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Sunday, 22 January 2023


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Reed, eh? That explains a lot.

[For no longer than I attended Dartmouth. Does that explain anything? --Mike]

This hit me with a logic smack, giving validation to my biggest pet peeve since digital photography became mainstream and made traditional film photography "ancient and obsolete".

I'm a photographer. I can go out with an old meterless body and come back with 36 frames, all exposed properly and with compositions that are correct at the time that I press the shutter release. My depth of field will be appropriate for the subject, because I know what those funny numbers on the aperture ring do besides exposure. I practiced for decades and have no fear of not getting my shot.

... But can you sit in front of a computer and fix mistakes? Don't want to. That's not photography.

Same could apply for Winnie the Pooh. You're majoring in Piglet with a minor in Tigger.

There is probably a Bob Dylan song for everything as well.

Maggie's Farm

The old theme song only referred to Marianne and the Professor as “the rest”. Bob Denver insisted they be included and the professor and Marianne were, by name added to the song.

You’ve hit on one of my pet peeves. Generally in the morning while I’m having my coffee and whatever else, I go through a fairly set sequence of web reading. A couple of news sites to get caught up and several photography related sites to see what is new. It is getting to the point when I don’t spend much on the photo sites because so much of the content is presented in video. So even though some of the topics are of interest, I typically skip over several of them because I’m not interested in sitting through what is likely a poorly produced video presentation. I finish up with “The Online Photographer” because if the topic is of interest I can READ about it at my own pace and absorb whatever the message is. Just wanted to know I appreciate your good writing and I still enjoy reading.

As the proportion of photographers who want to shoot video increases, the motivation for camera manufacturers to produce cameras dedicated to still photography decreases. Yes, manufacturers should satisfy their customers' needs but they need to turn a profit in order to stay in business and if they're not in business they satisfy nobody's needs.

Those of us who are only interested in still photography are a shrinking proportion of photographers. Meeting our needs is becoming harder for a manufacturer to justify as a business decision. That's a hard fact for us to swallow. It's not that we are cooks who are being asked to be farmers, it's that we're sashimi lovers who are being asked to consume cooked fish because raw fish can no longer be delivered to us because it's in the producers interests to sell their fish to customers who are going to cook it since that's where the biggest sale numbers can be found..

If we really want to get angry about this situation, just wait for the moment when the big camera manufacturers decide it's no longer economic to include still photography functionality in their cameras, period. That's when we all start looking for cameras like the Leica M and Fujifilm X-Pro3 from the smaller manufacturers and stop complaining about the price because they're likely to be the last option available.

If we want a better range of choice for still photography cameras what we need to do is to start convincing as many as possible of those people who use their cameras for video to give up video and take up still photography.

A few years ago, in the Portland area (home to Reed College), on the light rail one afternoon, a racist started harassing two young women, presumably of Muslim faith. It got to an extreme level when he drew a knife, and a young man, only a few years graduated from Reed, stepped in to protect the young women he didn't know. He was fatally stabbed, and his dying words were to say "tell everyone I love them" and I think of that young man at least monthly, and it always brings me to tears his love for humanity. I think he found the right community at Reed.


I think that one of the factors driving your B&W, print oriented approach is that it can be done "at home". You can make your own film, chemicals, print material - maybe even a pinhole enlarger for all I know.
Color photography in either film or digital requires some heavy machinery somewhere... out of your control. You just like hands-on cooking, or you would if you did and maybe you should but don't ask me.

After reading about the sex cult scandal that emerged at Sarah Lawrence College, I'm inclined to be skeptical of college rankings. Indeed, in that context, junior college looks pretty good (and a lot less expensive)!

Maybe there is a small opportunity for a company, like Ricoh/Pentax, to serve the still photographers of the world. Making dedicated, optimized, stills cameras with no video capability.

I have enjoyed their digital cameras since I first bought an DSLR in 2008, and still am a Pentaxian.

A lot to hope for, I know.

Coming from the perspective of a thirty years stills shooter, I have just the last two years embarked on a video growth spurt. The thing that struck me early is the very real similarities the two share. Composing video is much the same as stills photography, obviously different in execution, but the basics are the same and I have found the more I learn, the better my stills are, but also, I ambringing a lot with me. I was an early M43 adopter (G9, EM1x, Pen F etc) that helped, but recently purchased a full frame, something I found no desire to do for stills, nor for video, but the sheer value of the camera (S5) compelled me to.

I'm a bit surprised to see that your time at Reed was miserable. My older granddaughter (from Phoenix) graduated from Reed two years ago with a degree in Art, loved the school, and loved Portland.

That degree may not have provided her with a lot of marketability (she is now in Chicago, but working as the buyer for a wine bar, not at the Art Institute), but it gave her great satisfaction, and her thesis was featured at an Art Festival in Venice last year.

- Tom -

[The misery was distinctly my fault, not Reed's. --Mike]

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