Monday, February 9, 2015

Photography as She Is Done

Real Photographers like to go on a bit about instagram and the terrible filters, about photo apps and their terrible cheap amateurish effects, about selective color and how dumb it is. Then they go on about aperture and ISO and depth of field and speedlites and and and..

But photography as she is done today isn't done with all that crap. Photography, as she is done today, is done with instagram filters and the like. A few sliders here and there. Statistically speaking, the photographs taken with a variable aperture camera are a blip, 0%, overall (phone cameras don't have variable apertures, typically).

It is certainly true that altering the aperture before taking the shot has one effect and applying the Midnight Dogs filter in some app after taking the shot have two quite different visual results. Who is to say that one is legitimate true photography, and the other is stupid fakey fake amateur stuff? I might as well tell you that your fancy "white balance" crap is a stupid fad that's going away any day now, and the only real photography is adjusting the formulation of your ammonio-nitrate paper to produce different color casts in the final print.

There's a whole class of dipshits out there who have bought a DSLR and are convinced that this, this, is the pinnacle of human achievement, at least in the realm of photography. Things which came before, and things which come after, all are inferior. Cell phones? They'll never match a DSLR, they're just inherently Less Good. Film? Dinosaur used only by hipsters. The only thing better than a DSLR is a more expensive DSLR. This is partly because the digital bubble has created so very many DSLR owners. They can't all be sensible people.

The argument, if one were to press, would probably go "well, all that instagram shit looks the same, and there's no artistry there anyways" to which one can handily reply "you mean, a lot like the pointless shitty pictures you and your idiot friends grind out with your expensive black cameras?"

Photography, as it is done today, is done with cell phones and canned filters, canned effects. Just as your camera has a canned "aperture/DoF" effect, the cell phone has its own canned effects, with a slider to determine how hard to apply them. This isn't a crappy amateurish fad, this is reality.

By all means, stay in the past if you're comfortable there. I got no problem if you want to shoot wet plate, film, DSLR, whatever. It's all good.

But don't waste your time drawing arbitrary circles around "legitimate, real, photography" (by the merest coincidence: what you do) and "stupid amaterish garbage" (by the merest coincidence: what everyone else does).

We're on to your game.

No comments:

Post a Comment