But Is It Art?

I had an angry comment on my YouTube channel  recently. I shouldn’t be too worried, because out of over 3m million hits, one testy one isn’t too bad. Nonetheless, for some reason, in my mind one criticism needs 1,000 pats on the back to balance it. Plus, as with many arguments, if expressed with more thought and less emotion it would actually merit some consideration.

I had published a tutorial on how to use new function on a Panasonic Micro four Thirds camera. Arthur C. Clarke once remarked that all new technology should sound like magic and this does.  It is called 4K Photo and it is a blend of video and stills. Essentially, you shoot a video at 30 frames per second but unlike movies, you can extract stills from those 30 frames per second with still picture quality. Its cleverest implementation is called 4k Pre-Burst.

When you press the shutter, it saves the 30 frames from the second before you press the shutter as well as the 30 frames after.  It sounds like Clarke’s magic but actually it is straightforward. When you first press the shutter release, the camera shoots 30 frames per second continuously until you press it again. On pressing the shutter the second time, it continues at 30 frames per second for one second and then stops, discards all the frames except the 30 shot immediately before and after you press the shutter button and saves them all.

What it means is that Cartier-Bresson’s iconic decisive moment, the moment in time that sums up the situation, the holy grail of decades of  photographers’ efforts becomes not The Decisive Moment (note the caps, denoting importance, gravity, artistry, perception) but the decisive couple of seconds (note the  lower case, meaning, yeah, ok, wa’ever, I’ll choose it later, a’wight?).

And that’s what had made my correspondent angry. By showing someone how to do it, I was somehow advocating it. That was why he was unsubscribing angrily from my channel. I was traducing his art. Every real photographer’s art. I was teaching ordinary photographers a way  to bypass the years of love, care, experience, learning, the honing of perception and reaction that he had undergone.Was I? I’m a simple soul. I just thought this was a clever bit of technology that might be useful in some areas of photography. Period.

Which begs an interesting question. If I show you an interesting or artistic picture, basically a good photograph, does it matter how I got it? Does it have a warmer glow because I had to slave for it? If I extracted it from a video but told you I captured the moment by instinct, would it look any different to you? Those are the anarchic and unanswerable questions that Andy Warhol was asking when he would have other people make his art in a factory. He’d even stamp it ‘This is not a genuine Warhol’.

As a professional freelance photographer living by selling his work for many years, I can genuinely say that I would co-opt any new technology as soon as it came out. The object is to get a picture and sell it. I have yet to meet a picture editor who gave a damn how a picture was made (so long as it was legal!) When Nikon came out with their motor drive back for the Nikon F  in the 60s, photographing sport changed. When a racing car left the track before, you had one chance of a picture. After the motor drive,  you pressed the button as soon as you saw the car going off and followed it to the impact, capturing it all.

It is de-skilling, really. In those days, though, only the professionals could afford such things so there wasn’t an outcry about de-skilling, that this was not real photography. Now, in the digital world, a camera that can be bought for half the cost of a good mobile phone can shoot as fast those motor driven Nikons, And a modern Panasonic can shoot 6 times faster, for tens of minutes. Just record it all and if there is a decisive moment, find it later. Warhol, of course would have had an assistant find it and then scribbled on the back of the print that ‘this was not the decisive moment’.

I sense that part of the anger of my correspondent was that 4k Photo meant anyone could do what he had spent years learning to do. His unsubscribing from me because I had explained how you did it was a bit like the church’s objection to the Latin bible being translated into English in the early 15th century.  His bible, his photography, was for initiates who knew how to appreciate it. Not for the great unwashed.

I don’t think he need have worried. I have always thought that the art of the photographer had more in common with the art of a novelist than a painter. It is about observation, understanding and interpretation. The fast sequence camera records the images but it doesn’t provide the understanding or interpretation.

In essence, watching a scene unfold and selecting a decisive moment from it to photograph is little different from watching a video of it and picking out the decisive moment from that. What is rare is the sensitivity to watch something and see its significance and the moment that encapsulates it. A 4k Photo Setting can’t do that. That is what the photographer, my angry friend does.

