Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday (late) Show and Tell & The Viewfinder Shift

We made it back from SPE and Miami! Many poor souls are still stuck in airports across the country, but we managed somehow to get out with minimal delays. Quick update: took the PRC student show down in one day (with amazing interns) and after a night of rolling with the punches, Jen Bekman emerged triumphantly with a smashing presentation to a standing-room-only audience! Thanks Jen!
I will have little time to blog in the next few days, but wanted to share this great image with you courtesy of Adam Gooder's mother from a recent trip (can you see the monkeys in the background?). I've always wanted to write an essay or musing on the impact of not looking through a viewfinder anymore (and some digital consumer cameras not even having one) on contemporary photography. This will hopefully get the ideas flowing for you and me. (PS - I haven't forgotten my 5 things meme either Jeremias!) Enjoy the image...


Adam said...

My mom's name is Jenny Gooder. She wanted you to know.

Yeah, my mom definitely sees the poignant humor in this photo too. I think she took it with a point and shoot. What I like is that the monkey, which everyone is trying to capture, is lost in this image. I also like how thier arms and cameras seem stretched up to heaven--the group of them there together reminds me of some kind of digital point and shoot prayer session.

Best, Adam

LKB said...


Please apologize to your mom, you told me her name and I forgot. It's a great image. She's on the internet now. I will post a correction.

That is very true, everyone holds them up and out. Good point.

Cheers, LKB

R.A. said...

hmmm. staring into the screen of those little point and shooters is somewhat reminiscent--to me--of looking into the ground glass of a view camera. excepting of course the fact that the image in modern point and shooters isn't upside down, of course.

i'm sure that such a comparison would raise the ire of certain die-hard camera folks, but what can you do?

viewfinder, ground glass, rangefinder, or digital screen...they all have their differences, but no matter, since pics will be made regardless.

LKB said...

I take your point RA, but would like to take it a bit further. Most amateurs don't have an equivalent for this experience. Professional photographers yes, but regular folks, no.

We'd have to go back before SPRs to other cameras and to proto-photography with camera obscuras or claude glasses. In the latter, tourists actually turned their backs to view an image in a plano-convex, tinted mirror.

For me, I still find myself trying to put such cameras up to me eye and then see nothing. It's very odd!

R.A. said...


You're right about the fact that most amatuer photogs havent had the view camera experience. indeed. at least not these days. plenty of edward weston/ansel adams amateurs STILL wander around with view cameras taking pics of rocks and trees though. you'd be amazed. but thats not the case for the vast majority of non-professional image makers of today.

interesting thought about actually turning your back to the image though, hadnt thought about how that would affect seeing.

i used a view camera pretty exclusively for about 5 years, so maybe that's why the whole digital screen thing seems ok to me. i kinda like it, and you dont have to throw a darkcloth over yourself to see it, which is nice.

but then i can see how it would be weird to those who are used to the viewfinder of SLR and rangefinder cams.

i used all kinds, so i guess im used to change and inconsistency. ive had view cams, rangefinders, SLR's, Twin lens reflexers, all that. they're all great, and they all have their little quirks and benefits. fun stuff.