I picked up the latest edition of my fave photo mag (Black And White Photography ) and it had a short snippet of news that made me sit up and pay attention. Jessops the large UK photo chain commissioned a survey which found that 20% of British adults have NEVER had a photo printed, 8% of British adults printed a photo at least once a month, and a whopping 44% have lost a digital photo they wish that they had printed. Amazing stuff.
It maybe an age related thing, but, I have always liked prints. Even when I shot slide film I had prints made. To me prints are the ultimate expression of my photographic endeavours. I realise that for many people who came to photography post the digital revolution prints are anachronistic hang over from a bygone era, but for me printing is an essential part of the photographic process. I think many people are put off by the apparent complexity of the process – look on the internet and it all looks so hard, but actually it is relatively simple to get good prints. The first step in the process is to profile your monitor – this ensures that are no strange colour casts. I use a ColorMunki Display which is ridiculously easy to use and is relatively inexpensive. For the second step you can either send or take your image files to a lab and have them do the next bit, or like me print your own at home. I choose to print at home because I live in a rural area where there is no local lab, I’m impatient and want to see the results immediately and the surge to print often happens at odd times. I chose a Canon Pixma Pro 100S as it is an A3+ sized dye based printer. I prefer my prints to be on glossy paper and dye based inks look better than pigment based ones. Also dye based printers are less likely to clog. I don’t profile my printer for the paper I use I just use the canned profiles from the paper manufacturers website. The video below shows how easy the whole process is.
Shortly after reading the piece in Black and White Photography I was perusing the BBC website when I came across a piece on the science pages that was warning that the world was facing a ‘digital Dark Age” . Apparently Dr Vint Cerf an internet pioneer and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google (and yeah I had to Google him to find out who he was) has become famous for his predictions on how technology will affect future generations. He reckons that a lot of the digital images created in the early Twenty First Century will be lost as current hardware and software become obsolete so future generations will have no records of the period. I find this ironic considering Google is really pushing Google Photos as an in the cloud archive system. Anyway Google are apparently spending shed loads of money to try to prevent this with some you beaut techno solution. Personally I think the answer is obvious. The one material we know a lot about with regards to its archival properties is paper. In fact I’ve got quite a few family photos that date from the later half of the Nineteenth Century. So if you want to make sure your precious photos survive print them. Use good quality papers and inks and a lifespan in excess of 100 years is easily attainable. The Wilhelm Institute gives archival ratings for most ink and paper combinations and advice on how to store your prints. If you print at A4 then should your digital archive disappear into oblivion with a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth then you can scan your prints and salvage the situation.
So there you have it. Now you’re not only making art but you are protecting your precious images from a digital apocalypse.
Sorry for the absence of a post last weekend – my trusty laptop had pass away and gone to Silicon Heaven. It may come as a shock to many people that there is an afterlife for electric and electronic appliances.
So I had to get myself another computer, this time I bought myself a desktop. All very swish looking with lots of brushed aluminium and shiny glass. The OS interface is all very futuristic looking in that sleek modern shiny way. Of course it wasn’t just a straight forward turn the thing on and then install my apps – no my last machine was a little on the ancient side and things had moved on and I had to search for updates, patches and firmware revisions. It’s amazing what a time sink a computer can be, I first started working with them in the mid 1980’s and we were promised a lot of things like they’d make us more efficient and we’d have a paperless office. Well thirty years on the paperless office still hasn’t arrived and anything involving a computer still takes longer than it did without one. In 1985 2013 sounded so futuristic and full of possibilities, yet now we’re here it is all a bit of an anticlimax. Whatever happened to the 3 day working week we were promised? I distinctly remember watching a TV program aired on the BBC called Tomorrow’s World which said that we’d all have flying cars. I suppose somethings did change – if you’d have told me thirty years ago I’d be taking photos with a phone I’d have thought that:
you’re nutty as squirrel pooh
I’d need a jolly long cable just get the phone out of the house
Well here I am and although it is possible to take photos with a phone I’m not actually doing it because a smart phone would be pretty pointless as there’s no 3G coverage where I live. I suppose I could get one just to take photos with, then it would become a camera with an optional phone built in.
Talking about all things “timey-whimey”, as Doctor Who might say (you can see from this post that I spend too much time watching sci-fi from the BBC) the town of York in Western Australia suffered a huge temporal disturbance and was transported back to the middle ages, and more to the point it wasn’t Medieval Australia but Medieval Europe. I walked down to the park besides the River and there were all manner of people walking about in suits of armour, there were jesters hey nony no-ing and all manner of other Olde Worlde frippery. I quickly came to my senses and realised that it wasn’t a temporal disturbance after all but the 2013 York Medieval Fayre. There was a Medieval market where you could get the latest in Long Bows, armour, heraldic devices and even toys. I avoided the stall selling Medieval German sausages as they were probably past their sell by date – I know I know that was the wurst joke ever!!! 🙂 There were the good people of the Grey Company who put on displays of historical re-enactment focusing on the Dark Ages and Medieval times. Then there was the The Free Company who’re a group of biffologists who dress up in armour and give each other a serious belting as the YouTube clip below shows.
I fear that at this point in time I must make a confession – I strayed from the micro four thirds path and returned to full frame goodness. I broke out the 5d and the 70-200 f2.8 IS L because I knew that it would be difficult to isolate subjects from crap distracting backgrounds with the smaller format but easy to do with the larger format and fast glass. Does this mean that I will stop using m4/3? No, I’m just using the appropriate tools for the job. If anyone would like to see the stills outside of the video clip they can be seen here.