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The look of film

I hear the nouveaux filmistas talking of ‘the look of film’, but what is it? Is there a magic or secret sauce that film has and digital can’t do?

From looking at old Photography Year Books or magazines I could say that the traditional film look is low dynamic range, odd colours, grain and blur. But equally, I’ve got digital pictures that look like I doodled them in crayon while blindfolded.

I know in the early days of digital it was easy to tell them apart. Digital had a visual smoothness – a lack of fine detail or grain. Not so much the grain though – it was perfectly possible to make smooth and grainless film images (if only I’d learned how). I think it was the lack of fine detail. And then digital got more pixels and a wider dynamic range and it could be as fine or as gnarly as film. So what now is the film look?

Film or digital, and why?

I can add grain to a digital picture if I want to. I can emulate the colours of Kodak or Fuji or almost any brand or age of film. Crush the shadows to black? Put a halo around the highlights? All easy enough. Double exposures? I used to think this was only possible on film, but then I learned how to do it with digital. So what is the magic that only film has?

Film or digital, and why?

I wonder if the look of film is actually the rendering of the older lenses we used? If I put an old film-era lens onto a digital sensor, would I get the magical look of film without the inconvenience? Maybe what people call the look of film is the look of older lenses? And what happens if I use a modern digital-era highly corrected lens on a film camera? Do I get the look of digital?

I think film has a couple of unique things, but you won’t see them in the final image. One is longevity: film is a physical medium and if you hold it up to the light you will understand that it contains pictures. This is less obvious with a memory card. So even if we can no longer read an old storage medium, we can scan or project film. The other is that you can revisit film with newer technology and get more out of it. I upgraded my scanner some years back and got better scans. Then I learned to use my scanner and got even better scans. My digital files will never reveal more detail than they already have. Actually, there’s a third thing – I can tell my analogue images apart from my digital by the scratches, dust and hairs.

But am I missing something? Is there a film look that only film has?



Can you, or should you, separate the artist from their art? If someone made fantastic pictures but was a complete rissole (as we say in front of the kids), could you continue to like what they produced? Would that change if your appreciation gave them money, perhaps from buying their work?

I’m thinking of a cartoonist I used to like. Initially I liked his work so much I bought some of his books, that were collections of his cartoon strips. Then a couple of his books had writing in, which the author used to express his ideas on management and physics. The first was misguided and the second was crazy. Or to use Murray Gell-Man’s phrase: ‘not even wrong’. Then the author became a supporter of Trump. And then made some racist comments. I had stopped reading his stuff when he went off the rails with his written ideas and had given his books away to a charity shop. I’d stopped following his cartoons after I heard his paean to Trump, but I was still disappointed that he followed-through as a racist. I should have listened to a real artist – “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”.

In this case it was easy to drop the art with the artist. But there are other artists whose work is better, but who are also rissoles  of the first degree. Racist and anti-vax musicians, violent and misogynistic painters, Nazi photographers. So is it possible, or even morally right, to appreciate the art while disliking the artist? The problem is of course, that appreciating the art often sends money to the artist. There is also an odd halo effect that people who are good at one thing are thought to be good in general. Why else do artists or actors get asked their views on current affairs? The same effect makes us think that people who are beautiful or rich are also good. So a talented artist who looks nice and has a bit of cash is assumed to be both clever and correct. And when we pay for the art, our money makes the artist famous and virtuous. This confirms to them that their beliefs must be correct. Unfortunately, we give them status.

Imagine a picture here. I have the picture but I’m not sharing it. I was walking on a beach and found a cardboard figure stuck in the sand. From the back of the beach it looked like a person coming in from the sea and up the small dunes. The figure was a caricature of one of the Black and White Minstrels. I can hope that the figure was planted in the sand as a protest and to make fun of our Home Secretary. But I have no wish for anyone to have access to this picture and potentially cause harm or distress. Private Eye maybe, but nobody else.

Equally contentious, in many places

Which leads to another question: can nice people make good art? Do you have to be at odds with society or yourself to be creative? Probably not – there are people who are or were very creative but who also seem to be decent and normal. Let me reinforce that: I don’t think there is any justification for being bad, no matter what art you produce. Being a bad or nasty person detracts from your art, because it makes me question the value of it (plus being nasty is bad in itself, whether you make art or not). I might like what you have produced but I will always worry that liking it validates your views or behaviour. I believe it is true though that to make art you must be vulnerable, in the sense of being open to the world. But perhaps I’ve shot down my own argument, in that bad people can also make good art? So I’m back to trying to separate the art from the artist, or wondering if I should.

