The Audacity of Printing Your Work

Recently I posted about the reasons, in my opinion, to print your work. As I was stumbling around the internet as I sometimes do I was startled by two things. First, over at the Phoblographer, I was rather stunned in reading a post regarding prints that, if you hang your own prints, It can be consider “elitist”. Well then? That’s interesting. 

Over on YouTube, one of my favorite photo channels is James Popsys. I recently came across an older posting of his on pricing prints for sale. In the video he hangs one of his own prints and sort of keeps looking over his shoulder as if it is watching him. The comments section has considerable conversation on how it’s wrong to hang your own work and, at the least it’s hard to live with because you keep seeing the so-called imperfections in the print or the image. I guess this is a coded way of saying that you think your photography is foolish. 

So, maybe I shouldn’t be exhibiting my own work? Nah … It’s in my home and I rather like it or I wouldn’t have hung it in the first place. By the way, my wife is a photographer too and some of her work is hanging as well. It’s sort of a friendly competition thing.

I suppose perhaps as a conciliatory gesture, I should hang other photographers work? I’ll have to look into that.

On another note, I don’t have a single photo book of my work, I have plenty of other people’s work in books, just not my own. It would seem to me to be more “elitist” to have a copy of your photo book than to hang one of your prints in the living room – as an example.

Perhaps, in the future I can refer to my prints as “Artists Proofs” and that will explain them better than … I just like them. Really, most of my prints live in archival boxes for preservation, which I suppose is the most elitist behavior of all – preserving them for posterity. Ted Forbes (a pretty respected YouTuber/Photographer) made a video a few years ago titled No One Cares About Your Photography. Maybe that’s true.

Even if it is true. There are people out there who will remember me for my photography. You don’t know them and I don’t expect you to. But perhaps one day one of them will look at a print of mine and say to the other “remember this one? Nana and PopPop had that on the wall in their living room”. I don’t think that is elitist at all, and it’s good enough for me.

let me know in the comments what you think.

Superfluous image of mine.

Stay safe, see the world your own way.

Thanks for reading.

Masks for Dummies in the Era of COVID-19

Well this isn’t a photography related post but it is an issue that is in the forefront right now and I think needs to be addressed.

No doubt we currently live in strange times. As I write this we are experiencing an upswing in Covid-19 cases and my state has made wearing masks or ”face coverings” in public mandatory.

Of course there are still members of the great illiterati that have a sufficiently low IQ so as to think that mask wearing is somehow a sign of weakness or represents a lack of masculinity or some other bit of ridiculousness. Well let me dispel that for you. If you aren’t worried about getting COVID-19 fine. I’m pretty certain that the rest of us don’t really care if you do or not. Guess what? This isn’t about you.

Wearing a mask is a sign of strength and the best way to “man up”. In case you didn’t notice, the mask is not necessarily supposed to protect you. That’s a side benefit. It’s for the protection of others, like your family. So don’t wear a mask and bring the disease home to your family and let them suffer. Oh, make sure that while a loved one is in hospital on a respirator that you remind them that you are the one who made them sick – so that they can further bask in your masculinity and strength.

Masculinity or manliness (if you like that word better) is not about taking chances and posturing. It is about taking care of those that you care about. That’s not a point for debate. Taking care of your loved ones usually requires sacrifice. It requires you to put others above yourself. So if you refuse to wear a mask when you need to, that actually is the ultimate sign of weakness and selfishness – in short you’re acting out and behaving like a petulant child.

Let’s address another bit of stupidity. I had a customer at my workplace recently who wasn’t wearing a mask and his response was “I won’t bow to tyranny” at which point we asked him to leave and told him he could call from the parking lot and we would be more than happy to help him that way.

Ok .. I almost get it. You don’t want to be told what to do. In a broad sense, neither do I, however this is a stupid hill on which to plant your flag.  I am pretty sure that you have auto insurance, wear a seatbelt, and pay income tax. The ship has already sailed on the whole “bowing” thing, dumbass. This is the stupidest position ever. 

Nowhere in the history of natural rights is the premise that you have the right to potentially harm someone else through negligence.

Are you one of those morons that thinks COVID-19 is a hoax of some sort? Get a grip. It is not a hoax. Stop the stupidity right there. COVID-19 is real, it exists, and people get sick and die from it. Statistically you probably don’t know anyone who has it – right now only one in about 450 Americans has it. If you don’t know anyone who is infected, it does seem nonexistent. Of course the problem here is that just because someone doesn’t show symptoms, doesn’t mean they aren’t infected and contagious. So, I guess if you want some sort of proof that it is not a hoax, go ahead and not wear a mask – that way, sooner or later you or someone you know will have it. 

So in the end, wearing a mask and social distancing are steps that work to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It’s been proven, it works – period and it is the responsible thing to do.

