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Author Topic: Photo Technology Luddites: Can they be Great Photographers?  (Read 21560 times)
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2009, 08:29:40 AM »
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Quote from: Robert Roaldi
At that point, they will want to figure out why, i.e., it's propeller head time, only now they're motivated to understand and master the tech stuff and so will probably do better at it. The cost to them is some time and failed photos. We used to call this experience.

Of course, others will reach that same point but still buck against the techie stuff. Not much you can do about that.

Which precisely defines the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is curable with education, but stupidity is generally permanent.
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joedecker
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« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2009, 12:56:42 PM »
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Quote from: JDClements
Then, as somebody else already pointed out, the digital darkroom is going to be necessary, unless a photographer is happy with a low hit rate.

I wonder, there was a time when some very talented photographers worked with someone who was their printer, who provided most of the expertise and energy at transforming a great image into a great print.  I see hints of that going on in some of the ways a couple of the more famous nature photographers I've met, not that they're technically illiterate, and certainly they have a very good way with the camera controls, but sme of those folks don't have as much experience or expertise once the image hits the computer.

I wonder if there's a market to be tapped for printers to work with folks who want to shoot but don't want to be digital darkroom gurus.

--Joe
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Joe Decker
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2009, 01:41:07 PM »
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Quote from: joedecker
I wonder if there's a market to be tapped for printers to work with folks who want to shoot but don't want to be digital darkroom gurus.

There should be. Not everyone wants to become a printing work flow expert, nor can everyone afford to buy and maintain large format printers, so I can see how handy it would be to find an independent printer who can produce what you want. I'd like to eventually, if I ever get around to making larger prints. And for all I know, some of the traditional photo-finishers around town might be able to do what I want. People did it all the time in film days, why not now.
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Rob C
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« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2009, 03:52:05 PM »
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Oddly enough, if you look back at Jonathanīs post of yesterday, 03.34am, you can read exactly the list of why some people are turned right off by digital photography.

Luddite or not, I was in this business as a pro fom 1960 and on my own account from 1966. I did all my own b/w work and although I put out my colour processing to pro labs, it was simply because although I had done both sorts of colour processing whilst employed, it was not cost-effective for a one-man band. So, itīs not exactly as if Iīm a neophyte. Having said that, now retired, I have analogue stuff sitting doing nothing much and more or less all I use is digital. However, regardless of the experience I bring to my digital life, I canīt say it turns me on. Convenient, to a point, it is also terribly tedious in the doing. There is absolutley none of the visceral kick of that print coming up in the dish, no matter how many thousand other negatives you have printed before.

Frankly, and for me, it has taken the art out of artistry and substituted a set of electronic techniques that are the province of a different mindset altogether. The only bit that remains vaguely the same for me is the concept of the shooting. And only then because I have set the camera up to be as manual as possible. (Until my recent purchase of a blasted 2.8/24-70G, my first ever, and only ever, zoom.)

Perhaps the new technology is what instinctively drives some people out of the contemporary photographic door.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 03:52:50 PM by Rob C » Logged

dalethorn
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« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2009, 05:01:36 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Perhaps the new technology is what instinctively drives some people out of the contemporary photographic door.
Rob C

Perhaps, if you just want to do what everybody else does. That's because the new tech provides for more people to get in, doing the same thing everybody else does.  There should be something in this forum that suggests how to be different.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2009, 05:12:34 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
There is absolutley none of the visceral kick of that print coming up in the dish, no matter how many thousand other negatives you have printed before.

Hey Rob, that gives me an idea. How about a Photoshop plugin that changes your screen to a dark, safelight color, and then gradually lets your digital image appear, but only if you spend three minutes gently agitating your keyboard.   




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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2009, 09:21:23 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
Hey Rob, that gives me an idea. How about a Photoshop plugin that changes your screen to a dark, safelight color, and then gradually lets your digital image appear, but only if you spend three minutes gently agitating your keyboard. 

Good one! I want one to.

Cheers,
Bernard
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #47 on: May 13, 2009, 09:24:41 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Oddly enough, if you look back at Jonathanīs post of yesterday, 03.34am, you can read exactly the list of why some people are turned right off by digital photography.

