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zenpmd

Photography is dead?

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I just think its been cheapened - and now one cares about images anymore as they are everywhere. I also think photoshop has KILLED sincere portrait photography. 

Pulling stills from video is the nail in the coffin.

But video isn't dead - if anything it will grow and takes more skills than photography (over simplified, I know).

However, statements like this from Billy Corgan worry me

It’s not like there’s not development either - there's an increasing synth direction with the past couple of records…

Well nobody likes the guitar any more. We're just giving the kids what they want. I feel like every year that goes by the political argument of guitar or synth is pointless, the audience wants to be excited so it's about whatever excites them. But you're dealing with a different kind of audience now, because you meet the fifteen year old and say "what are you listening to?" and they say Muse and Led Zeppelin, "how do you listen to Led Zeppelin?" "I go on YouTube." They're living in this era-less music, their playlists represents 70s, 60s, 90s, new, so production to them is no different than the difference in video quality on Youtube clips. You watch someones shitty phone video, and then you go over to a pro-shot video, to some video that's shot in '72 that's all grainy. The public has reached the stage where production styles don't phase them anymore, which is why you can even have an album like Monuments... where the production style is all over the place. In essence it sounds more like the production feel of a greatest hits, it's not an in-period production style, it's basically all production styles all the time. That's how I feel.

 

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Ah. Another philosophical thread.

Actually, photography is very much alive, making it accessible to more and more people. The digital age does make it easier to get nice pictures without even knowing what you're doing, in that regard it's a pity that everything is so high tech and easy to get into... but then again. We used to have phonenumbers stored in our brains, now we have 'em in our phones... does that makes us dumber? Well, perhaps, lol, but now we can relocate our resources and be able to focus on other stuff (like the creative side of things). So a photographer can in fact embrace it and use it for the good of taking greater pictures.

Not each single individual is as talented as the next though, but overall there's much more quality stuff out there, which makes it harder to get noticed. So unless you fear that others are worlds better than you, I'd say you have nothing to worry about in terms of being a relevant photographer.

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What a bunch of overgeneralizing statements, just to try to proove a point that you already decided on.
Photography has never been this alive.
People said the exact same thing about painting when photography came up.  People said the exact same thing about music when MIDI was invented.
This is lazy arguing at best.

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Like most things, this questioned posed has an infinite amount of possible answers. Is photography dead? of course not.....is it alive? I'm not so sure.

I have a bookshelf full of photography books, when I look through them, I see photography. When I look at pictures on the computer screen I see pictures.

It's probably because I started out as a photographer in the '80's.....but to me a picture doesn't become a photograph until it's tangible and I can hold it in my hands.

If I travel I always shoot film because on that piece of celluloid I feel I have a little bit of that far away place. Silly, I know but it's tangible and not a combination of mathematical equations. However, I believe our eyes become overwhelmed with imagery, we find it hard to see the wood for the trees.  

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No, of course photography isn't dead. But certainly some major shifts are going on:

> press photographers are divided in freelance artists (glossy magazines) and, to overgeneralize it, smartphone snapshot takers, many newspapers fired their photographers.

> commercial photographers shoot plates and elements (they specialize), which are later comped in post. Not entirely new, but to take a picture for an ad that's lighted and dressed up to be perfect (almost, some retouching had always been done, also before digital) would seem absurd today. Not only seem.

> people only believe in poor quality images, because they can do, er, post, on their smartphones, and there were too many reports about how easily everything can be faked in the media.

> not only ordinary people don't believe in perfect images any more, photographers themselves don't. This winner photo of the 2013 World Press Award shows a funeral in Gaza:

prateebha--01_paul-hansen-c_201305120827

After nomination, other competitors complained about the plausibility of the light in the scene, others stated they could 'prove' that the photo was a composition out of at least three different shots. Paul Hansen, the photographer, was pressed to show the raw camera file - which unfortunately he couldn't.

It's not a comp. It is a post-processed raw image with so many retouching steps, done by a professional pp house, that it looks too perfect. The most obvious thing is the vignette in all corners, the left lower corner is way to dark. 

