Outdoor photography can be split into two main branches: fine-art and street. The split occurred when cameras get small, lens fast and films fine enough to catch on the spot scenes of the streets' life. Before the Leica borrowed to the movie industry her 35mm roll films even hand-held 4x5 chambers required flash lights and could not reload fast enough to make "street" possible. Lenses were not fast and it was at the time necessary to ask subjects to pose for a few seconds at least to set the camera and trigger a single good shot. In many cases the photographer had to compose a simili scenery of the regular life for the purpose of the photograph.
|a 4x5" with bulb flash|
2 to 3 kg with flash and lens
In fine-art the scene, the time (light and seasonal elements) and the composition is chosen by the photographer and the settings are made in anticipation of the print that is already minded. Anyone would probably agree that the absolute master is Ansel Adams, but there are many more great fine art photographers, amateur or professionals. Nick Brandt and Yann Arthus-Bertrand are good example of fine-art photographers who succeed to maintain the tradition and innovate. Another extreme example of fine art photographer is Ian Ruther and his mobile maxi chamber taking collodion unique giant photographs on metal plates.
In streets of course the photographer anticipates places and light conditions but "street photography" is unplanned photography, you take what you get. "Life" herself make the composition and the lighting. During heroic times street photographers didn't have always a darkroom at hand and when acting professionally they often had to
|The Leica III, less than 1kg with lens,|
Leica offered a Sumarit f1.5!
Now these times are over and most photographers use digital cameras and can check on the screen and even start to process on a laptop before sending the files to the agency or the media.
|Kodak 620 (6x9) with f6.3|
I will not argue here about the importance of the camera format and of the lens quality in fine-art since there is no true limit as we have seen above. But in street photography smart phones offers features that make them one of the alternatives to consider. They offer very interesting tools, one of them is the ability to process on the spot and this gives a new
When I was in my twenties the first video cameras went into the market. At 250 lines they couldn't compete with the super-8 from Kodak and many photo retailers rejected the products as unfit. The result is that the TVsets re-sellers took over and the camcorder market lefts the hands of the camera makers and sellers to move to the electronic giants' purse. The reason was that the clientele was already accustomed to watching TV with practical resolution not so far above the VHS's 250 lines. The poor quality as defined by professionals wasn't a poor quality as perceived by amateurs.
Nowadays a tremendous part of photographs are shared and viewed on digital media and viewed on screens with HD standards. It is therefore unsuitable to reject smartphones just because of less pixels, smaller sensors and the absence of true aperture and speed settings.
Next week I will share some though and experience about processing "on the go".