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Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 02-04-2008   #51
robert blu
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tools ? for me and wife are part of the family !
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ok, I know it is a little excessive...
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Old 02-04-2008   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith
I remember as an apprentice motor mechanic I would always clean all my tools and make sure they were hanging back in my spotless tool cabinet before I could leave work. People would come over and look at my immaculate work area and shake their heads and walk off.

My cameras are just tools but I still take an immense amount of pride in them and gain a lot of pleasure from their mechanical precision. I still have to be happy with my own ability to take decent photos though ... as I needed to be confident that I was a competent mechanic!
I think that approach says a lot about attitude -- the shop that maintains my car is probably cleaner than my house and the technicians are extremely good at spotting potential problems and correcting them when they're cheap -- much the same way that a good photographer is prepared to make the most of a situation.

Pro gear is brassed and worn precisely because it is used. Most pros I have worked with over the years (there are some notable exceptions) aren't obsessive about their cameras but they are very careful that they are always in working condition.
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Cameras as tools and objects D' art
Old 02-04-2008   #53
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Cameras as tools and objects D' art

I am not a Camera Collector, I use everything I own. But I treat my cameras with respect. Some would be shocked to find that I use original Civil War era cameras daily in my studio, anything else would not give the same results. I am careful with my Leica IIIb that that was once owned by a Nazi officer captured at Normandy, but I still shoot with it at WW2 reenactments. I own a 1965 Jaguar XKE that I take to get groceries or out for a drive when ever the mood strikes. I don't baby it, but I don't abuse it either. Many treat their cameras like many of the cars I see at shows, we call them trailer queens. There is nothing wrong with just collecting and displaying, but I feel that cameras like automobiles, are meant to be use. Those that put them on a pedestal are missing the enjoyment of using them, and the beautify of their performance and function. As one gets older and looks back on their life, they find Its the journey, not the destination, that is the most memorable.
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Old 02-04-2008   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ww2photog
I am not a Camera Collector, I use everything I own. But I treat my cameras with respect. Some would be shocked to find that I use original Civil War era cameras daily in my studio, anything else would not give the same results. I am careful with my Leica IIIb that that was once owned by a Nazi officer captured at Normandy, but I still shoot with it at WW2 reenactments. I own a 1965 Jaguar XKE that I take to get groceries or out for a drive when ever the mood strikes. I don't baby it, but I don't abuse it either. Many treat their cameras like many of the cars I see at shows, we call them trailer queens. There is nothing wrong with just collecting and displaying, but I feel that cameras like automobiles, are meant to be use. Those that put them on a pedestal are missing the enjoyment of using them, and the beautify of their performance and function. As one gets older and looks back on their life, they find Its the journey, not the destination, that is the most memorable.
These arguments rage eternally. Hot Rod collectors not only complain about trailer queens, they also bitch and moan mightily about those who restore themselves versus just writing a check to have Boyd Coddington do the work.

It doesn't matter. If it is your money, your car, do what you want with it. If you enjoy what you are doing and what you have, nothing else matters, nor does anyone's opinion of it.

If I buy a camera because I like the way it looks, or if I admire it for how well it was made, and I choose to put it on a shelf and never use it to avoid damage - so what? Who cares? How is it anyone else's business?

People used to complain about collectors taking cameras out of circulation, so they could not be used by enthusiasts. I think that is hardly the issue anymore - thousands and thousands of cameras are being dumped on eBay and so on.

Let people do what they want with their cameras. Fondle - fine. Admire - groovy. Use for work - excellent. Bang it up - cool. Protect it while using it - great. I really fail to understand why ANYONE thinks they have a right to dictate how another should care for or use their own property. If it doesn't float your personal boat, then don't do it. But don't criticize those who do.
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Old 02-04-2008   #55
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I really fail to understand why ANYONE thinks they have a right to dictate how another should care for or use their own property.
You've made that clear. But nobody here's saying anything about it. You can decorate the bottom of your fishtank with mint black Nikon SP's for all I care.