You know, as I wrote several weeks ago, just use your D700 in jpg mode with good default settings matching your taste, use Auto Iso and you have a shooting machine that will deliver better results that anything film ever could do with very few downsides.

Regards,
Bernard
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2009, 10:14:29 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Oddly enough, if you look back at Jonathanīs post of yesterday, 03.34am, you can read exactly the list of why some people are turned right off by digital photography.

And digital shooters feel exactly the same way about the hassles of fiddling with various film stocks, developers and other chemicals, push/pull processing, maintaining bath temperatures, selecting the correct enlarger color filter pack for color printing, making unsharp masks to control print contrast, and various other arcana associated with shooting, processing, and printing film. You either have to learn all that crap, or accept whatever result the lab gives you. The advanced technical stuff required to master film is no easier than mastering digital; just different.
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2009, 04:44:16 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
You know, as I wrote several weeks ago, just use your D700 in jpg mode with good default settings matching your taste, use Auto Iso and you have a shooting machine that will deliver better results that anything film ever could do with very few downsides.

Regards,
Bernard


That, Bernard, unless I misunderstand you, is somewhat below the belt. And it isnīt a D700 (wish it was) but a much more humble D200. And neither do I think using JPEGs, which I never shoot, is quite the same as using film stock.

The very point about film, which those who are determined to see this as the olde flame warres alive again, is that consistency and the STANDARDISATION of procedures was what it was all about. In other words, the trick, if it was such, was to cut out the variables and keep the constants alive. You then had huge scope to work within that. The beauty of it was that that was ALL it was about. Printing was simple too, unless you felt inclined to  make it complicated with masking and other exotica which I never, ever, had to resort to in my entire career. If I might refer to Jonathanīs point about messing about with and the troubles of learning different film stocks: there again, one tried to standardise. I used Kodachrome in 135 and Ektachrome in 120: TXP 120 for, obviously, the īblads and either Ilford HP3/4 or FP3/4 in 135. In practice, this meant two b/w film types at most and usually only one in colour. Colour printing hardly existed in my work: repro was always transparency.

I can only repeat my basic feeling, which is that digital appeals to an entirely different mindset. There is so much scope for fiddling about with new tricks and techniques that I see those īattractionsīas the very reasons for it being a turn-off to another mindset, such as my own, for example.

This is not to knock digital at all, but I do object to the unspoken insinuation from some enthusiasts that it is the new god, that before digital there was nothing. How interesting, then, that the entire rich history of photography is founded on analogue. Am I to take it that no wonderful fashion or advertising or art or landscape  photography, not to mention movies ever existed pre-digital era? Speaking of movies, I was most impressed with the first Matrix; after that, however wonderful the digital effects, it just leaves the feeling of īso what, only another trickī which, I think, is the way one might be starting to view digital photography too.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using digital techniques if you want to and like them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing and shooting digital either - might even be less harmful to the environment too, as those millions of pix will never be printed. What there is plenty wrong with, though, and again only in MY humble view, is the arrogance that can sometimes flow from the pen of the convert. If there are a few concrete things I have learned about photography, they are that you never know it all and that one manīs paradise is anotherīs hell.

Shoot and work or play as you wish, but remember that itīs just the way you like to do it.

Rob C
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2009, 06:16:06 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I can only repeat my basic feeling, which is that digital appeals to an entirely different mindset. There is so much scope for fiddling about with new tricks and techniques that I see those īattractionsīas the very reasons for it being a turn-off to another mindset, such as my own, for example.


Rob C


I would tend to agree with your view on this.
I don't want to fan the flames of the rather tiresome digital v film debate, it's of little consequence for most.

Just a general comment, and not directed at any one person. I consistently notice some kind of snobbery on forums, be it the raw shooter who cannot understand why anyone would ever shoot jpegs, the digital one who hopes to dance upon the grave of film so that it can never be used by anyone again. Or the elite equipment collector in possession of the finest bodies and optics money can buy, who feels nobody can do justice to a shot using cheap stuff. This often extends into owning the most powerful computers around to brag how you are packing massive pc horsepower to process all this stuff!

