March 06, 2015, 07:18:31 PM

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Messages - unfocused

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Thanks for the info unfocused!  How long did it take to arrive from date of purchase?

I just need to know when to expect delivery so I can be home (sig required).  Otherwise it could just magically appear and I'd be OK with that.   ;)

Took about a week. It was originally scheduled for yesterday, but when I checked the tracking, it had been changed to today. Basically, what happened is tracking showed nothing until maybe Tuesday night, when it showed it enroute. I get notices from UPS in my email and they sent me a notice yesterday that it would be delivered today. It did require a signature, but since I work from home, that was not a problem.

People that know minimum of art history should be familiar with that kind of BS from Dali, Picasso and others late 19th and early 20th century show off artists!

Except Dali and Picasso were great artists, whose works were important in art history and have stood the test of time. They may have been good at self-promotion, but they were also talented and significant artists. Anyone who bought one of their paintings has only seen the value increase. I can guarantee you that Lik's work will never show up in a legitimate museum collection or escalate in value.

Ordered a 70D for my wife. It arrived today (Friday). Perfect condition. Identical to the body I ordered from Canon Refurbished in December for about the same price.

It's a split kit (18-200 IS removed) and doesn't appear to have the U.S. Warranty card (Included their own warranty card though). Neither is a big surprise. It's what I expected and I'm satisfied.

For those freaking out over shipping, I've never had much luck with EBay updating the tracking information and this was no exception. It was not shown as shipped until yesterday, when all the tracking information finally showed up.

What concocted fables?  I'm not familiar with his career, but I didn't see that in the NY Times article.  The price of the Phantom print does sound unbelievable.  But I wouldn't claim it's a "stunt" without some proof that is.

What outright lies about the origins of the moon photo?  Again, I'm not familiar with his career and didn't see this in the NY Times article.

This will get you started on the moon photo.  The tl;dr is that he claimed it was a single frame, but that's physically impossible for several reasons.

Due to the fickle nature of the valuation of art works, it's common practice (so I hear, no personal experience) for a person considering an expensive work to hire one or more experts to evaluate the purchase.  They might hire an academic art historian and an art appraiser, etc.  They'll want to know things like: is it real or counterfeit (e.g. for a painting by a big name), has it been "repaired?" Would it be considered artistically interesting by art scholars?  Is it likely to hold value?  etc.  From what little I've read about his work, the answers to important questions would come back resoundingly negative.  A sane rich person is not going to drop $6million on a pretty, wall-sized postcard.  I want to be clear: if I'd done some of these photos I'd be rather pleased with myself, but I've seen as good or better done by many other photographers.  It's not bad stuff (depending on the individual piece and your tastes) but it's VASTLY overpriced compared to what's out there.   All considered, 6mil is far outside the realm of believable for a legitimate sale: the burden of proof should be on PL to substantiate the claim.  Not that I really care, but my assumption is that he sold it to himself, possibly using shell companies, for the publicity.

Take this for what it's worth, it's just my opinion mixed with hearsay.

Good points.

I also strongly suspect that this image has been "enhanced" as well. Something about the "ghost" looks fishy to me, but unlike the moon shot, it's a lot harder to prove fakery here. Fake because Lik seems to like to provide elaborate stories about each shot that leads people to believe he finds the subjects in nature – I personally don't care if it's been manipulated, but don't like it when photographers conceal the manipulation.

Anyway, some have criticized the NY Times, but they are simply doing their job as journalists and revealing to unsuspecting buyers that Lik's work is neither artistically significant nor likely to retain it's value once it leaves the "gallery."

Whether or not wealthy but naive buyers need to be protected from themselves is open to debate, but I don't criticize the Times for investigating Lik. He reminds me of "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade, who enjoyed a good run for awhile. I've read stories of people who invested heavily in Kinkade prints believing they would increase in value only to be left holding a bunch of prints that no one wants. Yes, it is "buyer beware" but no harm in the media helping to spread the word. 

Lenses / Re: Canon - Give us 400/5.6L IS NOW!!
« on: Today at 12:24:10 AM »
Personally, I'd prefer a 200 mm f2.8 prime with IS that could be paired with one of the new 2x converters for a 400 mm f5.6 prime. More compact than the 400 mm prime, more versatile and probably would sell better.

But, I don't think that's going to happen either. It seems most buyers prefer zooms and the new generation of zooms seem to rival the primes and sell just fine, so I don't see much incentive for Canon to update these primes.

EOS Bodies / Re: The State of the Camera Industry in 2014
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:59:08 PM »
I wonder if that is enough to lead to a pink 5DIV? 

