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Discussion in 'Industry News' started by mwk4619, Feb 28, 2011.
While Mr. Fukuyama is a very fine academic, most of his arguments here are the same old elitist audiophile nonsense that's been around for years. Nevertheless, I'm happy to see a man of his statue support analog photography.
Also, from the comments: "Dr Fukuyama overlooks HDR photography, which is really a modern variation of what the F64 group."
Wins the award for most laughable comment ever.
ZZZzzz...Somehow this isn't likely to cause a ripple compared to his The End of History. Next?
Of course Fukuyama makes an error in the first sentence when he writes "Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kan., closed down." I called Dwayne's and spoke with Grant (VP of Operations) to let them know that a major news outlet was reporting their demise. Hopefully the WSJ will print a correction!
He forgot the Walker Proscenium turntable. When you buy one they will fly to your house with it and make sure it's properly installed.
It isn't so much about what comes out of the speakers, printers, darkroom trays, or whatever. I think it's about whether you like doing it or not.
Both vinyl playback and digital has so much quality to offer that it'll be fun to boogie to either of them.
Both film and digital photography has so much quality to offer that the resulting prints will be really amazing.
So it becomes a matter of preference. And most people choose what's convenient. It's human nature. We have to learn to deal with it.
My hopes for photography and vinyl records lie with a younger generation that are appreciative of the qualities film and vinyl have to offer.
How many thousands of blog and forum posts have there been saying exactly the same thing?
My goodness, you can't choose your allies, but ....
"If you don't believe this, you've probably never listened to a good-quality record on a high-end turntable. By high-end, we're talking about turntable-tonearm-needle combinations that cost upward of $10,000—that's right, five figures—from manufacturers like VPI, Basis or SME."
Yikes. I am such a prole.
I think its always nice to see these pro-analog articles.......
I believe Francis Fukujama has under-thought his analogies.
Photography, making pictures out of light sensitive materials, is like playing musical instruments not merely playing records. A photograph is not a reproduction of subject matter, not a copy or a duplicate or a replica. It is an original thing in its own right and subject matter is just one of the ingredients borrowed and then set aside in the chain of production.
Some college kids are rediscovering vinyl records, shooting with film and recording with analog recorders. What's old is new again.
I've told this story before, but it remains significant to me. About 25 years ago I went to a very high end audio store in Westchester County, NY to audition the Wilson WAMMS that then were selling for around $80,000 and a set up that included a Goldman Reference Standard turntable, Mark Levinson pre amp and amp, interconnects and speaker cable probably made from the pubic hair of leprechauns etc., etc. The entire rig was offered for something in the neighborhood of $125,000. I was treated very courteously and offered a comfy chair in front of this awesome array to audition an audiophile disk that was given a ritual cleaning on some high end dust sucker, and then the performance began. I heard the most resonant, gorgeous, musical, palpably present clicks, pops and garbage I've every been exposed to. The dealer was deeply apologetic and immediately went to a bin where he pulled a brand spanking new copy of the previous recording. It sounded wonderful, but by no means $125,000 wonderful. The point is that I didn't then, and do not now have the scratch to repurchase vinyl records that are RIAA limited, and far more fragile than they should be. With good, and not impossible to afford reproduction equipment, CD's (but not ever MP3s), can sound wonderful without any of the headaches of vinyl, and that's my choice for life. Photography is not a spectator sport, so to speak. It's a hands on craft that can be mastered with a lot of effort, sweat, and maybe even tears. But digital, or analog, it's a world apart from listening to music that one is not actually making one's self. The analogy is totally spurious to me.
I totally agree with you.
I have always wondered what's wrong with these people who compare photographing with a film camera to playing vinyl records. Really the only common nominator is that they are "retro" (according to some). If it's all that matters, then fine, but I disagree strongly with that kind of attitude. I use film because it rocks now. OTOH, I play records if I have a record of a good piece of music, also because it rocks now.
But still, I think that even this kind of distinction should be welcomed and will do more good than bad. If only they could understand that Kodachrome is not same as all film, and in fact just a niche product even when compared to other films (unfortunate fact, like it or not, sorry Kodachrome fans...), and if they told that really good film is readily available even today.
I smile when I read this, John.
It's well stated that photography involves our hands, our brains, and our senses in order to get some results we like. The whole aspect of involvement clearly sets it apart from music listening.
I think I'll go into the darkroom today and make some prints. While I listen to some mp3 files via my radio while I'm down there...