He’s not threatened and angered by the technology. He feels threatened because the technical skill is being taken (has been taken) out of photography and more people might be good at it then he would like. Now Mr and Ms Everyone has access to his altar of photography.

Maybe we are approaching a new era of still photography where it starts to meld with its movie counterpart. The movie editor is a crucial part of the video/ cine process. Hours and hours of footage are shot. The salient parts are taken out and made into the movie. The cameraman and the editor are on equal footing in this process.

Soon we will have a generation who have only ever owned a camera where a press of one button produces a still and another a movie. The two image making disciplines will start to coalesce under the umbrella name of – yes  photography.  Stills will become movies that don’t move and movies stills that do. I can’t say I feel entirely comfortable with the idea but I will embrace it. What’s the choice? Actually, I’ll enjoy it. New ideas, new techniques, bring ’em on!

At that point my angry friend will become very angry with me indeed. I will have sold out unconditionally to the uninitiated and the  unskilled. He does though, have one great advantage over me.

Because while he can unsubscribe from me, I can’t.

 

42 thoughts on “But Is It Art?

  1. Matt Colgate

    Given the amount of videos you have produced, i’m surprised at the rather sanguine vibe in the comments. At the same time i’m not.

    I was recently at a fair with a friend, who was shooting with his new Xpro 1, which I recently traded him for his 25mm 1.4 and panny 12-35. We were walking around, taking note of the all the Rebels and Nikons we were seeing. He remarked to me how, it’s entirely possible he could walk up to these people and not have anything in common, while, if he saw someone shooting a M43, he could instantly assume an amount of pragmatism. A person who knows what they are getting and that has put in the required time doing depth-of-field and crop factor analyses. I wasn’t quick to agree, and marginalize DSLR shooters, but as I continue to watch your videos, and even reading the comments on your blogs, I am beginning to agree with him.

    Perhaps it too mystical to say, we didn’t choose M4/3, but rather M4/3 chose us?

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      That makes some sense, I think. The originators of the Micro Four Thirds system weren’t responding to any great outcry for such a camera system as far as I know, they thought it would be a useful (and hopefully) popular format. Being based entirely on modern technology it wasn’t like a smaller sensor DSLR and it took a certain mindset to appreciate it.

      I’ve found no reason to regret my decision at all and the idea of a finder that doesn’t show you the picture you’re taking, only the bare view of it with a mirror flapping up and down when you press the shutter, seems rather dated now.

      Reply
  2. Dave Whitcombe

    Hello David.
    Firstly I would like to say that I enjoy your reviews on YouTube and now these blog pages.
    I’m new into micro four thirds and have the G7. I bought your book to make life far easier and am enjoying the camera probably more than any other camera I have owned.
    I was intrigued by the 4K picture mode and watched an interview with a professional photographer who pointed out the benefit of it and how it will in the future change things like wedding photography for instance.
    I have got some great pictures from this mode and while I am only an amateur I can see that while many will view it as a novelty they aren’t looking at the whole picture as technology marches on.
    This is where snobbery comes in and we all know that this exists.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Dave – glad you enjoy my stuff. I certainly enjoy doing it. Yes, snobbery always exists. I do understand the underlying thinking and have some sympathy with it but things are what they are. I’m reviewing a long telephoto lens at the moment and have been photographing some kids leaping down a wide rubber slide amusement. They were getting half a dozen together at the top and then leaping off, supposedly all at once but being kids, all over the place. I shot it on 4k Pre Burst and have some lovely lively pix with the kids in all kinds of leaping positions.

      I can say with certainty that I would never have judged it well enough to get the results I did. Put simply, I have better pictures than I would have obtained using any other technique. Should I apologize to a purist for this? As you say, it has great benefits, what’s not to like? Lovely camera, the G7, by the way.

      Reply
      1. rightslot

        Is it art???

        I got it, I got it.

        Now…can I ask a question?

        Am I just missing it on the whole tripod deal? Is it really that I HAVE to use a tripod or I’m just not going to be satisfied if I blow up the shot ~50% or more?

