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10-12-2017, 02:35 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Wim Wenders polaroids, and "why [he thinks] photography is now over"

Wim Wenders on his Polaroids ? and why photography is now over | Art and design | The Guardian

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Its not just the meaning of the image that has changed the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, its about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image. The image for me was always linked to the idea of uniqueness, to a frame and to composition. You produced something that was, in itself, a singular moment. As such, it had a certain sacredness. That whole notion is gone.


10-12-2017, 02:58 AM - 6 Likes   #2
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I don't think he is right. Photography has broadened and that means that there is room for more than one vision. I was never a big fan of Polaroids. Yes, they were instantaneous, but they were poor quality rubbish with regard to quality. But that was his vision and I wouldn't attack it. No more would I attack folks who have a passion for HDR or for oversaturated stuff on Instagram now.

I do think in a few years a lot of them will tire of that look and either drop out of photography or move on to something else, but that's probably part of life and growth.

Certainly photography is far from over.
10-12-2017, 04:59 AM   #3
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A very philosophical way of looking at things, but I think he protests a little too much. Yes, there isn't a piece of paper to gaze at any more. But you still get to see your picture right after you take it.

The one difference is that if you don't like what you see, you can give it another go. You could do that with Polaroids but they weren't cheap and you had to give it some thought before you pressed the button. The expense also meant that it was not something that happened all that often, i.e. taking a Polaroid was an occasion. Perhaps that is the part that he misses most. Nowadays there is no expense involved in taking a digital picture and so little or no thought goes into the process. Everybody and his wife has some sort of digital camera and instant pictures are not special any more. The price of progress?

I was never a fan of Polaroids either. The quality was just awful for the money. A Polaroid back on a Hasselblad seemed very cool back in the day, but I never had one. And it was only useful for getting a rough idea of exposure. Colours came out very different from chrome film, AFAIK. And pros tended to bracket important shots anyway. The cost of film outweighed the hassle and embarassment of getting the exposure wrong by far. Chrome film is/was notorious for the need to be spot on.
10-12-2017, 05:02 AM   #4
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Almost everything Wenders said could be said of all kinds of snapshot photography from the dawn of the Brownie to modern day instagram/facebook.

Once basic photographic technology became cheap enough, it was bound to be used in ephemeral (non-sacred) ways.

Wenders' statements say more about Wenders and his assumption that if photography has changed for him it must have changed for everyone. But that's just not true.

10-12-2017, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I don't think he is right. Photography has broadened and that means that there is room for more than one vision. I was never a big fan of Polaroids. Yes, they were instantaneous, but they were poor quality rubbish with regard to quality. But that was his vision and I wouldn't attack it. No more would I attack folks who have a passion for HDR or for oversaturated stuff on Instagram now.

I do think in a few years a lot of them will tire of that look and either drop out of photography or move on to something else, but that's probably part of life and growth.

Certainly photography is far from over.
Well said.

First off, the title of the article is a little misleading. Much of it is about his new exhibit. The "photography is dead" idea is a minor part. I disagree with the notion that it's dead. It's simply changed, just as taking Polaroids in the 70s was worlds away from the portraits made decades before that. I bet there were plenty of mid-century photographers who felt the same as Wenders does now--that the art form is on the brink of death.

Things change. Art changes. Thank goodness! I think selfies are obnoxious, but I also see smart phones as a way to put very intuitive technology into the hands of the masses. As with Polaroids, cell phone pics are mostly garbage, but these two technologies are very similar in their promise. (Will there be a similar art exhibit 50 years from now that exalts iPhone snapshots?) This is another step forward, a change that reflects the changes all throughout society. I think the DSLR may someday die, but photography itself will continue to evolve and flourish.
10-12-2017, 06:07 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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just the ramblings of an old man saddened by the loss of the world of his youth and - as it is always the case - that world never existed in the first place, come on Wim, make photography great again

If you look at the world of photography now, to the number of publications, festivals et cetera you could easily argue that the still image has never been more alive than today.
10-12-2017, 06:59 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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I reckon Wenders is full of it.
10-12-2017, 07:02 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I think what Wim is getting at is now people just snap away and don't really "compose" a single shot like you used to when shooting film. Now people tend to take dozens of pictures of the same thing, as you never have to think about how many shots you have left in your roll of film.

