I'm not sure if much of this have changed dramatically, but there is so much more of everything now than before. At least there's more junk; iPhone junk, Leica junk, Canon Junk etc.

    In the middle of all this, there are photographers who try to create images that make a difference. It's tempting to give up. Challenging the wall of noise seems an impossible task most of the time. My criteria are changing. Photos of friends and relatives are safe bets, in addition to the commercial work I do.

    I bought a smartphone a few weeks ago. It's probably the most pointless device I've ever owned. It has no keypad, making it awkward to work with, has a great camera with a useless interface and has so many functions that I've never felt a need for that I feel dizzy just looking at the thing. A stupidphone and my F6 work better for me. Much better. I don't mind carrying a camera, and when I don't, I can live with not getting a photo of whatever crosses the road on my way to the toilet. The fact that a device looks and works like something from a science fiction movie doesn't make it more useful.

    But I'm wrong of course. Smartphones will take over a huge majority of the camera market, and it's happening right now. This happens at a time when photographers who need something more advanced have started to realise that they don't need to upgrade at every street corner. All the cameras that I own produce more than acceptable results, and most of them will continue to do so for the rest of my life. So I've started looking more at which cameras give me the most satisfaction to use. Then I go out and take photos with today's choice, if I find something worth capturing. Yesterday, I took 2 photos. Happy memories captured on Ilford Delta 3200 with my OM-3.

    So camera manufacturers are in a very vulnerable position. There aren't many left, but still I think some will die or at least be considerably reduced in the years to come. One can of course hope for some kind of revolution, but I already question much of the inventions that have appeared the last decade. I predict lots of plastic fantastic sci-fi inventions but few new cameras that better my F6 or my Contax RX when it comes to what I try to achieve: Create images that make a difference for at least one more person than myself.

    Sorry for the rant.
    Rant appreciated Jorgen!

    I think the point about "noise" meshes with my comment about "Since when did the public at large become the arbitrators of visual creativity?"

    That there is "more" noise is not in doubt. It has become a cacophony of epic proportions where wave upon wave of photos are "here today, gone today".

    The question is ... why do we care? Do we look to the public for approval? Do we really care that "the many" post mundane images in the billions, and then congratulate each other? Did HCB give a care what some 9 to 5 shop keeper thought about his images?

    This isn't meant to appear elitist ... it IS elitist ... just like most other forms of personal creative expression. Is Cindy Sherman driven by what most people think? Or Sally Mann ... Or was Eugene Meatyard?

    To succumb to wanting such approval renders us back to a childlike state ... to days when Mom proudly taped your drawing to the 'fridge. As an artist, I fast outgrew what my mother thought of my drawings ... she didn't have a clue.

    One cannot cast pearls to swine, and then complain when the herd of piggies stomp all over them in the mud, or totally ignore them.

    If discrimination is the hallmark of making better photographs, doesn't it stand to reason that same discrimination needs to be exercised in where, and with whom, we share our thinking, expressions and efforts?

    Your statement ... "What I try to achieve: Create images that make a difference for at least one more person than myself." is one damned good place to start IMO.

    However, I also subscribe to the notion that you have to make a difference to yourself first.

    BTW, I don't have any opinion about people with more means than ability or talent ... nor care much whether some people upgrade at every new development. I don't have a clue if it is legitimate or excess. Doesn't mean I can't indulge if I so choose ... IF it can help me better express myself.

    As a side note: I now only take weddings I want, and increased my prices to sift out those that do not appreciate the effort I make on every wedding I shoot. At the last wedding, I spent a lot of time setting up a portrait ... moved tables, positioned the couple, got them to relax etc. etc. ... when I turned to get into position there were 22 people shooting my set-up ... some with high end Nikons and Canons. I humorously quipped to the Groom that this image would be up on Facebook before I got home that night. It was ... and the herd endorsed the talents of the posters who basked in the glory with no mention of who set it all up. Of course by the time the real shot gets exposed with professional lighting etc, the immediate need gratification will be gone ... here today, gone today ... move on to the next photo injection. Yet, the client is ecstatic and sees the difference ... which is why they hired me ... a difference made for two people ... which is just fine.

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

    Thank you for your positive feedback. I was worried for a moment. Luckily, there always seems to be some with enough talent and energy to float a few inches higher than the rest. Those of us who are over 50 might not recognize that talent when we see it. The world is changing after all. Maybe riding a wrecking ball in the nude is what it takes these days to gain some recognition

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

    I felt uneasy about photography when the cost of grabbing a single image became close to zero - this happened when digital came about. In the days of film there was both a monetary cost and an effort cost of having film processed, picking up prints or making prints. I think we took more care on what and how we made images as there was an upfront and cost after. At least I think I did.

    The camera in a "smartphone" is nearly given away with the phone - after all its the phone that most are buying, but it happens to include a camera. So we have a double value reduction on both the camera and the cost of grabbing the image within. Has this led to the loss in quality and the noise that Jorgen describes?

    Forget the old game of "if you could only have one camera which would you choose" what would you do if you could only take one image a week? How much effort would you make for that image? Would you choose more carefully how to "spend" the frame?
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Thank you for your positive feedback. I was worried for a moment. Luckily, there always seems to be some with enough talent and energy to float a few inches higher than the rest. Those of us who are over 50 might not recognize that talent when we see it. The world is changing after all. Maybe riding a wrecking ball in the nude is what it takes these days to gain some recognition
    Hi Jorgen
    I thought that was what you were doing with your rant (riding a wrecking ball in the nude).
    . . . and I did enjoy it - being over 50 myself I recognise the 'grumpy old man' symptoms only too well.