What I DO care about is that Leica isn't taking chances or innovating here in the digital age, the most exciting time in photography most of us will ever see.
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Old 02-04-2008   #56
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Originally Posted by back alley
and why the heck does a conversation like this always have to come down to a leica bashing session. ever notice how that happens and how the same few folks , the leica haters, seem always ready to form the attack line.
Having a rough day, Joe?

The way I read Joe's original post, he set up the hobbyist/pro dichotomy. The evolution of the thread has introduced the collector/user split. I'm not seeing any direct Leica "bashing" by "Leica haters" here.

Sure there are some posters who seem compelled in every thread to express the same mantra of personal disdain for Leica evangelists - though not for the gear itself. I'm pretty sure it is not actually the average Leica-phile that the disdainers are railing against - more those Leica users who feel that a particular bit of red-dot branded gear gives them a special edge compared to other gear . It does seem that this particular sort of scorn frequently gets conflated with a more general (and IMO, unwarranted) scorn for collectors or "fondlers".

Joe makes a good point that it would be better if these posters adopted bmattock's "live-and-let-live" approach - at least I personally would not miss seeing this divisive attitude expressed over and over.

As I wrote above, I think every one of us resides somewhere on several spectra of behavior simultaneously: user, collector, Leica/Zeiss/Canon/Nikon/etc. and on and on. And I agree with bmattock that each of us is entitled to our own equilibrium, without having to be subjected to the slings and arrows of those who don't share the same exact space. Why this should cause cognitive dissonance in some is a mystery to me.
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Old 02-04-2008   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m
You've made that clear. But nobody here's saying anything about it. You can decorate the bottom of your fishtank with mint black Nikon SP's for all I care.

What I DO care about is that Leica isn't taking chances or innovating here in the digital age, the most exciting time in photography most of us will ever see.
Yeah...

And bicycle makers are SO predictable, sticking with lightweight, two-wheeled, human-powered vehicles. Where are the 3-wheeler, 2-tonne, nuclear powered models?

What do you actually WANT Leica to do? Because I'll bet you that 90%+ of their customers -- the people who keep Leica in business by actually buying their cameras, instread of vapouring on the internet -- want, well... M-series Leicas.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-04-2008   #58
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I see lots of guys in their 50's and 60's sporting beards and ponytails, riding new Harleys or restored Indians, all the things they wanted to do or own when they were 20 but either couldn't afford or Momma wouldn't let them.

I see plenty of young guys in their teens and 20's who pay big bucks to look cool in jeans almost bleached white and worn through at the knees, perhaps a rip or two someplace, and cuffs frayed up past the hem. Maybe in another 40 years they'll be the ones searching out that brassed and dented Leica M2 or old Nikon F with half the black paint gone.

Or maybe there'll be a low labor cost place, like India is today, but instead of laboriously trashing perfectly good jeans they'll be working on all of the suddenly worthless but still pristine Leicas, bought for pennies on the dollar from the widows of all those collectors we have now. Dings, dents, and brass rules!
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Old 02-04-2008   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NB23
...An Ego-Boosting tool...

Now this brings an image to mind eh?
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Old 02-04-2008   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Kaplan
I see lots of guys in their 50's and 60's sporting beards and ponytails, riding new Harleys or restored Indians, all the things they wanted to do or own when they were 20 but either couldn't afford or Momma wouldn't let them.

I see plenty of young guys in their teens and 20's who pay big bucks to look cool in jeans almost bleached white and worn through at the knees, perhaps a rip or two someplace, and cuffs frayed up past the hem.
Maybe a recession won't be all bad for weeding out the financially overprivileged. And perhaps the mummy's boys.

Since the 60s I've ridden bikes, broken in my own Levis and had a beard (in that order).

Cheers,

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Old 02-04-2008   #61
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What do you actually WANT Leica to do?
At the risk of repeating myself:

1. A digital Leica "CL."

2. A Leica competitor to the Ricoh GR-D. Full analog manual controls. Small format digicams are, in spirit, the 'Barnack Leica' of today.

