Uninsipired, bored, disorganized and frustrated

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by gene m, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. Over the past year or so I've become disenchanted with photography. Not so much by the process but by the way the product is received. People look at photographs on countless devices these days. They're all small and there's no universal calibration among them.
    The difference between the way photos look on my large screen Imac and on my wife's laptop is shocking. Photos are stretched, mashed, pixelated and re-colored. It's even worse when I look at a photograph on a cell phone of any size. And yet, that's what people look at photographs with. Maybe I should say "what people glance at photographs with."
    Few care. It's a question of values, like all other things in life. My values are not the values of others.
    In an effort to battle this uninspired techno-funk, I've been trying to update my web-design skills. Actually, I'm trying to get some web-design skills. My website, though full of product, is laughable when viewed on most of the devices whined about above.
    I'm interested in hearing what you use to assemble websites. I'm currently doing battle with Rapid Weaver. I find it clunky and counter intuitive. Below is a rudimentary webpage I assembled using RW. I'd like to hear how it looks on your device.
    I've got piles of exposed film but little desire to process and present it.
    Contax IIIa.
    LMar likes this.
  2. As to worrying about what other people do or think, why do you care? Care about the work you do. That's the way you get other people to care.
  3. Here's a screenshot from Firefox 32.0.3 running on Xubuntu 14.04. I have plenty of adblockers and privacy add-ons activated, if that matters.
  4. It's normal for one's enthusiasm to wax and wane. I wouldn't worry about it too much; instead focus on the things you still enjoy. For what it's worth, many people here (myself included) enjoy your posts and website A LOT.
  5. Hopefully that's a portion of the webpage, Zane.
    Ellis. I think you've missed the point.
  6. Yeah, that's just the top of the page. Scrolling down things look similar, with words and images truncated on the right side. I share your frustration with online viewing of images on most sites. Facebook, in particular, commits crimes with image quality -- I assume they highly compress everything to save server space.
  7. Well edited photos should look good on almost any device. Usually when a photo looks good on the calibrated computer on which it was edited and wonky on another device, the problem is with the other device, browser or coding on the page on which it's viewed. The challenge to web design now is getting pages to present the crucial elements - text, photos, graphics - to look right without breaking, covering something up, or weird aspect ratios.
    One of the challenges to presenting photos on dynamic pages is minimizing quality loss due to scaling artifacts. I'm not sure what the solution is to that problem. Even on photo.net I occasionally see scaling artifacts when photos uploaded at widths larger than 700 pixels to our photo.net portfolio spaces are embedded in discussion forums; or when photos larger than 680 pickles wide are uploaded and automagically resized. The resizing and rescaling do odd things to the pixies. Textured areas such as asphalt or concrete may show reptile scale-like patterns. Other repeating patterns may show moire that wasn't apparent in the original. Properly sharpened JPEGs that looked good on our systems may appear oversharpened with halos and jaggies, or too soft when viewed online.
    Also, I've noticed many of my b&w film scans and flatbed scans of b&w prints done 10 or more years ago now look pretty awful to me. My skills have improved, and I've become more critical of my own work. And scans that looked good on my CRT at 800x600 resolution in 2001 look pretty dreadful today. I tended to oversharpen everything, especially in the smaller final output JPEG for web display.
  8. Picking up on the web design part first: web design has become a pretty serious game; the low-end "let me make a website for you" programs used to give really nice results compared to large, carefully designed and developed sites that companies can afford. Not anymore, really. The last few years, largely because of mobile, the web made huge leaps forward, in design and in the underlying technologies. It has made development more complex, challenging and versatile. If you want to make your own site, and make it look good and have it working well on mobile with touchscreens - the learning curve has become very serious. Programs that offer to make your site for you won't really get you there (or it'll look very uninspired).
    Instead of this program, I'd look into WordPress (or Joomla); there are many tutorials on how to customise these packages and make them look and behave the way you want. Armed with a simple Text Editor, that might get you a lot closer to what you'd want, and I think you'll learn a lot more too that way.
    As for the photography - there is no real solution to it, is there? Personally, I always hope my photos are composed well enough and show their tonality well enough to not have to rely too much on the rest of the world having a reasonable LCD screen (and not be colour blind). So that they'll at least can get a decent idea what I had in mind. But to be fair, it's not just LCD screens that cause this, nor is it new. Put up a perfect print in a room with all the wrong lighting, and it also looks completely wrong.