    But actually . . . I'd bet that amongst the increased digital noise there are more prints being sold to a more discerning public than in the history of photography - sure, they may be a smaller proportion of the total taken . . . but then they may not, we cannot possibly tell.

    The fact that it's a tougher life as a wedding photographer or staff photographer than it used to be is undoubtedly true . . . . unless you happen to be really good.

    Workshops in remote places / the latest and greatest camera / Exotic locations - I don't think they have anything to do with what makes a good photograph - and I think they are completely separated - no more relevant than the car the person may drive or the type of lavatory cleaner they use.

    My personal bete noir is going to the same place everyone else has been and taking the same photograph all over again! But that's me being irritated, and of course, if the photographer is good the photos will be too (even if you have already seen 82,923 photos of a slot canyon!)

    In which case, they're hardly worth discussing in the same breath.

    If people want to publicise their photos and enjoy the likes - than that's also a separate issue.

    I like Marc's title to the thread. As long as people like looking at images (and they do, more than ever), then there will be ways to make money doing it (even if it's increasingly difficult). The fact that things are changing is pretty damn irritating if you've spent half a lifetime perfecting a model for delivering images to a receptive public isn't nice. Like Marc, I find it a little odd taking wedding snaps with a little Leica when there's a barrage of huge cameras behind you . . . unlike Marc I think that part of the job of a wedding photographer is to get a facebook gallery up really quickly - then you can concentrate on the more difficult part.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Forget the old game of "if you could only have one camera which would you choose" what would you do if you could only take one image a week? How much effort would you make for that image? Would you choose more carefully how to "spend" the frame?
    HI Tim
    you might make more of an effort - but it's unlikely that the image would be so good.
    Practice improves, and one of the great wonders of digital is that you're free to practice - and to assess the results really quickly.

    The solution to the problem of proliferation is to edit ruthlessly.

    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Forget the old game of "if you could only have one camera which would you choose" what would you do if you could only take one image a week? How much effort would you make for that image? Would you choose more carefully how to "spend" the frame?
    I have tried that consciously. Conclusion- no, I will not spend more time.* It is not impossible to "condition" one self to be choosy before the shutter is tripped.

    This does not work with the auto focus wonders which have a mind of their own.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Jorgen
    I thought that was what you were doing with your rant (riding a wrecking ball in the nude).
    . . . and I did enjoy it - being over 50 myself I recognise the 'grumpy old man' symptoms only too well.

    But actually . . . I'd bet that amongst the increased digital noise there are more prints being sold to a more discerning public than in the history of photography - sure, they may be a smaller proportion of the total taken . . . but then they may not, we cannot possibly tell.

    The fact that it's a tougher life as a wedding photographer or staff photographer than it used to be is undoubtedly true . . . . unless you happen to be really good.

    Workshops in remote places / the latest and greatest camera / Exotic locations - I don't think they have anything to do with what makes a good photograph - and I think they are completely separated - no more relevant than the car the person may drive or the type of lavatory cleaner they use.

    My personal bete noir is going to the same place everyone else has been and taking the same photograph all over again! But that's me being irritated, and of course, if the photographer is good the photos will be too (even if you have already seen 82,923 photos of a slot canyon!)

    In which case, they're hardly worth discussing in the same breath.

    If people want to publicise their photos and enjoy the likes - than that's also a separate issue.

    I like Marc's title to the thread. As long as people like looking at images (and they do, more than ever), then there will be ways to make money doing it (even if it's increasingly difficult). The fact that things are changing is pretty damn irritating if you've spent half a lifetime perfecting a model for delivering images to a receptive public isn't nice. Like Marc, I find it a little odd taking wedding snaps with a little Leica when there's a barrage of huge cameras behind you . . . unlike Marc I think that part of the job of a wedding photographer is to get a facebook gallery up really quickly - then you can concentrate on the more difficult part.

    all the best
    Interestingly, for the past few years, a majority of my wedding clients do NOT want their professional wedding photos put up on FaceBook or any social media. Even after I deliver their images, they rarely place more than a couple of them on their FaceBook page.

    Their expectations of what I do is totally different from what social media is all about. They tend to separate one from the other, and see it as a more intimate and private experience which they do not want diluted by being mixed in with the mash of cell phone shots.

    Perhaps the real reason behind this attitude is that of permanence ... they see what I do with hopeful eyes for their future not some just immediate need gratification. They almost always tell me to take my time, don't show us until you think it is ready. There seems to be an element of anticipation that heightens the perception of value ... and makes their wedding experience last longer.

    While there were a zillion people taking photos at my last wedding, when I presented the 90 image slideshow and 445 images one-on-one to the couple, she started crying and later said that I made her look better than at any time in her entire life.. Yesterday, I presented a 54 page coffee-table Wedding Album design, and they ordered 4 of them. (BTW, the Groom gave me a $400 tip).

    With-in a week or so I DO provide is a direct link to a SmugMug Pro Gallery, which they then can share with friends and family ... and allows guests to order prints no matter where they may be. This is a much more controlled, higher image quality environment than any social media.

    When these people pay me so much money to do this work, they are buying a sense of longevity and a bit of a fantasy ... and my job is to make sure that happens, not feed the "here today, gone today" social media clutter.

