MAGNUM hasnt given up on film!

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by octavio bustard, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. I had the pleasure today of sitting in on a presentation by a Magnum
    administrator speaking to students at SPEOS here in Paris. As you
    all know, Magnum is a 60 photographer co-op generally considered the
    finest collection of photographers in the world. She stated that NOT
    ONE Magnum photographer uses digital exclusively and only a MINORITY
    use digital for ANY of their work. She stated as well that those who
    do use digital do so only when circumstances require e.g war footage
    etc and that ALL of them use film for their personal work. She
    stated it as if it were a given.

    Magnum employs 4 people whose job it is to scan the photographers'
  2. Oh, c'mon...we all know everyone wants digital and film will be gone in 5 wait, 3 wait, 6 months...shoot, it's gone!! Unfortunatly Tim you'll probably get a raft of responses stating how these Magnum guys just don't know where it's at.
  3. Magnum's cool, digital sucks ;-)

    Seriously though and on a side note, has anybody happened to check out the latest issue of LensWork. I received mine last night and read the editor's notes and in it he talks about his revelation with digital and basically he says that he can shoot more, therefore new visual avenues open up. I would say its a good time to be a photographer. So many new ways of shooting and printing and still not enough time in the day. Fun fun.
  4. "Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important."
    -Henri Cartier-Bresson
  5. Bob and others, when was the last time the preference of a small group of erudite and talented individuals prevailed over corporate greed and the ignorant masses they so easily control?

    Long and short of it is, if you're good enough, no one cares what you use. And for 2 page
    spreads, you need at least 50M files.
  7. Good point, Jay.
  8. Jay

    You've got a point, and I reckon the last time was about 2000 years ago, by Jesus and his disciples.


  9. Jay...I'm always amazed how you never respond when I mention the 60,000,000 single use cameras (each loaded with a 35mm film) that Kodak alone expects to sell this year. Maybe the 60 odd Magnum members don't have much corporate clout, but the 1.3 billion stong Chinese market (where Kodak is aggresively marketing this year) sure as hell does. But of course Jay probably thinks everyone in China has a Mac G5 on thier desktop.
  10. I seurely would not even consider a digital p&s if i had someone doing all the scans for me ;-)
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    But of course Jay probably thinks everyone in China has a Mac G5 on thier desktop.
    They don't, but labs in Asia offer digital input, the same as film. You don't need a computer to print from digital any more than you need a color darkroom to print 4x6 snapshots.
    Kodak may think there's lots of film potential in Asia, but look at all the great information leading to the great decisions they've made in the last ten years. In Vietnam, a country poorer than China, I didn't see anyone in the film camera section of the stores, I couldn't find 120 film, and the 35mm film wasn't selling either. But people were working on computers in the back with customers' memory card images. My friend visiting his family this month in a small village sent an email saying he was amazed at how quickly digital is taking over photography there.
    Before I went to Asia, I believed that it was this growing market for film based on what I read here, but having been there, I have seen what's happening. It would be a lot better if people go to Asia before they repeat off-base comments about it from Kodak executives.
  12. Awww, Jay, you're not a 'corporate greed' guy are you? Please tell me you're joking.
  13. It's a lot of fun reading all the "answers" this forum generates, but some notes along the way, Remember when b/w photography was dead? Now most of the great high end ads i n Vouge, Vanity Fair etc. mags are four color black/white ads... In motion picture, there is a difference in the look of digital original and film original. Many motion pictures are shot with film and then go directly to digital for output. Soon projection will be digital instead of film projection machines... happening already. there is definitely a different "look" between film and digital, video etc. and that is the point. what do you want the end result to look like. For reportage and journalism, digital is the deal and far better than anything before... shoot, laptop, photoshop and transmit or just transmit, bang it's there. But in the case of archival storage... I'd rather have (and do have) sheets of original transparencies, proof sheets and negs that I can select from than hard drives filled with images and a software program to work with. I don't see it as an "either/or" world. Magnum has a history and I think that it's easierfor them to continue that history with film and some digital. It preserves what they feel is their "look." I'm going to shoot anything depending on the project , but I don't feel any fear that I'll run out of film . As far as 10 megapixels being archaic in two years, I don't think so. right now you can with "Genuine Fractals," take any good scan up to at least 4x5 feet. I just did it, and sold a print made by A&I i n L.A. the result was terrific... and the original scan was of three 35mm strips of 3 pix each, scanned on my Epson 2450 side by side. After cleaning them up and arranging them, I saved them as Genuine Fractals and then adjusted for a 300 megabite file (4x5 feet) and saved it on a CD.
  14. Jeff write "Kodak may think there's lots of film potential in Asia, but look at all the great information leading to the great decisions they've made in the last ten years."

