week 15 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project

At dvafoto I read an interesting article last week about ‘What pictures do the public want to see?‘ It is somehow a bit disturbing to me, but maybe read it first.

It is almost the same issue as we photographers can discuss extensively. Some want to tell a story and use photography as a mean to do so. Others wants to take photographs of beautiful scenery while others want to photograph ordinary things and make them look interesting or whatever. None is better or worse in my opinion, but it does however influence your own opinion about the different genres in photography. Both the photograph of the spider tree in Pakistan by Russel Watkins and the early days aftermath of the earthquake in Japan by Jake Price tell a story. Some is more obvious than the other. At this point it not only is the result of how the photographer executed it, but also what people really want to see. After the earthquake for instance I often heard anchor men or women at international news networks tell people how unbelievable the photographs were that came from Japan. Often one single photograph gave so many details that it was just one story, but often many personal stories. It was so different from the observant video footage we saw.

The dark B&W series has very much a personal vision, part of the reason for me why the photographer used elements like the dark contrasts. It is not only how the photographer thought it affected the people in Japan, but likely also how it affected him. On the contrary the spider tree that is result of the horrible floods in Pakistan last year. How he took the photograph it’s purpose became last in our translation and interpretation of the photograph.

The entire issue however prompts me to think how we all want to be successful and respected. Due to public demands we might eventually all do things that others appreciate. Meaning also that we change our photography and we take photographs that people want to see instead of the photographs we want to show to the people.

The last three photographs were taken with my new PanasonicGF1 with the 20mm f/1.7 lens. The compactness and the option to still have a small interchangeable lens system actually made me go for the GF1 instead of for instance the Fujifilm X100 or the Ricoh GXR. The Fuji was very tempting, but to be honest I still feel it is a true version 1 camera. It shows promise, but the EVF technology still has to mature. The Ricoh GXR is fantastic, but I would have loved to see it with a 40mm lens. The Ricoh GRD3 will of course remain an important camera for me.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma


30 thoughts on “week 15 | 2011

  1. Interesting that you got the GF1. Looking forward to see how this turns out for your photography.

    I cannot afford ANY new camera at the moment, but even if I could I wouldn’t go for the X100 either. Still regretting my purchase of the first-gen PEN, so I decided not to buy a version 1 model in the future.
    And I think the Fuji is too expensive. I’d rather go for a cheaper, but more decent dSLR body like the Canon 60D.

    1. I considered another dslr too, but in that case I wanted it to be a significant upgrade like the 5D. It was however size, weight, and usability that made go for the GF1 instead.

  2. Hi Wouter

    Nice set of photos and number 6 really stands out for me. A great shot!

    Congratulations on your GF1, it’s a lovely camera and the 20mm lens goes with it perfectly. I don’t know if you bought the viewfinder for it, but the Olympus VF-1 (meant for the 17mm) actually works really well. I got mine cheap on ebay from Korea and sprayed it matte black to match the GF1.

    Enjoy your new Camera. 🙂


  3. Hi Wouter. You will enjoy the 14mm (28mm equiv) lens too–very nice performance and even smaller than the 20mm. Plus with the u4/3 you can mount almost any of the old manual focus lenses with adapters. There are some real gems lying around in old camera stores.

  4. It’s a very interestng topic. Even for a hobbyist, there is a push/pull every time we decide to take or show an image. The personal meaning and worth of the image are weighed against how others are likely to react.

    1. Just price Jonathan. I thought about the E-P2 since Oly has the better EVF and their OOC jpegs are excellent. The advantages of the GF1 are responsiveness of the camera (in particular the AF) and the kit price (with the 20mm lens).

      1. The E-P2 is overpriced IMO. If I didn’t already have the E-P1 (which I bought for a very good price) I would recommend the E-PL2. I think Olympus is almost up to speed with Panasonic AF nowadays (but I never thought it was a huge issue anyway).

        The GF1 is certainly the better camera over the GF2 with it’s touchscreen.. It will have GPS next..

        1. I couldn’t care about the GF2 and it is strange how Panasonic downgraded good cameras like the G1 and GH1.

          GPS will improve the AF performance and face detection will soon automatically add names to the meta data 😀

  5. I love the perspective on the first one (my favorite of the series) and the light/shadow on the photo of your son. The last image of the smoking man is also really excellent.

