Photography is not what it used to be....

November 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Photography at one time demanded much more knowledge and skill than t does now. One needed to know something about the physics of light and lenses, what an f-stop or aperture opening meant and its relationship to ‘depth of field’. You had many choices of various films with a variety of speeds (iso or asa), the relationship to its sensitivity to light. There were many different types of film, Black and white film, colour negative film and colour slide film. How slow of a shutter speed you could safely hand hold a camera with, with a particular lens, a tele photo versus a wide angle.

I am just cleaning the surface of what was once important to becoming a photographer let alone taking an incredible shot. If one was serious you needed a darkroom with a collection of chemicals, trays, reels for your various sizes of film, 2’1/4 or 35mm, large format 4x5 or larger. After you developed your film and hung it to dry, then cut into manageable pieces for cataloguing, then you had to make a contact sheet just to see little pictures of what you got. If they were exposed properly, in focus and the right relationship of chemistry for the sensitive material to the light that had exposed it, then possibly you might make a larger image for a better look. To see its quality before you would dare to print it large enough for a variety of reasons, clients, portfolio, galleries.

Today a three year old can point a camera or cell phone and click and the science is done for you. The exposure, adjustments for low light or high light, colour contrast, with a depth of field as large as possible. When you’re five years old you can adjust the focus by pointing your finger onto the subject on the screen and holding the screen to adjust the depth of field accordingly.

All the decisions of what type of film, b/w or colour and the many possibilities of sensitivity and texture are done for you. You can also have the image adjusted with the many new apps to change its look to look like what once took hours and days to create., sepia, blurry, high contrast and more.

Of course the old time photographer was more careful in his/her selection of an shot since it took a lot of time and cost a lot of money especially if you continuously messed up with exposure and other important decisions.

It was even exciting to produce a beautiful sunset in those days, no more, there are literally millions and millions of great sunsets, portraits of pets, selfies and videos of everything.

It is all about content now. No one needs to be part chemist, part physicist, and an artist any longer. We are all artists now.

We can even go to sites to add your images with a famous quote with beautiful backdrops and sign your name to the collage as one of your own. The whole package is done for you, you just have to pick your particular mood and expose it to the world on your wall.

The best are now in the same galleries as the worst, the walls are everywhere and anyone can join in the fun. You hardly have to know how to do anything other than make choices. We are now a society that respects choice over all else and to make it as convenient as possible and it is getting easier all the time to show your artistic intelligence to the world.

At one time an image was worth a thousand words, today a word equals thousands of images and mediocrity is the form most appreciated.

What once took years to develop now takes a few days to learn, a few programs and how to move around on a computer and a little knowledge of the internet and there you are, an artist, a spokes-person, a literary critic, producer and with a little smooching you can be more popular than most serious unknown artists scientists. ever could be or ever will be.

That is a negative aspect of the new medium but there are just as many advantages for the serious artist as there always was but it may be more difficult for the shy sensitive ones to get noticed. The early bird, the loud one gets the prize.


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