“On vit une époque formidable”. French for “what a great time to be alive”. Often said in an ironic or cynical way. But I mean it. Really.
Think of it this way. When I was a kid, someone my (current) age was an old man, there were only two TV channels (I think, cause I didn’t have TV) and accessing information was really difficult for most people. You had the media timeline, libraries, and that was it. So much has changed. I’m still fit enough to get beaten up by 15 year olds at karate classes twice a week, most men my age are, and one of my fellow club sufferers is 25 years older than I. The Internet has kept our minds young (YouTube music does that to your brain, or shuts it down) and informed (mostly) and Netflix can fill our longer life’s empty moments with an unprecedented variety of entertainment. Those are great cards to be dealt. And, now more than at any other time before, it is largely up to us to decide what we do with them (which is probably why so many criticise it, our time).
But, on top of longer lives and other benefits of modern life in the lower rungs of the Maslow hierarchy, and virus-free streaming, I think what fascinates me mostin our time is the fast unfolding of history and societal change happening before our eyes. It used to be that nothing much happened in life : some crappy king sent all his young men to death to capture some piece of land that some other crappy king would reconquer a few decades later via slaughter. Men were gutted, women raped, rinse and repeat for centuries. Millenia. Today’s 3-year olds are more evolved mentally. In truth, it hasn’t really stopped, in the crappiest regions of the planet. But much more interesting events are happening right before our eyes, in fast forward speed, thanks to the drastically accelerated feedback loops between cause and effect. Trends, fashions, empires being built and destroyed, the way we work together forgetting the stupid illusion that are frontiers and free of political forces, …
Side effects are not always fun. No one wants to see a Kardashian butt at breakfast or hear the news that the dinosaurs (Google, Facebook, Amazon, governments, zealots …) are forcing upon us. But the global upheaval is there for all to see and is accelerating day after day. Instagram is one of the most interesting sociological labs on Earth. Neither good nor bad, a neutral catalyser for human nature to unfold before us all. My A-level scores in history were abysmal. If negative grades existed, I’d have had them. I blame my hormones, the beauty of my lady student fellows and the baffling inability of my teachers to make any of it even remotely relatable or interesting. Dates, exams, grades. But Instagram, man, it’s history unfolding in real-time. A time-lapse of human psyche.
Photography is changing. In all kinds of ways. Being a photographer is all about evolution, documenting evolution and fostering our own. Most of photography is clustering around single focus points (leading gear, leading style, leading must see destinations, leading influencers …) but a lot more interesting stuff is happening at he fringes. Hopefully, this will make more sense when you see the links below. If not, ah well, sorry! Onwards.
DJI Officially Launches Ronin-S Gimbal Stabilizer. Ah, fringe gear. Two reasons to buy one NOW : since I am officially the only one in the universe to vividly criticise the intrusion of video in photo cameras, I challenge you to use those 8k pestering festering video features you crave, properly, ie with this gimbal (that’s just me being mean) (2) the more money DJI make the more likely they are to continue keeping the Hassy X1-D alive (and, why not, inject their in-house stabilisation mojo into it).
Speaking of which : a rumoured mahussive price drop for the X1-D. Great news (Hassy are making room on the shelves for the coming 100Mpx stabilised X2-D) or bad news (Hassy are making room on the shelves for the final bow) ?
How Instagram Is Killing Photography. Nothing new here (and I kind of disagree) but a very interesting topic true of business strategy as well as photography. The positive feedback loops in online media create strong convergences in which there is one victor (Facebook, Google, Amazon) and thousands of others left really far behind, for no really good reason other than a very slight nudge in the favour of the victor at Tzero and the inevitable mathematics of network effect. No, Instagram ain’t going to kill photography anytime soon. It will only draw the crowds in one direction while the true creatives live elsewhere. Unless Instagram modify their algorithm, the only thing Instagram will kill is … Instagram (as soon as people get bored with “the best”). Also, this is shot from Aber Falls, one of my fave places in Wales.
Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture. A nice essay that merges two of my favourite interests. As a kid, I kept drawing houses, buildings and cities during school. As an adult, I did the same during meetings. Can someone tell me why I never became an architect instead of getting flailed by teachers and bosses all my life? I was drawn in by the center, never got to the fringes. Today would be so different.
Iceland is the most “Instagram friendly” destination on Earth. Another great sign of the times (remember when you visited somewhere just to enjoy it? that just means you’re old 😉 ). As described above a single player hogs many rewards. This time, it’s Iceland. The place to shoot if you’re worthy of being called a serious photographer. It would be easy to criticise. Except that several of the photographs on this page are excellent and not all are made from the compulsory iconic spots. So, what’s not to like? Iceland has become the center but some creative individuals are highlighting its interesting fringes. Kudos. But if you’re still sad about the flocking, here are 55 alternatives.
(all photos on this page made with the Sony A7r2 and Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM. Yum!)
So, yeah, the fringes are far more interesting. Tomorrow’s empires will belong to those who manage to looseley coalesce those fringes around cultural and purpose-driven projects, for the benefit of all members. Meanwhile, we at DS will keep plodding along hoping more and more photographers from the fringes will join us when and how they wish to, to share thoughts and experiences. In writing, no less (remember when people read books ?) Who’s in ?
Signing you up!
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