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Author Topic: In praise of "Wretched Excess"  (Read 15774 times)
Ray
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2013, 07:47:08 PM »
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And, an expensive watch is just that: jewelry. Nobody cares if it keeps time. You want to know what time it is, you look at your cell phone. People see jewelry on you, they're generally not inspired to ridicule..... The thing about the Hasselblad bling cameras is that they *do* inspire ridicule. The Hasselblads are truly WRETCHED. They don't make you look affluent, they make you look dumb. 

Now that's what I call really dumb; using a cell phone to tell the time yet still wearing a watch as a piece of jewelry. Can you buy watches nowadays that don't work and are designed purely as jewelry?

The concept of designing a camera to look like a piece of jewelry is essentially the same as designing a watch as a piece of jewelry, except that the camera as a piece of jewelry is likely to be a more sensible idea, provided that it works.

Compare the two scenarios. Person 'A' carries a Hasselblad Lunar in order to look cool, and suave and rich, but at least the camera has the capability of an NEX-7 and is an essential piece of equipment to carry if one wants to take a photograph. It is extremely unlikely that anyone would carry two cameras, one as a piece of jewelry which would never be used, and the other to take photos.

Person 'B' carries an expensive designer watch as a piece of jewelry, but doesn't need it to tell the time because he also carries a cell phone. Now who is the dork?  Grin
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2013, 09:08:22 PM »
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Compare the two scenarios. Person 'A' carries a Hasselblad Lunar in order to look cool, and suave and rich, but at least the camera has the capability of an NEX-7 and is an essential piece of equipment to carry if one wants to take a photograph. It is extremely unlikely that anyone would carry two cameras, one as a piece of jewelry which would never be used, and the other to take photos.

Person 'B' carries an expensive designer watch as a piece of jewelry, but doesn't need it to tell the time because he also carries a cell phone. Now who is the dork?  Grin

Doesn't the cell phone also make photos?

I fully agree with the "Wretched Excess" essay.  The Leica bling models at least serve to clear out stock of the old models; one can reliably predict a new Leica model is immanent when the old one gets dressed up with pointless clothing.  Perhaps Sony is allowing Hasselblad to look like the dork by providing its soon-to-be-worthless remaining stock of old models for Hasselblad's bling market.  It's a total win for Sony.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 09:25:13 PM by wildlightphoto » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2013, 12:10:11 AM »
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Doesn't the cell phone also make photos?

Indeed it does. And, if a person were to carry around a Leica or a Hasselblad Lunar as jewelry, but always take photos using his cell phone, then I think one could describe such a person as a complete dork.  Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2013, 04:27:42 AM »
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There seem to be two separate issues here: the survival of Hasselblad as a credible manufacturer of world-class photographic equipment; the right or otherwise of anyone, rich or not, to spend his/her money as he/she sees fit.

I agree that shutting down the 500 Series was painful, and having written that, it's notable that though I owned two, I did not replace them even though I have often bemoaned the fact that I no longer own a single one. I'm afraid that when sentiment and memory of wonderful equipment is tested against the reality of contemporary opportunity as well as availability of processing services, digital can't seriously be challenged.

If there's a real question mark hanging over the head of Hasselblad, I suspect that it isn't much to do with bling or anything similar, but more a realisation that MF as a digital format is unlikely to see any worthwhile advances in sales revenue. I think that the heights of possible/sustainable pricing have been scaled, and that diminishing returns is the message the accountants read. They are seldom crazy, passionate people acting on hot, artistic impulse.

Some professionals are able to indulge themseves and buy a lot of equipment that may be overkill to their real needs, but I imagine that a majority buys the minimum that is required, as did I, never having been one to collect stuff for the sake of it.

Watches etc. Making the point that a cellphone also tells you the time is silly; so, too, does a town hall clock. In my case, a cellphone lives within a pocket as nothing more than an emergency communication possibility, and if I need it I switch it on. I detest the very idea of being constantly open to anotherís sudden impulse to ring me about something in which I probably have absolutely no interest. Especially when itís another company trying to sell me an alternative telephone package, which counts for about 80% of my incoming calls. As a camera, itís been useful as a means of telling a plumber the type of tap that needs replacing. Apart from that, it has produced pleasing shots that I inevitably wish that Iíd snapped with a real camera.

It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who canít buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art. So what if they cost ten, twenty, a hundred times the price of a Casio? Thatís called individual choice. Another thing to remember is this: there are many fine and ultra-expensive timepieces out there, more expensive than Rolex, but itís been my experience that the Rolex family has that certain je ne sais quoi that the others lack. You see more golden Rolexes on marina arms than anything else. In a way, itís branding, too.

Live and let live. Somebody wants to buy something thatís the object of someone elseís mockery? Fine; itís their choice and their pile of bucks; why grudge them their purchase and the seller his sale? It affects you not a jot.

Liberation is the freedom not to worry about otherís needs or desires.