3. Make the M8 a true "pro-quality," no-excuses digital camera, and not a toy that a photographer keeps for "personal use." Dual card slots and weather sealing would be a good start. A dedicated ISO dial would be even better. If you could pack it in your bag and not bring a C-A-N-O-N to back you up, then it'd be worth $5,000.

Quote:
Because I'll bet you that 90%+ of their customers -- the people who keep Leica in business by actually buying their cameras...want, well... M-series Leicas.
Self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep asking the same people the same question and you'll get the same answer. Until those people die off.

The Leica M was the best RF of the film age, but the film age is over.

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Old 02-04-2008   #62
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Precious-s-s-s!

I only have my Leicas to look at. It's comforting to look at my own reflection in the shiny, black paint of my MP. I have recently constructed an altar to Leica. It's located in a secret room in my house, and no common "photographer" is ever allowed to lay his eyes upon this sacred place.

I will NEVER lower my sacred Leicas to such common labor as "taking a picture"!
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Old 02-04-2008   #63
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What I DO care about is that Leica isn't taking chances or innovating here in the digital age, the most exciting time in photography most of us will ever see.

kevin, how does this fit re. my original post and why does it seem to pop up in so many of your posts, regardless of the topic?
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Old 02-04-2008   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m

1. A digital Leica "CL."
-OK sure.

[/quote]
2. A Leica competitor to the Ricoh GR-D. Full analog manual controls. Small format digicams are, in spirit, the 'Barnack Leica' of today.
[/quote]

-OK again!

[/quote]
3. Make the M8 a true "pro-quality," no-excuses digital camera, and not a toy that a photographer keeps for "personal use." Dual card slots and weather sealing would be a good start. A dedicated ISO dial would be even better. If you could pack it in your bag and not bring a C-A-N-O-N to back you up, then it'd be worth $5,000.
[/quote]

-Right on! I'd even add that since Leitz was once an innovator, why not once again? A digital "M" seems a little redundant now.

[/quote]
The Leica M was the best RF of the film age, but the film age is over.
[/quote]
-I hope there is still a little room for film in this old world and I'd like to think a few more film cameras will roll off the assembly line, but if not try to build a digital camera that will be looked upon in the future as a real innovation.
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Old 02-04-2008   #65
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Quote:
how does this fit re. my original post
You asked if cameras are tools, right? The thread wandered, as threads seem to do, but the rest seemed to follow from that.
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Old 02-04-2008   #66
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Playing devil's advocate now:

How about that GR-D competitor has interchangeable lenses? Small, like the Kern-Switar lenses for the Bolex film cameras, with their coin-sized lens caps!
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Old 02-04-2008   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foto_fool
Having a rough day, Joe?

The way I read Joe's original post, he set up the hobbyist/pro dichotomy. The evolution of the thread has introduced the collector/user split. I'm not seeing any direct Leica "bashing" by "Leica haters" here.

Sure there are some posters who seem compelled in every thread to express the same mantra of personal disdain for Leica evangelists - though not for the gear itself. I'm pretty sure it is not actually the average Leica-phile that the disdainers are railing against - more those Leica users who feel that a particular bit of red-dot branded gear gives them a special edge compared to other gear . It does seem that this particular sort of scorn frequently gets conflated with a more general (and IMO, unwarranted) scorn for collectors or "fondlers".

Joe makes a good point that it would be better if these posters adopted bmattock's "live-and-let-live" approach - at least I personally would not miss seeing this divisive attitude expressed over and over.

As I wrote above, I think every one of us resides somewhere on several spectra of behavior simultaneously: user, collector, Leica/Zeiss/Canon/Nikon/etc. and on and on. And I agree with bmattock that each of us is entitled to our own equilibrium, without having to be subjected to the slings and arrows of those who don't share the same exact space. Why this should cause cognitive dissonance in some is a mystery to me.
no rough day, just get a little hot under the collar when the converstion gets twisted back to leica and what they do or don't do.

i was talking about pros using tools and hobbyists using cameras to have fun with. and how the hobbyist can get caught in the trap of thinking like a pro while not being a pro, fer instance...the sharpest lens, wide open, the build quality of a camera body...for a pro the perspective would be different than for me.
i would be some pissed off if my camera dies while shooting, but i wouldn't be losing any money because of it. (maybe repair costs)

i honestly don't see a great distinction but i do see a distinction.
business vs. pleasure

joe
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Old 02-04-2008   #68
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Man do you sound like a Canon fan, infected with the silly "L" marketing thing... Which is best and why and so on.