Yeah, because Diane Arbus, Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Margaret Bourke Wright, Rineke Dijkstra, etc., etc., picked their cameras for its color.

Let's cut the stupid, sexist comments.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Fujifilm like the EOS 7D mark II
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:50:28 PM »
I'm impressed with his candor, but also with the Fuji products.  If wouldn't surprise me if
ten years from now the big camera vendors are Canon, Fuji and Samsung.

 It would surprise very much when there are brands like Nikon and Sony
Fuji is a small manufacturer, why would they suddenly become larger than  Nikon, Sony?

Fuji is also a survivor. While Kodak went belly up, Fuji successfully navigated the transition from film (once their primary product) to digital.

Will they displace Nikon or Canon? I doubt it. But, I did read once that Fuji is the company that Canon was most concerned about, so maybe the admiration is mutual. Personally, I'm not convinced Sony is in the photography business for the long haul. Maybe as a supplier, but not sure I would invest in their system for fear it could disappear.

Canon General / Re: Spartans, What is your profession?
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:43:48 PM »
Retired in November from managing a press and communications staff for a state legislative caucus.

Now working as a subcontractor for a (formerly) one-man PR firm, doing communications strategy, writing, photography and possibly soon some video. Actually finding myself doing more photography for paying clients than I anticipated.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 10:54:42 PM »
This is good news for professional photographers. For the last ten years, competition has exploded because so many people would buy a SLR just to have a decent camera...

...At the same time, the difference between a pro photographer and an everyday photographer will become more obvious to the uninitiated. There's a limit to how large you can realistically print a cellphone picture, small sensors are crap at bokeh, and you can't zoom a tiny lens. These are all things that are immediately obvious and that adds value to the gear a pro owns...

...With a reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers and a clearer separation of quality for the pros, I think the market for professionals may become much better in the long term.

Wow! That's a whole lot of wishful thinking. Let's break it down:

For the last ten years, competition has exploded

You are obviously too young to remember the previous 40 years or so. I have never seen a time when competition was not exploding. The supply of photographers has always far exceeded the demand for my entire life.

But, the problem is not an oversupply of photographers, the problem is the disappearance of markets. Photojournalism as a career is all but dead. Almost no one goes to a commercial portrait studio anymore. Those that remain survive on weddings, high school portraits and babies – all areas where the supply of photographers vastly exceeds the demand.

The most talented photographers working today survive largely through teaching workshops and writing. Scott Kelby may shoot a lot of professional sports, but he pays his bills with his publishing and training empire. Look at Creative Live's stable of photography instructors. Most make more money from teaching and publishing than they do from their photography.

...At the same time, the difference between a pro photographer and an everyday photographer will become more obvious to the uninitiated.

If only that were the case.

Sure, some people do see the difference, but very few are willing to pay for that difference.

There's a limit to how large you can realistically print a cellphone picture, small sensors are crap at bokeh, and you can't zoom a tiny lens. These are all things that are immediately obvious and that adds value to the gear a pro owns...

This is based on the false assumption that anyone cares about prints. Almost every picture looks great on a cellphone and quite a few look pretty good on a tablet. That's where pictures live today and that's not going to change. So, the ability to print an image in a large size is pretty much irrelevant.

I won't get into a debate about whether or not these things are "immediately obvious" other than to say that I've printed 20 x 30 images from both my 5DIII and my iPhone and, while there is a definite difference in the "look" of the images, I doubt if very many casual observers would be able to tell me which is which.

...With a reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers and a clearer separation of quality for the pros, I think the market for professionals may become much better in the long term.

Who says there will be any reduction in the number of would-be pro photographers? As I said the supply has always far outstripped the demand. There is no evidence that will change. As for the "clearer separation of quality" again, that's in the eye of the beholder and there is nothing to suggest that the average customer is going to suddenly become either more perceptive or willing to pay for the difference in quality.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 05:27:33 PM »
Here is the CIPA forecast for 2015 along with the history going back several years.  Taking several decades of film camera users and converting them to digital resulted in the huge bubble in the 2010-2013 timeframe.  Likewise, there is a similar bubble in lens shipments - except it lags by about two years.  Some points I see...
1)  Market saturation is certainly occurring.  The question is how low will it go?
2)  The camera industry has seen this kind of downturn before and the big players survived.  In fact, they seemed to be able to deal with shipments of 3.5 million as a nominal level (although many would say with minimal R&D at those points).
3)  The impact of smart phones is most seen in the P&S arena (full CIPA report is at )
4)  I like to think smartphones are great for image capture... perhaps not so good for photography.
5)  Anyone who has watched prints coming off a minilab film printer can attest to the fact high image quality is not demanded by the masses.  As fast as possible 4x6 prints with most of the faces recognizable is what is desired and "good enough" for many people.  Today's expectation is instant sharing of blurry image captures.
6)  The smartphone is also the photo album - it's almost 4x6 inch print sized and holds thousands of images.  It's easy to pass around and share.  DSLR's not so much!

