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Citizen-Journalists

Heya folks….well in some respects the handwriting is on the wall and it could be a healthy thing for photo journalism. The mobile phone cam thing has actually produced some very fine pictures, yes…..of course it will produce lots of crap as well but its good to shake things up, particuarily when it can sometimes produce images of such directness and unpremeditated authenticity
 "As newspapers, we’re using grainy, coarser images that we wouldn’t have used before "
Roger Tooth
Head of photography, Guardian
interesting……
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4745767.stm

by Adam Cohen at 2005-08-04 12:38:39 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Brooklyn , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Theres a set of LS postings under the heading ‘www.scoopt.com’ which discuss the Citizen Journalist thing and the implications of mobile phone cam use in general…and ironic that you used a BBC website link, because they come up for criticism too…


by [former member] | 04 Aug 2005 13:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
By the way, my original post on LS wasn’t meant to be an ‘end of photography’ salvo. I used to paint and I remember all too well the foolish painting is dead talk, then you heard that film is over, etc. etc……….
Its rather that the grittiness, directness and immeadiacy of some of the great amateur/anonymous photos thru history have something to teach us all. its humbling but not dispiriting


by Adam Cohen | 04 Aug 2005 15:08 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
I sure hope film is here to stay for a lot longer. In the terms of recording history, in the future, we will look back on the past six or seven years and think ‘What have we done!’. The past six or seven years of history have been photographically  recorded as 11meg [give or take a few megs] digital files!

No, film still has its role.

[have any of you ever scanned 5"x7" glass plates from back in the early 1900’s? The quality will blow you away! I guess we needed to take a few steps backwards to take us forwards…]

by James Brickwood | 05 Aug 2005 04:08 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
The Citizen Journalist & Fifthteen Minutes of Fame

As a historian, which I am not – it is a very interesting time in photography. All of the major producers of both film and paper are either shutting down, deep in dept or without a clear vision for their future. From their ashes, new smaller and much more expensive labs and film & paper houses will rise. There has never been a point in photographic history where so many photographers are using antique printing methods, and all galleries are showing this work.
The fact is, we as photographers have no choise in this matter, in the publishing world, they need it now not later – and there is the fact of what is called “Acceptable Quality”, the standards of quality have been changed forever. Enter the photograph of the tube, 15 years ago this would not be possible on any level, however I think it’s a little premature to get excited about the photograph by Alexander So and so, it will have a historical place in the medium as well as the medium of terror, just like the photo’s of Abu Graib and September the 11th – it is not a body of work – just a single image. I don’t think either image shall dissapear soon, in fact it’s healthy that they both exist. If you don’t embrace the new, you too will become a historical footnote.
John Patrick Naughton

by John Patrick Naughton | 05 Aug 2005 06:08 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
although i have to shot a good deal of digital  ( i am not wholly adverse to it, i think it has definite advantages in some situations and sometimes i actually opt to shoot it) …however these days my heart is solidly with film so much so that i just invested in a bulk loader and have managed to get the cost of shooting a roll, including precessing down to 3.50 euro, and could get it down even further in the states…..abut about shooting film, it is a whoilly different process for me.  that you cannot see what you’ve done right away really makes me thinnk about the situation more depthfully and in this way the work is stronger for it and so that is a clear advantage tht really is something concrete and thus produces a wholly different image and project.  as so many people learn on digital this way of thinking is becoming rarer and that’s a shame.  also that you see the image a bit after you shoot it on film also results in confidence in that you know that you’re doing things right, you trust yourself and don’t have to fret over techinique.  how many good images have people lost because they where looking at their little screens on the back of the camera while something important was happening, but because they simply could not wait had to look and see if they got it, meanwhile missing it.


by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 07:08 | rome, Italy | | Report spam→
“Film has no instant access..” & " I’m not implying"

