Monday, October 3, 2016

Digital changed photojournalism, it forgot about the story.

This year, 2016, marks the 40th anniversary of the Domke Bag. Back then I wanted to make sure I had enough film for a couple of newspaper assignments. Always shot two rolls using two cameras, this was safe in case one camera malfunctioned and you didn't miss any shot stopping to change from wide-angle to telephoto lens. Often you never used up all the film, shooting less than 72 exposures.

Today the digital camera data cards hold many for exposures than the 36 exposure roll of film. Plus with film you had to develop it and that took time, loading onto stainless steel reels or waiting for two rolls to get pulled into an automatic developing machine.

The younger generation thought we got better shots with two cameras and filling up two rolls of film. The older 4x5 Speed Graphic generation got the picture taking simple four or five shots. The paper was only going to use one picture.

So watching the Photo Mechanic video on You Tube I'm shocked with how they start with renaming the files and making sure they have enough spaces for over 1000 images.

When I designed the Original Domke Bag in 1976, I wanted to make sure I had enough room for 15 of 20 rolls of film. 720 exposures! That was enough to cover several assignments, more than enough for one day! Enabled you to stop and rewind a partially exposed roll and load in a new one and expose at a different ISO, which would have to be developed separately.

Photo Mechanic is explaining how to keep track of thousands of images!  Promoting how it will save time. How about turning off the motor-drive and waiting for the key moment? Watch and think about the action. In sports my goal was to try to see how the game was going and look for photos that would show the record breaking run, tie-breaking touchdown. Not just take a photo on every play.

To tell the story we use to think a "picture page" was best with a large main photo and maybe 4 or 6 smaller shots to tell the beginning and end. Today with 60 images posted online they best shot is overlooked, nobody looks at all 60, they stop after looking at the first 3 or 4.

Has anyone done a study on how many photos people see in a "gallery."  Shooting still photos, I liked the challenge of trying to tell the story with one photo. ONE! The other shots published were secondary, showed details, or close-up. But front page photo told the story.

We desperately need photo editors to find the best shots, make the best shots load first, and make every picture different. Only one picture of the quarterback, one picture of the fans, etc.

No editing and you can't see what is unique and interesting, you have to read the story to find out and then maybe search for a picture that collaborates. Edit down and tell the story!