The world of photography has changed, but why should we?
I've been thinking (hey no jokes!) about the current state of photography and how my views on photography are starting to evolve. Years ago my stance was quite defensive and one of keeping traditionalists into a cohesive unit. I still believe this is a good thing and we have basically proven that we are here to stay. We've established we are here to stay so now what? The implications of our coming together can go two different ways. 1) Isolationist 2) Participationist (new word alert?). The isolationist approach means we will change, closing ourselves off to the photography world. Why should we change? I am starting to shift towards a mindset that we should be participating in the larger world of photography in a highly visible and positive fashion. The amount of energy I've wasted feeling hostile towards emerging technologies is immense and ultimately a waste. I feel that we know what we love so lets embrace it and focus on that. Today I read some info about an inkjet paper claiming to be a replacement for silver gelatin, it claimed it was even better. In the past this would have made me cringe and feel extremely agitated.. but hey, if some folks want to use this paper why should I care? We have more important things to put our energy towards than this. These new products have arrived and are not going anywhere so it's up to us to focus on what we care about and share it with others rather than gripe, become negative and inclusive. This in no way means APUG is going digital, our mission statement stands in that regard, it just means I would like to see us as part of the photo world at large. Foto3 was my first step towards guiding us down a less isolated path. The conference will be a mix of all things imaging -traditional, digital, hybrid. Traditionalists are a part of this visual ecosystem and I'm excited that we can partake in such a diverse venture. Let's show the world we are not a closed community that some make us out to be. We are active, energized, producing phenomenal work (just see the gallery and portfolios) and we are having a heap of fun. I am also branching out with new websites that further integrate us to the global imaging arena. Photocentric.tv will contain videos from all areas of imaging. I am extremely excited that soon we will be able to let others SEE what traditionalists are doing, the magic behind it and why we enjoy it so much. Greatcapture.com will also be a site packed with variety and our presence will be noticed there as well. When I think about traditional photography becoming isolationist I fear that could be the end of us. Let's continue doing what we love, let's get our work out there and show people what we do and we will flourish. What do you think?
Do you mean I could say "scanner" here without getting scolded to go to Hybridphoto?
I've never understood why APUG is SO exclusive. I use film as an (dare I say it) image capture medium because I enjoy doing so - but after that I scan the negs or 'chromes and then view my pics on screen.
Well, I guess what folk here have to decide is whether they want a "purist" site - whatever "purist" might mean.
It'll be interesting to see how this thread "develops".
The scope of APUG will not change. If you have scanner question related to posting images in the gallery that has always been allowed. If you want to talk scanners, dslr's or whatever else that's out of scope for this site. It's not about purist it's about maintaining the scope of the site. We can maintain the scope of a website without turning it into a bubble which we never venture out of.. That is what I am touching on..
Sean, I have greatly admired your APUG project and am very grateful to you for creating it. As such, I fully recognize your right to define its terms of reference in any way you see fit. I have however always felt that it cuts across the mission of preaching the virtues of analog materials if APUG de facto excludes, for example, pro shooters who use only color reversal material, hardly ever make a print but, when they do, use digital. Or film shooters who control printing balance and exposure digitally and then output on wet-process paper. These people are among the strongest advocates of film, they very often have extensive first-hand experience of both digital and film capture and output, and the fact that they then choose to work with film is a very powerful argument in favour of this.
Similarly, it is, I believe, a mistake to create the impression, inadvertently or not, that analog photography automatically means monochrome, a slow contemplative approach, big cameras and cultural references looking backward into the past. Like George, I do not see the benefit of an ultra-purist approach, which can all too easily lead to a reactionary obsessive attitude. It is a very minor point, but I cannot see how banning me (a 40-year media industry veteran) from attending UK APUG events and showing my film-capture/digital-output work advances the cause of analog materials - if it has to be, what the hell, it just doesn't make any sense to me!
Be assured in any case that I will look forward to your future ventures and support them in any way I can!
Sean, I think it's a brilliant idea to try to bring traditional photography and new technology closer together, as well as the users of those techniques. I wholly agree that if we isolate ourselves from the developments 'on the other side' we will lose ground. But if we can show how much fun traditional techniques are, perhaps more hybrid and traditional work will come from that?
You have great vision, Sean, and your name I'm sure will be associated with photography at large rather than only traditional photography. It makes sense to retain the scope of APUG as it does not ring well in my ears to skip around, but rather stand up for what we believe in. The only way to survive is to share what we love with others and introduce them to the wonders we experience.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
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I agree with some of what you are saying. It is VERY tricky to implement the perfect solution. I have always felt that exclusions are always double sided. Excluding hybrid discussions impacts folks like you yet including hybrid discussions excludes those who want a place devoid of such content. Since there are countless places to discuss digital techniques I always side with those who want 1 site that remains focused on traditional methods. It doesn't please everyone but it's what I feel works best..
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
Well said, everyone.
But I think APUG is necessarily exclusive. I don't think there is anything wrong with that - after all, if this wasn't an exclusively analog site, its very reason for existing wouldn't be there.
But we can be a purist site for analog photography and still embrace the great advances, ease, and reach that digital brings to the photography world. I have two digital cameras, and love them, but I don't PS my digital photos beyond contrast and sharpness (no manipulation of content).
I like and respect digital, but I just simply love my analog cameras and methods more. I've never understood the unreasonable aversion to digital. It is simply untrue, as many on this site will argue unreasonably, that digital is inherently inferior as an image making medium. It's just a matter of what we personally prefer to use.
I try to be active on other sites, presenting the work I do with traditional methods, and those sites seem very welcoming. Mike Johnston asked if he could make one of my LF posts a main entry on his blog and posted it today. Asher Kelman has been trying to drum up some interest on the LF forum to have more traditional and LF photographers in the mix on his Open Photography Forums, so I drop in there occasionally. I continue to participate in the LF forum as I did before APUG existed. From time to time I look in on the Rangefinder Forum.
Absolutely, I think people who are doing work with film and printing traditionally should be active outside of APUG. That has nothing to do with changing the mission of APUG itself.
Exactly. I have absolutely no problem with anyone using digital anything nor do I isolate myself from it. APUG, however, is a welcome reprieve from the ubiquitous onslaught of the digital photography world and the one place you can discuss traditional work with others of a similar mindset. Thanks Sean and best of luck. Shawn
Originally Posted by Sean
Great stuff David
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb