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Monday, 09 September 2019


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That's very cool to look and one can draw lots of inferences from it. Thanks, Sarge, for putting that together. But speaking just for myself: Darn and Blast! I didn't comment on the post because I was on holidays! I would have landed right on Kenneth Wadja's dot, I think (1976 & 2001).

Wow ... 28 years with film, but this chart has me feeling young !

It's an impressive piece of work and shows a fun snapshot of (some subset of) TOP's audience .

wonder how exhibitions, publications are contained int that set. how many hands would lift for those with current gallery, or auction sale

I land on the dot with Joakim Ahnfelt.

Very interesting. Somehow I missed that original post, otherwise I would have added my 42 years in film, 5 years in digital to the mix. (Had to wait until the kids grew up and the mortgage was paid off before replacing my Canon EF with a Nikon DSLR.)

Maybe the most amazing thing is that all the names seem to be male.

WOW!! This is very cool, and looks as if it was a lot of work to put together. Thank you for doing this..now I can have fun figuring out where I would fall.

Initially I blamed Sarge (sorry, Sarge), but I went back and checked. I can't believe I spelled my own name wrong!

Sarge did a great job on this.

His scatter plot is right on the money from the point of view of his left hand scale (Film Years) and his bottom scale (Digital Years).

What's especially interesting to me is that his top scale (Digital Dates) is correct for everyone who has used digital from then until now. His right hand scale (Film Dates) is unfortunately meaningless for almost all of us named on the scatter plot.

How so? I'll use myself as an example. My film career started in 1956 and ended after 41 years in 1997. My Year Date on the right side is about 1979. What does that have to do with the 41 years that I used film? As it turns out, it's about the year I was about half way though my film career, not at all related to the duration of my film use.

The top (Digital Years) scale does not have this problem unless you stopped using digital before 2019.

Not an easy task, I'm glad you gave some background because it helps us understand just how MUCH work you had to do.
Thank You

A beautiful graphic representation of how old I am. Yikes !

Interesting data graphic.

BTW, graphing this would be a piece of cake in JMP. Just sayin'! ;-)

Robert Frank has died. Here's a quote from his obit: “The kind of photography I did is gone. It’s old,” Frank told the Guardian in 2004. “There’s no point in it any more for me, and I get no satisfaction from trying to do it. There are too many pictures now. It’s overwhelming.”. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/sep/10/robert-frank-american-photographer-dies-aged-94-the-americans-jack-kerouac-photography

Related: Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019


The only constant is change.

Thanks for the effort, Sarge!
At 68, I am still a novice :)

Hi Mike,

I was alerted by email by a fellow TOP reader regarding the discrepancy with the Film calendar year axis (right margin) a day after the chart was posted. The calendar year axes for both Film and Digital are not data-driven so this was bound to happen. I replied to my kind correspondent that the calendar year axes was just an "approximation". As it turns out, it's not just not an approximation, but a systematic error. Let me use your coordinates (31, 16) as an example.

Film: 1969-2000 = 31 years; Digital: 2003-2019 = 16 years

The chart situates you calendar-year wise at 1989 (Film) and 2004 (Digital). Or a discrepancy of 20 years for Film and 1 year for Digital.
The 1 year discrepancy for Digital came about because the Chart's initial year label or point of origin is 2020 (which I omitted).

Now, how do we get rid of the 20-year discrepancy in Film? If I add back your Digital Years (16) and the gap years (3) and the 1 year difference between the chart's point of origin and the actual data, that makes 20.
I'm not saying "Eureka!" yet. Let me get back to the Comments (of readers who specified calendar year ranges) and I'll sort this out before the Comments to this post are closed. We might be able to salvage the Film calendar year axis yet.

There's a lesson here somewhere :-).


Yes, this is a genuinely instuctive graph, a fine example of good data-presentation design. We TOPers owe Sarge a big "thank you".

The diagram has four scales, coming in two pairs, and as Patrick Cooney mentions, some of these scales may potentially be misleading. The bottom and lefthand scales are the true scales, counting "years of experience" in the respective medium. This is the question I think most of us tried to answer when we took part. The top and righthand scales then re-interpret these time spans in terms of "calendar year when I first used this medium". But the two do not map one-to-one into each other. Some of us will have had breaks where we did not pursue any substantial photographic activity and we may have counted those years as neither film nor digital. Or we stopped making systematic use of film some time in the past and don't count the subsequent years as film years. From the original discussion, I recall several comments mentioning such considerations when they explained their figures, and in my own case too, my 33 years of film started in the late 70s, and not in the late 80's as the righthand scale suggests.

I think the diagram would be more accurate, and not any less impressive, if the top and righthand scales were removed, allowing us to focus on the "years of experience" on the lefthand and bottom scales. This is not a criticism, just a friendly suggestion!

One small thing - can't STAND 'embiggen'. English possesses the word 'enlarge'. It works - and is not a completely fake fabrication for a kids programme.

[I think it's funny, myself. --Mike]

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