What a disappointment....

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by TheFlyingCamera, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/careertraining/?article=naturephotography&GT1=8538

    I just read this article about Franz Lanting, the wildlife photographer. He´s gone digital, and is proselytizing for the d-word. And of course, the media are eating it up. Although I like his work for what it is, there are other nature photographers out there still shooting film, and frankly I like their work better. I´m kicking myself for forgetting their names, but there are these two photographers who shoot almost exclusively with Hasselblads, except for their underwater work, which is done with a Nikonos. I saw them present their work at a discussion at the National Academy of Sciences about two years ago. They had a pair of the Hasselblad projectors, and projected original transparencies ten feet high. WOW. They specialize in "portraits" of endangered wildlife.
     
  2. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    For the kind of work he does I don't blame him. If you're a 35mm color shooter it's hard to get past the conveniences of digital and the qualitative differences between a top DSLR and 35mm color film are negliable at this point. I adore film and that's what I have chosen to use for my own work because it suits me best. If someday digital can give me better results I'll switch in a second. I don't drink the kool aid for any technology and if Franz has decided to switch to digital I'm sure he's given it a great deal of thought and was not done lightly.
     
  3. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Negligable? :confused:

    I think "negligible" is a pretty subjective term. While I think it is posisble to get satisfying results with digital, and I do think that 35mm as a professional medium is already a niche market - but a "negligable" difference depends upon what one thinks is important and not important. If you absolutley HATE grain, then digital will be superior for larger magnifications - though at extremes where film will look grainy, digital will look pixelly or smeary. (though if you scan film, the differences at extremes will be less) If you love subtlety of shadows and highlights in your pictures then digital is not quite there at any resolution (and will probably take a decade to sort it out).

    (More importantly if you need a picture minutes after you take it to e-mail to your editor - digital is your thing - no question)

    Reminds me of the CD vs. LP debates in the 1980's. The initial debate was about CD's strengths - no pops scratches and other surface noise - and the slogan "perfect sound forever". It didn't focus much on how a violin/piano or voice sounded (pretty nasty - It took digital technology about 10-15 years to sort that out, and some would say they haven't yet equalled LP or reel-to-reel). The convenience of CD won out - and eventually the sound became acceptable. Though there is a HUGE resurgence of LP right now in the over 40's, and the under 25 set.
     
  4. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    'Tis a shame and a loss to the film community. Lanting is perhaps the most eminent wildlife photographer in the world. His honors are many and include Knighthood. Well deserved IMO. Anyone who will slide into a pirahna and snake infested pond to get a shot of a bug is most worthy.

    Given his stature, his equipment endorsements should be quite lucrative.
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Could it be because of the manipulation available with photoshop.

    Most wildlife stuff I see these days has been manipulated to increase and decrease contrast/exposure and add, enhance and remove elements.


    Michael
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I too have to disagree with you; "negligible" is a subjective term. I still see a lot of difference between the two mediums, which is why I still shoot Velvia in my F5 over a newer DSLR. However, for Franz Lantings work, I'm not surprised. Most of his work isn't particulary sharp, most are handheld, and he does do a lot of work for National Geographic which is mostly a digital publication these days. FWIW, I believe that Thomas Mangelsen still shoots only film - probably one of the last of the wildlife photographers that still does.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It is a loss, but I can see how it makes sense for him.

    Most of his income, I suspect, comes from publication rather than fine prints, the prints he sells are inkjets or LightJets, and most of his work is 35mm, so it's not as if he's giving up medium format for small format digital. Wildlife photography is pretty film intensive, and he has the kind of operation to use any sort of infrastructure he needs. If he can go into the rainforest with a crew of assistants and equipment to build a scaffold for photographing in the canopy for days or weeks at a time, it's not such a big deal to carry all the batteries and laptops necessary to shoot high-end digital in remote locations.
     
  8. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    The logistics of getting film into and out of remote locations is the prime driving force behind wildlife photogs going digital, from what I can gather. It may take weeks to get film on and off location. With digital, the photograher can review the days work and determine whether the results are satisfactory or not right on location. This is impossible using film which must be shipped to a processing lab then shipped back to the photographer, imposing a very lengthy time delay.

    Then there is the print format as David aptly points out.
     
  9. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I shoot film, but I've also worked digitally on a professional basis since 1991 so I have a little experience with both. I prefer to work with film as it suits what I do best. I used the term "negligible" to describe the differences between a high end DSLR and 35mm film, because it's pretty much a toss up when it comes to quality. It is a subjective matter, pixels versus grain, and which bothers you more. To me that is not a clear cut victory for either technology and that is why I used the term negligible.

    It's pretty obvious that Franz, we've been represented by some of the same galleries and I've met him, has chosen what he feels gives him the best results. I'm sure there are going to be snipes about his choice, but let's be really clear about this, the guy has probably shot more 35mm film out doors and in varied conditions than anyone here. You do not make a major change mid career from film to digital without giving it serious thought, so please just cut the guy a break.
     
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  10. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I went to the state fair yesterday with my son and at the "Old Time" photo boot was an old Kodak 2D 8x10 camera with an old ratty bellows with holes hanging like the gut of someone who thinks that al-Qaeda is 1/10 the stated number and is over played in the media and upon closer inspectin found that a digital camera had been fitted behind the lens board. I took a look at the back and saw a moving picture on the ground glass. The old time photo, dress up, is done with digital and a printer. Only one ink needed; brown. I can't blame them but what a sad death for a fine camera.