To adress this problem, post houses now try to enhance the images by deliberately adding mistakes likes scratches on the lens, clipping of the sky asf. Undone look. The average viewer expects purism, so they fake authenticity.

Post-processing analog photos in the darkroom was my first job (lost it for obvious reasons). Let me assure you: Photoshop just mimicks all the tools that were there before. 

I recently went to an exhibition of famous 'street photographer' Joel Meyerowitz. Very impressing. There were also videos projected in which Meyerowitz talked about reacting to the motifs. Good stuff, but I could tell at once that none of the prints could have looked the same had they just been developed and enlarged by a machine. Few are aware of that.

 

 

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I'm just an advanced user but  to me purism doesn't mean you can't use photoshop. I would say it's more often than not it's the opposite. Photographs without post-processing hardly ever convey any emotions except to the person who took them, therefore they don't feel real. If you want someone to feel how you felt when you were there you have to do photoshop work. It's mandatory, IMHO. Now, if you make it too perfect and it feels fake, then it's just a bad post-processing (unless you wanted it feel fake).
Also, I'm yet to see anyone with an expensive camera on auto mode to make good photographs ;). Average Joe will improve only if automode improves.

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Photography is for sure dying i went from $3500 jobs booked all the time to dropping to $1200 over a few years then i sold my photography business and got out.

Digital cameras is what killed photography. Back when you used film it took great skill to get a good exposure and you had less Shots Film to get the shot with. Then digital come out then everyone got a digital camera and then most people started to like what they shoot so much they could no longer tell good quality work from snap shots.

The fact is back only a few years back most photographers were all men then after years of digital it seems like now its most all house wives making extra money undercutting all the real photographers that are left hanging on. What kills me is almost none of them know how to use their camera in manual as they do not understand it.

I specialized in Off camera lighting all bringing more equipment and more skill to get it right most new photographers are not even entrusted in learning to take better photos they just want more cheep jobs.

This is a shot of mine all off camera lighting balanced to the sunset background. You can not get this look with on camera flash or on flash. I also designed and built and rented out the wedding setup and wedding chairs to them. Worked on the beach 7 days a week shooting all summer for years before selling the business. This was never put in photoshop i edited it in lightroom very little.

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I'm just an advanced user but  to me purism doesn't mean you can't use photoshop. I would say it's more often than not it's the opposite. Photographs without post-processing hardly ever convey any emotions except to the person who took them, therefore they don't feel real. If you want someone to feel how you felt when you were there you have to do photoshop work. It's mandatory, IMHO. Now, if you make it too perfect and it feels fake, then it's just a bad post-processing (unless you wanted it feel fake).
Also, I'm yet to see anyone with an expensive camera on auto mode to make good photographs ;). Average Joe will improve only if automode improves.

​(If you want someone to feel how you felt when you were there you have to do photoshop work.)

You have to be kidding right..

If you shoot it right in camera you have to do very little editing at all to show how the event went down and the feel of the day or of a session. I almost never use PS anymore Lightroom is much faster and gets the job done fast when you shoot it right to start with. If you a mood tint do it in lightroom in one second and you done.  What do you do in PS that is so mandatory.

Average Joe will improve when they never use automode and learn how to use the camera to get the image and feel they want with the camera setting they set it to.

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Sorry, I meant post-processing in general, whether it's photoshop/lightroom or anything else.

Average joe doesn't go beyond automode. If he does, he's not average joe anymore.

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It's always an advantage, imo, if you know how to do something manually, analog (what's the adverb of that?). Helps even if you relight digitally.

One could as well say, film is dead. And in the strictest sense, it is. Cinema is slowly dying, as we witness now. Books on paper? Might take a while, but the bell already rang. Will books for pads be written different(ly)? When photography came up, it seemed to many that the point of representational painting was gone, whereas really it was freed from a demand that was pointless from the start: to accurately depict reality.

