Comments on Today's LensWork Blog

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by roteague, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Would anyone care to comment on LensWorks daily blog entry titled "A Rose by Any Other Name"? "Should digital photography really be called pixelography?"
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Far too polite.
     
  3. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Does that make digital practitioners "pixies"?
     
  4. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    He was too polite, or you're too polite to say what you think about it? :D

    I agree with parts, I disagree with parts. I thought the comparison with musicians was poor. We do differentiate between musicians based on the instrument they use. If you said you're a musician, the next question will be, what instrument do you play? Just being a musician is not the end of the story. What instrument you use greatly influences the final product that comes out as your music. Just like the photographic instrument used will determine the final photographic product. Now I don't particularly like pixelography as the term either myself, but it's not something I have given a lot of thought to.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Well.. according to the audioblog the below example is a "photograph" made by a "photographer".

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Not by any photographer on this planet, it's not.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I rather like to think of myself as a "silver halide crystalographer." That way I can stop people on the street and ask if they mind my making a silver halide crystalograph of them, and can invite people to look at my silver halide crystalographs.
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Gee, may I cast my vote in the "don't really care column"? I think at one point in this forum I cast myself as a "harvester of photons", so I will stick with that. I don't think that anyone has a lock on the the "One, True Photography" so I think that just about anything that anyone does with a camera of any type is just OK with me.

    Purely photographic output to me is metal on paper. (I am willing to concede that the addition of a third ingredient, gelatin, could possibly be considered for those modern photographers who do not print in any of the historic processes. Well, except for the gummists - they have always had a credibility problem. :D ) But for most of us, the biggest form of photographic consumption is the ink on paper of a book or magazine. So, is it a major step to consider the ink from an inkjet on paper from Kodak or Ilford not a photograph? For some it is, for some it isn't. It's your choice to make. And that is what is the best thing about photography now. You have more choices to make than ever!
     
  9. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    The musician analogy is silly. I know a lot of professional musicians who have spent lifetimes becoming proficient at their chosen traditional instruments. They have colorful names for people who create music with samplers and emulators by moving notes around a computer monitor with a mouse. None of them are quite as polite as "Digicians" or "Samplists".
    Grouping Guitarists and Pianists and Tromboners [giggle] together as Musicians is more akin to referring to users of Large format field cameras and 35mm rangefinders and 120 Holgas all as Photographers.

    I'd like to hear what Jovo has to say about the analogy.
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I too thought his "musician" parallel was not so parallel....I guess if I paint houses I can call myself a painter... :smile:

    OTOH who cares? Brooks has both feet firmly planted in the digital camp and it is no surprise he thinks the distinction "silly." As photgraphers we are "writing with light" and for that to occur we need both the pen (light) and the paper (negative). Pixelographers have done away with the paper....how can they be writing? :smile: To me it sound more like they are using a dictaphone.....
     
  11. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    I think its all symantics at this point. Who cares. I've got lots of names for most digital users....
     
  12. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    You guys, this bugs me... Now ya'll can tell me to shove it where the sun doesn't shine but at least let me say my peace... or is it piece?
    Anyway!
    Do you know what some digital photographers are saying about analog photographers? They carry on and on AND ON about out-dated we are, how we just don't get it, that we might as well sell all our analog gear because we're not going to be able to buy film, darkroom supplies, etc. TOMORROW.
    Oh come on already! Nobody is forcing anybody else to use anything they don't want to use. Nobody is forcing anybody to look at what they don't want to look at. But most importantly, nobody has the right to tell anybody that what they use to pursue their personal vision is wrong.
    With the world going digital, I can understand [to a degree] that you might feel your craft is being threatened. But stop for a moment and look around... Look at how popular alternative processes are these days. And look at how many digital photographers are adding film BACK INTO their work (I know, I'm one of them).
    As the saying goes, there are many paths to heaven just as there are 14 dozen + ways of making a photograph.
    So the question is... Why would you waste your creative energy on ANYTHING that doesn't directly lead to your creation of images that YOU are proud to display?