;-)

Rob C
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2013, 05:06:24 AM »
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It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who canít buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art. So what if they cost ten, twenty, a hundred times the price of a Casio? Thatís called individual choice.

This does not describe the Lunar.  The Lunar is an average camera dressed up in a show-off exterior, like putting a Casio inside a fancy shell and charging thousands for it.
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opgr
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« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2013, 06:24:00 AM »
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This does not describe the Lunar.  The Lunar is an average camera dressed up in a show-off exterior, like putting a Casio inside a fancy shell and charging thousands for it.

+1

In fact the problem is larger than this since it is a devaluation of quality in unprecedented proportions.

You dress up the Casio and charge more for it than the Rolex. The entire idea behind pricedifferential used to be quality & craftsmanship. I understand the world is changing rapidly in that regard, but there comes a time, very quickly I might add, when the Chinese realize that their own products are better than the crap they purchase from the west that has been  manufactured in their backyard to begin with.

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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2013, 06:42:02 AM »
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A couple of oligarchs get together to compare portfolios. They used to be Russian but now they're Chinese. One spots that the other is wearing a pair of shoes made from the almost unobtainable skin of the all-but-extinct Siberian tree-frog.
"Nice shoe" says he "how much you paying?".
To which his colleague in thinly legitimised crime replies "About $5000. Tree-frog is make nice shoe!"
"Hah!" exclaims the first "Salesman despise you. I know where you buy this shoes for $12,000!"
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:43:36 AM by OldRoy » Logged
KLaban
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« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2013, 07:46:16 AM »
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I thought it more pertinent to tell Hasselblad what I thought of the direction theyíre taking rather than telling the world.

Felt less like kicking that proverbial dog.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2013, 07:54:20 AM »
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I thought it more pertinent to tell Hasselblad what I thought of the direction theyíre taking rather than telling the world.

Felt less like kicking that proverbial dog.
No doubt they'll continue to ignore the chorus of derision but reflect carefully upon your no doubt reasonable critique of their marketing strategies.
Roy
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michael
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2013, 08:05:53 AM »
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The problem isn't that Hasselblad's management and owners don't understand the derision aimed at them from their more than 60 years worth of loyal customers, it appears that they don't give a damn.

I have no inside information whatsoever, but simple observation of the company's behaviour and announcements shows that they are bereft of new technology, new ideas, or a clue about where the medium format marketplace is going.

Their chosen survival strategy appears to be to pimp-up other company's products. A very sad final chapter for a once proud company.

Michael
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KLaban
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2013, 08:26:38 AM »
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The problem isn't that Hasselblad's management and owners don't understand the derision aimed at them from their more than 60 years worth of loyal customers, it appears that they don't give a damn.

Iíve certainly no contact with the Hasselblad owners or the higher echelons of management but can say that those employees Iíve had contact with do care deeply.
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KLaban
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2013, 08:34:10 AM »
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I have no inside information whatsoever, but simple observation of the company's behaviour and announcements shows that they are bereft of new technology, new ideas, or a clue about where the medium format marketplace is going.

Their chosen survival strategy appears to be to pimp-up other company's products. A very sad final chapter for a once proud company.

I think the key phrase there is that you "have no inside information whatsoever".

Let's hope you are wrong.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 08:36:00 AM by KLaban » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2013, 09:32:19 AM »
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I also enjoyed the little side-swipe at the Anton Bruckner Leica Ė his music is rather like the camera, and I've heard him described as a composer 'only his mother could love.'

I'm not sure by what flight of imagination music can be said to be "rather like" a camera, but it's clear that your informant is tone deaf. If you're not, try listening to some of his music: the seventh symphony, for example, or "locus iste".

Jeremy
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gerald.d
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« Reply #33 on: July 28, 2013, 09:40:08 AM »
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Surely this practice of taking a product with a certain functionality then adding non-functional, decorative attributes to appeal to the vanity of the wealthy with excess money to spare, is a common practice in our society.

An obvious example, which has always struck me as rather absurd, is the practice of taking a basic wrist-watch, the purpose of which is to enable one to quickly and easily determine the time at any given moment, then turn it into a piece of jewelry at 10x or more the price of another model of watch which looks very similar in basic design and which may be no more functional.

Even more absurd is the fact that some of these wrist watches, despite their ridiculous price, can be even less functional than much cheaper models.

This type of practice pervades our society. It applies to some extent to the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and even the food we eat, where the functionality takes second place to appearance and so-called taste.

I've highlighted the bit where you've gone wrong.

A decent watch is absolutely not solely about function. If you're unable to accept this, that is of course entirely your prerogative. But to belittle watches - not to mention, question the taste of those that appreciate them - simply because you believe the only point to a watch is the function of telling the time is, well, I should probably keep my opinion on that to myself.
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gerald.d
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« Reply #34 on: July 28, 2013, 09:54:00 AM »
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It seems to me that those who object to fine watches are those who canít buy them or simply lack the aesthetic vision to appreciate them for what they are: beautiful pieces of mechanical and sculptural art.