  6. Hi Wouter – interesting choice with the gf1. I did the same but got the evf instead of an optical viewfinder.. I like seeing a b&w image when framing and it is handy in bright sunlight when the rear lcd is washed out. VERY overpriced in Australia though. I do find the gf1 large after using my grd – funny to think of it as a large camera!

    1. I have the EVF too in case I will be using any manual focus lenses. Admitting that the EVF is not on par though with the EVF of for instance the GH1 or the Ricoh GXR. The OVF is large, bright, and you can see outside the framelines.

      1. I struggled in bright light with my G1 trying to see the EVF. It may be because of wearing glasses which puts a bit of space between the eye and the EVF? I do like using my OVF though. At first I had no really use for it (it came as part of a set with the 17mm pancake) but as I became used to what the camera would do in most circumstances I didn’t need to keep checking the LCD and can focus on framing my shots. I particularly like using it with the camera in BW which the red filter in street work.

        I hope to buy the Olympus XZ-1 and will get the EVF for that for manual focusing.

        1. The EVF is about the same quality as the one on my GX200 so the relatively poor resolution wasn’t a surprise. One thing I should have mentioned – it is useful for night photography – the light from the EVF is less dazzling to others than that from the LCD. I was also looking at one of the voightlander viewfinders, possibly the 40mm.

          Have you seen the hyperfocal focusing trick for the GF-1?


  7. On the dvafoto article, I’m not convinced it’s point is well taken. An image going viral on the internet can be nothing more than an invocation of the lowest common denominator craving for the semi-grotesque and the couple comments criticizing Price’s Japan B&W’s are a pretty thin sample on which to draw conclusions. My (attempted) point being that neither is a particularly reliable measuring stick. I suspect it’s way more complicated than that short piece could deal with. (My own 2 cents on Mr. Price’s images of the Japan disaster is that they’re mostly very low contrast images of very high intensity scenes so the image mood doesn’t match the scene mood.)

    Regarding your photo’s, my favorite is (predictably, I suspect) one no one else has mentioned: #4, the 3 guys being “watched” by the 3 (advertising poster) girls is just super.

    I’ll be interested to see if the smoother rendering of the Panasonic sensor/lens impacts your images. Of these first three, the one of your son is very powerful. Hope you’re well.

    1. Perception, interpretation, and vision are then also the most difficult subjects to discuss since these are hardly objective. Gear and compositional elements are things we can understand. How these can be used in combination with the photographers’ intentions is so much harder. Even I find that hard since a lot relies in feelings which isn’t measurable in tables and graphs.

      So usually these kind of articles hardly scratch the surface and just barely that.

      Back to the images I immedately noticed the posters when I saw those guys. I needed to get really close with the 28mm for a tighter composition which wasn’t really easy.

  8. As an art student I always hated when artists stuck a verbose explanation on the wall next to their work.

    Interpretation of art happens inside the head – not so well in printed words. If you approach photography as an art-form more than a documentary medium you are going to encounter the same issues.

    Mmm… the linked article…

    Beauty in tragedy scares people – it makes them feel guilty – but it has always been a pursuit of artists.

    From the article:
    ‘I personally think we should avoid the ‘artistic’ view of this nightmare unfolding before us’

    That is the bit that scares me. Imagine if this had been applied to the great photojournalists of the past.

    The guys in front of the posters is my favourite photo. I was also drawn to the line of windows and the things on the window sills.

  9. Good to see you have decided on your new camera and the GF1 is a very good choice although it gets much better once you start using a legacy lens on it.

    From your photos this week my favorites are 3 and 6, I wonder if photo 6 in color would not work a bit better (or maybe in sepia).

    1. I don’t know if #6 works better in color since my intention was to keep it B&W. And regarding sepia, I don’t do that.

      I like the GF1 for what it is with the 20mm lens. I do intend to use it with some of my older lenses too.

  10. These are interesting Wouter and the last shot is great. How are you finding the GF1 as a street camera, for me it was too big but a great camera, and the 20mm is fantastic. Have you ever used the Canon s95, I liked it but it seemed ‘too much’.

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