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Author Topic: Is photography, today, still photography?  (Read 12290 times)

MattBurt

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2018, 12:52:28 pm »

Anything newer than a camera obscura just isn't pure enough for me.  8)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2018, 01:44:40 pm »

Anything newer than a camera obscura just isn't pure enough for me.  8)
+1.
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2018, 04:06:54 pm »

Film photography and digital photography are not comparable? I can think of lots of ways in which they are comparable. Sure they are different but they are certainly comparable.
.

To the extent that you can compare zebras and horses, yep, you have a point!

:-)

Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2018, 04:18:50 pm »

Anything newer than a camera obscura just isn't pure enough for me.  8)


You may be absolutely right. That original was all about light, but from then on it became wedded to chemistry. Today, chemistry has been divorced (or murdered out in the bad side of town) and the new, virtual belle dame ensconced upon the bed.

I wonder who will turf her out in fifteen minutes?

MattBurt

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2018, 04:55:14 pm »

Or now the chemistry just happens early in the process, when the camera is manufactured.
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Tony Jay

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2018, 07:25:37 pm »

.

To the extent that you can compare zebras and horses, yep, you have a point!

:-)
Completely unaware that a zebra is, in fact, a type of horse!
Yes, every zebra belongs to the genus Equus, as does every horse.
If a horse is a horse then a zebra is also a type of horse...

So, in fact, horses and zebras ARE directly comparable, which goes a long way to cast doubt on most of your philosiphizing on photography...
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RSL

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2018, 07:43:35 pm »

Exactly, Tony! That sums up the whole situation. ;D ;D
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2018, 03:46:31 am »

Completely unaware that a zebra is, in fact, a type of horse!
Yes, every zebra belongs to the genus Equus, as does every horse.
If a horse is a horse then a zebra is also a type of horse...

So, in fact, horses and zebras ARE directly comparable, which goes a long way to cast doubt on most of your philosiphizing on photography...

As a film camera is similar to a digital camera. But there it stops, as with the two quadrupeds.

The discussion - well, what I'd hoped would be one - is to do with what happens after pressing that magical button. That's where, with digital, the essential play of light ends, and another sort of science takes over completely.

So, sorry, but not as cut and dried as you'd dismissively wished.

;-)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 03:52:04 am by Rob C »
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Ivo_B

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #68 on: August 15, 2018, 04:19:32 am »

As a film camera is similar to a digital camera. But there it stops, as with the two quadrupeds.

The discussion - well, what I'd hoped would be one - is to do with what happens after pressing that magical button. That's where, with digital, the essential play of light ends, and another sort of science takes over completely.

So, sorry, but not as cut and dried as you'd dismissively wished.

;-)

This is a very precise question and about the analogue vs digital workflow. It is about 'le métier'. It is not only about crayons vs oil paint.....

Story about my time as engineer: We had a drawing office. When we had a design we went to the drawing office. 20 Draftsmen standing on slanted tables fiddling around with Steadler or Rotring pens and pigment inkt. A week later we commented on the drawing with a red pencil and returned the corrected drawing to the drawing office. In the cafeteria we laughed about the brainless draftsmen and had an arsenal of jokes how design could go wrong thanks to drawing errors. Then, the PC came and AutoCAD dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen became poor engineers and the good engineers became poor auto cad designers.
Recognize the story?
I remember standing in de que waiting in the lab to get the uncut mid formats and holding it on the light table, selecting and marking up with my marker en eventually direct ordering prints of the clear winners. Week later judging the prints and pushing them back over the counter with a 'how is this possible' attitude.
And then , the PC came and AutoCAD Photoshop dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen photographers became poor engineers Post Processors and the good engineers keen photoshoppers became poor auto cad designers Photographers.


...
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2018, 05:49:13 am »

This is a very precise question and about the analogue vs digital workflow. It is about 'le métier'. It is not only about crayons vs oil paint.....