    Works for me.

    - Marc

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Tim
    you might make more of an effort - but it's unlikely that the image would be so good.
    Practice improves, and one of the great wonders of digital is that you're free to practice - and to assess the results really quickly.

    The solution to the problem of proliferation is to edit ruthlessly.

    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.
    Yes I do agree, I'm not suggesting it was a good idea but was put out there to see how we go about quality over quantity. Your suggestion would work better for me I am sure.

    For me personally, I am very very much a visual person. I honestly believe I know a great photo when I see one, how you may ask? I have had honest, unexpected, sudden, powerful emotional reactions when I see a top image. The last big reaction was at an art gallery several years back. Mixed in amongst the paintings was a 14 x 10ish sized B/W framed print, the subject/s in this image was normally nothing particularly astonishing but the way the photog composed, captured, printed and presented it, it was clearly a work of art and deserving of its place. My emotions told me.

    I have had some emotional responses to images I've seen online since but nothing as much as this art gallery image.

    I look eagerly for the next great image I might see to have that same level of emotion resurface. I sometimes think I am a better consumer of images than a producer of them...
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Tim
    you might make more of an effort - but it's unlikely that the image would be so good.
    Practice improves, and one of the great wonders of digital is that you're free to practice - and to assess the results really quickly.

    The solution to the problem of proliferation is to edit ruthlessly.

    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.
    +1 and +1 again


    All types of photography, the controlled studio, the wedding photographer with and with out lights or assistant, the photojournalist, the landscape photographer, the term I hate street photographer, and the photographers I love, the people who make nice images, they use the tools they have, but more importantly the ideas they have. I was always taught (Here is my resume, I am 63 years old, started shooting in college, with the original Nikon F - a camera that made sense and was virtually indestructible. 400 tri - X) - its all about the print. Lived in the dark room, your were judged by yourself, your peers, your professors by what you brought out of the dark room.

    I don't think that has changed. the photos we are familiar with are one of thousands shot by the photographer, especially with 35mm, there was an adage - don't waste the shot, but if you shot 5 rolls and get one great print - wow - successful you are. The rest of the shots were practice - use them to learn.

    As photographers, - professionals from many different fields, artists or craftsmen for the love photography, or just people who shoot the kids and the dog. We should not feel threatened, irrelevant, by technological progress , we all pick and chose how we want to proceed. Rod Klukas of AS / USA is running classes for wet plate. Pick up a copy of the magazine Photo Techniques - they don't seem bothered by the noise from the maddening crowd.

    Everything changes, always has - always well, what we should be is true to ourselves. My father used to say, "I don't remember anybody signing a contract with you , that things won't change - get used to it"

    Go out shoot and enjoy, there never has been a better time to make great images!!

    Best

    Phil
    Last edited by alajuela; 23rd September 2013 at 22:23.
    Philip
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Marc,
    What you say in your post above is very important. While the instant gratification concept that appeared by the birth of digital photography, further strengthened by camera phones, seems very "democratic", it creates a clearer distinction, or divide if you want, between photography as art and photography as ad hoc documentation. I enjoy Jono's event photos as much as I enjoy yours, and both may last forever, but Jono may be the exception to the rule; most of those who try to create his kind of photography end up with something that is fun there and then, but won't have the same value in ten years or more.

    There's a real danger that those who appreciate and are willing to pay the price for quality photographs will be looked upon as "snobbish" and pretentious. In that case, I'm happy to be a snob. The real pretenders are those who don't understand the difference between a great piece of equipment and a creative mind.

    When I divorced many years ago, a good friend asked me "Who will you watch photo albums with when you get old?", a question that became somewhat emotional for me. I don't need to worry anymore. Smartphones and Facebook have eliminated that problem for most people
    Things I sell: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/epixx?language=en
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Be forewarned, here are some thoughts from someone younger (almost 40).

    To me, the proliferation of camera phones and digital cameras means exposure. I would not be here today, on this forum to learn more about photography, if I wasn't exposed to the simple act of taking a shot, and decided I want to get better shots... digital photography made it possible for me. I bet the same lowered bar of entry is inspiring many more younger shooters to want to become better photographers.

    I agree that most of these youngsters/amateurs have plenty of room to improve, but the development of a skill can (must?) be celebrated and encouraged at every stage. Not everyone who can scribble a few words can write a good novel, but they need the thirst and support to write more, learn more, and develop more. To me, that's what the digital age is about. Give everyone a chance, and let the talents shines. Maybe some kid decides to become a serious photographer (or at least give it a try) because more than a few people "liked" his images. To me, that's a good thing. Soon we may see (or has it already begin?) a bunch of newer digital photographer start to try film for the first time, something I've been threatening to do for a while now.

    I would also guess there are some among us who don't like the singing/talent shows like The Voice or American Idol (or their variants), where suddenly anyone who can carry a tune (or not) thinks they can be a star. However, it's programs like that show me there are plenty of undiscovered raw talents out there, and maybe they inspire someone to work harder on their dreams now that they see a glimmer of hope because someone they can relate to just made it big.

    Instagram usually heats up a photography forum to the boiling point. With the tons of junk it provides, there are quite a few gems to be found. Not every picture needs to be fine art... it's now a substitute for communication (look what I did, what I eat...), for humor (silly selfies and pets), etc, etc... Some people do take it seriously on Instagram and make wonderful images, it would be your loss if you let the noise distract you from seeing the good stuff.

