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Author Topic: RE: Image Disembodiment  (Read 25046 times)
BruceHouston
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« on: August 15, 2008, 04:31:04 PM »
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Very nice article, Bernard, following the ever popular path of "futurist predictions."  Of course digital picture frames will get better and cheaper and will become more popular as a result.  (They better; currently their size, resolutions, and dynamic ranges make them a joke.)  But don't run out and sell your Epson anytime soon.

Read Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium Is the Message" (required reading in college freshman English during the 60's when I was coming up) and you may change your mind about your prediction that luminescent pixels will largely replace paper-based ink pixels.  Why have electronic "readers" made virtually no inroads whatsoever into the market for books?  Why has television not rendered the movie theatre extinct (and why are iPods not likely to do so either)?  Why is television not an effective substitute for live theatre?  The short answer to all these questions is that each medium modifies the base content and delivers to our consciousness content that is different from the base content.  (Read McLuhan for the more comprehensive explanantion, written in his beautiful prosaic style.)

Your analogy to the quantum shift in methods of music distribution is not parallel, because that shift relates to the delivery of music to the presentation device and not to the means of presentation of the music to our senses.  The latter devices, speaker systems and earphones, have not changed appreciably for decades.

Best regards,
Bruce
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JJP
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 05:22:42 PM »
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Regarding the main driving force behind the development of display technology and death of paper:
IMO, you can find what that is by purchasing a 60's album by the roling stones in a song called I can't get no satisfaction.
It's not man's desire for progress that is driving things forward, but man's desire for having things now and man's in-ability to be satisfied with status quo, or material things for that matter.
Hopefully I'm not to far off topic or hyjacking your thread.
jj
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JJ
Tim Gray
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008, 06:20:26 PM »
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Very nice article, Bernard, following the ever popular path of "futurist predictions."  Of course digital picture frames will get better and cheaper and will become more popular as a result.  (They better; currently their size, resolutions, and dynamic ranges make them a joke.)  But don't run out and sell your Epson anytime soon.

Read Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium Is the Message" (required reading in college freshman English during the 60's when I was coming up) and you may change your mind about your prediction that luminescent pixels will largely replace paper-based ink pixels.  Why have electronic "readers" made virtually no inroads whatsoever into the market for books?  Why has television not rendered the movie theatre extinct (and why are iPods not likely to do so either)?  Why is television not an effective substitute for live theatre?  The short answer to all these questions is that each medium modifies the base content and delivers to our consciousness content that is different from the base content.  (Read McLuhan for the more comprehensive explanantion, written in his beautiful prosaic style.)

Your analogy to the quantum shift in methods of music distribution is not parallel, because that shift relates to the delivery of music to the presentation device and not to the means of presentation of the music to our senses.  The latter devices, speaker systems and earphones, have not changed appreciably for decades.

Best regards,
Bruce
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I think Bernard is a lot more right than wrong.  Electronic books are at the early stages of the power curve, and adoption will continue to grow exponentially.  In the early stages of adoption that power curve is hard to identify since in terms of the overall total consumer market selling 1 one quarter, 2 the next, 4 the next and 8 the next etc. etc. isn't really newsworthy.  The analysts are already admitting they underestimated the sales and short term growth potential for the Kindle by a factor of 2.  

For me, and a large number of my acquaintances, High Def wide screen PVR TV has in fact replaced movies.  The extent to which movies are still somewhat popular is driven largely by investments in blockbusters (the movie "long tail" migrated to home viewing on a TV a long long time ago) as well as the fact that getting out of the house for an evening is often the primary objective, with the movie only secondary.  

I think electronic frames are, in fact, a good substitute for the snapshots that used to be pinned to the wall.  I expect that sooner or later the traditional large fine art print will be the same.  Of course we'll always have museums for the "real thing"  

Like you, I read McLuhan in the 60's - Kurzweil's Singularity is Near is an interesting read for this millennium.
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dchew
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2008, 06:48:43 PM »
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The part that facinates (scares?) me is the idea which has been around in music forever:  The Re-make.  Something that has always been taboo in many other forms of art.  Bernard hints at this here:  

"We have already seen that the authoring environment of the photographer sort of will become one with the viewing environment of the viewer. What if the viewer is another artist? What if authoring is possible on both or multiple ends? You have de facto created a wonderful virtual art creation platform that will go beyond photography. You have a virtual canvas spreading across continental divides."

