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goamules
15-Dec-2015, 07:38
I was researching some Pictorialist photo art sales, and found this magazine from 1995. It doesn't feel like that long ago when film photography was so important. Take a look at the ads on the first few pages. Quality 35mm cameras, high end lenses, Medium Format Cameras, celebrities holding cameras in ads....it's all there, like we remembered. What happened? When did people stop thinking, contemplating art, going slow? I guess the answer is somewhere there in their smart phones and tablets, where everyone has their downturned heads when I go out in public. Strange. Do people even collect art photographs anymore? Or just snag a digital copy for free?

https://books.google.com/books?id=KSRcxAb7rDoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Richard Wasserman
15-Dec-2015, 08:08
I don't think the situation is, may I say, quite as black and white as you're portraying it. Yes, the mass market and commercial photography worlds are digital, as they should be in my estimation, as they are superior tools for the task. The art photography world still has a large film presence and prints do sell—sometimes for a very large sums.

"Life is change, how it differs from the rocks" Jefferson Airplane, 1968

A musical interlude— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOrb0G0tw08

LabRat
15-Dec-2015, 08:44
Photography used to be a "professional practice" during the last of the "golden age" of film during the 80's/90's, meaning it required some or much more skill to produce technically perfect photographs... Some had to hire a photographer to do important stuff... It got a little easier for amateurs with auto load/threading cameras, auto exposure, auto focus, etc, for shooting, then the film went off to the minilab, and they got what they got...

Now, someone can go to a big box store, and buy a new digital camera, pull it out of a box, install battery/chip, turn it on, use factory default settings, aim it at something, PHD, and get a technically passible picture (what you see is what you got)... Or just use their phone... No waiting, and no lab surprises (or costs)...

I understand that Leica mechanical film cameras (with 100's of parts inside) were a loss leader for the company, and they recovered their profits by selling/pushing accessories... I had to take apart my digi point & shoot when the internal lens cover got stuck, and the entire lens barrel had to be removed internally to access (and give a little tweak) to the capping blades... Which turned out to be quite easy to remove the rear screen, CCD, several helicoid barrels, and I marveled how much easier it must be for the maker to put one of these together, instead of ANY metal 35mm...

And different generations think about things differently than before... Shorter attention span, more immediate gratification, hype someone bought into, etc... And living in the big NOW... Everything moves faster now, and harder to see the big picture... (Not that hype or any of the above didn't exist then... It just morphed...)

And looking at other sites, it seems that the old photo mentality is becoming a lost art... (The king is dead, long live the king...)

Steve K

Iluvmyviewcam
15-Dec-2015, 08:59
I was researching some Pictorialist photo art sales, and found this magazine from 1995. It doesn't feel like that long ago when film photography was so important. Take a look at the ads on the first few pages. Quality 35mm cameras, high end lenses, Medium Format Cameras, celebrities holding cameras in ads....it's all there, like we remembered. What happened? When did people stop thinking, contemplating art, going slow? I guess the answer is somewhere there in their smart phones and tablets, where everyone has their downturned heads when I go out in public. Strange. Do people even collect art photographs anymore? Or just snag a digital copy for free?

https://books.google.com/books?id=KSRcxAb7rDoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

I would collect photos for $20 to $30 a pop. But I can't find much I like in that $ area. So I used to print out 8 x 10 inch internet copies and put them in a post bound book . I have given up on that practice a few years ago since I have no room for it. Now I just save digital files to look at every once in a awhile. Generally speaking they are not anything I'd pay for.

When they came out with the idea of 'fair use' it opened up a lot of wiggle room for sharing things.

No time to go slow anymore, unless your into LF. With 2 billion cell cams out there the photo market is overloaded. We got to produce, produce a lot and produce extreme to get any attention...and in my case I also try to produce outstanding images within their genre.

nsfw

https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/your-photos-are-too-extreme/

You LF guys are extreme as well. You want extreme sharpness and ultimate IQ. So we are all after extreme in one way or another.

Richard Wasserman
15-Dec-2015, 09:00
This seems relevant— http://lenscratch.com/

Jim Jones
15-Dec-2015, 09:15
Not all is lost. 30 years ago when I began exhibiting at the annual local arts and crafts show, I was usually the only photographer. Now there are several. More photographers are active at school sports events, which is good. The kids get better coverage of their efforts that way. There may be more fine photography produced than ever, but casually conceived and finished photographs overwhelm them. It's that way in other arts, too.