        Now have the A7R II an EARLY testing is telling me the 5 axis is–not quite–as good as the Olympus OM-D EM5 II. Just not QUITE as sharp. So I’m wondering to get fabulous level portrait (pro level) do I have to commit to tripod.

        You know, sometimes a situation just doesn’t lend it self to a tripod.

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Once I’d have said that a tripod was a must. My chief photographer when I was training was of the opinion that you should always use a tripod unless there was a good reason you couldn’t. Nowadays, though, with Olympus’s uncanny stabilization and Panasonic’s dual stabilization, that really doesn’t hold water. In fact, I’m going out this afternoon with Panasonic’s 100-400 and….no tripod.

          Nonetheless, if you want to be certain of the sharpest result possible, a solid tripod is still the answer. You do need to be looking for the utmost sharpness, though. Nowadays, I still use tripods a lot because I like the way it slows you down a bit and makes you think about the subject you are framing. And, of course, for video, it’s a tripod that gives you that professional look that a wavy hand held camera can’t. If you are testing, any test done hand held is useless.

          For comparing your two cameras, a tripod is a must. Stabilization off and a detailed subject viewed at 100 or 200%. That way you are testing just the camera/ lens, not the stabilization or your ability to hand hold at any given moment. For serious portraiture, I like to set everything up technically with the camera on a tripod and then sit beside the tripod and talk to and watch my subject, firing the shutter when I like what I see. I used to trigger the camera with a cable release but use my mobile phone these days.

          A tripod is an essential piece of kit in my opinion but that doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. Stabilization has made tripods less essential but they still do things you can’t do as well otherwise. I’d just add that an unsteady tripod, usually a cheap one, is worse than no tripod!

          Reply
  3. Ed Zoltay

    I’m not a professional photographer, however, I’ve embraced technology mos of my life, from the time I used my 3 1/2″ reel to reel tape recorder to record the TV show the Monkeys so I could listen to their music. I own a Polaroid Swinger, a Canon A1, and currently use a Canon 60D. I’m going to buy an Olympus MFT camera in the next few days, probably the em 5 mark 2. You, and Gordon Laing from http://www.cameralabs.com are primarily responsible for my decision.

    Your former disgruntled reader should embrace technology too. The advances in technology won’t stop and they enhance art, they don’t detract from it.

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and videos. Thank you for being so giving,
    Ed

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, Ed. You’ll love the E-M5 mark 2. It’s interesting that most people echo your view, that technology is there whether you like it or not and that even if a development doesn’t enhance what you do, it doesn’t detract from it.

      Reply
      1. Ed Zoltay

        I bought the em 5 mark 2, in black. I love it! Thank you for writing a book about it. It’s been very useful.

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Great camera! I’m glad you find the book useful. It’s a balancing act trying to make something intrinsically complex a bit easier to understand without compromising the versatility of the camera. Fun to do but it gives me a headache finding the balance sometimes.

          Reply
  4. David Cantor

    Currently running is a Panasonic TV add where a young lad dives into swimming pool sideways. His glam Mum records it on her 4K camera et viola, a cracking shot of the boy in mid air before he hits the water. I guess your crime in the eyes of the ‘angry one’ is to point out what millions of viewers following (or were) Euro 2016, have seen anyhow.

    BUT, does he have a point however mis-placed? I think the answer is yes. I understand the need for a pro to get the shot regardless of the method but for the vast majority of us, phototography is about self expression n’est pas? Subcontract the act of capture and composition and what you’ve got is camera expression.
    Would my satisfaction increase because of my ‘skill’ as opposed to results obtained by trawling through hundreds of frames – you bet. So, I understand your correspondent to a degree, but not his anger. There are much more important things in life and the net provides as much scope for indignation as there is time available to express it. He should count his blessings, tale up meditation and just do what he wants, photographically.

