A few observations.

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
SirLataxe
Senior MemberPosts: 1,395
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Re: A few observations.
In reply to SuvoMitra, May 23, 2013

SuvoMitra wrote:

Interesting thoughts in your post. Although the expectation of instant gratification probably has gone up in all walks of life, unused cameras and unskilled camera owners are not a new thing.

Cameras have been lying around in the homes of unskilled owners for as long as consumer cameras have been available. Most film cameras were used once in a while for trips or special family occasions. Most of the exposures didn't produce adequate prints. The vast majority camera owners didn't learn exposure theory or work to develop photography as an art or craft. Their poor results (and/or gear focus) were not visible to the world via internet sites, that's all.

There are many, many more serious photography enthusiasts working today than anyone could have imagined in the days of film. Together, they spend more time, effort and money on developing their photography than in those days. Also, the sheer quantity of high quality images by amateur enthusiasts today has no comparison in the past.

At the same time, of course, there are many, many more casual camera owners today, and they probably do expect their equipment to carry them more than their counterparts did in the past. The average quality of snaps taken by such people far outstrips what their counterparts managed with film - sophisticated auto modes and digital tech are to be thanked for that.

Photography today is vibrant, democratic and ubiquitous. The quality of the good work is higher. The quality of the bad work is also higher. Top-class skills in the (digital) darkroom and on the (inkjet) printer are much more widespread than in the days of film. The quality of photography that can be seen in international exhibitions run by FIAP or PSA can show anyone who looks just how many creative and skilled amateurs there are who are dedicated to their craft, and who produce simply phenomenal imagery.

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Mr Mitra,

It is tempting to assume that the built-in capabilities of modern machines mean that their users have all been seduced into utterly-lazy mode, so that they require instant gratification (and status as an expert) merely by pressing the big green go-button on the gubbins.  But, as you point out, the greater breadth of user-accessible capabilities in modern (digital) photography can also have the opposite effect.  When the auto-button and camera-cooked jpeg are left behind, a great vista of photographic potential is revealed.

We can now control the end-to-end process of photography without the need for expensive and limiting film, darkroom and so forth.  I take pleasure in looking at a number of pictures hanging on my house-walls as I not only took & developed the photos but also printed, mounted and framed them.  I also made the frames and mounts (being also a woodworker).  There is multi-level satisfaction in getting to grips with a craft or two in this way - the process as well as the result are all pleasurable - play, not work.

Moreover, since we can make 99 mistakes in order to learn how not to make that mistake on the 100th & subsequent attempts, with little or no cost, it is possible to learn much more about photograhic techniques than when film and it's costs limited learning experiences for all but the rich or professional.

But many go the opposite way and hope for big green button utopia.  The archetypal example is the gym-membership syndrome.  People decide they want to be fit & 'andsome so they join the gym believing that somehow this single joining-act will be enough.  Alas, after a week of pushing the dumbell and scurrying nowhere on the running machine they realise it takes hard work & the acquisition of some physical skills; and so they abandon the whole idea.

Of course, we lads who are gym-addicts of many decades are grateful, since it is a well-known fact that such gyms can only stay open and offer a reasonable charge if 90% of the new-joiners disappear after paying for one year but attending only one week.  This leaves room for those who do like to go regularly to excite their endorphin-production and become very 'andsome, like moi. 

Perhaps the same happens with cameras?  Huge numbers buy an expensive DSLR and all the bits, even though they are swiftly abandoned to the cupboard when it is discovered that pressing the shutter button is not quite enough by itself to create photographic masterpieces.  The sales of these many cameras keeps the unit cost down, benefitting those who actually do use the machines to make decades' worth of fine images........

So, then....  From the point of view of those who enjoy access to and extensive use of modern tools, it is not sad at all that consumer-addicts contribute their cash to the various gubbins-markets then abandon that particular gubbins to buy another.  They make these tools affordable to the rest of us who rather enjoy play-work.

SirLataxe, being a self-centred little skinbag in consumerland (Adam Smith said it was OK).

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