    And as Ellis said, as much as I like to hear that people appreciate seeing my work, in the end, I make photos because I want to and like to. And if the photo is good enough, people will stop glancing and look better, at least those who are willing to. Again, no different from how it always was.
  9. BTW, I'm seeing the same formatting problems as Zane, via Chrome. I'll take a look later via Firefox and Internut Exploder. Some photos and text appear to be partially hidden.
  10. I can understand the frustration, but for my own part I still view things on a real computer. either a desktop with a very nice relatively new and bright monitor we got specifically so that photographs would look good, or a laptop, with drab color but something approaching correct proportions.
    I certainly hope you keep the stuff coming. It looks good here.
  11. Not sure if it is a helpful tip, but among the best tools for troubleshooting issues as the ones you see (where placement of elements go weird) are Firebug on Firefox or Chrome, or the Developer Tools in Internet Explorer (and despite its bad reputation, IE11 is a pretty good browser, its developer tools are among the very best in my view); these tools do require you to know your HTML and CSS well, but if you do, then they can help you drill down to whatever doesn't work and check how to change its behaviour to make it work.

    A quick look at the page you linked: all the containers for the content are placed in the CSS in a rather static fixed way; if you make the screenresolution low, some elements simply disappear because they are not "allowed" to reflow. The problem is in the CSS position:relative, where I think you'd probably be better of with position:fixed, but it's not a quick and easy fix (because everything trickles down and breaks all the rest).
  12. Point 1. It's great to see you posting again.
    Point 2. I really like the Contax page. Nice and clean, with nothing to divert attention away from the subject matter. For what it's worth, I viewed it on a laptop with a 14" display, using Firefox running under linux.
  13. SCL


    Gene - sorry, I can't help with the website design, but just wanted to encourage you to not give up on the photography, even if you put it aside for a while (or a couple of years as I did)...your insight and experimentation have encouraged a number of people to delve deeper than they thought they could.
  14. I wish I knew how to reassure you and 'perk' you up. We have missed you, Gene M.
    It's normal for creative artists, in whose number you are, to have such moments, not that that is any comfort.
  15. The logician/copyeditor in me has to comment: you said the Contax IIa "works perfectly", but earlier you said that the meter was "no longer working...". Sorry for my nitpicking! It looks an interesting site. At least you are worrying about how it looks on different devices. A lot of people really don't care.
  16. Mr. M. said “I've got piles of exposed film but little desire to process and present it.”
    Your found film posts were some of the best ever presented on Photonet. Many of us would like to see you back. We have considerable desire to see you process it and present it. Of course that means you do all the work, as appreciated as it is.
    A. T. Burke
  17. I am on a Mac. I use Sandvox to build my website and A2hosting to host it. It works pretty well and both companies are very good in support. For picture albums, I use jalbum(http://jalbum.net/en/) that works pretty well and zenfolio for sales and some display of work. Stop by my website to see examples (http://www.e2photo.net).
    I maintain and update my own site.
  18. I appreciate the advise, encouragement and editing. You're right Robin. It's not nitpicking. I try to right real good but sometimes I don't.
    I will persevere.
  19. Great to hear from you again. No one does found film like you do. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.
  20. Gene--looks good to me! The B+W shots are particularly nice. I'm using a Dell monitor, about four years old, and see no problems. Chrome is the browser. Looks like you're doing fine to me--keep it up!
    Thanks for posting...
  21. Gene,
    I have missed your posting of found film, and wondered why no one had heard from you for a very long time.
    You are one of the reasons I looked forward to clicking on the Classic manual camera forum each day.
    PLEASE! do not stop posting your "found film.'
    I looked at the Contax IIIa web page on my large LG monitor, and I can not see anything wrong with it.
    It was good to see your name once again in this forum.
  22. I believe JDM posted a link to your website a
    few weeks ago. I followed the link and have
    since looked at nearly every photo on the
    site. It's one of the best sites I've been to.
  23. I love your found film posts .. I think these should make a book and include your witty and sometimes
    sentimental observations. I really laugh at your a skewed view of these amateur attempts and then you pull back
    to note that we all made, or were in these pictures too... A sort of "This is your Life"