    I see plenty of discussion of "one camera, one lens" to teach a young photographer how to see, watning simplicity in their gears, a good photographer can take good images with any camera, limitation breeds creativity, etc. Isn't using only iPhone a way of limiting oneself? Smartphones may be the techno crap gadget to some, but they are like second-nature to my son, niece and nephews. My 5 year-old son loves to use the ipad to capture random things; I want to encourage that and I can't wait for him to grow old enough so I can tell him to hold still to avoid motion blurs. I would be ecstatic (and I'm praying) if one day the technology is so advanced that my phone camera can produce the quality that I want. It doesn't mean there'll be less junk out there, but it would benefit me more because the best camera is the one that's with me.

    Sorry for the unfiltered thoughts, but I must go to sleep now :P
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hosermage View Post
    Be forewarned, here are some thoughts from someone younger (almost 40).

    snip snip

    Sorry for the unfiltered thoughts, but I must go to sleep now :P
    Hi David
    I've only snipped it because (even though I'm 61) I agree with every single word.

    All the best

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Interestingly, for the past few years, a majority of my wedding clients do NOT want their professional wedding photos put up on FaceBook or any social media. Even after I deliver their images, they rarely place more than a couple of them on their FaceBook page.

    Their expectations of what I do is totally different from what social media is all about. They tend to separate one from the other, and see it as a more intimate and private experience which they do not want diluted by being mixed in with the mash of cell phone shots.
    HI Marc
    I quite agree - I also feel the same way about the final product . . . . but, assuming that your clients actually are on Facebook (of course, it's all irrelevant if they aren't), then there is a real buzz for everyone the day after the event tagging images looking at friends - it doesn't need to be mutually exclusive - a smugmug gallery two weeks later is fine (I use my website), but it's not the same thing, and it doesn't get anything like the same exposure.

    It doesn't devalue the final product, which I agree, should always be tangible object (usually a book).


    Of course, we all have our own ways of working - but I think that David is right here, even old fuddyduddies like Jorgen, Marc and myself need to embrace the new ways of working and take advantage of them . . . although it is fun being a grumpy old man

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Marc,
    What you say in your post above is very important. While the instant gratification concept that appeared by the birth of digital photography, further strengthened by camera phones, seems very "democratic", it creates a clearer distinction, or divide if you want, between photography as art and photography as ad hoc documentation. I enjoy Jono's event photos as much as I enjoy yours, and both may last forever, but Jono may be the exception to the rule; most of those who try to create his kind of photography end up with something that is fun there and then, but won't have the same value in ten years or more.
    Well (and thank you for the compliment) - I just feel that you can have your cake and eat it - i.e. have the instant gratification AND produce a tangible object which will last. I don't see why they should be mutually exclusive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    There's a real danger that those who appreciate and are willing to pay the price for quality photographs will be looked upon as "snobbish" and pretentious. In that case, I'm happy to be a snob.
    So am I - although I think it has always been thus (that people who appreciate and are willing to pay the price for art are considered as snobbish and pretentious). I don't think that the proliferation of images in digital media has made this worse (actually, I suspect it's made it better).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    The real pretenders are those who don't understand the difference between a great piece of equipment and a creative mind.
    I couldn't agree more - totally distinct subjects (the great piece of equipment subject is also valid, but it's nothing to do with art!). . . . . and this kind of forum is full of people who muddle up these two things)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    When I divorced many years ago, a good friend asked me "Who will you watch photo albums with when you get old?", a question that became somewhat emotional for me. I don't need to worry anymore. Smartphones and Facebook have eliminated that problem for most people
    I've been really lucky, my alternative to being young (like David), has been to be dragged into the world of facebook and smartphones - but it doesn't and shouldn't replace photo albums . . . but it can aid quality control. For instance I have a current personal/family project of producing an 'album' (probably on blurb) of each year since we stopped sticking 7x5 snaps into scrapbooks (about 1998). In the old days you'd choose most of each film, and bung them in . . now it's easy to select the best few from a year and print those - which makes for a much more satisfying viewing experience.

    To be honest I think we all agree fundamentally that the barrage of images on the internet doesn't suddenly mean that a good image isn't a good image. or that a bad one isn't a bad one.

    But I'm with David - the new opportunities offered by digital might be a threat to the old order, but they offer lots of new opportunities for those with talent and imagination (whether young or old).

    all the best

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

    Well, I'm not against Social media at all ... and I most certainly agree that digital has been a great teaching aid ... Hell, being a more intuitive shooter, I had a terrible time with mathematically unforgiving strobe lighting until digital came along.

    (BTW Jono, all my clients are at least more than half my age ... and all of them are very active on Facebook, etc. I repeat, they do NOT want their professional images placed there ... a function of wanting to see them first before anyone else ... which I totally agree with).

    Brides may be forgiving about shiny foreheads and noses, and their Mom's chin that looks like a pack of hot-dogs when they are on Facebook ... but not from their Professional shots. I don't care who you are, that takes considered edit time, and frequently requires retouching ... more importantly I am hired because of my story telling approach, and that requires a sequence of images that are in finished form.

    Frankly that's okay with me, I do not need immediate mass media exposure ... word-of-mouth is far more powerful with the clients I want to work for. The ONLY "like" I strive for is that of the client! Were I younger, developing my skills, and less established I'd be all over the Social media outlets and genuflect every time I was in the presence of a digital camera because it can teach so well

    However, I target the more successful client, who at any age tends to have the means to pay for what I do. (I prefer to shoot less and get paid more). These are birds of a feather that flock together, and share selectively, not with everyone they ever met.

