I don’t really understand the concept of irony, but, if I did this may just be ironic. When I first became hooked on cameras, or rather just one in particular, I just liked taking photos. I was never really into film per se. I never understood the mechanics or technique. I was a happy snapper.
Some years later another interest, oops, sorry, obsession took over and photography quietly slipped into the background and out of my consciousness. The winds of change blew through my life once again and one obsession merged into another – computers. My morning routine was happily started by the Microsoft Windows start-up sound. I started a business. Then, by chance, by pure chance, in the tail end years of the 1990’s, I bought a digital camera, the Casio QV-10. I was doubly hooked. Computers AND Cameras!
The digital photography bug, which is really an extension of the computers, gadgets and software bug, ran it’s course. Software, photoshop, filters, plug-ins and cameras beyond count. All bought with the promise that my photography would improve and perpetuated by the self delusion that it would. It never did. Why? Because I was crap. I pinned my hope on, and swallowed the sales line of, “if you buy this (insert camera/lens/software here) your pictures would win every competition going”. I switched from digital to film to digital to film to digital. Going from 0.3 mega pixels and ending up with 20.
There comes a point when you get sick of software, photoshop, filters and plug-ins controlling your “photography”. You get sick of in-camera micro-processors, in-camera software and a whole host of software technicians and engineers standing behind the scenes all waiting to pounce with another upgrade. Cameras which can shoot RAW at 12 fps for 50 frames and that can also shoot HD video. You know how much crap HD video I see in my job? A company announces a new camera model, then another new one, and another new one and yet another. A bewildering plethora of choice. You study all the specs, read all the reviews not realising you are well and truly hooked into a replenishment cycle. The cycle of which means a camera being “antiquated” in ever decreasing circles, spiralling down. Ten years, five years, eighteen months, 12 months, eight months, six months. That’s what it feels like! After almost 20 years you have done everything digitally you can. The bug dies.
You get sick of software and technology controlling your image. You get sick of seeing enhanced, photoshop manipulated landscapes. You get sick of Photoshop skills being as important if not more so than the actual act of using the camera. You become sick of the fake, the faux and the fraud.
Software isn’t photography. Filters aren’t photography. Plug-ins aren’t photography. Photoshop isn’t photography. These things produce the fake, the fraud and the faux.
You get sick of dicks uttering completely crass words along the lines of “You can do in Photoshop what you can do in the darkroom”. Completely failing to mention you can do a thousand times more in photoshop. In the darkroom you are limited by chemistry, physics, time and skill. There are no such limits in photoshop. You get tired of dicks justifying their own lack of skill and resorting to photoshop by uttering such immortal lines as “I’ll fix it in photoshop later” or “the dead old guys faked it, so can I”. Sure they did! They were highly skilled artisans who developed their skills over a number of years. Today, you “rent” your software, download a “tute” and go click, click, click, clone, clone, heal, layer, adjustment layer, click, click, clone etc. DONE! If you can’t see the difference between the two then go into the darkroom and do there what you do in photoshop. Dick!
You’ve heard it all, done it all and your images still don’t look like (famous photographer’s name here).
1) I am crap and you’re crap. No amount of buying anything is going to solve that one.
2) My resources are limited. My time, my health, my money. I can’t afford to go to those locations you see in the magazines with the equipment I need and at the time I need.
So, I give up right!
When I was iPhone photographing my kit to put on the bay of e, I picked up my 1958 Leica M2. I knew then I couldn’t sell it. What a classic camera! It kept the photography desire alive. Then came a plan. Why not spend a year photographing with the Leica. No computers, no electronics, no meter. Perhaps for this digitally jaded photographer this may be just the tonic.
Have I the courage to do it!
To sum this post in a sentence would be to say that I am sick of the control of software and technology has on my photography seeing this as a solution to my photographic ills instead of concentrating on real photography. More on the later.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. The irony. Nope I have difficulty with that one. It’s as clear as a mauve hippo.