Friday Odds & Ends - February 10, 2012.

Another week gone by and time for another Odds & Ends Friday.

Amidst all the D800 talk this week I tweeted a post from photographer Jim M. Goldstein entitled Day Dreaming About The Antithesis of Gear Lust. I suggest you read it for yourselves but basically what it says is: gear doesn’t matter, pictures matter.

Which is entirely true and something that’s easily forgotten when we lose ourselves in endless discussions about the merits of sensors, speed and IQ. And yes, I’m totally guilty of this as well. I’ve written before about what I call gear rot and how we eventually forget about all the capacities of the gear we already own, in pursuit of the next shiny object.

If you ask people who know me, they’ll probably say I’m a gadget freak. But I never buy technology just for its own sake. I buy technology that changes how I live, work or play. I integrate technology. If it’s not going to add or change how I do things, I’m usually not interested. Which is why I still use an iPad 1, to everyone’s surprise.

I can honestly say that the X100 changed my photography — I like to think for the better. It changed my entire approach, from shooting to post-production. Buying that camera was my best move in years.

Gear doesn’t matter unless it allows you to grow. When a camera or a lens or a light mod pushes you in a new direction, then it matters.

la bourgeoisie de la mise au point

Eric Kim has a new post entitled Why Sharpness is a Bourgeoise Concept in Street Photography (note to Eric: it’s bourgeois not bourgeoise. The word “concept” is masculine… I know, don’t try to make sense of it). He talks about our obsession with tack sharp focus and how it doesn’t matter in street photography. Cites Henri Cartier-Bresson as an example. I’d go even further and say it doesn’t matter, period. Ok, perhaps that’s a little much. What I mean is it all depends on the subject matter, the goal and the context. If it’s meant to be sharp and isn’t — a car ad or the targeted eye (s) in a close-up portrait — then it’s a technical error which, depending on the intended use can be a bad thing™.

But any photograph meant to be processed at a gut level, internalized from an emotional point of view, be it commercial, editorial or art… Who cares. If the message is delivered, if the response is achieved then the picture has done its job. I don’t look at pictures with a magnifying glass. Sharpness is one part of the equation — not the be all and end all.

Daido Moriyama has made a career out of gritty, out of focus black and white street photography. I’m crazy about his work and couldn’t care less about the technical aspects of it. Like I always say: Neil Young wouldn’t cut it on American Idol. Nuff said.

Ace in the hole

M mount. At the CP+ trade show in Japan, Fujifilm showed off the X-Pro1 sporting their M mount adapter and fitted with Leica glass. I’m immensely curious to know how focusing works in such a scenario but let me tell you: out of all the things promised by this camera, this could be a huge advantage. It’s something weighing very heavily in the scale for me when I look at my future roadmap. Forget huge MPs. This could be the tipping point.

Also related: some new X-Pro1 pictures and details from Brandon Remier. I do like the look of those f1.4 night shots…

So that’s it then. Have yourselves a great weekend. Here’s a still life and a few out of focus pics… including a cat picture ;)