Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Print Offer at The Online Photographer

Now through this coming Friday, you have the opportunity to purchase a real platinum print for not much money. The photographer is Carl Weese, a talented large format photographer. The website is the excellent blog, The Online Photographer, which is edited by Mike Johnston. If you haven't run across his blog, you should do so right now.

You have a choice of three images shot on 8x10 negatives, I'm partial to the drive-in theater picture, as either platinum prints or as digital inkjet prints. The platinum prints cost $180 and the digital prints cost $80. If you want a compare and contrast set, you can buy the same images in both mediums, and you get the digital print for a mere $40.

Carl Weese is a wonderful photographer and you will never find another offer like this. Go here to read about the images and the purchase information. Remember, this sale is a limited time offer. As mentioned, offer ends this Friday, April 30th.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is Photography Over?

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is hosting a two day symposium on April 22 and 23 called, “Is Photography Over?” Several participants in the discussion include such photographic luminaries as Peter Galassi (the curator of photography at MOMA in New York City), Geoff Dyer (the author of the excellent book about photography, The Ongoing Moment), and Philip-Lorca diCorcia (acclaimed artist/photographer). There is an announcement about the symposium on the SFMOMA site here and more interesting there are the written responses to the question, “Is Photography Over?”, here. The answers make for long reading, but they are fascinating food for thought.

This question prompts me to think about the topic as well. Is photography at a crossroads? Yet again? Well, more than most artforms, photography has been on a steady course of ever-changing technology that has changed the way photography has been accomplished. I mean, very little has changed in painting for several hundred years. If you include the cave paintings of ancient Cro-Magnon people, we’ve been painting, even making air-brushed paintings, for tens of thousands of years. The same could said of music and singing, even with computers and improved recording technologies, live music performance hasn’t really changed all that much. But photography has changed a lot.

In the course of its not quite 200 year existence, we’ve gone from hand-made paper negatives to colloidal glass negatives to plastic-backed negatives to now, no negatives at all in digital capture. And that’s just talking about the recording medium. Cameras started out as large wooden direct-view devices and then went to complicated mechanical boxes that could focus the light into an image to now, miniature computers. The evolution of cameras has been one of miniaturization, for the most part. Cameras keep getting smaller as the image quality keeps getting better. Today, the sales of consumer point-and-shoot digital cameras will probably disappear and be replaced by the cameras that are in our cell phones. If this hasn’t already happened.

What does this mean for photography? I have no doubt that photography will continue to change its form like the shapeshifter it has always been. If it stops, that will mean that it truly has died. For the average person, they may soon no longer have separate dedicated cameras, but they will continue to document their everyday lives the way we all have since photography was invented. The role of and need for photography is one that will not go away.

The biggest challenge to the new era of digital photography is the question of Truth. Photography, whether it was ever absolutely true or not, has always been perceived as a documentary tool. Photographers capture the events and subjects in front of their cameras with absolute fidelity as they happen. They capture the Truth. Now with Photoshop, especially the frightful implications of CS5, you can no longer assume any photograph is the Truth. Every photograph can be undetectably manipulated. Of course, the act of manipulating images has been with us from the beginning of photography, but never has it been so easy to do. This is a serious challenge for photography and photographers. Though in another light, perhaps it now places photography in the same context as painting, which has never had the same restrictions to depicting truth and reality. Perhaps, perhaps.

Anyway, does all this mean the end of photography? I don’t think so. Photography and photographers are good at adapting. How we deal with the issue of Truth is an important issue, but not an insurmountable one. Photography will continue to change in ways we can’t imagine at this time, but the reason for its existence will remain with us as long as we exist—to record and remember our lives, our world, and our dreams.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sony Steps up

Sony just announced at the NAB show in Las Vegas that they will debut their 35mm Alpha mount Camcorder next year. It doesn't have a name yet, but you can see the prototype above. Like I mentioned in the posting about the new Panasonic Micro 4/3s camcorder, this is the camera I thought Canon would bring out. Full-frame 35mm sensor that uses Sony's Alpha lenses. This will be the next generation in digital film making.

Oh, Canon! You're now officially third place in this horse race, unless you can manage to pull a rabbit out of your hat and make a Hail, Mary pass to win the game, to thoroughly mix my metaphors.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Canon 5D mark II Hits Primetime!

Greg Yaitanes, director of the season finale episode of House, M.D., has announced that the entire episode was "filmed" with a Canon 5D mark II camera with the EF 24-70mm L and 70-200mm F2.8 L lenses. This will be the first time a digital HD SLR has been used like this for TV. The things that attracted Yaitanes to the Canon camera was the shallow depth of field and the richness of the images. The episode airs on May 17th.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Panasonic Video Camera

A couple of months ago, I had this thought. Last year, I picked up a new Canon 5D mark II and have used it for one video project. It worked really well, for what it is, and I was more than happy with the image quality. But being an SLR, it isn't really suited to hand-holding and shooting video. It's too hard to hold steady. Given the popularity of this camera with indie filmakers, I had this insight: Canon will make a dedicated video camera with a full-frame or APS-sized sensor that uses Canon's own EF lenses from their EOS line of D-SLR cameras. Well, I got it somewhat right.

Panasonic has announced that they will debut the AG-AF100 by the end of the year. It uses their 16:9 Micro Four/Thirds sensor that is used in their GF-1 still camera and will use that camera's interchangeable lenses. This will be a full 1080p HD camcorder with 24 fps and a host of other features. The above picture is obviously an illustration, but that is the general configuration for the new camera. This is good news and I'm sure indie filmakers will line up to buy this one. In fact, it's everything I imagined Canon would do, but I forgot about Panasonic. Kudoes to them. Canon, get cracking before Sony beats you to it and you're left to come in third place in this race.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again!

Hey, it's time for Solo Photo Book Month (SoFoBoMo), or at least it will be before you know it. This year it will happen during the months of June and July. You need to shoot, edit, and "publish" a book of your images on any subject of your choice. All you need to do is start at any time in June or the beginning of July and then you have 31 consecutive days to finish it and post it to the SoFoBoMo website. There are no prizes, but you will have a very nice portfolio of your images ready to send out or link to. I did it last year and have pledged to do it again this year. This is a really good idea. Why don't you all consider joining me in this?

Go to SoFoBoMo to learn all about it and register.