Pascal’s last Monday Post might have been an easy to skip piece for many of you. After all, the Interwebs delivers incredible stuff – right to your desktop.
Indeed it does. It also does some bad things, too.
Here’s one; it’s my story, my contribution to this conversation.
My days tend to follow a routine. I make them that way and generally, am very content with how and what I do.
A critical part of my day is an early morning trawl through the local and international news media pages, led by a visit to news.google.com – the South Africa-specific version which gives me an eagle’s eye view of predominantly local and some international news.
Having copy-tasted (read the first sentence or so to establish whether I want to click through to that specific page and read more) my way through that and opened the pages that interest me in new browser tabs, I read my way through that content and then move on to other media sites.
I’ve been doing this for years and thoroughly enjoy my morning dose of news and content.
Then, in 2011, I read Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble and my nice little morning routine changed for ever.
In a nutshell, Pariser says that the industry giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple hold around 1500 data points on each and every one of us, ranging from date of birth, to most recent buying habits and other (perhaps) less savoury Web trawling habits. They are all employed in decision making about what we might want to see, read and of course, pay for.
If you find that alarming, you’re already way too late. Better understand what’s going on and find ways to work around the often pernicious and always money-generating exploits of these companies.
Prior to reading Pariser’s book, I had become vaguely aware that the news items appearing on my morning Google news feed were the same, often for several days at a time. So, armed wth Pariser’s insight, I decided to try an experiment.
With the usual news.google.com page open, instead of scrolling down until a story that caught my attention appeared, I clicked every link I could find, top to bottom. It took a while and wasted lots of bandwidth.
Then I waited and refreshed my Google news page. Within two hours, almost every “stale” story I’d been fed over the preceding days vanished and just about every news source changed as well. Suddenly, I was seeing reporting from South China Morning Post, Al Jazeera, The Hindustan Times and many more that I’d never seen before.
Why? Google’s servers were calmly changing my view of the world to meet the changed reading(!) habits I’d displayed.
I repeat the exercise every few months, in fact every time I begin to feel that my desktop view of the world is becoming increasingly like seeing the world through a 6” pipe.
If that restricted perspective suits you, fine. If not, you should understand that you’re being fed and the more you eat, the less likely you are to spot a new restaurant or menu offering appearing somewhere else.
Anticipation mounts for the arrival of the GFX, Fuji’s first medium format camera, deliveries of Hasselblad’s X1D finally getting underway, a new Leica rangefinder and lots of Canon hardware. Again, there seems to be almost nothing of note coming from Nikon.
So, for as long as My D800 continues to give me trouble-free service, I’ll remain a customer. With no indication of a response to recent developments in the industry, including a useful FF mirrorless offering, a meaningful update to the D8XX series, or a D700 replacement, the chances of me investing significant cash in tired, warmed-up technologies remains close to zero.
The pictures in this post? A pot pourri of 2016. Some you might have seen before, others I’ve been keeping well hidden 😉
Pascal Adds …
This is not a gratuitous discussion about theoretical aspects of our lives that have no real impact.
The media have one role: maintain democracy. It’s pretty obvious they’ve been failing at that, big time.
Good sources of information are hard to find. Reliable syndication no longer exists, unless you’ve built it yourself, through careful curation.
So fan clubs grow, camps grow further appart, false rumour is OK if it gets clicks.
So. Let’s start this year by wishing you all a very Happy New Year. And continue by saying we’ll be posting our biased opinions on the world of photography and creativity for as long as we’re allowed to and keep finding it fun.
It’s funny how opinions form. When the X1D was announced, immediately it was that long-lost friend, the Mamiya 7 turned digital. There was no way in the world I was going to resist the urge to buy one. Had it been available soon after, I’d have bought one in a flash.
But it wasn’t. And I didn’t.
And, in the mean time, Fujifilm have put their GFX in the hands of many pros, producing interesting videos, teasing intelligently. And, more and more, the ugly duckling is looking like the promising swan. With its ability to use adapted leaf shutter lenses as well as standard focal plane shutter lenses, the robust build, the purposeful design, the grip, the view finder, the great (and I mean great) colour, it’s becoming the camera I visualise in my hand, out there in the hills.
The ugly truth, though, is that I don’t really care what camera I’m using these days. Maybe writing that all of them are good enough, over and over again, finally convinced me. Maybe it’s just true. Seeing Paul and comrade Bob Hamilton’s sublime photographs with APS Fuji and incredible workshop photographs from M4/3 user Steve Mallet just begs the question … do we really care about gear anymore? Heck my daughter’s shooting super decent pics of the Milky Way with her OnePlus 3T, 16 megapixels and all.
So, I ask you. What do you want to read about this year? We have access. We have passion. We just want to hear from you guys and gals 🙂
Happy New Year !
