Saturday, January 26, 2013

The End Times

I made the mistake of taking a look at a few on-line image processors.  Yes.  It was a mistake.  There is every indication that it is right to continue to wonder at the place and purpose of the increasingly rare art photographer.

The Promise of Light

The state of web-based image manipulation software has advanced to the place where they can in some important ways supplant my favorite on-notebook computer driven Gimp.

Color balance/fine tuning?  Got it.

B&W film grain effects?  Got it.

HDR?  Got it.

Cross processing?  Got it.

Lomo effects?  Got it.

Grunge borders (complete with wet-plate collodion edges)?  Got it.

The only thing missing is that ultimate sense of flexibility.  These are "canned" applications and provide the effects and image manipulations "as is".  You can't for instance, take a texture you like and apply it to the image you're working on.  Layers and masks don't yet seem to be available.  Not yet, at least.

Curious Deformation

Are these the End Times for art photography?  Certainly as it has been "traditionally" practiced, it might well be.

The barriers to fine art and the ability to create it have disappeared.  Anyone with a little vision and understanding of lighting and composition is capable of some pretty stunning work.

Here is a short list of the applications I tried.  I can't vouch for any of them.  I'm only here to say, YIKES!  If the applications running on iPhones and Android powered devices are more powerful than these...  Whew!

There are a LOT more software applications to choose from.  Google top rated Android image editing and you'll be faced with a perhaps daunting list of possible creativity suites.

Goddess Wine

I can clearly see on the near-event horizon a shift in my own image making processes.  A WiFi camera, an Nexus-somethingorother, and connectivity straight to the on-line web-based image repository and blogging sites that I maintain.  I realize there are folks who already do this.  In fact, someone even photographed the entire 2012 Tour de France bicycle race using a networked iPad.  I just need a little more image editing software capability and I'll "be there" too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Creating on opposite ends of the spectrum...

I have two friends who create amazing images using old techniques.  In their cases, they create art using wet-plate collodion, platinum/palladium and gum bichromate processes.  These are early photographic techniques that lends themselves to creating some rather interesting images.

To me, Ted Mishima and Ray Bidegain are photographic artists worth looking up to.

I have watched their work evolve over the years and their most recent images are simply over the top stunning.  Well, to me at least.

Guarding the Gate

What I find interesting is that they both work in an "artist's" way of life.  They worry over details.  They concern themselves with how work will be received.  They try to find markets for their images.  They apply themselves to their craft with a passion and energy that I find refreshing.

I wish I had half their creativity.

Screaming back into the Present Time at the Speed of Digital, I see that more WiFi capable digital cameras are now hitting the market.  Here is a short (but growing) list of potentially interesting image makers -

I know there are more (the Consumer Electronics Show has just ended).  The cameras on the list above seem the most capable to me.

Liberte Egalite Fraternite

I've fallen in love with the Sony mirrorless cameras and look forward to seeing if their full frame NEX (rumored to see the light of day in late 2013) has WiFi.  If it does, I may have a new studio camera.  Or not, depending on what Canon does with it's pro-level DSLRs (like the 6D, which sorely temps me - hence the highlighted items above).

Monday, January 07, 2013

... not this time around...

In several earlier posts I suggested it would be very interesting to see Samsung take it's NX mirrorless camera series and see them layer the Android OS on top of the normal camera functions.  Well, the next-gen Samsung is announced and there is no mention of the Android OS.

As you'll recall, I feel it would be very interesting to see a large sensored image maker introduced with the ability to run "creativity apps" right there on the camera.  Such a system could eliminate the need for a computer to process images and, at the same time, allow better than iPhone quality images to be created and posted to the 'net in near real-time.

I have been of the thought that if photography has become the primary means of sharing experiences as they happen, why not speed up the creativity process too?  After all, some people's creativity flows more like a continual stream of ideas and exploration.  Not all art takes time to layer each and every brush stroke, nor does it take a hammer and chisel years of delicate work to create objects of ever lasting beauty.

Re-reading a recent journal of photography in French, I stumbled on something interesting.

It seems that Canon's new low-ish cost 6D full-frame DSLR comes complete with integrated GPS and WiFi.  While I can certainly do without the GPS, the WiFi feature could prove useful.

For example, I have in my mind's eye a series of images of still life worked in a manner of early 20th century platinum or late 19th century wet-plate collodion.  If I had a camera connected to a local area network (LAN), I could make an image, pass it to the computer as the scene is captured, turn immediately to the computer to manipulate the scene, and after expressing what I "see" from an artistic perspective, work could be shared to Flickr or Picasa or Facebook.  All in a matter of a few moments.

Not everyone will feel the need for such speed in creativity.  In fact, I many times feel that some people judge work as "valuable" only if it takes a long time and a lot of physical effort to create.  I hear this sometimes from artists themselves who work in oil paint, stone or metal sculpture, or photographers who use early image making processes.

Perhaps we have yet another opportunity to free ourselves from the confines of ideas and cultural frameworks of our own creation?  A new world of creative possibilities is opening right before our eyes.