    I’ve been trying hard to declutter the ‘digital noise’ that arrives hourly with some success. Keep up the good stuff David, apart from the common sense, the intervals between posts is spot on.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks David. I agree about the trawling of thousands of frames. Just on a practical basis you are extremely likely to miss the best one in so much digital noise. Nothing will ever substitute for judgement and experience in photography but I’m a good example of the use of technology. Most of my stuff is loosely described as street and sometimes landscape. It’s all off the cuff, essentially unplanned. I see something I like, I photograph it. I hardly ever take more than a couple of shots. But…

      I wanted to photograph some martins building nests in a house opposite me. Long lens, limited depth and these birds are highly maneuverable and very, very fast. Using sequence and C-AF I got nowhere and most of several hundred shots didn’t have a bird in them. Then I used 4k Photo, the routine that gives you 30 frames from before you pressed the shutter and the 30 after. With a shutter speed of 1/2000th, I got a decent shot every time I pressed the shutter – admittedly that came from 60 shots. But it worked for me and that’s all I want, amateur or professional.

      Thanks for the kind words, they mean a lot to me.

      Reply
  5. Malcolm Lawrence

    Well David plenty of pats from me. Your blog and video clips have been a great source of information, advice, enjoyment and inspiration in my journey with MFT. I may well have not purchased my lovely little Olympus 45mm or the beautiful Panasonic f2.8 35-100mm without seeing your video clips.

    I have also enjoyed sitting in my chair with coa coa and slippers cycling with you along the Thames or at terrifying speed through the countryside of the Languedoc.

    I fear your angry friend may explode with a bang and a puff of black smoke if technology develops any further. I’m not a great techo myself, indeed I find computers can be a bit of a mystery and and times frustrating. However I’m all for technology if people can get more enjoyment and opportunity in their photography thats a good thing to me. Photography sure is an art form if one wants to be creative and not just take snap shots. Those seeking inspiration should look at the work of Saul Leiter. Surely a mix of modern technology and techniques of old would be more enjoyable to round out ones experience of photography.

    I have for a while been considering getting a second camera body lo reduce the risk of contaminants getting on the sensor. I am aware of the shutter shock issue with the GX8 but as you point out there are work arounds and from my research it seems the most attractive option for my needs.

    I was astounded that Olympus produced the Pen – F and didn’t weather proctect it -likewise the Panasonic GX80/85. If the weather looks a bit dodgy I can just take my weather sealed lenses but what would be the point if the camera body was not protected. It seems to me a basic requrement these days.

    Thank you for your work with the blog – I really enjoy it
    Best wishes from New Zealand
    Malcolm

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks Malcolm – It is nice to hear you enjoy my stuff. The second body, yes it’s worrying to see the sensor exposed to the elements as it is with Micro four Thirds cameras and the only way around that is a couple of bodies. And then one is weather sealed and the other not. Ditto lenses. I was very surprised, like you, that the Pen F wasn’t sealed. Given the price, I really can’;t imagine why that would be.

      Reply
      1. Malcolm

        Well I purchased my GX8 (black) and am really pleased with it. I was surprised how easy it is to set up for my preferred settings and have not noticed any shutter shock issues yet. I haven’t yet had a good run with it yet but very pleased so far.

        I loved your clip of Reilly and the little blue man. It is typical of cats. I have four of them.

        Best wishes
        Malcolm

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Hi Malcolm – Yes, typical of a cat and it’s that contrary nature that I like so much. They consent to you stroking and adoring them as if they are doing you a favour yet for their own part behave exactly as they wish.

          The shutter shock, it occurs on the GX8 from about 1/60th to 1/350th but you wouldn’t see it unless you view at big pullups. As I said, I prefer the elctronic shutter anyway so it’s not much of an issue.

          The setup on Panasonics is very well thought through and a big plus for them in my opinion. Even for the less used options like guide lines, I find it easy to locate and switch them in the normal menu whereas on Olympus they seem to be buried in the menu and hard to locate. The GX8 is far and away my favourite Micro Four Thirds camera now. Easy to use and so responsive. And that screen!

