I Hate to Say “I Told You So” But…..

A “FaceApp” Photo Edit

It’s happening faster than I thought. The “photography” you and I know and love is dead. If you think I’m being alarmist, you’re obviously not paying much attention…or you’re just not very bright.

Read about it here: https://fstoppers.com/originals/death-photoshop-warning-photographers-399501

Reader’s Comments are especially instructive.

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30 thoughts on “I Hate to Say “I Told You So” But…..

  1. Henry Beckmeyer

    Meh. I make photos the same way I did in the 1970s, except my method of image capture can now be either digital or film. You do the same, far as I can tell. So do a lot of other folks. We’re all still alive.

    I had the same reaction as you when it comes to music – I am a former musician, and value a certain expertise and skill in music making and production. When I hear “today’s” music, I just don’t hear anything I value in it. But it is not made for me, anymore. So be it. I let it go. I’m old.
    (Yes, there are people still playing “real” music out there – you just need to search them out.)

    After we’re all dead, and “our photography” maybe goes away…well, we’re dead, so who cares?
    It’s up to the living to create their own realities.

    1. 32BT

      It’s not about what you like to do personally. You can speak latin at home if you want to. That doesn’t make it any less a dead language.

      You need to ask yourself this: how many people can write an actual godhonest 1000 page novel? A novel full of emotion that teaches us something about life?

      Not too many, I would say.

      But now ask yourself this: how many people would be able to actually read and enjoy such a novel today, in this day and age?

      1. Henry Beckmeyer

        What makes a language dead? The fact that it isn’t being expanded upon, or modernized, or used in a way which allows it to evolve. The number of people who speak it really doesn’t matter. There are languages in this world that are spoken only by a few people, because of a natively small indigenous population, or the encroachment of another language (english, probably).
        Things only “die” when they become rigid museum pieces. Photography, or even long-form novel writing, are not dead.

        And, honestly seen, it IS about what I like to do personally. I am the sole conduit of my experiences in the world. Guess what? YOU are the sole conduit of your experiences in this world. It is in those innate, shared experiences where we find common ground that form the basis of society, language, the arts…

  2. Lee Rust

    All I know about the future is that it’ll be different from now, and way different from how things used to be.

    I must say that the aging app is pretty amazing, even though any use of it means that the Russians will own your face forever. It has nothing to do with real life though, but who needs that when there’s so much incredible fake stuff to hear, see, do and say. Reality is so boring and repetitive.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      “Now all your photos can look like an Audi Auto commercial. Just press the button and we’ll do the rest.”

  3. Wayne

    Thanks. AI has reached a point where we have to start asking”….”What are we going to do about AS (artificial stupidity?)

  4. .

    I don’t regard any of the new tools that are becoming available to us as being harbingers of the destruction of photography, rather they present new opportunities.

    Feel free to continue processing your black and white wonders Tim, regardless of the methods and tools you employ, nobody is about to stop you.

    As a for instance, I have attempted several times to get into analogue printing, I have done courses and thoroughly enjoyed them, but somehow have never translated that into home practise, even though I have the equipment.

    Regardless of the camera I used, the output ends up going through a little raw editor called Iridient Developer. There are no full presets, there are no fancy bits, but you can make the sort of changes that can be made in the darkroom, before recompiling as a jpeg for the display. Just like all of your digitised pictures.

    As for printing, have a gander at “Photography Beyond Technique”, which is a collection of essays from an extinct website called f295 and edited by Tom Persinger. There are many ways to skin a cat.

    I am with Henry Beckmayer here.

    Life is too short.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Natalie: The problem I see is not one of change to something new, to ‘new’ forms and methods of photography. It’s that it’s not photography anymore. The indexical quality that is a necessary component of photography, it as a witness to what was, is hopelessly compromised now. Photography has lost its truth value, and its never coming back, and it never can come back. Even if I were to print the negative corner to corner, print it with the film markings and sprocket holes, that would be no reason to believe its inherent veracity. Prior to digitalization, that wouldn’t be true. People still could have a trust in the basic validity of the photograph as a representation, however naive, of a true state of affairs. No more. That’s gone. Forever.