Mark Seager raises two important issue’s, one is Time and how do we measure it and the other is Honesty and how do we measure that. I began with a 4 × 5 view camera, and still love that level and depth of quality, but was that camera and it’s film faster than cameras of 50 or 100 years ago – oh yes, much faster. Not only do I not need a caravan of assistants to carry my gear, I can fed -x the film to any lab, any lab, any wear in the world. So Mark, in a true historical sence – film has never been faster. Not only is film faster, it has instant access in reference to my time zone. In New York, it takes 2.5 hours to process film at a normal service – not rushed – that’s not true of all cities, so the question of instant access depends on where you are. As far as " I’m not Implying", it’s O.K. to imply – it’s the internet – I won’t be waiting for you in the parking lot to have a short talk about Honesty. My lawler once told me,“..truth is what you believe it to be”, that is true, but in todays world there are so many forms of truth and half truths and the giant dissappearence of any form of role models that what we know as Celeb-Truth has taken over, next week it will be another flavor. It would do all journalist alot of good to get back to their roots, to stay connected to the basic reason of why they became a photographer in the first place, it’s not for the money nor the fame. It’s a need to say something.
John Patrick Naughton

by John Patrick Naughton | 05 Aug 2005 08:08 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
i’m very new to photography and have never used a digital camera.. so can’t really compare film and digital cameras…

but i’m curious to know something

 is digital anywhere close to film in the case of black and white photography..?? for example… whatever digital ‘noise’ i see really deserves to be called  noise.. it’s quite crappy!!!  also the toning etc…




by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 14:08 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
I think people can get too pre-occupied with this digital / film divide thing.

If you have a box with a lens on the front, the medium used to capture the image is pretty irrelevant, although in my experience I’d say the latest hi-end 35mm digital cameras have exceeded the resolution of film in most cases.

I saw an exhibition of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work once, and with a few exceptions not one of those pics was sharp (sorry Henri), but as he was using a Leica – a camera with fantastic lenses propping up a terrible focussing system – he gets off the hook…and his pictures were sublime of course.

But of course the medium can influence the way the final product will end up.

Digital film making techniques for example, mean that with DV tape being in longer lengths than cans of film, movies can now have longer takes without cutting. This has changed the ‘language’ of some films – influencing the Dogme film makers for example.

Similarly for me, using digital is slightly different to film, and in my case at least, its been an advance.

It means if I have a big enough CF card, I can photograph an event and barely need to take my attention away from the action by changing film. I don’t need to dump anything. I just edit the take on a laptop later and save the cards. On a photo-browser I can see the whole shoot as a set of continuous expandable thumbnails.

I can also tailor the camera to always have the best quality ‘ISO’ for the conditions if the light goes up or down. I also don’t need any CC filters if I’m shooting available light under flourescent bulbs.

And I can take more risks with lighting, compostion etc, and get instant feedback to adapt and change while still covering an event, instead of ‘hoping it comes out’ or wishing I’d done it another way when I see the pics in the lab.

I can also have the pics transmitted to clients in about 10 minutes from capture if I’m really up against it.

I recently finished scanning the tail end of my analog archive, and I never want to do it again…God, what a chore…and am currently sitting writing this in a gallery, keeping an eye on a photo-exhibition for a friend. They’re all A0  (approx 1.5 metres by 1 metre) prints from digital originals, except two prints from film scans.

The film prints look terrible compared to the digital…less tonal range, less detail, less saturation.

Personally I havent shot film for over 4 years and don’t miss it in the slightest.

For certain kinds of work though, I can certainly see where 6×6 and 5×4 can still be the best mediums in terms of convenience and quality…although the latest digital backs are getting there – if you can afford them.

The true difference of digital though (and to bring it back to the topic discussion) is not the medium, but the distribution methods which have exploited the qualities (or weaknesses depending on your view) of the digital image – in that it can be copied with no quality loss.

This has given rise to the dominance of distribution systems which seek to exploit this in order to seize control of the ownership rights of the originator of the digital image.

