Understanding Prejudice – How It Forms and How to Prevent It

_1231019-copiar

Prejudice can have a strong influence on how people behave and interact with others, particularly with those who are different from them. Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgments that are usually negative about members of a group.

The main disadvantage of Micro Four Thirds is prejudice. Keeping an open mind I challenge you all to read carefully:

1 – Bresson, Capa, later Meyerowitz and other masters of this craft early adopted what was in those days a very small “sensor”: 35mm. By that time “full frame” was, at least 120 roll film. Meyerowitz began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art…

2 – The enormous advances in digital photography allow MFT to mitigate alleged limitations of the format when compared to FF, much more than 35mm did when it was introduced, compared to 120 film.

3 – No other system provides better image stabilization (7.5 stops).

4 – No other system provides this level of portability. Even Olympus E-M1X weighs less 370 grams than Canon’s flagship 1 DX Mark II. Forget lenses size and weight…

5 – Only MFT delivers 18fps with continuous AF and 60fps with locked focus.

6 – No other system offers this level of performance at this price point, not even close.

7 – Olympus new E-M1X AF system focus down to -6EV.

8 – E-M1X specifications regarding weather, moisture and dust sealing are referential – there is no other camera on the market offering this level of protection against the elements. Have you ever tried to wash yours under the tap?

9 – AF “deep learning” is not available in any other camera on the market today (Sony a6400 path is similar, nonetheless).

10 – Integrated (electronic) ND filters with this level of accuracy, delivering fabulous results were unheard of until today.

11 – RAW Handheld High Resolution and RAW Tripod High Resolution modes are unique features, delivering stunningly detailed pictures.

12 – Panasonic GH5 is one of the best video tools the world has ever seen, unbeatable price/quality/features/results.

13 – The range of available lenses and accessories is huge – enough to satisfy the needs of the most demanding photographer.

14 – Noise levels are on par with many other systems until 12800/16000 ISO. Need more?

15 – Bokeh depends of many factors; moving your ass around the subject, changing lenses, walking further into/further away will deliver the results you need.

16 – Due to the size of the sensor, flange focal distance and thread diameter, MFT delivers pin sharp images across the entire frame. No other system offers this level of sharpness across the frame.

17 – Yes, you can print massive sized outdoors from an MFT file. Outdoors have been around for more than a century and photographs have been used for decades and decades on this medium.

What MFT will not do for you:

1 – It won’t turn you into a great photographer. If you’re photography sucks, it will continue to be bad like hell.

2 – It won’t make you look like the “great white” predator. If that is your scene buy those FF 600mm monsters, big and noisy FF cameras. It will be impossible not to spot you, even if you wish to go unnoticed.

3 – It won’t break the bank. If you wish to spend a fortune go FF instead.

4 – It won’t make you look like a “professional, seasoned and old fashioned photographer”; you will look like a clever person that saves money, weight and effortlessly walks for miles with a backpack full of hi tech gear… Using MFT gear you’ll look like contemporary photographer taking advantage of today’s technology.

5 – If there is something about you that needs to show off  big phallic objects you’ll be in trouble. Go FF.

6 – If you’re not an early adopter forget it. Innovators already bought the system many years ago. You’ll end buying it when everyone has it and uses it. Probably these clever users will be jumping on to the next big thing when you finally settle for MFT.

Final comment:

You need to be able to abstract yourself from your old beliefs and credos to really understand the benefits of MFT. Bresson’s photography was initially coined as anti graphic by the status quo… Get it? Prejudice cannot be part of the equation.

Photography is about photographers, about emotions, art, technique, sense and sensibility, about inspiration, about life, death, tragedy, joy, faith… Photography is about conveying emotions, passing on ideas and ideals. Photography is, essentially, an art form. Sorry, not everyone can be an artist, much less a great one.

When I switched from FF to MFT do you know what my clients said? Nothing. They didn’t spot the difference.

 

Photograph: Octopus, one of Chef André’s delicacies. What a cook he is!

 

 

Olympus HI-RES mode @ Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Portugal

_9140063

One of the best features Olympus E-M1 Mark II has is its HI-RES Mode. The camera can produce up to 80MB RAW images with stunning detail, extremely high dynamic range and superb color rendition.