      1. Rob Campbell

        You’re right, of course, but you must accept digital work as simply another, separate, form of graphic art. Then, it’s easily comfortable.

        The “Arsenal” device could actually be very usefully employed if you are in the stock photo business today; I would use it for that kind of work if only because the business has morphed into something quite else.

        That said, never for people shots, where I still believe it’s about, well, interactions between people.

        But I come with the mindset that anything other than documentary/street and fashion/advertising isn’t real photography anyway. The rest gets bundled with babies on rugs, cats, puppies and brides doing their bridal poses as new husbands manage to look extremely embarrassed throughout. I think those define photographic career as career by accident or because nothing better came along, however much money may be spun along the way. I simply cannot get my head around the idea that anyone doing that work seriously looks forward to the start of a new day.


        1. Rob Campbell

          Actually, I rather prefer shooting my personal version of improvement over harsh reality.

          Funny thing: for a while, many years ago, I used my late mother’s reading specs for computer work. Today, I realised they fit the iPad proximity perfectly!

          What goes around…

      2. Wayne

        Well, there is always the negative, if it exists. So photo viewing/production through digital processes will have to be seen as less and less authentic as we move forward. Isn’t that a good thing?, sort of making it easier to illustrate the need to segregate real photography from digital imaging?

  5. Tam

    I just checked the refrigerator. All my film is still there, thank heavens!

    (You’ll be happy to know that the “face aging” app fad on social media lasted about two weeks and died out over a month ago.)

    1. Rob Campbell

      Not good enough: use the freezer.

      I still have quite a little stash of films, including historical Kodachrome 64 Pro, as well as some Velvia 50 in 120. As I long ago lost my ability to use 120, to do so again in some future golden age will prove expensive. Fortunately, I still have a Nikon, but only useable black/white film for that.

      A film I came upon too late in my career was Kodachrome 200. Again, classical case of poor timing.

      Funny how saying goodbye can sometimes prove emotionally impossible to accomplish.


      1. Tam

        I still have maybe a half-dozen rolls of Agfapan 25 in the freezer. Thawing one is not done lightly…

        1. Wayne

          How do you process Agfapan 25? Of all expired B&W films I have shot through my Minox subminiature cameras, Agfapan 25 has been, by far, the most challenging. I usually get no usable result.

          1. Tam

            Sadly, my current residence has no room that would make a good darkroom. Most film processing I have done locally at Roberts Camera (Indianapolis), but the Agfapan gets mailed to The Darkroom in California.

  6. Keith Laban

    “So whadd’ya gonna do, get depressed, give up and sell up, or carry on regardless, shooting what you believe to be your own version of truth?”

    Just to be clear, the above was addressed to Tim, not Rob.

    Fact is though that both of them do their own thing exceedingly well and I see no reason to believe they’ll chuck it in any time soon.

    1. Rob Campbell

      Thanks for that, Keith. I know it was bit unclear, but that’s partly due to the format of posting here within the mechanics of the system.

      Appreciate the warm endorsement; you know it’s mutual. Yes, our host has a great ability to get to the guts of a picture. On top of that, his writing never disappoints!


  7. Andrew Molitor

    Reading the comments there I was excited to learn that there is a whole large and vibrant community of creative and talented photographers, many of whom are actually working professionals, who are doing great work that is anything but cookie cutter Instagram ready garbage.

    I only wish I could find where they show their work.

    1. Rob Campbell

      A good place to start is by finding photographers’ agents’ websites.

      Not to spoon-feed you, I have absolutely no fears that you can’t find some such agencies in minutes!


      1. Andrew Molitor

        I *do* see your smiley, but I feel the need to clarify anyways.

        I was being sarcastic. Every photographic internet forum is infested with people who hold firm opinions about this or that, and back it up with the claim that they are professionals, or tremendously creative. There is never any evidence, and, statistically speaking, they are most likely neither.

        See also “Of course I need a 150 megapixel camera, I am a professional!”

  8. D

    I’m an old guy and the wisdom gained over many years is that futurists, those predicting the future are almost always wrong, that’s why I don’t listen to market timers, if they were so bright and correct they would cash in on their brilliance, if they’re not so brilliant they look for other ways to cash in, such as selling their secrets or getting eyeballs on their web pages.

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