I love photography. Picture taking, and now picture making, has always been around and most definitely always will, but digital has brought it to a new age, delivered it properly to the time of tedious perfectionists and tumultuous individuals who don't mind biding large amounts of time in front of the screen to reach the completion of a piece. I started in film, in a different world; I practiced the craft without even the thought of running my shots through a computer or processing them in any way shape or form, other than to develop them of course. It makes me laugh at how we've incorporated the consciousness of programs and post production into the field, it amazes me how different we work when the restraints get lost in time, out of mind, and peeled off by the plastic. As a photographer, I attempt to keep stride, and I read like a freakin bored bookworm to stay current with the advantages which are constantly being afforded by the technological community. The men behind the machinery keep us on our toes, to say the least. It's an exciting time to be a photographer because we are in the middle of a revolution.
In my childhood I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, I buried my nose in the books of Salvador Dali and MC Escher. In my youth I began living out that dream, and started drawing incessantly. I liked charcoal and worked mainly in black and white, but eventually made my way into the wide world of color. In those early years I knew of photographers, I respected the craft, but quite honestly I didn't think much of it, quite simply it didn't grab me like a moody and dark charcoal piece did, or like a wall in the city painted with every color of the rainbow did. As I got older those were the guys that blew my mind, the nameless and faceless graffiti writers… Kase, Dondi, LadyPink, Cope2, IZ, Seen, and so on. The fact that they were out there doing it for nothing, and in many ways didn't go after any sort of recognition from mainstream society fascinated me, and I respected that. And they were the madmen, scaling signs and hitting super high spots, or just covering a wall or train with crazy intricate art in what seemed like the blink of an eye. They were the guys that really floored me about creation, about art. Graffiti was, and is, a movement, it is a public expression pushed to the forefront of consciousness solely by creative placement and pushing the illegal envelope. It is done simply because it can be, because the writer says it will be, and it is performed despite the people and the laws, despite the hatred and punishment from people who herd the sheep and tend to the cows of complacent minds and rushed time.
But as much as I loved the graffiti scene, and the amazing originality and low profile style of writers, like many others I relocated away from the city and away from the scene. And not long after I found the fades and color combinations I lusted over being laid out before me by natures hand rather than my own, and so photography entered the forefront of my focus.
Now, as the year ends and a new one begins digital photographers are really entering a new age with the resolution of full format hitting the sweet spot, and even crop frame and micro 4/3 shooters getting to the point to where we are all getting the chance to play with plenty of resolving power, which is in effect letting us all compete at an even playing field. The past ten years the technology was moving faster than we could keep up, the evolution of DSLR's and compacts was flying by with resolution jumping up by the year, autofocus systems and methods developing, and ergonomics becoming more intuitive and refined. With this year's Nikon release of the D800 and its full frame sensor packing 36 megapixels, and Sigma's Foveon X3 reaching 14mp, we have finally hit the pinnacle as far as the digital rendition of the traditional 35mm format. I say this because the Bayer system of interpolation at the size of 35mm is mathematically ideal at 36 million pixels, as is the 3 layer Foveon design - which equates to roughly 42 million pixels with the three layer (vertically stacked) system. Stepping too far beyond this point is not only unneeded in terms of resolution, but unwarranted in terms of practicality as it would be stepping past the resolution of true medium format and would warrant a larger sensor to be effective. Quite simply, there is nowhere left to go, aside from improving the video aspect of DSLR's, which is just at the beginning stages now. And many still photographers, myself included, don't care about video capabilities… I opted for the D300 over the D300s solely for that reason; I'd rather have a camera that does NOT shoot video.
All of this makes me extremely enthused about digital photography's near future. As technology advances there will be fewer bugs for technicians to work out, and equipment will undoubtedly become better, faster, and more practical. I think about how much more convenient it already is… to be able to take a shot and instantly view it alongside with a RGB histogram on the camera's LCD instead of waiting for the film to get developed and take notes, or to be able to bump up the ISO and throw on some fast glass with built in stability control instead of lugging a tripod around, or searching for somewhere to still the camera. These big advances have fully taken form and come to maturity in the last decade or two, and I don't care what kind of film nut or naturalist you are, there is no denying that they not only speed up the progress of the learning photographer, but they have also afforded photographers more time and freedom to think about what matters most - the shot.
There are many points to argue me here, that digital makes us lazy, that digital is too easy, that digital is cheating, etcetera, etcetera. A lot of people don't like the fact that the simplicity and accessibility of digital has attracted more people who want to be photographers, but I welcome the company, I draw off the diversity, and I thrive off the competition. It's like anything else in life, you can hate on it, or you can turn the table and benefit from it, it's all personal choice really. I look at it like this, digital has enabled us to shoot freer, to work faster, and to become more efficient… and more importantly, it has raised the bar for excellence quite a bit… and that particular fact, the very improvement in the quality of photography itself, should always be held in highest regard for any photographer, no matter what medium you shoot.
I'm becoming more and more confused about the scene around DA. It seems quiet, and that sucks. When I first came here people were so fast to speak up, and so into the work that I loved it, I mean, the feedback on here is the primary reason I think a lot of us love it. But that seems lacking lately. So all I can do is encourage people to speak up… this is a friendly community, there is no reason not to. And the strange thing is that I've been posting on 500px and getting decent feedback on shots, yet I post the same shot here and nothing… I hope that changes. This place will always be the home to the vast majority of my shots, but as I test the waters of other sites it makes me see that the photography community on here is getting lethargic. I hoping with the New Year people get enthused about all the great work that people post on here, and that things eventually get rolling again in our community. I'm going to do a photography feature pretty soon, and make it a point to do the rounds and talk about what I like (or don't like) about some of the work getting put up here. Personally, I couldn't be more excited about the New Year… any sort of fresh start just seems positive in my mind, and as I said above, it's a great time to be a photographer.
Listening to: Drop Goblin - Strictly for the Underground
Reading: In the Garden - Stacy Bass