Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pictures of a new kind

I first got involved in photography at about the age of 11, using a Kodak Box Brownie.

Almost immediately, I got around to developing my films and producing black-and-white prints. I remember that some of my earliest photos were of Tiger Moth and Chipmunk aircraft, on the ground, at the South Grafton aerodrome. It's possible that one of my most successful shots still survives in a family photo album out in Australia: a rear view of my kid sister Susan, with the sun illuminating her blonde hair. At one stage, I experimented with manual tinting, which is an operation that will surely go down in the history of photography as a marvelous bad idea.

Over the years, camera technology has advanced at a fabulous rhythm. Back in the '70s, I was offered a Nikon camera to produce a publicity project (about Jalatte safety footware for workers), and I've remained a Nikon adept ever since then. The most recent brutal shock consisted of replacing my splendid analog equipment by a digital device: a Nikon D70s, which soon became my faithful companion… and still is.

Today, we learn that a revolutionary US camera named Lytro is about to arrive on the market. Accustomed to myriad tiny buttons on every available surface of our familiar photographic instruments of the Nikon kind, we are startled by the external austerity of this newcomer, which resembles a security camera in a supermarket.

[Click the photo to access the Lytro website]

The general idea is that the photographer should simply shoot, while relegating to future viewers the tasks of focussing, zooming and clipping. What an astounding idea! Here's a specimen:

You simply click to adjust the image. Clearly, this is advanced Internet photography in its purest form.

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