    I'm not sure what dynamic is going on with these clients, but they tend to take an exclusive personal view of their paid wedding images ... they seem to segregate the whole experience from the day-to-day stuff that's so well represented by herds of Facebook snaps posted before I even have a chance to look at my images. The whole story is very important to them, not just part of it ... the very reason they hire me in the first place.

    In reality, it sets up expectations and anticipation ... they expect and anticipate more across the board ... and I repeat want to see them before anyone else does... which is why I formally preset their images and whole story to them personally on a pair of 30" screens. Some very successful wedding shooters even present using digital projection onto wall sized screens.

    It took me a while to learn that exclusivity pays better, a lot better, and Social media doesn't promote that at all.

    My end game is to provide prints and an album to seal the sense of permanence ... I've found that family histories are disappearing at an exponential rate ... and learned from scanning and restoring family prints that no one kept the negs, with prints being the keeper record. I think digital files are more like negs in this regard ... which is why I make at least 2 or 3 large prints for every wedding client ... a revelation to them since people rarely print anything large anymore. Even if there is a divorce later on, the children want the pictures.

    Individual prints for my clients tend to be family portraits or vanity portraits of the couple or Bride ... that the insightful individual candids I'm known for seemed to take a back seat used to be a bit depressing, but as time went on, my clients tended to see these individual shots as "priceless".

    The album is the most important archival element and story telling tool ... a lesson I've learned myself now. This winter I plan on doing my own books starting with 10 years of vacation photos.

    For those interested, here is one of my recent wedding albums ... one that features a bit more formal images than some I do, but it matched this couple's personality and desire for a more formal record of their day and families ... it still has a number of candid shots, but not as many as usual. They ordered 3 copies ... one for them, one each for their parents ... one was sent to Russia for the Groom's family.

    Sam/Andrey's Album - fotografz

    Here's a small sampling of the more candid work I tend to be hired for.

    The Unconventional Eye - fotografz

    - Marc

    Oh, BTW ... Facebook is a great tool for wedding photographers because it can help you to get to know the client very swiftly. I friend them as soon as they sign with me, look at their galleries, and follow their posts for awhile.
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Nice work on that wedding, Marc!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    It took me a while to learn that exclusivity pays better, a lot better, and Social media doesn't promote that at all.
    HI Marc
    I'm not criticising your approach (even slightly), just saying that it isn't the only way of approaching things. If what you're doing works, then that's fantastic - and the book looks splendid too (but I prefer the candid shots in the 'unconventional eye').

    Clearly if you can command big ticket prices then you can afford to do big ticket jobs, which of course also implies big margins. The perfect situation! I'm sure there are a lot of photographers who would give their eye teeth to be in your situation.

    It isn't how everyone can work though.

    Incidentally, what I do is completely irrelevant to this argument

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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

    Music is also an art form that has changed dramatically with technology as well as social development. I listen to all of it if it's what I consider quality, be it Beethoven, Beatles, Eminem or Psy. Still, there is no way of getting past the fact that Beethoven needed considerably more knowledge as well as skill to do what he did than Eminem did for his stuff. While Beethoven and all the other classical composers were active, there were also composers of more humble character, creating songs that are mostly long forgotten. Eventually, the elitist art is what is remembered.

    I think it's fair to say also that Rembrandt and van Gogh are more famous than HCB and Annie Leibovitz, even if they have been dead for a hundred years or more. There's nothing wrong with photography as art, but it's mostly less elaborate, more common and there's a lot of it floating around compared to good paintings. Maybe Ms. Leibovitz had to fight as hard as van Gogh to get to where she is today, and some of her photos have become icons of this age. The questions is: will they still remain icons of the next age, like van Gogh's paintings still are?

    With zillions of digital photos being taken every day, it's even more difficult to be seen than when there was only film. Even those who show extraordinary skill will often be outshined by the next guy in a matter of seconds in the ever growing ocean of images. So in the future, our time may be remembered as a result of a million artists' work rather than a few stars. Maybe that's good. It's certainly a change. If I like it or not is probably not important too.

    Many years ago, I met a PJ who told me that he mostly used a 35mm lens with his F5 and had it cropped at the desk to suit the needs of the newspaper. "Lack of skill", I thought, "what a lazy photographer". Last weekend, I took this photo with my camera phone with it's 28mm eqv. lens, without even looking at the LCD:



    Not even the children's mother would call that a keeper. But my mobile phone has a 41MP camera and a sharp lens, so I cropped it:



    Now, at least it's something resembling a portrait and it's still large enough for a decent print. In a few years, when mobile phones have 200MP sensors and software that automatically crops and straightens, even less skill will be needed and any 5 year old will be able to take proper portraits. Maybe that's good too. Still there will hopefully be some photographers who have enough skill to float sufficiently high above the rest to get their 20 second of fame.

    What photographers said something like "If your photos are no good, you probably weren't close enough."? Yeah, right...
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 24th September 2013 at 09:47.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    What photographers said something like "If your photos are no good, you probably weren't close enough."? Yeah, right... [/QUOTE]

    Robert Capa said that

    In 1947, Capa co-founded Magnum Photos in Paris with David "Chim" Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and William Vandivert. The organization was the first cooperative agency for worldwide freelance photographers

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

    In the end, he got too close!
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    In the end, he got too close!
    He most certainly did. I think a land mine.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Well, I'm not against Social media at all ... and I most certainly agree that digital has been a great teaching aid ... Hell, being a more intuitive shooter, I had a terrible time with mathematically unforgiving strobe lighting until digital came along.

