2009, Photography

Again I recently realized that most internet photo forum lurkers are just only interested in 100% pixel peeping. They talk about image quality as if only that is what really bothers them. With so many new cameras recently announced people are already opinionated about each camera based on some crappy reviewers images based on pre-production models (of course only to defend their own purchase).

Here some recent work (no 100% view available).

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

Recently by Wouter Brandsma

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

32 thoughts on “Recently

  1. You’re right. On one Dutch photography blog I was criticised for praising Chris Weeks M9 street shots.
    People only wanted to see architecture or night shots, to check the image quality. While I thought it was way more interesting to see what somebody could get with the M9, doing his usual stuff.

    I don’t get it.

    Well, maybe I do. None of the those commenters had a link to a photo blog, a photo galley, a flickr page or whatever. They probably talk a lot about photography, without actually doing what it’s all about: taking pictures.

    1. You were criticized on a Dutch photography blog? I never made it that far. Let me know what blog it was 😀 Would be nice to heat up things. With regard to Dutch forums and blogs I always had the impression that it had all to do with bashing and checking each others spelling. But I think they have all the time for that since they’re not taking pictures.

      1. Don’t bother. The editor of the same blog told me they don’t cover news about compact cameras, as “serious photographers are not interested in point-and-shoots.”

        They live in a different world. Really.

  2. Wouter, you have reminded us many times that photography is about taking pictures and I keep myself in check with that philosphy regarding equipment…all the time! So it is so silly to me when I read all these forums with the sniping back-and-forth regarding the recent Leica announcements. Very few have even seen images out of these cameras but they know it all. It is enough to keep me out of the forums and spend more time taking pictures. By the way, great shadow work!

  3. It’s a shame that the obsession with gear and absolute performance rule the internet forums. I like trying cameras and using different cameras for different experiences photographically. But I find the obsession over what’s better just too much to deal with.

    I really enjoy your photos, I’ve been checking your blog almost daily for about the past couple of weeks. I found it when I was looking for information about the GRD3. So ultimately it was the gear that got me here, but it’s the photography that will keep me here.

  4. Wouter , while we are having fun taking pictures , they have fun in front of their computers … everybody happy ! , I never really cared much about what reviews say , I know what I need and when I need it !

    I have to go now … the streets are waiting for me !

  5. The weird thing is that almost all reviewers take absolutely horrible pictures. Then they will look at edge sharpening and noise levels and a lot of other stuff I honestly don´t understand (like these crazy curves) and will get to a good or bad conclusion. Best thing then is to grab whatever camera may be around, take some pictures, and relax. 🙂

  6. Right on, I think the same – it’s not the absolut image quality. For what it is worth, I even use my iPhone (first-gen!) camera when out and about and take snaps and – *gasp* – even use a software to put effects on them!

    Photography is painting with light and the way you paint is up to each of you. There is no “absolut perfection” to strive for. I allways got a chuckle out of the wet-process advocates that claimed the superior resulotion of film materials – yes, if you shot at 50 ASA. Take a 3200 ASA wet-process photo and compare it to todays 3200 ASA digitals. Worlds apart. And still, both can return stunning work when the photographer knows how to use them.

    There are some objective limits – street photography requires quick operation, so either the cam is quick all-around, or at least you can configure it to be quick enough for it (like the GRD with manual focus and zone-focusing via the quite useful display informations). And sure, a professional shooting for magazins or advertising will have very specific requirements, too – but most pixel-peepers are actually “just” amateur photographers who – at least that’s my impression – are much more into the technologic toy than actual photography 😉

  7. Pixelpeeping is silly…I agree, on the other hand I find it extremely difficult to make a purist’s argument once switched to digital. The digital photography process takes place in front of a monitor- a trap for sure: quite tempting for infinitely zooming in. Even those continuing the film tradition are scanning and digitally post processing and eventually posting online. I recently visited an old school photo exhibition-where no digital was allowed…And the difference was simply stunning. Extremely refreshing after years of digital pollution.Still I find it difficult to grab a roll of film, shoot only 36 frames, and wait for few days for the result: I may be lazy…I think those days are gone for me. But the difference is really huge. Even the best digital manipulations for the film-like effects don’t come close. So even though I agree that we must print and not stare at pixels, there is something problematic about digital. A new medium mimicking an old one. Maybe a new aesthetic language will develop out of digital photography. But there is something disingenuous about digital photography today.

    1. Nobody forces you to emulate an old medium. Embrace the possibilities of digital and use it. We are just “preprogrammed” by history to like some of the ugly chemical artifacts now – nobody says that analog film grain is that much better than digital chip noise in the long run. You are just more used to one kind of artifact. And quite frankly, I take the relative low noise from modern chips in high ISO settings anyday over that ugly film grain of a T-MAX 3200 😉

      When photography came out, painters were pissed because it was that quick and cheap and far too easy way to capture a scene. There were people talking about how it takes away so much from making a picture, that it isn’t compareable (which actually is quite right – it’s just a different medium). Didn’t stop painters to go on painting nor did it stop photographers to make stunning photos. Digital is just another technology to paint with light. Not much changed, except it got a quicker turnaround on picture production and so gives much easier checking of results.

