Amazing Read in The Guardian

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by RattyMouse, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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  2. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Wow. Great article. Thanks for posting.

    Particularly insightful passage:

    "Instagram may have only had 13 employees on the books, but really it has more than 100 million people who work for the company, providing immense amounts of personal information and location metadata. Instagram users' pathetic and narcissistic freakout in December over copyright terms, as if anyone wanted to sell your cat photos in the first place, totally missed the point. The value of any photo is pretty much nil, as professional photographers have learned to their dismay. Only the data attached to them, which you give away in every social media app's terms of service, have real value."
     
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  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Damning, but not accurate and a weak argument.

    While the author broadly paints digital as uncreative (which I disagree with), Kodak is somehow creative. No. Digital can be both uncreative and creative. Film can be uncreative and creative. Think of all the kodak gold 100 sold to make muddy birthday party and vacation 3x5 and 4x6 photos! The author is remembering what is good about Kodak, not what was popular.

    To contradict the author, taking photos of things we wouldn't have bothered previously is likely to be creativity. It didn't start with digital. Look back to Duchamp's urinal or Man ray's photograms or Stieglitz's cloud photos. They used the technology to make new art from the mundane.

    The article also gos on and on about how the bankruptcy is a tragedy. It created a tragedy, but the actual business activity that led to it is inept leadership and not tragedy.
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've been a Guardian reader all my adult life it's a great independent national newspaper, and this is a very good article worthy of it.
     
  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I guess amazing is the right word. I thought it largely relied on shallow analysis and sweeping generalizations. But then I started reading the comments and got really depressed!
     
  6. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    My favorite quote that made me laugh out loud at the breakfast table:

    "...the addition of inane push-button filters to make it look as if you were eating your cronut during the Civil War."
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I agree with you about the comments Dave, but you must remember the article was written for the intelligent layman, people like my wife who is a retired headmistress, not the photographic cognoscenti .
     
  8. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I'm not sure about "amazing" either.

    I think his heart's in the right place, but he does rather fall prey to the idea that somehow no-one ever took a bad photograph on film ... still, it is a counterbalance of some sort (The Guardian has published one or two "photography supplements" this year which either completely ignored film, or stated it is entirely moribund)
     
  9. selmslie

    selmslie Subscriber

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    The article is neither damning nor depressing unless you choose to take it that way. It is just an essay and cannot really address all possible comparisons of the analog vs. digital process. If it covered everything it would be too long and nobody would read it.

    It just depends on whether you are involved in photography to have fun, which favors digital (unless your notion of fun is to play with chemicals and optical reproduction), or to create beautiful photographs, which we all agree favors analog capture.

    The reproduction process is similarly conflicted. If you enjoy the wet-optical approach to processing, fine. Some of us might not [any longer] have access to a darkroom or may prefer hybrid/digital reproduction.
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    This has happened to me so often that I no longer read comments: many an enjoyable and engaging article has been ruined by the comments. I wonder if there's a way for firefox to block them...
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I have also been a Guardian reader for many years and have enjoyed many articles and points of view from what I considered to be a paper with some form of integrity and intelligence. However, I have recently switched to the I paper on grounds of cost and because I have also found many of the guardian supplements unnecessary. What next to the family supplement and cooks promoted as artists, the electricians independent perhaps? I don’t want all that crap and most of the content are articles put forth by the publicists of stars for self-promotion and advertising. With regard to the article mentioned by the OP, I thought the content quite vacuous.
     
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  12. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Yes of course you can't give a blanket damnation of digital images being uncreative, because many are excellent, and I enjoy looking at a well crafted photo from wherever it originated. The article was interesting and I can't comment on it's accuracy, but DI has relegated camera stores and photofinishers to the history books, and left film manufactures limping but still with good vital signs.
    Interestingly,there is a local radio show about photography, where the host discusses various techniques etc, and while she has a lot of good ideas, she did say that film photography was well and truly dead and buried. Once that would have irked me, but now I just load up another film!
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Were it not for the internet, how many of us would actually write a single word beyond whatever our work required during any given day? I wonder how much better our writing has become by contributing to or originating threads here and elsewhere on line? I've no way to tabulate the difference, but the ubiquity of cell phone and digicam photos may actually have enriched the visual literacy of more people than we may realize. Doesn't that raise the bar for 'serious' photographers to offer a higher quality of photograph than would be required otherwise? I am certain that the "wow" factor is even greater for those throngs who have made endless pet and sunset photos, but recognize that they haven't come close to the visual excitement that really well made images generate. This article is a major whine that just has no traction for me. Suck it up, buttercup, and raise the bar!!
     
