Archive for January, 2023
Thursday, January 26th, 2023
woohooo – how cool is that. My wet plate portrait made it to the photograph of the year. Thanks to all of you who voted for me and also thanks to Simone Stecher for this nice interview. You can find the digital Version of the interview here: https://news.wko.at/news/niederoesterreich/Der-Geschichten-Erzaehler.html
Monday, January 9th, 2023
How to load Analog FIlm into a Sony A7 – An Analog Portrait Photographers view of the upcoming year 2023 and why AI is not the End
My own prediction about what will photography be in the future and what I will do about it
I am not doing a rewind or recap this year. I think there are too many of these out there and I have mostly the feeling it’s only a fill-in. You can watch my “end of 2022 studio tour” video or my recent scanner renovation video if you want to watch something instead of reading this article.
The pink elephant in the room
It’s there, and everybody is seeing it (Also non photographers). Some people are scared, some are angry and others ignore it. What I am talking about? AI, like Midjourney, Dall-E or the text focused chatGPT. This will not change our world, it changed it already. The ai integration in our lives started a little sneaky, with some cool filters for example, google recaptcha, or enhancements for our phone cameras. Text-wise, we had chat bots that were mostly bad and voice assistants that were somewhere inbetween. Close your eyes and paint your own picture about how you felt about ai at the beginning of 2022. And now face reality and think how much it has improved in the last 5 Months and how much it improves now on a daily bases. For me it’s crazy how great these generated images/portraits look like and how they get better by the hour. It gets harder and harder for me to identify these generated images. I think these “calculated” pictures can be very useful sometimes and many of them look great.
I wrote a German article for c’t Fotografie (online pay or paper magazine) about this topic, you can read it here: https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2023/1/2219314550220514230 This includes also an interview with an portrait artist that uses ai: Klaudia Ratzinger
But I also think that all these generated images should have a digital watermark, so social media and websites can tag them as generated. People need to know if that image they are looking at is real or generated. I know that there is Photoshop as well, but these ai tools can be operated form a 5 year old and the results will fool you. Ai affects already so many business, not only photography, but also writers, lawyers, translators, book authors and many many more. I recently saw an article that a guy used chatGPT to create a children’s book. He also asked chatGPT to write down descriptions for pictures, so other ai picture generators can create imagery for the book from this description. He is selling the finished product now on Amazon. I also read a reddit thread where there was the need for a letter from a lawyer. Somebody asked chatGPT to write a letter and the user asking for a lawyer letter had success with it. You don’t have any programming skills? just ask chatGPT to write a script/program for you.
“Words can be powerful” gets a totally new meaning these days.
Talking with chatGPT can also be hilarious – more at the end of this posting
Does that mean we need to be scared as a photographer? I don’t think so. Let me explain:
- At the beginning of photography, painters were upset because photographers had no idea about posing and light. Of course it was much easier to get a portrait from one day to another. That changed crime scene documentation totally.
- Later black and white film photographers were upset about color film photography.
- At the beginning of 2000, film photographers were upset about digital photography
- And later digital photographers were upset about phone cameras
- And now the same discussion starts with ai generated images. Even we use ai already for many years in our phones (or how do you think it was possible to capture a detailed moon photo with your phone?)
And today all these mentioned techniques are still coexisting. That’s why I think they will also coexist in the future. I think good photographers must be “stage managers” these days. They need to sell an experience. Something the customer will remember for a very long time. For example, when somebody gets their wet plate portrait taken in my studio, they for sure will remember that forever.
This kind of photography is so different in our fast moving world. Sure, people could use a tintype filter. But that is like seeing a great dinner on a photograph instead of going there and enjoying it. Or think of a wet plate workshop, or any other kind of photography workshop. Creating something by yourself is always exciting and fun.
This works also for digital. I just had a business shooting for two days and this can be a great experience as well. People were excited and happy.
I think that may be a different story for non portrait photographers, like food, architecture or product photographers. But a lot of companies are working already with generated (3D renderings) images for their catalogs. And as far as I know, these generated images are directed by photographers.
Please comment how you think other photography business will be affected by ai.
That is something I am not very good of. I have so much in my mind and want to do everything at once. But I try to go for walks every day to relax. Instead of my camera, I bring my new binoculars with me. I got myself some cool ones for Christmas (US click here – German click here for the ones I bought). So why I am telling you this? Because I felt the need sometimes to bring my camera to my walks, to capture deers, swans and other wildlife scenes. The binoculars are a great substitute for that. They will calm you down, because you can not use them to take pictures. I use them to watch wildlife and enjoy it a lot.
My new year resolutions for 2023
Don’t seek for perfect wet plate portraits all the time, accept the one you did and appreciate it. Look for more assignments that you enjoy and less that you don’t. Work more on your own projects you love.
How to load analog film into a Sony A7 digital camera?
Let’s end this post with something fun. I asked chatGPT some questions about wet plate and analog photography. And at the end, chatGPT ended up explaining me how to load film into a Sony A7 camera and why medium format film would not fit in. And no worries, the sensor cleaning and the ibis of the Sony A7 will not destroy your film either. And if you ever looked for a film rewind button on your digital camera, chat GPT got you covered. In that case chatGPT acts like a little child that made a mistake and makes up more facts to cover it. Please be aware that all other answers about the wet plate process and so on contains also false information (I won’t explain everything, but for insiders it’s fun to read). As always, if you are interested in that process, take a workshop or read a book (chatGPT tells you the same). Enjoy the answers guys (You need to open some screenshots in a new browser tab to be able to read them):
How does a digital camera that loads analog film look like?
I asked that question Midjourney and got these results 🙂