Monday, October 6, 2014

What is photography about?

Today I looked at one of those internet forums. It was a laugh a minute with all the ridiculous discussions going on. For all the world it looked like people were sitting at their computers, straining their minds to come up with ever more pointless discussions. It's almost as though the forum users are in competition with each other over banality. Perhaps there's some kind of prize for coming up with the most banal discussion?

A look at today's list of silliness on one forum:
  • Are the days of the DSLR ending?
  • Is carrying a DSLR suspicious now?
  • I'm sick and tired of equivalence.
  • Is there a crash test for cameras?
  • Is this lens too damaged?
  • I wish they made this silicone rubber jacket for my E2XF.
  • Made in China.
  • It's not the camera's fault. Is it mine?
  • My dream full frame camera.
  • How many zooms do we really need?
Seriously - none of those topics are anything other than gossip. There are no problems being solved. In olden days people used to write into photography magazines suggesting cheaper alternatives to developing trays. A popular alternative was seed trays. Then there were other cheaper suggestions including making one's own developers rather than buying pre-mixed developers and paying for the privilege. Similarly discussions abounded about making up one's own cassettes of film from big rolls that photographers used to buy.

The whole emphasis was on how to achieve the desired results at minimum cost. Discussions abounded about the cheapest lens to do a job and the best way to use it to achieve the maximum results. The emphasis was all about the photography.

Compare that to today. It has become a "mine is bigger than yours" contest. People now compete on the purchase price of their lenses. They buy the biggest and best that they can find and brag about their prowess. Gone is any discussion on how to get the best out of the cheapest. Gone is any actual skill in photography. Photos a bit blurry - get a new camera with a higher maximum ISO - has become the answer. Nothing about skill.

The master photographers of old would weep when they saw the philosophy of modern online photographers. I'm pretty sure they would weep, looking at the low standard of modern cameras which become more about pushing fiddly little buttons and playing with settings and less about actual photography as time progresses.

Generally, it seems best to steer clear of online forums and their silly nonsense. It seems pretty good to steer clear of camera clubs too as many of the members get into online nonsense too.

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