The ORB revisited

Started Apr 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
PF1944
Forum MemberPosts: 65
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Re: gimme a break LOL
In reply to Kim Letkeman, Apr 30, 2012

I am being attacked, insulted and defamed by a number of posters. With regard to some of these attacks, it is difficult to understand what their grounds are; when the oxymoronically named Silent Oracle starts a particular ball rolling, all she refers to is ‘cr*p’. I don’t imagine that she’s concerned about ‘crop’s, nor about the gangs known variously as “Community Restoration in Progress" or "Community Revolution in Progress”. Bodily functions are most probably what she has in mind, and her latest post certainly corroborates this apprehension. Kim Letkeman takes another, more reasoned approach and accuses me of disregarding a fundamentally flawed sensor. John Carson accuses me of having started this thread for the fun of getting other people to attack, insult and defame me. I will deal with the more vulgar issues first and with Letkeman’s reproach second.

I have not replied to other insulting messages from Silent Oracle in the past, since the first time I ran into her, she gave me the distinct impression of owning the X10 and having intermittent orbic problems with it. It was fairly late in the game that she announced that this was not the case and that she was only relying on what others had been reporting. Sorry, in my own respectful opinion, that disqualifies her from saying anything meaningful on the technical aspects of the problem, though certainly not on the results; the problem is that she tends to stick to either the bodily functions, as in this case, or the technical aspects of the X10 orbs.

Carson did not read my original post carefully. There was no “hymn of praise to the orbs” in it, but a recognition that orbs in fact do sometimes show up and a suggestion that at least one great photographer was able to put the very same artifact to great use. A number of others have commented in similar fashion to my original post, suggesting that what others had written about Valencia was, to say the least, uninteresting. I will not deal with those posts, as they respond to other people’s words, as does Feedme’s post, which obviously responds to Carson’s erroneous reading of the original post.

Letkeman raises a direct challenge to my original post. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase our exchange, while adjusting the contrast to its highest value, it would be this: that I say a photographer should be able to take great pictures with even a less than perfect instrument and that he says that less than perfect instruments are worthless. To me, the X10 takes such wonderful pictures almost all of the time that I am prepared to live with the occasional orb, and hope that someday I can actually do something nice with one – as Cartier-Bresson was able to do. To Letkeman, one should not even try… once one knows that there is the potentiality of an unwanted orb showing up, at least not in a world where other cameras exist that don’t exhibit this behaviour. I think that both positions are quite tenable, and I very much doubt that anyone can make the holder of one of the two opinions come around to the other.

What gets me is the vitriol that is thrown at me for holding one of those two tenable positions. We are essentially perfect strangers to one another. When I go by a stand behind which some man announces the end of the world for next week, the last thing I think of doing is to insult him. If what I hold is so abhorrent to the likes of Silent Oracle, Carson or Letkeman, why don’t they just do as most people do in similar circumstances, just avert their eyes?

I can understand Letkeman reacting, though not the tone of his reaction. He is obviously serious about photography, and seems to invest a great deal of time giving the world the benefit of his technical expertise. I have no means of evaluating that expertise, but I am tempted to take him at his word that it is great. His worry, then, would be that ordinary folks might be tempted to look less at the technical side of photography, at the “how” photographs are made, and more at the end result, the “what” photographs are made. This, in turn, would ever so slightly diminish the importance of his work. And this, in its turn, produces the kind of violent outburst that we saw.

I can assure Letkeman that I have nothing against people being interested in the “how”; even I am, though I quite quickly have to admit my failure to follow what I consider rather arcane considerations. But this is not what sells me a camera. What influences me is the “what”. When I see a beautiful picture taken with a camera, it tells me, among many other things, that I would very much like to use that camera. The fact that I don’t feel threatened by Letkeman’s interest in the “how” may just be indicative of the lack of effort that I put into convincing anyone that the pictures from this or that camera are absolutely gorgeous: it’s much easier to let the pictures speak for themselves, and they will speak to those who, by definition have tastes that are similar to mine.

All told, however, this is an interesting experience. I’m quite sure that I have offended my share of people in my life; it is the first time that that I have heard those I have offended resort to the use of insults. I suspect that the fact that we are strangers who cannot see one another, and therefore cannot gauge the reactions that we cause may have something to do with it; or else, it is simply that photography has become, for a vocal group, at least, how they define themselves.

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