    (The floor is now open to the next person who wants some soapbox time) :smile:
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    I can't get audio blogs at work damnit.
     
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  15. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    we are in a 2 dimensional segment called artists. From there you have many subcatgories, ie: oil painting, watercolor, drawing, acrylics, photography, and a few more. Each of these can have subcatagories as well. Photography has two disintinct main catgories. Analog and digital. Under Analog we have the subcatagories of silver gelatin, alternative process, wet/dryplate and such. Under digital, you have the two catagories and that is it, Non photoshopped, and photoshopped.

    For those who say that analog and digital are the same thing photography where light is captured, well that can be argued too. With film you use light sensitive emulsion to chemically through the contact of light wavelengths change the chemical composition by oxidation. With digital you have micro portions of a second devoted to layering in upon each other different intensities of light excited pixels to digitize the wave lengths into 0's and 1's This is then processed via computer chips and other devises to be out put. Analog depends on a camera and some sort of light sensitve chemically treated base to capture that images wave lengths. The addition of lenses helps to clarify that image further. As for digital, a camera is not nesecary. You must have some sort of chip to store the information. Neither is it dependent on a lens for clarification. Physics defines how the analog image is captured via the seperation of wavelengths and the length of distance from image to chemical sensitive substrate to capture said light wavelengths. Digital doesn't need this physical constraint. What holds back analog is the size of the camera and the film that it can use. What holds back digital is the size of the chip it uses for storage. Analog captures minutia, digital is like digital music, it only captures a certain range. Both given that there is no operator error.

    As to the argument that digital is tired of hearing us defend ourselves, well then is it not time for digital to not attack? We start from a similar basis like oil is to acrylics, but they are two different mediums, but still painting. Take that further and you have painting that has it's basis in drawing. Tell an oil painter they drew a pretty picture and see what they have to say.

    To me it is enough to say analog and digital. if digital doesn't like the moniker, they can figure out what to call themselves. but luddite analog is taken.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2005
  16. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Semantically Speaking

    Continuing with the (dubious but popular) analogy to music, to say that any use of digital tech invalidates "photography" as such is to say that any use of a synth renders music no longer as music.

    Clearly we know better. Enough music (good, bad, or otherwise) has used synths, patches, samples, etc to get past the whole "if it doesnt come from wood/brass/iron/gut/whatever, it's not really music" bit.

    Is the sort of illustration shown in the thread "photography?" Once again, we know better. But neither are the early composographs made up solely of "real" photographic images such as this.

    There is a clear line between graphic illustration and photography. Simply put, photography involves the deliberate capture of light and shadow (photo) and the printing or display thereof (graph).

    If we further define photography as only involving capturing light on a non-photovoltaic surface (thus allowing for things like liquid emulsions, tintypes, etc) that might get to where the group seems to want to go.

    However, (and I say this having a whole locker of beautiful old rangefinders, film winders, and developing tanks) it would be dubious at best to limit the very human experience of captured imagery (that whicih people define as "photography") to those images only captured non-photovoltaically.

    I think at best we can say, as has been said over and over here at APUG, that we are analog photographers.
     
  17. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    AND FURTHERMORE, that guy at LensWorks is not a Blogger, either, because he didn't use a keyboard to enter his log. He used a *microphone*. That's not a web log, that's an audiolog! :smile:

    By the way, I am a drummer and a guitarist. I happen to like being those things. That might make me a musician, but I like the specificity of the other definitions.

    And I thought his digital photo of a rose looked too waxy! SO THERE!

    :smile:

    -chuck
     
  18. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Digidurst, I see your point but Brooks Jensen made the parallel that a Guitarist is to a Clarinetist as an Analog Photographer is to Digital Imager. IMHO a painfully flawed analogy. A more apt analogy would be between a Guitarist and a person that mimicks Guitar sounds digitally with a computer.
    The comparison is not between two identical things that simply are called by different names. A virtual Rose really does not smell as sweet as an actual Rose. It should have a distinctive name.

