Thursday, April 14, 2016


Here's a piece from Allen Murabayashi, over at, 8 Photos that Couldn’t Have Been Made 5 Years Ago.

Allen's a reasonably sharp dude and actually thinks about stuff. This one, though, is mainly a filler piece, giving a platform to some products and pros to chatter away about stuff. The title is wrong. You could have made any of these photos 30 years ago. The stupid animated portraits could not have been animated GIFs until 1990, 26 years ago, but they could have easily been video clips before that.

Several of the others could not have been at the time and place they were shot. They could not have been shot in the manner in which they were shot, of course. So, in that sense, the article is accurate.

But by 'Photo' we generally mean, I think, the end product. The two dimensional array of tone and color, and these arrays of tone and color could without question all have been created much longer ago than 5 years ago.

Photographers and the photographic media are simply awful at conflating techniques/methods/equipment with the final product. We constantly hear how one thing or another could not be done then, or can no longer be done. You need film to do this, a magic lens to to that, a specific camera body to do the other thing. None of this is true, none of it ever was.

Photographs have always been wonderfully plastic, malleable, both before and after the shutter press. The digital revolution has only accelerated that, and brought this malleability to everyone.

The only thing holding anyone back is a lack of imagination, really. You don't need an 85/1.4, you don't need a Light L16, you don't need a D810. If you can imagine it, and are willing to work, you can do it. You always could. The only thing that ever really changes is the degree of difficulty.

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