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Sunday, 15 August 2021


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Conversion to Black and White from colour.

Write about the 'fad' phenomenon in photography. There have been lots, going back to those oddly coloured filters and image splitting filters that were popular in (I think) the 80s.

Recent ones have included over the top HDR, shooting everything at f/1.4, and using drones. What do you think the next fad will be?

I've been looking at photos of shops taken in a local big town in the 70s and 80s. Perhaps not very interesting at the time, but fascinating now; I found a photo of one shop I used to go in, and I'd not thought about that shop in years.

So what I'm talking about is that sort of record photography; something that photography excels at and a good subject for a post.

OK, Mike I'll bite. Recently, due to the pandemic and family illness, I have been unable to travel to "photogenic" locations. This has forced me to photograph more deeply what is close at hand--my local park, which is quite large, and my own small garden. Every time to go out to make photographs, I have to ask myself how I can make something new from the same material. This has been a huge benefit to my work, and I have to wonder if others have similarly motivated to photograph more deeply because they cannot travel

(Sorry, I don't really have any decent links to this work except my Instagram account,

I am reminded how Lee Friedlander, when faced with limited mobility due to aching knees, began an extended exploration of his wife's flower arrangements, which resulted in a body of work that is one fo my favorites,
I would love to hear of other examples from your knowledge and experience.

Take a day off, go take pictures......

Yes, I need support!
Maybe it’s too late to write a Sunday post, or too late to ask anyone to try and sort out these troubling times we live in.
I picked the New York Times this morning and couldn’t deal with most of it. I read a few opinion pieces, and the metropolitan diary column, and that’s it. My wife tough brave soul that she is, read the special section dealing with the insurrection, I could not. Too painful.
So I need support because I live in a great country that being destroyed by its own citizens.
A sad Fred!

How about piece on camera clubs? Seriously. The Lexington Camera Club back in the 1960s was amazing--Ralph Eugene Meatyard and others were very active. My hunch is that was an unusual camera club. But, what about camera clubs today. They still exist--I'm a member of my local club. But, do they have any significance in a digital and social media age? Has their role changed? Is camera club membership and participation on the decline (no idea where or if such statistics even exist)? I'd be interested in your reflections on the topic.

Topic: what are good reasons NOT to use only prime lenses? Or even NEVER (well, almost never) to use them?

Seems like this side of things is rarely discussed in detail.

Is it so obvious? (to me, yes). Or is it some kind of pride of (perceived) excellence or skill? Or what?

How about an article on what photographers plan to do with their photo
archive when they pass away?

So many of us have literally thousands of negatives, slides, and digital
files we've taken.

- Robert Stahl

What does the group think of the future options and trends for the hardware used in our "traditional" photography ? And what might be your likely path as far as equipment in the future. For example with the recent advances with iPhone capabilities, I am thinking iPhone 11Pro or better will mostly replace what used to be my photojourno/scenic/documentary/note-taking type kit on the wide to normal end, supplemented with a modest mirrorless with telephoto capability say 85 to 300 for sports/wildlife. And where is the traditional now ? Prints to transparency to electronic capture to electronic display to private sharing - Where it has been, is now, and soon will be. Set the questions, Mike, and the commentariat will be happy to join in.....

Maybe you could write about something other than photography? Like, oh, I dunno, politics? Religion? Snooker?

I would love to hear about how life in upstate New York is better and worse than life in your previous state.

I am not kidding at all when I say this, but just the last week I was going to request that you start taking requests, and/or questions. But then I also had a bunch of questions I wanted to ask you (the reason for the request) and I seemed to have forgotten *those*. They were in the camp of "lens expertise".

I just wish I knew more about lenses and I appreciate every time you talk lenses, among other things. And micro-rant: I wish all the standard review sites had any sense of lens goodness, in the way good or knowledgeable photographers might. The quality of their sample images suggest they don't understand lenses, or light.

The prompt was because my 90mm-e lens just broke, so I'm using a well-regarded zoom instead, but it just lacks the magic of the other, I don't know. There's some color issues, there's some sharpness issues, and there's something else. Can you quantify or qualify "lens magic" somehow? It exists, or it doesn't exist, and sometimes there is something in between that just crosses the "this lens has magic" threshold. I know it when there's enough there, and I know it isn't there when I'm missing another's.

3) A question for you to ask us: Do you carry a camera (that isn't a phone) everywhere you go?

4) Another question you can ask us: What is your favourite photography book?