    ...."Before I went to Asia, I believed that it was this growing market for film based on what I read here, but having been there, I have seen what's happening. It would be a lot better if people go to Asia before they repeat off-base comments about it from Kodak executives."

    It obviously varies across countries in the Asia region but as Ive posted here before China is not like the others. Sure you can always find a fair share of digitals and I agree that all the labs can handle digital but thats usually a funtion of the Noritsu and Frontier processing machines they've installed.

    Ive been making a point of observing the film/digital trend here (in Beijing) and I can tell you that the majority, by far, of all cameras are film based - usually P&S and a few SLRs. Even the majority camera stores have a far greater display of film cameras relative to digital. Kodak is certainly everywhere but its just a pity that the only B&W available is TMX and TMY - Oh! there's always "Lucky Pan".

    Peter A makes a point about people still trying to feed their children; consider that the average income in Beijing is about US$240 a month - rural China quickly drops to about 1/5th of that.

    Four people living in a house (read room) that is 5mtr square and contains a double bed, a single bed, cooking facilities, food storage, seating, ... the toilet is a public set of "holes in the ground" with no privacy 200mtrs down the track. These people sell vegetables in a Beijing market (not uncommon) and, not knowing what their cost-of-goods are, but as an example 1Kg potatoes, 4 tomatoes and 2 lg onions are sold for US 0.17c. But they have a film camera!

    Craig / Beijing
  15. Jim, what a treasure.
  16. Jeff,
    I only spent a couple of weeks in Vietnam (Hanoi), and it wasn't for photography purposes so I can't comment on Vietnam. But in India, where I have spent a substantial amount of time, about the only digtals I saw were in the hands of foreigners. I'd assume that photographers at the big Indian newspapers use digital as well. But by far, the majority of Indians with cameras are shooting film, mainly p&s with a few photogs at tourist sites offering to take pics of people for a small fee using Vivitar manual SLRs. I saw a lot of people using p&s taking their camera into a lab, and having to get the lab guys open the camera to take the film out, and load a new one in (whether through laziness or not knowing how to do it, I don't know). And in an Indian photo magazine I was reading, 90% of the advertising was film related.

    However here in Taiwan, it seems that everyone has a digital p&s, although I've not seen anyone with a dSLR yet - although all the camera stores sell them, so someone must be buying them. Interestingly, I see quite a few Taiwanese shooting in MF as well. Although Taiwan is quite a rich country (I think GDP per capita is US$15000, with a low cost of living)

    Asia is a big place - some parts are poor, some are rich, some shoot digital, some shoot film and some can't afford either.
  17. bhk


    Nice to hear Tim.

    Jim - beautiful shots! Would love to see more!
  18. From the website of Michael "Nick" Nichols, National Geographic staff photographer:
    "Geographic is still shooting transparencies. I think technology is probably the least important thing to consider. But you do have to be able to handle transparencies to shoot for the Geographic. That’s more difficult exposurewise than color negative or digital."
  19. "corporate greed and the ignorant masses"

    Frankly, I don't give a damn about the film/digital debate, I know what I want for my own work and that's all that interests me about it. But I am disturbed by the contempt for the "ignorant masses" displayed more or less openly by so many forum members. Jay comes out with it, but a lot of people think it. Shame on you.
  20. Xinbad, 3 words for you.