_9140097-2.jpg

This clever feature provides professional and amateur photographers with the ability to produce stills that rival the best medium format cameras available today – in a perfect slim, light, fast, durable and fashionable body.

_9140024.jpg

These images were produced at Feira de São Mateus in Viseu, Portugal – this is the oldest fair in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, a real pearl shining now for 626 years (yes, in 2019 the fair celebrates edition 627)

_9140017.jpg

These are hi-res jpegs (far, far, from the detail, resolution and depth the originals have, but still I challenge you all to have a good look at every single one of these photographs… This is absolutely stunning stuff.

_9140075

All images © Feira de São Mateus/Viseu Marca/Chappa

Photographer: John Gallo, Summer 2018

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, M.Zuiko Digital PRO Lenses, ISO 64 to 200, Manfrotto Tripod, several seconds exposures.

Adobe Photoshop to taste

 

Digital manipulation – What is and what isn’t

87Uelesmann1

Digital manipulation – what is and what isn’t?

Beyond ethics, what can we really consider as acceptable nowadays?

Before we speak about manipulation let’s not forget pure and plain lies. Many photographers have been caught lying about location, context, subject manipulation on their photographs – beforehand this is about ethics, has nothing to do with digital post processing.

In spite of the natural grey area this issue implicates I believe that to make matters simpler and easier there is a perspective we must consider, as long as we are familiar with the analogue/film process.

Plenty of times I read or engage in conversations where it is affirmed that almost everything one can do with Photoshop or with any other imaging editing software is digital manipulation. Well, it is not. For those that have no idea of what is possible within the analogue realm it is hard to realise that plenty of what we can achieve with Photoshop nowadays was also achievable using film development and/or enlarging techniques during the film era.

Just a glimpse of what was possible with film development: using different chemical solutions, altering dilution ratios, changing temperature of the diluted chemicals, increasing or decreasing development time resulted in changes in the shadow and highlight areas of the negative. Furthermore, the fine silver halide particles “changed” when exposed to different chemical combinations/brands, the output changing accordingly. But, even prior to this step we could expose a film one or two EV’s below or above its nominal sensitivity (ISO) changing dynamic range and therefore the shadow/highlight relationship and rendering. We could compensate for this in the development stage or increase the desired effect changing recommended development times.

Once the negative was ready to be enlarged a whole new frontier opened up: more or less sharpness could be achieved changing the aperture in the enlarger’s lens, cropping, recomposing, correction of converging/diverging lines, enhancing shadow or highlight areas using masks or overexposing certain parts of the image. This was a very long process, trial and error, undo was not possible. I spent hours and hours of my life locked inside the darkroom experimenting, enhancing and fine tuning my images. I have to confess that we’ve gained a lot with the digital process, our life being much easier today. Undo is probably the best command the digital era invented.

Last but not the least, print development was the last frontier. And again, different papers combined with different chemicals, temperatures and timing provided exceptionally different results. Selenium toning was just one of the final touches available, changing a print’s colour and making the image more permanent by bonding selenium particles directly to the metallic silver in the emulsion. There were a few different toners usable to finish the prints, all of them providing dissimilar results. The output of fibre-based or resin coated papers was also substantially distinctive.

Adams_The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_River

Ansel Adams book trilogy “The Camera”, “The Negative”, “The Print” is mandatory if you want to get to know (and learn) about the extraordinary potential of the analogue process. Ansel Adams was a master, second to none when it comes to exposure, development and printing techniques. “Manipulation” of the original image using analogue processes was absolutely mind blogging.

In my opinion, all that we could do to enhance and improve the original image back in those days was acceptable and therefore, my opinion again, acceptable nowadays within the digital medium. I do not consider digital manipulation everything that one can do to improve, enhance and potentiate the final result, starting from a RAW file (JPEG SOOC already have a considerable amount of manipulation/enhancement). I prefer to tag this process as “digital enhancement”, not manipulation. Jerry Uelsmann’s entire photographic carreer was based upon image manipulation using analogue techniques and his work demonstrates what was possible using analogue techniques to heavily manipulate one, or a set of photographs by creating a new reality, a completely new interpretation of a scene, clearly manipulated.

So before adding “digital” to this conversation I believe we must discern enhancement from manipulation. Putting this openly, Adams’ work is the epitome of enhancement and Uelsmann’s work is the embodiment of manipulation.