Just saw this, so it won't help for today, but how about one of these days initiating a conversation about changing systems? Why do it? Which criteria do you use use for an intelligent choice? How far should you go in terms of initial purchases once you've decide to make a switch? I've just decided to switch from my long-term favorite Olympus to Nikon Z, based on my accustomed personal method of comparing images taken under the same circumstances with the "old" system and the contemplated new one. I'm sure there are perfectly fine other ways to do it, though, and I'd be interested in seeing what other readers do and what you recommend.

You need a cadre of “guest” posters to fill-in when the well runs dry.

Set up a Photo Book giveaway/swap register.
I have books like PENTTI SAMMALLAHTI: HERE FAR AWAY (pristine) and others that you have recommended. I enjoyed them - but I have a photographic memory, so once I've seen something, I can revisit it without the source.

I've tried to offer them to you in the past - but you must have been too busy to reply to the offers. I'd be happy to send them anywhere, for someone to enjoy. Like paying it forward :-) These books are worth a lot of money, so I'm not too keen to use Freecycle or the like, because they'll likely just go to ebay.

To everyone in Australia at the moment - please get vaccinated and please wear a mask when you're out and about. I never forget a kindness. One day I'll do something that'll protect your life too.

Idea: Cameras are good enough already. There is absolutely no need to buy any more.

Hello Mike,
Can you talk about, I mean your perception of Garry Winogrand please.
I am curious to know, that's the least I can say now.

with love,

Relax,kick back and enjoy the smell of the roses. We your faithful readers will be here for you when inspiration comes and you pick up the baton again.

OTTOMH (Of The Top Of My Head) ;)

..The great Equivalency Debate and why is it totally irrelevant to actual photography, and symptomatic of the difference between consumer electronics and art.

..pick 10 "great works" and provide a "Mike" review as well as illustrate how these works are/are not relevant today

..pick 10 pivotal moments in Photography and discuss

..I quite like your random photograph picks, perhaps chose a current young photographer to highlight.

..Your Lulu story was great. William Yang is an Australia portrait photographer who took pictures of AIDS patients(friends) in the last stages of life, and I spent some time looking after my mother at the end of her life. Its a powerful time. https://www.portrait.gov.au/people/william-yang-1943. Some more stories/discussion about how photography can both intrude and enhance these times

..some times we punters just want to read your writing. Even if its a chapter of a short story(fiction) perhaps a a detective story about a smart brave detective photographer :) A new chapter each week. :)

..that'll do far now (yes I used to be a school teacher ..sigh)


What John Bour said ...

Maybe stop depending on the web for news and ideas and go outside and truly experience photography in the first person. Go and interview your favorite photographers. Expand, via your writing, their big ideas and why you are drawn to their work. Drive to NY, Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal, etc. and see what the photo community is all about in those cities and then write about it. Review big gallery shows. Review the entire city of Sante Fe which is 90% striving artists (not necessarily starving artists). Most stuff that gets sourced from the web is already widely circulated and even if you provide some different spin it's still familiar. Stepping outside the comfort zone and experiencing all that photo life has to offer directly is the key. I've seen all your Turnley print offers but haven't seen an in depth interview or bio on him. Or them. Interview working photographers and understand the new difficulties under which they work. When you decide to test a camera make for a destination that's new to you and shoot there. Document your adventure. Reach out to interesting commenters and supporters here, Like Ken Tanaka and help us understand what motivates him. I think the key to your blog's early success was having a sense of the external. Too much internal gets old quick because we are all experiencing the same stuff. Getting older, losing family, dealing with doubt. Getting outside shows us what's still there and what's still fun or interesting. Or maybe I'm just full of shit and you should edit this one out. Who knows? "Old age starts at 65?" B.S. Medical "facts" from the dark ages.

What initially motivated you to photography, and what motivates you to grab the camera today?

I like to put my thoughts into written prose. I found out that that is quite hard to do. It is a skill I don't master.
My question to you:
What strategy would you propose to me to follow, if I want to write my things, in a similar fashion like you do?

Greetings from the greatest cycling country in the world :)

I like the diet/health posts. It seems to me that you write about topics out of your enthusiasm for them, with photography being the primary one, but don't let that stop you from exploring your other interests here. I hadn't heard of the whole How Not to Die concept until I read your pieces on it & I find that take on nutrition to be very interesting.

I second the black & white conversion suggestion.

+1 for what Kirk wrote, above.

Another +1 for Kirk's suggestion- or something close. That sounds exciting and pushes multiple boundaries.


It seems rude to me to ask a question of us and then not make a reply.

[There were plenty of replies for me! And they were helpful, too. The replies are from the group, and can be found in the Comments. --Mike]

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