The question is can pros and serious enthusiasts provide sufficient market for the level of development we have come to expect?  It used to be the pro bodies were updated on a ten year cycle and lenses even longer.  We are likely headed in that direction again.

There is a lot of truth to what you say. However, one point that Laforet and the Mayflower Concepts speaker are making, and which I agree with, is that because camera manufacturers have fallen behind the curve on usability, their customers are paying a premium in inconvenience due to a lack of features that are readily available on smart phones. In most cases, there is no excuse for that.

Perhaps the manufacturers can all get by for a few more years without integrating core convenience and connectivity features into enthusiast and professional cameras, but how long can that go on? Sooner or later the "I don't need wi-fi...I don't need touch screen...I don't need to instantly edit and upload photos from my phone" crowd will die out and we have several generations of potential camera customers who find DSLRs laughably antiquated.

Yes, I agree that demand is cyclical and we are at the tail end of the rapid growth prompted by the digital camera revolution. But the key difference is that in all other cycles, persons who moved up from basic cameras to more sophisticated cameras generally gained convenience along the way, or there were significant quality incentives (printing one's own photos was inconvenient, yes, but the reward was sufficient to overcome that inconvenience). The mistake I think manufacturers are making today is that they are penalizing upgraders by removing or rejecting common features that consumers have come to expect and there isn't enough of a reward to offset that inconvenience.

EOS Bodies / Re: Smartphones Already Won -- Laforet
« on: February 26, 2015, 01:34:49 PM »
"The key is that the software on those smartphones, and the social media platforms and instant connection to the web – ARE BETTER and cannot be overcome by camera companies that fail to integrate software within their camera bodies going forward."

What is it about "key" that people can't understand.

Remember this discussion:

This presentation was made at PMA recently by Heino Hilbig of Mayflower Concepts, a management consulting firm.

Here I go again...all major camera manufacturers (Nikon, Sony and Canon) have done a horrendous job incorporating new usability and communication technologies into their higher end cameras.

The entire world can navigate through their phone menus, focus their pictures, switch settings, etc. etc. with the simple swipe of a finger. Yet, Canon produces only one advanced amateur camera (70D) with a touch screen on it.

Try communicating with the internet (uploading images to even professional sites like Adobe Cloud) with a DSLR. Good luck. And, don't even get me started on the lack of basic editing software on cameras that are dedicated to photography as compared to multifunction devices like tablets and smart phones.

And, if you don't think those things are needed by professionals, you obviously don't understand the competitive world many professionals live in.

It's embarrassing that a professional carrying around a $4,000 camera can't scroll through his or her pictures, pick two or three, do some quick edits and upload them for client access on a shared site, when anybody with a smart phone can do it within seconds.

For many professionals, delivering the best looking pictures simply doesn't cut it when the clients have already posted some fuzzy, out-of-focus iPhone shot on their website and Facebook page. Being first does count in business and Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc., are failing us miserably in that regard.

The irony is the technology is neither new nor expensive. It is here, they just refuse to provide it to their customers.  Laforet and Mr. Hilbig are correct, and I would add that smartphones have won because camera manufacturers have collectively refused to move into 21st century communications.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Cinema EOS C700x Rumor a Fake
« on: February 26, 2015, 12:56:10 PM »
Someone should do a psychological study of people who concoct these fake leaks, complete with bogus images. It always seems like a lot of work for a pathetic cry for attention within a tiny universe of nerds.

Never had a big white. Will probably never be able to afford one. But here are a couple of thoughts from experience with "little whites."

Mount the camera/lens on a monopod and carry the combination against your shoulder. You'll probably want to add some padding to reduce chafing and switch arms and shoulders a lot, but your arms are made for carrying things, your neck is not.

If you are wearing a backpack and it has some type of handle that you can run a strap through or some other means of attaching the strap to the pack, use that. Having the backpack carry the load is a lot easier than having a shoulder or neck carry it.

For a reasonable fee, I'm willing to accompany you and carry the lens for you. :)

I'm trying to understand the market, and that includes the buyer's motivation. What could possibly motivate a person to spend more on a single photo than most people make in their entire life? Why not buy a Robert Frank for $3,500 as you say? There has to be a reason.

This thread isn't a critique of art, it's about the business of art. There's a million other thread talking about how to take great photos, but very few about why people would buy those great photos.

I try to understand the market and I get insulted and dismissed without anyone even considering the question in return. You talk as if you think wanting to become a financially successful artist is a bad thing -- it's not. If nobody is willing to talk honestly about why art sells, it's no surprise that most art doesn't sell well or at all.

Perhaps because no one knows the answer to that question or even to the question of what constitutes art.

Here's a few tips:

Be born wealthy. It's not a requirement but it helps. Cartier-Bresson was born into a wealthy thread-manufacturing family. That wealth allowed him to avoid the family business and study art at the one of the leading academies in France, where he was introduced to the groundbreaking trends at the time, such as cubism and surrealism. If you study the history of photography, you'll find more than a few great photographers who had the advantage of family money to support them in their pursuit.

Alternatively, marry rich. It worked for Alfred Stieglitz. And, you can always divorce your first, wealthy spouse and take up with a younger, poorer lover after you've made it. That also worked for Stieglitz.

Study under one or more photographers recognized as artists by the critics. You mentioned Gursky. He studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Someone mentioned Cindy Sherman. She studied under Les Krimms. The community of photographers recognized as true artists is relatively small and like anything else, connections matter. You'll be accepted more readily as a serious artist if you studied under serious artists.

Get a critic or curator to buy and promote your work. Many of the works that are considered icons of photography today were selected because Beaumont Newhall was the curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art and when he wrote his history of photography he naturally selected works that were in the collection of the museum. Why would he want to promote the collection of a competing institution.  The result was self fulfilling: The greatest photographers were represented in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art because the Museum of Modern Art collected works by great photographers.

Make sure your art is in style and beware of changing styles. William Mortensen was a leading practitioner of the manipulated image but his vision conflicted with that of "straight" photographers like Ansel Adams. The f64 school decided that only straight photography was legitimate, so Newhall trashed Mortensen and effectively wrote him out of the history of photography. Similarly, Les Krimms was a cutting-edge photographer in the 1970s, until feminist zealotry pushed him out of favor with the art critics and displaced him with his student Cindy Sherman.

Ride the investment wave. Many art buyers today are buying primarily for investment purposes. They buy works in the hopes that they will escalate in value and allow them to make money on the investment. For some of these buyers, it's no different than investing in real estate, except that you get the added benefit of being considered sophisticated. If the investment community decides your work will increase in value, your images will sell. Not that you will ever see any of the money, because most of the sales occur in the secondary market -- one collector buying from another, long after the artist sold the image for a fraction of its current value.

Finally, and most importantly, get lucky. Think of it like becoming a rock star or a movie idol. At any one time, there are millions of talented people all trying to hit the big time. The world has only so much time, space and money for the stars of any field. For every one person who succeeds, there are thousands who never will. They aren't less talented or less deserving or less hard working, they just aren't as lucky. Life is random.

Do you guys have any argument about why you think I'm wrong? I was hoping for some actual discussion of the business and marketing of fine art, not some vague whining. It's no wonder photographers are all broke if that's the level of business talk going on...

Let's see. You make an ignorant, broad-brush assessment of art and then wonder why no one bothers to argue with you. Perhaps it's because your post is so dumbfoundingly uninformed and misguided that there is really no point to furthering the discussion.

Some great artists are financially successful. Most are not. Some great artists are very popular. Most are not.

Many would argue that great art should be intellectually challenging. Clearly, simply producing something that is pleasing to the eye is no guarantee of greatness. That does not mean that art cannot be beautiful, but that beauty alone is no guarantee of art.

Much of Gurksy's work is aesthetically appealing, intellectually challenging and requires great technical virtuosity. Read up a bit about his technique and vision before you spout off. But, more importantly, attempting to judge all art photography by the market's fondness for Gursky displays incredible ignorance.

Art collecting has become big business and has driven up prices for certain artists' work based on market forces that are likely to be transient. Only time will tell if some of the artists selling today will stand the test of time.

For the most part, photography remains a great bargain in art collecting. I did a quick internet search and it looks as though you can buy a photograph by Robert Frank (arguably the most influential photographer of the second half of the 20th century) for as little as $3,500. Imagine being able to buy a Picasso for that.

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, or if you are just trolling. It sounds as though you want to know some secret to becoming a financially successful artist. Well, being talented and visionary is no guarantee of financial success, but you certainly won't become successful as an artist if you don't start there.

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