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

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

  1. A photograph can be that. But I think it's more accurate to say that an un-altered photograph is what a camera captured on some medium over some period of time. The time interval could be short or relatively long.

    A simple example: This weekend I plan to shoot a roll of 20 year old Ilford SFX 200 using a red filter. I have an idea of what the photographs might look like but it won't be what I saw, - at least I hope not. I expect that there will be some resemblance to what I saw and with some luck, at least one photography will look cool.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  2. Some photographers see the future. They take the photo in a an instant but may already be well ahead of the game in previsualization. A good photo is often seeing beyond the instant.
  3. They're better at narrative, and have a rich tradition of narrative, unlike photography, because they can depict the past, present and future on the same canvas. The photograph shows a moment in the real world. Its purpose under "SCREAMING HEADLINE" is to make the headline real (whether it's true or not), not explain what happened (because it can't!) Photographs index the world: they're taken, not made. That is their currency and claim to making things real. (Also why a straight portrait of Miss Wilkins fails as Juliet, who's an idea, an icon, and in particular not an index of flesh and blood Miss Wilkins in costume.)

    Yes I know about montages etc, they're ugly and incoherent as photographs, forfeit indexicality, and to the first approximation no one does them. Wouldn't you rather just make a movie instead? I know I'd rather look at one.
  4. Because JPEG was used instead of RAW:)
  5. I know this discussion is weeks old but there is something about it in particular that would pop into my brain now and then and that's the discussion of Juliet. I'm assuming Leo is referring to Juliet of "Romeo and Juliet". To be sure there are many paintings of Juliet. But she was a character written for the stage, - intended to be played by a flesh and blood actress in costume.

    The idea that a painting could properly capture Juliet while a photograph could not doesn't make any sense given that Juliet was meant to be portrayed by a real person.

    Yes, a camera can capture what is real, but it can also be a tool for the imagination. Just as flesh and blood actors and actresses can bring works of fiction to life.
    Nick D. and Supriyo like this.
  6. Paintings and photos can be as deceptive as human interactions but can also tell more truth than them. Appearance can hide and it can reveal reality.

    A straight likeness is no more sure a representation of a person than can be the most impressionistic, expressionistic, or even abstract picturing.

    Good portraits and photos in general often do more than point.
  7. I have book of Portraits by Sugimoto, it is something in between of painting and photograph.
  8. Love the photo, not to be off topic, but where is that?
  9. Which is why you see the story reproduced in so many different historical and cultural settings.
  10. Thanks. :)

    Haight Street, San Francisco, off Stanyan.
  11. Shakespeare updates can be hit or miss, but Baz Luhrmann’s splashy take on R + J from 1996 with Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio is definitely worth catching. Luhrmann has a distinctive voice in staging and directing some of the great classics.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
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  12. No one said Juliet can't be photographed, only that GBS's Miss Wilkins fails as Juliet (where she succeeded in the same pose as a painting.) I don't understand why you dragged theater into this, the part of Juliet is presumably more persuasive than her standing absolutely still before an audience for however many hours, which would be the more apt comparison.

    Here's the quote again.

    "There is a terrible truthfulness about photography."

    This is the thesis. GBS is putting this statement forward as a premise to support. His support will consist of a comparison between two portraits.

    "The ordinary academician gets hold of a pretty model, paints her as well as he can, calls her Juliet, and puts a nice verse from Shakespeare underneath, and the picture is admired beyond measure."

    In case you weren't aware how painting can obscure tangible reality with layer upon layer of artistic pretense and bullsh*t, GBS helpfully stipulates an academic painter and even a verse underneath.

    "The photographer finds the same pretty girl, he dresses her up and photographs her, and calls her Juliet, but somehow it is no good — it is still Miss Wilkins, the model."

    Here GBS is appealing to our faith in the impartiality of photons to record Miss Wilkins as she is.

    "It is too true to be Juliet."

    Indeed, because her photons are broadly accepted as a substitute of herself, whatever the f she looks like. Affirms the thesis.
  13. That may be true. A problem arises, though, because both the thesis and its affirmation are bogus.

    The thesis and its affirmation rely upon a lack of imagination and ability to empathize with photographic transformations, instead getting caught short-footed in the myopia of mere representation.

    Photons, hah!
    tomspielman likes this.
  14. He's wrong. ;)

    I understand completely what you're saying about a painting. But you can certainly photograph a model, - or an actress playing Juliet, helpfully put a caption underneath the framed photo, - and she will be Juliet to the viewer. Just as someone watching an actress on stage can see her as Juliet while still knowing that she's actually an actress.

    GBS is incorrect. You can manipulate photons. That's what lenses do. In fact, a huge part of photography depends not on truth but fantasy. Often times the goal of photography is depicting things and people (or food) not as they are, but as how we want them to be seen. And plenty of times, the viewer is in on it, - though not always.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  15. empathize with photographic transformations? myopia of mere representation? Sure. Fred, the photographer's life coach guy.
  16. You can lie with photographs. For example you can take a picture of a partially submerged inner tube AND CALL IT Nessie. Show it to enough people and pretty soon there's a scientific expedition trawling Loch Ness.

    It's a mystery how something like that could happen.
  17. Spoiler: it happens because a photo is evidence of its subject. You wouldn't be able to fool people with photographs if photography wasn't mechanically objective.
  18. Me: Shows painting of Jeffrey Epstein holding today's NYT.
    Everyone: LOL.

    Me: Shows photo of Jeffrey Epstein holding today's NYT.
    Everyone: holy cow i knew it.

    Granted JE didn't kill himself, but that's the point here ...
  19. I won't speak for everyone, so ...
    Me: The photo, like the painting, is obviously a fake.
  20. You should accept your own challenge! I'd bet anything 100 photographers selected at random to take a picture of Juliet will produce 98 interchangeable pictures of Miss Wilkins and two ads for Juliet. GBS' claim is a truism in the books I've read but, whatever, internet. We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Of course a good photo of Juliet is possible. But when I think what that might look like I imagine a photo essay of actually existing star-crossed lovers. That would be ideal (if unfortunate.) Other approaches are certainly possible (an ironic take on paintings of Juliet?) but I'm never going to be fooled by an ad for Juliet. Photography's strength is the ability to capture details about the real world (think of the iconic photos you've seen); that's what it's singularly good at; that's what's expected of it; and that's what it does. It's challenge is to impose one's hand, or vision, on those immaterial photons; that's the hard part.

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