A Subjective View of the Change in Photography

Some images should be allowed to prosper.
A subjective view of the change in photography.

A subjective view of the change in photography.

Many dedicated amateur photographers have invested a lot of money in the right photo equipment. Many a trip or weekend outing didn’t happen because the new camera had to be paid off first. But when was photography the most fun? With the good old Minolta X700 and the 28-200mm Vivitar? The camera? Ok! But the lens? It was shaky and the image performance was anything but spectacular. I remember well that on my first trip to the Sahara desert, a couple of photographers equipped with Leicas turned their noses up at my equipment and questioned the purpose of capturing images with lower image quality. They advised me to upgrade my equipment to a Nikon or, even better, a Leica.  To this day, I have not taken many photographs using either of those systems and more by coincidence have ended up using different brand names. My equipment grew with each year and soon became a burden due to its weight.

The images captured using the old analog equipment were good, not in quality, but in the fact that you could make copies that were not too large in size without losing much in the way of quality, but in all honesty, most images are seldom larger than 20x30cm. The quality of the images was also sufficient for slide shows. What was important was experiencing the moment while capturing the image, the dreams and stories behind the images.

This period in photography was barely 10 years ago and yet people speak of “then”. If you take a look at the changes in the world of photography, it seems as though it was a much longer time span. It is almost unbelievable how quickly the technical changes in photography have occurred and the flood of images that have since become the norm. Everything is more colourful, more perfect… You almost get the feeling that the world was less bright a few years ago. For instance, in the former Eastern bloc covered in a patina caused by coal dust and economic shortages. The sky in our photos nowadays is so blue and saturated shades of green make it seem like forest damage is but a myth. The sea is also a deeper shade of blue, the sunsets brighter and even the desert is a shade of yellow usually found in our fantasies.
More and more often, the histogram is compressed, the turn curve is a typical S shape and a forgotten polarising filter results in the holiday being less colourful and the sky is not quite as blue. A poor holiday? Only if you go by the quality of the images. Only if experiences, feelings, conversations, the smell of the sea, the wind in your hair, salt on your lips, feeling hungry and talking about the past and the future become less important. 

Dreams may not have been realised maybe precisely because processing masses of images takes time and they take away our dreams. The photos themselves are dreamlike, aren’t they?! Why bother imagining it? The times of the things being brighter and better in reality are over.

And sometimes the thought arises: Why not leave the camera at home and enjoy the moment? ...

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