The uniqueness of the "one shot" is now gone in the digital world, now it's just hundreds of random shots to sort through.

I actually agree with him.......

Phil.

10-12-2017, 07:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I think what Wim is getting at is now people just snap away and don't really "compose" a single shot like you used to when shooting film. Now people tend to take dozens of pictures of the same thing, as you never have to think about how many shots you have left in your roll of film.

The uniqueness of the "one shot" is now gone in the digital world, now it's just hundreds of random shots to sort through.

I actually agree with him.......

Phil.
Nonsense... those of us who know how to set up our shots still set up our shots. Those who don't know how to set up a shot, never did. The fact that I can set up a shot, and snap off a burst looking for the one where everyone's eyes are open, no one's head is in front of someone else's etc has nothing to do with anything. I still had to set up the shot before I started shooting. Just as many people set up their shots as ever did. It was practically none, among people not trained as photographers, and it's just as low a percentage now. Going to Niagara Fall, I constantly see people setting up shots taken with their phones to get the falls in the back ground so it looks just the way they want it, and going back over and over until they get it right.

Anytime you have a guy claiming he does things a certain way and it's too bad everybody else doesn't, for the most part it's a photographer who's discovered hype helps pay the bills.
10-12-2017, 08:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I think what Wim is getting at is now people just snap away and don't really "compose" a single shot like you used to when shooting film. Now people tend to take dozens of pictures of the same thing, as you never have to think about how many shots you have left in your roll of film.

The uniqueness of the "one shot" is now gone in the digital world, now it's just hundreds of random shots to sort through.

I actually agree with him.......

Phil.
You have a point. Digital makes it possible to fire away and hope for the best.

However, if you can visualize the shot before you take it you have a much, much greater chance of success. You might make a few adjustments after setting up and taking the initial shot, but there is no need for hundreds of random shots if you have an idea of what the end result should be.
10-12-2017, 08:33 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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A Polaroid photographer talking about some lost sacredness of the photographic art? Good one!
10-12-2017, 08:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
You have a point. Digital makes it possible to fire away and hope for the best.

However, if you can visualize the shot before you take it you have a much, much greater chance of success. You might make a few adjustments after setting up and taking the initial shot, but there is no need for hundreds of random shots if you have an idea of what the end result should be.
Your going to have to show me these people who take hundreds of random shots. I've seen evidence that once a chimp understands what a camera does, they set up their shots. Yet you say there are people who don't? I'm not buying it. I would go with some actually understand what they are doing when they set up a shot from a composition perspective, and some just are happy if they have a picture of something. But they all get what they want in the frame. Some just want the subject and pay no attention to the rest of the image. Some realize the whole image has to be good.
10-12-2017, 10:54 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I kind of agree with Norm here... And even if there are people who don't set up their shots (most phone shooters, and a lot of DSLR-wielding soccer moms like my wife), that still doesn't prove a thing - just like Mr. Wenders' generalization about all photographers now being snapshot shooters.

Much ado about nothing... sounds like another one of those "back when I was young, things were so much better..." kind of complains from people who don't like that the world has changed around them
10-12-2017, 11:23 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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I'm sure the original wet plate photographers said the same thing 120 years ago when people started taking photos like crazy with roll film.
10-12-2017, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Nonsense... those of us who know how to set up our shots still set up our shots. Those who don't know how to set up a shot, never did.
No it's not how to set up a shot, it's the time taken to setup a shot that has changed. When you only have a limited supply of film you tend to spend more time thinking before you shoot, as you may have only one shot to take.

Yes it's different now in the digital world, I see it every time I travel and observe other people shooting.

Phil.
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