Story about my time as engineer: We had a drawing office. When we had a design we went to the drawing office. 20 Draftsmen standing on slanted tables fiddling around with Steadler or Rotring pens and pigment inkt. A week later we commented on the drawing with a red pencil and returned the corrected drawing to the drawing office. In the cafeteria we laughed about the brainless draftsmen and had an arsenal of jokes how design could go wrong thanks to drawing errors. Then, the PC came and AutoCAD dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen became poor engineers and the good engineers became poor auto cad designers.
Recognize the story?
I remember standing in de que waiting in the lab to get the uncut mid formats and holding it on the light table, selecting and marking up with my marker en eventually direct ordering prints of the clear winners. Week later judging the prints and pushing them back over the counter with a 'how is this possible' attitude.
And then , the PC came and AutoCAD Photoshop dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen photographers became poor engineers Post Processors and the good engineers keen photoshoppers became poor auto cad designers Photographers.


...



Thank you Ivo; you and Oscar got it from the beginning.
............................................................

"So where is photography today, for those of us not doing it for the money?

I think that, in general, it has become a very different beast, with its prime objective no longer that little - or large - piece of photographic paper bearing testimony to the pleasure or expression of artistic appreciation a moment once gave, a feeling strong enough to make us knowingly expend time, effort and money in pursuit of it; I think it has become another creature altogether, one far more light, that seeks only to be remembered for five seconds at best.

Having written that is not to preclude those who simply use the medium as they did or would have done with film, from just going on as before, creating pictures that they love and enjoy, regardless of medium.

What has altered, though, is that for both kinds of photographer, the opportunity for experimentation is far greater than ever it was. And I think that's the crucial aspect: one should learn to forget about the innate characteristics of film grain and so forth, and just use the digital route for what it offers instead, which is low cost, unlimited opportunity to mess about, and within a different photographic experience altogether. It's in the constant comparison of one medium with the other that the older photographer might find continuing frustration.

The musical analogy with score and the interpretation of it has never been more relevant than today, where our chances of coming up with a pleasing, personal take on something is far higher than it was before the advent of digital. Instead of wasting expensive sheets of paper, test strips notwithstanding, we can today sit on our collective ass, look at a screen and alter, adapt, add, subract and lie through our visual teeth until we reach the point where we feel we may have accomplished something worth showing.

Unfortunately though, none of this alters the fact that we will always need to have somethig inside us that we can express visually. If that's not there, we are left as voiceless as ever we were.

So yes, I think photograhy is now something else, and that its "drawing with light" sentiment is of the past, more drawing been done in the computer than in any camera."

...


I took the opportunity of quoting the above part of the OP.

Even a rapìd reading of it should illustrate just how little understood it has been, and how diverted the discussion that followed became. It turned into a fight about tools and how similar tools are insofar as cameras are concerned, said similarity of them becoming the topic in the mind of some, rather than the topic being about what it had been meant to be: about the heart and the soul of the practice and where it could be, and seems to be going today.

Perhaps that's not really surprising. I don't think that matters to very many people, not just here, but, with rare exceptions, anywhere in "photography" as found in the Internet.

Perhaps it was a mistake to start a thread on a topic which is actually fairly close to the topic of art, therefore difficult in the extreme to change from a thought in the mind to words on a page: it is not literary, it is visceral.

I won't  close this thread, because I'm sure it has space to run, and some may enjoy that. But for myself, I think I have tried to express my point of view on the matter as clearly as I can, and that is obviously not well enough, so I don't see a lot of point repeating myself until we all fall asleeep.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 05:55:56 am by Rob C »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #70 on: August 15, 2018, 07:27:52 am »

If you don’t mind me asking Rob.

You were a commercial photographer right. How much film processing did you do? How much black and white printing and how much colour printing? Since digital how much image processing on a computer do you do? How much stitching, blending and digital printing?

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elliot_n

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #71 on: August 15, 2018, 07:39:18 am »

Rob, I’m sorry you feel misunderstood. I’ve re-read your original post and the thrust of it seems to be that photographers should overcome the trauma of the advent of digital and embrace the sophisticated toolset that digital provides. Ivo rightly pointed out that most of us went through this process many years ago. You may have been hoping for a discussion about ‘the heart and the soul’ of contemporary photographic practice, but your original post is entirely framed by technical considerations (darkroom vs lightroom). It is hardly surprising that subsequent comments focused on the perceived similarities and differences between an analogue and digital workflow.
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fdisilvestro

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #72 on: August 15, 2018, 08:37:58 am »

This is a very precise question and about the analogue vs digital workflow. It is about 'le métier'. It is not only about crayons vs oil paint.....

