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  1. #1
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Living in a post-photographic age, interview with Robert Burley

    Our local radio station had an interesting interview today with Robert Burley, author of The Disappearance Of Darkness: Photography At The End of the Analog Era. Worth the 6:42 to listen.

    http://www.cbc.ca/airplay/episodes/2...f-photography/

  2. #2
    Eugen Mezei's Avatar
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    I agree with him that photography [1] is quasi dissapearing, but I very much disagree with what he thinks the reason for this is.
    In my opinion it is not that Kodak closes, film dissapears and not even that every cellphone gets a camera. Perhaps the last one has an indirect influence.

    The problem is that nothing new appears. Maybe it is a consequence that almost anything was photographed, but even this is not the real, exclusive reason. I think the reason is that no revolution is happening. Nobody comes up with something really "art-shaking". I see only thousands of variations of the same "streetphotography" that's considered "cool" but mostly saying nothing, industrial where the more trash the better and if you put a model in some dirty or motoroiled clothes in the picture than it is considered perfect (but unfortunately it was presented the same way thousands of times, maybe the first time it was somewhat innovative), social photography where the goal seem to be to find people in the most desolate environments, portraits, fashion all the same endless variations of what we have seen also thousands of times, etc, etc. Nothing really revolutionary nor in the ideea nor in the realisation. So at least photography is stagnating for a long time now. Without revolution it can't exist art, even evolution is not enough.

    [1] I don't men technical photography, of course.

  3. #3
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugen Mezei View Post
    I agree with him that photography [1] is quasi dissapearing, but I very much disagree with what he thinks the reason for this is.
    In my opinion it is not that Kodak closes, film dissapears and not even that every cellphone gets a camera. Perhaps the last one has an indirect influence.

    The problem is that nothing new appears. Maybe it is a consequence that almost anything was photographed, but even this is not the real, exclusive reason. I think the reason is that no revolution is happening. Nobody comes up with something really "art-shaking". I see only thousands of variations of the same "streetphotography" that's considered "cool" but mostly saying nothing, industrial where the more trash the better and if you put a model in some dirty or motoroiled clothes in the picture than it is considered perfect (but unfortunately it was presented the same way thousands of times, maybe the first time it was somewhat innovative), social photography where the goal seem to be to find people in the most desolate environments, portraits, fashion all the same endless variations of what we have seen also thousands of times, etc, etc. Nothing really revolutionary nor in the ideea nor in the realisation. So at least photography is stagnating for a long time now. Without revolution it can't exist art, even evolution is not enough.

    [1] I don't men technical photography, of course.
    I think the revolution is in motion imagery, that's the issue, it's moved away from still, the next step past that is fully digital renderings that aren't at all photographs but graphical 3D modeling that you can "snap" with your camera that takes a 3D sonar image and you can then create the colors as you see fit (or some such thing like that) this is the issue, I don't mean to sound down about film, I love film, the reality is that us film shooters are the ones who haven't evolved, we're stuck on film and anti-digital, but that's where photography has gone and we refused to change, and so we die... (there was a term used and I forget it now) for the portrait painters in Europe who fought hard against the idea of photography that it wasn't really art and all the new photography portraits that were taking their business away because it wasn't "really art" there was a term for them. Photographers who remain in film and claim that digital isn't really art, they are the same. You can't really make any NEW film, it's already been done, the new images are going to come from some other technology. Don't get me wrong I LOVE my film, it gives me a different sense of framing and imagery, forces me to think, just as the painters took hours and days to paint a portrait, I take minutes to compose and set up a shot rather than 10 seconds to snap 10 digital shots and edit and crop in post on a computer. Perhaps photography in the future will be in the form or image extraction from our own mind's eye of memory of an experience and how we saw it, and that will be displayed for the world. Right now it's through twitter and instagram and Pheed and Facebook and Tumblr and all the others... there are tons of photographers who NEVER make a print and only sell their work digitally to someone who likes to look at them on their computer ... and that is the new photography, we are the old way, we are the Neanderthals.

    I have NOT read the above link YET... simply responding to the poster, I WILL read (or watch etc.) sometime tomorrow night most likely.

    Please don't be angry with my comment, I am a big supporter of film as an art, but I only speak the truth as I see it.

