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Old May 8, 2010, 3:22 PM   #1
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Default Is Photography over ?

Very interesting, thought provoking article that I read in Steve's news.


The gist of the article is of course has digital killed photography ? I suppose some feel it has, some don't.

In my case digital has greatly enhanced photography for me and in my view for many others.

I have been a photography buff since 19 and 68 (seems like I started during the medieval period ) when at 18 I bought my first good camera...an SLR...a Pentax S1a. Still have it today, still works.

Since 2004 I have had digital...first a Panasonic Lumix with Leitz lens...now a Pentax K10D and KM with a plethora of lenses.

Even though I'm older, I have taken to digital as a duck takes to water.

My involvement with photography has flourished much more then back in the old film days.

Back in the film days, I owned (still have) film Mamiya medium format, a Leica Rangefinder, assortment of Pentax film slr's, Olympus, etc.

But to me I'm just happy I'm still alive and kicking during the digital camera era.

Reasons why :

  • Film/ print cost was a killer if you took lot's of pix. With digital I click away, oblivious to the number of pix I'm taking. Chalk one point for digital.
  • I find that the more pix I take...the better photographer I have become . I take a lot more with my digital, then I ever did with my film cameras.
  • Immediate view. I can see what my pix looks like right away on my little back screen. Does it look ok...did I get everyone in the pix...how does that mountain look...did Jerry's new car show in the pix, like it did in my mind's eye ?
  • Live view...which I don't have yet...but I can see advantages to this feature ...see what I want to get in the larger back viewfinder, then click.
  • I can see what pix I've taken by checking out the back screen immediately...then correcting my aperture, shutter speed, metering for the next pix. In film I might not see my pix for weeks...then of course I would forget what I did, or did wrong.
  • I know some film aficionados say that you can't get the same sensitivity in digital as you can with film...I dunno...don't see that at all. I would have to disagree.
All these features are nice in themselves, but they have improved my photography by allowing me to photograph, photograph and photograph. The result has been ...better pictures.....better art....

To me, digital has provided an excellent opportunity for improving photography, increasing photography.

I think digital is the greatest thing to hit photography, since Kodak brought out out their first successful consumer camera well over a century ago.

In fact I would say that film is almost well and truly dead....long live the new King...digital.

Last edited by lesmore49; May 8, 2010 at 5:39 PM.
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Old May 8, 2010, 3:30 PM   #2
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I concur, heartily. While not really getting into it until about 3 years ago, the thing that kept me away (mostly) was the cost of printing. Then, the discouragement when, after paying to get them printed, the photos weren't anywhere NEAR what I expected they would be. SLR was a luxury for the professionals or the wealthy. While still pricey, it's nowhere near what it was "back then".
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Old May 8, 2010, 3:54 PM   #3
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I personally love the digital age..... I'm a techno geek (one of my nicknames is gadget man due to the number of digital cameras, radio controlled 'toys', gps/sat nav, phones, games consoles etc that I have), so this is an awesom time to be into photography. I always liked photography back when I shot film, but still had to have gadgets, my favorite was the eye control focus system of the Canon EOS 50e, EOS 5 and EOS 3 (sorry not sure what they are called in the US or Japan), this rocked, I could look at a focus point and thats where it focused, I want this in digital please Canon. However that's about all the technology I could get excited about, now there is much more.

Geting away from the toys side of things, I love the way that it has brought more and more people into photography and for the growth in sites like Steve's that really helped me raise my game, and help me every day to improve. When shooting film I didn't have even 1% of the knowledge I have now, and must admit I quite fancy picking up a film body so that I can put some of the techniques into practise along with using my better glass.

So what do we have? More people snapping photos, admittedly many are just that, snaps, but there are lots that will get the bug and improve. A great things on the back of this is parents don't mind children photographing. I remember when young it was a great privilege to be allowed to take a photo due to the cost involved, but it did mean that I took time to get it right (well as right as I could), now a child can snap away and people can quickly see if there is a talent emerging that might have been missed. I think things like Facebook have been a great outlet as well, as people can share what they are snapping with their friends, and friends of friends all over the world, this boosts how much a photo is viewed. Just think, how many people saw a photo when we shot film? 5, 10??? Now 1,000s are, how cool is that?!?!?

So digital rocks, in fact all photography rocks and to end Steve's rocks!!!

Happy snapping
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Old May 8, 2010, 4:55 PM   #4
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Well, in a way, digital has killed photography.
As a realm of esoteric knowledge available only to those initiates who have the time and financial resources to either pursue it as a high-end hobby, or the professionals.
As a specialized art form.

But digital has revitalized photography for the much larger group of people who use it to record the times of their lives. The artists get along with digital as well or better than they did with film - developing and processing are less intrusive now.

Film sales have taken a nose dive, but (my guess) printing businesses are doing better than ever, in spite of the numbers who keep everything in electronic form.

So, my conclusion is that photography hasn't died at all, just metamorphosed into something different. Less exclusive.