Randy Moe
15-Dec-2015, 09:29
This seems relevantó http://lenscratch.com/

Great link and and stories. I started way too late, but just like Sid Kaplan my whole home is a darkroom and I sleep in a corner. Perfectly happy for darkness, solitude, time to think, concentrate on film and wet prints.

jp
15-Dec-2015, 10:40
The magazines are just consumerism in retrospect. A mix of nice and wannabe-nice cameras. Printed magazines and ads are a thing of the past mostly except for some niches. I enjoy a car magazine for bathroom reading material.

Digital is great for color. It used to be if I wanted accurate color, I'd shoot slide because the lab couldn't mess it up. But I'd have poor dynamic range a tough time printing or finding a quality lab to print from slides. Cibachromes were nice, but it was kind of a big deal. Now I can shoot negative film, get great dynamic range, scan them, and get prints exactly like I want with better archival qualities than most wet printing color prints. We reminisce about the good things from the past but not the bad things.

Use the technology and social media to promote your physical prints like previous media never could.

TXFZ1
15-Dec-2015, 11:32
In the link it mentioned the Bert Stern's "Last Sitting" photos were listed on QVC for $280. Today these photos are "Price on request" at Artnet. By going by price alone, there has been an increase in the worth of the photos. Seems the market price would decrease in value if everyone could just snag on for free.

David

goamules
15-Dec-2015, 11:33
I guess my nostalgia kicked in. Perhaps it is mostly magazines that are gone, not photography. Oh....but film photography....almost gone.

Alan Gales
15-Dec-2015, 11:40
Man, Graham Nash looks so young. I saw him on tv a few months ago and he's an old man!

I saw him a couple times with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Great music! Not just photography has changed.

Maris Rusis
17-Dec-2015, 15:43
Photography was important only when it was the most facile way of making general purpose pictures.

Actually the majority of people never wanted photographs. They never wanted drawings or paintings either. Etchings, engravings, lithographs, aquatints, woodcuts, and so on were generally tolerated only until a quicker, cheaper, easier way of making pictures came along. These days the monitor display of an electronic image file delivers what most folks really want: pictures to look at and pictures to show to others all with no waiting, no cost, no waste, no skills required, and no serious consequences for success or failure.

The older media, photography included, remain alive because of their singular chain of values:
Step 1. How the subject matter relates to the picture-maker.
Step 2. How the picture-maker engages with the medium.
Step 3. How the final picture engages with a viewer sophisticated enough to be aware of steps 1 and 2.

Ultimately (distant future, near future?) monitor images may be superceded when pictures can be beamed direct to the brain; no eyes needed!

Randy Moe
17-Dec-2015, 17:33
Photography was important only when it was the most facile way of making general purpose pictures.

Actually the majority of people never wanted photographs. They never wanted drawings or paintings either. Etchings, engravings, lithographs, aquatints, woodcuts, and so on were generally tolerated only until a quicker, cheaper, easier way of making pictures came along. These days the monitor display of an electronic image file delivers what most folks really want: pictures to look at and pictures to show to others all with no waiting, no cost, no waste, no skills required, and no serious consequences for success or failure.

The older media, photography included, remain alive because of their singular chain of values:
Step 1. How the subject matter relates to the picture-maker.
Step 2. How the picture-maker engages with the medium.
Step 3. How the final picture engages with a viewer sophisticated enough to be aware of steps 1 and 2.

Ultimately (distant future, near future?) monitor images may be superceded when pictures can be beamed direct to the brain; no eyes needed!

Maris, I have said your last comment more than once on this forum. It will happen and soon.

Two23
17-Dec-2015, 22:58
Photography was important only when it was the most facile way of making general purpose pictures.




I've often thought this too. In the mid 1990s I returned to college for a master's degree, and worked at an "industrial" Fuji film processing plant. Every night we'd open envelopes that came from Walmarts, drug store chains, and grocery chains in towns scattered across several states. Some nights there'd be over 10,000 rolls of 35mm film. On my breaks and other slow times I'd watch endless streams of prints flow out of a printer that was the size of a small Winnebago. About 90% of the photos were of people, their pets, their new car. Another 8% were of snow piled up on their patios, a rainbow, or their vacation photos. It wasn't uncommon to have photos from Christmas and a high school graduation on the same roll. About 2% of the photos were from someone obviously interested in photography at one level or another. Most all of these people only owned a camera so they could take photos of this sort of thing. They have all migrated to cell phones now. Sure, few "serious" photographers dropped their film off at Walmart, but OTOH I go the feeling that there were relatively few "serious photographers." The percentage might be even less now that most of the people I see appear to be addicted to messing around on their phones when they aren't actively engaged in something else. I often wonder how many of these cellphone people have lost their ability to "see."


