Trump's White Shirt & a Nikon with a Built-in PhoneSaturday, April 18, 2020
|Left photograph by Helmut Newton|
The present almost lockdown/quarantine in Vancouver has given me lots of time to reflect on my past, live day to day when it seems that five minutes ago it was yesterday, and quite important think of the immediate future. Because of my 77 years that immediate future is not all that certain, except the certainty of my death.
I think of legacy and in the end after throwing scads of lawyers and business men from my extensive files into the garbage (via burning them in my fireplace), that legacy is all but irrelevant.
I have flats and flats containing matted photographs that I personally printed and exhibited at countless galleries but never sold any. I am not in the least bitter about that. I was gainfully employed as a freelancer for many years for the best magazines and newspapers not only in Canada but abroad.
It would be silly to complain now that I am obsolete, redundant, retired & inconsequential. Life is pleasant, there is food (that I cook) on the table and both my Rosemary and I are relatively healthy.
I don’t fuss too much about the stage of journalism or photography these days
But I do think of the ethics involved in former editors (good ones) now teaching journalism are suspect.Where will their students go when they graduate?
And photography with the loss of darkrooms, Kodachrome (and Ektachrome) and good magazines, the idea of accuracy in colour is all but lost. News photographers have their digitals on auto so their cameras under CNN video lights render Trump’s white shirts as yellow and his face as orange. This is not a conspiracy to make the man look bad. It is simply lazy incompetence by those news photographers who seem not to know any better.
My Fuji X-E3 digital camera is a delight with its smallish zoom lens, ergonomic design and a more or less easy learning curve. I wonder how the folks at Nikon and Canon will make out after the quarantine lockdown has ended.
Many of my contemporaries boast about the quality of their phones when they take sunsets, skylines, sunsets and more skylines. Why bother with a $4000 clunker?
In that long-gone 20th century magazines, newspapers and advertising company had lots of money to pay photographers to take original photographs that had style. One in my memory is the Dave Brubeck Quartet album cover shot by Avedon.
That world is gone. It has been replaced by click-and-leave quickly or pictures of celebrities unknown to me sporting cleavage to the floor. Who took the photograph? Does anybody care?
Local photo-journalist Nick Didlick some years ago told me, “You can only trust a photograph and its veracity if you know the photographer.”
The photograph illustrating this blog was one inspired by one (a lovely series shot in NY in which the balcony shots featured Yellow Cabs below on the street) taken by Helmut Newton. My photograph is not the same but the inspiration is there.
I cannot think of any photograph that I have seen lately that has inspired me to shoot. Inspiration now for me has to be internal.
And how are Canon and Nikon going to solve their marketing problem? That’s easy! When this is over they are going to launch digital DSLRs with built-in phones.