02 May, 2008

Hip Being Square

I'm posting this because I got an interesting comment regarding my explaining not doing black and white conversions from digital, and that I don't shoot color and black and white the same way. It seems that some people took offense to that, but I have another example of something along these lines.
I shoot a lot of square images with a Hasselblad camera. Recently someone looked at my work and said, "Ya, I do square too." "I just shoot my Canon 5D and crop it into a square."
Now this struck me kinda funny.
First, when I shoot square, I think square, and compose that way. And, I've chosen a film specifically for the ingredients it provides, in that particular camera and that particular lens. The falloff on the Blad is very different than my 5D, so shooting with my 5D and cropping looks very different than my Hasselblad. Better? Maybe, depending on what you looking for in your images, but regardless, they are simply not the same.
If you want a square, why not shoot square?
I think sometimes we rely on the wizardry of the computer to try and give us things that we are fooling ourselves to think we have. And, how much time do you want to spend per image to "mimic" what you could have had by just using the right tool for the look?
Another example of this is the work I have done with Kodak Tmax 3200 film. Over the years I've seen one tech expert after another try and mimic this film on the computer. What each of these experiments proved to me was that none of these people had used the film or it had been so many years they had forgotten what it looked like because the end result always looks like a digital file made to look like Tmax.
What I'm wondering about is if the digital file is the final frontier, why are all these software companies spending so much developing actions that "simulate the look of film?"
Am I the only one that finds humor in this stuff? Please tell me no.
So, in honor of this lunacy, let's honor the square for what it is. Square.


sean said...


yay! more people need to think like this and get back to the roots. think first then shoot, not the other way around.

i just put a couple of rolls of hp5 in my pocket and i'm going for a walk...

SmogRanch said...

Hey Sean,

HP5 is a great film. Glad I'm not alone. I live in Orange County, walking is forbidden.

CtheG said...

Perfectly said.

SmogRanch said...

Thanks Catherine!