Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Goes Around...

What goes around always come back around...eventually. That especially goes for photography styles. Lately, I've really noticed that a lot of what's hot now used to be hot "back then". Isn't that creamy, faded-out vintage Photoshop action an amazing new "look"? Actually, that's extremely reminiscent of my parent's 1969 photo album, (which by the way, I love to look through!). It's an awesome look that is timeless. It is somehow warm, moving and organic. A very cool look that is very popular...again.
It's so funny to think about, because back in the way back in the day...photographer's would have given their right arm to have the equipment we have today that can produce the most crisp and clean photographs you can ever imagine. (I am still blown away by my 21meg baby on my hip and I recently read a release for a new 48meg! Seriously?!) What is so hilarious to me is that the cameras and equipment have never been better...they keep getting better. I personally don't think this digital age went exactly as planned. Instead of coming up with new processes and styles, we keep wanting to go back...way back. Some photographer's pay good hard cash to buy all sorts of newbie Photoshop actions to make their photos look like they came out of 1950! Take an excellent photo, throw it into Photoshop and click your favorite action which probably consists of something like this: desaturate the mess out of it, layer fuzzy filters and orangey-tan tones throughout, rearrange all of the color levels and curves, and don't forget to add the fake film flaws and lovely vignette...all to make it look "old". Hmmm....let's think about this.
Why do we like everything to look "vintage" all of a sudden? Whose idea was that? Now, mind you, I'm not knocking it, because I love the look. I just think it's interesting how we as photographers in the 21st century have every available tool at our finger tips to make our photos look pristine and "new", but yet we choose to go back to some of the roots of photography and the beginnings of an art that was already as cool as it gets back then! Keep in mind that back then, the photographers were shooting film and they used different lighting and special films and processes to achieve a desired look. Today, all we have to do is capture an "okay" picture and toss it into our computers and press a button and the work is done for us. What's organic about that process? I know I've said it before and I'll say it is just too easy these days...but is that good or bad? I guess it's all a matter of opinion. I guess as long as it's your original work, it's art...right?

I thought about suggesting a real vintage photo challenge to anyone that reads this and is interested, but even if you had a real old-school film camera, you probably wouldn't be able to find film for it...sniff-sniff...:( But, hey if you can get your hands on it, go for it! Go out and shoot something vintage style with film, then do the same image with digital. It's fun and eye opening to compare the two processes.
Hey, it all boils down to fads too. They come and go. Who knows maybe 40 years from now we'll be doing the 1979 fro's and matching sweaters....hmmm, something tells me that this one is gone and is never coming back....sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

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