February 11, 2003 2:40 AM   Subscribe

Photobloggies ~ vote for the best photoblogs on the web.
posted by crunchland (15 comments total)
Thanks for the link crunchland. Photoblogs deserve as much recognition as textual blogs, IMHO.
posted by walrus at 3:44 AM on February 11, 2003

I'm glad that photoblogs are getting some recognition, but the value is diluted by some of the more irrelevant categories, is there really all that much difference between images from a Lomo, toy camera and a pencam, all of which are separate categories?

( I understand the difference between the three, it just seems like it would have more value to keep things simpler)
posted by jeremias at 4:43 AM on February 11, 2003

I'm not too much into the photoblogs, and the quality of the nominees was, ah, erratic. But there were a few real gems in there that I wouldn't have found otherwise. DigitalSucks was particularly wonderful.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:45 AM on February 11, 2003

I'm not a big fan either, not being at one with a camera like most of the nominees. But some of these have the most beautiful and intriguing shots on them. If pressed to find a favorite photolog, I'd pick pixelog, which isn't even nominated, although I do believe it was nominated for something, somewhere, at some time. No idea what. There do seem to be a lot of awards and voting thingys lately.
posted by iconomy at 5:00 AM on February 11, 2003

I'm not too much into the photoblogs [...] But there were a few real gems in there

I'm not too much into the textblogs, but there are a few real gems in there. For me, both genres probably contain an equal measure of trash and brilliance. However, there are fewer photoblogs out there, and less fluff written about how they will change the world. So this competition is probably a good thing, even if only for balance-redressing purposes.

The entire question of having awards for personal gratification websites is another one entirely ... but it certainly doesn't seem to harm anyone, and sometimes (as on this occasion) I have found really interesting websites through the lists of nominees. pixelog ... yum. Yes, I've stumbled upon that somehow, recently ...
posted by walrus at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2003

I think the concept behind DigitalSucks... well, sucks.

"...when you take a simple scientific process and shroud it in a smokescreen of 1's and 0's something terrible happens - computer geeks get control."

Right, because people who develop their film are artists, unlike the rest of us poor slobs. 19th century painters probably thought the same thing about photography.

"There's a storage problem with digital. Where does one put all those megabit full of pixels ? Some are stashed away on CD's but the majority of digital photos are vaporized with the stroke of a fingertip. And make no mistake - this is an arbitrary and ruthless process - often performed by the same techno geeks that have limited understanding of photography and its value."

You can print archive-quality prints with the right paper and ink on a common ink jet printer nowadays. And as for the "vaporization" of digital shots? Same thing happens with film. Professional photogs take and dispose of hundreds of shots just to get the two or three perfect ones that make the cut.

Take Jacques-Henri Lartigue's great collection of photos for example. Incredible stuff - shot with a box camera in France in the early 1900's by a kid who (in an era when nobody shot motion) didn't care that photos had an blur. Can't be duplicated on digital although one may try in photoshop - but it wouldn't feel the same.

Digital manipulation (Photoshop and the like) are valid forms of expression, too. And there is no difference between a digital camera and a film camera save for the fact that the array of silver-halide grains is replaced by an array of CCD/CMOS sensors. CCD actually has a larger latitude of exposure range than silver-halide, so theoretically you get a more accurate image with digital. Modern advanced digital cameras actually have more sensors than 35mm film, and approach medium format resolutions. And as for the box camera question? Just set your aperature really small and you'll be fine.

Sorry for the slightly off-topic rant, I just hate to see photosnobs pissing on "normal folk" who may not want to destroy their lungs with developing and fixing chemicals and aren't afraid to embrace technology to create their art.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:31 AM on February 11, 2003

Way too many frickin' nominations. And what is up with this? Pasting images counts for something? Wait a sec, that's in the "best blogger that posts about photography news and/ or posts technical tips about photography" category. Not really a photo blog then is it? Then there's the problem with "Photoblo Gof They Ear". The nominees appear to be selected from other categories. Should this not be more of a Grand Champion thing, instead of already selecting the best from the other categories?
posted by Dick Paris at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2003

For iconomy - Pixelog is up as a SXSW Web Finalist. If you like it, you can vote for it in the People's Choice category too, whether you're attending SXSW or not.
posted by christine_bpc at 8:44 AM on February 11, 2003

posted by hoder at 8:53 AM on February 11, 2003

Thanks, christine - I knew I had seen it somewhere. I just voted for it.
posted by iconomy at 8:56 AM on February 11, 2003

Civil_Disobedient: The slightly off-topic rant was OK. You could've linked it with a the Big Picture, however, by noting that the Photobloggies prove that the "people aren't saving dumb or trivial pictures" bit isn't true. Even the finest sites still had fairly standard shots of cats and flowers. I bet no one has ever thought of taking a shot of a flower up close, or a cat yawning or whatever. That's really creative. But who's above doing these shots, who has a camera? A show of hands?