    "Acid Washed Jeans"
  21. Interesting. From the one side Jay gets it - incredibly, to me - for daring to mention corporate greed; and from the other for saying "ignorant masses". <p>

    You'd have to be living in some kind of twisted la-la land, to not know of corporate greed, being as how so much of history and current times - reality, in other words - is so rife with examples of it. Jay can (as we all know) speak for himself. But I see his statement, like most of his statements, as being that of a hard-nosed realist. Politics as such has nothing to do with it.<p>

    Likewise the reference to ignorant masses - especially in the context of their being manipulated. Again, reality - especially of late -brims with examples. In fact our cup runneth over. And of course ignorance isn't the same as stupidity - which is typically reserved for those doing the manipulating (along with their compatriots - those who deny the existence of corporate greed).<p>

    As for Magnum, why should any of those photogs change to digital where it isn't required? They have great success with film, and know what they're doing. Their co-operative situation - and the demand for their services - allows them to go their own way more than other pj pros. Something to take a lesson from, even if you're not a pj.
  22. I don't know, CD - I don't see any implication that the "masses" are manipulated into ignorance and poverty by the corporations in Jay's repeated statements. But I could be wrong. I find the very word "masses" disturbing; it recalls my grandmother's attitude - that of a pampered and privileged woman who believed herself and her class (the late nineteenth century German haute bourgeoisie - now long extinct) to be superior to the common run of mankind.
  23. I don't see any implication that the "masses" are manipulated into ignorance and poverty by the corporations in Jay's repeated statements.
    I don't see that, either. But the idea that people's ignorance is exploited to drive their needs and fears is clear.
    I find the very word "masses" disturbing; it recalls my grandmother's attitude - that of a pampered and privileged woman who believed herself and her class (the late nineteenth century German haute bourgeoisie - now long extinct) to be superior to the common run of mankind.
    Nor am I fond of the term. Too much massing together implicit in it, when massing is most of the problem. Nonetheless it is convenient shorthand for the great group, especially convenient for a strict pragmatist discussing manipulation of the "market".
    On a personal note, was that the German haute bourgeoisie in England? or the one in Germany? What happened to them?
  24. CD and Xinbad

    Don't you think that the constant flow of advertising regarding the race for most megapixels is manipulating the masses into ignorance ( because most mps does not necessarily equate to best)?


  25. Right, along with the idea that anything "digital" is inherently better. (Just try reminding someone who is ga-ga for digital that they themselves are analog. I have and it doesn't work.) Anyway, you make a good point, Aruno.
  26. You people are stupid.

    That said, if you notice she said that they use film for their personal work, the stuff that means the most to them, but they use digital for what they can get away with. Film is better quality than digital. Digital has its puposes
  27. Mick Canis , feb 11, 2004; 07:09 a.m. You people are stupid.
    Right. Thanks for rreminding us, but it's been pointed out to us on a daily basis.
  28. Nice to know Mick. I thought we were all just ignorant.
  29. I love the elitists, blessed with special vision taking comfort in their perceived superiority.
    No doubt some really deep-rooted internal issues still tugging on them - that's where
    manipulation can be found...
  30. Xinbad, this forum is for Leica Sahibs.
  31. I'm always mystified by the film/digital "debate" rife with cherry picked "facts" and/or singular observations that are trotted out to masquerade as facts to support someone's personal viewpoint.
    The digiheads can hardly seem to wait for film to "die" so that their personal choice is affirmed as being "right" and/or "the best" choice - as they look back over their shoulders with a snear on their face at the poor, confused, Luddite film users.

    On the flip side, are the filmaholics that want to offer every proof that their choice of film proves it isn't dead - it only smells bad. They plead their case to anyone who feigns an interest in a "debate" that has no meaning.

    Really, who cares? What's the point of the debate? I don't get it. Digital will displace film as the medium of choice for many uses but not ALL uses. So what?

    And, so what if film becomes only a "niche" market? That doesn't prove that digital is "better" - only that market demands make it a more popular choice. But, again, let's not confuse popular choice as a type of metric that in any way measures, equates, confirms it as being "better."

    Why? Because "better" is a value judgement based upon a single person's unique usage requirements.

    I use both mediums and have my own thoughts on both - and they're meaningless to anyone else as it comes down to a personal choice. I'm sure my personal choice makes no difference (nor should it) to anyone elses' personal choice or aesthetics.

    Each medium has its own unique merits that can be used or exploited for a certain end. Whether the merit is cheaper, faster, easier, better looking, more artful, is a usage choice that one makes as his/her personal choice. But there seems to be a confusion of translating a unique merit into a metric to measure "better than."

    Neither medium is "better" than the other - only different. It's the choice of differences and how to use them for best effect that should govern one's choice of a photographic medium. Equipment choice doesn't make you a better photographer. Knowing what equipment to apply to best effect for a certain imaging situation MIGHT make you a better photographer - but neither is a substitute for a unique, singular vision applied to a subject.

    Why not argue the merits of chocolate ice cream versus french vanilla - it would be about as meaningful.
  32. I agree Steve- film IS better!!!!!
  33. You could view Magnum's film v. digital declaration as evidence that its photographers are involved in far less spot news than other agencies. You don't see the Magnum credit very often in the daily newspapers. When it appears, Magnum work finds space more frequently in magazines and books, which impose less of a time-burden.

    You could also view the declaration in view of the fact that Magnum photographers tend to be pretty old, with their careers already made and largely behind them. Why should these guys change their cameras now?

    You could view the declaration as evidence of Magnum's staunch traditionalist conservative view--which is why it is a boutique agency, despite its hallowed history.
  34. “Digital will displace film as the medium of choice for many uses but not ALL uses. So what? “<p>Because our cool, esoteric, expensive, snobbish, “look at me, I’m using one” Leicas will be rendered useless….that’s what.
  35. "Because our cool, esoteric, expensive, snobbish, “look at me, I’m using one” Leicas will be rendered useless….that’s what."

    You know, I have owned a Leica for 14 years. In 14 years NO ONE has walked up to me and said, "Wow!!!! A LEICA," or anything even close to that. As far as I can tell, most people think it's a $49.95 point-and-shoot. That's fine with me. The less I'm noticed while photographing, the better I like it.

    If it's a "look at me" factor - for real - then the large format crowd has that all locked up as it's darn hard to ignore a guy hiding under a focusing cloth. One of the reasons I rarely shoot large format anymore - you become a spectator sport for everyone in the vicinity of where you're trying to work.

    If YOU think it's the "look at me" factor, then I'd suggest using a Leica WITH a focusing cloth - heck, I'd being looking at you .... I find really strange people entertaining.

    But, should you INSIST on being snobbish, you're chance will come in 2-3 years when Leica releases a digital "M" series .... so, no worries...your eletist yearnings will be serviced well into the digital transistion.
  36. I belong to a club that is so elitist it only has a single member, me. The dues are high but the ammenities outstanding. And, oh, the view.
  37. And I guess I have to concede that the term "the masses" is repugnant, not good for much, and not one I would use.
  38. That's true - a Nikon F5 or EOS digital or whatever gets a lot of "whoa ... what's going on" from bystanders while nobody pays any attention to a Leica ... they don't know what it is, and that's good.
  39. >Mick Canis , feb 11, 2004; 07:09 a.m.
    You people are stupid.

    Is that 'Canis' as in ryhmes with 'anus'?
  40. Without "corporate greed" there would be neither film NOR digital cameras, nor cars, nor much clothing, housing, food, etc. Greed (i.e., profit motive) gets things produced. Do you think Kodak produces film out of altruism?