Of course there is a counter-argument that people with unpopular views are unfairly repressed in what John Stuart Mill called the tyranny of the majority. But I think we are generally smart enough to tell the difference between hate and dissent. If you seek or cause harm or deficit to others, you are hateful. I think this solves what is being called cancel culture – the way filtering should work is that we do not support anyone calling for harm or deficit to others, but we should listen to anyone wanting to challenge our ideas or beliefs.

So I think I need to vote with my morals and try not to fund or support people who are bad (as I defined it). Of course they have a right to free speech (as long as they don’t try to harm others and take responsibility for their views), but I have the right to not pay them attention. In debating it is considered bad form to make an ad hominem attack: to criticise the person and not their ideas, but that is in an artificial environment where it is only the ideas that should be argued. If we separate the art from the artist, I think we can legitimately criticise a person’s behaviour independently of their work.

I agree totally with John Stuart Mill’s set of basic liberties, and these mean that the artist of whom I disapprove is free to do as they wish (causing no harm), but I don’t have to pay them any money or time. Actually, I have an example of just that thing. I went to a talk by a famous photographer who turned-out to be a rather unpleasant character. I’d been uneasy about his work, but the talk was an opportunity to hear the photographer’s intentions. What he did was to clarify my dislike. His attitude to his subjects means that I can’t now look at his work without remembering his views, so I won’t be following his work or recommending it. As the motto has it brevior vita es quam pro futumentibus negotiam agendo.

Camera, lens or light?

I heard it said (I’m sorry, I can’t remember where) that amateurs are interested in cameras, enthusiasts in lenses and photographers in light. It makes a nice pithy aphorism but does nobody any favours.

So ‘real photographers’ can’t be interested in cameras? And anyone who knows how their camera works can’t be a photographer? I think the phrase we need here is bollocks. I’ve argued elsewhere that technical aptitude is on a scale and that we should ideally try to combine an interest in both outcomes and methods.

What is more useful to think about is not camera, lens or light, but camera, lens and light. They are three variables that can be combined to make a result. You could think of them as another exposure triangle.

The camera makes the picture possible and dictates the type of picture you can make. I wouldn’t use a large format camera to shoot sports or action, for example. I know it’s been done, but so has Morris Dancing. There are better ways, unless the difficulty is part of the intended process. So the camera should be selected according to the job it has to do.

The lens makes the camera work and controls the type of picture. It lets you compress everything into the frame or isolate a detail. Without a lens of some kind you can’t form a picture. That light won’t just focus itself, you know. So the lens should be selected to frame the subject and to achieve an effect in the image.

Ooh, that’s a big Canon

And neither the camera nor the lens have any point without some light. But I think it’s useful to also distinguish light as the subject from a subject which is lit. It’s possible to make pictures where the subject or purpose is the beauty and placement of the light. It’s also possible to make pictures where the purpose is the subject and the light serves to make the subject visible – think of photojournalism.

Interrogation time

Perhaps the ideal, and the art, is to be able to see and combine a good subject with the best lighting. Then to use the best lens to render the subject and lighting in the way you want. Then to use a camera that allows you to capture what you intended.

So I don’t think the camera, lens, light axes are exclusive: you need to combine them. But perhaps what the original claim really means, and which I believe, is that your picture starts with a lit subject. You then work back to the equipment and settings needed to capture what you saw. If you start at the other end, say with the camera, then you are led to find things to put in front of it. I think this is why I have some cameras and lenses I seldom use. Taking a camera for a walk feels boring and restrictive. What I prefer is to go for a walk and take a camera plus lens that suits the conditions, the things I might find and the type of pictures I have in mind. But, saying that, I have used the constraint of a particular combination of camera and lens as a method of getting out of a rut and trying something new. It was never meant to be the starting point though, just a way of taking constraints to an extreme. It does make the point though, that starting with the camera is the wrong way round.

Fiat lux, as the Romans used to say.

Searching images

This is a very interesting article on searching for the locations of old pictures. The exercise itself is fascinating, but so are the tools for doing a reverse image search. It’s easy to type red apple into a search engine and get pictures of red apples. Putting up a picture of a red apple and having the search find similar pictures is much more difficult. What’s even more interesting is putting up one of your own pictures and searching to see if it turns up in places you weren’t expecting. Not that anyone would ever steal or copy one of my pictures. Why would they? My pictures only have value to me and are probably of no interest or use to anyone else. Unless they are the before in a before and after comparison. Even so, the reverse search is an interesting tool.

What would be awkward though, would be to find a near-duplicate of one of your images and then find that the copy pre-dates yours. Then you have to either be honest and admit you copied something you’d seen, be amused at the synchronicity, or recognise you had taken the same tourist shot as everyone else. (If you want more synchronicity, try the insta_repeat account on Instagram.)