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Old May 8, 2010, 5:57 PM   #5
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From Merriam-Webster:

pho-'tog-ra-phy noun : the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or a CCD chip)

There certainly isn't much to go on in that article, but since it was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, they were probably talking about photography as art. So, from Merriam-Webster:

art noun : 1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation 2 a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : liberal arts b archaic : learning, scholarship 3 : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill 4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art 4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art

So, no. In fact, to a great extend, photography is just getting started!
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old May 8, 2010, 8:32 PM   #6
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I think it was Picaso who said, "Art is in the eye of the checkbook holder."
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Old May 8, 2010, 9:19 PM   #7
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I was looking at some slides i had shot when my children were born over 30 years ago and was appalled by the poor exposure results I was getting on the Ektachromes with the Minolta SRT-101. It was match needle for daylight and use the flash exposure calculation dial for the distance, after guessing the distance, for flash!

My Nikon D300 has a much better exposure system for both daylight and flash and by shooting raw I can tweak the discrepancies quite well!

I also agree that taking more photos and examining them critically has made me a better photographer.
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Old May 8, 2010, 9:41 PM   #8
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I think that for new comers, the digital age enables them to improve much more quickly.
Previously, if you were serious about learning, you had to take the shots, record in a notebook(paper and pencil!!!) what you did, then wait for the prints. THEN you had to figure out if the exposure was bad, or if the printing was the culprit. Taking slides made that part of it easier, but slides make it harder to examine the result closely(if you don't have a projector, loupe, etc.

With prints, I made the first shot a grey-card (gray-card), and asked them to print the same as the grey-card.

With digital, you don't need a notebook, because all of the exif data is there. You can bracket the aperture, then study how the DOF turns out.
Without getting "snap happy", I find I am more likely to experiment with composition, DOF & exposure etc, because I don't feel like I'm "wasting film".

I think the digital age, rather than destroying photography, has in some cases made more people more creative....
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Old May 8, 2010, 9:49 PM   #9
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Photography is exploding like never before. It has become an unstopable social phenomena and unveiled lots of hidden talents from common people. Even old reputable media as National Geographic are publishing a collection of amateur amazing picks. This is getting better every day.
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Old May 9, 2010, 5:54 AM   #10
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I was just about raised in dad's corner-of-the-garage darkroom (next to the big HO train layout), inhaling chemical fumes whilst listening to opera on his National kit receiver. That was rather more than 1/2 century ago. Later, my own darkrooms, both for fun and as a working photographer. Later yet, without a darkroom, I did much less serious shooting but much more computing -- I soldered together my first micro around 1980, a HeathKit H8 system. Then camcorders; from 2001, my first digital cam. My database shows I have 30 film cams and 8 digicams at the moment, which is a good start, eh? And I'm otherwise surrounded by laptops, A/V synths, monitors, sundry other electronics and optics. Having worked in hardware and software engineering, I can thus proclaim myself a GEARHEAD.

Photography ain't like it was (and it never is). Dad did fine semi-pro shooting for decades with a Minolta Autocord 6x6; I later used a YashicaMat 124G. Verichrome Pan; filters; hand-metering; look and think and shoot; soup the film; print and print. The lab work made it all real. But is monkish withdrawal to a darkroom necessary for 'real' photography? Digital needn't be done in darkness, but so often leaves no paper trail, no evidence of its existence beyond flickering phosphors and glowing LCD's.

A few years ago, armed with 1mpx and 5mpx digicams, I drove from Arizona to Guatemala (part of a Honduras-Alaska expedition). On the shore of Lake Atitlan I encountered a photo prof from UC Berkeley and his lady, an art prof from Lima Peru. We discussed photography and art, duh? I bitched that digital was inferior to film photography, mostly because of limited resolution and dynamic range. He replied, ART DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE PIXELS. Aha! Insight! Some of the most famous and striking photos in history are grainy blurry blobs that yet convey and communicate. The important question isn't, does it look good? but rather, does is grab your eyeballs? That's the acid test for any captured (and manipulated) image.

Is photography over? I have my doubts about nature photography. It's been DONE. Just about every f**king tree and flower and lion and elephant has been shot in every conceivable way. And they'll all be shot again with newer technologies: 3D-holo, ultra-res, spectrum-sliced, etc. And people will keep shooting nature because it's there and because it's fun, not because they necessarily have anything new to convey and communicate. Will snapshooters and pros and naturalists and artists continue to produce nature images ranging from the sublime to the gorblimey? Yup.

Is photography over? More and more digicams in all price ranges are sold and used, and not all the old ones are thrown away; and cellphones are cameras, and surveillance cams are ubiquitous; and I foresee a time (soon) when we record images and sounds of everything around us, all our interactions -- will this still be photography? If so, we'll be immersed in it up to our eyeballs and beyond. It'll be art and garbage and memory and evidence, and it won't go away. Photography isn't over; it's barely begun.
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