+1 I agree!
Originally Posted by ME Super
And now that I have a good medium format projector, I am able to admire some 1920s colour glass slides I inherited from Jack Mitchell that are gorgeous. People were doing beautiful work ...even in beautiful colour... long before there umpteen zillion consumer films.
PMK-25 asks: "Because I think the very thing that is driving photography to record levels of hype will have simply urinated too long in the fresh water supply that drew people in and that thing is technology. People want a challenge in their pastime or vocation, if the perception now is anyone can do it and there are billions of images lost in a sea of it self, why would they bother and what does that hold for the future of photography it self?"
100 years ago, Kodak's 'Brownie' camera placed photography, which was until then a rich man's game, into the hands of the amateur. We've all benefitted from the technological changes that cellulose roll films ushered in - how many countless millions of family snaps wouldn't have been made if the only way to photograph was with wet glass plates? Digital tech has democratised photography; in doing so it has made photography cheap and ubiquitous. Wanna take a picture? Grab your phone or iPad and off we go. How many pictures will have utility? Probably loads. How many will be masterpieces? Not many.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that. People use photography for many purposes - most aren't artists and most don't want to be artists. They just want a record of a family holiday, an evening out or that amazing sunset behind the hills over there. It's just the same as reaching for your pocket 110 or compact 135 camera. The same skill is required as the first Kodak Brownie - absolutely none. "You push the button - we do the rest". A chimp could do it. And if the result happens to be something blurry, poorly exposed or otherwise rubbishy - who cares? Just throw it away and try again. We've all been there, done that. I'm talking of non-expert use here - it's a different matter if one's being paid for the job!
I think that if technology draws people into photography, well maybe that's a good thing. Sure, they'll get a DSLR or some other cool piece of digi-kit, play with it and think they're David Bailey. But they'll never actually BE as good as Bailey, Adams, Godwin etc etc unless they learn the basics, learn to use the camera and learn the art of seeing. It was always so. The challenge is to rise above the sea of rubbish to produce interesting and original work. Only then do they rise above the poseurs and happy snappers. Film or digital, crap is crap and the skilled use of technology trumps technology for its own sake every time. It's skill that distinguishes the artist from the amateur, not technology. As for the medium itself, I think that its future is secure because people will always want to make pictures of their friends, their environment and themselves. Until the nuclear holocaust or until the oil runs out, that is! These are my thoughts and opinions - your mileage may vary.
Originally Posted by kevs
I love these "the world is not what I want it to be" diatribes. Photography is going to survive in spite of what the author thinks. Naturally, in the grand silver age of photography, it was full of mediocre work too--the the photo he posted is a great example of that mediocrity. The same mundane stuff was produced as it is today. In fact nothing has changed. Technology has just made it easier to make mediocre work and show it. Just as developments in film technology did the same. It fact, nothing fundamentally has changed.
Still, a great artist always blames the technology--isn't that how it goes.
Just a few mins ago an interesting article that hits on many many points made here posted:
"For the first time ever," John Berger remarked, "images of art have become ephemeral, ubiquitous, insubstantial, available, valueless, free."
"Advances in photographic technology -- Kodak to Polaroid to Canon to Lytro -- have been shifting the cultural economics of pictures, transforming them from something scarce and therefore artistic and into something abundant and therefore mundane."
PMK-25, you wanted to ponder theoreticals of the future, this might just be it...
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While I won't try to speak for him, I don't think the raw survival of photography was the OP's original point. Rather, I think he was simply asking - of himself and others - what they think photography might be in 20 or so years. Given the rapidity of change in photographic technologies, I personally think it's a valid question, that...
Originally Posted by Hikari
I also strongly agree that the larger question regarding the rapid digitization of our entire culture hits a greater fundamental issue dead on. And not for the better. I've already deleted two longish pending replies to that question that I'd started because I didn't want to pull his thread off-topic.
"Some photographers are the poets of purple mountains' majesty. Some are the poets of the placid suburbs. Weegee is the poet of small-timers who died face down on a city pavement at 3 a.m. in a pool of their own blood."
— Richard Lacayo, Photography: Dames! Stiffs! Mugs!, Time Magazine, January 12, 1998
Errm, you might have actually pulled it back on topic since that is where the "Canary in a coal mine" might be in terms of the perception of photography in the year 2032....
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
Two years ago, David Bradley ( top dog at the Atlantic ) and Michael Eisner were chatting and saw me with a M3 around my neck. Michael asked about it so all three of us got to talking. In the end, we all agreed that film was making a bit of a comeback in fine art and indie film circles...in fact that was the very term Eisner used, it would come full circle.
I don't know where photography will end up in 20 years, but I know where I am going with it...:-)
Originally Posted by zsas
You know, I dunno guys. Sometimes I feel like the field and "art" of photography is just so massively overwhelmed with crap that I find it difficult to sort through it all. In fact I find myself defensively viewing other people's photography. Not my good friends necessarily, but the sheer amount out there. It feels like the gems are so buried now, in a massive sea of mediocrity that technology has helped grow.
I find that I just want to hang with old school tri-x/f8 and be there folks because they feel the most sane in this maelstrom of photographs.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.