This Picture Sucks

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and so do yours

High-budget douchebaggery

In the past, I have written about the pitfalls of faking film frames. Now, you’d think that kind of stuff doesn’t happen in the high budget world of big-name productions. Of course, you’d be wrong. Mr. Hudson’s Supernova is a great example of bad ideas going wrong. They managed to keep the frame numbers flowing, but forgot that Kodak 400TX is a black and white stock.

I wrote this in 2009, might as well publish it.

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Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Sorta back, but not really.

For some reason or another, I’ve started looking at the photography reddit. Let me say that those people make the RFF crowd look like a group of well adjusted photographers, who hold a healthy interest in their craft.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

The Pose – Dude Edition

I’ve written of the pose, now here it is as you hope to never see it again:

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Creative Commons and the Case of the Hotel Pool Sperm

In the past, I’ve written on how fucked up Creative Commons licenses are for photographers. Thanks to my eFriends and the internets, I just found a great example of what I was talking about.

NJ.com posted a story about some polish teenager claiming she got preggers in a hotel swimming pool and her mom buying that load of bullshit and suing the hotel. Right next to the article there’s a picture of a girl in a swimming pool, that must be the chick from the story, right?

The girl in the picture isn’t Magdalena Kwiatkowska, it’s a self-portrait by flickr user santiana, who forever gets to have her image linked to terms like “teen pregnant from sperm in hotel swimming pool”. NJ.com did nothing wrong, santiana used a CC license, as god intended.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

The revolution will not be photoblogged

Today I went through my RSS reader and trashed about 30 websites I never read, either the subject doesn’t interest me anymore or they just suck. It was looking a bit empty, so I decided to find some interesting photoblogs. Let me just say that blowing up a railroad bridge would’ve resulted in less of a train wreck. It has been said that the internet is where art goes to die, and while I don’t agree, photoblogs aren’t helping my case.

Photoblogs are pretty natural. You take a blog, post photos instead of writing, and there you are. And like many blogs, a lot of photoblogs try to post a picture a day. An organic 365 Days Project, if you will. As I have said before: the best way to kill creativity is to force it.

(Don’t get me wrong, there are good and even a couple of excellent photoblogs out there. The Rip is one.)

Most photoblogs exemplify that rule. What I found, in my two hours of suffering, was: gimmicks; p&s telephoto pics; cityscapes; pictures of empty streets; ass-ugly photoshop manipulation; pictures of walls; hundreds of pictures of clouds; pictures of trash; pictures from photo-walks. What I couldn’t find was: photography with vision; photography of people; photography of events. What was missing was photography that, in a word, looked like it was done on purpose.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Time Magazine and doing it wrong

Mainstream media scares me a bit, in that 90% of the articles I’ve read on topics I know pretty well are just complete trainwrecks. Tthat’s why I don’t believe man has ever actually been to the moon.

So when I saw that the latest (?) issue of Time, has an article about “10 things to buy right now” and at #3 you can find: Cameras, I knew there were luls to be had. Cause seriously, I’d rather buy a McMansion in California than a camera right now.

The reasons are numerous, and through the magic of HTML, they are numbered below:

  1. Nikon just raised prices by like 10-20%, lifting price pressure off Canon. Just look at the D5000, that’s not much of a deal.
  2. DSLRs are in transition to supporting video right now. Neither Nikon nor Canon’s implementation is perfect yet, but can’t be beat for the price. Treat it like an Apple product and wait for the second generation.
  3. The megapixel race is coming to an end and picture quality, tonality and high ISO quality will be the new battlefield, and that’s just awesome.
  4. Full frame cameras are falling in price but they still have a way to go. Crop cameras are a cruel joke, run away.
  5. Micro 4/3 is getting going. That stuff looks pretty awesome, especially if you’re in the market for a compact that will beat the shit out of any compact currently available. I hope.

And look at the examples in the article: Pentax K20D is “new technology” now? It’s only been 15 months since that bad boy came out. Or the General Electric P&S? Yeah, that’s a brand I go to for my imaging needs.

