Posts Tagged ‘photography’
Jonathan Jones writing for the Guardian:
I speak as a recovered digital photography addict. I more or less stopped taking photographs at all once I realised I was subscribing to a cheap self-deception about the originality, beauty and meaning of my tens of thousands of pictures. An enthusiam has frozen into revulsion. I love the convenience of digital cameras and their potential to create beauty – but I hate it, too.
When did my photophobia begin? When I realised that I was buying into the same delusion of grandeur as everyone else. I have a decent camera and it can take lovely pictures. It has a close-up focus that can capture perfectly crisp images of a flower petal or a bee up close. So I think the moment it all went wrong was on a visit to Kew Gardens. There I was, having fun snapping water lilies, when I realised that about a hundred people were doing the same thing. Grannies, kids, babies, all with cameras and a sense of being artists. I am waiting for dogs and cats to get their own photo-sharing site for their genuinely beautiful snaps.
I think the main problem immediately lies with Jonathan Jones’ perspective on photography, not with the behaviour of Instagram, in his decision to take lovely pictures of flowers and bees; the same, accessible, non-taboo, subject material that everybody else points their camera at and has done since the Kodak box brownie. Instagram quite rightly lets us share these images, but it certainly isn’t digital photography or Instagram that’s at fault here. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!
I was in Victoria Park here in Hong Kong back in November 2012, with plenty of photographers chasing the butterflies, around the greenery. The most professional, seasoned photographers seemed like they were standing at the back, resting their heavy cameras on monopods, almost knowing, instinctively when it was the best time to get the wining shot. In front of them was the closest you could possibly get to a polite scrum, with many younger photographers competing for space amongst themselves and those passing by, who were inspired by the silent commotion to join in for a few shots with their compacts.
Ignore the lack of his originality, something which Jones should be scolded for, but where is the imagination to make images of something more meaningful in that moment of personal crisis? This is instead of assuming ‘grannies, kids, babies’ are deluded artists or to blame Instagram. If one feels photography is cheap, it’s because one is not spending enough time with the photographic medium.
When I saw all these photographers taking pictures of butterflies on my trip to the park, I thought it would be fun and much better to take pictures of the photographers chasing the butterflies instead, it would also be a slight commentary on the spectacle of it all. It seems too simple to get disgusted with photography. Even what you don’t photograph can and will be a statement on our world.
Has Jonathan Jones stopped to think about why everybody takes pictures of what amounts to being the mundane? Surely he is aware that we the general public are socially discouraged from taking pictures because either they are a photojournalist, weird or viewed as a pedophile. Imagine the variety of photography on our news feeds and timelines if we concentrated our gaze and interest on ourselves or on other people outside of what are still Kodak moments. There is a minority of people who do, it’s a shame many other people don’t do it, you’re not weird or a pedophile if you do and that area of photography isn’t the reserve of the photojournalist.
I wished the Victorians had Instagram because not many people know that the Victorians photographed the dead or the dying. Not in a macabre ways (though by today’s standards it probably would be), but in a way where the dead person looked like they were in-between life and death. Victorians even dressed dead people up so as to look their best for the camera. The Victorians did this with the aim of preserving their deceased relatives beyond the physical with a belief they were capturing their soul in an image. Imagine a Victorian gaze uploaded onto the Internet mushed up with today’s type of photography on your newsfeed/dashboard.
This stems from the larger problem of what we have been conditioned to photograph (just google ‘kodak moments’) and what we have come to think of are supposedly ‘proper pictures’ from other images we see everyday. Now this isn’t a call to action to photograph dead people, more of a polite request to acknowledge there is more for us to photograph out there and to photograph something different within your world.
At the same time, I don’t think it can’t be done with single images, those that make a quick comment and are digested within seconds off a newsfeed, they need to be something longer or viewed under a differing context and not necessarily something complicated either. When I say longer I mean through a photo essay, photo series or a visual diary. Something that anybody can sustain if they spend more time with their camera than Jonathan Jones.
