The third round of the ROC, congratulations to the winners, thanks to Peter Weaver for his work as the judge, and it is good to see that the overall level of technical achievement is going in the right direction. To those members who are convincing themselves that their work isn’t good enough to show, I have to say you are probably wrong about that. The competitive element aside, and the importance of that will be personal to each entrant, getting feedback from experienced judges is a good way to look to our personal development as photographers.
It comes back to that word “Because”. I agree with the judge, because … I disagree with the judge, because … are two great places to start. Personal development involves reflecting on the work we produce and putting it forward in the first place is a great way to see things differently. Seeing things differently, trying things differently is the deliberate act that fires that improvement.
As I said in the closing remarks, £2.95 for a re-usable 40 x 50 cm (20 x 16 inch ) mount to fit a 16 x 12 inch (40.6 x 30.5 cm) aperture from The Range (cheaper on line, but make sure you know what you are buying first) and £1.82 for a 16 x 12 gloss or lustre print from Keynsham Photographic Centre and we are in business. Give it a go.
It is, after all, about perception. The whole conceive, frame, light, shoot thing is to capture a perception of something we saw, no matter how real that actually was. The camera may never lie but photographs do, because they are about slices of reality, selected contexts and an impression of a thing. If the camera thinks 18% Gray is half way between black and white we are starting from something of a skewed perspective anyway (here for the science of it).
The danger, at least to posterity, lies in what we perceive as a photograph. It used to be a lot narrower than it is today. A photograph was the finished product held in the hand, hung on the wall, or mounted in the family album. Today we stop a step short of that. What we have with digital technology – and I speak here as a fan – is a computer file as a “finished” article.
Unfortunately these files we keep on computers and so need complex and expensive technology to view them.
The files themselves are subject to physical loss (hence the need for back up), damage (hence the need for back up), infection by malicious code (hence the need for back up), and eventually and probably sooner than you think, redundancy (hence the need for back up in more than one file type if you are being particularly cautious). The back ups are also prone to all of the above.
Keeping your treasured images on the Cloud is one answer to this. Except it isn’t. They are still computer files and still need expensive technology to view them. “The Cloud” is a fluffy marketing term for someone else’s computers. Someone else’s very, very, very expensive computers.
These very, very, very expensive computers are mostly under someone else’s legal jurisdiction, are only going to operate as long as someone, the people who own and maintain those very, very, very expensive computers will only do so as long as they can make a profit from those very, very, very expensive computers. They also makes you images easier to steal, but that isn’t their purpose.
Yes this also applies to “Free” services. “Free” is another fluffy marketing term which means “You pay for this another way” usually by your personal data, which you give access to in the terms and conditions (EULA’s as they are technically called, End User Licensing Agreements), and everyone you interact with which, they do not, necessarily. This as far away as it can be from the harmless fair trade it sounds and it massively profits the collectors of such data.
After all, these very, very, very expensive computers are run for profit and not for the well-being of their users, who, by and large, are well and truly in the dark as to the real value of what they like, share and post and whereas buying that data is relatively inexpensive the worth to end users is far, far, far higher than what is paid to collect. Allegedly, it has been used to select governments and policies.
The cost of storing and displaying our jpegs is far higher than we may have thought and there are important political issues surrounding our ability to do so, but there are also aesthetic considerations. Looking at a print is an altogether different experience than looking at an image on a computer screen. I find that, probably because of their relative scarcity compared to screen images, that looking at prints invites an altogether slower, more absorbing process.
The same goes for making prints, whether we do them ourselves or have them done commercially. Again this something connected to the print process. We are saying that this particular image has some more than usual significance for us, that we want to spend more time on and with it and that, maybe, we want to display it – on the wall at home or in the club competitions or even in an exhibition – but above all we want to keep it.
So, why not leaf through your favourites and select half a dozen for printing and mounting? Then choose your best three and enter them for the ROC round 4. If you need help members can us the Facebook page or have a talk with someone at the next club meeting. You will have something to keep and you will have some constructive criticism which you can apply to your photography and that then becomes a strong base for improving your photography over all.
Wingardium Leviosa! Trick photography need not be tricky, if you see what I mean, as long as you know the trick to it. There were books. surfers and people flying everywhere, macro photography on water sprayed cd’s, there was certainly enough to keep people busy and there were quite a few of us there. Levitation photography doesn’t seem to lack for fans. Your images will require some planning and some post production.
The trick of course is to combine two or more images specifically using a feature you will find in most if not all editing programmes known as layers. For this you will need an editing programme like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Gimp, and so on. The idea behind layers is that it is building a composite image by putting details on different levels (layers) to make an overall picture. It is rather like making a picture out of a wedge of transparencies on which you put different details on different transparencies then view the whole picture by looking at all the transparencies stacked together. The advantage of this is that it is non destructive to the original picture, that is you can take them all away and the original image is left unaltered. Although each programme has a slightly different way of handling layers the principle and the effects remain the same.
We had books levitating and people surfing, the way to make the final image is the same. Combine your images and get rid of the detail that doesn’t belong in the final image you have in mind. There are a whole stack of levitation tutorials on the web, including this one from Practical Photoshop. Though it uses Photoshop the principle remains the same and their are only slight tweaks as far as the specific software operations.
We also had some close up photography using a mirror, black background, cd’s, water, a Mk 1 Ford Escort (model of) water and some LED lights and a little imagination! All together it was a fun evening and I look forward to seeing the results. Club thanks to everyone who helped organise this.
Meanwhile the Getty Image controversy gathers steam. Why does it matter? In a way it isn’t to do with the images it is everything to do with the intellectual property. Back last year Johnathan Klein, CEO and co-founder of Getty Images started a media campaign calling for new economic models. This argument has already been taking place in books and music. Income generated by images sold through agencies has been declining as the traditional markets, especially print, have been impacted by the growth of digitial publication. The argument is increasingly around, not just the licensing of a particular image for another to use in a publication of some description, but also there is now a question of a whole set of revenue being generated by the use of that image as part of an article, blog, etc. For an example of this look at what Google have done via You Tube by taking the space they create for others to post videos to generate revenue via paid for advertising and the notion of fair use.
Getty are going down this route for very specific type (Not for Profit) customers with some 35 million images. This is not a storm in a tea cup. Photography as a profession is being transformed by digital platforms no less than any other industry with the added dimension that cameras are nearly as ubiquitous as mobile phones, thanks to the integration of the two technologies. Some fear it will force a lot of photographers out of work, some think that this was always coming. The other big agencies may well follow suit, Alamy, Corbis, along with Getty (who also own iStockphoto) form a very large part of the market. Individual photographers will, some think, have to move from being producers to being brands, with associated costs in time effort and money that would otherwise have gone into the business of taking and selling photographs going into not just marketing but into property rights management. No longer selling photographic services professional photographers at a basic level will have to sell their brand a lot more effectively because they will be directly in competition with the brands of the likes of Getty Images, from whom, it is feared, the income will decrease.
This week (20th) Judging of the photo marathon – Your camera club needs you!
24th March visit to the (military) camera club at Shrivenham.
Subjects to do with or beginning with or having to do with the letter A are the subject of the Flickr competition (and no that doesn’t mean A camera, A car, A sandwich – well not necessarily).