Will it be alright for me to take another's image, adjust it (convert to B&W, add a tone, remove some saturation, change the color balance...), then re-introduce it as my interpretation?  Will I need the original photographer's permission?  

Ugh.

Dave Chew
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trainzman
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2008, 07:02:06 PM »
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Interesting that on a more pedestrian level, I have been seriously thinking of getting a quality photo-frame to display some of my many images.  So many are languishing in my hard drive that to print even a small fraction would not only be prohibitively expensive, I wouldn't have the wall space to hang them even it they were to be printed. Not only can a single photo-frame cycle through a multitude of images, it can even show short video clips and play sound, something that even the most advanced paper print would have a hard time duplicating.

Another great plus is that it is very portable so that I can easily bring it along on visits to friends to show some highlights of recent photographic adventures.

The only thing that would still be difficult to do would be to carry a small snap shot in your wallet but with advances in OLED technology and flexible displays, that too might soon be possible.  
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jackmacd
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2008, 07:25:56 PM »
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Very interesting article and thought process. Just the other day I was admiring the view of a 30" monitor and wishing I could buy three of them to display my panoramas in three segments in what is essentially a 16"x60" display. The cost would not be that much of a multiple of the cost of framing the panorama. But we are not too far from having full wall sized gigpixel screens. We will still to prints, but the best work will be shown illuminated.
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Rusty
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 11:38:50 PM »
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I love this site. I always look forward to checking the latest and enjoyed Bernard's article. Good stuff and discussion worthy.
FAS in the home, perhaps for some. FAS in gallerys, offices, public spaces and shopping malls, certainly. Slide shows and video are available now through the device you are looking at now. There is a time and place for the constantly changing visual feast.
I had the priviledge of growing up surrounded by fine artwork in my parent's house and now in mine. Some of these pieces offer something new each time I look at it. To me fine art is contemplative and something to be enjoyed again and again while living with it. Will FAS replace that? Not for me, YMMV.
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Pete JF
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 12:58:05 AM »
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Just what the world needs, another electrical device sucking the juice to tame our need for folly. The threshold of boredom arrives quickly as we grow tired of all the crap in our cribbs.

My youngest son (16) told me today he wanted to become a "green" architect, pretty cool.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 01:43:14 AM »
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Hi,

I agree with Bernard, mostly. Todays TFT displays have a dynamic range that cannot be reached on reflective media. It's essentially like the transparency vs. print.

In a sense we are already there, I guess that 95% of the pictures common man takes never get printed.

I don't see JPEGS selling for 300 kUSD at Christie's, however. I think that a certain amount of uniqueness belongs to gallery art. I'll also suspect that Giclees will have a higher pricer point than Inkjet prints, by the way ;-)

Regarding technology adoption i think it depends the factors cost, convenience and to a lesser extent quality. Especially in photography we have seen that good enough but convenient and economically feasible printing methods replaced better but more expensive or inconvenient methods. Dye transfer is probably still one of the best methods for maximum quality but very few have the craftsmanship it takes. Even the best dye transfer artist may need a working day for a single print. So dye transfer is inconvenient and for that reason is going to die out.

Once display technology offers the minimum quality needed it will win, if it's convenient and cheap enough.

One thing to keep in mind is that "Silicon is expensive but pixels are free". There is a certain cost related to the size of the display, but cost of a display of that size is probably very little dependent on the number of pixels. This is not really true for motion pictures because you need quite a lot of computer power to feed a high res motion display with data but it would hold for displays intended for pictures.

I expect displays to improve in quite a few areas. We probably can live with the color gamut we have, but wider gamut would probably be a desirable feature. We have very few displays, if any, that can match the resolution of a digital camera.

One thing to keep in mind is that picture presentation is quite expensive.

- To begin you need wall area
- Then you need lighting on the wall are
- Framing and mounting pictures is not exactly free
- Antireflex coated glass is very expensive and it may be needed if you want to present your pictures behind glass
- Paper and inks also cost

With the above costs on mind using flat displays for presentation may be economically advantageous.