Kent in SD

Gary Tarbert
18-Dec-2015, 07:16
I see so many people out shooting with cellphones ,That i think only serious shooters shoot with cameras , So if they want a big print for their wall they still need a shot from a real camera , digital or otherwise , So all is not lost , Just a thought:D

ic-racer
18-Dec-2015, 07:39
Nothing new.


... cultural changes ... finally took its toll...The number of subscribers dwindled ... both the costs and even the availability of the paper on which it was printed became challenging. Coupled with the public’s decreased interest in pictorial photography, these problems simply became too much...
--- Demise of Steichen's "Camera Work" 1915

RSalles
18-Dec-2015, 07:47
I don't see the division between serious and not serious, but a discernible difference between what is gonne be "shared". High megapixels embedded in DSLR and now in cellphones busted this aim for "sharing". Crime scenery speaking, I like the "witness calm" approach, not the witness disturbing the police with false visions of what he hoped has happened, ruining or slowing the investigation. Share is good, sick compulsion for sharing is, sick. I prefer not share then to share my dirty socks,

Cheers,

Renato

koh303
18-Dec-2015, 08:47
I was researching some Pictorialist photo art sales, and found this magazine from 1995. It doesn't feel like that long ago when film photography was so important. Take a look at the ads on the first few pages. Quality 35mm cameras, high end lenses, Medium Format Cameras, celebrities holding cameras in ads....it's all there, like we remembered. What happened? When did people stop thinking, contemplating art, going slow? I guess the answer is somewhere there in their smart phones and tablets, where everyone has their downturned heads when I go out in public. Strange. Do people even collect art photographs anymore? Or just snag a digital copy for free?

https://books.google.com/books?id=KSRcxAb7rDoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

That also has an ad titled "we question everything" for what could easily be called the worst car ever made, by one of the worst auto makers in the world (still today). What changed? Nothing. The same is true about cameras.

DannL
18-Dec-2015, 09:34
Garret,

You should follow Collector Daily (https://collectordaily.com/) under the "galleries" & "museums" sections. https://collectordaily.com/

You will see that film is not the only method being used to put images on paper. There are also other methods that can be employed to produce works of "artistic merit".

The site appears to be a bit slow to react sometimes. It wasn't always that way. But, it still pulls up the pages. Patience is the key.

Drew Wiley
18-Dec-2015, 12:24
"Art" - most abused word is the dictionary. But if you really want recognition for having done something timeless, give up all these camera and film debates, go
crawl into a cave and sketch some wooly mammoths and aurochs and wooly rhinos with a burnt stick. All pre-digital, by the way.

DannL
18-Dec-2015, 12:40
Garret,

You should follow Collector Daily (https://collectordaily.com/) under the "galleries" & "museums" sections. https://collectordaily.com/

You will see that film is not the only method being used to put images on paper. There are also other methods that can be employed to produce works of "artistic merit".

The site appears to be a bit slow to react sometimes. It wasn't always that way. But, it still pulls up the pages. Patience is the key.

Ooops! Now there's a freudian slip. I should have said "merit" alone.

barnacle
18-Dec-2015, 16:30
Reading old photographic books and magazines, 1900s to 1930s in particular, it's obvious that there is/was a huge emphasis on the technical mastery of the mechanics of the subject. That is, if you hadn't expended the time and effort to learn how to properly expose and develop the negative and the print (by whichever method) then you couldn't even begin to consider the artistry of the image.

Now I find that sort of thing fascinating - but I'm not sure I agree one hundred percent with the sentiments that were so prevalent at the time. But it seems to me that it wasn't until you got the likes of Ansel Adams discussing how he saw the image before he exposed the negative that there was any serious emphasis on what the negative would look like when it was finished. You wanted to understand composition, you went to art class, not photography class...

Of course, with automatic cameras (film or digital) it might be argued that you *don't* need to know the techniques; the electronics will do it for you, and you can concentrate on the image - but on the other hand I've seen lots of 'prizewinning' images where the automatics have so obviously got it wrong: focus on something other than the subject, unintended motion blur, over-chromed images, obtrusive flash shadows...

