Recommended reading

9 comments on Recommended reading
1 minute

💻 Have you ever been up in a classic or historic airplane? Brandi B. got to go up in one recently, and it was a Ford. Yep, at one time Ford was in the airplane business. Read Ford Tri-Motor Airplane

Tyson UMC
Minolta Autopak 470, Lomography Color Tiger, 2018

💻 Kevin Drum gives a good analogy that helps us understand why the ultra-wealthy can’t be satisfied with what they have, and keep going for more. Read Why do people own 7 houses?

💻 Katie Yang says that most Christian churches in Taiwan look pretty much like any Western Christian church. But a few follow Taiwanese design sensibilities, including one she photographed and shares with us in a post this week. Read Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

📷 We don’t have to shoot film. But we do, to gain something we can’t get when we shoot digital. Yet digital offers so many real benefits to the photographer. We trade those benefits off to get what we get from film. Peter Barker calls those film tradeoffs “unnecessary obstacles” after seeing someone make with ease a digital photo that he struggled to get on film. Read Unnecessary Obstacles

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9 responses to “Recommended reading”

  1. DougD Avatar

    I’ve been in a Stearman biplane
    One of the highlights of my life!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar
  2. P Avatar

    If the impossible-to-digitally-replicate, organic aesthetic of film, along with its physical nature (i.e. it actually exists in the real world), are the very reasons a person shoots film, as I imagine is the case for most of us, then indeed the challenges of film are absolutely necessary obstacles.

    In general, digital photographs do nothing for me, nor does the process of shooting a digital camera, no matter how advanced said camera may be. From an engineering perspective, I can certainly appreciate the technical capabilities of modern digital sensors, but that’s it. Beyond the “tech specs,” there’s nothing there that appeals to me on any level, and, for me at least, a device’s technical prowess is not what makes photography, well, photography.

    Images originating on film are full of life. Sadly, a good chunk of this life is lost when film is digitized (scanned) instead of being optically enlarged/printed photochemically, but when compared to a purely digital photo, the life of a decently digitized film image is still there in spades. Images originating on a digital sensor, on the other hand, are sterile and lifeless from the get-go, and even the best attempts to post-process them to achieve the look/feel of film are generally complete failures.

    This extends well beyond still photography, too. Digitally photographed movies (and TV shows) feel entirely dead and lifeless to me, so much so that I have pretty much quit watching them altogether. And, sadly, even movies shot on film but digitally projected (as is the case at basically all theaters now) do as well, although it’s not quite as severe. For these reasons, I rarely ever even go to the theater anymore. In my opinion, theaters/studios majorly screwed up when they switched to digital projection. It pretty much killed the so-called “magic of the movies,” the marvel of the “silver screen.” I’ll take the scratches, splices, bob, weave, flicker, and all the other supposed “defects” of film projection (which, if a projectionist was competent and the theater’s equipment was well-maintained, were non-issues) over “pristine” digital projection any day of the week. Plus, specifically pertaining to movies shot on film, digital projection will never be able to match the resolution of the film itself, so even from a technical perspective, digital is pointless. Black levels, color saturation, and pretty much everything else that makes an image appealing were vastly superior with film projection, too. Do people really not remember just how good a nice film print on a massive theater screen looked? It was truly incredible. There was nothing like it, and now it’s effectively gone. It’s probably a pipedream to hope that film projection someday makes a comeback, but I hope it does, nonetheless.

    Sure, all of this is my opinion, and no doubt many would disagree with me. That’s okay. But for my money, digital photography is killing everything that makes/made photography special, and digital cinematography/projection has arguably already killed cinema.

    Here’s to hoping film doesn’t go anywhere, and also that it once again becomes affordable for the masses (it was for many decades, but at present it’s most certainly not).

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think there’s a place for digital photography. It’s terrific, for example, for the documentary work I do on road trips. I can take endless snapshots of my granddaughter with my digitals. These images are all fine for their purposes.

      Film absolutely does have sublime qualities that you can’t recreate digitally, however.

      1. P Avatar

        Digital does have a place, particularly when it comes to basic documentation, as you noted. Whether you’re documenting road trips, as you do, or documenting how you took something apart so you’re able to put it back together, yeah, digital is certainly useful. Unlike you, however, I don’t have a use for it when it comes to family snapshots. I want those on film. Beyond using it to document relatively unimportant stuff (i.e. mundane images that don’t have artistic or emotional significance), I really do think digital is causing great harm to the photography community. In my opinion, digital has no place whatsoever in “the arts.” As I already stated above, digital has completely trashed cinema as far as I’m concerned, and it’s well on its way to trashing still photography as an art form also. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

  3. brandib1977 Avatar

    Flying in historic aircraft is a special experience. I hope you get to try it out sometime, Jim. And thank you for the mention!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You’re welcome!

  4. Katie Yang Avatar

    Thanks for the mention, Jim. Glad you found it interesting!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My pleasure! I love your blog.

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