What you say, DigitalEd, is that basic craftmanship gets lost as well as expert jobs. Is digital to blame for that? It's also the 'production facilities in the hand of the proletariat'. And it's the said ongoing shift in the taste of the ordinary people. Your wedding photo would be considered a staged pose by most of the young couples I made wedding videos for. Unless the fun was to be ironic, few would proudly put it on their sideboard. At the last wedding the photographer (a 'housewife' as you so chivalrously put it) took 1300 photos. Of those, the couple chose only the most 'natural' looking. Where they looked good, where the event looked good. Midwestern Europe, 2014.

There are cultural differences, of course. I saw a wedding video from Greece where the bride was literally beamed to the altar. A highlight in her life, knowing that afterwards she was doomed to stay in the kitchen.

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Also, who the hell wants those horribly vulgar lighting all over the subject? Look at Jeff Acough if you want to see a good wedding photos, not that vulgar trash on a beach!

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Good examples, Axel!

Regarding World Press Awards, at least over a third of this pics has been debunked in some way as, hmm, more 'inspirational journalism' instead of investigative. Apart from heavy photoshoping, false declared times/locations of the capture most of them just didn't show the correct topic, the context was simply wrong. 

 

But photography? More alive than ever.

"f8 and be there"? Gear and theoretical knowledge had been important in the past, nowadays a good eye and the right moment is often enough, as even iphones are much better as the average negative film of the 80's.

With such an unlimited abundance of great/adequate pictures in digital archives the fees for average photogs went down, that's true.

But this is show biz, guys, a career lasts only some years if you are not that great.

 

flickr.com most used cams: at least some 40 % mobile phones...

Camera brand ownership on Flickr 2013-2014

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So you are grading me on one image of hundreds of thousands i have shot. I was showing good off camera lighting that has won me many awards, As for Jeff Acough in his photojournalist style of wedding photography i did that as well and was voted many years in a row by my peers to be one of the top 10 wedding photojournalist in the state of Florida and in Alabama in one of the same photo groups that Jeff got his noatratity from.

As for working on the beach that is what we specialized in we shot more weddings each year then Jeff and most likely made more $$ then he did. I could of done my own photojournalist style of wedding photography seminars but i was to busy shooting to have the time. As for Photoshop i was on the first people world wide to start selling Photo Shop actions for creating wedding album designs to other Pro photographers and that then turned into a full design program that let you control Photo Shop to create album or any layouts. I sold a few thousand of them over the years then dropped it as we were so busy shooting i did not have time to keep updating it i stall have parts of the program that i never released. We shot 7 days a week weddings or portraits working 7 month of the year till all the housewives started poping up under cutting everyone and each other.. In 3 years we went from around 6 photographers in the area to over 150 with over 100 of them all being women. Many will do a 8 hour wedding and include all the photos on DV and a large print for as low as $500  with Jeff do that?? dont think so ether will i.

The wedding coverage we did was a little of everything that photo was a posed photo as part of a posed session after the wedding they wanted but we also did a lot of fun walking on the beach shots as well as the full wedding coverage and any reception coverage was all candied but we used off camera lighting to make better candied photos. 

As for the photographer taking 1300 photos and they only picked the natural looking ones i would bet that is do to the fact they all they really had to pick from. We would include a 11x14 or a 16x20 print with each package the customer would pick the image they wanted and i can tell you 99% of the time they picked one of the posed portraits for the print they hung on the wall and we sold many extra framed portraits to family of the bride and groom.  This is another area many of the new photographers do not make much if any money on selling extra prints and large framed portraits as they dont shoot any and they give everything away up front so then can not make any more on the job. I know i should not of posted a photo that it would open up something.

Just wanted to add i also owned on of the first on-line photo printing services for digital camera files long before all the photo labs you see now ever started on-line. We also did lots of photo shows showing other photographers how to print large images from the smaller 2mp files back then and did one on one photography training. 

Also i am done on this topic back to video

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The fact is back only a few years back most photographers were all men then after years of digital it seems like now its most all house wives making extra money undercutting all the real photographers that are left hanging on.

​You sound a lot like those many old school photographers I encounter at weddings that have their origin in analog photography, back in a time where photography was considered a specialty only to be executed by those few that had the knowledge to handle a camera having to carefully select which and how many photo's to take, not knowing what to expect until the photo's where developed which again was a specialty of it's own, at least over here you needed a license to even be allowed to develop photos if you where planning on selling them. It was also a profession mainly executed by men, maybe because they where living in a time when woman where expected to work in the kitchen.