In my not so humble opinion, trying to make a good photograph (and why would you want to make a bad one?) without knowing the basics of the craft is like trying to write a book in ignorance of traditional spelling and grammar. You might just get lucky, but the odds are not for it. Without places to learn, I see a time - it may already be here - when there is *nobody* making photographs with any intention other than sticking them on a hard drive or a website.

We are doomed to a billion smartphone images a day, most of which will never see the light of day.

Neil

p.s. "What's a camera, daddy?" "Well son, it's like a phone that can't make calls..."

RSalles
18-Dec-2015, 18:09
Another point about the thread:

Its a daunting task to admit that's not the medium, but the task. Every place is wonderful is you don't know where you're going or arrive to: How many writer monkeys are required to write a Nobel prize winning book?

The target of social media image sharing is maximum audience, "likes", or so. Another completely different story is to get the visual reality and study it as an scientific object and a medium of personal expression. That capabilities of LF photography and film as a medium is a integral part of the expressive choice, but the merit, if any, I hope will remain with the person behind the camera - that's why I give a limited value to "absolutely incredible lens, impressive piece of work as that camera, etc, etc. When I was young and bought a Leica IIIC, in the very first day I came across the fact that the camera will not turn me in a Cartier-Bresson in a day, nor two. But, as many have noticed, I could not blame my equipment anymore...

There is one thing I like in pics taken with cellphones and point&shoot cameras: that's cheap - well an iPhone6 is not exactly cheap but many are - available for everybody, and you can learn something from it. Well, folks have to start from something, maybe later a real passion for photography will emerge. When I started to make photos, when something came wrong I tough about what was wrong and learnt from it, but today, that's all a matter of clicking again, automatically, until find what's "less worst". You learn NOTHING. It's a trial & error perspective, probably never goes one step higher, and the the person remains sharing the same (quality level speaking) crap.

Another point that I had figured out: if you learn well LF photography, till arriving at a good level of excellence with this set of tools, you can make photos with no matter what and will have very good results in 10 minutes, but a cellphone shutter will take 30 years shooting the same and will not get results that good. The better equipment in the world is that one which you'll teach yourself to see. And, as everybody already known, you can not learn photography with that think,

:p

Cheers,

Renato

Ari
18-Dec-2015, 19:51
We "serious" photographers are a niche, always have been. It's normal to sometimes get annoyed at the way things change in our little corner of the world.
But we're just comparing our way of working to those for whom this isn't such a big deal; so what?

I've had this conversation for almost 30 years, going back to when I was a musician, and computers were just entering the scene, especially in the recording studio.
We'd always joke/lament that I (the drummer) could be easily replaced by a machine, but the truth was, even back in the 80s, we could all have been replaced by machines (synclavier).

This comic strip pretty much sums up what I'm trying (very badly) to say, but I think the spirit of the comic is analogous to what the OP is talking about:

http://www.aritapiero.com/uploads/5/7/9/8/5798107/682223_orig.gif

tgtaylor
18-Dec-2015, 20:12
Player pianos have been around for over 100 years now and while they can hit all the notes, and then some, in the correct time and without a mistake, they lack that "touch" that only a human can impart. If you're a player, then you know what I mean.

Thomas

neil poulsen
19-Dec-2015, 07:36
I think that another heading for this thread might have been, "When the Photographer Was Important".

Back in the days of film (which weren't that long ago), there was just enough of a knowledge and experience gap between a scene being photographed and a good photograph, it required a specially trained person to bridge that gap. That included knowledge of lighting, filtering, differences between film, printing in a darkroom, and other areas of expertise.

Digital photography has narrowed that gap considerably, to the point where a lay photographer can often produce reasonably high quality results. I hate to say it, but I think that we have to consider this an improvement. :) And, the same individual can also produce a high quality color print (or even a better print) that previously required the services of a photo lab with specially trained and experienced lab technicians.

Another interesting caveat is that previously, if you possessed the negative, you controlled the reproduction of the image. Hah! Not any longer, and this has had huge implications for the profession of photography. I recall an architectural photographer friend commenting that, he and his partner saw a big difference in their business when clients began viewing and displaying images using PowerPoint.

Kirk Gittings
19-Dec-2015, 13:28
I recall an architectural photographer friend commenting that, he and his partner saw a big difference in their business when clients began viewing and displaying images using PowerPoint.

I agree with your POV but you left this point obtuse. What was the big difference?

neil poulsen
20-Dec-2015, 23:08
I recall an architectural photographer friend commenting that, he and his partner saw a big difference in their business when clients began viewing and displaying images using PowerPoint.