Of course, being unaware of the history, complexity and potential of the analogue process doesn’t help. Roots are always important, if not critical, for a better understanding of the present.

If you’re not adding or subtracting objects, subjects or any other items to the image or altering those that were present when the shutter was released I do not think you’ll be manipulating. If you’re using image editing software to crop, reframe, for perspective correction, to enhance shadows or recover highlights, to sharpen, to saturate or desaturate you’ll be enhancing the RAW file (the “negative”) and this is not manipulation.

John Gallo

 

Pixel peepers, how much resolution do you really need?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How Much Resolution Do You Really Need?

By Bing Putney on October 11th 2016, SLR Lounge

 

The spec sheets on today’s flagship digital cameras are impressive to say the least. Nikon offers 36, Sony 42, and Canon’s 5DS a staggering 51 megapixels. And that’s just right now, and that’s not touching the likes of Hasselblad and Phase One 100MP offerings. Ever since digital cameras began to supplant film as the industry standard, resolution has been the headline feature of every camera along the way.

The trend of packing more and more pixels onto our image sensors doesn’t seem to be slowing down, as every year we marvel at the newest staggering megapixel number, only to see that number surpassed mere months later. However, in this relentless contest for king of the resolution mountain, it seems rare that we stop and ask the question: how much resolution do we actually NEED?

_7070086

Naturally, the answer to this question will be a personal one and dependent on a number of factors, but there are a few constants that can help you as a photographer, to answer it for yourself. For example, we have standards in place to describe the abilities of the human eye, and unless your intended audience is a nest of bald eagles, these guidelines can suggest the point of diminishing returns, resolution-wise.

What Is Resolution?

First, it’s important to understand what we’re talking about when we describe the resolution of a photo. Resolution is essentially the ability of the human eye, camera sensor, printer, or screen to differentiate between two points. To calculate this ability, you need two key pieces of information: the distance between the two points, and the relative viewing distance from those points. Imagine that you’ve lit two candles, placed them 1 foot apart, and drove a mile away from them. At this distance, you would most likely be unable to tell if you were looking at one candle or two. In order to see that there are, in fact, two candles, you would need to move them further apart, or get closer to them.

Keep reading here: https://www.slrlounge.com/how-much-resolution-do-you-really-need/

 

 

Metro do Porto, 15 anos depois

Estamos a produzir um ensaio e um documentário sobre uma das maiores obras de sempre realizadas em território nacional.

_DSF0126

Não, não estamos focados na obra, estamos focados na relação dos utentes com a infraestrutura, nos laços que se criam, nos momentos efémeros vividos a bordo e nas proximidades do Metro do Porto. Este é um dos meus cenários favoritos, a urbe.

_DSF0689

O Metro do Porto comemora 15 anos dia 7 de Dezembro. 15 anos e milhões de passageiros transportados, é seguro afirmar hoje que há um Porto maior, embora mais ligado e mais próximo, desde que o Metro chegou.

_DSF0349

 

 

 

Quinta do Perdigão

Perdig2006Res

Fotografar garrafas é um belíssimo teste à capacidade de um fotógrafo. Uma garrafa reflecte basicamente tudo o que a rodeia, a iluminação nem sempre parece ajudar, a resultado final, muitas vezes, deixa muito a desejar.

Fazer justiça a um vinho de elevadíssima qualidade como este Reserva Dão 2006 da Quinta do Perdigão nunca será fácil. Há, contudo, regras simples: não matar a garrafa com dois reflexos monstruosos de cada lado, preservar a identidade do rótulo, manter as nuances e cores o mais próximo possível do original. Elevadíssima dignidade, a mesma do vinho, nem mais nem menos, elegância e alguma subtileza.

ETAR Viseu Sul

Foi uma das obras mais importantes do Distrito – uma das ETAR mais desenvolvidas da Península Ibérica. _DSF1322

A ETAR Viseu Sul coloca Viseu no mapa no que concerne ao tratamento de águas residuais.

_DSF1370

Foi um dos ensaios produzidos para o FIF, em médio formato, sem preocupações jornalísticas. A ideia base, simples, foi trabalhar as formas, as sombras, a luz, os contornos – em alguns frames o resultado é quase abstracto ou, pelo menos pouco descritivo e “fora de contexto”.