Story about my time as engineer: We had a drawing office. When we had a design we went to the drawing office. 20 Draftsmen standing on slanted tables fiddling around with Steadler or Rotring pens and pigment inkt. A week later we commented on the drawing with a red pencil and returned the corrected drawing to the drawing office. In the cafeteria we laughed about the brainless draftsmen and had an arsenal of jokes how design could go wrong thanks to drawing errors. Then, the PC came and AutoCAD dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen became poor engineers and the good engineers became poor auto cad designers.
Recognize the story?
I remember standing in de que waiting in the lab to get the uncut mid formats and holding it on the light table, selecting and marking up with my marker en eventually direct ordering prints of the clear winners. Week later judging the prints and pushing them back over the counter with a 'how is this possible' attitude.
And then , the PC came and AutoCAD Photoshop dropped a massive pile of 'new' work on our table. The better draftsmen photographers became poor engineers Post Processors and the good engineers keen photoshoppers became poor auto cad designers Photographers.


...

I think that is true during the transition from old to new technologies. After a while a new way to do things emerge and the old way of dividing tasks and roles no longer holds. A big issue is that in many cases the education system (both Universities and Techical institutes) lags behind the new way to to things in industry

Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #73 on: August 15, 2018, 09:57:05 am »

If you don’t mind me asking Rob.

You were a commercial photographer right. How much film processing did you do? How much black and white printing and how much colour printing? Since digital how much image processing on a computer do you do? How much stitching, blending and digital printing?



No, I don't at all mind you asking.

In 1960 I switched, in my fourth year of an engineering apprenticeship, to the photographic unit of the same aero-engine company.

I immediately learned that I, a guy with his own home darkroom - roomy, primitive but viable - didn't actually know how to print very well. I soon learned how to do what I didn't know could be done, and after the first couple of years I got switched to the colour department where I had to learn how to process Extachrome and colour negs too, and to colour print, often making inter-negs from 16mm motion strips.

The great benefit and bonus of working in that industrial unit was this: it was considered a service unit, and nobody gave a damn how much material you consumed, just get the damned print right! Once you had it, you often had to repeat it to the extent that you were developing thirty of those black and white mothers at a time in a dish, perhaps twice, and they all had to match. Fun, when you know how. The difficulty was if you smoked, and we all did: you couldn't get the thing out of your mouth because your fingers were soaking...

I had gone there with the intention of being a photographer, but I realised I was more valuable to the unit in their two darkrooms, so I thought about that, and then left. During those years, I must have made at least several hundreds of prints a week.

From there, I went to a commercial advertising studio for a short while, and learned the second big lesson of my photo-life: if you want to enjoy photography, do the type of work you want to do, and earn some money, you have to be self-employed. In 1966 I managed to go solo, and never worked for another boss again.

The first few years on my own I did mostly black/white photography and colour transparency work. I did all my own printing, obviously enough - as all of us did (you couldn't have a business then without a studio and a darkroom of your own); I knew better than to attempt my own colour lines because I would never have had the throughput for it to make sense. Which, when I had to produce colour prints, pissed me off royally, because I knew that all the bloody labs had to do was run one more filtration test and they would have got there to where I intended. The fights always ended with what was, and I quote: "commercially acceptable". I ran into exactly the same thing when I was producing calendars and insisted on presenting the client with machine prints and not Cromalin proofs. I guess I became a pain in the commercial ass - the hunt for perfection usually does that when others have to be involved. But I guess they thought about the business I was bringing with me...

From about the end of the 70s I used almost nothing else than Ektachrome in the Hasselbads and Kodachrome in the Nikons.

I retired just about when digital began to happen seriously - mid to late 80s? - so never worked with it professionally.

....................

Today.  Stitching: none; I have no interest in that kind of photography. Everything on the website was, obviously, scanned from film on my delighful little CanoScan FS 4000 US, or shot digitally.

The point, the driving force to the writing of my OP, was actually brought to my mind by my realisation that I was no longer doing straight digital pictures, making images much as I would have done using film; I found myself going into blending different, specially shot bits and pieces, into the main images in order to create something that never did exist but that would not look artificial and so disappoint me.