    (BTW Jono, all my clients are at least more than half my age ... and all of them are very active on Facebook, etc. I repeat, they do NOT want their professional images placed there ... a function of wanting to see them first before anyone else ... which I totally agree with).

    Brides may be forgiving about shiny foreheads and noses, and their Mom's chin that looks like a pack of hot-dogs when they are on Facebook ... but not from their Professional shots. I don't care who you are, that takes considered edit time, and frequently requires retouching ... more importantly I am hired because of my story telling approach, and that requires a sequence of images that are in finished form.

    Frankly that's okay with me, I do not need immediate mass media exposure ... word-of-mouth is far more powerful with the clients I want to work for. The ONLY "like" I strive for is that of the client! Were I younger, developing my skills, and less established I'd be all over the Social media outlets and genuflect every time I was in the presence of a digital camera because it can teach so well

    However, I target the more successful client, who at any age tends to have the means to pay for what I do. (I prefer to shoot less and get paid more). These are birds of a feather that flock together, and share selectively, not with everyone they ever met.

    I'm not sure what dynamic is going on with these clients, but they tend to take an exclusive personal view of their paid wedding images ... they seem to segregate the whole experience from the day-to-day stuff that's so well represented by herds of Facebook snaps posted before I even have a chance to look at my images. The whole story is very important to them, not just part of it ... the very reason they hire me in the first place.

    In reality, it sets up expectations and anticipation ... they expect and anticipate more across the board ... and I repeat want to see them before anyone else does... which is why I formally preset their images and whole story to them personally on a pair of 30" screens. Some very successful wedding shooters even present using digital projection onto wall sized screens.

    It took me a while to learn that exclusivity pays better, a lot better, and Social media doesn't promote that at all.

    My end game is to provide prints and an album to seal the sense of permanence ... I've found that family histories are disappearing at an exponential rate ... and learned from scanning and restoring family prints that no one kept the negs, with prints being the keeper record. I think digital files are more like negs in this regard ... which is why I make at least 2 or 3 large prints for every wedding client ... a revelation to them since people rarely print anything large anymore. Even if there is a divorce later on, the children want the pictures.

    Individual prints for my clients tend to be family portraits or vanity portraits of the couple or Bride ... that the insightful individual candids I'm known for seemed to take a back seat used to be a bit depressing, but as time went on, my clients tended to see these individual shots as "priceless".

    The album is the most important archival element and story telling tool ... a lesson I've learned myself now. This winter I plan on doing my own books starting with 10 years of vacation photos.

    For those interested, here is one of my recent wedding albums ... one that features a bit more formal images than some I do, but it matched this couple's personality and desire for a more formal record of their day and families ... it still has a number of candid shots, but not as many as usual. They ordered 3 copies ... one for them, one each for their parents ... one was sent to Russia for the Groom's family.

    Sam/Andrey's Album - fotografz

    Here's a small sampling of the more candid work I tend to be hired for.

    The Unconventional Eye - fotografz

    - Marc

    Oh, BTW ... Facebook is a great tool for wedding photographers because it can help you to get to know the client very swiftly. I friend them as soon as they sign with me, look at their galleries, and follow their posts for awhile.
    Beautiful work Marc ...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Marc
    I'm not criticising your approach (even slightly), just saying that it isn't the only way of approaching things. If what you're doing works, then that's fantastic - and the book looks splendid too (but I prefer the candid shots in the 'unconventional eye').

    Clearly if you can command big ticket prices then you can afford to do big ticket jobs, which of course also implies big margins. The perfect situation! I'm sure there are a lot of photographers who would give their eye teeth to be in your situation.

    It isn't how everyone can work though.

    Incidentally, what I do is completely irrelevant to this argument

    all the best
    Totally agree.

    My perspective is one way, and most certainly isn't the most common approach to wedding photography these days. I never intended on being a wedding photographer and in many ways never really became one full time despite doing 20 to 25 a year ... it is too boring to do exclusively as a living IMO. Not the shooting part, all the rest of it.

    I never approached this type work in a democratic manner. I pick the photos the client gets, I pick what gets printed, and I select what goes into the album with minor image changes allowed. That has never changed in the almost 20 years I've been doing weddings. I do pay attention to the personalities and expectations of clients ... how I shoot an Art Director's wedding will be different from the young Brain Surgeon in the above linked album. I like doing both because it expands my repertoire of the human condition requiring some flexibility on my part ... which in turn keeps it interesting.

    In reality, as I taper off doing this type of work, my aspiration is to do it your way ... which is exactly how I started all those years ago. A pair of Leica Ms and a bag of film, with only a few images requiring a DSLR (now days a MM and M9 or M240). It may be that it'll be an epic failure financially, but at this stage I couldn't care less, I just like shooting when ever I can because it keeps you young of mind

    - Marc

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    What photographers said something like "If your photos are no good, you probably weren't close enough."? Yeah, right...
    Great idea until he stepped on a landmine...