A Maria (Rueff) e o António (Homem Cardoso), na Aldeia da Pena, São Pedro do Sul

_DSF1576

Pedia a Maria ao António que lhe tirasse uma fotografia, apesar de achar o pedido despropositado; seria como se lhe pedissem a ela, Maria, para fazer “umas piadas”, do nada. A cena aconteceu durante o ensaio para a rodagem de um pequeno filme promocional sobre a Aldeia da Pena (que a Chappa está a produzir), uma das 49 finalistas do concurso 7 Maravilhas.

_DSF1590

Foi uma tarde hilariante – entre a sagacidade do António e a boa disposição crónica da Maria fui-me perdendo de máquina na mão, aproveitando para testar a Fujifilm GFX num ambiente que lhe é, pelos menos teoricamente, menos favorável.

_DSF1591

Todas as imagens com câmara e punho vertical, objectiva Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR.

Acros film simulation, Adobe ACR e Photoshop a gosto, em cinco minutos…

 

GFX 50s First Impressions

_DSF0283Unlike the vast majority of texts I’ve read over the last month or so this is not an article to let you know how awesome the GFX files are when it comes to detail, dynamic range, low noise and the lot – we already know that and to be honest it is a bit silly to discuss if at ISO 102400 this (or any) camera is better than the competition. I am a photographer and I’m much more interested in getting to know if the tool is going to help me produce great work; I am not a lab rat and I think one has to be pretty much distracted to compare the advantages of three cameras against one, finding silly excuses not to buy the GFX- yes I am referring to that appalling article published by DPReview where a lab geek, not a photographer, is flooding the page with technicalities that, although accurate, do not translate into the real world per se much less have the power to define your work as a photographer. If the Nikon D810 is the camera for you, that is absolutely fine.

_DSF0496What we need to know is if this, or any camera, adds value to your work, if the investment and resources you need available to start using a new system will have return, not only financially but also artistically.Yes, the camera is a brush, a tool, not the brain, the camera doesn’t create, you do. And to be honest, photography is not about cameras, is about pictures, emotions, stories, art, reality, fiction – concepts are developed in your brain, ideas come to mind, the system you use is just a tool, a very good one for this purpose, preferably.

_DSF0500Over the past two days I’ve been using the GFX as a street camera, alongside the 63mm f2.8 and the 120mm f4 Macro. The pictures published here are just a small fraction of what I’ve produced over the past 48 hours. It has been overcast, the grayish tone is not the camera’s fault and even if I had three in the bag (those that are marginally better at doing some sort of meaningless stuff) the grayish tone would have been there, still.

_DSF0499What I tried to do was simple: get out on the street with the GFX same way I do with the X-Pro2, realizing in due course if the GFX is a good tool to do so. As an inspirational gizmo, the camera excels. The touch and quality of the dials is paramount, ergonomics are quintessential – everything falls naturally in your hand. I miss the exposure compensation dial and probably the Q button should have been placed elsewhere. The grip is substantial and even after a full day walking around Porto the weight of the camera with any of the lenses attached is acceptable for the task at hand. I love the secondary LCD (you can assign and reorder information on it), the tilting screen is a must and the viewfinder is absolutely brilliant – extraordinary piece of engineering. I did not use the accessory that allows the viewfinder to be tilted up, down and/or sideways but probably it will end up on my shopping list.

_DSF0501Shutter lag is negligible for street photography and Fuji has done a pretty good job damping the internal impact of the first curtain – the shutter sounds always slower than expected, probably because of this.The refresh rate of the viewfinder is good enough, it never got in the way of a good photograph. Auto-focus is contrast detection, 425 points if you wish – works under almost every circumstances, but if you want to take pictures of Valentino Rossi riding at 200 mph there are better options on the market usually paired with lenses with longer focal length and cameras with much higher fps. At only 3 frames per second one cannot say this is a fast camera. But it is just enough for street photography, and of course studio work, fashion, boudoir, landscape, portraiture…

_DSF0281

_DSF0502Battery life: nearly 400 shots with the 63mm f2.8 using the viewfinder most of the time and 270 shots with the 120mm f4 lens with OIS on and a lot of LCD use, chimping like crazy… you know.