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Hello and Happy New Year to you as well. Last Fall I inadvertently dropped my 800E on a large rock off the tripod. It did not bounce. Totaled. I have first dollar replacement insurance, so I bought the 810. It turned out to be an incredible step up in ISO performance. On a recent trip to South Georgia Island, I was able to shoot 1/2000th ISO 4000 with great sharp shots. LR noise reduction did well. I hope Nikon can recover from the tragic loss of the head tech’s and move ahead on the Mirrorless.
In terms of Fuji, I sent my XT1 in for a sensor replacement after 2 years of ownership and less than a 1,000 images. That was 5 months ago. Finally heard last week they will replace it for $350.00!!! Pardon me, but What the Heck kind of product is that, and if they take that long to fix a simple camera, what could I expect with a mid formate and why would I consider buying one???? Seems like they should have fixed it sooner, at their costs, not $350.
Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for the gear war armistice. I have spent enough money to realize my photographic skills and artistic short comings will not be resolved with purchase of the next “best thing”. It is a welcome change to read of things philosophical and artistic while viewing photographs that are beautiful and inspirational. I hope your passion to share your thoughts and artistry continues.
Paul, I think your description of the “media” is a warning to ‘togs to avoid repeating that experience in our photography. How often does someone rattle the cage and tell us that if our photography is becoming repetitive, then we need to set ourselves some new tasks, start some new projects, breathe some fresh life into our work?
The “media” might be better engaged in opening our eyes and widening our horizons, but the rot set in a long time before Mark Zuckerberg and his pals got to work on the internet version of it. I see no hope of improvement in what time I have left on this planet.
As a kid, I used to spend many happy hours in the State Archives, devouring the history of the place where I grew up – and newspapers from the 19th century often held me spellbound for weeks on end. Skipping forward 50 years, you have to be reasonably astute to find any credible news reports, now. The lunatics have escaped from the asylum and seized control, long ago.
On an entirely different note, love those photos – eclectic will always do it for me. Great shot of a telephone box, wherever did you find that? – we haven’t had telephone boxes like that since forever, and to find ANY sort of public telephone (in a box or simply hanging on a wall) is a minor miracle in this age of cellphones. It’s firmed up my thoughts on a shot I’ve been considering for several days, involving a rather weird reflection of my feet 🙂
Speaking of Zuckerberg – have you guys ever seen a photo of his dog? The animal looks like one of those dishmops on handle that your mother used to use, to wash the dishes in the kitchen sink, before the invention of foam rubber squeegee things or dishwashing machines!
Pete, the telephone boxes (I seem to recall five of them) are in a line in the central access road through Smithfield market in the heart of London. Great movie location? History on the hoof? All of that and I’m sure the meat blokes would be outraged in BT wanted to get rid of them.
Happy new year to you. Thoughtful post to start the year and your collection of pics would suit my idea of a nice 2017 calendar. What do you think of Capture One not supporting the GFX? Short-sighted, Trump-style faux pas or astute commercial decision?
Ronald, I’d say it was not the best management decision they could have made.
What wonderful images to start off the new year. Many thanks for the all the work you and Pascal do in creating and maintaining Dear Susan. Much appreciated!
Thanks Lucy. Much appreciated too 🙂
Happy New Year to you all.
Paul Perton pointed me at The Filter Bubble (can it really be six years ago?) and like Paul I continually try to reset the content delivered to me. Intestingly over Christmas this was a conversation that occurred more thean once and the subject of RT came up. “But it’s a Russian state funded operation,” was a common cry. It presents everything from a Russian perspective. Not unlike the BBC then. What is different is the level of detail you can find on any given story on RT compared to the largely detail-light BBC. Trying to figure out what might actually be going on out there requires some serious effort these days.
As for gear, well….as my format of choice has been m4/3 for the last couple of years I’m suffering greatly from a bad case of lust for the new Oly E-M1 mk ii. It seems to combine the best of my current em1 and em5 and then some. But £1900! And the trade in value of my existing bodies is laughable. So decided to sit on my hands until all the pre-orders are filled and the price surely drops.
All the best for 2017.
Happy New Year to you Paul, Pascal, and all DEAR SUSAN readers!
No matter how I slice up my allotted 24 hours each day there’s never enough time to do/read everything I want to. So the fact that I keep reading DEAR SUSAN at least says that I’m getting something worthwhile from it!
May 2017 bring all of you ever-increasing happiness and success… in life and photography! (Photography IS life?!)
Thanks a lot Orville. We hope to keep it that way 🙂
Interesting points about Google searching (and advertising), however we do need something better than doing a pseudo re-boot by system crash on what Google uses to fill searches, and to monetise the service. I knowingly give Google lots of hints by reading this site regularly yet will only get advertising from/on travel sites and companies after I have searched the companies directly. Google is broken.
Happy new year
Happy New Year, and thanks for all.
Lenses, beautiful lenses. Old and new.
The ‘pot pourri of 2016’ images in this post are darn good. They project a strong presence and command attention, and really shouldn’t be hidden in some other space.