The comeback?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by marcofimages, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member
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    Good insight.

    My courses approach this stuff from different modalities; lecture, text, diagrams, printed and projected images, PowerPoint, video, chalkboard, guided student interaction, demos and hands-on demos, phone, email, texting...and then I have my special needs students for which I have to invent them. Students bring their own educational experience to the game and one builds on that. Averaged from 1000 students, more or less, instinct is pretty low on the uptake scale. At the entry level Photographic Principles through Digital Capture students come away far more in control of their cameras and the craft than students from Principles of Photography through Film.

    Cameras are made for human hands. Those same thumbs that text like crazy do very well with buttons and dials. That is not instinct, that is design.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  2. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber
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    Perhaps today's cameras are designed for the young. I can't type with my thumbs. Fortunately, I rarely change menu settings and therefor have no need for shortcut buttons. As long as they stay out of the way, I am fine.
     
  3. mshchem

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    Steering wheel on a pedal car. I'm not talking about Tri-X pushed to 1600.

    I remember when my now 37 year old nephew was 2. I taught him how to use the 5 button remote on my sister's Sony Trinitron. He loved turning up the volume to get my sister to come running.
     
  4. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber
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    Ansel Adams would be all over digital. Pigment ink printing, you name it. I just got a D5 12 fps. Crazy. I love my Deardorff, and my Medium format stuff. I love it all. Each tool has it's place. I can pick up a Hassleblad and know how to operate it. Takes me a bit longer to sort through the menus etc on digital, but you can do things with digital that are impossible with film.
     
  5. Cholentpot

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    I set up the menu once on my 6D and use wheels and dials to change settings when I the situation calls for it. The in the end the goal is getting a photo regardless of the medium.
     
  6. DonJ

    DonJ Member
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    I don’t see anything “instinctive” about analog photography, nor do I see the relevance of your example in relation to photography of any kind.
     
  7. mshchem

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    Got it! Thanks for the input.
     
  8. Michael Firstlight

    Michael Firstlight Subscriber
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    I've seen this movie before in the music (pro) recording industry. There are analog tools that have a certain 'character'.

    My view is that someone who has developer great analog skills that hones them even further using digital can optimize and get the most out of analog, but the reverse isn't as true. I spent 30 years with analog since the late 1960's (including darkroom) before adding digital in the late 90's. I can easily claim that I learned more about the technical side of photography - far deeper and far faster - after going digital (and I knew a great deal already). Going back to analog one can apply all of that knowledge and extract the most out of analog, but nothing replaces the three decades of what I learned and mastered using only analog and all of the trial and error (read - countless hours). Learning film (including darkroom) is a far more difficult set of skills to master and takes far longer than mastering digital, but that can be countered quite a bit as the current generation has the luxury of the internet to make up for the trial-and-error process that we old-schoolers had available - if they avail themselves of those resources.

    Regards,
    Mike
     
  9. Wallendo

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    Convenience has always been important. Oskar Barnack didn't want to carry around a heavy camera with lots of film, so he invented a tiny camera that could shoot up to 36 exposures on a single roll. Kodak expanded on that with the instamatic, and 110 cameras. And all three major photo manufactures extended that to APS. 35mm eventually re-establishes itself as the film of the masses when manufactured found a way for cameras to easily load film. I have no doubt that many of the modern criticisms of digital photography were also used against the early 35mm users - in fact, there are a few Photrians who don't consider 35mm serious photography.

    The modern trend which bothers me most is not the analog-digital revolution, but actually the trend away from dedicated cameras to cell phones.

    Analog photography will never make a comeback as the world has changed, but does seem to be making a modest recovery from its devastating fall as older users return to the fold an younger users discover that the technical challenges of analog photography are often worth the effort. Interestingly, Instax cameras are selling well as analog instant photography in many cases is more convenient than digital.


    P.S., I am aware that Barnack was motivated by his physical ailment (asthma), but the success of 35mm was related to small camera size and high film capacity - i.e., convenience..
     
  10. bernard_L

    bernard_L Member
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    And if they can sort out the experience-based truth from mere opinions and from legends indefinetely repeated and "confirmed".
     
  11. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member
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    I find it hard to believe that 30 years of Digital experience before Film won't have depth and a pretty strong effect. Knowledge is knowledge and humans use it to the max in any case.
     
  12. Berkeley Mike

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    That is trial and error, not instinct.
     
  13. Michael Firstlight

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    Yes, many basics are the same (or even reversed in some cases), but digital will teach nothing about processing film, controlling the dynamic range with exposure, plus nothing at all about the analog printing process.
     
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  15. Berkeley Mike

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    You were talking about learning film first. I'm talking about learning digital first and the value of many years of experience capturing and developing in digital. That done, taking up film is easier.

    We teach both at the entry-level. Learning to use a camera with manual exposure is far easier than a film camera.
     
  16. kevs

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    Newsflash; film photography never went away, it just became less popular and more artisan.