          Reply
  6. Eric Valk

    A brief burst of energy as a legacy photographer realizes his inability to adapt to change, implodes and disappears from view. Kind of like old stars going nova , imploding and becoming dark matter. The eternal cycle of life and change. Keep on keeping on.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Here’s an idea for a camera. Probably a DSLR, that was in very way like a film camera except it had an image sensor rather than film. You could do away with the rear monitor, top LCD and everything so that the photographer wouldn’t see his images until he got home. I’m serious about that because the viewing of images is so simple on a PC these days that you’d have a camera usable by any photographer of whatever generation. Too expensive and niche to be viable, I would say (sadly).

      Reply
      1. Osa25

        “..Too expensive and niche to be viable…”

        You might be wrong on this one.

        If nothing else, these camera companies, have a gazillion models in their lineup. No harm in releasing one along these lines. But they’d need to do a better job of marketing and positioning it. Explaining the product.

        IMO it depends on the marketing and positioning. As you point out, technology makes this so easy that the bar for artistic achievement is, to some degree, raised.

        Therefore there can be scarcity/exclusivity value in developing and promoting a philosophy in which one has to do a bit more. In the same way that people make their own beer, in an ere when good beer from every corner of the world has never been more accessible than now. Or people buy cars for enthusiast driving experience with manual/stick shifting, even though formula one drivers use automatics or paddle shifts.

        Similarly, one could promote to enthusiasts the “slow” method. The focus on experiencing the moment and attempting to capture it there and then. Focus on the psudo-spiritual aspect of that. Practice your art. When the moment comes, take your best shot. Not five. Or ten. And spend the rest of the time feeling the experience.

        Then build a different, more group based experience around the act of reviewing and editing the few image.

        It doesnt eliminate the need for the camera that the photographer is going to need to capture your (hopefull) once-in-a-lifetime wedding. Or you taking your children’s birthday party. But it could offer another angle for the enthusiast crowd. Which in theory is a “niche”, but in practice accounts for a huge sector of new mirrorless and traditional DSLR sales too…

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Yes, good points. I would hazard a guess that a majority of DSLR users do no more with their cameras now than film users did 20 years ago, take single pictures. I doiunbt most would often take sequences, even. Leica do it in a way with their top end cameras but at an unaffordable price.

          Reply
  7. Gary Wiryawan

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the blog post! I am a big fan of your Youtube channel, and have been following you for a while. (Your video helped me to decide on a purchase of a GX7, and I have to thank you for that! I’m now a 100% MFT shooter)

    Regarding of your blog post, I have to agree on both what you said and what the unsubscribing person said as well. On one hand, with my MFT camera and 4K photo options, I can now simply photograph a super fast action by just bursting my camera in 4K photo, and I can almost get the frame that I want by doing so. It requires a very little knowledge to do so, and there’s almost no learning curve. I can do it in full automatic and will almost always get a repeatable result. So yeah, it’s a bit de-skilling to be honest, and that means more people will now be able to get the same result as mine if they have the same tool.

    And on the other hand, I agree that photography isn’t just all about that. There are aspects beyond the technical understanding and the technology advancement that need to be learned, regardless if you are using a full manual analog film Leica M6, or a fully featured 4K photo MFT camera in full automatic mode. Maybe I could get the frame that I want, but did the composition work? Was the exposure of that particular frame correct? Will the picture regarded as a high quality photograph? Or will it simply becomes a snapshot? Even with 240fps 8K burst photo mode, I believe we still can’t get away from those photography aspects. Yes, we can get the frame that we want/need more often, but I really think doesn’t mean that our photographs quality will increase significantly because of that technology.

    I really think your post and the opinions from both you and your unsubscribing friend give me some really good points to think about, and none of them are right or wrong from my perspective. As for myself, I’d love to see what technology will bring in the future, but without forgetting that we still need to sharpen our skills to not only use but to master the tool to its maximum potential.

    Thanks David, warm wishes from Indonesia!

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks for a great comment, Gary. New technology has probably always caused some dissent, as you say. I remember when GPS came about and there were those who loved it because it made their journeys easier and those who hated it because they loved maps. I never felt that because I had GPS I couldn’t have a map. Cameras can get as automated as they like but if you don’t know what a picture looks like or what you want it’s just a pointless exercise. Best wishes from France!

