article on photo trends... digital vs silver with Leica overtones

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by albert_smith, Nov 3, 2000.

  1. Here is an article to look at. Also look at the sidebar for other items of interest.

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    http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/galleries/essays/102000.htm
     
  2. I have been keeping an open mind about digital cameras, but still
    haven't seen anything I'd like to own that is affordable and easy to
    use from start to finish(including loading on to computer, printing,
    storage, etc). Maybe when Nikon has an SLR offering the size of an
    N90S with a built in Gig microdrive drive and 6 to 10 million pixels
    for about $1000 that will take all my current SLR lenses and has
    batteries that last 1000 shots and recharge in 30 minutes. Of course
    then I'd need to upgrade my computer and printer. I find that
    dealing with the large files required to equal silver based images is
    cumbersome. Long term storage is also a problem as stated in the
    article. For now, my life is complicated enough. I think I'll go
    and finish up a roll of film in a 40 year old camera.
     
  3. I am having many thoughts about digital. On one hand I hate to be
    accused of fearing change, but on the other hand I hate to think that
    the 3 decades of knowledge that I have accumulated should be deleted
    from my brain's c-drive to make room for more programs.

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    The fact that I can go out with a Leica M3 or Nikon F, both
    meterless, and come back with well exposed, well composed slides, and
    this means nothing to the computer geek playing with photoshop,
    bragging about his photographic "prowess" makes me feel that one of
    us is fooling ourselves. Looking at the thousands of slides and
    prints in my spare room makes me hope it isn't me.

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    Just the fact that I can still put film in these two great 30 plus
    year old cameras, should count for something. In this infant state
    of development for digital, it is scary that a backroom handshake
    merger between two companies can render thousands of Dollars worth of
    hardware obsolete over night... anyone remember Beta tapes?... any
    Mac users feeling abandoned due to some guy from Seattle? The fact
    that a Nikon, Leica or even a Zorki user has a standardized medium,
    readily available is great. That hasn't happened yet for digital.
    There are too many "This is the future!" claims that are now being
    laughed at for being so primitive only a year after introduction...
    you can never be up to date.

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    I'm with Andrew... time to load up the old "M" and be a dinosaur.
    Wake me up when everything is standardized... I'm sure I have plenty
    of time to sleep yet.
     
  4. I have seen the future and it does`nt work.
    I hate to say this but digital is here and will probably overun us with mediocre results.Sure I see ads all the time from Sinar-Bron and many others.We dont have to join them.
    It seems ludicrous that Large format still exists.It probably wouldnt if the large companies like Kodak had their way.The accountants and mba`s see no sense in providing material for such small numbers of users.The 35mm SLR brigade is also getting smaller.True "they" use large format to advertise the new wonder APS system.The luck is in Kodaks case they are loosing a fortune on digital and need every sale at this time.We will get film for quite a long time.It is still the most economical way to high quality.VHS was inferior to Beta which in turn was poor to the original Phillips video system.The original 16mm was literally light years ahead in quality of image and size of viewed image.
    I love my old cameras.They feel like machines to work with me.I use Leica M3/2 and also old Nikon and Pentax cameras.I cut film from bulk and sometimes mix my own chemicals for black and white only.
    I look at my color stuff,pro and personal.Its pretty !
    I hold a print in black and white,I`m filled with joy and a job done.The wonderful news is that my clients want B/W photos also,of their weddings and family events.
    Keep shooting ! Use your cameras.If we need to fit digital backs one day to our Leicas,it would be sad.The plus is they would still be in use.The rate of change in computers and digital is measured in hours.Most of us use a camera designed and built almost 50years ago....I have had better results under terrible conditions than the latest pro auto everything because of my Leica lenses and the way a M camera is part of me.
     
  5. I feel...devalued. There's no other way to put it. After spending more
    than 30 years making the art and craft of photography part of my
    being, a propeller-head sitting in front of a monitor in a darkened
    room can cut and paste to achieve results that, to the untrained eye,
    look as good as mine.

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    On the other hand, as photography once freed painting to go on to
    other things, so digital may free real photography to become more than
    ever an art medium.
     
  6. Look at where painting went....Except for a very few painters,The Wyeth family,Rockwell etc the majority of modern art is a joke.Till now we felt safe.The "art" crowd is here like the devils and demons in Buffy.
    Keep good heart and with your trusty Leica in your hand go forth on white Nikis and slew the dragons of non photographic ideals.
    I notice another tend.Cartier-Bresson is being ignored in photo reference type books.Probably as most books are promotions of the large manufactures.Why praise somebody who used mostly a 50mm lens.He carried a back up body on long trips with the 35 and 90.Later he seemed to have dispensed with the 90mm.
    Unless one carries a camera bag that equals your body weight with all the lenses,motor drives,flash guns and accessories and boxes of batteries you are not seen as a photographer.
    Clients are asking if I do digital.
    I dont.There is no greater fun than seeing a print come up in the developer.I cant wait to open my developing tank and look at my negatives still dripping fixer.Digital dont compare for me.
     
