The less technology, the better the photograph?
When I was shooting digital, my photos were awful. Shooting thousands of frames, I didn't manage to make one memorable picture.
Moving to an advanced analog SLR, my photos suddenly started getting better. I actually liked the results I was getting. I guess the greatest thing about analog is that you cannot evaluate your shots immediately after taking them.
Then, recently, I acquired an all-mechanical Minolta 7s. I threw out the battery and guessposured everything. Not every picture I take is well-exposed, but I am finally making photographs that I would dare to show to other people.
What I'm saying is: it seems that the less technology is involved, the more I like my photographs. I was wondering, am I the only one who has experienced this? It doesn't make sense, and yet it's true. I'm not a purist who despises technology and I love my Canon Eos SLR, but my all-mechanical 7s with fixed lens makes better photos! How is this possible, and does this mean I should revert to neolithic drawings in order to fully express myself artistically? What are your experiences?
I use anything from D200 (Digital) to F100 (35mm) to M645Pro (645) to Rolleicord (6x6). So far, I have been getting best good shots per total shots taken ratio in reverse order of this list.
What I think happening is that older the equipment, less automation are involved. With Rolleicord, I have to carefully compose using ground-glass type finder, focus-focus-focus, measure light with an external light meter, set shutter speed and aperture, cock the shutter, then finally shoot. It takes so much time and care to just take one photograph.
With equipment listed earlier in my list, it isn't unusual I just point, autofocus, then shoot.
I know it's all in my mind. I can be just as careful with any equipment - but simpler equipment requires and forces me to get into this mind set. It is helping me greatly. I am hoping this practice will eventually become a habit and stick with me.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I set my auto-exposure Oly OM-4 on the shelf years ago, only shoot fully manual. OM-1, Yashica-D, Mamiya C-220 & C-330, 4x5. Auto-exposure equals auto-mediocrity.
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.
I don't think technology and automation are necessarily opposed to effective photography. But if you find that they put some distance between you and your subject, then... get back to basics!
I prefer simple gear and happily use my expensive digithing on fully manual. My favourite cameras to work with, by far, are the Amish boxes with bellows from 100+ years ago. I just don't like black boxes that try to think for me.
If you want to get really Neanderthal, try a pinhole camera. That will really tax your ability to compose a shot.
Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
And sleep to dream till day
Of the truth that gold can never buy
Of the bawbles that it may.
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Originally Posted by waltereegho
Photography is among the most technological of the arts. Without technology, we don't have photography. Of any kind.
Don't be thinking that analog film photography isn't technological either. It takes an amazing amount of engineering and resources to produce film. See the book: Making Kodak Film by Robert Shanebrook.
It's not the technology. Technology doesn't make photographs; photographers do. The technology is just a tool. What you do with it is up to you.
I agree to a point. I can't imagine coating my own class plates or mixing my own emulsions. I do think as technology advances, it takes away what makes us human. Digital cameras makes me shoot more carelessly. I think I'm much more thoughtful shooting film. I see the film counter on my camera like the aging. As the years or the exposures accumulate, I think more before I squeeze the shutter release. Camera technology has advanced, but the craft of photography hasn't. The tough part with shooting with new technology is not letting technology steal your intuition and allowing chance to come to play in my shot.
I think that the ability to shoot a couple of hundred photos on a memory card, with out the concerns of the processing costs could possibly make some of us a little lazy about exposure, and composition. When I'm out with one of my MF cameras, and a couple of rolls of film, I am very aware of the film costs, and the future costs of the paper, and chemistry to process the shots. As Bruce mentioned, photography is very technical. Even the bare bones box cameras of the past were very carefully designed, not to mention the more modern film RFs, and SLRs that were (and still are to me) the back bone of much of modern film photography. If you take the time to think about composition, and exposure. be it digital, or silver based, you will most likely produce an image you will like.
when i was very young (which is a long time ago) we shot film like crazy, motor drives appeared and people used the machinegun style. Then one switches or begins to deal with LF , now everything slows down. My "luck" i took that thought process and brought it back to 35mm and then to digital.
The mentality I will fix it later, whether in the darkroom or on the comutur has made a lot of the world "lazy photographers" imho. Perhaps the cost comes into play these days and so folks begin to think more and "fire" less. I think it is the thinking part of the equation not the firing part that is increasing one's abilities..
Re: Original post, maybe it appears to work out that way sometimes. Maybe it's because I cut my teeth on film and Sunny-16 (50+ years ago!) -- I think it's mostly working method. There is no requirement that one utilize the 5 frames per minute of a d!git@l thing, nor is it mandatory to use auto exposure or auto focus, just because the capability is there. And you can still disagree with the camera and tweak. Perhaps having the auto-everything mode tends to make us a bit careless in the things that can't be automated -- like composition, angle of lighting, etc., but one can guard against that. I've had work accepted in juried shows from many of my cameras. A year or so back, a shot on a roll that was a test of a newly acquired camera snagged me a nice prize -- even when I'm just testing mechanics or film, I like to pick an interesting location and give a little thought and consideration to what's happening in the viewfinder.