    As for those "ignorant masses" buying digital cameras: Is it really ignorant to prefer products which produce comparable output in a fashion that is faster, easier to utilize, and probably lower-cost in the long-run?
  41. Michael Mitchell was working with real wolves when he couldn't go to college from 14 to 16 (huh, why not?!) and figuratively, with us, hence: Canis (canine). Sad.
  42. You're a funny guy CD. How do I join the club?
  43. Tim, you're already an honorary member (along with a few others on and off this forum). I usually reserve actual attendance for women, but there is a floor marked platonic, so feel free to drop in for dinner any time. And bring our pal Paolo if you like.
  44. Mick Canis <You people are stupid>...and you're a d** there!
  45. I know a lot of friends who ran out a bought digital cameras,
    then the next year they had to run out aand buy the better more pixel camera that came out for the same price as their one year old digital,
    and so did I myself buy the leica digilux 1 -and now there's the d2, and so on.
    digital camera's ,like computers lose their value in no time , analog
    always keeps its value. That must tell you somethign about the dig,
  46. To - ahemm - get back to Tim's post:

    A large percentage of the Magnum shooters prefer Leicas (or at least RFs) for their work, especially the personal work. Since there is no digital equivalent to a Leica*, it doesn't surprise me at all that they are sticking with the machines they love and the film that goes with them.

    It MAY be interesting to see what the response is once there is a reasonably "rangefinder-like" digital substitute. I doubt whether, e.g., Eliot Erwitt will bother to switch, simply because film will easily see him through the rest of his shooting life. The younger folks (and there are Magnum associates in their 20's) may well adopt digital if/when the cameras suit their tastes.

    *at least until either May 2004 or Sept. 2006, depending.
  47. crikey !!

    It makes me laugh a lot to see threads like this.

    Its simple really if you want to take great shots and produce wonderfull
    images you have 2 choices.

    Film or digital.

    Which is better - who cares!!

    Which is more cost effective - simple film!! (when you take into account
    total capital outlay and depreciation)

    Which is instant - Digital but thats what you pay the premium for.

    Which is better quality (sharper etc..) - Film

    Which brand - Thats personal prefference, they all have their pros and
    cons and only by evaluating what you want can you hope to find which
    brand fullfills that.

    Digital is, and will be for the foreseable future a gadget. Unless you are a
    pro with clients who demand it, digital is far more expensive to work

    As with all gadgets it is expensive and will continues to have new
    enhancements for the foreseable future.

    As with most things you need to analyse what you really want to
    achieve and what the true costs are.

    The nearest parallel to digital cameras are computers. As with cameras
    they have been subject to over spec for a long while.

    Think about it most people only use a computer to surf the net, do their
    accounts and type the odd letter. You don't need much power to do this,
    the same is true of a camera.

    However if you can tell everyone that they should process their digital
    images at home on their home PC now you can sell millions of PC

    Most people see absolutely no cost saving or benefit by using digital,
    they have no ability or wish to become image processing experts they
    just want pictures to show others.

    If they want to put them into digital format then they could just have
    them scanned and tweaked at a pro lab. This would still be far cheaper.

    I guess what I am saying is whatever you buy and whatever brand you
    choose is a personal thing, led in no small part by carefull marketing.

    Don't get suckered in, decide what you want to create and then choose
    the equipment to create those images.

    If you have equipment that meets those requirements then it can only
    become obsolite when your requirements change, not just because a
    manufacturer brings out a new model.

    If you want to just collect equipment thats fine but if you want to be a
    photographer then buy just what you need to achieve your goal.

    Just to put this in context I have worked as a pro for quite a while and
    even though I sometimes get asked for digital I am still film based.

    If the client wants digitised images then I can have the slides/negs scanned
    which my clients have been happy with.

    I occasionally use high end scanning backs for certain clients but I hire
    this equipment as required.

    Working this way suits me and has saved me tens of thousands in capital

    The client always gets what they want and they are happy.

    I have seen a number of pro studios go under because they switched to
    digital too early and incurred huge capital costs only to find the
    equipment still didn't deliver and that they also had to budget for huge
    amounts of in house processing time that the client wouldn't pay for.

    When the time is right I will switch to digital once the current
    development curve settles down and I can buy equipment that I know
    meets my requirements. At that point I don't care what bells and whistles
    the manufacturers add to their products because I will have invested in
    what meets my requirement so for me it can't become obsolite.

    Just my thoughts you don't have to agree.

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