Friday, October 2, 2009

simplifying perfection

I was reading a column by technology journalist for a major ( Washington DC) newspaper who listed the "important" photo editors asking for readers' selection of which one they used. The list was the common consumer Microsoft and PC based editors, but no Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, Apple's Aperture, or the many free to expensive really good photo/image editors commonly used by many photographers. And yes, I posted a comment to that effect.

The column was about Google's Picassa upgrade, and so I went to the Web page for it, since it's available for Mac's (and yes, I'll mention again I don't have anything Microsoft on my Mac, why mess up the best computer with junk - kidding). It was interesting. The software does a lot with your images such as shows, organize, albums etc. but only a few things for the actual image.

It's not really a photo or image editor at all, but a simple click here for this change and you'll get perfect images. So, we're reduced to one click perfection now? I'm not arguing against simplicity with some work with images, even Photoshop and the other similar one have those, but the ones the column listed are for snapshots than real photos or images.

Snobbish aren't I? Well, not really. I'm an ordinary photographer, like that's not obvious from those in my galleries. But I'm also for some intelligence with the photographer, kinda like you have to with large format photography. If perfection were just one to a few clicks, what's left and what's next?

Gee, put it all in the camera and get perfect images straight from the camera, no need for an editor. Wait, they're doing that now with some camera which fixes motion, focusing, faces, red eye, etc., all in the camera. And yes, I have two of the top end cameras along with a small collection of manual focus Minolta cameras, but I've never used automatic or program modes.

I prefer some thinking when doing my photography, like keeping my mind plugged in on the work. Now you can almost just point and shoot the camera and get "professional" quality images, like the ads try to tell you. Well, not quite, but it seems we're going in that direction, taking people out of the process.

And this is all recent, but what concerns is the generations not really learning, or really wanting to learn, photography along with taking pictures. That's not new, film point and shoot and disposable cameras have been around a few decades, and Kodak sold simple box cameras back to the early 1900's.

But now it's become that state of normal photography, everything digital and everything one click from perfection. Just click here. Knowledge, experience, understanding doesn't matter, just click and it's done. But then I remember when I got my first camera, a Minolta SRT-101 (58mm f1.2 lens) and it was simple. I also took and produced a lot of good slides with that simplicity.

But I still had to learn the rest of photography. And now you don't even need to do that. But it's why I also shoot large format, to go back even before my time and spend the time really learning and thinking. And yes, mistakes and all in the film. It's all there, the good, the bad and the (really) ugly, mostly called being really stupid.

Right or wrong, it's what I did, and not what some computer did for me. Just me. And I'm only human, a long way from perfection and certainly not one click from anything, except the shutter release hoping I got it right.

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