(The same goes for a up-close shot of a leaf. Oh! And not all cat, leaf and flower shots are equal, of course, but most fall into the, "Gosh, isn't this pretty" or the "Isn't my cat so darned cute?" category.)
posted by raysmj at 9:09 AM on February 11, 2003

Leaving aside the content issues of kitties and flowers and wannabe Ansel Adamses --

Being an anti-film snob is just as obnoxious as being an anti-digital snob. is blunt with its name, but in general I don't think people still waving the flag for film and analog photography are "photosnobs pissing on 'normal folk.'" It's just a matter of preferences, personal aesthetics, and using the equipment available to you -- and trying to keep people aware of the array of photography methods out there, despite the recent digital avalanche.

If you like Holgas or pinholes or thrift-store cameras, it's missing the point to say, "Well, you could just do that in Photoshop." Technically that's true, but would you even think to manipulate a "normal" digital print to look like one a shot from one of those? Half the fun of $25 toy cameras and other alternative methods is their unpredictability, and learning the quirks of a particular camera.

And even in more standard, straightforward photography, there are plenty of reasons some people like film cameras -- particularly when it comes to making large-scale prints, but also owing to different feels you get from different cameras. It's not all about the DPI.

I realize digital cameras can be fabulous; I just got one myself. I use it for different purposes than my film cameras. Most photographers I know use a mix of technologies (including making digital prints from scanned film, making digital files from scanned darkroom prints, and using digital backs to predict what a film shot will look like).

Really, if a certain camera -- digital or analog -- gets you excited about going out and taking photos, that's all that matters. Let technical diversity reign. (Then we'll talk about the flowers.)
posted by lisa g at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2003

CCD actually has a larger latitude of exposure range than silver-halide, so theoretically you get a more accurate image with digital

Not true. One of the major issues that has been holding back digital photography (apart from the cost, if you want anything but pixilated dross) is dynamic range. If you want subtle detail in the deep shadows through to the highlights, the best media, by far, remains fine-grained black-and-white emulsion, followed closely by the better "professional" color-negative materials. The very best digital SLRs (that are available to the likes of most of us - i.e. under $20,000), is just beginning to rival color transparency film for contrast control.

Modern advanced digital cameras actually have more sensors than 35mm film, and approach medium format resolutions

Only if you're prepared to pay several thousand dollars for delicate sensors that still can't accept a decent lens shorter than 28mm (35mm equivalent).

Digital is getting better and better (and cheaper and cheaper) all the time and I've no doubt that within the next few years conventional photographic emulsions, other than for a few very specialist applications, will be obsolete. It's just not quite there for more 'quality dependant' applications, yet. Digital's already won as far as photojournalism's concerned, of course.
posted by normy at 3:20 PM on February 11, 2003

lisa g: My quotes were from the DigitalSucks website. Basically, the argument was, "you can't do x with a digital camera, and that's why traditional film is better", and I wanted to clarify that yes, you actually can, so it's not.

normy: You are absolutely incorrect. While film and CCD's have approximately identical sensitivities (the ability to detect weak signals), the dynamic range of CCD's is up to 4 orders of magnitude, while the best film is only 2. This means CCD's can obtain more intensity information before being limited by saturation (or clipping of a weak signal). Further, CCD's have a linear response, while film is logarithmic, which means that digital is superior for intensity quantification. This is why film tends to have low contrast at either ends of its dynamic ranges.

And your statement about 28mm lenses being the equivalent of 35mm is also completely incorrect. Provided the CCD array is 1:1 in size to the film plane, and isn't cropped like on cheap digital cameras.

Mind you, I'm not talking about the cheap CCD's you'll find in a >$1000 digital camera. But even the pro-sumer Canon 1Ds has a 1:1 ratio which means that your 28mm will not suffer from any magnification effects.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:41 AM on February 13, 2003

CD: I think we agree but differ... My criticisms of digital are aimed at the kind of cameras most folks, even enthusiastic amateurs are likely to buy.

As for the 28/35mm comment, I was refering to a lens of focal length equivalent to 28mm on 35mm film when used with a digital sensor of smaller area and different aspect ratio. The lack of availability of wide-angle lenses is the main reason I'm still using film.... well, that and the weight and the prohibitive cost of digital for anything but snapshots that you might want to print.

And yes, what the marketeers and advertorials in the photo-mags call 'pro-sumer' SLRs are now, finally, as of the middle of last year or so, producing cameras with sensors that are the size of a 35mm frame, allowing existing optics to be used with them. Only problem for me is their fragility, the cost of memory cards of useful size and the price... we're still up there in the several thousand dollar range.

When someone makes a digital SLR that costs (and weighs) the same as a Nikon FM3A, can make 11x14 enlargements with the lack of grain of Pan F (ok, I'd settle for XP2), that I don't have to find a sterile environment to change lenses with, that has batteries that can take more than a couple of hundred frames without replacement and that accepts all of the lenses I've already got that there's no way I'm replacing anytime soon, then I'll be (very) interested. For now, I'll be keeping the film scanner.
posted by normy at 9:54 AM on February 14, 2003

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