Ahh, I knew I should have read page 2 before posting my reply.

Nail. Head. Thank-you.

People who understand cameras, realise the Lunar is piece of crap.

People who understand watches, fully recognise and appreciate the glorious combination of history, science, mechanics and art that is represented by, for the sake of argument, a Patek 2438.

People who understand both cameras and watches will be aware that the watch/Lunar comparison is totally invalid.

Kind regards,

Gerald.
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2013, 03:30:44 PM »
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Ahh, I knew I should have read page 2 before posting my reply.

Nail. Head. Thank-you.

Two words: Rolex quartz.
http://www.swissluxury.com/rolex-watches-cellini-quartz-ladies.htm

Quote
Rolex Cellini Watches. Ladies size, 18K yellow gold case, quartz movement, champagne dial, diamond hour markers, chestnut ostrich strap.
List Price:  $10,250.00

I don't object to expensive watches: I object to those who wear them and deny that their number one reason for being is to advertise one's ability to purchase expensive things.
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stevesanacore
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« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2013, 04:44:13 PM »
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Well if the Lunar is really Hasselblad's solution to future success or dwindling profits, I'm afraid the end is near. Too many terrible decisions too often over the past ten years. Well they will be in good company along with Polaroid and Kodak.....

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We don't know what we don't know.
Telecaster
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« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2013, 05:58:17 PM »
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I don't object to expensive watches: I object to those who wear them and deny that their number one reason for being is to advertise one's ability to purchase expensive things.

This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things. Expensive being relative to our means, of course, seeing as the behavior exists at all economic strata. Why is it that we seem to depend so much on external verification of our inner sense of value? Or is it that we, or at least some of us, need this external verification to derive that inner sense? Note that I'm not fishing for pat answers here...these are areas where no matter how deep you dig, you never hit bedrock.

I'm the son of a man who utterly lacked the bling gene. Not that he didn't appreciate fine things...he just didn't care a whit about displaying them or about what other people thought of them. The fine things he owned were all for private appreciation and none were/are purely decorative. I seem to have inherited this disposition from him...along with other traits, like my bald head, about which I'm less appreciative.   Wink  Anyway, I often feel in these matters like someone on the Asperger's spectrum trying to grasp the subtleties of facial gestures and various displays & indicators of empathy. Thus my fascination.

But enough rambling.

-Dave-
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2013, 07:17:15 PM »
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This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things.

It's with this in mind that I cherish my 17-year-old ex-US Forest Service pickup truck.  It's basic, reliable, cheap transportation.  The lime green color stands out in a parking lot because it's a color that NOBODY would deliberately choose.  Zero-to-60 is possible; it has steel wheels, oxidized paint, and is utterly devoid of trim - no bling whatsoever Smiley
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 07:41:55 PM by wildlightphoto » Logged
KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2013, 08:40:34 PM »
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This is an aspect of human behavior that endlessly fascinates me...our need to advertise our ability to purchase expensive things. Expensive being relative to our means, of course, seeing as the behavior exists at all economic strata. Why is it that we seem to depend so much on external verification of our inner sense of value? Or is it that we, or at least some of us, need this external verification to derive that inner sense? Note that I'm not fishing for pat answers here...these are areas where no matter how deep you dig, you never hit bedrock.

...along with other traits, like my bald head, about which I'm less appreciative.

Well, now we're getting somewhere   Cheesy .  I, too, am bald -- though I accept the conventional wisdom that this came to me from my maternal grandfather, a shrewd, manipulative, bald man.  Most of my adult life _some_ people have made an issue of my baldness with the accepted implication that it _signified_ something.  It never did to me, in myself or in others.  But, perforce, it does signify something to some people.  It does, remember, to you.

Looking over (as Michael might put it) the rim of that blue ostrich testicle, I think we now make out a little more of the structure at play here.  A photography book came out last year featuring new and rare pictures of Birds of Paradise.  (The book and pictures were all over-produced, imho, but that is not important here.)  The authors make the case that these _extreme_ (and extremely costly, in a biological sense) cases of mate-attracting came about from a rare situation of abundant food and few predators.  Left to their own, these birds were able to invest more and more (over time) into patently ridiculous and useless displays of ostentation.  (I think they are beautiful -- but I am sensitive to birds, and color, and feathers, and movement.)  I don't think the book was a best-seller (it was not, to the best of my knowledge, marketed to birds).  It goes without saying that the birds -- the female birds -- think they are beautiful (or whatever the acquiescent equivalent is) too.  The display _is_ significant.

And so, rather elliptically, we come full circle to dorks  Cheesy .  I don't think people make expensive displays of wealth in order to provide an "external verification of {their} inner sense of value".  They do it to attach _other people's_ sense of value to themselves.  And one thing other people value, particularly in a mate, is the ability to buy.  "Objet d'ork" is an especially felicitous turn of phrase.  Hasselblad is humping larks.
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