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06-27-2018, 02:26 PM   #1
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death of bokeh?

so, recently, Tony Northrup was discussing where photography is heading, in his opinion, and what changes might be coming our way.
he mentioned that the bokeh 'trend' is on its way out. the newer generation is preferring to use more candid shots, less composed, less attention to light, and other technicalities. that the newer generation is caring more for selfies and badly executed images, as they find 'well done photography' to be cheesy and 'professional'.

i'm not sure if fully agree with him, though part of that i am seeing the world going towards.

i personally follow travel photography channels on youtube, or instagram, and i keep coming across photos that are just BAD. people have their selfies with stupid faces, and ugly backgrounds. and yet, those images are LOVED by the world.
and then there is a perfect portrait of a family in the fields of cambodia, with great background, subject, light, and it tells a compelling story. and no one really bats an eye at it.

perhaps he does have a point. smaller sensors, and phone cameras, though maybe able to create more and more bokeh as technology is catching up, its still not as close as to what apsc/fullframe/medium format can do.

even trends like HDR, landscape for calendars, etc are all lost. perhaps bokeh is on its way out too?


thought thoughts?

06-27-2018, 02:29 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by hadi Quote
so, recently, Tony Northrup was discussing where photography is heading, in his opinion, and what changes might be coming our way.
he mentioned that the bokeh 'trend' is on its way out. the newer generation is preferring to use more candid shots, less composed, less attention to light, and other technicalities. that the newer generation is caring more for selfies and badly executed images, as they find 'well done photography' to be cheesy and 'professional'.

i'm not sure if fully agree with him, though part of that i am seeing the world going towards.

i personally follow travel photography channels on youtube, or instagram, and i keep coming across photos that are just BAD. people have their selfies with stupid faces, and ugly backgrounds. and yet, those images are LOVED by the world.
and then there is a perfect portrait of a family in the fields of cambodia, with great background, subject, light, and it tells a compelling story. and no one really bats an eye at it.

perhaps he does have a point. smaller sensors, and phone cameras, though maybe able to create more and more bokeh as technology is catching up, its still not as close as to what apsc/fullframe/medium format can do.

even trends like HDR, landscape for calendars, etc are all lost. perhaps bokeh is on its way out too?


thought thoughts?
Social media and fake mentions..likes etc. Yet there's a point...time will tell.

06-27-2018, 03:00 PM   #3
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That definition could be applied, at least in part, to the street genre as well.
Not that HCB did not have a terrific eye for composition, attention to detail and light... just the "candid" part probably...
06-27-2018, 03:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hadi Quote
death of bokeh? so, recently, Tony Northrup was discussing where photography is heading, in his opinion,

I have never bothered with his opinions. But it seems to me that the people who bought Instamatics years ago (and I started with that kind of camera) were never concerned about bokeh. Likewise the selfie crowd today are not concerned with bokeh. "Proper" cameras and cell phone cameras are different markets. There will always be some overlap like the "I shot an entire wedding on an iphone" set. Fewer people will buy a K-1 ii or a Sony A9 just to take selfies. So the shakeout in cameras and changes in numbers sold probably reflects the fact that new technology is allowing different markets to be satisfied more easily. But I cannot imagine the large sensor camera market collapsing because someone invests millions in developing a credible "fake bokeh" algorithm. It could be done (the Pentax Q "blur" was less than amazing) but that is just putting something into the image. Taking out diffraction would be much more of a challenge. "Never say never" but I think the big shift will be a revolution in image recording technology that makes everything we have today redundant. As far as I am aware, such a shift is not yet on the horizon.

06-27-2018, 03:06 PM - 6 Likes   #5
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I could care less what Tony Northrup or any other internet expert says. Unless they would like to say that what they think is irrelevant. Then I would probably agree with them.

I take photos because I like taking photos. I shoot what I like and process photos the way that I like them. There is nothing that he says that will change what I like.
06-27-2018, 03:10 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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snap shooters will settle for less, and not know what good photography is.
06-27-2018, 03:20 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve_k Quote
I could care less what Tony Northrup or any other internet expert says.
Ditto.
06-27-2018, 03:24 PM   #8
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Take a Look at the selection for judging (approx 200) for the Royal Photographic Society's 161st competition and it looks like we are already there.

06-27-2018, 03:32 PM   #9
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I tried navigating the RPS site with not much success
06-27-2018, 03:36 PM   #10
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Likes on social media do not equate to sale of images.

If all you care about is hits and likes for your slice of advertising revenue, then professional photography is not a sensible career path.
06-27-2018, 03:40 PM - 7 Likes   #11
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There's a media term that seems have caught on which I can't abide, and that's to say something is "on trend". For two small words, it says a lot - describing the tendency for a large, socially-aware, self-obsessed, perhaps insecure and certainly easily-influenced section of the population (I've heard them described as "sheeple", though I feel that's rather derogatory) to jump on board with novelty fashions.

There may indeed be a trend for a large number of photographers (of varying repute) to over-use very shallow depth of field. But when those "trend-followers" move on to other things in order to be part of the "in crowd", there'll still be a large number of us using that and every other creative tool at our disposal to produce images that look how we wanted them to. Those tools will never be on their way out for real photographers...

Echoing some of the sentiments others have posted, many people posting photographs on social media aren't cut from the same cloth as photographic enthusiasts. That doesn't make their "work" any less valid, but I consider it to be a world apart from what we're doing...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-27-2018 at 04:53 PM.
06-27-2018, 03:41 PM - 7 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hadi Quote
perhaps he does have a point. smaller sensors, and phone cameras, though maybe able to create more and more bokeh as technology is catching up, its still not as close as to what apsc/fullframe/medium format can do.
Some Iphone users get excited about every software advancement that tries to mimic shallow DoF or great lighting. So there's at least a subset of camera phone users that seems to care about the results. Unfortunately, these software enhanced things still look pretty crap, especially when they have to automatically mask complex edges like hair.

SO! My prediction:

1) "Bokeh" is here to stay.
2) Awesomely lit photos are here to stay.
3) Software that creates the above will continue to improve and be widespread in small handheld phones or cameras.
4) Everyone in the future will be bald and wear form fitting jumpsuits to make the software's edge detection look better.
06-27-2018, 03:46 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
4) Everyone in the future will be bald and wear form fitting jumpsuits to make the software's edge detection look better.
I've you haven't applied for a patent on that, I get right on it!!
06-27-2018, 03:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by beachgardener Quote
I tried navigating the RPS site with not much success
The Royal Photographic Society (@royalphotographicsociety) ? Instagram photos and videos

Not all are entries but most are. I have difficulty with a lot of it but "Portraiture's" in particular a lot of dead space and or clutter
06-27-2018, 03:56 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Tony Northrup? Gee maybe we should give up on him and go back to the oversaturated world of Ken Rockwell.
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