Competitions aplenty, how to (really) become an expert, Lightroom’s hidden midtone slider, the liberating uses of auto-ISO, tips for printing better, a very worthwhile alternative to Instagram, alternatives to mirrorless digital cameras, and much more (including a call for help with my own printing).
To print, or not to print? That really is the question, in photography, these days.
A photograph that’s not printed essentially dies only a few days after it was brought to life. Realistically, how often to we dig out old photographs from hard drives hidden away in drawers? It probably says more about me than about the hard drive vs paper debate, but I was actually unable to locate the source file that was used for the print on the wall in the above photograph to display it on this page. Still, though, most will agree that a few nice prints bring a greater smile to their author’s face than a zillion-strong flickr or Instagram collection. Or – worse still – than computer files on a drive.
Seeing this piezo rendering of the Old Man of Storr (Skye), on my son’s house wall certainly had an impact on me. I remember the day it was made, every detail of it. I remember comparing the piezo print to the standard one made on my Canon Pro 1000, there was really no comparison, to be honest. I now remember the physicality of the object on the wall, stampted, signed, framed. The object, as a whole, achieves much more than the photograph alone. It feels complete. And that (missing) completeness is what’s been stopping me printing. To the point that I gave the Canon printer away many months ago and haven’t printed since.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea according to which 10,000 hours of practise are necessary to become an expert. But that’s a rule of thumb that neglects the most important factors : predictability, feedback … Veritaserum sets things straight.
If your first question is “why?”, the answer is: because I know that many photographers would love film. But few want to invest in a system to try it out. Here’s an easier way to enjoy a different look and a physical object as the end point of the photo process. While on the subject: Where to Develop Film in 2022 (a list of online labs compared, mostly for the USA). Let me add insult to injury: The Best Instant Film Cameras with Manual Controls.
If your first question is “why?”, the answer is: because the Komodo can shoot stills. If we’re OK with photo cameras that make videos, why not try a video camera that makes photos? Colour science and dynamic range on a whole other level might make the swtich worthwhile for some. Plus, if you love the original film Hasselblad cameras, you’ll be right at home here 🙂
An app that lets Sony users send their photographs straight to an AI that will generate variants. Camera manufacturers being dragged into digitilasition agains their will, poor things 😉 On ths same (AI-centric) topic, do check out this fascinating post by Steve Huff : AI Imaging is here and it is Unreal. MidJourney.
Meet L squared, the combined might of Leica and LUMIX. Officially, “the two companies will jointly invest in new technologies that can be incorporated into camera and lens products”. What those technologies are is the interesting question. This ever-so-boooooring and stagnating market (more pixels, anyone?) is ripe for innovation.
That’s 24% annual growth from now to 2026, according to Business Research Company. I’ve written numerous times about camera manufacturers missing the boat by digitizing photography rather than digitalizing it. Smartphones aren’t making that mistakes. Nor are small camera challengers (you know whom I speak of).
Looking for an alternative to Instagram that still makes sense for photographers? If you haven’t yet built a huge following on IG, and want to feel the joy of sharing again, your should seriously consider it. Or you can stick with this : NFTs on Instagram are coming to more than 100 countries worldwide … I’m setting up shop in VSCO 🙂
… discussion continued from the top
For the longest time, I’ve been advocating printing, without doing enough myself, the advocations probably beeing mostly directed at my own practice.
Attempting to analyse what has held me back so long has also given me directions for the future. Firstly, to me at least, a print needs to look stunning to be worthwhile. Prints are clearly about quality over quantity. Making them pollutes the environment, takes time and energy, uses up space. If it’s only to end up in boxes and not that interesting, files on a drive still seem like the better option. And, well, I’ve never been in love with the prints I made at home, whatever the money thrown at the printing gear (again, a reflection on my craft, not a condemenation of gear quality).
Piezo prints from Picto, in Paris (though I’m sure hundred of other labes make great Piezo prints), on the other hand, look superb. Not quite Platinum or Carbon print quality, but good enough to want to keep as an object of contemplation.
Spurred by kind comments and the memory seeing a few of my photos hang on (other people’s) wall, I’ve decided to print more, strating right now. 3 choices open up:
(1) Get another printer and get better at it. Hmmm, not really inspiring (except, maybe, for one of those small Polaroid printers 🙂 🙂 🙂 )
(2) Continue with Picto. Yes, definitely. But that can’t be the end of the object-making process. Nice archive boxes and other tools for ritualisation are required, lest boxes become old tech drives.
(3) Print books. Several friends and readers have sent me their own (large, coffee table) books made with Blurb, Milk and other services. And they are stunning. The perspective of seeing the prints in a book format really appeal to me. As does the process of editorialisation. But Milk & Blurb seem to come with major caveats regarding b&w.
Do you have any experience with any of this? Any advice to share? To be continued …
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