Once the advantages of one technology outweigh the disadvantages at an acceptable cost the market tends to flip. Compare with digital photography. Now photographic film is often no longer in stock but a special order item and has anyone found a buyer for an enlarger recently?


Best regards
Erik


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Very nice article, Bernard, following the ever popular path of "futurist predictions."  Of course digital picture frames will get better and cheaper and will become more popular as a result.  (They better; currently their size, resolutions, and dynamic ranges make them a joke.)  But don't run out and sell your Epson anytime soon.

Read Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium Is the Message" (required reading in college freshman English during the 60's when I was coming up) and you may change your mind about your prediction that luminescent pixels will largely replace paper-based ink pixels.  Why have electronic "readers" made virtually no inroads whatsoever into the market for books?  Why has television not rendered the movie theatre extinct (and why are iPods not likely to do so either)?  Why is television not an effective substitute for live theatre?  The short answer to all these questions is that each medium modifies the base content and delivers to our consciousness content that is different from the base content.  (Read McLuhan for the more comprehensive explanantion, written in his beautiful prosaic style.)

Your analogy to the quantum shift in methods of music distribution is not parallel, because that shift relates to the delivery of music to the presentation device and not to the means of presentation of the music to our senses.  The latter devices, speaker systems and earphones, have not changed appreciably for decades.

Best regards,
Bruce
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« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 06:21:07 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2008, 02:52:18 AM »
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Hi!

I respect your opinion, but I feel that you have a negative attitude to development. I'd also would like to point out that displaying good quality prints takes a lot of illumination, and that god illumination essentially is incandescent  lighting (because of the spectral characteristics needed for correct reproduction of color) so it also sucks juice.

Erik

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Just what the world needs, another electrical device sucking the juice to tame our need for folly. The threshold of boredom arrives quickly as we grow tired of all the crap in our cribbs.

My youngest son (16) told me today he wanted to become a "green" architect, pretty cool.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=215405\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 02:53:02 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Kevin Gallagher
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2008, 05:02:02 AM »
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Enjoyed your article Bernard, I believe that paper will be with us for quite some time (otherwise Epson, HP, et al will be very upset!!) however with that said I recently purchased an Apple TV box after reading a piece about it in a recent Outdoor Photographer magazine. It took all of 90 seconds to set up and while I'm fairly sure the "your photos" feature wasn't intended to be it's selling point, it is amazing! Now my HDTV acts like an ever changing display of my photos, it's rendering of them (in HD BTW) is superb, there is the occasional glitch in that an image that was intended to be displayed in portrait orientation is displayed instead in landscape mode but these are very few. When not actively displaying a slide show of selected shots it can be configured to display thumbnails of your library in an ever moving, swirling pattern. As an added benefit, it's great for showing off images to customers in a very relaxed and comfortable setting.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2008, 05:07:53 AM »
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Bernard, I couldnīt disagree more with your Orwellian view of the future. I have no doubt that such devices will happen - digital did, in my view an answer looking for a problem - but you are missing the point about collectors: exclusive, speculative and essentially financial decisions about purchase, where even the little matter of who printed the image makes a huge difference in perceived value. The Mona Lisa wouldnīt be worth what it is were it but a light show on a gallery wall....

Anyway, printing a picture is part of the quest for the Holy Grail for many photographers; particularly now, where traditional photographic means have become, as you indicate, niche. But it is niche that gives cachet.

Rob C
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2008, 07:12:21 AM »
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Bernard, I couldnīt disagree more with your Orwellian view of the future. I have no doubt that such devices will happen - digital did, in my view an answer looking for a problem - but you are missing the point about collectors: exclusive, speculative and essentially financial decisions about purchase, where even the little matter of who printed the image makes a huge difference in perceived value. The Mona Lisa wouldnīt be worth what it is were it but a light show on a gallery wall....
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Rob,

I am glad to see you disagreeing, the main goal is this little write up was to trigger a debate.

The collector point is a valid one to some extend, but it could probably be possible to control the diffusion in such a way that a limited number of digital copies exist.

Cheers,
Bernard
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imagico
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2008, 07:50:45 AM »
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Truely an interesting view of the crystal ball.  What most probably agree on is that the advances in display technology are going to change something about the way photographs are consumed.  If this replaces the current ways or adds to them remains to be seen of course.  In the days of Daguerre quite a lot of people expected the art of painting to fall into oblivion soon but both photography and painting coexist these days.