      Reply
  8. Stephen

    If I were you David, I wouldn’t unsubscribe from me! People should be more open to the new abilities that the systems are affording us. One disgruntled ex fan shouldn’t trouble you, keep to your opinions, it’s what makes you stand out in a sea of mediocrity!
    Raises an interesting question though about “spraying and praying”. Now given the video capabilities of the various systems where does the skill/ luck? of right place right time fit in? I suppose being an old film boy from way back I am always interested in getting the image I want with patience and thought, having usually one frame to capture it in. If I have to start to trawl through video frames to see if I’ve got one good image, that somehow spoils it for me…”.oh here’s a shot that I chanced upon in some random frame”. Still struggling to accept this new way, but as you say it’s progress I suppose, and the way of the future. I am reminded that I used to use a motor drive on my old Nikon FM 2n so no real change?🤔🤔

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Stephen – That’s a salient point about a motor drive on a film camera. Yes, if extracting stills from 4K photo and video are wrong in principle, it is a principle that was broken decades ago. All the new technical advances are the same thing, just faster or easier. I agree that trawling through thousands of frame of video to look for one shot would be no fun at all and in fact you’d as likely miss it among so many. I said it is progress but I’d be open to an argument that said that progress does not necessarily mean better.

      Reply
  9. Gianguido Cianci

    Could not agree with you more! This is along the same lines as people criticizing photoshop use – often without considering filters one would have placed in front of a film camera, or without realizing what could be done in a dark room. I think this pic it the fastest way to add perspective to such a critic: http://aphelis.net/avedons-instructions/

    Always enjoy reading and watching you common sense and humorous pieces. Keep ’em coming!

    – G

    Ever considered running for office and putting your no drama, common sense approach to even more good use?

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      I couldn’t become a politician because then I’d have to hate myself 🙂

      Reply
  10. Philip Danks

    Cogently presented, as usual, David.

    I like your analogy linking the church establishment’s objection (or rather, its attempted suppression) of the Bible being made available in the English vernacular, to that angry cognoscente’s resentment of clever camera technology for the great unwashed.

    A pernickety quibble though: it was the early 16th century, not the early 15th, when printed copies of William Tyndale’s translation were being burnt in stacks by the church worthies of England. Unless you meant the hand-copied Wycliffe or Lollard Bibles (far fewer in number), which were being ferreted out by the church authorities mainly in the late14th century.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      No, you are right, Philip. I’ve always had some confusion over the *th century. The 19th century being the 1800s is obvious but I seem to have mental block with it.

      Reply
  11. Adolphus Gist

    I’ll take his place and subscribe. Thanks to your enthusiasm and knowledge I recently bought a MFT camera and three lenses in an addictive frenzy – and have not regretted it.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      I’m glad you enjoy the Micro Four Thirds equipment, as I do. I’m not a salesman or a fanboy and wouldn’t want to influence anyone to my way of thinking. If someone came up with a better blend of IQ and usability I’d happily use that instead. Meaning I’m not wedded to Micro Four Thirds and have no reason to recommend it other than my own high regard and personal use of it. That must come over somehow from what you say, which is rather pleasing to me.

      Reply
  12. Osa25

    I suppose it’s not all that different from composition in nature or street scenes. The photographer may not create anything, but there is still art in seeing what what can tell a story and evoke emotions.

    But yes, for sure, technology keeps replacing us – and upping the ante and what it takes to be an artist.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Exactly. No matter how much technology can do, what people enjoy is what other people do. A photographer can show others what he or she sees, how they see it. It’s sometimes no more than a selection process but that selection is by people for people and it takes a person to do that and a person to appreciate it. I think it is a bit like a Grand Prix race. I understand that an F1 car with a computer on board instead of a driver is potentially quite a bit faster than one driven by a human being. But who would watch that? Why? races are for people by people, people watching other people.

      Reply
  13. JensM

    Some keen observations there, as I have come to expect from you. Good job!

    I have been tangentially pondering some of this stuff over the last forth night or so, from a more personal view, or egoistical if you want. Trying to harnessing the technology to do what I want, not doing what the technology wants me to do, not in any way done “meditating” upon that wast topic, yet, and then you bring further points to the table.