    You also often posted what you called "crappy" cameras and would poke fun at the cameras and your shooting pointing out the designs deficiencies and always with a tongue in cheek observation that would be just so clever and very
    funny at the same time. As is often demonstrated here in our forum... it's the photographer...not the camera.. you are one of our demonstrative ..".there goes your proof". Develop some of that film.. you'll find your groove again I'm
  24. Thanks Chuck et al.
  25. Dear Gene, I won't presume to give you advice, but I can tell you what helps me out of Photo Phunk. I focus on image making. I try to make really compelling images. I love the cool toys and tools of photography, classic and modern, but I discovered I'm happiest when I making good pictures. My formula is change-of-pace and new challenges.
    Shoot different stuff for challenge. If most of your subject matter is still life, try shooting sports, street life or kids with a mind to really catch a unique image. I like street myself. It puts me WAY out of my comfort zone, so fluid and unpredictable. If you generally shoot outdoor landscapes, try to make interesting table top compositions. Get close...real close. Start a photo project that is unique. Document the finest fishing lakes in your state. Shoot unique portraits of all the clergy folk in your town. Capture all your local birds of prey on wing. You get the idea. Change of pace. Sometimes a fresh location has a stimulating effect to freshen you vision. But it can also mean fresh approaches like shooting everything for a time from a worms-eye view, spinning around with the shutter open, shooting behind you without looking adding serendipity and chance into the mix. Take bold chances you normally wouldn't take with a camera. Take a Hoola hoop to a park with some foliage. Spin three times and let the hoop go. Shoot for an hour within the hoop wherever it lands (tip I got from Freeman Patterson). Read (or write) Haiku poems and translate them into pictures. Create a visual prayer. Sometime change of pace means resting and taking a break away from the camera, too.
    I'm sure you'll find your own unique way forward. These periods of funkdom happen to all creative people. It's practically the hallmark of the highly artistic mind. You'll come out stronger, recharged and more creative than ever. And you might discover some new, and interesting photographic pathways in the process. All Best. Lou
  26. I find that I get the greatest appreciation of my photos when I print and frame them and give them as gifts to family and friends. Anything from 4x6" to 16X20". Some are hung on the walls in their homes. When ever I go over, there's usually another comment or two of appreciation. And if they forget, I can offhand mention, "Hey, you still have my picture hanging." That usually opens up another round of thanks from them. Ok, so I need some "atta boys". What's wrong with that? We photographers need appreciation of our work.
  27. I am not really active on this forum but have been a loyal follower of the Found Film posts. I hope to see them again.
    For my website I use the Text Editor of my Mac. I started with page building software but it was more trouble than useful. I never got what I wanted. The Text Editor gives my total control but the downside is I have to write all html-code myself. It works well for a mainly text based site with images. The start was rather slow and difficult because I was "muddling through" but once I had developed a basic page style it was just copy, paste and add some text and images. www.w3schools.com was very useful. Site maintenance is an issue and I am finding ways to lighten that burden. That has got me deeper and deeper into html, Javascript and now PHP.
    I do use a notebook but add a calibrated Eizo screen for photo work.
    I big "thank you" to Mr. Gene M. for your efforts and success with the site.
  28. I am a fan of all your previous posts. Maybe you should start a found websites series.
  29. The only pictures that I show to others are prints. This is the way that I enjoy looking at my work and the way that I can fully control the image that is being viewed. Although I enjoy praise as much as anyone else, I shoot for myself, as a way of satisfying my creative urge(s). Those urges come and go; right now they are not to be found, but I'm working up to something.
  30. Gene, Firefox 32.0.3 image size ok at small size. Blow up to see details loses the right side of the view ?? Highlights seem tad too high but probably would never notice if just looking at image. Like your posts. My ancient Photomic FTN seems to have a Contax ancestry.
    Keep on truckin'
  31. Not enough beer in your life!
  32. PS