I recently started a visual diary in the summer of 2012; just something to show friends and family (though it’s open to all) back in the UK what I was witnessing here in my new country of residence. I’ve been brought up academically as a photojournalist, working on long term projects, working with and documenting other peoples. How I photographed, has changed when I began photographing in a diary format, I have taken on another awareness of the photographic medium, which makes me think in other creative ways. Again it comes with spending time and developing that awareness, I’m at an advantage to the layman, but it’s a skill I believe anybody can pick up.
That is how we can solve the problem that Jones incorrectly addresses without blaming fashionably unpopular social network ‘x’, until we do, don’t expect anything to change on your respective timeline. Instagram is here to share our photography, not teach us photography.
This is a quick shout out for the excellent publication that is OnceMagazine.
If you have an iPad and are interested in reading about what other people are doing in the world through engaging photo stories, multimedia and written articles, then I suggest you check out OnceMagazine on Apple’s Newsstand.
Every issue comes with three stories from around the world by three contributing photojournalists and writers. There are no adverts to speak of and it’s only £1.50 a month on subscription (about $2-3 dollars). That’s 50p for each quality story (around 90 cents), with no advertising! That’s great value alone and over time builds into a great archive of content you can look back on and research.
I work in a university environment and use my iPad during lessons to show work off instead of running downstairs sometimes for a book in the library. It’s a great reference tool for me and students.
This is also your chance to support an independent venture on Newsstand. If you want something different to read I really suggest you take a look. For me it’s the only thing worth subscribing too at the moment.
So please check it out. Oh and the first issue is actually FREE.
Fifteen months ago I interviewed Nick Kuh for this blog and reviewed his iOS app, Portfolio To Go (link to review). In our interview, Nick stated he had taken Portfolio To Go to it’s logical conclusion – a well refined app that did the job he expected it to do, in fact Nick considered it a learning experiment (it was his first iPad app).
It seems since that experiment, Nick has been busy on his latest and arguably his most important app yet, Portfolio Pro. Portfolio Pro caters to the professional image maker for presenting content to clients. Portfolio Pro is primarily a playback tool, with Nick sticking to his belief that an iPad should be consumption device, not a content creation tool. This makes for a simpler, lighter, easier to navigate app; eschewing many options for editing content. In an ever increasingly crowded market, will this approach still be successful? Let’s find out.
Website - www.nickkuh.com
iTunes link – Portfolio Pro
Welcome to our fourth podcast, in this episode Alex is back and we jump right into discussing Instagram; with it’s recent purchase by Facebook and Instagram’s growing role within Photography and Photojournalism. We also spend discussing Alex’s move to Canada and what are his first impressions and we reflect on KONY2012 and compare its media attention to similar projects (like Aaron Huey’s: American Natives Prisoners of War TED talk & TED wish) that haven’t been given the same attention they should deserve, especially when they are closer to home.
02:00 – Facebook buys Instagram
40:35 – Instagram’s role within Photography and Photojournalism
War Never Looked So Hip (Duckrabbit), Photojournalists debate ethics of Instagram, Hipstamatic (www.poynter.org), See the Eyes of VII in the Hands of Hipstamatic (Griffinmuseum), Instagram is the Best, Instagram is the Worst (TheVerge), iSay: Stephen Mayes on Smart Phones, photography and the future (blog.corbis.com),
1:16:50 – Alex’s First Impressions of Canada
1:27:40 – What About Aaron Huey and his Force for Change?
Alex and myself are going to discuss this tonight on the podcast (and some other aspects of Instagram as a force in the world of photography), but I want to share some thoughts now. Just some very quick bullet points in reaction to the take over.
- Facebook says both services will remain separate. That’s fine. But the back end? All that juicy location information? I doubt it.
- I haven’t been critical of Facebook for buying, I just don’t want to use their service and restrictive terms. But some people wonder why Facebook just didn’t make their own app instead of buying Instagram. Those people miss the point entirely, it’s not the app, it’s the brand value, its user base and its value for monetization from that segment of the mobile phone market. Facebook can build the app no doubt about it, but the mindshare and trust? That’s the hardest part. That’s why Mark Z was so upfront to point out the app won’t change.
