Keith Eastwell Fine Art Photography

To Update or not Update, if only it were that simple...Page 3: 08.01.2015

Blog > To Update or not Update, if only it were that simple...Page 3: 08.01.2015
07/01/2015 - 19:43


So where am I going with all this?


It would be understandable to presume my viewpoint is one opposed to anything digital. Damn new and ever cheapening technology over the need for a little thought and technical knowhow…! I don’t think so.

Modern photographic hardware in comparison to a standard SLR of forty years back, is a technical marvel. Together with a plethora of software, any irony is not lost when I acknowledge that were it not for digital, this blog and the ability for me, or anyone to share work and knowledge would be, (pre Internet) practically impossible.


I realise camera manufacturers and software developers cannot rest on their laurels, we live in a commercial world, and the rate at which we innovate can be both breath-taking and at the same time, distracting. Perhaps it is worth stopping for a moment and considering the following: Outside of any photographic commercial environment, photography is about the finished work, the photograph. An image, regardless of its digital or analogue process is the culmination for the need of a creative response to the world around us. If this creative response is a sculpture for example, the finished work should not be judged on what make of hammer and chisel were used in the sculptures formation.

Hardware and software should always remain a tool, implements that enable and empower creativity. Occasionally it seems, we are no more than guinea-pigs for the many companies who insist we update, all because their new update has enhanced stability, together with a couple of features most users will never need.  Am I wagging my own tail or is someone trying to wag it for me and make themselves another 50 Pounds?


I thought no, I’m not going to update; I’ve spent enough. Lets just concentrate on making photographs. For one software update proposal recently, I was excitedly informed there was now an extra seven hundred and fifty camera and lens combinations supported. None of which I have recently purchased, or am I likely to ever purchase. 

I’ve now not updated anything photographic for over a year, the software and hardware I use I know better than ever and it has made no difference to my work or my ability to make pictures.

However, I’m under no illusions here, I know that if I’d stuck with VHS, the chances of finding a video hire shop would now be remote.

Perhaps this is not about balance; perhaps this is simply my old friend, nostalgia. Maybe I was born in the wrong era? If as a teenager, I had started taking photographs in the mid thirties then come the new millennium, I would have still been putting the same film in my camera at the grand old age of 78. I could have used one or perhaps two cameras in that time, having never had to pay out more money for something that had been manufactured in such a way that eventually, the hardware or the software says NO.


All this came about because I’ve been thinking of selling my film equipment, but I’ve decided not yet. A received recently an email offering not an update but a chemical processing kit. For a moment I dismissed it out of hand but that was before I read about the included film developer: First sold in 1898 this formula I thought, has resisted any update for 117 years. Must be good then. 


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