Don’t call me stupid! shouts Otto/Kevin Kline in “A fish called Wanda”. Well, more and more, it seems, cameras are designed for stupid people. More and more “intelligence” in the camera itself and/or the PP software aims at giving all of us – no, make that all of you – “perfect” shots.
Case in point, the Light L 16 camera https://light.co/camera.
What Light claim is performance: high resolution, low noise, 5x optical zoom, yadda, yadda, yadda….
But that is not really what they are selling. The “real” selling proposition behind the L 16 is “you can’t miss, even if you’re daft!”. It is the camera for everyman that takes pictures like a pro. As they nicely put it: “capture more, do less”.
How do they do it? 3 lenses, different focal lengths, multiple shots, and lots, lots of software aimed at bringing the whole lot together. Lots of software making something appear that was never “there” in the eye of the camera, like a panorama, or a focus stack, only more, much more involved, much, much more “never there”, in favor of “ideal”, “perfect” and, ultimately, “what wasn’t there but should have been there”. Lots of software that has nothing to do with you, who you are, what you “see” or want to express and share.
That reminds me of the Lytro project: https://www.theverge.com/2012/2/29/2821763/lytro-review
The Lytro basically lets you decide on your focus point once the picture is/was taken. Meaning: “you don’t have to know what you’re doing, only decide later what you like. Or what others tell you that they like. Or what others’ work, which you like, looks like”. And so on…
This of course, follows the same market approach as the Arsenal https://witharsenal.com/ meet-arsenal-intelligent-camera-assistant-helps-you-take-perfect-shot bought by our very own Pascal: AI lets you take “perfect shots”. And also the PP software that essentially uses presets to relieve you of making your own corrections to your RAW (McPhun Luminar or Landscape pro).
Is this what we want? To bask in the beauty of an admittedly glorious shot that was “optimized” outside our control and creative input? And that will look just the same in the living rooms of hundreds -nay, tens of thousands- of other device holders (can’t call them photographers any more, can we?)?
No way. Not in a million years. Where has all the fun gone?
Compare that to the very opposite: people shooting film, which extends to developing the shots of course. Make it even tougher: shooting MF film. Can’t help feeling that, by comparison, I am taking a digital shortcut…
As it happens, over the last year, I met 3 such people, perchance all of them women. I queried them as to why they shot film, and they all said, even though those were 3 separate instances; “because I like the process”. They referenced the slowness, the required deliberateness, the need to think ahead, the pleasure of the mechanical feel of it…
In my case, photography is my only activity that vaguely resembles artistic expression. It is also a deep personal statement. The moment it ceases to be those two things, I’m done. Done and dusted. Perfect pictures have been there for decades, and I could have lined my walls with them, had I wanted to. Many of them can be bought by the pound. They are called postcards.
And, deep down, I enjoy that the process is a bit hard. That my lenses are manual focus, fast and weigh a ton. That’s my price of admission. That is why I feel “cheap” when I see someone shooting MF film.
Just as I want un-destination destinations, I want un-perfect perfection. Pascal says that my signature shot is something that ought to fall down, but doesn’t. He calls it un-balanced balance.
And there ain’t no stinkin’ software that’s gonna take that away from me!
PS: you may ask: why pictures of flowers? Because, to me, they embody beauty in a way no software can replicate, and they don’t need “help” to be beautiful. Just good photography.
#1022. Monday Post (back from hols, news, reminders and the future)
#981. Friday Post (20 March 2020) – The Write of Spring
#958. Monday Post (27 Jan 2020) – Galleries, projets, pics of the month, challenges and a few thoughts following comments
#947. Monday Post (30 Dec 2019) – Last post! (for the year)
#936. Monday Post (02 Dec 2019) – Of Workshops, Resources and Online Galleries on DearSusan
#921. Monday Post (28 Oct 2019 – Workshop update: the Layer Cake effect
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