- Instagram lets a photographer keep the rights to their photography, Facebook doesn’t, they demand a perpetual license to freely use your images. At some point there has to be a change in the terms and conditions with Instagram
- Already there are worrying straw man arguments springing up. Those like me who are quitting Instagram are considered hipsters, (doesn’t this mean ‘poser’ on some level? Who is posing exactly?) the issue of privacy hasn’t been an issue for those not quitting, instead I’ve seen on forum boards, people directly being critical of users of the app who are trying to quit.
- If you still want to use those filters, but don’t want to share your photography on the Facebook network (and that is what it is now). You have two options: 1) Don’t delete your account, keep it, but turn off internet access while using it. Images that you attempt to upload are still saved to the photo library. Oh and just in case, don’t update the app in case this behaviour changes. 2) I’ve been using GifRus for a while, it seems to do the same thing, apart from sharing.
That’s what’s important; sharing your work, but ultimately Instagram isn’t the only place to share your work.
The podcast should be online tomorrow for those interested.
‘JPG’, which stands for journalism, photography and geek, is meant to be an extension of this website’s narrative; covering the same topics that I’m mostly interested. I’m getting to the point where I haven’t felt I should write about everything I come across and it is in my mind more engaging when two photographers discuss something like photography apps on the iPad/iPhone. Bringing Alex onboard helps in that sense.
We will be having irregularly timed podcasts, probably one or two a month (bandwidth permitting). Our aim isn’t to be an up-to-the-minute news show, there are enough of them (and better ones) out there. Again the style of the podcast will be much in the vain of this website, longer analysis, reviews of photography apps and sometimes just a bit of geek discussion. My aim is to get the balance of serious discussion and light hearted discussion right. Overall I want all the topics to be fun, but to be informative at the same time.
The Podcast’s art work is still being worked up. Later today I will create some sort of Podcast page s well.
If you download and listen I hope you stick around as this podcast idea expands, the first show is a bit raw and unplanned (as the title alludes to), but I thank you for listening.
An irregular podcast featuring your host Jonathan, with alternating guests Alex and Adam. In each podcast we’ll talk about what’s happening in the world of journalism, photography, mixed in with plenty of geek; where geek can bring almost literally anything to the discussion table.
In our first episode we get to grips with podcasting while at the same time discussing what is probably the best iOS Photography Magazine on the Apple App Store in the form of ‘Once Magazine’(but most definitely the best magazine overall), Apple’s 25 Billion Apps promo, a slew of iOS photography Apps for the iPhone and iPad, a curious iPhone case, a music recommendation and a year’s break to Canada.
iOS App - Once Magazine (iPad Only)
iOS App - F8 Magazine (iPad Only)
iOS App - 360 Panorama
iOS App - PhotoSynth
iOS App - Nostalgio
iOS App - PicStitch
iOS App - KinoTopic
‘Maybe it’s My Fault’ (Jordan Commercial, Youtube Link)
iPhone RangeFinder Case (Photojojo)
Now I have finished my MA and my formal education, I now have more time for working on this blog and really moving forward with developing and marketing my identity online. One small step in that process is to actually start selling my photography online. This is not to say I haven’t already, I just haven’t done so in a formal manner (basic things like a shopping basket on my portfolio website for example). So again there are a few more changes in the pipeline. To begin then, I very happy to present the book from my latest project: ‘Who We Are’.
(The link above opens a flash interface so it’s not the most speedy either).
The project in a nutshell is a portrait of the city of Swansea, Wales. It’s a snapshot of how the city exists today, presenting its peoples and citing its cultural contributions while promoting a little bit of Welshness. To be cost effective, the book is 7×7 inches (18cm) and just short of 60 images with the documentary being a mixture of portraits, landscapes and detail shots.
If you fancy purchasing one I’ll be honoured, if not I hope you liked the work in the preview anyway, thank you.