What i like to add a warning thought to is the idea of transferring concepts of photographic prints like limited editions to digitally displayed photos by technical means of controlling copying and display of the images.  You mention the music sector as a positive example how this can work but I think this is not going to work - neither for music nor for photos in the long run and as the major way music/photos are consumed.

The bottom line of these thoughts - if digital displays replace printing as the major way photographs are viewed as much depends on the technical developments in display technology as it depends on the view both the artist and the viewers have of their relationship, the photographs and the display medium.   I think this process should be seen more as a chance for creating new fields of use for photography than as a risk for loosing control over the distribution of images and a loss in revenues.

Greetings,

Christoph
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Christoph Hormann
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Moynihan
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2008, 09:34:46 AM »
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Interesting essay. I can imagine its future. But, I doubt it as being a likely world line in spacetime.

If one were keywording it for search, some of the words in that metatag would, I assume be, fine art photography. I want to discuss the fine art part.

One thing I have noticed, and I consider it nearly an axiom, is:

What is a significant means of recordation and communication, when superceded by a means that is easier either in  execution or quicker or more accurate, the older means becomes an artistic means of expression.

Technologies of information recordation or communication seldom totally disappear. Rather they become less widespread, and archaic, and are practiced by a smaller group, labeled "artists".

Examples:

Sculpture and wall/base reliefs.
Ancient cultures used it for literal communication to people, and representation of and communication with unseen but believed to exist entities. Rising labor costs and expanded literacy have pretty much pushed that role of sculpture away (other than in some religious uses yet, and things like war memorials, etc.).
Sculpture, freed of its utilitarian role, also developed abstract forms. It also became firmly established as "art".

Painting.
Originally also used for communication and recordation. Portrait of the third earl of______, or The Battle of ___________. It also started as a decorative craft, then slowly moved to expressive abstraction. With the advent of photography in th3 1800's, painting moved (with the exception of portraits for those better off) totally to art.

Photography.

The first photos considered art, where "pictorialist" (imitative of painting) black and white. Then, as color developed, (pardon the pun. Color equaled more "information" & greater "accuracy"), B&W nearly immediately became "abstract", and to this day, B&W photography is still more widely consided "artistic" than colour.
Also, consider method/gear. Film-chemical workflow is, collector-wise now more "artistic" than digital capture-digital workflow. So called alternative processes (i.e., 19th century photographic technology) is highly valued.
The more eye-hand coordination in "real" space necessary, and less automated and basic the process, the more "artistic" it is considered by museums, galleries, collectors.

The advancement of video technology in the market place (remember, the primary use of "imaging" by the consumer masses is the saving of memory of significant people and events), with its higher recordation of information, and percieved accuracy of the representation, (along the lines i am discussing) will accelerate the move to "art" for pigment on paper prints.
The acceptance of pigment on paper prints, from digital workflow is already entering the art world. The advances in screen technologies, mass storage, digital video, miniaturization for consumers (the still picture keychain will become the video key chain, etc.) will push not only digital workflow prints, but still imagery itself firmly into the realm of "fine art", eventually. Probably, sooner than we think.

Assuming for the sake of discussion, that technological advancement in recordation and communication for utilitarian purposes continues, the paper photograph will join truly be perceived, by nearly all, as "fine art", along with sculpture, painting, etc.
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stever
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2008, 09:50:58 AM »
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some years ago i was blown away by an exhibit of 16x20 transparencies (BBC wildlife photographer of the year)

have had a Phillips photoframe for a couple of years for grandkid images (which has deterred my wife from pinning them to every free surface and the gift of snaps in ugly frames by the kids) - now distribute cards for photoframes 2 or 3 times a year to other family members.  when we babysit the grandkids theyl spend significant time staring at the photoframe images.  Have been dissapointed in the lack of availability of larger higher resolution photoframes.

i was pleasantly surprised that the new Samsung HDTV has a USB port into which i've plugged an 8G flash card with HD resolution JPEGS (not of the grandkids) - just need to get the color calibrated

i don't think prints are going away and i think it will still be a long time before new technology gets to a really satisfactory level of resolution, but we're only beginning to see results of letting the digital genie out of the bottle
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2008, 10:46:06 AM »
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I'm with Bruce here. The increasing convenience and connectivity of video displays is appealing, and a sequence of images played off a USB thumb drive on a small "digital picture frame" is more fun than a bunch of 4x6" drugstore prints on the refrigerator. But that's not what we're talking about with a fine art print.