  7. My work requires extensive use of digital analysis. any Mac users feeling abandoned due to some guy from Seattle? Actually none of the software that I use is available for WinTel machines. It is a hardware thing. Not being an expert in the hardware area, I won't try a lame explanation. I use a twin G-4 500. I get to use some expensive digital cameras that I couldn't afford.
    They work OK. When you consider that a growing part of photography is producing photos for web sites and low quality adverts, these work fine.
    I still prefer my M3 and F2 in 35 mm. I scan in from these and my blad when I need the options provided by software. For the heck of it, I tried scanning an 8 x 10 BW negative. HoHo what fun.
    No, I haven't been able to touch silver quality with anything digital that I've tried. Maybe you experience is different.
    Art
     
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The image is king. Me, I don't care how anyone gets there, the image is king. I only do things the way I know, and when I learn new ways, I'll do that.
    I'd recommend some art history study. The changes in art are far more connected to the changes in society than to changes in technology. The same will be true of photography, whether or not it all becomes digital imaging.
    Many years ago, a Boston University professor I knew complained about word processing PCs arriving at the school, how they changed thesis writing in the same way some complain above about how digital imaging is changing photography. I could never understand why it didn't occur to him that it was the idea, not how easy it was to write.
     
  9. I don't get it, guys--it's just a process. Process changes. In
    time, when the results from a new process get good enough people
    change to it. Personally, since I mix all my own chemicals from
    scratch and use Tri-X in 50 year old cameras with no meter, I think
    you're all a bunch of lazy slackers who can't possibly be doing good
    work with your fancy new developers and electronic M6s, and I'm sure
    with your attitudes about digital, you agree with me and are going to
    be humble about it. :)

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    You do realize that you're making the exactly the same types of
    complaints that painters made 125 years ago about photography, don't
    you? A lot of people of my generation thought that photography died
    when cameras started having lightmeters and people switched to
    color--these days anyone with an extra $500 and no skill whatsoever
    can buy a camera and immediately call himself a photographer, and a
    lot apparently do, but it hasn't killed anything--about all it's done
    is to open this means of visual expression to a lot more people who
    wouldn't have been geeks enough to handle a camera previously,
    increasing the chances of visually talented (but technically
    inept--no sin in that that I can see) ones popping up.
     
  10. Have you seen where painting/fine art has gone..?In 125 years.When art is the droppings of some animal and hung !!!
    When a city buys a sculpture that portrays womans beauty and its really a Afgan hound.(Chicago)
    It is not that its a different way to do something.Its because the system allows one to do manipulations.Sure thats creative...when everybody does same things.
    To really see fine photographic prints is a wonder and joy.
    The prefeser was rite abowt PC`s.Without spell check we cant even spell.Without calculators nobody can give correct change.
    It seems every new developement to make our lives easier make us more stupid.I`m definitely dumber than my folks.
    Thet were not as well read or self educated as my Grandfather.
     
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've seen where painting and fine art have gone. I go to museums, to galleries, to my friend's homes, and there is far more out there than the few highly-publicized pieces you reference. Unfortunately, you sound like Jesse Helms, talking about modern art as if a few controversial artists was all that was out there.
    I'd recommend more time in museums and less time on message boards. Just the other day, I visited my friend Cynthia Tom who is becoming well-known with beautiful work that hardly matches your description. But it is much easier to read the front page and yell about the controversies...
     
  12. Darnnit Jeff--I wish I'd said that. Yes, people who actually go look
    at art get a much different impression from those whose entire
    exposure to it is via editorials written by people who don't look at
    art either.

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    Jason, my father (who spent decades in teaching and saw the change as
    it happened) would say the reason you're dumber than you parents is
    not because of calculators but because your parents didn't spend
    enough time paying attention to what you were doing with your time
    (as their parents had done with them), didn't care much about your
    education except for cursing it when they payed their real estate
    taxes, and found it more convenient to blame calculators than
    themselves for the problem. It used to be that parents whose kids
    didn't do well in school dragged their kids in by the ear to see what
    the teacher knew--now they ask the kids what's wrong, believe them
    (!!), and drag the teachers into court. The modern definition of
    "individual responsibility" has become "what someone else should be
    doing for me, but isn't."
     
  13. Wrong !
    I appreciate all the messages.At least we all agree that Leicas and the people who make use of them are special.When I said I was dumber,it was relative.....I come from a totally different culture and country.What was expected of me at school and my own discovery of the world was way different from the American way.I do go to art galleries and exibits.I took my kids.My parents desired that I read books,esp the classics.The family had regular discussions and debates.My great luck in my knowledge was when a couple shared part of our large home.Alex was a Polish refugee who couldnt return to Poland after WW2 due to the Communist regime.He opened the door to photography and music and above all a sense and joy in different cultures and customs.I read many of the the great Russian novels,at Alex`s suggestion.This in spite of the Russian-German occupation of his home at the begining of WW2. I listened to music from many nations and cultures.I discovered some of the real artists of our time,not in fine art but working to order in commercial and graphic fields.I have done these pursuits all my life in my travels.My schooling was way different from that in the USA.Negative marking was done at examinations."A" students were exceedingly rare.In my matriculation,I received a distinction mark in Geography.A miracle !
    Two such awards were given in the hundreds of thousands who wrote the public exam.Any student who had 6 Distinctions would be on the front page of all the main newspapers.
    I had to study French,German and Dutch.I attended art classes and buisiness school.With all this I am still dumber than my parents....Technology is draining away our struggle in the pursuit of experience and knowledge.
    A thing easily got is seldom appreciated.
    I think its time to go develope some exposures done at a function last night.
     

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