(I don't like any of the equipment you mentioned above, regardless of price. I've heard a lot less expensive equipment that sounds better than that. It's like matching your paper to a paper developer, and then making your negatives fit that combination. It's all about matching components, and if it isn't done right, it doesn't matter what the price tag it, it will still sound like garbledegook. I have heard transistor radios that were more fun to listen to than the Mark Levinson stuff).
That and they're both widespread activities. Many people have some sort of camera, and some sort of music listening device. Both have largely been converted to consumer digital electronics. A far smaller portion of the populace plays an instrument (though of course, some. Some schools still offer band and music classes, and kids are always trying to start bands. I myself own a nice clarinet I've never really learned to play). And while there are digital instruments, they haven't wiped out conventional instruments to the same degree.
Yeah, he's make the assumption that if you aren't willing to spend infinite amounts of money to get marginal improvements, then you obviously just don't care or can't tell the difference. It doesn't occur to him that most people just have to live with "good enough" because it's what they can afford and it works well enough for most people's daily nonobsessive lives.
Fortunately for us, photography doesn't have to be very expensive to get good results. And also, if you just want to see prints, there's always museums and galleries.
I didn't mention all that gear as if I preferred it...it's what the shop had set up to audition. Ironically, since I'm a professional musician and teacher, I listen to the radio far more often than my modestly competent audio system. But, I don't confuse the two. When listening to poorly reproduced music, my brain seems to interpolate what isn't present in quality in behalf of the music that's a lot more important. Good grief, that sounds dangerously like a brief in behalf of conceptual photography....bad, bad, bad me!!!!!!!!!!!
I didn't wish to imply that you thought the auditioned mega buck whizzbango audio masturbation concoction was any of your preference. Please forgive me if I did.
Music can be so wonderful, but when it becomes more about the gadgets than it does the music, then I feel something is missing.
I think that musicians hear differently than non-musicians. Much the same as I think that photographers see differently than non-photographers. Interestingly, it seems as if the two do it in opposite directions.
Of the conversations I've had with musicians (I have zero talent in that direction), they seem to be able to hear more clearly what's happening. That is, their brains fill in what they know is missing while still being aware of what is arriving at their ears.
Photographers seem to be more able than the general public to be able to exclude things from what they see while still being able to see what is in front of them.
I'm not certain about that store's choice of equipment - there was an effort some years ago between Spectral, MIT cables and Avalon speakers to create a synergistic system. That would have been worth listening to.
Anyway, just a few thoughts while I surf and drink wine! lol
The limitations of CDs vs vinyl are real IMHO. Being a musician, i agree with Paul that you can hear some things different...but it is small. My biggest thing regarding vinyl is this: when I go to a concert and buy the record from the musician, I know exactly where that money is going--to the artist that took the time to print it and so forth. CD's and downloading are great, but ultimately I like the intamacy involved with records...flipping, cleaning, knowing when and where I got it, and the beautiful album art. It's a feel thing, not necessarily measurable.
Likewise film. There's something tangible in all of the analog stuff and that's what is different. I spend enough time working on people's computers for work where I am trying to recover an authors lost work, a parents irrecoverable images of their kids, and graphic designers lost proofs. Analog? Only a fire or a completely irresponsible person would lose that stuff forever.
No, that comment wins the award for the most ignorant comment ever. I submit that HDR is the antithesis of the F64 group.
As for the balance of Fukuyama's commentary, all I can say is, "I suppose so." The position of the audiophiles is wonderful, but all that audio technology would be lost on most people who have some degree of hearing loss, especially in the high end. There are two kinds of music, the music you like and the music you don't.
They've edited the article and made a note of their error at the bottom.
Funny but I know deeply troubled audio junkies who fear dying in their sleep each night for not owning the latest piece of aspirational sucker bait. Most of them have small, odd stashes of audiophile recordings that showcase aspects their systems but fail as musical experiences. Music junkies have house-filling collections of rare, wonderful vinyl LPs, tapes, 78s, CDs, even Edison rolls, that are like coral reefs full of recorded wonders played usually on at best OK+ systems. The contrast has always amused me.
I read a test at Stereophile about a 100 000 dollars turntable. Company had been sent it to the test guy for couple of months. He told when his wife heard the system said '' Better than Sex ''.
Maybe the guys at Stereophile need some new friends...
Maybe the guys at Stereophile know some good divorce lawyers...
Anyone for whom the sound from a turntable, any turntable, is better than sex is either a eunuch or a virgin.