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  15. zsas

    zsas Member

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    ^Some great comments here in dissent of the author, I too find the author trying to create one of those art-technology-get-off-my-lawn-David-v-Goliath-binary-polarizing-debates....bla bla bla's.....

    Really, I'd love to show this yahoo my wife's digi created photo books she's made using *dare I say it* print on demand....

    What a joke, the author is just trying to make folks argue! Do what ya want to keep happy folks, life's too short for this stuff. Heck Instagram is bad but many damn the Lomo crowd too. Joke. The worlds not black and white, it, err, has great tonality :smile:
     
  16. pstake

    pstake Member

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    This theory that the author intends only to disparage digital as a sort of sentimental, rabble-rousing tactic is gaining momentum.

    This is not what I took from the article.

    Eastman inserted demand for his product way back when, by creating roll film cameras attainable by everyone. Everyone had the means by which to express him/herself photographically using the material Eastman allowed them (roll film, bought from him, processed by him).

    In this way, Eastman exploited his consumers for profit.

    Folks in Silicone Valley today created Instagram in its various incarnations and with its various appendages.

    With Instagram everyone has the means by which to express him/herself photographically using the material provided by Instagram.

    Instagram is free, but all of its users' personal habits and logistical information are made available to swarms of marketing companies. In this way, consumers are again being exploited for profit in ways that are much more invasive than what Eastman did.

    This is what I took away from the article.
     
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  17. zsas

    zsas Member

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    ^Sorry this author is everything that is wrong with media-talking-heads. He has real tangible info in his article (ie be careful with what meta data you share) but then sounds like a polarizing talking head that fill cable tv "news" shows. Just because the "undercurrent-theme" of the article is factual & real doesn't presume he can be so polarizing all the while....

    Modern debate has turned this way. I will have no part looking at the world so binary (says the computer programmer:smile: )
     
  18. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Absolutely bang on IMO!
     
  19. Pioneer

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    I wonder how many times over the last couple of hundred years this same general topic has been repeated? The history of photography has been one of creative destruction with more and more people having access to the tools. And throughout that history people on one side are figuring out ways to exploit the consumer and make money, while on the backside people are losing their ability to make money because the consumer has moved on. And life moves on and these cycles continue to repeat and people continue to write about them. Even digital is now getting caught up in this creative destruction. It may be happening quicker now, but it is still happening.

    And yet true artists, the ones with vision and an ability to express that vision, don't seem to come along any more frequently. You would think that handing everyone the tools in a more democratic manner would result in more artists, but I am not sure it happens that way.
     
  20. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Fact of the matter is that I see so much crappy photography out there it isn't even funny. It's a dime a dozen to make and people just simply refuse to self edit. The malaise is obvious and visible.
     
  21. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Before these malaises were confined to family albums and the real artists were in the galleries and papers, now that the wheat and chaff are in the same pool (ie the Internet)....food for thought (wait where's my camera, I gotta post a pic of this food online ASAP)....
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Also what's up with the 2013 date and references to Kodak's bankruptcy? It's like the article is from a year ago (not that it's points aren't otherwise valid).
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    In general I agree with what you're saying. But lets also consider that since the "cost" of an image is much less and effort to take is much lower people now regularly do things like take pictures of every single meal, drink, etc. Previously people would have had to brought the camera and/or go get the camera and many did not bother.

    By far there's a much larger mountain of crap than compared to previous times. Regardless of the amount of crappy photos being taken in the past the signal to noise now is at a ridiculous low.
     
  24. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Same could be said for computers, back in the day only those privileged few could compile a program using punch cards fed to the mainframe.....now young folks are producing computer code, get this, aghast, *on a home computer*.....good gosh.....get off my lawn!!!

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/11/18/iphone.game.developer/index.html
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Okay so are you saying that photography is better off now that digital is mainstream? I wasn't aware cameras, a tool for visual ART and EXPRESSION, were the same as computers.
     
  26. zsas

    zsas Member

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    What I am saying is whose to judge and be all "back in the day" re anyone's choice of tool, be it a camera, computer, canvas, wax......

    I use good o'l UNIX (invented in '69) and software that came out just the other day to solve complex analytic questions....


    The artist, should he/she choose, use what is avail.....if he/she wants a 8x10 Kodak D2, that's great, a Nikon D'whatever, that's great too.....same with computers, can you solve the problem using a mainframe, that's great, a brand new piece of software/hardware, that's great too.....

    Whose to judge with emotional-memory-lane that folks today are doing it right/wrong just because access is greater.....

    This is a tired debate, there are two camps and its hard to understand my side for some...

    Fwiw, I only use analog cameras, though I code all day for my profession, I love both.....no one can split me to favor either side and judge anyone whose on either....