    BTW: I waste lots of creative energy on things that don't directly lead to my creation of images that I am proud to display :smile:
     
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Thanks for everyone's comments. I felt that Brooks lumped all film lovers into a category of "out of date" oldtimers who all automatically rebel at digital people calling themselves "photographers". Hmm, I wonder if Brooks will read this thread.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    What is wrong with computer aided imaging. CAI for short. Non offensive, sterile like the process and tells the whole story.

    But I am also heavily in the I don't give a damn category these days. Let them justify and whine eventually they will find their niche and be proud to be there
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree with Flotsam (as an, umm..., "tromboner" myself) that the idea that they are just different instruments doesn't hold up as an analogy. There are a lot of creative musicians combining analogue and electronic sounds in interesting and complex ways, but I think a better analogy would be between acoustic instruments and midi. Midi control can be used to do interesting things, but most of it sounds like something that came out of a machine. I have yet to hear any sampled wind instrument that sounds like a real wind instrument. It's hard enough even to record an acoustic instrument in a way that sounds convincing.
     
  22. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Perfect!
     
  23. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Since I've gone to the semi-dark side of analogue photography by shooting lots more color negative film, I'm thinking of calling myself dye cloud ographer.
     
  24. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I once wrote a long and impassioned thread entry on the (now unfortunately deceased) Lenswork forum about the significance of process viz a viz product. I used the analogy that a violinist (for example), who spends a lifetime perfecting his art and craft, is not about to simply abandon that work to embrace an electronic emulation of that discipline to express himself musically because, at the heart of it, he is, after all, "a musician". To the violinist or any other virtuoso, the medium matters immensely. The music made on the violin has a unique character and only the most ignorant and superficial listener would not recognize what is being heard as such.

    Digital imaging...which, although wordy to be sure, accurately describes that kind of work, should be labeled as such. Photography is a different species.

    As an aside...the introduction of Lenswork's new CD companion/alternative volume seems to me to be an erosion, at least visually, of all that Lenswork has succeeded in achieving in its' print iteration. The magazine is beautiful, elegant, succinct and well worth waiting for and paying for. I will not be a subscriber to the CD version despite all its expanded offerings. When the magazine gives me a taste of the beautiful work of a featured photographer, I will want to see more of that photographer's work...but not on a computer screen... I want to see the 'real' thing which is a distinction that Brooks seems to be philosophically committed to blurring if I understand the thrust of his blogs so far.
     
  25. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I think the music analogy makes perfect sense.

    If you think of digital as the tin whistle, and traditional photography as a symphony orchestra. :wink:
     
  26. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I think Brooks has been keeping up with APUG. There was a thread a few weeks back where Jorge had used the word pixelographer and I suggested that it was in the best interest of those wanting to preserve and grow traditional photography to start making distinctions in definitions and terminology between digital and analog.

    I decided at that time that I would no longer use "photo" in any wording having to do with digital imaging techniques. I now use pixelographer. My reasoning (I am sure somewhat flawed) is that traditional photography is primarily concerned with the capture and manipulation of light, and that the use of light regardless if it is for exposure of film or paper is used all the way through the process. With digital, the image maker is more concerned with the ability and technique to manipulate pixels with the camera and computer software to achieve a final result.

    Yes I know, a pixelographer also uses light to energize the CCD, but it is really the smallest part of the process and in some ways irrelevant due to the ability to make up for errors in exposure or totally alter the lighting of the scene with software. One way to think about it is post exposure work for the pixelographer is done with electrons, for the photographer he still must use good old photons.

    Wait... Electronographer? Writing with electrons? Is that not what the final product is from a digital file?

    Also, this is not to bash electronographers or pixelographers. I just believe we need separate terminology and definitions.