In last week’s behind-the-scenes mail thread – another in the series of conversations that hold much of the DearSusan team together – someone pointed at this article on PetaPixel by Neil Rantoul.
In response, my un-penned response was “Aren’t we in danger of taking ourselves too seriously?” Meanwhile, elsewhere, on other fora and sundry sites across the Interwebs, photographers continue to lament the loss of art, suggesting none-too-subtly as they do, that their work is definitely up there with the luminaries.
Well, I’m not so sure and my willingness to care is equally hard to pin down.
No. That’s not right. I don’t care whether I make art or not. Really.
As you no doubt know – you do read the Monday Post regularly don’t you? – there are nine contributors here at DearSusan and unless one is hiding his candle under a bushel, there’s not one of us making significant sales of photographs, prints or even leasing work for advertisements, brochures and the like.
And that’s not because we don’t want to. Here’s the reality check; if art mattered, we’d be hellish busy, shooting, editing, printing and the like. There’d be new gallery shows opening weekly and (at the risk of censure) to quote Bill Cosby, we’d “…be drinking champagne like we were rich.”
But we’re not and the likelihood of that happening is down at -273C.
“Stunning”, “Awesome” say the Facebook comments on our posts. I just want to reply; “Yeah? So buy a fricking print then,” or “If you like these images so much, why didn’t you download them when I was offering a free monthly desktop picture?”
Taking photographs isn’t hard. Billions of people do it every day, even more at holiday times.
Taking great photographs isn’t hard either; you either have to sweat your cobs off working at your images, or get really lucky and shoot that image by chance. Either way, the bad news is that despite your picture being awesome and stunning, you are unlikely to ever make any money from it.
I woke this morning thinking about entropy. Aside from it’s relevance to the engineering of thermodynamics, it also points to lack of order or predictability; a gradual decline into disorder for example; a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme.
My thought(s) were definitely focussed on this slightly chaotic interpretation. I suppose recent releases from Panasonic and Sony, spotlighting their designed-for-purpose camera offerings had piqued my interest somewhat. Wide dynamic range sensors, all clustered around 16+mpix, were perhaps guiding my sleeping thoughts. No doubt these are intended as video workhorses, turning out 4k and some even 8k content for all they’re worth. The lower than (now) normal sensor resolution having been selected for video image quality and excellent dynamic range. Good move.
It was May 2014 when I last used my last low pixel count camera; a Nikon D700. I was en route to Greenland and (because flights are only available from Denmark) was on a multi-day stopover in Copenhagen, a city I’d never visited before. With me, in a heavy bag full of Nikon kit, was the D700 and its 14mp sensor as a back up body.
Needless to say, it never got used for its primary purpose. Instead, I pressed it into service to shoot the hundreds of photographs I’d need to produce InSight: Copenhagen, DearSusan’s travelling photographer’s guide to the city. I really enjoyed using it – its personality entirely different from my D800; easier to use, less demanding of me, yet able to produce absolutely beautiful images.
At 14mp, the sensor was more than adequate. Coupled with my (even then) aged pre-AI 50mm f1.4 and 28mm f2.8, I returned to Cape Town with an absolutely perfect set of photographs. I put the D700 away and hadn’t touched it until today, when my awakening urged me to take the body from the shelf and try it out.
After four years, a usable battery would have been way too much to ask, but an hour or so on the charger and there was a usable 36%. Another hour and 75% charge arrived and on went the 28. The 50 went into my pocket.
All of the images in this post were shot with the D700 and I do have to ask myself why I wasted a day recently trying to justify a D850, when this one works so well.
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