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Thread: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

  1. #1
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Rather than allow a thread spin off in wild abandon:

    Words from the great Ansel Adams . . .

    Donald and I kept the discussion on topic, but I feel the premise and proposed tangent was worthy of serious discussion.

    I do recommend that all read the parent thread and watch the youtube videos that Elise contributed.

    Now, to the essence of the discussion:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    I am fascinated by the way we react to the perceived challenge that photography is not real if we do not use film.
    On an emotional level, I was dismayed that anyone would some how feel that their photographic technology path what under attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Sorry for the rant but it is not the film diehards that concern me it is our erroneous assumptions that we somehow have to defend our choice of artistic media. It makes no sense to me.
    As you clearly point out, the very premise of being in a position where someone feels, whether real or imagined, that they must be defensive indicates an insecurity of their own choices.

    If you look into the world of large format photographers, you'll find people who use digital technology, along with those who are exclusively B&W film, the preserved antique technologies are often feature magazine articles, some work in color, others a mix of color and B&W. You'll find a range of lens brands, camera types, and film sizes. But it is all done in an accepting open environment with out any pressure to do anything in any specific way. It usually is "Look at this photo, and this is what I used to get it". The only pressure, if any, is to get together and shoot photos.

    In the Art vs Photo front, a truce seems to have set in long ago. You'll have the occasional hot spot crop up, like North and South Korea occasionally lobbing a missile at the other. Still, Artists and Photographers are no longer at each other's throats and the war is pretty much over.

    By contrast, I have seen the "Digital vs Film" flame war crop occasionally. It's usually not pretty as both camps seem to hold so strongly upon their chosen path and express highly emotional views of "Which is Better".

    Lets end this once and for all, but when done lets all remain standing, alive, not bleeding ( much ), and proud to be shooting photos how ever we choose. In the end, We all should be able to marvel at the photograph and the photographic technology chosen to take it.

    So, who in their right mind, or not so right mind ( Well, who here hasn't shot photos of trash cans, expanses of boring bodies of water, and oddly shaped shadows ? ), feels like they are under attack by photographers using differing methods and technologies ?

    Lets discuss, not flame, and see why so many have such perceptions.
    Last edited by Steaphany; 8th January 2011 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Reduced "accusational" implications of referenced quotes

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Steaphany, this kind of discussion is not just confined to photography, as you explained it nicely. It's all around us. The problem is not the technology itself. In my limited understanding, I think the problem is our state of mind about something. Whenever someone labels a concept as "absolute" then that's the end of it. For me, everything is relative. What is good for me might not be considered good by others. Vis-a-vis, what I might consider "ugly" might be beautiful to some. The trouble starts when an individual pushes his idea to someone that does not agree or appreciate it. I'd rather practice tolerance and let life flow around me.

    On the other hand, if I will confine the topic to photography, time and time again, without even being aware of how the image was shot, what equipment was used, the first thing that we all cannot refute is that we were moved by a certain image. From that reaction, we then try to find out how it was made. Now, if you or somebody got disappointed because some post-processing was done to it then we just missed the essence of photography itself - to create stunning and thought-provoking images regardless of how it was done. This is my point of view on the matter, and frankly debate or heated discussion is not in my vocabulary, too. Life is too good to waste my time on that.

  3. #3
    rob marshall

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    On the other hand, if I will confine the topic to photography, time and time again, without even being aware of how the image was shot, what equipment was used, the first thing that we all cannot refute is that we were moved by a certain image. From that reaction, we then try to find out how it was made. Now, if you or somebody got disappointed because some post-processing was done to it then we just missed the essence of photography itself - to create stunning and thought-provoking images regardless of how it was done. This is my point of view on the matter, and frankly debate or heated discussion is not in my vocabulary, too. Life is too good to waste my time on that.
    +++

  4. #4

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Some clarification please. Are your comments below directed at me (as could be interpreted from their proximity to my quotes) or are they somehow supporting my statements? If they are directed at me. I will say again and for the last time please read my posts and in context. If they are supporting my statements please indicate this because it could be read as selective quoting to feed a debate that does not exist.
    On an emotional level, I was dismayed that anyone would some how feel that their photographic technology path what under attack.
    Plus, the very premise of being in a position where someone feels, whether real or imagined, that they must be defensive indicates a sufficient insecurity of their own choices that a paranoia seems to set in.
    To be honest I do not feel strongly enough about this to lose sleep over but for new comers to the forum the above quotes in proximity to your own observations could give people the impression I am some kind of paranoid gear head and that could confuse them when I start sniggering at their 'L' glass and *D bodies

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    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Steve,

    No I am not directing anything at you, as you very clearly said "It makes no sense to me" when you referenced the argument of people having some need to justify their chosen artistic medium.

