Friday, August 22, 2014

Our tools... viewed from the producer side...

It has been over one hundred years since photographers were required to control nearly all aspects of image making.

"Back in the day..." an artist could build his own camera, cut his own glass plates, mix his own chemicals, break eggs, coat the plate, process an image, make a hand coated print, and hope the negatives were safe from breakage in transportation.  The only thing not commonly produced by an artist of the era was an optic.  But even a lens could be ground by hand and mounted into a hand-turned brass barrel if the artist so desired.

Increasingly, photographers handed over control of their craft to manufacturers who could produce adequate tools.  Lenses and camera bodies could be mass-produced while achieving strict tolerances.  Light sensitive materials transitioned from wet to dry plate, and then from glass plate to celluloid flexible substrates.

Occasionally an artist may still build his or her image making system, but for the vast majority of us we have no desire nor need to build our own equipment.  Similarly, painters no longer commonly build their own brushes nor mix their own paints.  They also don't seem to talk about their equipment as much as photographers do, either.

Reading on-line forums one might believe that camera manufacturers "simply can't get it right."  So many people seem to be demanding so many things.  To my way of thinking it's all too easy to complain when you've not taken the responsibility of tool production.

Flipping things around, what do the equipment suppliers think?  What do they do?  How do they consider us as artists?

Someone posted an interesting article where two of Canon's leading designers talk about these and many other topics.  It's worth a close read.

Abandoned Places ~ Staircase

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