– stay safe and see the world through you own eyes and thank you for reading.

Computational Photography is Not The End of The World!!

Computational photography is a term that seems to be coming up more and more often lately in photography related conversations. If you don’t know what it means, it refers to mobile device photography – smart phones in particular, referring to how the app developers are now using programming code to create various effects like shallow depth of field (bokeh) that require knowledge and equipment to create in a camera. 

In other words, you select the effect or mode then you just shoot and save the photo instead of choosing a lens, calculating exposure, taking the picture, then refining it in post production.

This seems to have a lot of people upset and they’re talking about the death of photography yet again. It seems that some of the online photography gurus think that somehow their digital camera is substantially different from, and far superior to a smart phone camera. Yes the phone has a much smaller sensor and less exposure control (as a rule), and doesn’t’ have interchangeable lenses, but that’s about it.

Here’s the truth – Most photography is computational, and it doesn’t matter in the least.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

comp photo cameras
Examples of computational photography equipment in 2019

You see, If you shoot film, there are some variables but, essentially you are exposing a chemically covered media to light which, after being treated with other chemicals, leaves a latent negative image that can then be printed onto light sensitive paper as a positive image. No computers required. In film’s purest form there is nothing digital or computational about the process, but very few people print traditionally in a dark room anymore. That is the only non-computational form of photography there is, or ever was. 

So then if you shoot film and send it to a lab for processing, the lab will likely send you scans of your shots on maybe a disc or thumb drive. They might even upload your images as digital scans to a cloud based service and give you a password or PIN to access them. They may or may not send you your negatives. More and more often, they won’t. 

Even film has been pushed (pun intended) into the digital era of computational photography.

This is one of the ironies of shooting film in the digital era – you start with film and, ultimately end up with a digital product that you then process on a computer before sending it to a printer (if you actually print photos instead of just posting them online).

If you shoot digital images instead of film, you are exposing a digital sensor to light. The camera’s internal software and processor then create an image. If you want to print it, you either use a home printer connected to your computer, or you send it to an outside printer (with better equipment) who will create a print from your digital file. Of course you can just view the image on the camera’s screen and call it a day. The process, however, relies on digital, computational technology from front to back.

What about camera RAW files? Well, sorry, it’s still computational. A RAW image isn’t really an image. It is essentially just a string of software code that tells the camera’s processor how to make an image. It just leaves out some of the corrections (and compression) that the camera is programmed to process into a JPEG, and every camera processes the information differently. This is why we get the various arguments about Canon’s color science vs Nikon’s vs Sony’s ad infinitum. Raw is not a photo until it is displayed on a screen. 

Most people then use Lightroom or another Adobe product to post process and edit their RAW images – so you don’t really even get to see the real RAW data. You get Adobe’s interpretation of that data. That’s precisely what Adobe Camera RAW is for and Adobe RGB is their own, specific color interpretation. 

There’s nothing wrong with Lightroom or Photoshop, I use both for virtually all of my digital post processing and I think they are well suited to the task, but I understand what they are and how to best use them for my personal purpose. (By the way, the same principal applies to any other brand of post processing or image editing software, it’s computational by its very nature.)

The good news is, it doesn’t matter. Really.

Photography has changed over the last hundred or so years by an order of magnitude. We have evolved from the Daguerrotype to the JPEG and from the large format View Camera to the Smart Phone. At each interval, the photographic community has condemned the changes as being the “death of photography” and criticized them as being “not really photography” yet, in retrospect, it didn’t matter and the technological progress actually advanced the art and science of photography. Photography has continued and advanced, and changed, and evolved, but it hasn’t died because of any new technology.

I don’t expect it to die any time soon either, especially just because the process is becoming even easier.

Thanks for reading.

New Mirrorless Cameras, or why I just don’t care anymore.

Enough with the new cameras!

I’m suffering a bit of burn out.

Last week Olympus dropped the OM-D E-MX1. A new “pro level “ Micro 4/3 camera.

Who cares any more?

This silliness all started last year, before Photokina, with the much hyped and overly dramatic build up by Nikon to introduce the Z 6 and Z 7 full frame mirrorless cameras that turned out to be kind of meh.

Then Canon introduced the much less hyped but still eagerly anticipated EOS R (again, a full frame mirrorless camera) and, again meh. Then, during Photokina, Panasonic announced a three way partnership with Leica and Sigma to create the S1 and SR1 full frame mirrorless cameras, but from a pioneer in Micro 4/3s format, leading many to believe that MFT is dead, again. Don’t fret. It won’t be available until March. Of course, last week Sony dropped the anticipated yet ultimately confusing A6400.

I don’t care anymore. None of these Cameras is even remotely compelling enough to entice me to spend two thousand dollars or more to buy a camera that will probably be obsolete in one to two years. None of them even remotely resemble real value for money.

So. Can we just stop now?