Steve Sasson is an electrical engineer who invented the digital camera while working for Kodak. The Rochester, New York, company, which had made its fortune by selling photographic film and paper for most of the 20th century, did not think that Sasson’s digital camera had any place in photography, and that lack of foresight ironically put Kodak out of business.
A Young Engineer Finds a Job at Kodak
In June 1973, Sasson (born 1950) graduated with a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York. The same month he landed his first [and last] job at Kodak.
Kodak was not typically hiring electrical engineers. They were hiring chemical engineers and mechanical engineers because cameras were, of course, mechanical, and photo processing equipment required those two disciplines. It became pretty clear then that the bulk of the unit cost of manufacturing a consumer camera was going to electronic and electrical components like film advances, exposure controls, and flash controls. All of these were being implemented electronically, putting a new emphasis on hiring electrical engineers.
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The ultimate skill of the photographer — of the artist — is to create the aesthetics of the scene in front of them “in the moment”. The Natural Landscape Photo Award is perhaps the epitome of this with minimal image manipulation allowed, while the World Press Photo has a Code of Ethics. So straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) has got to be the pinnacle of ability, hasn’t it? Or is there more to the notion of what an image is and where the skill lies in producing it? more …
Computational photography pioneer Marc Levoy argues “straight photography,” an idea popularized by Ansel Adams, is a myth.
Levoy, an Adobe VP and Fellow, was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering and was recognized for his work in computer graphics and digital/computational photography. In a recent interview with Adobe, Levoy was asked for his thoughts on the photography industry and one major aspect of it stood out: his argument that the concept of straight photography does not actually exist.
The Concept of Straight Photography
The term “straight photography,” sometimes referred to as “pure photography,” refers to the practice of depicting a scene in sharp focus and detail with a camera, which is in contrast to other methods of recording a scene like painting. Though found in use as early as 1904, the term became popularized by Alfred Stieglitz as a more “pure” form of photography than Pictorialism, another popular method of taking photos.
Sunrise Campus Martius DJI_0691
Sunrise Detroit Ren Cen DJI_0689
Belle Isle Bridge and Ice Flow IMG_4534
Frozen Belle Isle Bridge and Downtown Detroit IMG_4554
Detroit Gran Central Station New Windows DJI_0707
Ice Flow Detroit IMG_4516
Slo’s BBQ IMG_4492
Mercury Bar Corktown Detroit IMG_4483
American Coney Bench IMG_4509
Mercury Burger IMG_4489
For as long as photography has existed, the art of deception has been front and center of the craft. You change photos, I change photos, we all change photos. Who cares, as long as the viewer is happy?
When new cameras are released, the news cycle revolves around a seemingly infinite number of reviews from ambassadors, YouTubers, influencers, and early adopters. The buzz around this year’s Canon EOS R5 release was crazy, particularly considering we’re in the middle of this century’s worst global health crisis. That buzz has since abated somewhat and been replaced in the last few weeks by the debate surrounding AI software developments and releases, particularly by Adobe with regards to sky replacements and facial-editing capabilities. Is it photography, is it art, is its digital photography, is it somewhere in-between, is it something else altogether? Opinions have been coming at a breakneck speed from all parts of the spectrum. more …