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Greetings from the shed...
Welcome to the Documentally dispatch. You have joined thousands of other readers who were probably looking for something else, but appear to have stuck around.
This is a slightly more in-depth photo focused issue for the image makers out there.
Since I last wrote, I have visited the waterfalls and fortifications of Arran, traveled back to England, surfed a tidal wave of email, and attended the funeral of a friend's father – a fascinating and much-loved photographer, author, and wizard, Raymond Irons.
Since I met up with John Perivolaris last week, we've been chatting back and forth about 'post photography' and the conceptual shift in the role that photography holds in the digital age. Our discussion about changes in image-based artistic practices usually entails me presenting a question or thought, and John intellectually riffing off it while drawing from his extensive knowledge of the history and practice of photography. I then take the opportunity to research a few words, download a book he recommends, and undoubtedly acquire new knowledge.
This all started during my experiments in rendering photographic-style images by using my own photos in Midjourney. I then sent a few images to John created in his style. No input. I just requested the renders be in the style of John Perivolaris. I’m wondering how best to share that exchange and the images. There are a lot of words now floating around and I’m keen to corral them all into a single ‘post photography’ focused issue. It might be that if I do get into London next week I can also record a chat with John.
I have written before about ‘Genography’ (generative image-making using traditional photography as the seed). For me this when I use one of my own images like this…
Then using a prompt like [A monochromatic photograph of two men in a church, one of them has a skull on this tshirt --ar 4:3] you take the output and then with a little more editing you can produce something like this.
This isn’t a crazy deviation from the original as I only did a little post production on the render. But I’m sure you can see the possibilities are endless. Even if the majority of what I have seen generated by these tools appears cold and lifeless.
That said, I don’t think people question what they see enough and so recommend always labelling images like this as digital art, A.I generated, genography or suchlike.
I am enjoying the ever-evolving nature of art and creativity and will continue to experiment with these workflows incorporating traditional and innovative image-making.
On recommendation I’m currently reading Narcissus in Bloom: An Alternative History of the Selfie by Matt Colquhoun. [Amzn link] Remember when I would start off every dispatch issue with a selfie taken at the location of writing and sharing? I look at those images differently now.
Engaging and well written ‘Narcissus in Bloom’ delves into the journey of self-portraiture and the phenomenon of the selfie. Not as a fleeting trend, but as a cultural touchstone.
So far i've been exploring the intersection between the curated and authentic self. How self-representation shapes our perception of beauty, identity and self-worth. For me this book highlights the fine line between self-empowerment and self-absorption. I'm certainly beginning to question my own motives when snapping a selfie.
We are all now artists of our own image. Redefining what beauty and authenticity might mean within our always-on reality warping web.
I'm beginning to understand that a lens turned on myself not only holds the power to shape my narrative; it also means that our combined actions are shaping the broader course of history itself.
I’ve spent a good chunk of the week working through all the The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy radio series. Two to go I think. I have a 663MB 11 hours 23 mins .m4b file that plays nicely in Apple Books. (If you are a supporting subscriber I can point to it if you message me.) It was the first radio comedy to be produced in stereo. Considering it was broadcast first in 1978 the early series still feel fresh with only a few dated expressions and references.
You might find something useful in these 100 podcasting tips.
My cousin released this track on his birthday. Listening to it now.
I have eaten far too much chocolate this week. Perhaps it’s a result of being exposed to news like this. I normally break mine from a bar and have never foraged it from a human crevice. Actually there was that one time….
I am now meditating daily, instead of when I remember. Paying £139 for a lifetime membership to the app Balance does wonders for my focus in using it. Even at this reduced rate it’s the most expensive app I have ever bought. Let’s hope they do not bring out Balance 2 anytime soon.
I have talked at depth about the benefits of meditation. Somewhere in the archives. If you can find it (I can’t) please link it in the comments. Anyway, despite having meditated on and off since the 90’s, I really wasn’t committing to my free year on the app so I waited for a hefty offer and paid for the lifetime membership.
It’s not just filled with great guidance on meditation methods and tools, I figure it’s a reasonable price for reduced blood pressure, increasing focus, less stress, better memory, sleep, emotional regulation, increased empathy and compassion, plus some other stuff I should probably remember.
I do wish I’d committed at the beginning of my free year instead of just dipping in and out. All new signups get a free year. I get nothing for referring you other than perhaps a warm fuzzy feeling. Here is the link if you’re interested.
A dedicated digital camera is my ally, enabling me to record my unique perspective and artistic intent. Logging time, place and technical choices, it humanises workflow and maintains my authorship.
We live in an exciting time photographically. This week I have taken out a manual camera shooting black & white film and a digital camera shooting a raw image file (with a colour profile embedded.) But i’m outputting a black and white jpg from it.
I like having the backup of colour although respect how my friend John (mentioned above and below) is investing in his second monochrome-only digital camera. He got me thinking that if creativity is based on limitation, what might shooting purely monochrome do for my creative process.
While chatting with another photographer friend Gordon, he pointed out that there was a place that will convert my Fuji X100T to be solely monochrome for the princely fee of $1600 plus shipping. I think it is worth waiting to see if Fujifilm brings out a Monochrome X100. They have made monochrome sensors before but now there is a market.
The process of modifying camera sensors to B&W is explained in depth here.
Thankyou to those that pay $5/month support these musings and the community behind it. If you are able, please upgrade to become a paid supporter.
Faster charging and longer lasting EV batteries might be close but it’s just a solution for Lithium.
Life inside the world’s largest refugee camp.
Here is the old Hitchhikers website.
How to record calls on your phone.
Some of my other places include GoodReads, FarceBook, Flickr, Strava, Untappd, Diaspora, Vivino, LinkedIn, YouTube, Mastodon, a ham radio newsletter or search ‘Documentally’ on Wire, Birdsite, T2 or Bluesky.
Thank you for reading this far.
If anything here has sparked your interest please feel free to comment below and continue the conversation. Or perhaps you have a portfolio of images or a Flicker account you would like to link to.
Next week I hope to be in London on Tuesday and will be in Porthmadog, Thursday night till Saturday.
The moment I hit sent I shall raise a glass to you and yours. Have a great weekend!
“Perhaps we should stop comparing the production process of a photographer, like that of a poet or painter, and start thinking of the photographer as a composer, conductor, or film director, leading the orchestra of instruments provided by AI. There is the original script produced by the eye and camera, and the interpretation of the script by digitisation and AI. But the conductor/director is present to make the decisions to where the interpretation should go.” ~ John Perivolaris
See you out there.