_DSF0282All the images I’ve posted are in camera converted RAW uncompressed files – reflecting shooting conditions and Acros film simulation. No correction has been applied, whatsoever, to any of the files.

One of the main reasons medium format is so addictive is the ratio and the feel of the images – bigger pixels, less noise, some sort of creamy like effect smaller sensors cannot provide mainly because they are crammed with pixels. Other tremendous advantage is the option to produce bigger prints without compromising quality and probably one of the most cherished characteristics is the extended dynamic range that allows post production miracles, rendering beautiful images with detailed highlights and deep shadows retaining an enormous amount of information.

_DSF0284The GFX is a pure medium format camera – quintessentially. Feels smaller, like a DSLR, follows the X series brilliant ergonomics and disappears from your hand after a couple of hours letting you focus on photography. And this is probably one of the best attributes of the GFX. It is not an extremely desirable object like a X100F or a X-Pro2 from the design point of view but it is highly functional, specially because it produces MF files, from a huge sensor – full frame sensors are 864 square millimeters in area, the GFX sensor is 1441 square millimeters in area.I guess this gives you an idea of how big the sensor is, although it doesn’t translate into camera size – the camera is completely usable on the streets, just like a D810 or a 5D Mark IV. Do not get lost in translation here, the APS-C based X system is the tool if you want to disappear into the crowd.

_DSF0498All images published in this article were shot handheld – even the night shots. The fact of the matter: this is a completely usable tool for street photography, no doubt.

_DSF0531Depth of field: every photographer knows that MF lenses were never as fast as full-frame lenses. This is not the point for MF. Regarding depth of field the 63mm f2.8 is on par with a 35mm f1.4 on an APS-C system, generally speaking. I’ve done test shots with both systems and the aforementioned lenses and I would say the images produced by the GFX have a bit more bokeh, or maybe the bokeh is smoother and looks better. But this is not scientific and although the maths are simple, this is not point here.

_DSF0533How do you perceive images, what sort of relationship you establish with the camera, with the system, how it reacts to your inputs, how long and how difficult or simple it is to fiddle with the dials and change parameters, what sort of feedback you get from the camera and how good the images look like, are some of the main features you should look for. Photography as an art form is about passion, about interaction, not about physics.For photographers, photography is a canvas, a medium to express themselves, their feelings, not an integrated circuit or a special coating on the lens. Yes, gear is fundamental, but it is a tool and you should buy the tool you LOVE the most, the tool you get the best pictures out of, not the sharpest ones. A tool helps the creative process, it does not imposes it on you. A tool is designed with passion in mind by skilled craftsmen, dedicated engineers. By the end of the day, your photographs must make the difference, specially for you. And that is not about noise, dynamic range, sharpness or depth of field – it is mainly about how you see the world and how you interact with it, what you choose to frame, how you put different realities in context. Bresson became famous because of his photographs, the legacy he left, the composition techniques – Bresson was not the only one using Leica at the time. Many did before him, many more have used it and plenty are using Leica nowadays. The vast majority will not become famous. When your pictures are exhibited and the public looks at them from a certain distance, spending enough time watching and decoding the message you tried to convey, no one really thinks or cares about the camera behind it. You do, you have to, because to get to a point you’re producing art, no matter if you’ve followed Ansel Adams of Bresson’s footsteps, your camera has to be part of you.

_DSF0497

_DSF0532

_DSF0286We have plenty to choose from nowadays. For me, this is – alongside the X-Pro2 – the tool to create great photographs. If you want to know the technicalities and all that weird stuff, browse the Internet – there are plenty of articles detailing all that. If you want to know if you can fall in love with this camera and use it as an extension of your brain, of your body, I can tell you that it is; this a fabulous camera, that will disappear from your hand quickly, letting you focus on your work.

Is it better than a full-frame DSLR? It is DIFFERENT and not comparable. Put your shoes on, get out on the street and test both systems, bearing in mind what you are looking for. Let your heart decide, after all photography comes from the heart.

_DSF0285

I am in love and extremely happy with my options. Are you?

John Gallo

 

All photographs shot handheld, night shots at 8000 ISO (plus), other well below the reciprocity law. In camera conversion from RAW files, Acros film simulation, no editing.