    Screen blowup using Win7 control + method. Maybe those missing the right side have screen large. Can be reduced by control -
  33. Gene, the title of this thread almost describes my whole life to a tee. Add exhausted and near broke and you've got it, although not for the same reasons. I've largely gotten away from photography in the past year. I have taken some shots but somehow lost the incentive. The nearest Walmart just stopped developing film although the last couple of films I got back are "still" waiting to be scanned. I don't even shoot (gasp) digital these days.
  34. I'm overwhelmed by the response and good advice. I'll investigate each suggestion.
    Some posters suggested I start a Found Film and Classic Cameras website. Hell ! I already have one.
    Thank you all.
  35. Gene, I am really happy to find this tread. Been missing you from photo.net and, previous, nelsonfoto, though I've been regularly checking you found film web site. Your pics from the mental hospiltal have really touch me as living close to such an institution now converted to a business park. Your documentation of the drowned villages due to Keep up, who looks at photos on a mobile any way? Your photos of thewhat hydro power expansion meant for drownd villages has the equivelants here in nothern Sweden. I use your all of your websites to educate myself and to understande my part of the world.
  36. Glad your are back. I'm suffering the same malaise. My goal is to continue downsizing and have already started on tool collection sold 80% also have sold some photo cameras...all recently at a loss. I will continue with film photography using millers labs out west, may try b+w at home like I did back in the 80's (and in the late 50's). I use digital in place of polaroid as a means of creating an instant image for reference purpose only. I do not plan to use a ' phone as a photographic tool nor will I rely on GPS to find my way around. My wife of 50 years and I plan a move to senior housing with the express mission of simplifying our lives. Accumulating more stuff is no longer a goal. I'm 73 and believe in a relaxed life style is now the order of the day and the future!!
  37. I'll miss you. Thanks for the good work.
  38. it


    Shoot for yourself.
  39. Missed your input Gene, and great to see that Contax! I can offer no advice on Web stuff, I'm a complete Luddite and struggle with the most basic of things.
    Really I just enjoy the camera porn here, along with the very un manipulated images that CMC people present.
    Recently moved house and all my toys are still mostly in boxes, and no darkroom at this stage, and I'm struggling to get my mojo back....I haven't shot any B&W for nearly two months, let alone processed any.
    Don't give up on the processing, you will be amazed at how many people enjoy your posts.
  40. I also miss your "found film" posts. As mentioned, we all get into creative funks now and then. Louis gave some good tips on getting out of it. Sometimes mounting my least favorite focal length lens on a camera and shooting a roll (in a single outing) with the combo gets my creative juices flowing again.
    By the way, my favorite medium for viewing photos is still the print.
  41. tgh