    I have edited things to prevent the potential of readers misunderstanding your position on the subject.

    I simply felt that the subject should have a thread all it's own.
    Last edited by Steaphany; 8th January 2011 at 02:49 AM.

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    I believe, we are all influenced by technology down to the core. I took up photography just over a year ago because it was something I did at school and then thought I abandoned for forty years, but knew it was a way of making exercise interesting, I had become sloth and depressed after an accident causing a brain injury.

    I saw technology as a way to cut out expensive darkroom costs; where I used cocktails of chemicals to adjust the appearance of an image, an enlarger with a timer and piece of card to selectively expose different parts of an image, where now a computer can do it all at a fraction of the cost.

    This gave me my big idea, since bigger is better in display terms, to try and emulate those fine paintings I used to admire at university during lunch break. Plasma screens, six feet wide images, different approach needed to succeed, no longer one subject but a main subject, all the time forgetting the viewer, a viewer who only sees thumbnails, who is influenced by the dramatic single subject that stands out in postage stamp size.

    In this age, people buy art over the INTERNET, and are likely to be more influenced by something that breaks up a dark corner of their room, that is dramatic enough, has been processed enough to be clinical and clean, to stand out in a crowd of thumbnails.

    The professional artist has to take note; or already be so well known their images will sell by name, and this drives popular opinion of what is good.

    Personally, I got a certain satisfaction from being able to do film, from taking the trouble to learn what the numbers on a lens means, from being able to load a medium format camera, take the pictures with uncertainty that they will even turn out.

    DSLR's have been successful because they enable photo's to be taken without any knowledge with instant gratification, and this was seen as a threat to professionals, and I think with good reason as far as wedding photography is concerned.

    Now I hear the mantra, it is more important to have an eye, but I think photography is a craft used by artists and everything is important.

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    i fell into a trap, i had a nikon D70S and wanted better pictures in low light, along came the D200 with astounding claims about better low light/higher iso pictures, there were lots of "wow i just got it and its unbelievable in low light" claims,
    so i bought one, although some buttons were placed well and more pixels it was still a so so camera with no better low light capabilities than its predecessor,
    when the D3 was nearing launch i did some serious research into its claims,( obviously a few cameras were sent out to people that could aid sales) admittedly i was blown away by the pictures, but only from people on the net that i had come to trust, pics taken at iso 6400 that didnt show hardly any noise, wow,
    anyway, it was all singing dancing and did what it said on the tin, now i dont need a replacement unless mr advertiser can persuade me that i am missing out on something that i never knew about, lol. cheers martyn (ps dont laugh, now its if your not HD video active then your lagging behind)

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Arith i tend to disagree with your last post on numerous points, for starters the pro's are only pro's because they make a living out of getting paid for their pictures, that doesn't make them better photographers than anyone else, in my view it just means they have more business sense, anyone can give away a photo for free and feel successful, the reality is to swap paper and inks for money and make a profit.

    I have seen progs on tv about wedding photographers that didn't have a clue but at the end of the day they are still pro's because they got paid for their services, you can make big pictures, anyone can make big pictures; the proof in the pudding is making big pictures that someone wants to buy and hang on their wall.

    In my view you have two choices; either go for individual pieces/limited editions and command a high price (if you are well known) or go the chinese route and let your images be mass produced for peanuts.

    Here in Notts we have both routes, people sell art at whatever price they ask, whilst others go the supermarket route and sell en mass.

    Cheers, martyn

    PS I know a few people that have sold out to the chinese market but I am still trying to find out how much they got paid.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 9th January 2011 at 04:17 PM. Reason: make easier to read

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    DSLR's have been successful because they enable photo's to be taken without any knowledge with instant gratification, and this was seen as a threat to professionals, and I think with good reason as far as wedding photography is concerned.
    Yes and no. Yes, the digital "revolution" may prove to be a threat to low-end wedding photographers (the ones that really don't know what they're doing, and compete solely on price), but in reality neither low-end wedding photographers nor "uncle Sam with a point and shoot" are proving to be much of a thorn in the side of the true professionals. After all, what does the P&S amateur / low end wedding tog know about lighting? What do they have in the way of lighting assistants? How much do they invest in equipment? In training? In running a wedding business?

    To the true professional, the "acme instant digital photographer" as about as much of a threat as "need for speed" on a Playstation is to NASCAR drivers, IMO.

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    I would say that technology in photography has actually put some distance between naturally good photographers and everyone else. There was a 'fear' some years ago that with so many digital cameras and learning methods available there would be too many photographers who would all be competing with one another, either at a professional or amateur level. There certainly are more 'photographers' around these days but they are just the ones who have gone out and purchased the gear and think they have 'arrived'. They haven't. There are more good to excellent photographers around, but not many, and those that are there just up their game by using their creativity a bit more to keep ahead of the new competition. That's how the distance is maintained.