A hand-crafted print is a very specific physical artifact. The color gamut, surface quality & reflectivity, tonal balance, dynamic range, hand-feel and so forth are all chosen by the artist to serve a particular æsthetic goal. The image file from which the print is derived is not the same thing; more like a negative than a finished piece of art. Certainly we can expect future advances in color management to reduce the current crap-shoot uncertainties in the appearance of an image on-screen. But video display will remain a highly fugitive, malleable medium, lacking any enduring quality by its very nature.

Buyers of fine art are generally looking for a unique, enduring, tangible physical artifact. I can safely predict that the "digital rights" to display an image file on a home video display will always be recognized as having lower value than an actual print made by the hand of the artist. The fact that the digital file can be endlessly duplicated with 100% fidelity speaks for itself. I can certainly see the rapid acceptance of video-displayed images as a direct substitute for lowest-common-denominator "wall-art"; the digital equivalent of everybody's "hang in there" cat photo poster of the early 1970's. But replacing the fine art print? Not so much.

There are many clever examples of "video art" or "video installation" floating around, but they have not had the staying power of the traditional fine art print. It may well be that future improvements in color gamut, transparent (i.e. painless and automatic) color management and affordability of high-end displays will make them attractive and accepted for displaying images as art. There is a real risk that, much as the i-pod and free to cheap downloads have drastically devalued music, widespread acceptance of video display may hammer the value of the fine image as well. But I doubt this, simply because the audience for fine art photographic prints is so miniscule already.
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2008, 04:15:55 PM »
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Geoff, you echo my sentiments about the needs of collectors of photographic art.

The place for amateur, non-commercially considered photography, is probably ripe for change - change, in the sub-amateur world as distinct from the keen amateur photographer sense, is what drives a lot of wheels, so why not those of how the material is exhibited? Thatīs not to bullshit it - why should people be expected to love photography? but I do believe that there will be ever more polarisation within the photo world with which we are currently familiar. I used to think that pro photography would be immune from amateur "wannabe published" attack, but I was proven wrong by the advent of penny stock. It has clearly shown that money men donīt care about anything but money. Even when they run large companies using photography.

Art photography already suffers from the intrusion of commerce. Photographs that would otherwise never get a second viewing become hyped into works of art and collectors buy into the deal, perpetuating the myth of the value of the stock, because thatīs all the photograph then becomes: stock.

But hey, if somebody can make his/her way selling faux art, then lucky he or she.

Regardless of the value of the photographic currency, the value of the piece must be protected at all costs, so I expect that the medium as it is will survive.

Rob C
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2008, 01:25:08 AM »
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i don't think prints are going away and i think it will still be a long time before new technology gets to a really satisfactory level of resolution, but we're only beginning to see results of letting the digital genie out of the bottle
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You are probably aware of this, but IBM released more than 4 years ago a 22inch 3840x2400 LCD display with a resolution of 192 DPI...

[a href=\"http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/63390/ibm-t221.html]http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/63390/ibm-t221.html[/url]

I am sure that they could go much higher today if they wanted to.

Regards,
Bernard
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2008, 07:36:38 AM »
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The collector point is a valid one to some extend, but it could probably be possible to control the diffusion in such a way that a limited number of digital copies exist.
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I would think with others here that collectors are appealed by the uniqueness of an artefact (I'm thinking of the insane value of ancient stamps where the printer got the work made half upside down ('inverted'), or cut at the wrong position...).
And from what we can see today, any form of DRM or anti-copy system is bound to be by-passed, I'm afraid.

So the collectors market will still demand for paper prints (the more you'll spit and put your fingerprints on it the better  ).
Though, you may well be right, because it may be a very small niche compared to today's market - which includes not only collectors but also fine art enthousiasts (amateurs in the french literal meaning, "someone who likes"), and the latter may effectively depart from the paper as soon as another media deserves an image better.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 07:42:45 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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