This Is A Photograph

Will You Look At That!

This image was capture on film (C-41 process black and white), developed and scanned by my local lab, then posted here un touched or manipulated. To me, it is a photograph. A moment in time captured by the light recording medium. It’s momentary and completely accidental for me. Since it required no level or contrast changes, I had no need to further manipulate it.

Erwin Puts has been writing on the subject. He describes well the difference between snapshots like this image and the construction of digital imagery through computers.

In my color Suburban Landscape project, I’m pushing my post processing well beyond what I’ve done before. Digital provides better ways to do what we were capable of in the darkroom with greater speed and control. However when you start working with layers, combining multiple images, adding effects like selective focus or sharpening one has left the realm of photography as it was known and are now creating images. Like painting or drawing, this new digital medium is more free and more subjective than photography.

By using two different cameras and media for capture, I have an easier time moving between the two different modes.

E-1 For Sale

I find it hard to believe that I put the Olympus E-1 kit up for sale on eBay. I’ve listed the E-1, the 14-54mm zoom and the FL-50 flash in separate auctions. Having the D300 arriving tomorrow, I feel committed to the Nikon system and don’t see any way that I’ll be buying the E-3 or any successors.

In the electromechanical age of the DSLR it’s very hard for niche players to be truly competitive at the high end because of the technology investment, so Nikon and Canon will generally be offering state of the art cameras. I saw the E-1 and four thirds as an important early DSLR technology, but I don’t see that it’s lived up to it’s promise of superior results with smaller size. There’s been steady improvement in matching legacy lenses to sensors, culminating in Nikon’s D3. I just don’t see myself adjusting to the bulk and weight of the D3, but once they migrate the 35mm full frame sensor down to the D300/D80 body size I’ll expect that I’ll be upgrading again. I think that Olympus set it’s sights to low when it specified four thirds at the beginning of the DSLR age. They looked at what would be needed to match 35mm film. Their system has done this very, very well. However the larger sensor cameras are moving beyond 35mm with sensitivities that were never possible with film. Resolution has surpassed film as well. No one has put together the high sensitivity with high resolution, but this will be coming someday as low resolution/high sensitivity- high resolution/low sensitivity systems will be created just as we had in the film days.

Colin at AuspiciousDragon.Net came to the same conclusion back in August. I waited for the E-3, hoping for a revelation, but have seen nothing to distinguish it from the D300. I didn’t spring for a Leica M8 as Colin did, finding the price too steep for the advantages over film when I want to shoot what for me is rangefinder style. I have no problems with SLR viewing, but I find city shooting with the SLR to change the environment too much. The Leica M6 is perfect for that and has been my companion on business trips when photo equipment is minimized for the urban environment. As the digital SLRs pull away from film in quality, though I may need to make a hard decision about the future of the Leica equipment in my collection.

Capturing the Hydrangea for the Second Time

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_DSC5224, originally uploaded by jjvornov.

Over at “The Online Photographer”, Michael Johnston has been writing about artistic and technical style. I certainly have a technical style of working that I adapted from George DeWolfe’s writings. I take the image to monochrome and create the best image that I can without the distraction of color. The I bring the saturation back up as high as I can stand. It creates high contrast images, both in the tonal contrast and in color contrast. My artistic problem is that I have abandoned subject matter. It’s about light and objects for me at this point. It’s the response of the medium. It’s a modernist approach that’s not particularly photographic.

As the temperatures drop and the sun stays lower in the sky during the day, I find the light more inspiring. I’m picking up the camera more now. I’m hoping to do a portfolio review from the last year’s work and set some direction for the coming year. I’m beginning to feel like I’m narrowing in on subject and stye, with these selective focus compositions at one end and the empty suburban/city scenes on the other. There will always be the flat abstracts, but I don’t feel I’m getting anywhere with them.

 

alec soth – blog » Blog Archive » That 70’s Show

alec soth – blog » Blog Archive » That 70’s Show

Szarkowski included a large selection of this ‘synthetic’ photography in the book. But anyone looking at this work now, 28 years after its publication, will likely agree that much of it appears ‘flimsy’ and dated. All of that solarization just looks silly.

I believe that it’s always been this way. When one looks back on contemporary accounts of art, maybe of most cultural endeavors, most of it looks dated and unimportant. Out of each large movement only a small number of workers, and a small number of their works will be “remembered”. These works will be cited over and over as “important and representative of the time”.

Of course, one reason for this is that much of the derivative work is re-expression or simple repetition of the insights of the few. That’s the way culture works. Some times the “important work” is the best repetition, not the original thought which may have been a less clear example of the culture of the time.

The other important reason is that cultural memory, like human memory, is limited. We summarize our own stories into personal myths and incidents. We summarize cultural history into key events and seminal works.

What’s been fascinating to me is that very often the important works recognized years, decades and centuries later are often unimportant when they are created. While some great artists and thinkers achieve recognition during their lifetimes, many others labor in obscurity. And poverty unless they have a good day job.

Memory is retrospective and explanatory. It tells the story of how we got here and rationalizes what we’re doing now. That means that the events and works in the past that seemed important before may turn out to be, at least for now irrelevant. They may be forgotten forever. Other events or works, that seemed trivial or mysterious at the time, become very important in retrospect when used to explain the now. It’s odd that history should change as we change if you assume a linear progression of events and ideas. When you see the world as a complex network stretching into the past, the unpredictability of the past is no different than the uncertainty of the future.

Satisfied as an Eel

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p class=”flickr-frame”> _DSC4847, originally uploaded by jjvornov.

Yesterday my MacBook Pro arrived, finally. I had to wait because I added the 7200rpm 160GB build to order drive. While the old Alumininum G4 Powerbook was adequate for most tasks, Aperture really wasn’t fully usable. Now I can perform real time adjustments with ease, making it much easier to do basic optimization in Aperture.

I decided to start clean this time, so rather than use the migration assistant to move documents, apps and preferences over, I’m loading each app in anew and setting preferences by hand. Tomorrow I should have Photoshop brought over, so I can see how usable round-tripping is with the 2GB. The new Santa Rosa chip set allows 4GB in the laptop, up from 3GB in previous versions, so I have the option to double the memory, which should help run the two apps simultaneously.

The Eel Speaks

 

_DSC4854, originally uploaded by jjvornov.

During the week of the 4th of July, there’s always some family travel. I had my D80 with the 24mm, now my standard lens for the camera. While the lens is a great match for the way I see, it’s limiting when taking travel snapshots. As I was taking images, I thought about how useful Nikon’s 18-200mm VR lens would be for a family trip. Perhaps I really only need VR on the telephoto end, since I can hand hold down to 1/30th of a second with no real loss of sharpness for this kind of image. A fast lens and good handholding technique are probably equivalent to the slower VR lens in light gathering capability.

The 24mm and a VR telephoto might be a good walking around duo for these kind of family trips, the telephoto being useful for visual isolation when positioning isn’t possible. There’s also the flattering rendering of a tele compared to a 24mm when shooting portraits.