Sports photography business resource
July 22, 2004 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Chimping: The Real Story (4 min. streaming QT movie) Whither goest thou, photojournalist cool, in the digital age? Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Rick Rickman knows about the business of photography, and his has videos of pro shooters (not just sports) talking about freelancing (more QT streaming).
posted by planetkyoto (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Direct links: part 1 and part 2
posted by thebabelfish at 7:23 PM on July 22, 2004

I've always thought "chimping" would be too obscure of an in-joke for MeFi. Guess not.

It's funny how it's perfectly okay for people to chimp with digital P&S's, but pros on assignment shooting with DSLR's are supposed to be, you know, serious with all that expensive gear. Thankfully, all the ones I've met have been anything but.

I think this aspect of digital photography has actually made shooting pictures much more social for casual photographers. A new generation of photographers will never know the alchemical magic of being alone in the darkroom watching the print materialize in a tray, with the experience being replaced by proudly showing that LCD screen to everyone around you. While making monkey sounds. I think this is a neither good nor bad development--it's just interesting to see how technology has changed peoples' behavior.

I review when I get home. I don't chimp. Really.

You'll never catch me doing it at least.

posted by DaShiv at 7:55 PM on July 22, 2004

I love their forum.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 PM on July 22, 2004

[this is *good*]
posted by bonaldi at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2004

I should correct myself, the site is NOT Rickman's, I've just always thought so because every time I've landed there it was through one of his links somewhere. The about page clarifies the genesis of the site and major contributors.
posted by planetkyoto at 10:53 PM on July 22, 2004

This "chimping" -- is it showing the screen to other people or just looking at the screen after your shot. If it's the latter, rejecting it is just big-dick bullshittery. Of course you look - unless saying "hell, ah trust mah expensive instincts to tell me when uh've got tha image, I don't need no confirmation" is of more importance than being assured of getting no nasty surprise a few hours later.
posted by bonaldi at 11:36 PM on July 22, 2004

Chimping literally refers to making the noise "ooh, ooh" or whatever, but seems to encompass both checking your own shots during the shoot or boastfully showing them to others instead of maintaing the proper cool photo-guy demeanor. I used to work as a newspaper reporter (pre-digital era), so it's easy for me to see how this came about.

"Did I get the shot?? Of course I got the shot. Are you kidding?"

You wouldn't expect to see a good bartender measuring his ingredients, you expect him to eyeball it and get it right, because he's a pro.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:31 AM on July 23, 2004

You wouldn't expect to see a good bartender measuring his ingredients, you expect him to eyeball it and get it right, because he's a pro.

That's what annoys me about a certain subset of amateur photographers (especially landscape ones) who spend more time looking at the histogram on their LCD's rather than through their viewfinders: trying too hard to get everything "right" at the expense of losing awareness of their surroundings. Obsessing over histograms outside of a studio setting has always struck me as being a bit OCD. After all, how did anyone manage to set their exposures before digital? (Though I suppose B&W negs were pretty forgiving.)

As for chimping, it's the epitome of the instant gratification of the digital era, taken well beyond any pragmatic necessity. It's perfectly cool in my book to razz people about their enthusiastic (or narcissistic) excesses. Especially if they shoot for a living. :)
posted by DaShiv at 2:35 AM on July 23, 2004

Humbug. One of the reasons why digital is inherintly better than film is because of the instant feedback you get. Instant feedback = easier learning curve. You can see the results of DOF right away, for instance. I can teach the Zone System in about 5 minutes to a complete newbie with instant-review.

Even on a practical level, there are times when shooting action that you need to know if you Got the Shot or Not (g/s/n). For instance, a lot of the action shots I do involve near-handholding limits for large lenses in order to instill motion blur while panning. Now, you can take the Greatest Grandmaster P-Funk of Foto and ask him to do a panning shot that involves two axis (e.g., follow a pitcher while he throws, follow a horse as it canters, etc.) and their shots will turn to crap on close examination. No matter how good your L33T SK1LL5 are, at last half your shots are going to be blurry. So what do you do? Chimp it, of course.

Anyway, most of these pros are only being patronizing because they've got a few grand more invested in good equipment than you, which means by default their shots are going to be better than yours, more easily. Yes, I understand equipment does not (necessarily) good shots. But a handful of assistants taking light readings and feeding you exposure values certainly make the job a lot easier.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:00 AM on July 23, 2004

I don't think they're being patronizing because they're teasing each other about the whole chimping business. After all, places like Sports Illustrated want their photogs to submit their entire take with no editing. And let's face it: it's not exactly like stadium floodlights present the constantly changing lighting conditions that would necessitate a lot of reviewing of exposures. Plus it's hard to ascribe any malice when the teasing about chimping is done with such good humor.

I agree though, picking up a digital camera taught me things so much faster than the semester of introductory photography class I took. But I still try not to make monkey noises in public. :)
posted by DaShiv at 2:44 PM on July 23, 2004

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