I've a few things to say about the latest article by Leigh Diprose for Fujfilm Australia. The first is: bullocks. (All stresses mine.)Read More
The PEN-F's retro-inspired lines drew the Rangefinder card from DPReview in today's headline: Olympus PEN-F revives 1960s rangefinder-style design with 20MP sensor, built-in EVF. In their accompanying first impressions article, they describe the Pen-F as having ‘rangefinder-like controls’, and later, ‘sleek rangefinder-style looks’.Read More
Few high-calibre commercial photographers bother shooting headphones. Fewer still bother with earphones. Jewellery, watches, and the like cater to customers used to precious products and precious prices.
But the world of mid to high-tier portable audiophile equipment abounds with jewellery-like marvels.
The Noble Audio 6, a 108.000¥ earphone, is as much a looker as it was fun to shoot.
Noble 6's clean lines, delicate logo, and subtle hues look great under the right light. And the right light isn't a simple exercise beginning and ending with soft box to the left, soft box to the right, upon which many self-styled commercial still life photographers rely. Soft boxes are great tools for certain photography. And just like an Estwing and a Stanley, both hammers, cater to specific users, soft boxes have their users and their uses.
But I rarely use them in my studio.
Coaxing out that light, and nailing the sharp reflections necessary to define Classics's curves, were labours of love. I crafted dozens of reflection panels, holders, gobos, and spent hours placing my lights just right. My goals were many but I focused on contrasting the gentle curve of the Noble logo against the chassis panels, bolts, and pulling the eyes down and down until they exited off the sound tubes.
The bolts fastening Noble's Classic Line chassis are its headlamps. Its countersunk cable port is its cockpit. Its chiselled sound tubes are its exhaust system. And while I reckon my metaphors are off, I'm very happy with how each earphone looks. Noble were, and are, ecstatic.
At Fujiya Avic's 2015 Spring Headphone festival, Noble had a single side printed out, the short side of which was just over a metre. It looked fantastic and helped to draw crowds that constantly hugged their booth.
Both Noble Audio and I have received no end of compliments. My greatest joy is making a great something look stellar. It is the main reason that I turn down commercial requests from clients that obviously don't put much effort into their work.
In this instance, Noble Audio's hard work begat mine.
For those of you interested, I captured most of Noble Audio's earphones through a Sony A7r mounted to a Rolleiflex X-ACT 2 technical camera. I exclusively shoot Rodenstock digital lenses.
To enthusiasts, the selfie is a sign of decline, of self-indulgence. Digital camera sales are in decline. They have been for 5 years, the peak occurring between 2009 and 2011. And just what killed those sales? The smartphone.
That despite Nikon giving us the D5000 with a selfie-friendly swivel screen. That despite mirrorless cameras being lighter and smaller, and easier to ratchet into selfie position. Thumb on the trigger! Say Cheese! That despite smartphone-controlled remote releases, a rainbow of cute (dare I say, self-indulgent) colours. That despite myriad attempts by camera makers to tap into the self market.
Enthusiasts could be right: the selfie may be the camera world's anti-Christ. Or, it may be the next logical step in the evolution of 'me'. The first artist-AWOL family portrait was invented with the invention of the camera. Paint brushes and chalk replaced the chisel, which in their turn, replaced the smudge of blood-and-shit on the wall.
Handprints and impressionist splotch is no match for the mirror. We want us. We want it now. And we always have.
The smartphone has replaced the stranger-in-your-American-dream taking your Christmas family portrait. It has replaced the stranger-snapping-you-in-front-of-Niagara. The pole-mounted smartphone, the GoPro, and the glasshole wink more than make up for someone else's fingerprints on your life.
And today, one resource in endless supply, made up by smiles, winks, duck-pursed lips: our face, is really all we care to see. It has always been so. The artist painted canvas, spackled cave, printed to paper in order to be remembered. The first self-portrait came hand in hand with the mirror.
We haven't' changed. Selfie culture didn't evolve, it was made radically simple by a modern piece of technology. Since the dawn of self-awareness, humanity has groaned for for the smartphone and the internet. Camera makers never understood this. They thought we wanted to be artists. They thought we wanted to be warriors. They thought we wanted their throwaway shit.
They were wrong.
We wanted us, in 4:3, or 3:2, or square, on film, or in a Twitter feed, faux-retro effects and all. And thanks to technology, we no longer need a dedicated camera to do it. Phones take pictures that hold up under great scrutiny even at respectable print sizes.
One day, our kids will seethe at a new technology. The smartphone, the foundational smartphone will be supplanted by the Mario-Kart flying selfie cam, or home-cloned Zelda pixies snapping away at us, typing our thoughts, placing orders for more house-building foam.
And camera makers will still be sending faxes, trying to figure out how non-camera makers ran away with the us.