Prediction: RAW is going to eventually be a deprecated file format

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Karim Ghantous, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Until the painter actually starts, you know, painting.

    The original claim was that selection is the basis for photography.
    ("Well, duh", I tell myself before pressing "Post Reply", "very deep, Leo.")

    I didn't think the replies were very responsive. I could have cut and pasted them into a discussion about cave wall painting.

    You don't have to believe me when I say selection is the basis for photography.
    You can just observe yourself in the act instead.
    Have a nice sit to think about what you want to say. Channel your delicate artistic tempers. Do the vision thing.

    Now look through the viewfinder. Chimp. Reposition yourself. Twist a dial. Change the lens. Satisfied? Press the shutter.

    What happened? Did you synthesize something on a blank sensor?
    No, you selected something and pressed the shutter (because if you don't press the shutter,
    then you're just looking.)
    Let's take a look.
    The good news is it's unmistakably a photograph, just as I suspected.
    The bad news is, it's no good :-(
    Ah, well, nevertheless. Fact is you'll take thousands of bad photos for every good one. The world is an uncooperative place, you want to select for this but it gives you that. I dunno, maybe learn to exploit what's there, or take up painting and synthesize what isn't.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  2. It was. And what I'm saying is that it doesn't describe what photography is to me. I find it a dead description. Facile. Minimal. Useless.
  3. That's nice.
  4. A photo can be merely a faithful recording of what's already there. Or it can be created.

    Instead of a canvas, think of an empty studio. Whether it's a model or a plate of food, the image is created. Clothing, jewelry and make up are combined with the person being photographed to create a look that the photographer is after. The hair is styled. Lighting and props are added. The model poses. You can call it selection if you want, or synthesis. Both apply.

    What is a double exposure? Selection? Synthesis? I think both.

    Even with traditional photography, there are many ways to create a final image that is much different that what the eye would see on its own. Infrared film with a red filter. Long exposures, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  5. So by synthesis I mean turning nothing (a blank film, sensor, canvas, cave wall etc) into something (an image.) The moment of synthesis, in photography, occurs when you press the shutter. Nothing happens before then. Unless you're a wizard you have no agency in that part of the process. By selection, in photography, I mean the creative (or not) choices you make before you press the shutter. You can burn as many or as few calories as you like in that task, I'm not counting them. If you disagree with these common-sense (I think) meanings, then sure enough my argument is stupid.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  6. An image was created, not necessarily the one I wanted. Wanted Juliet, got Miss Wilkins. What can you do -- selection: facile, minimal, useless. Inconsequential.
  7. I'll bet that painters don't always end up with the image on canvas that they had in their head. Maybe they wanted Juliet but all they got was an irritated looking Miss Wilkins who had been attempting to hold the same pose for hours.

    Besides, Miss Wilkins can look 100% different from one photo to another. At least my teenaged daughter believes that to be true because she will have me take picture after picture of her until she sees one she likes. Believe me, there have been plenty of times I'd wished it was over with a single push of a button. And I'm not the artist in these photographic endeavors, - my daughter is. She is also getting quite skilled at post processing, - a good chunk of her photography class this semester is focused on just that.

    I believe that GB Shaw is incorrect. As good as cameras are, they don't so faithfully/truthfully reproduce what your eyes see. They can't. They produce a still, rectangular, two dimensional image with limited dynamic range and all kinds of other limitations and artifacts. The world is not still, it's not two dimensional. You're not getting Miss Wilkins when you click the shutter.

    Some limitations and artifacts you can use to artistic effect. The entire world does not go out of focus behind Miss Wilkins when she appears in front of you unless perhaps you're very smitten with her. But the world can be made to go out of focus in a portrait of Miss Wilkins whether you're smitten or not. A photo forces you to reckon with Miss Wilkins in a way that the real world doesn't. And a good (or even bad) photographer can render Miss Wilkins in a much different way than you'd normally see her.

    Of course a painter can do that as well. The advantage a photographer has is that creating their vision doesn't rely on them being able to paint, but it might require a lot of other skills, including ones involving light room or photoshop.

    Sometimes photography is a capturing of the way the world looked at one particular place at one moment in time. A lot times it's the creation of an illusion. And in many cases, it's a little of both.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019

  8. No but you get a photograph of her that's true to her likeness, of course you do, too true by Shaw's light. It's not a hologram, but it's not a picture of an articulating artist's dummy, either.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  9. "The ‘reality’ of the world is not in its images, but in its functions. Functioning takes place in time, and must be explained in time." (Sontag in On Photography).

    This is why painting is so much better at narrative than photography, which records only discrete moments. I mean Miss Wilkins might be a homicidal maniac in reality.
  10. It would be odd to think about a viewer who never looked at a picture of someone where many friends or relatives commented, "Gee that looks nothing like her." Possible, but odd.

    Her "likeness" is just the point. There will be an infinite number of likenesses for everyone and everything. It's often the photographer who will determine the likeness he or she portrays.
    Except when it doesn't and actually tells a story. Not to mention series of photos, slideshows, or books of photos which can convey quite a narrative, as long as one doesn't limit their understanding of "photography" to a single, discrete image.

    I'm sure any of us can point to a particular photo that has more narrative elements than a particular painting. Brassai meet Rothko.
  11. Sure, this happens when I look at myself in pictures. It doesn't happen when I look at a picture of a flower, say, or a toy truck. Those look right. Weird. People see with their brain.
  12. A sequence is legit, but single photographs can't tell a story, in the narrative art sense of unfolding over time. They can suggest it, sure.
  13. Just like paintings!
  14. Paintings aren't restricted temporally. The past synthesizes on the canvas as easily as the present.
  15. You're talking about how paintings are made. I'm talking about what a painting can show. A painting can show a narrative just as much as a photo can or just as little.

    I've also seen photos that have taken quite some time to make. Long exposures often suggest and even tell a narrative. As do, of course, split second exposures.
  16. Here's a pic of a flower I took at the wharf. It would be hard for me to imagine that other folks who were looking at the same flower that day would recognize this as that flower.

    Uhooru and tomspielman like this.
  17. Yes, if I could actually paint, I could choose to depict a past event in my painting.

    If you're suggesting that I can't use a photograph to depict an event from the past, you aren't using your imagination.

    Not photography exactly but there are entire genres of movies depicting events of the past... and the future.

    Dress somebody up in an outfit from the 30's, have them stand in front of an old car, take the photo in black and white and the viewer may have a very difficult time telling that the picture wasn't taken in the 30's.
  18. It would be historical, not narrative. Narrative = story unfolding over time (vs a discrete moment in time.)
  19. me: Painting is better than single photographs at narrative because it doesn't have shutter speeds
    Fred: Here's a 2-sequence single photograph i took using a high-speed strobe of a boy and his basketball.
    Fred: It's the story of David dunking on Goliath in the Land of Pitch Black.
    Fred: Here's another I took using bulb mode. Perhaps you recognize the story?
    Fred: It's Juliet turning into a ghost after stabbing herself with Romeo's dagger.
    me: He must have really loved her.
    Fred: Not necessarily. Maybe he loved dying. I knew someone like that once.
    me: Well --
    Fred: I disagree! Do you like my flower? Bees can't recognize it.
  20. Leo, what a bizarre post. I think you've lost it.

    I'll end my participation in this thread with a photo of mine I think has a narrative. And ... I salute you.

    Uhooru and Supriyo like this.

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