I agree with your POV but you left this point obtuse. What was the big difference?

Sorry I didn't make that clear. Prior to PowerPoint, clients ordered prints to view images. My friend is an excellent color darkroom printer and could provide these prints himself. When that need went away, it made a big difference in their business.

Kodachrome25
21-Dec-2015, 00:47
I dunno folks, I have seen it come back around in the past few years.

I see more business, more respect for the craft and profession, higher day rates, even on the editorial side. Folks seem to want to see those who have refined vision and unwavering commitment be celebrated and rewarded again. Art directors are pushing back against the bean counters as they insist on developing long term working relationships with powerful artists instead of getting the monthly "I spent less of the art budget" award.

Film as a niche is also gaining traction in pop culture and in some paid work.

I think things are looking up!

Sirius Glass
23-Dec-2015, 16:06
At one time one could earn a good living being a photographer. Not any longer with GWCs.

Andrew Plume
26-Dec-2015, 03:39
I was researching some Pictorialist photo art sales, and found this magazine from 1995. It doesn't feel like that long ago when film photography was so important. Take a look at the ads on the first few pages. Quality 35mm cameras, high end lenses, Medium Format Cameras, celebrities holding cameras in ads....it's all there, like we remembered. What happened? When did people stop thinking, contemplating art, going slow? I guess the answer is somewhere there in their smart phones and tablets, where everyone has their downturned heads when I go out in public. Strange. Do people even collect art photographs anymore? Or just snag a digital copy for free?

https://books.google.com/books?id=KSRcxAb7rDoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Hi Garrett

as usual from you, a typically positive thread, which I've enjoyed reading/looking at this morning

very best

andre

Steve Smith
26-Dec-2015, 04:43
Back in the days of film (which weren't that long ago).

It still is the days of film for some of us!


Steve.

goamules
26-Dec-2015, 06:41
Thanks Andrew. It's always good to converse with you, Steven, and the others here. Have a happy New Year!
Garrett

Andrew Plume
26-Dec-2015, 10:06
Thanks Andrew. It's always good to converse with you, Steven, and the others here. Have a happy New Year!
Garrett

thanks - likewise to you too

best

andrew

Steven Tribe
26-Dec-2015, 11:47
Nothing to add here, but just best wishes to Garrett, Andrew and all the other actives (in both senses of the word!).

Andrew Plume
28-Dec-2015, 14:49
thanks Steven

similar best wishes and regards

andrew

McCoy
28-Dec-2015, 18:24
I think I miss the respect a photographer got back in "the good 'ol days". You were commissioned, shot the work, sold it for a profit. Now everyone thinks 'fair use' means 'I get it for free'. You have shooters that have never seen a darkroom or a roll of film. Then there is what I call the "Avon Mom", that's someone that can spend $600 on avon and resell it or purchase a digital camera and give the work away for free.
But I guess -
The times are a changin' - I heard Bob Dylan say.

McCoy

Kirk Gittings
28-Dec-2015, 22:21
I dunno folks, I have seen it come back around in the past few years.

I see more business, more respect for the craft and profession, higher day rates, even on the editorial side. Folks seem to want to see those who have refined vision and unwavering commitment be celebrated and rewarded again. Art directors are pushing back against the bean counters as they insist on developing long term working relationships with powerful artists instead of getting the monthly "I spent less of the art budget" award.

Film as a niche is also gaining traction in pop culture and in some paid work.

I think things are looking up!

I agree. No one expects me to do anything for free or at least haven't since I started in the late 70's. My fees are up and I am far more profitable in my commercial business with digital than I was with film. The recession was brutal but I was always able to make a living. My FA print sales even went up during the recession and the commercial business is back with a vengeance. I just worked 5 months straight without a day off and still haven't caught up.

djdister
29-Dec-2015, 07:29
From the Hollywood Reporter:

Christopher Nolan will direct WWII film Dunkirk, based on his own original screenplay.

The action adventure film, set during the legendary 1940 evacuation in France, will be led by yet-to-be-cast unknowns but Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy are currently in talks to join the ensemble.

The large scale film will be shot on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film photography, and shooting will begin in May.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/christopher-nolan-direct-wwii-film-851289

Variety put it this way:

Warner Bros. has dated the film for July 21, 2017. The large-scale production will be shot on a combination of Imax 65mm and 65mm large format film for maximum image quality and high-impact immersion.