My point is simply this. Live and let live..do your own thing, find your own path. If you love tweaking shots in raw for hours, and that rocks your boat..great, if you love playing with red ring lenses and polishing them in a cabinet..nothing wrong at all with that. If you set your camera up and shoot jpegs mostly, and you love the look you get, wonderful. The technology aspect is interesting, but not as interesting as the actual photography. I am amazed at how much more there is always to learn, in many different aspects of photography, subjects etc..that I have never explored.

In some respects digital has been very appealing and fun, however over a period of time, the novelty, has for me at least, worm off a bit. Tech always gets better..I don't suggest anyone lay awake at night worrying if the new sensor will be everything they hoped for, let's worry about the results a bit more ;-)

Every single photographer has their own slant, Ansel loved the darkroom, Avedon and Bresson were evidently next to useless in that respect. End results count..how you got there, is largely unimportant. PP is a useful often abused tool by many. Sometimes less is more..sometimes it's extremely handy. What it is not, is the be all and end all of photography. What has happened is akin to a small child being let into a room with a huge number of amazing toys to play with! In years to come we may well look back at the selective colour, wonky angle vignette shots..and wonder what exactly the appeal was. Have fun in the massive toy room, but don't complain I find the cardboard box more fun ;-)


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dalethorn
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« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2009, 06:51:44 AM »
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Digital's fundamentals lend themselves to greater manipulation, so embracing that can be empowering, whereas you can otherwise live in the shadow of the giant with fear and loathing. Eliminating physical media at any point creates unease with many people, like having the ground under your feet become unsteady in an earthquake. Digital's immediacy and freedom from the anchor of media means instant sharing on photo forums, and this forum would not exist without it. Digital's permanence reminds some people of their own impermanence, again scary for many. I was born 50 years too soon - I want all information at my fingertips, or even better, stripped of DRM and live on my computers and mobile devices, so I'm independent in that respect from the servers. Digital may not *be* god, but it's a lot closer than analogue, and getting closer all the time.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #52 on: May 14, 2009, 08:13:46 AM »
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There is nothing about digital that says manipulation on it's own. What has happened is a revolution in computer technology, that is what has brought the software side of things to the masses. These tools were not common before this age. As it is, we can scan and manipulate film if we want to. Now everyone has them at their hands, digital and film users alike.

I get a 30 mins turnaround on neg colour film with an arrangement with my lab (negs uncut etc), not instant, but hardly a major wait.

I would question statements such as "whereas you can otherwise live in the shadow of the giant with fear and loathing", we all make choices, and it is down to taste. I don't mind some pp, but I am not one to enjoy lengthy sessions of it, bar maybe photo restoration jobs etc. Each person has his own take on things, I like the shooting side more..others may enjoy processing and tweaking. Nothing wrong with either.

Having the freedom to do what you want (subject to learning how to do it of course), does not mean you are obliged to use it all the time. I have often felt the new age of freedom as you call it, has largely resulted in many folks simply doing very predictable and obvious manipulation, ending up with very similar looking shots (HDR is one example) It's not god, it never will be. Some people like the look of film, I do myself. That has nothing at all to do with fear or loathing, simply doing what I enjoy. I don't work to anyone else's agenda, nor to please the mass market. I work to please me, and I expect others to do their own thing, whatever that might be. What I dislike most, is this sense of "film users living in fear" and living in the past, scared of new technology. I would simply say, this is not the case for most. I am a digital and film user, but I enjoy film more..most of the time. I don't look down my nose on those who shoot 100% digital, and I don't expect them to say film users are too scared to let go. We like the look of the stuff, end of story!

What pleases one, might not another. I have never liked massive processing on photos..film or digital. I dislike HDR in most cases it looks awful, I think some folks dodge and burn mono beyond sensible limits. If that is popular, I don't really care, I don't like it..won't do it. Others are free to do as they wish..getting wth it mostly involves following the mass crowd, more often than not..the path less well trodden is the most satisfying of all
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Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: May 14, 2009, 09:20:13 AM »
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Quite, Barry, and I am not afraid of digital either since itīs all Iīve been using since I bought the D200 when it first showed itself to the world. It really is NOT a matter of fear at all, any more than fear ever held me or any other photographer that I knew away from film. If you have fear, you simply walk away from it as there is no pressure to engage.

