Polaroid. Instagram. It’s all the same. (for real)

First, before readfing, Check out the link: http://www.amazon.com/Polaroid-Instant-Digital-Printing-Technology/dp/B001RIYUJQ/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1348712960&sr=8-16&keywords=instant+camera

(one of the latest and most “modern” Polaroid cameras.)

Ya, that’s right. I’m part of the Polaroid cult-phenomenon. This is a post about cameras.

Image

But before you jump to conclusions, wait! I actually did grow up with Polaroids in my house growing up. Don’t worry, this isn’t a hipster fashion hunt for “vintage” accessories.

I promise, this blog is still completely relevant for you. As long as you haven’t lived under a rock for the last 50 years, you realize that everyone who has a phone…..already has a camera. The technology is crazy good now. (In fact you might be reading this on your new i-phone 5)

Access to digital image taking AND sharing is easier than ever. Hence Facebook’s wise (billion dollar) investment of buying Instagram.

As requires for my business, but also curiosity, I keep up with the latest tech news about new cameras and software. But I guess….I’ve reached a chasm…a kind of brick wall in my research.

To learn more about why we love things like Instagram, led me back to the start. I had to go back to the basics.

I realized that everything in digital photography….is based off our knowledge of film photography. You can’t understand the first without the second.

In fact, cameras haven’t changed much. They’re built exactly the same, except with a digital sensor instead of a film backing, where the light hits when the shutter opens.

So what is it that we really love, amidst the thousands of kinds of cameras…..and lack of need for fancy ones since the creation of 8 megapixel i-phones?

What we really love is the instantaneous quality it provides.

Notice the  aesthetic style of the portait is still mimicked to this day:

Image.

….So if we can combine that look…with printing ability, we’re starting to get somewhere.

I think the future is already here: digital + instant print.

Yes. That’s right. It’s already here.

Everything makes its way back ’round. Instagram is actually becoming a camera. Check it: http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/09/socialmatic-instagram-camera-moves-closer-to-becoming-a-reality/

As I write this, I have to laugh with you a bit though at the irony. I admit, I just bought my the original Polaroid camera at an auction today.

Good news.

It turns out that a company called Impossible is creating the film again! (Polaroid went bankrupt) Looks like you might just have the best of both worlds soon! As it turns out, there is still a growing hunger for instant film, uniting several generations and creating an entirely new community of photographers. See site: http://www.the-impossible-project.com/?nointro=1

—————————————————-

The Camera Works Like Your Eye

My job is kind of like being an optometrist. I produce a sort of corrected vision.

So, does the type of camera used matter? Well, yes and no. But for sake of simplification right now, just pretend all cameras are equal in artistic or aesthetic quality.

Here’s the key to understanding all of it. Seriously, I can sum it all up for you.

The camera is like your eye.

It’s simple really. You ever notice, when it’s really bright outside, you squint and your pupils get smaller? That’s the aperture of a camera.  Increasing the exposure speed….is like putting on sunglasses.

[If you’re really tech savvy and curious like me, check out this interesting article which explains in detail: http://www.pixiq.com/article/eyes-vs-cameras  ]

When you get older (or have naturally crappy eyesight) and need glasses — well, that’s like the lens on a (non-phone, interchangeable SLR) camera.

The reason for different ranges of lenses is for the same reason my pops has bug-eyed bifocals half an inch thick (for his 20-200 vision) and my mom has fashionable, thin reading glasses. You need to adjust the focus for short distance and long distance, according to need.

As you go throughout your day, think about your eyes as cameras. It’s a cool exercise, which nobody will be able to tell you are doing…….unless you’re super awkward and squinting at random people. In which case, that’s funny. So please do so and tell me afterwards.

——————————

Let’s just admit it– we’re all “photographers” now.

Sorry, i have to mention this footnote. My mind has recently been changed about this, drastically.

I have an ongoing joke with one of my best friends Dan.  He likes to make fun of me by saying, “All I need to do your job is my smartphone…..Ya, just hold it right there…” {Insert dramatic camera framing and click}. “See- Art.” [Insert huge grin and good-natured laugh}  ——-Don’t worry though, I always get him back and say “All I need is my phone calculator to be a financial analyst like you! haha”

But seriously, I’ve now educated you. What’s your opinion? How does this advancement/regression of technology strike you?

and within the 30 seconds it takes for me show my friends how to use the Instagram app, you are now a “photographer”.

So, with everyone being a “photographer” now, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, I think the question is complicated. The answer is simple.

It’s a loaded question, because taking a picture may make you a “photographer” in the most literal sense of you + camera = camera operater = photographer.

But regardless of all the other professional photographers who get their panties in a bunch every time someone whips  their 8-megapixel photo-lab from their pocket—we should be happy. That is the simple answer. I say, the more the merrier.

If the amateur’s work is annoyingly horrible and he’s still creating a Facebook page — so what? He shouldn’t be “competition” then. Besides, I don’t buy into the whole “competition” mindset. I enjoy helping young and aspiring camera enthusiasts truly learn more about the field.

My personal theory?

There are two kinds of “photographers” within this generations new-found community. One is not “better” or “worse.” One is simply more educated. I think that, just like the printing press, getting the accessible and affordable technology into the hands of the common people is always a step in the right direction.

It’s controversial because of this– there will always be those amateurs who do not understand a piece of mechanical equipment does not equal instant skill.With access to cameras more readily available than any society in the history of the world, the problem isn’t really the camera. Most every “tech literate” person under 70 (shout out to Mimi), understands how to merely operate the tool.

“A Photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.”

I’ve come across some good example of the two different extremes:

1. The “Hipstagrammers” : Instagram plus object = Art.

I really hope I don’t have to further explain this one! haha

2. The “Pro I-phoners” : Dammit, these guys actually get paid for this??!! What am i doing?

——Collin Hughes (commercial photographer):

http://visualsupply.co/features/vsco-cam-collin-hughes

——–Ben Lowy (international photojournalist)

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/02/ben-lowy-virtually-unfiltered/

Well, I hope I’ve left you plenty of rescources for further reading! As always, thanks for tuning in.

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Categories: Life Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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