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    We have gone through this discussion and beat it to death. Several times. My first experience with the discussion was in 1949, when the Brownie Hawkeye came out.

    When the first really good "consumer" cameras started hitting the market, everybody was an instant "Photographer" and the business side of the game was going to crash and burn. It didn't happen.

    When the TLRs got to be affordable, now the market for "Professionals" was going into the dumpster because anybody and everybody could take all the "Professional" quality pictures they wanted. It didn't happen.

    Then SLRs hit the market at affordable prices. Off we went, again.

    Now it is digital.

    I still say it is not the brush that makes the artist.

    Pops

  12. #12
    rob marshall

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    We have gone through this discussion and beat it to death. Several times. My first experience with the discussion was in 1949, when the Brownie Hawkeye came out.
    What size sensor did that have, Pops?

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    I'm reminded of a cartoon quote:

    Customer to Photographer: "Wow - your camera takes really nice photos"

    Photographer to Customer: "Thank you - your lips make really nice compliments"

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    I still say it is not the brush that makes the artist.
    Beautiful. Yet another 'Pops quote' that gets stored away for use in the future. I'm getting quite a collection of them now, Pops.

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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by nomadr View Post
    Arith i tend to disagree with your last post on numerous points,
    for starters the pro's are only pro's because they make a living out of getting paid for their pictures,
    that doesn't make them better photographers than anyone else, in my view it just means they have more business sense, anyone can give away a photo for free and feel successful,the reality is to swap paper and inks for money and make a profit,
    i have seen progs on tv about wedding photographers that didn't have a clue but at the end of the day they are still pro's because they got paid for their services ,
    you can make big pictures, anyone can make big pictures, the proof in the pudding is making big pictures that someone wants to buy and hang on their wall,
    in my view you have two choices, either go for individual pieces/limited editions and command a high price (if you are well known) or go the chinese route and let your images be mass produced for peanuts,
    here in Notts we have both routes, people sell art at whatever price they ask, whilst others go the supermarket route and sell en mass, cheers martyn ps i know a few people that have sold out to the chinese market but i am still trying to find out how much they got paid,
    ||I think the point was, you can't sell cheap because you can't be seen.||
    I don't ever hardly see anything that I didn't see done better fifty years ago, sometimes I do but it is usually a professional photo, not always but mostly from competitions I can see the most popular photo's are ones that have been photoshopped to death, the red sky, the sun in shot, a silhouette with hazy water done to the magic prescription long exposure.
    Seen it all before and it looks really good in a thumbnail; a big photo isn't an enlarged little photo though, everything is different. I printed a photo of a book today to A3 and it was one of the very few that I did thinking normal size eg 10" x 8" and quite frankly it is crap. I avoided printing a really good pic I have of a bridge, already printed to 36" x 24" approx because I know A3 is too small, instead I printed another one of the same bridge that turned out very nice.
    The point is you can't see what the photo is like until you see it at its intended size, large trees and shrubbery become less prominent in a bigger pic, where in small dimensions they overpower the image, to me anyway.
    I went in a gallery in Nottingham the other day, I was the only one there; presumably all the art buyers buy off the internet, looking through millions of thumbnails.
    As for wedding photography, it is so much wishful thinking to think true professionals will always succeed, unless you think there should only be one professional in each city, since the prices are either dirt cheap or ridiculously expensive.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Beautiful. Yet another 'Pops quote' that gets stored away for use in the future. I'm getting quite a collection of them now, Pops.
    Pops is really famous, he probably even knew Syd a special effects guru in Hollywood, who retired with his harem round here.

  17. #17
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Never met Syd. I was too busy watching his harem.

    Pops

  18. #18
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    He had a wife and a mistress his wife knew about, plus several others on the go when he was retired, so don't know what he was like when he was younger but he boasted about three day long drinking parties.

  19. #19

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    ...The trouble starts when an individual pushes his idea to someone that does not agree or appreciate it. I'd rather practice tolerance and let life flow around me. ...

    On the other hand, if I will confine the topic to photography, time and time again, without even being aware of how the image was shot, what equipment was used, the first thing that we all cannot refute is that we were moved by a certain image. From that reaction, we then try to find out how it was made. Now, if you or somebody got disappointed because some post-processing was done to it then we just missed the essence of photography itself - to create stunning and thought-provoking images regardless of how it was done. This is my point of view on the matter, and frankly debate or heated discussion is not in my vocabulary, too. Life is too good to waste my time on that.
    May I put it in my signature please?

  20. #20
    rob marshall

    Re: Perceived or Real Technological Pressures

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    May I put it in my signature please?
    Write small, you only get four lines.

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