    Curt
     
  11. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    What does this have to do with Al Qaeda?????
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Digital nature shots all look the same to me. They appear unnaturally compressed and flat, overly sharp, usually over staurated. Something just isn't right as if they are images photographed off of a computer screen..
     
  13. michaelsalomon

    michaelsalomon Member

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    Its his photographs, his work, and his choice. Far be it from me to critique a photographer who is successful and has produced what is in my mind a great body of work. Im sure he made the switch after careful thought. I do not beliebe his work will suddenly decline due to his new choice of tools.
     
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  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I'm not sure what the point of this thread is except to depress me on a friggin' depressing day?

    I do not care what this guy chooses to shoot. He seems to be "important" in his field and has a "following". So, for crying out loud, if I were a digicamera maker I'd GIVE him my finest gear in order to get a product endorsement that I can put in all the magazines!

    I am tired of these kinds of threads. They are unhealthy to all of us here.

    Digital cameras are the gear of choice for most commercial pros - that's it - said and done. I don't see how a "roll call" of those of them leaving the "film fold" matters anymore. They're gone, hasta la vista.

    It's kind of "same old, same old", "been there, heard it all before."
     
  16. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    The two photographers using Hasselblads (mostly) and shooting wildlife portrait style are David Littschwager and Susan Middleton. Interestingly both met while assisting Richard Avedon. There is a great article and some images in the August 2006 PDN (Photo District News). Nice work.

    I have seen some large Franz Lanting prints recently at the Ordover Gallery in the Museum of Natural History in San Diego. I think these were his older film sourced images. I don't honeslty see what switching would do for him, other than maybe getting him some endorsements, or maybe if he wants to go into selling workshops. Maybe that is economics over ethics.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  17. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Bizarre...
     
  18. rjas

    rjas Member

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    i've read and re-read this post but I still can't figure it out... what the hell are you saying man?!?!
     
  19. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I too have read and re-read it. I think you have to parse through the Al-Queda reference.

    I think what he is saying is that at the fair there was a photo booth set up with an old Kodak 2D camera. It was only a prop, as evidenced by the fact that the bellows were sagging and full of holes. And actually, the photog is using a digicam.

    The A-Q point comes in simply in reference to the similarity this camera had to a braggadocio, saggy, full of holes in his T-shirt, beer bellied guy at a bar spouting about how there's "not more than 1/10th of those b-tards as we're led to believe." The point being, this bar fly has no idea what he is talking about anymore than the ersatz camera is "real".

    At least this is the best I can come up with - sometimes the brain runs ahead of the finger on the keyboard and the idea never get fully across. :wink:
     
  20. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    In the original post, if you ignore the part where he says "hanging like the gut of someone who thinks that al-Qaeda is 1/10 the stated number and is over played in the media", it makes sense. It could be that replies to two posts got mixed up!
     
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  21. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    The problem I have with digital & nature photography is same as for photojournalism - a loss of trust in the truthfulness of the image. If you're photographing lions & tigers & bears, you want the viewer to believe that the images are real rather than shot in Wonderland (or Smithsonian).
     
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  22. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    You really think that he'd switch over from a manner in which he has worked for decades, potentially compromising the quality of his work for which he has received acknowledgement and rewards, if the switch to digital is not actually advantageous to his image making? Risk his work, his legacy, for an endorsement? This is like conspiracy theorists. Oh he can't possibly be using digital because it works better for him, he must be using it because he's been bribed/corrupted/lazy to use it!!

    I can tell you from personal experience as I have done endorsements for products I use and have turned down endorsements for products I don't use, that the last thing I would do is use a product for my photography that didn't work for me just because I might get some money to use it.

    The guy is a world class photographer who's career many here would envy and he's made a choice about his working materials. Why is this such a big deal. Just wish him luck and continued success and get over it.
     
  23. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    A-Q and beer...?

    ??? Non sequitir...?
     
  24. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Look, just drive over to Calypso (in Santa Clara or wait a couple of weeks until they're finished moving to Santa Cruz) and LOOK AT HIS PRINTS because Calypso makes those big prints for him and there are usually some in the lobby. Usually prints from other well-known shooters (film & d) as well.

    And they are terrific prints.

    And the film prints are also made digitally.

    And both types hang side by side at the Lanting Gallery there in Santa Cruz too.

    And they look great.

    Is the "disappointment" in that Lanting doesn't choose to do what he does based on your own desire about PROCESS, which should almost never be a consideration when looking at someone else's work? (with the occasional niche exceptions like dag's and sx-70 or platinum printing) Is it productive? Can it be channeled into some way of making your own new work?

    kb

    I know I've said it many before, but there's a difference between loving analog and its processes and hating digital. Those are two completely separate things. One impulse is about making, one is about destroying. Why waste your heartbeats on resentment?
     
  25. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I agree.

    People still laugh at my Mona Lisa that's done in watercolor. Leonardo was just as good in watercolor as we was in oils.

    And I paid about $5000 less for it too.

    So there.


    Michael
     
  26. RAP

    RAP Member

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    Who is this guy? I never heard of him until now. Goes to show what a little controversy can do for pr.