    ~Stone

  4. #4

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    Interesting...I actually saw some of the photos included in his book, very well done and very emotional I think. While I can understand his point of view and can even agree with certain points, I wouldn't be so dramatic as to call our age the "post-photographic age." Like the interviewer said, we're still taking photos, be it analogue or digital, perhaps mostly digital, we're just doing it in a different way. We're still documenting our lives, arguably more so than 10 or 15 years ago, we're just going about it in a different way. We may be in a new photographic age, that much is clear, but it isn't a post-photographic age, that's for sure. I agree with StoneNYC, for better or worse, we're the dinosaurs, not the Instagrammers and DSLR users.

  5. #5
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    For me what was really interesting were his comments about how fast things are changing in the past 5-10 years. We're kind of in the middle of it now and it will be interesting to see what 'photography' is in the next 5-10 years.

  6. #6
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    i'm also a film neanderthal, but I'm looking forward to photoshop supplying choices of models and allowing me to set the studio lights, so i don't even need a digital camera anymore. that's where the next generationofphotographymust be going to provide something new. after that, it's off to the hollow deck mr. spok.beam me up scotty.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  7. #7
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Living in a post-photographic age, interview with Robert Burley

    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    i'm also a film neanderthal, but I'm looking forward to photoshop supplying choices of models and allowing me to set the studio lights, so i don't even need a digital camera anymore. that's where the next generationofphotographymust be going to provide something new. after that, it's off to the hollow deck mr. spok.beam me up scotty.



    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  8. #8
    mr rusty's Avatar
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    The problem is that nothing new appears
    Why should it? I think of analogue photography as similar to the classic car movement - it keeps alive machinery, processes etc that are no longer mainstream. e.g. nobody goes to a classic event to see the latest, greatest, fastest etc, and yet they are incredibly popular. It is a revelation to some to see how advanced old machinery actually was. Surely this is part of the satisfaction with using a camera from say the 50's or 60's and coming home and creating really nice images - there's an element of showmanship and personal satisfaction in NOT being mainstream. Fiddling with manually controlled exposure settings to try and get the best image when the latest equipment automates everything is no different to tweaking the mixture and timing to get that old engine running sweet when the latest vehicles have it all done by black-box.

  9. #9
    sdotkling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugen Mezei View Post

    The problem is that nothing new appears. Maybe it is a consequence that almost anything was photographed...
    Bingo. That says it perfectly. It's rather depressing from the point of the Neanderthal, though, isn't it?

    The problem is that I'm a Neanderthal myself. I worked with moving images for many years but never really liked it: it was a group effort, requiring many specialists (I was an art director making commercials), so the "hands on" part---the part I liked---ended with my storyboards. Then it was all up to the production people who actually got to touch the cameras.

    I bought video equipment and tried that part myself, but quickly found that the technology required becomes overwhelming. Editing platforms change constantly, as do the basic formats: Standard def became high def, tape became chips, 2D became 3D, and now High Frame Rate, each requiring entirely new (and very expensive) equipment. All this to merely appear "up to date" and compete with the new kid around the corner. Then there's the basic strategic flaw in making moving images as "art": no one has the time to watch it, so competition for screen time is fierce. Check out a local video store (if one still exists) and count the documentaries you've never ever heard of. Quite depressing for the nascent filmmaker.

    Black & white analog photography is much more manageable. Simple equipment. Easy processes. It's quite inexpensive, still. Beautiful cameras. Enough gizmos to amuse and beguile without overwhelming the whole purpose. Pretty results. Appreciative viewers who always like to see photos of themselves or people they know or places they've heard about. Much better.

    The fact that its antique and out of step and stagnant in a way is immaterial, ultimately. You never hear people say fine woodworking is a stagnant art, even though every chair has already been built, do you?

  10. #10
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    i'm also a film neanderthal, but I'm looking forward to photoshop supplying choices of models and allowing me to set the studio lights, so i don't even need a digital camera anymore.
    The software is already here as can be seen by the works of Pixar and Dreamworks - Not quite Photoshop or affordable by Joe Average, but the technology is here, and prices will come down.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr rusty View Post
    Surely this is part of the satisfaction with using a camera from say the 50's or 60's and coming home and creating really nice images - there's an element of showmanship and personal satisfaction in NOT being mainstream. Fiddling with manually controlled exposure settings to try and get the best image when the latest equipment automates everything is no different to tweaking the mixture and timing to get that old engine running sweet when the latest vehicles have it all done by black-box.
    Using a lens from the 1890's, a (LF) camera from the 1950's, and film made within the last year (all be it with 1980's technology) is a statement to the effect that the craft spans three centuries and it still produces results. For me, it is as much about producing images that are noticeably different from the plethora of humdrum digital prints in their over manipulated gore..... That and it scares the hell out of the natives when confronted by a real big camera

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