So, yeah… market is in transition, prices really aren’t that low, not the best time to buy. besides, buying a camera as an investment is just stupid, unless you’re buying a classic Leica which you’ll never use and just keep in climate controlled case for the next 50 years. Which would make you like most Leica owners.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Photography lists suck and so do you if you follow them

Every time I see a photography list on the internet, I think “that must be easier than actually learning to write, you fucking hacks.” One like this, titled 12 photography gimmicks to keep your lips off the barrel of a gun, I think, is a great example. This is some serious grass-is-really-clay-but-the-bulls-are-eating-it-anyway bullshit, for lack of a better term.

I’m talking about the first 10 points, cause the last two are bullshit squared. I have both sold images and had pictures that made a difference. It’s just a matter of making your definition tight enough. Like, grandma, can you give me a buck for these pictures I brought here for you?

First off, the list assumes everybody is a general interest photographer. Ya know what, a lot of people specialize. Some dudes won’t shoot a person to save their lives, others shoot nothing but people, dudes specialize in babies, pets and product shots. They’re worthless as human beings, but they’re still around. Think about it. Why would a dude like Helmut Newton be shooting the northern lights or a blue iceberg. Or why would Ansel be shooting portraits. I mean, he did, but he sucked at it. For fucks sake, dude spent the second World War hanging out in California, smoking pot under the half-dome and eating udon with all the blz azns that got locked up.

Only a douchebag would think there’s only one kind of photographer. That’s the kind of thinking that devalues every photographer who’s trying to do more than be a flickr whore, licensing his pics out under Creative Commons for use in Olde Paedophile Weekly. Look at all the incredible, life changing photographers that never shot war, and all the incredible war photographers who’ve never shot a landscape. Or Minor White, who never shot any of this shit, but pretty much helped to define expressive/abstract landscape as an area of photographic art.

So fuck a list, even mine. I mean, my list is awesome, right? But fuck it, you’re the one taking pictures, shoot what you want. Just do it better than anyone has ever done it before.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Creative Commons and why you’re getting railed

You see them all over the place, CC licensed images illustrating articles on all sorts of topics on blogs and online magazines. And why not? or the publishers it’s the best kind of content: free. For the photogs, it’s easier to license your image under Creative Commons then it is to find girl-on-girl porn these days. Both flickr and deviantart (more on dA later) offer it as an option when you upload an image. Getting hit by a car is also easy, and makes just as much sense.

If you’re a photographer, CC is pretty much a large latex dildo in your ass. Some people might like it, but most of us are just getting screwed. Photographers get the short end of the stick with CC, we don’t reuse other people’s content. Well, unless you’re Richard Prince. A musician might use sampled drum sounds to create a new beat, a writer might use a photograph to illustrate a story, a graphic artist might use text for body copy, whatever. A photog isn’t doing any of that, all we can do is give shit out for free, or at best for credit.

The problem with credit is one Derek Powazek covered, but it’s more relevant now than ever. Let’s say I shoot some kids, get some model releases, release that stuff with one of those slick attribution CC licenses, right? A non-profit neo-Nazi group takes it, publishes in its newsletter. So not only have I given them the right to use those pics, I’ve also linked my models to them and – thanks to google – every time someone searches for me they get shown results from a neo-Nazi website. Awesome!

To summarize: fuck that CC noise. If someone wants to use your pic they can get off their ass and fire you off an email, like men do. And if you think you’re getting exposure by giving away your photography, that’s a business model without much of a future. Like most of the internet.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears

Fashion diva pose

The weather is amazing this week, just like it was yesterday so no way in hell am I staying in to get mad about some photography gimmick. That said, I was at a shoot yesterday and the model kept making this pose, to which I put the question: what the fuck?

Who the fuck in the world ever strikes this pose?

Most poses have some function: elongate this, shorten that, put this on display, etc. Here chicks end up looking like someone turned their elbows inside out. It’s like… are you hiding your tits? Is that the point? Trying to make your hips seem larger?

Chicks need to stop looking like dudes and start looking like women again. Between this and the deadpan emotion everybody and their mom makes, you want to go and smack some photographers around.

Filed under: shit that grinds my gears