Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Photography: Why does digital seem to have replaced quality photography?

Confused by the title? Well let me explain.

These days it seems that anybody with a digital SLR and a Facebook page is a photographer.

And some of the professional organisations court these people and encourage them to join as members.


Since the digital revolution I have never seen so much crap dished up to consumers in the name of professional photography .. and the consumers think it is good work!

Then they realise that.. hey.. I could do that myself.. so why hire a professional photographer?

Or, well if I take enough pictures there must be a good one in there somewhere !

And if it isn't good enough I will run it through Photoshop!

Well here's a flash… photoshop can enhance, correct and even restore photographs.. but it cannot make a silk purse from a sour's ear.

Any old time pro who cut his teeth on a Rolleicord and roll of 120 VPS (or E6) knows that the shot has to be right to start with. When we shot on film, each press of the button could cost us $6.50 in film and processing. And those prices are from 20 years ago!

So yes.. I am not a total dinosaur, I do shoot digital, I shoot RAW and I very rarely use photoshop.

I make sure I have it in the can first go!


Because photoshop won't fix bad posing, incorrect lighting ratios, badly over or under exposed images and it cannot inject creativity into the picture. The creativity part starts before you even pick up the camera. Try this out.. before you take that picture of your girlfriend, ask yourself, "What is this a picture of?"

Your answer could be.. "Well it is a picture of my girlfriend on her Vespa!"

If you take that picture and bring it to me.. I will see things like.. a light pole growing out of her head. You didn't see it because your camera has full aperture metering and so it was miles out of focus in your view finder. Why has she got a blue tinge to her skin? And for that matter the entire picture has too.. well did you shoot a custom colour balance? The exposure is under too.. the white scooter has fooled the meter. And why is she posed in a masculine pose. Is she butch? If so then it might work! And you have shot into her crotch.. not a nice look! But why is she in the middle of the shot? Even high school art students understand the rule of see where I am going with this?

Whatever camera you use doesn't really matter… its job is just to record the image.. once you have created it. And old time pro photographers know all about this.. it is just that we have changed the method of capture! Nothing else! Our style, creativity and ability to "see the light" cannot be bought with even the best digital camera.

iPhone, film or digital.. it's all the same to us. It's either good photography or it's not. If you have to "explain" what a photograph is about.. you have failed!

When I bought my 2 Rollei 6008 Professional outfits for around $40K with lenses in the 90s… the owner's manual on page one said something like… "We assume you know how to take photographs. This book will show you how to operate the camera"

Famous 60s English Photographer David Bailey (Google his work) said recently in an interview that EVERYBODY had a least ONE GOOD PHOTOGRAPH in them! Even you!

But working pros have to make a "good photograph" every time! They need to make every post a winner.. every assignment from a client, has to produce a bucket load of "good photographs".

In this industry you are only as good as your last job!

If you see pictures the same as what you can produce on a back yard photographers website.. then why bother hiring that photographer? But if you want magic.. look for  grey haired blokes who knew how to shoot on film!
They have been there and done that many times before… and he (or she) will give you magic!

Rollei 6008 Pro.. no ghost in this machine. BYO Creativity!