    Having already learnt both black-and-white and colour processing and printmaking, I went to university just as the digital revolution went into full swing, and I watched the eclipse of the skillset I'd learnt over the past twenty-odd years. During my course, AgfaPhoto and Ilford called in the receivers. There was actually a time when almost everyone thought silver-gelatin was in its death-throes. Two years into my course, almost everyone on it had "gone digital"; my college ripped out its colour darkrooms and put in a Mac suite. Those of us still using film and "wet printing" in the black-and-white darkroom were regarded as unfashionable dinosaurs.

    Though not a professional photographer, I've continued to build my skill-set and I still use film; I have my own tiny B&W darkroom and I've even sold a few prints.

    Don't get me wrong; I do have *some* digital skills; though I'm not heavily invested in £1000's of rapidly depreciating kit. I have a couple of cheap digi-compacts that are very useful for happy snappies and note-taking; and I'm slowly building my skills with GIMP. I've scanned and restored lots of my late father's archive of negs and prints using my aging scanner. Digital imaging is a very useful tool but I don't consider it as a replacement for film photography and/or my darkroom skills; it's a different and complementary skillset.

    So the digital revolution kind-of left me cold; but the upside is that the drop in kit prices afforded me a beautiful Bronica kit and two lenses, and some other extras, and one of the college's huge DeVere enlargers came my way. I'm happy to see analogue materials on the uptick, albeit in a minor way; long may it continue but i know we'll never again see pre-digital levels of choice in kit, services and materials. So I can't really complain too loudly, but I'd still like Kodachrome back; at a reasonable price and in 120 please! *dreaming*:-D
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  17. jnanian

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    hey donJ
    im not the person you were talking to or asking this
    but .. when i was 5 or there abouts i was given my first camera
    totally "got" analog not much else i can say ... its like
    asking if a 5year old kid "gets" sour patch kids ...
     
  18. DonJ

    DonJ Member
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    If someone had handed you a non-analog camera at age 5, you would have “gotten” that too. What’s special about analog to a 5 year old holding his first camera?
     
  19. jtk

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    Click stops are very nice. I wish my digital cameras had them.

    On the other hand, NIK software and inkjet printing are very nice...and I use them with my film cameras.
     
  20. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member
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    Have you even seen toddlers work a cell phone? Nothing instinctual. Curiosity, play, trial and error, immediate learning loop. Before you know it the kid is shopping on Amazon.
     
  21. Theo Sulphate

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    Is this about the method of image capture or controls? Are you referring to the traditional discrete controls of an analog camera as compared to the wheel-like and multi-button controls of a digital camera?

    My Fuji X-Pro1 is clearly digital, yet it has traditional exposure controls that would be familiar to any photographer from the 1930's. That's why I bought it.

    I suspect this part of the discussion has nothing to do with the method of image capture (electronic vs. chemical), but rather the usual controls associated with those genres of cameras.

    For whatever it's worth (I suspect nothing), my opinion is that human beings as a species prefer and interact better with discrete controls where one physical control (e.g. aperture ring) affects one and only one thing - as opposed to a wheel and a button that pages and selects through a menu. I believe the rise of this latter method is due to (1) it's cheaper to manufacture such an interface [and modify in firmware] and (2) the number of choices and preferences that need to be selected with digital imaging make discrete controls for every feature impractical - for example, with a film camera, things such as ISO, white balance, saturation, etc., are chosen when you insert the film.

    Interestingly, from Canon EOS onward (1987), those discrete controls started disappearing. The Nikon F4 was the last pro Nikon that had them all. Yet, from time to time we see acknowledgement of the power and intuitiveness of analog controls and displays. As examples, there is Fuji X, the Nikon Df, digital watches which let you select an analog display, and airplane cockpits whose electronic displays mimic old analog gauges.
     
  22. Berkeley Mike

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    Analogue controls are not intuitive but arrived to a certain form after many years of development. It has nothing to do with being analogue and everything to do with adapting a machine to human usage. All good tools do that. As they have returned to my cameras has less to do with their superiority as analogue-related and more to familiarity and long-learned preferences in usage style of we analogue geezers.
     
  23. jnanian

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    whats not special about that .. being able to see something and then see what it looks like in photographic form is a powerful thing
    even for a 5 year old. i still am nearly breathless sometimes when i see an image made with the sun as a print or a print made in the darkroom.
    not everyone feels this way. a lot of people don't give a hoot. they don't care even about snappies they make with their phone.. they're just snappier...
    but once in a while a different person will just stare at what they made, and be hooked. f v d is a dead argument at this point its sight and emotion thing.
     
  24. Berkeley Mike

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    Without a corresponding image experience what could a child possibly get from a camera unless they are emulating a parent.
     
  25. jnanian

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    IDK
    all i could tell you was i saw the pix and i said : this is cool ! my parents didn't really have much to do with it except feeding my camera for me
    since i was a little kid with no income .. they paid for processing too, until i was old enough to learn how to do it myself ...
    i wasn't emulating them. they never photographed the shrubs or my friends sister hanging upside down off of the swingset .. or ...
     
  26. Berkeley Mike

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    Great story, just as long as your shots are in decent light. :smile:
     
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