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Friday, 06 September 2019


It's too bad that Mr. Ostroff had such a rigid hiring requirement. What if the right person comes waltzing in off the street?

In the world of smartphones, I am tickled by those strange bedfellows. What I mean is that Huawei (phone) is married to Leica (lens). That, at least in my part of the woods, helped a lot with Huawei sales.

I have heard that the iPhone maker approached Leica first but the marriage did not work out because Apple was reluctant to pay Leica prices.

Does anybody know if this is true?

Think of Eugene Atget. Well into the 1920s, he roamed the streets of Paris with his ancient 18-by-24 cm glass plate camera, making all his prints as straight contacts at home, his "studio" being hardly more than a table and a few trays. "Obsolete" technology by any standard. But photography by and for the gods.

Well written! I agree. Make good photos (good by your own standard) with your camera of choice. Be happy. Be creative. Don't over-think it. Life goes on.




Ok. [/Joke over] ;)

Seriously, though. I think that we humans are inherently visual. So as long as there is an industrial base, there will be some sort of image making device. And if there is no industrial base, we will go back to ochre on cave walls.

The "winners and losers" will change in a commercial sense (aloha Edwin Land and George Eastman) and the criteria for success in an image will change, as they always do/have.

Personally, I am waiting for the cyborg implants. Blink/click.

Good point. If any of us are able or lucky enough to create art the camera is of little importance. It's one's ability to see a shape, a moment, the light, the tones etc. Tri-X, phone, big film or 100mp be damned.

"The bottom line is that it doesn't actually matter if Nikon or Leica or any other company survives. Or if beautifully crafted multi-element large-aperture lenses are still being sold in 2045 or not"

Well, it may not matter to YOU, but it certainly matters to me.

Mike posted: The bottom line is that it doesn't actually matter if Nikon or Leica or any other company survives.
By including Leica in the comment you just ruined my Christmas. ;-)

What, me worry? ....writing from my viewpoint-a picture maker with 2 8x10 VCs, 3 4x5 VCs, a medium format system, 35mm system, Widelux panoramic camera, 4 SX-70 cameras, several “toy” cameras, all of which I used in my professional life and still possess-it doesn’t matter a wit, or shouldn’t, what tool one uses to make pictures. It also doesn’t’ matter, or shouldn’t, which particular vien of photographic vernacular one adopts to make pictures. The only thing that matters is the pictures one makes. That is, the pictures which “verb your noun”. And, in fact, all pictures are derrivative inasmuch as we are all standing on the shoulders of (picture making) giants. And, it is also reasonably accurate to write that all pictures are derrivative, dating from the first instance when a light-transmitting device-lens, aperture, shutter-was used to make the first photographic picture. So, my position is that one should stop worrying and make pictures with whatever and how ever you can “verbalize” your noun.

Years ago I met a wonderful photographer who, when told that a Holga could replace her beloved but discontinued Diana, replied with lament, “no, the lens in the Holga is pristine.”

It's too easy to make images now. When I think of just about anything from back in the day, from the wet plates of O'Sullivan or Watkins, to Strand's porch shadows, to Weston and Adams (both of them), anyone can make images and get them in front of the public eye, that will, based on the monkeys at at the typewriter analogy, be interesting.

"...Although that idea sounds kinda 2015 now, doesn't it?"

Uh, Mike, Chase Jarvis published his book of iPhone pictures, the since-become-an-idiom The Best Camera Is The One That's With You, all the way back in ... 2009, a decade ago. (Sorry! :/)

From Mirriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fetish

fetish: an object (such as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence

RED Digi-Cine cameras have been used since 2009 to shoot magazine covers (Megan Fox, Esquire June issue). I had shot pulled from video tape in the late 1980s. You don't need a CaNiSony camera to shoot stills.

Photos will NOT go away—but still cameras won't be used for much longer. Someday soon the wire-services will have video-camera capturing decisive moments at 120 fps/1/2000. A photo editor, helped by an algorithm will put these photos on the wire several time a minuet. A Wedding or Bar/Bat Mitzvah could be shot the same way, with the guests getting AI chosen photos transferred to their phones (in real time). How Cool is that?

:-) :-) :-)

I am lucky enough to have work in a group show that is opening next month. In the catalog to this exhibition, we say this: "A definition of “photography” has to be, by necessity, much broader than in the past.  In contemporary use, there is a tremendous variety of technique and materials as well as stylistic applications. Many materials and processes go back decades, while others are fairly recent technological developments. In the New Photography Collective, practitioners can be found in multiple variations of the discipline, from straight-forward documentary photography, to experimental images exploring new ways to use conventional photographic materials. Various members of the collective may explore social and personal issues. Others look at history and documentation. And others are simply attempting to put on paper images that already exist in their mind."

I made a list of eleven things that would serve as a "street substitute" appropriate for an autodidact. I figured if I couldn't have a Masters, I could at least work toward mastery.
One of the eleven things was "work in a museum."

What were the other ten?

A personal note, Mike. With paywalls going up here and there I broke down and bought into the NYTimes. And you're certainly right - there are some truly arresting photos there.

And another note, a little closer to the issue of survival of photo equipment. Fuji, whether through luck or design, seems very well positioned. They have very few basic kit lenses, unlike my old Canon 28-105 for example. Someone with a few primes and a zoom or two in the XF range has made a big investment in superior glass. Almost like the old days the light-tight boxes with a few chips or a film drive will come and go.

In the photographic art world at the moment old processes are now current. The "flavour of the month" seems to be wet plate collodion.

If someone says "I'm a painter" or I'm a sculptor", that doesn't imply, at least to me, that they make money at what they do, nor that they are in some current movement in the Art World that gets then in shows at important galleries and/or museums.

I assume they make art, whether for themselves, friends and family, a locality, country or the world.

I love TOP, but it seems odd to me that when that Mike fellow who writes on it writes photography or photographer, there is usually an implied adjective or three that leave me out.

"For one thing, in order to be a photographer of your time and place . . . To . . . be taken seriously as being in the mix, . . . Sometimes there's a sort of "novelty" quality that sticks to photographers who are deliberately antiquarian or resolutely contrarian,. . . the art world, at least, and I think history as well, respects and honors the leading edge and has little time or regard for the trailing edge."

I make pictures. I do it because it's what I like to do, and gives me satisfaction. I believe I an a better photographer in many respects than many photographers who display their work for sale.

But I have no desire (or need) to try to sell my photography. Nor do I need, or expect, to be known, let alone important.

Non commercial Un important narrowly known soon to be lost to history, photographer Moose

Alfred E. Newman: What Me Worry?

You can't control the future so why worry about it.

That's my sentiment with respect to the future of stand-alone cameras. Right now I have the camera I have always wanted. So for now and in the near future, I go out every day (I'm retired.) and work on projects I have created for myself.

It used to be 5x7 prints out to the edge of the negative; in the 70s people didn't think 35mm film could really be enlarged to 11x14, at least not consistently and reliably. But by the 90s, improvements in emulsions, and perhaps a style of photography less dependent on pushed TRI-X, might have made 11x14 possible.

Man, switching formats & cameras is what I enjoy most about photography: so many ways to make a picture. I just bought a Welta Garant 6x9 folder, mainly to attempt some 35mm super panoramas (via a 3D printed 120-135 adapter). The camera is 80 years old and functions like new. Good times.

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