To answer a question you did not ask: were I working digitally today, in the same fashion and calendar market, it would not be much about creating imaginary scenarios: I would be into retouching mosquito bites and loose threads on dresses! That would mark the limit to the difference digital was making. X-Ray, of course, is something else, and always, except once in Spain, I managed to have it all hand-searched.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 10:01:12 am by Rob C »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #74 on: August 15, 2018, 10:32:41 am »

Thanks Rob. What an awesome answer. I do appreciate it. I wasn’t asking the question to poke holes in your point of view. I wanted a bit of background so my reply could be framed better.

I also worked in an industrial grade image processing environment. I also served a mentorship, to a man about your age. I learnt a great deal from him as you can imagine. I still see him for coffee now and again, and he phones me for advice on quoting sometimes. He is in his 80’s and still does some work.

Anyway. Here is how it is for me. I shot film for 20 years. Began digital in 1995 and  stopped shooting any film in 1998. When I sit down in front of my image processing work station with my Epson 11880 and 4880 alongside me my emotional response is much as it was in a darkroom. A quiet methodical pleasant place. A podcast instead of the radio, a computer instead of an enlarger. I have systems in place and a methodical workflow. It feels the same to me as a darkroom on a visceral level. I massage and sometimes beat images into the desired shape. I usually have a predetermined outcome in mind but I try to be open to mistakes and inspiration as I work. I hang finished work prints with clips onto a wire rail system on the wall. I try to be tidy but I trash the place as I work much as I did in a darkroom. I always tidy up before leaving. As my darkroom was my happy place so is my lightroom now. After a shoot I am often a bit tired and I will sit down and import files from the day. The same excitement and trepidation as I do a quick scan to see what I have as I used to get first glimpse as I pulled the roll of wet film off the reel and held it still dripping up to the light.

My point is for me is at a level below the technology, deeper than pixels and silver halide, the process continues bringing a type of release not dissimilar to a good meditation session.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #75 on: August 15, 2018, 10:43:19 am »

Rob, if I may attempt to summarize your stance in just a few words: you are basically saying there is enough difference between “drawing with light” and “drawing with computers” to justify the name (and essence?) change from “photography” to, perhaps (suggestion mine), “photographic imaging.” How close am I?

KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #76 on: August 15, 2018, 11:08:09 am »

Interesting discussion, but the rest of the world - apart from a bunch of pedantic togs - will continue referring to photos, pics, snaps and selfies regardless of how they are made.

;-)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 11:11:24 am by KLaban »
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #77 on: August 15, 2018, 12:28:30 pm »

Rob, if I may attempt to summarize your stance in just a few words: you are basically saying there is enough difference between “drawing with light” and “drawing with computers” to justify the name (and essence?) change from “photography” to, perhaps (suggestion mine), “photographic imaging.” How close am I?


It's called the bull's eye.

Why didn't I think of that sentence? It would have saved me hours!

:-)

fdisilvestro

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #78 on: August 15, 2018, 04:02:04 pm »


It's called the bull's eye.

Why didn't I think of that sentence? It would have saved me hours!

:-)

Now we can go back and take photos with our cameras and add the steroids, sorry I mean create images, in the computer  ;)

farbschlurf

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #79 on: August 20, 2018, 02:57:49 pm »

Only now I read all that, I was off for some days. Fascinating thread. Don't know whether it's a good idea to put in something more, potentially leading away, but I immediately had two thoughts when going through it all. Both build up on the stressed "digital imaging" Slobodan brought up, again.

The first thing I immediately got reminded of was the story of an artist and former (!) photographer I once met. It was 10 years ago, he was in his 70s back than. This artist told me he totally gave up photography for "digital imaging". He used to shoot nudes, and groups of nudes, in rather weird "configurations". Not what you might think, but still must have been pretty exhausting for his models. He told me one day he discovered "Poser". After some years and progress of his skills and probably program updates he slipped more and more into creating his visions in Poser (or perhaps other software) rather than making photos and - of course - after a while he found he is not any longer limited to the rules of science and physics that way. For him this was a real liberation.

The second thought is a bit more critical. Probably most of you follow the discussion about a possible "anti-photoshop-law". Obviously in the commercial world photography and digital imaging blend in each other for a long time now. Probably nobody knows better than the audience right here. It's just wanted and the way it is, elongated legs, thinner hips and all of that. I guess that's a rather negative example of how that possible liberation from the "real world" is being used. And basically we know, almost every commercially published "photo" today is rather a "digital image".

Just my 2ct, too bad being late to the party. Best discussion since long! Thanks.
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