There was a recent announcement that DPReview (its website, social media and YouTube assets) would be shut down by April 2023 after 25 years of activity. The published outcry has been huge, with opinion firmly expressing the view that this is a big loss for the photographic community.
How is it that something universally popular can be deemed unnecessary? It seems to happen a lot. This piece isn’t a commentary on the merits of any particular service. It’s about the decision-making of corporate owners.
Photography is an interesting hobby/occupation: there is so much to learn to simply take competent photographs. Some (ok, including me) believe that learning the basics is key to eventually being able to express yourself artistically. But some come at it the other way around – using their artistic nature to develop their photographic eye, then learning what is needed to express it digitally, often through trial and error.
I grew up in and worked in very technical arenas – my parents worked in fields where following the rules was paramount and expected, and where training and development were necessary to be able to work in their fields at all. I then spent a career in an engineering company (an electric utility) where “creativity” was not really encouraged and could have devastating consequences.
We live in amazing times. The technological, societal and social changes that have occurred over the past century are mind boggling. I grew up in a small immigrant home, with no air conditioning, no fancy electrical devices (we had a hand-wring washing machine) and no technology of any kind. We got our first colour TV when I was 16.
Today, my life is surrounded by convenience gadgets and entertainment toys of all form and function. I connect more than 20 devices to my home internet network to provide everything from the service to write this post to the automated voice that wakes me in the morning to the electronic keyboard and wonderful online instructor that are teaching me how to play piano. No one born in the mid-20th century could have predicted how far we could come.
Despite those changes, some aspects of our society still could stand with some improvement. Women do not equally participate in all aspects of business, culture and sport. We don’t always get recognition even when we do. Even in my little world of hobbyist photography, the vast majority of people who are accomplished artists and who offer their expertise to others are male. I wanted to bring forward some of those challenges in this post. Maybe some of this applies to you. If so, it would be great to share experiences and advice.
YouTube video content creators often refer to themselves as “hybrid shooters” because they use cameras that combine still photography and videography in the same equipment. The term has been mis-used for a long time, and I feel it necessary to set the record straight.
This is especially true today because in this age of multi-channel content creation, I feel that a hybrid shooter is really someone who uses multiple devices to create content, not just one device built with multiple capabilities that is repurposed strictly for video. But first, let’s explore a bit of history.
Perhaps the most puzzling trend I have seen in photography since I became immersed in it in 2014 is the rising popularity of film photography. The digital revolution essentially killed the still film photography industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Storefronts and labs closed, film production ceased, makers like Kodak essentially went out of business. But things have changed bigtime. There have always been the stalwarts that preferentially choose this medium. The puzzle is around young photographers or average non-photographer folk who now select this as their preferred way of presenting their creations. I have some thoughts on why this might be happening.
One of my goals as a retired senior citizen is to indulge all of the interests I’ve developed over the years, now that I have the time and frankly also the money to do so.
I’ve had a long standing love affair with all things in space and space-related. By that, I mean all things off our own planet. From the early days of the Gemini and Apollo programs in the US, I’ve been gripped by a fascination around what and who could be out there. And of course, Star Trek and its offshoots only served to romanticize the idea that strange, wonderful adventures and discoveries could lie beyond our atmosphere.
I had some good fortune when younger to connect with people that worked on these challenges, at least from the point of view of humans living in space. But I’ve come to realize that humans in space is more of a challenge than we know how to solve right now, and I will never live to see permanent residence of any human anywhere other than on the Earth. But there are other ways to explore beyond our tiny speck of a planet, and I have settled on astrophotography as that method for me.
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I thought I would start off the new year with something a bit different.
It’s been just over a year now since I began working part-time at my local camera store. I sought out the job not to earn a living, but because 18 months of Covid had left me socially isolated and mentally desolated. I needed human contact.
Over the course of this past year, I have been blessed with exactly that. I have discovered the wonderous variety of stories each of us has to tell about our lives, experiences and interests. I’ve also discovered that customer service isn’t about transactions – it’s about the relationships formed with the people we serve.
To start off 2023, I wanted to tell you about some of those.
A little self-serving? Yes, it is. I admit it. But I’ve discovered that friends and family who aren’t into photography and videography often have little idea on what a hobbyist might like. So I thought I would throw out a few inexpensive but meaningful ideas for that last minute shopper with a photographer on their list.
There were a couple of articles recently about the growing role of technology in cameras, specifically along the lines of how technology is making photography easy – too easy to be truly artistically challenging, it seems. I’ve written about something similar before, in terms of artificial intelligence and post-processing. This is a bit different. It’s about how much work your camera should do vs. what you should do as the photographer.
I’ll link to one of those articles below, in which the author opens up that argument and concludes the opposite – that technology in fact makes photography more challenging, focusing the artist’s attention on the things that are meaningful and not on the things that are mundane. I agree with that view, with some limitations.
Are you an “insider”? Do you sign up for newsletters and online posts that claim to provide you with the latest “scuttlebutt” on what’s happening in technology? Do you eagerly absorb each one, hungry for that smallest detail? Do you politely argue with the creators that what they say is not the full picture, or could not possibly be true, or makes no sense if it was true?
I’m discovering that some of the most successful online posts and videos are about, well really, nothing. They are someone’s opinion about what we might see next or how the market might drive those choices. Some have gained a reputation for “accuracy”, even if only half of the posted information does come to pass over time.
The bigger issue for me, though, is why we need such “services” at all. I’ll admit that I’ve watched, even subscribed, to some of these sites, but find it more and more annoying to watch each episode – I usually turn it off after a minute or two. Sometimes I skip posts all together. So why do we bother with them?