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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