Odd's and ends
Today’s post is a potpourri of things on my mind. Its opinions, questions and wonder on the subject of and around photography.
I like to think, and I tend to have time in the mornings to do some serious thinking about a world of subjects. I think about me as an individual, about the “luck of the draw” in being born who I am and where I am and the twists and turns my life has taken and the good and bad fortune along the way. Why did I sometimes succeed and other times I didn’t? Even though I put just as much effort into every endeavor? This stuff gets too heady at times, so I tend to fall back pondering other subjects…or do some blue sky dreaming or I think about my photography and the industry as a whole. After all this subject is a chunk of my life. So let’s cover photography since this is basically a photography blog.
I’m really at odds with the state of industry. I believe other photographers are too. Photography is in danger of losing it’s status as Art. The technical aspects of photography have somehow taken over and replaced the art side of it. Photography is a technical subject in this day, I cannot argue that and I am a student of the technical. But the technical stuff is a means to the art of photography. It’s not the being of it. If you hang with a group of artists, none of them ever gets out a magnifying glass to examine a painting wondering if the artist used a #02 Moroccan camel hair brush and inlaid granite pallet while painting. They tend to look at the overall composition which is often part of the way the artist interpreted and created the light rendered, the paintings perspective, and the subtle or vivid use, as the case may be, of color in the painting. They look at a lot of things that make a picture good or terrible. Photographers on the other hand now want to know every technical detail as if knowing all that, they will somehow go do something similar with their camera. Copying style is big now. Not developing your own style. Commercially, some of this is driven by the clients who want copies of pictures they have seen. “Hey Wally, look at this website, these are the kinds of pictures I want”. I can’t help but think that images of your product shot in a way to showcase your product will always speak volumes more about your product than your product emulating someone’s product. We as photographers and as an industry need to step back, give less consideration to what reviewers say or think, less about the engineering and specs and more about the image you want to create. In all my time working with clients and families whose images I have created, not one time has anyone remarked about how the detail of the catch lights in the eyes of a subject are so rich at 300%. Or why that would matter.
People, another thing you need to think about with the gigapixel cameras and shifting pixel tech, and whatever else…you are all reviewing compressed images on the web. At very reduced resolution. Facebook forum groups like the ones for the Fujifilm GFX cameras are wonderful for this. People take 100 MP images and put 2048px long side images up for review. WHY? The images produced by a GFX 50s or 100 camera need to be looked at PRINTED to at least 18x36 INCHES (11x14 at the least in my opinion) to see why they are worth their money. If all you do is shoot to publish online or for small magazine prints, then stick with APS-C or a 35mm full frame camera. Hey, if you honestly think you see a difference in compressed, poorly color managed, pixels on a screen between cameras, just keep drinking the Kool-Aid, at least you will be hydrated. If you really want to showcase your work without compression and with good color, then you will need to put up your images to a site that offers color profiles and full res images to reside there. Just putting them into a Dropbox folder is better than Facebook or instagram. A good old printed portfolio with large prints is still the best way to showcase your work to clients.
There are a lot of people out there with stupid amounts of disposable income. Everything costs more these days. In the camera world, people are dropping $10k on camera bodies and most of these people are amateurs, serious enthusiasts at best. Their pictures are not better and some are smart enough (or dumb enough) to admit they dropped all this coin and their pictures are still ho-hum. I guess the Fujifilm GFX100 is wildly popular and is sold out now through November. There are now hundreds of bad to less than good GFX100 images flooding the web. Whats worse is people post them stating “taken with the GFX100 and 45mm lens…” like using the camera made the crappy scene better? It’s still a crappy picture! Holga or GFX100, just pointing a camera at something and pressing the button does not a picture make. I’m not picking on Fujifilm here, I can say the same thing about Leica’s and their range of cameras, or the new Sony’s or Panasonics, Nikons, or what have you. People spend more now on camera bodies and optics for them than they spent on their education or first homes. Really. Some new cars are cheaper. Sony has the A9 body which is reputed to be the tops in sports and wildlife imagery. They just announced and are delivering a $12k 400mm 2.8 lens for it. Its a $17k package. Ok, if you have a contract to shoot sports and the fees can pay for it, do it. But everyday people with $17k laying around (???!!!) are buying in and taking pictures of birds in their backyard. Nikon and Canon offer similar packages. I think Canon’s package is more like $19k. In the case of the GFX100, I do think you are wise to wait. Fujifilm will within a year, probably drop the price. They always do. And the used market will be flooded with GFX100’s as people will quickly realize that the $10k could have been pointed elsewhere for greater overall satisfaction and for $10k their pics didn’t get any better. Now, it’s just $10k sitting around cause the old Canon Rebel takes just as good of pictures for them. And its lighter. So if you truly want a 100MP camera be patient.