    I am not even sure that I understand digital photography systems sufficiently enough to know which questions to ask. I am not to worried about the bare bones camera stuff as I do understand that, coming from a SLR background back to the early 80s, at the ripe old age of 12. Working mainly slides and BW, the latter including darkroom work, with some freelance and other paid assignments in the 90s to top it off.

    Even so, trying to harness a camera with more processing power than the first 60 years of computer developments plus the software/output side of things are rather overwhelming tasks, but fun, engaging and your ponderings here on the blog, as well as your YT channel are great sources of both entertainment and teachings.

    With best regards, from Norway
    JensM

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks Jens. I agree about the new developments, coming thick and fast and being overwhelming. Sometimes my first reaction on seeing something radically new on a camera is deep sigh! More change! Luckily so far, my curiosity always overcomes that and I find myself trying to find out what it can do. In many ways a digital camera can be set up and used as if it were a film camera. In fact, that’s more or less what I do. So much teaching and video emphasises the sexy, complex, flashy technical nature of a camera that is really no more than the icing on the cake. Unfortunately that makes a lot of people feel it is not for them. In fact with your long experience with film, you are far better placed to understand a digital camera than someone with lots of technical experience – but none of picture and photography.

      Reply
  14. Ian

    Seems that the more things change the more they stay the same. I remember folk getting very upset with motor-drives so I got (as a teenager) an MB-1 for my battered Nikon F. I saw a way of getting a ‘better’ picture (I don’t know if I did, but I thought I could!)

    It’s the same meat, different gravy. If he wants to unsubscribe and tell the world, good on him. There will be some other technological marvel that comes along in a year or so that will get them into spasms of bile no doubt.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Yes, if you are looking to be offended there’ll always be some way of getting satisfaction 🙂 Good point.

      Reply
  15. MJ

    Very Good! I love the ending.

    Also, I get some of the anger from the photographer. None-the-less, you HAVE to understand when a certain era is about to change. When seemingly rock solid holy grails are morphing into newer light.

    And you need to accept and embrace them. This mainly because you need to know when a torch has been passed.

    Tech wise we are in an UNBELIEVABLE period of time. One new whatever after another. When will it end??

    It won’t.

    Great blog.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks MJ! Yes, I get his anger and you explain it well. As you say, there is no choice but to accept change and after all there is nothing about a a new way of doing things that stops you doing things your own way.

      Reply
  16. Bob Fairbairn

    I wish I was perfect enough to get the timing right for the perfect moment every time. Your now missing reader should look at every iPhone around him with the fast burst mode that brings a similar feature to the “lowly” consumer. (It is really hard to capture that moment in a 2-year-olds life as they move so FAST).

    I also assume that your now missing reader would absolutely freak out at my iPhone or iPad digital darkroom! Do not pay any attention to the man behind the screen!

    Thanks David.
    Keep writing and stirring the pot.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks Bob. I must admit that the smart phones coming out now are getting frighteningly good, ditto the processing available on the pads. My answer is to snatch them from people I see using them and stamping on them. Enough of this nonsense! 🙂

      Reply
  17. Roy Norris

    Hi David,
    Most of us ordinary great unwashed ‘Camera Users’ learn a lot from others that know an awful lot more than we do. I for one have certainly learned from following your writings and videos over the years.
    So if your Mr Angry has unsubscribed (I wonder how he learned) thats a shame. He should really consider that the more everyone learns about photography and the more we demand equipment, then companies will produce more advanced products. Life is stressful enough as it is and needs to get easier. Surely producing the best photograph or video that one wishes, for their own work/pleasure is the object of the exercise.
    Regards Roy
    (One of the great unwashed)

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      The development of cameras has been going on since the beginnings of photography and I’d bet that of those billions of photographs the vast majority were a pleasure or satisfying to take. It does seem a shame to take something so seriously that it becomes a source of anger. Serious and pleasure aren’t mutually exclusive, as you imnply.

      Reply

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