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

    Photography is not dead. It is not going to adhere to anyone's idea of it. It will grow and change. I think the real question is what are you going to do with it?
    Will

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Photography is not dead. It is not going to adhere to anyone's idea of it. It will grow and change. I think the real question is what are you going to do with it?
    It's certainly growing in volume

    I saw the following question asked at a website this morning:
    "Would I ever turn up to shoot a job with ONLY 8gb of memory cards these days?"

    Food for thought if you ask me.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    It's certainly growing in volume

    I saw the following question asked at a website this morning:
    "Would I ever turn up to shoot a job with ONLY 8gb of memory cards these days?"

    Food for thought if you ask me.
    Depends on the job, and equipment - I am still hungry

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    It's certainly growing in volume

    I saw the following question asked at a website this morning:
    "Would I ever turn up to shoot a job with ONLY 8gb of memory cards these days?"

    Food for thought if you ask me.
    But that idea has been around for as long as photography. This was leveled at 35mm film photographers that would just "spray and pray." And they only had 36 pictures. I am sure when the brownie came out, there was the same thing said. I guess the only "real" photography requires mercury poisoning.

    But that does not mean ALL photographers use that method. I will certainly do a shoot with LESS than 8GB of memory. And that is with 40MP images.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Photography is not dead. It is not going to adhere to anyone's idea of it. It will grow and change. I think the real question is what are you going to do with it?
    I'd offer a counter to this opinion:

    Photography hasn't changed since the very first image was produced.

    The means to make one has, but that is irrelevant to what photography fundamentally is, and always has been ... a form of visual thinking. In that sense, it WILL adhere to anyone's idea of it because the tool needed is a dumb object that needs an eye and brain doing that thinking.

    I'd also forward the notion that quantity is also irrelevant.

    Many in Japan practice calligraphy, only a few are revered by the many as national treasures.

    What seems to have been lost in the modern age is any kind of discrimination, guidance and recognition. For example, where are the Alfred Stieglitzs, Roy Strikers, Alexey Brodovitchs of past? Those giants in the shadows that championed what became revered icons of photography?

    Without thought, without ideas, without some developed notion of intent whether intuitive or plotted out ... the photographer is as dumb as the camera in their hand.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Totally agree.

    My perspective is one way, and most certainly isn't the most common approach to wedding photography these days. I never intended on being a wedding photographer and in many ways never really became one full time despite doing 20 to 25 a year ... it is too boring to do exclusively as a living IMO. Not the shooting part, all the rest of it.
    Oh, I quite agree - 20 a year would drive me crazy - as you say, not the shooting, but the rest.

    It's actually relevant to Jorgen's 8gb argument - I use 16gb cards - but I've never even 1/4 filled them with Leica files - the more you take the more work you have to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I never approached this type work in a democratic manner. I pick the photos the client gets, I pick what gets printed, and I select what goes into the album with minor image changes allowed. That has never changed in the almost 20 years I've been doing weddings. I do pay attention to the personalities and expectations of clients ... how I shoot an Art Director's wedding will be different from the young Brain Surgeon in the above linked album. I like doing both because it expands my repertoire of the human condition requiring some flexibility on my part ... which in turn keeps it interesting.
    Again - quite agree - no democracy around here either!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    In reality, as I taper off doing this type of work, my aspiration is to do it your way ... which is exactly how I started all those years ago. A pair of Leica Ms and a bag of film, with only a few images requiring a DSLR (now days a MM and M9 or M240). It may be that it'll be an epic failure financially, but at this stage I couldn't care less, I just like shooting when ever I can because it keeps you young of mind

    - Marc
    Well, I know you could do it my way . . . but I don't think I could do it your way! I do agree, there isn't anything quite like shooting a wedding - you have to be so much on your toes - a combination of diplomacy, determination and doggedness - Exciting!

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    What seems to have been lost in the modern age is any kind of discrimination, guidance and recognition. For example, where are the Alfred Stieglitzs, Roy Strikers, Alexey Brodovitchs of past? Those giants in the shadows that championed what became revered icons of photography?
    This is where I hope that you're wrong - and it's just that we can't see them yet - sometimes it's necessary to get a bit of distance.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Without thought, without ideas, without some developed notion of intent whether intuitive or plotted out ... the photographer is as dumb as the camera in their hand.

    - Marc
    Absolutely - dumber even - some cameras seem quite smart these days

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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

    A minor addition to the discussion?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    This is where I hope that you're wrong - and it's just that we can't see them yet - sometimes it's necessary to get a bit of distance.


    Absolutely - dumber even - some cameras seem quite smart these days

    all the best
    I hope you are right also. Thing is, all three of those influential people I mentioned were recognized as such in their lifetimes ... more importantly, those they guided recognized them pretty early on.

    Sometimes I think photographers aren't interested in the opinions of anyone anymore. Maybe they are right because there are no great mentors to listen to?

    Hmmmm ...

    - Marc

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

    My one liner for the day. Without my eye I am no longer viable. End quote

    Maybe the smartest thing I said in 18505 replies
    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 fotografz View Post
    What seems to have been lost in the modern age is any kind of discrimination, guidance and recognition. For example, where are the Alfred Stieglitzs, Roy Strikers, Alexey Brodovitchs of past? Those giants in the shadows that championed what became revered icons of photography?
    You are just looking at photography through the rose-colored glasses of history. There were plenty of hacks back then. Photography was also democratic--as Kodak said, you press the button, we will do the rest. Just the fact of having a ten fold increase in population, we have a ten fold increase in photography. I have snapshots from my grandparents and photo albums of my great grandparents. Every generation will have their own greats. Whether you value them or recognize them does not matter.