In the same form as the ‘Napsterisation’ of sound has put the cat amongst the pigeons in the recording industry, digital photography has thrown everything up in the air in our buisness.

Because don’t forget, once you scan that 35mm B&W Tri-X neg onto your hard drive…it’s a digital image.


by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 14:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
In reply to Sohrabs posting – from what I understand, digital noise is kinda like a radio signal – the weaker the radio signal, the more loud the ‘hiss and crackle’ over the sound, which is background radiation coming in and imposing itself on the signal.

Similarly, digital noise occurs often when the light ‘signal’ is too weak to fully activate the surface of the image chip, which is why it occurs mostly in shadow or underexposed areas where the light photons hitting the imaging chip are sparce.

The noise is the same as the background radiation ‘hiss’ which overides the weak light signal and occurs on the chip as random pixels, sometimes in different colours.

Noise can occur more under some lighting than others…a lot of noise occurs in the Blue channel of your RGB colour space, so taking a high ISO pic in very strong red light would have less noise than one taken in mixed light.

The ‘noise’ which occurs in scanned film images is often either noise from the scanning head (which is a digital imaging chip like a camera) or simply the film grain of B&W film which is made from chunks of silver halide.

You can get software which takes a lot of this noise and grain away if it gets in the way.


by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 15:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
What happens when your HD fails is that you turn to your DVD archive.

Both of them.

But hey, all physical things age and fail (including FM2’s and me), and of course we live in a chaotic universe…just read the papers.

The Great Library of Alexandria, at the time the greatest repository of knowledge in the world, which held the private archive of Aristotle, was destroyed by fire – a terrible loss, but hey, we’re all still here.

Similarly a photo-agency (whose name I forget) was seeking to find a safe place to store it’s valuable collection of negatives of the early life of John F. Kennedy.

The negs were valuable so they spent ages looking for suitable storage, and finally came across a perfect place – temeprature controlled, secure, humidity controlled…

…it was a vault in the basement of the World Trade Center.

I also know of a photographer in the UK who had his entire neg archive destroyed by fire.

I took a shot of the Million Man March in Washington D.C. once, from the office of Newt Gingrich (what happened to that guy?) in the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

It took a lot of talking to get that pic…took it back to the office for processing, left in on an editors desk with the processing docket…it got swept away and binned by a cleaner.

I once gave a bag of film to a Swedish radio journo in Albania to take to my office when he left. He disappeared.

I could go on…

Now I cross my fingers, store my DVD’s in two locations, then forget about it.

Life is too short (unfortunately) to worry about it.


by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 16:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
hi sion thanks for your reply
i appreciate it…
i actually love grains.. and can’t really do without them.. i’m not very fond of those crystal clear images :) ( just a personal thing)
yeah i know about the grains being light sensitive and all that..
but.. i keep seeing a difference in the quality of grains in black and white film images and digital images..especially if you go on to high speed films/iso like 1600 or 3200 at high speeds the digital grains get quite horrible..
if you’re familiar with the works of film photographers like michael ackerman (END TIME CITY)  or paulo nozolino.. then you might get a better grasp of what i’m trying to ask…

but i wasn’t restricting my query  to grains only.. even the toning.. and stuff… and ultimately the print quality..
i keep hearing a lot of people saying that while digital is as good if not better than film in terms of colour, it falls way short of film in black and white..
i’m just very curious.. since i don’t use a digital camera.. moreover i’m very very new to photography.. infact just finished with my studies in economics and now i’m going to concentrate on photography…

thanks again for your reply..
it’s almost 5 am here and have to hit the bed
gnite :)



by [former member] | 05 Aug 2005 16:08 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→

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Participants

Adam Cohen, Film/Picture Maker Adam Cohen
Film/Picture Maker
(Adam Cohen filmmaker)
Berlin , Germany
James Brickwood, Photographer James Brickwood
Photographer
Sydney , Australia
John Patrick Naughton, Photographer John Patrick Naughton
Photographer
New York City , United States


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