Leica is just a way of life, IMO. No need to compare it with nothing.
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Old 02-04-2008   #69
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Erik, how was your photography class?
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Old 02-04-2008   #70
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Its next month
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Old 02-04-2008   #71
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This is how I see it,

It's like trying to tell a session guitar player that his worn out 60's strat, vintage 335 and impeccable custom shop Les Paul are all just tools. I mean, that's his job right? to make music with those tools?

Those aren't just tools
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Old 02-04-2008   #72
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Hey Bill!! (Mattock) and Al! Glad to see you fellows posting again! Your inputs/observations are always excellent.
Bill--what kind of watches do you collect? I collected--for a while--23j RR pocket watches, Neat critters! Old Lionel trains aren't toys anymore, either...
Al--thanks for your observations borne of many years ecperience.
Leica camera CAN make pictures and they CAN be admired for their mechanical precision--I don't see the conflict.
You wanna collect something and have the bux--why not??
Thanks to all...
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WARNING! Contains hammer and saw p0rn.
Old 02-04-2008   #73
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Exclamation WARNING! Contains hammer and saw p0rn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin m
Does Stanley Tool Co. listen to the needs of the hammer collector market and tailor production to suit their fancy? Of course not. ...
Well maybe not Stanley, but how about a superior manufacturer like Estwing (...Mmmm, leather handles!). There is no functional reason why these hammers have to look so good, nothing useful to be gained by mirror-polishing them, and almost certainly, there are better synthetic materials available for the handle (though of course, they won't display a patina with long use the way leather will).

Infact Estwing also uses blue polyurethane for handles, but continues to produce this line as well... for the traditionalist. This is the Leica MP of hammers.

And check out the florid prose in this description of a common saw, again, a very Leica-like emotional appeal to values of professionalism and tradition, and the craftsmanship of the tool maker - all being used used to sell a saw.

Sure, a camera is just a tool, but tools are a very special catagory of object, and are venerated accordingly. For starters, the ability to make and use them is one thing that separates us from almost every other animal on the planet (crows and some apes being the exception).

They also extend our powers, and permit us to do things that would be otherwise impossible or even unimaginable. Ages ago we relied on shamans and talismans to do this, today we rely on tools and the people who make them - in other words tools perform the same function as magic once did, and are therefore appreciated for more than their mere capabilities.
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Old 02-04-2008   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulbe
Bill--what kind of watches do you collect? I collected--for a while--23j RR pocket watches, Neat critters! Old Lionel trains aren't toys anymore, either...
I collect (or did, leaving me with a substantial collection still) 1940's and 1950's era men's mechanical American-made wristwatches. Lot of Hamiltons, Elgins, Gruens, and so on. I have some modern watches (mechanical) made in Switzerland and Germany. Nothing too expensive - as usual, I like to collect but I keep it cheap. I have only a couple of pocket watches - including my grandfather's Elgin made in 1903. It keeps very good time.

Lionel you say?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/...7601890292493/

And HO as well:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/...7603352049060/

I'm not into model trains, but I do like them. I'm more of a big antique train guy, but wife says no can bring home.
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Old 02-04-2008   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmogi10
This is how I see it,

It's like trying to tell a session guitar player that his worn out 60's strat, vintage 335 and impeccable custom shop Les Paul are all just tools. I mean, that's his job right? to make music with those tools?

Those aren't just tools
I've been thinking along this same line today. I read the posts yesterday, and the analogy of the hammer just didn't seem to fit. To me, the camera is analogous to a musical instrument. Think, as cmogi10 did, of various electric guitars. My Rick 330 feels (and sounds) different than my old beat up G&L.
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