    I too have been missing your posts.
    A quick technical note or two - your "click here" link above goes directly to your "Contax 3A, a thing of beauty" web page. I have to append "/index.html" to the URL in order to get to your site's main index page. So there may be something jumbled up in the root of your website directory.
    And, oddly, when I right click and view page source on the Contax 3a page, buried among the HTML code are two instances of what appear to be nonsensical Latin text. Perhaps your Rapid Weaver is padding them in there. I say nonsensical since Google translate handles them as:"
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet obsessed with the street of the disease, the pain of the lakes, now, now the notebook. The cat the economic poverty of life, before the Who's Who of pain, but to create a budget. There was a lot of car models, computer networks, telephone, members of Pakistan's largest broadcasting. The mass vaccination.
  42. Yeah. The Latin text is a Rapid Weaver insert. I'm looking into Word Press.
    Thanks Todd.
  43. I don't have advice about software to create websites. I do it all 'by hand' myself, in a plain text editor, checking for errors in browsers now and again.<br>But what i know and can share is that it is about impossible to have what you present look good on all those devices people use to look and (indeed) glance at it.<br>If you'd ask me, you shouldn't even try. Nor should you stoop down to the lowest level and make it so it still looks somewhat acceptable at those inadequate devices, at the cost of how it looks on a proper machine using proper hardware and software.<br>It's like listening to perfectly recorded, mixed and mastered sound through noisy and distorting, cheap bits of electronics attached to a single, cracked speaker, producing a very poor and limited reproduction of the original, and deciding you have to do something to try to fix that by changing the high quality, hifi recording.<br>It's not the photo's nor the website's fault that people who use crappy devices do not get a good view of the site and the photos. If they want to get a proper view, they have to switch to better, 'hifi', equipment.
  44. I've always enjoyed looking at the photos in your posts-- both the found type and your own takes-- and I look forward to seeing more. As some others reported, I found the right hand part of some photos on the Contax IIIA page was cut off.
    Bill Delehanty
  45. Photography, and its product, the photograph, used to be semi-miraculous. The process, even at its simplest levels forced those involved to slow down. The photographer composed the image, whether through the viewfinder of a Hawkeye Flash or a Hasselblad 500.
    You had to wait to see the product and that product was studied. Twelve prints and three strips of negatives arrived at your door or were picked up at the local drug store. It was a big deal. So much so, that prints were placed in black-paged photo albums made for the sole purpose of preserving them.
    People do what they want to do. It's all a matter of values.
  46. It's been said that only artists truly appreciate other artists. You have to create your art for your own spirit. I seem to remember that Van Gogh painted 83, sold 1.
    The "magic" of photography is why I shoot film for my own enjoyment. If I only needed an image of something for some particular reason, I would use my digital Nikons, upload it to the computer, put it in the "cloud," etc. My poor little D's haven't been out of their bags in years. Boo hoo. So much for paid wedding photography gigs. Now everybody is an expert photographer with their digital slr's. And the bride and groom don't know what they are missing when Uncle Louie shoots their wedding with his brand new fancy wancy D-something he got on sale for $399. But of course, 50% of those marriages will fail, so they say, so why waste the money on professional photography? Why pay for a 16 piece big band when they can get a dj to play all new gangsta rap?

    Such is the march of technology. Remember the bag phones? Now the Star Trek communicator is in most of our pockets! That's fine. Wonder what antique bag phones are going for on eBay? Maybe I shouldn't have thrown out all those old giant phones! But I kept ALL of my old film cameras, and am still buying more. A Sinar, RB67, RZ67, Hasselblads, all used to be unobtainium in the earlier days. Now you can get 'em for a song. An offkey song, nonetheless.
    Oh well......keep shooting.......don't worry about the masses, or even your neighbors, just create your art.
  47. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It's been said that only artists truly appreciate other artists.​

    Hopefully not by people that care about art. If there's one thing I have observed in years of shooting, it's that photos that say something to people, especially people I don't know, are the ones that make photography interesting.

    I took a photo in a restaurant kitchen in Oaxaca in the 90s. Fifteen years later, trying to get some women to let me photograph them in a restaurant they worked, I showed them a print of that photo. They were ecstatic - it turned out they were from Oaxaca and the shoes in the photo were traditional and made them remember home. It took me a while to understand this since my Spanish is limited. But in the end, it made that photo, and every other photo I took worthwhile.

    Hopefully, most people create photos to make people happy, or feel something else, or remember something. Not feel that artists are the only ones that matter.
  48. "Not feel that artists are the only ones that matter."
    I don't think I implied that.
  49. Greetings Gene. Piles of undeveloped film is indications of a serious shooter. And most famous shooters, after passing this mortal coil, left lots of undeveloped film, such as Vivian Maier. So develop these and not leave unfinished business on the rolls.
    From what I have seen of your site and postings here, you are the best at getting nice images from cheap plastic box cameras. I do not believe you have gone through all of the different cheap plastic cameras that are available for you the play with. So find that child in you again and have at it.
    Because of your posts I actually bought 10 rolls of 127 film to shoot with a 1936 Kodak Bullet. Plus I have been gathering the fiddely bits to complete out my Kodak #4 Bullet Special circa 1904 for sheet film shooting. Still need to break out the Kodak Duex for a few rolls of 120.
  50. Great to read that Mathew, every one should do some "time" on a Box Brownie or an offshoot, it's very liberating.
  51. Try joining a local camera club.
    Kent in SD

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