As I said, it boils down (for me) to a matter of visceral satisfaction. Film and the darkroom, though I didnīt like spending more time in the latter than the work required, was always able to provide a kick of pleasure from doing something that depended on the split-second decision of knowing when a print looked just right, which does not mean that I was given to snatching prints - always went for full development, though that was still a judgement call. Digital is exactly the same, you get the perfect print. No, it is NOT exactly the same at all. Getting to that position by virtue of repeated clicking at a computer bears no relevance to the spiritual feeling of pleasure when you crack the secrets of any negative. This might sound nonsense to many, in which case I can only offer the thought that you simply canīt understand.

So why still do it? In my case, because my life had been in photography and because I have retrired from the commercial part of it does not mean I have lost the love that took me into it in the first place. I live in a very water-restricted place and the problems of living in an apartment do not lend themselves to too much space being devoted to what, post-pro, is essentially hobby. My little office can accommodate two computers and an HP A3+ and thatīs the limit, though I had it set up for years as  switchable  from office to darkroom, a job so tedious I seldom undertook to do it!

Comparing my prints from now with those of the pre-digital days, what do I think? That they are different; that the ability to tweak and change so much can produce such stupidly over-worked exaggerations of the world that they self-defeat. I find little pleasure in making very dramatic skies and the like just because I can. I have gone that route and whilst initially thrilled to find that I could do it too, thatīs about all it has done for me. I have been able to do what others can do. Big deal.

As you say, to each his own, but going back to the title of the original thread, I donīt think we have addressed it very well. As I indicated in my earlier post, were the answer not an obvious YES there would have been no glorious history of photography which, obviously would be ridiculous to suggest. The resulting arguments are little more than the almost inevitable posturing of one kind of supporter facing his opposite. Just like football, then; how sad.

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #54 on: May 14, 2009, 10:41:12 AM »
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Quote from: Jonathan Wienke
Which precisely defines the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is curable with education, but stupidity is generally permanent.

I'm afraid not Jonathan. That seems to be a widely accepted fallacy. The sad fact is, we are all ignorant, but it's education that causes us to realise that we're ignorant. However, some are more ignorant than others, but there are none so ignorant as those who don't realise they are ignorant. We could perhaps call those stupid.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #55 on: May 14, 2009, 11:14:49 AM »
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A little OT: DUh
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Rob C
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« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2009, 02:35:31 PM »
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Quote from: Robert Roaldi
A little OT: DUh


As, Robert, has been much of this thread as it has developed; no pun intended, though now I see it, it might as well remain.

;-)

Rob C
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John Camp
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« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2009, 02:59:30 PM »
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There is, of course, a good deal of bullshit in digital photography, but there was with film, too. I think that one reason digital so quickly and completely displaced film is that digital IS better in most measurable ways -- potential for better resolution, better white balance, exploration of higher ISOs (or lower light, if you prefer it that way), instant review, daylight post-processing, no killer chemicals to flush through the septic system, and on and on. But still, some people prefer film. Not because the IQ is better, but simply because they like it. I've got no problem with that. In fact, I hope they go on for a long time, because then maybe I can unload my M7 on somebody. But I'd point out that b.s. is b.s., exists all over the place (the net is sort of the avatar of b.s.) and that claiming that there's a lot of b.s. in digital is like saying there's a lot of b.s. in Washington. What's the point? I mean, you don't have to over-saturate the skies; just because some twit does it, doesn't mean that you have to. Digital is just a method. It's better than film, just as film, for some purposes, was better than drawing. So what?

JC
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2009, 05:33:30 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
As, Robert, has been much of this thread as it has developed; no pun intended, though now I see it, it might as well remain.

;-)

Rob C


Well, I laughed at Ray's last post and then remembered that nonsense that I wrote a few months ago.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2009, 07:44:07 AM »
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Quote from: EricM
Hey Rob, that gives me an idea. How about a Photoshop plugin that changes your screen to a dark, safelight color, and then gradually lets your digital image appear, but only if you spend three minutes gently agitating your keyboard. 

Where can I purchase this plugin? Does it also produce the chemical fumes?

As someone once said, the only thing good about (some) good old days is that they are old.
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