But then came digital photography and along a new young generation of male and female photogs with equal rights and suddenly where one village usually had one wedding photog now in every house there could be a potential photographer selling their services.

The problem I see with the old school photog's is that they don't adapt, they stick with what they know, their photography is often dated, looks the same as 20 years ago, they use the same poses, the same techniques, never try something new and still expect people to continue to pay big money for it, they often have a small store where they sell photogear or take some studio portraits but they forget there is a big store out there called the internet. They constantly complain on a wedding day how the new generation of young photogs are ruining their profession and how in the old days it all was better, basically they are just dinosaurs not realizing the comet already has hit .

The new and young generation of photogs are mixed male and female, they experiment, think outside the box and they are technically very skilled, they live on the internet, have facebook pages, share knowledge with other photogs and are able to reach a very wide audience. Ofcourse you have those cheap ones as well that undercut you by selling real cheap but you do have that in videography as well, they are no threat, they serve an audience as well, one that would never spend much on video or photo anyway. 

Photography is very much alive, at least where I live where it's easy to charge much more then what a equally skilled videographer is getting.

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There are a great deal of female photographers shooting weddings and family portraits. Fact is, they are really much more suited to that genre of photography. it's harder for me to get work now as I'm older. I sometimes still get commissioned by Nickelodeon and I think to myself "this would be so much more suited to a younger photographer".. and in all honesty it would. Women didn't really go into photography a while back, but there are some incredible female photographers from the film days. I find that video is still quite male dominated. Every time I hear of redundancies, I think to myself..."there's a whole new bunch of photographers coming onto the market".....Nothing can be done about it, so there isn't really any point in whinging about it. There seems to be photographers and "photographers" who seem to spend most of their time on the internet, selling guides and workshops and this and that. It's all jealousy, from us who have lost a hold of the rope of advancement. I try to offer both video and stills as I see that as being the only way. I do though know of a highly successful fashion photographer ( Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein) who still shoots Kodak portra 400 on Pentax 67's and still charges £$£$£$£$. So, while film lives, photography is not dead, to steal a line from William Egglestone it's a "Democratic Forest" out there.......Um, I do seem to like the wood,trees,forest analogy :))

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The new and young generation of photogs are mixed male and female, they experiment, think outside the box and they are technically very skilled, they live on the internet, have facebook pages, share knowledge with other photogs and are able to reach a very wide audience. Ofcourse you have those cheap ones as well that undercut you by selling real cheap but you do have that in videography as well, they are no threat, they serve an audience as well, one that would never spend much on video or photo anyway. 

Photography is very much alive, at least where I live where it's easy to charge much more then what a equally skilled videographer is getting.

​All true, but believe me - it's quite easy to earn your second cam with your skills, but it's gets only harder than. Enjoy the golden times :-)

As I said it's like show biz, it's difficult enough to land one really great hit, but staying on top for decades is a rare  phenomenon; most artists could only reach their own generation until they get lost and separated.

This why so many mediocre but clever photogs live from rich amateurs.

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btw, the best way to improve your photography is to enjoy your work. And as allways in life, the better you could lie the better you get paid, no matter if stupid naive weddings or advertising needless stuff. Weddings were killing me slowly, everytime I saw these crazy ceremonies through my viewfinder, I would rather ask this people to think about the consequences.

Opinions might differ, that's fine, but if you need a beach, 1oo1 flowers, warm evening light, a 10 x 12' reflector, several flashlights, hairdressing & makeup to illustrate a so-called great moment, you are guaranteed doomed into stereotyped formalism

a lot of the most impressive shots from the last decades are technically astonishing easy (and could hav e been taken with an iphone, that's true)

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Gear and theoretical knowledge had been important in the past, nowadays a good eye and the right moment is often enough, as even iphones are much better as the average negative film of the 80's.

​I'm going to assume you've never actually used an iphone... nor film.  iphones aren't even the best smartphone cameras.

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