    As far as discrimination, Edward Weston's toilet? Walker Even's telegraph poles? Lartigue's family snapshots? Banality has been around a long time.

    Every photographer and every age will show us a different world. Who are we to judge? After all, we are allowed the same opportunity.
    Will

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    You are just looking at photography through the rose-colored glasses of history. There were plenty of hacks back then. Photography was also democratic--as Kodak said, you press the button, we will do the rest. Just the fact of having a ten fold increase in population, we have a ten fold increase in photography. I have snapshots from my grandparents and photo albums of my great grandparents. Every generation will have their own greats. Whether you value them or recognize them does not matter.

    As far as discrimination, Edward Weston's toilet? Walker Even's telegraph poles? Lartigue's family snapshots? Banality has been around a long time.

    Every photographer and every age will show us a different world. Who are we to judge? After all, we are allowed the same opportunity.
    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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).

    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
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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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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).

    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
    It sounds as though the point here is that - all the great photography of the pass rose to the top as cream on milk, what a romantic idea. There were probably then as now as many people (undiscovered or not recognized in their lifetime) as gifted as the ones who had success. To put a fine point on it and stay within photography would we know who Atget was if not for Abbott.

    Photography is and has always been a moving target - I think Will encapsulated this point well. The artistic side of (which is due to the individual craftsmanship and ability one has to express oneself) has not changed. Not to parse words here when Kodak said "You press the button, we do the rest. "They had the same idea as Henry Ford when he made cars for the working man. No more, no less.

    Styles and desires come and go and sometimes return, be it Photography, Clothing, Architecture, Painting etc. While not necessarily the sponsor, public might in the long run be the final arbitrator of art. I think art by its definition is all visual; it is enjoyed by the mind, whether it comes in thru the eyes or the ears. I don't have the confidence you do that certified arbitrators exist. But like you, it is a few people that I respect (in this case they also know photography) that I look for critical comments.

    I think it is great you insist that your clients get prints of their wedding, my opinion is that it will be their lose for not taking your advice. Possibly they are too caught up in the style of life and not the substance. Art is personal, what is one person’s delight is another’s revulsion. I have seen some of your images here; I liked them and would look forward to seeing your book, -- not a virtual one, one I can hold and enjoy and then put on my shelf, next to the other photographers I respect. To be picked up and enjoyed again, without having to be wired in.

    Phil
    Last edited by alajuela; 26th September 2013 at 02:42.
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    Re: Photography Is Dead! ... Long Live Photography!


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

    Quote Originally Posted by alajuela View Post
    It sounds as though the point here is that - all the great photography of the pass rose to the top as cream on milk, what a romantic idea. There were probably then as now as many people (undiscovered or not recognized in their lifetime) as gifted as the ones who had success. To put a fine point on it and stay within photography would we know who Atget was if not for Abbott.

    Photography is and has always been a moving target - I think Will encapsulated this point well. The artistic side of (which is due to the individual craftsmanship and ability one has to express oneself) has not changed. Not to parse words here when Kodak said "You press the button, we do the rest. "They had the same idea as Henry Ford when he made cars for the working man. No more, no less.

    Styles and desires come and go and sometimes return, be it Photography, Clothing, Architecture, Painting etc. While not necessarily the sponsor, public might in the long run be the final arbitrator of art. I think art by its definition is all visual; it is enjoyed by the mind, whether it comes in thru the eyes or the ears. I don't have the confidence you do that certified arbitrators exist. But like you, it is a few people that I respect (in this case they also know photography) that I look for critical comments.

    I think it is great you insist that your clients get prints of their wedding, my opinion is that it will be their lose for not taking your advice. Possibly they are too caught up in the style of life and not the substance. Art is personal, what is one person’s delight is another’s revulsion. I have seen some of your images here; I liked them and would look forward to seeing your book, -- not a virtual one, one I can hold and enjoy and then put on my shelf, next to the other photographers I respect. To be picked up and enjoyed again, without having to be wired in.

    Phil
    No phil, that was not the point. The better work endured and rose to the top, either in its' time or eventually. Nothing romantic about it ... it is just history punctuated by icons of the art form who's work retained some universal aspect to it and speaks to us over the gulf of time.

    You are right, Iconic photographers weren't the only good ones of their time ... they were the ones that advanced visual thinking, did it well first, and were recognized as such by critics, mentors or even by other photographic contemporaries (like Seiglitz's 291) ... and often they were part of some sort of collaborative influences involving others of a like mind, often from other artistic disciplines (Man Ray and Duchamp for example ... or James Agee and Walker Evens for another).

    The book "Geniuses Together" is a good read on how that dynamic works.

    My walls are peppered with both iconic photos and those I hunt down and are struck by from unknowns. The difference between the two is one of consistency and discrimination in a body of work.

    The French photographer Robert Doisneau summed it up with his book titled "Three Seconds from Eternity" ... a notion about his selected life's work adding up to three seconds of time ... still shots that freeze moments in time at 1/500, 1/1000, 1/125, etc.. 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.

    I'm not saying this is non-existant today ... just that it is an interesting model for aspiring art photographers that want to reach deeper ... which is why I like Burn Magazine. Yet, while the internet seems to bring us together, I wonder if it is nearly effective?

    - Marc

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

    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?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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

    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 am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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