      1. Digital photography is still developing in my opinion. Up until now we have and still will compare film with digital. But like Geord says: “Digital is just another technology to paint with light”. At some point those we remember film will diminish, and that will strengthen the acceptance of digital as a new format (besides all the advantages like the immediacy).

        1. Georg, Wouter:
          Re-reading my post, I just realized I omitted a critical phrase, so let me try the last sentence of my post again:
          “But there is something disingenuous about SOME OF THE digital photography today.”
          And I stand by my statement which I’m sure you would both agree…And I think you both share some of my misgivings here. I certainly think that Wouter’s work is extremely compelling which is done with nothing but digital. For example, I never see any excessive post processing, or fake grain mimicking film aesthetic in these pages. Plus superb artistry…And I think at least some of the good quality can be attributed to digital: the ability to shoot more, and practice more. But I also think the craft of photography has lost its tactile quality, which is a real shame. And difficult to judge the damage, if one limits the photographic experience to “internet viewing”.
          Best regards,

          1. I totally understand what you mean. As a result of digital photography, it has become a hobby for the masses. The excessiveness of today’s photography worries me too and I do feel that a real expressionistic art form is lost.

            Today I discussed this with another photographer and we talked about printing photographs to enjoy the absolute reality checker of someone’s photography. It is so different and so absolutely real. It won’t even come close to the often mentioned option to view your photographs at 50%, because that would determine your print as closely as possible. But in my opinion I don’t agree with that. The way a photograph reacts to the paper, and paper can make such a huge difference, really is a special and unique reaction. The moment I see a large print is special and absolutely magical.

            Thank you,

          2. …if one limits the photographic experience to “internet viewing”: @ 50%, or 25%, or “fit to page”, or pixel peeper’s way: “full size”…they do share the same anomaly, granted in different degrees.
            in short: unphotographic.

            1. What does “image quality” nowadays refer to?

              In my opinion Rondo, it has nothing to do with photography. Real world is taking pictures, instead of evaluating photographed brick walls and color cards. Real world is enjoying the captured moments, instead of 100% viewing. Real world is holding the printed photograph in your hand, feeling the paper, and realizing that it doesn’t resemble the way it looked on your monitor or your little LCD screen.

              Photography should in my opinion remain something unexpected.

  8. Wouter, not sure what real world means anymore! I think I would still prefer unphotographic, (whatever that means…as the built-in spellchecker tell me to change it. alas, it tells me to change spellchecker too)
    Maybe it is more healthy to look at digital as a whole-not specific to photography…We owe a lot to digital, including this conversation. Thanks for your email too!
    But I think it is fair to say that, all art void of tactile/physical qualities is less art.
    Virtual world is full of unexpected too. And some very profound experiences…No doubt. But for a real human experience, it needs to be felt with all the senses. But I am sure, many will disagree. Hope to see your work in print some day: in form of a well deserved book, or a good exhibition at least…

    1. I try to stay away as much as possible from digital habits like 100% zooming and being obsessed with noise. That way I am able to enjoy photography in the same way as I did before I went digital. To me there is nothing unphotographic about digital. It is still capturing moments, my interpretation, my decisions. But the best of all is the friendships I made through photography.

  9. Absolutely…what I called unphotographic wasn’t digital photography, but the culture of digital, limiting the photographic experience to internet viewing, internet criticism, internet debate on IQ etc. Also in my opinion there is something problematic about emulating film like effects. Let digital be digital, and be good.

    1. I don’t necessarily connect that to the culture of digital. That stupid testing of cameras and lenses has always been there, but it all submerged above the surface with internet. On the other hand the internet has provided a platform too for excellent and talented photographers.

  10. Hi Wouter, you are so right about pixel peepers in Forums. Esp in Asian forums as well. The latest n greatest is a must which is real stupid and falling into a trap. You use the GRD real well as seen in your Operation series above. Best, Steven

    1. Welcome to the globalization Steven. I think pixel peepers inhabit every photographic forum around the world. They dictate camera manufacturers with their aim for “image quality”. They don’t care what real photography means. So we keep on shooting, don’t we?

  11. Wouter, you are again right but where would the fun in forums be if not to read the constant bickering about noise levels and sharpness and which camera has better IQ. 😉
    If people would spend as much time taking pictures as they spend arguing which camera is better or pixel peeping some lab tests of bottles and paperclips the quality of pictures would go up considerably.

    The quality of your pictures is as always excellent and I really like the 3rd picture of the set you posted.

    1. Well Cristi, it is not my cup of tea. I love viewing photographs, so I prefer threads with people sharing their work, instead of barking about pixels and noise.

      But these pixel peepers are probably really good photographers 😀 It must be challenging to capture bottles and paperclips arranged in perfect color combinations with enough shadow details and no blown highlights. Their wives will be proud too, telling about their husbands efforts among other women.

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