My go at luminosity masking

So where is this going? Obviously, don’t copy other people’s work. Or rather, don’t try to pass off other people’s work as your own. By all means copy, but do it to learn, not to earn. I definitely copied a certain look I had seen for infrared pictures, in order to learn how the method worked. I have no intention of pretending to be Pierre-Louis Ferrer; what I wanted was to learn how to do luminosity masks. But that’s not the point and you don’t need my virtue-signalling. The main thing is that there are some powerful tools out there for doing reverse image search and they can be used to locate an old photograph or to find similar images. I’m also currently playing with an image searching utility on my computer (rather than the internet) that should be able to find pictures based on content. This could be a useful addition to my filing system for when I have an idea what the picture was like but I’m not using the right key words to find it.

Anyway, have a go and see what you can find.

Kick out the iambs

I’ve seen some explorations on podcasts of the links between photography and music. Is there also a connection between photography and writing? Is there any relationship between drawing with light and with letters?

You don’t often see this at galleries

Lots (if you ignore that the group is self-selecting) of photographers seem to be also musical. Why not? If you are artistic then you may have more than one outlet for your expression. I feel though, based on the smallest of samples, that there are fewer photographers who also write. I know there are blogs, but I am thinking more of writing as a separate activity in itself. It would be writing about things other than photography, just as the people who can make music probably don’t make tunes about photography. (And even as I write it, a series of photo songs pop up from the subconsious.)

Singing them Cost of Portra Blues.

I know I can’t play an instrument or ‘do’ music though. I have tried, but can’t seem to pick it up at all. At school I got thrown out of the recorder class. Just about the easiest instrument to learn and all I could do was make random noises. But as soon as I bought a camera I thrived on it. I took pictures of everything, learned every feature (both) of the camera and every photographic method I could. And while I couldn’t play a note at school, I did write a bawdy tale in the style and meter of a Canterbury Tale that made the teacher laugh (and then confiscate it).

Perhaps a better comparison though would be with poetry, as poetry is to prose what I suppose music is to humming a song. Just as music has a strange power over our emotions from a set of sounds, so poetry pulls our strings with words.

That changes the question to ‘is there a link between poetry and photography, and are there any rhyming snappers?’. Not me, for sure. I can string words together but I am more at the explaining end of the scale than the triggering of emotions. Unless it’s annoyance – I can do that one. Perhaps I can’t do music or art but I can do words because I can’t really see pictures in my mind’s eye. I have more of a mind’s steno pad.

I’m just curious. Once the overlap of people with skills in both photography and music was pointed out my little grey cell got to wondering if there was a written analogue? (Thank you, I’ll be here all week.) There may not be, or it might be more rare. We evolved to see and speak, so pictures, sounds and music are pretty much innate. But we have to teach our brains to read, which involves re-programming or re-purposing parts of the brain. So perhaps the venn diagram crossover of photography and writing is smaller than the one for music?

It’s just me being curious. If anyone has good examples of a wordy-piccie crossover, do let me know.

And just to prove that comment about being annoying:

On his darkslide, by Miltish

When I consider how my life is spent
Counting seconds in this shed, so dark inside,
 Or juggling lenses, both long and wide,
Lugging them all, though my back be bent
To serve therewith my muses, and present 
My true account, writ in silvery halide; 
“Did that take a whole day?” they ask, so snide. 
 I bite my lip, more bitter banter to prevent,
But mutter “I need neither chip nor chimp for aid 
To assist my eye, I have it best 
From rule of thumb and circumstance of fate
Of stochastic influence my art is made.  
You can keep your digital pleasures with the rest; 
They too expose who only stand and wait.”

Sorry about that.

PS – I should have looked harder. Not long after posting this an actual good photographer turns up, talking about poetry and photography.

Bored of the things

Do you ever feel bored with photography? It’s easy to be bored with the process of photography – the cameras, lenses and all that jazz. But do you ever get bored with the results? Turning out yet another set of similar pictures that nobody else will ever see.

I have found myself becoming jaded. I fell out of love with landscapes first. Yet another static shot vacant of any human interest or involvement that nobody will care about, least of all me. And then with the pictures that I took because I had a loaded camera in my hands. To be fair though, some of these improve with age. A picture of something that no longer exists can be an interesting record. My first car or motorbike became interesting to look back at, both because of how young I looked but also the strange old styles. Want to see how odd historic engineering could be? Go and look at an Ariel Arrow. Thankfully I never owned an Austin Allegro, though I sometimes cadged a lift to work in one. Actually, my propensity for taking pictures of the odd and curious has been useful in illustrating this blog. Who knew that a fragment of gravestone or an upside-down harbour would ever be useful? But those are just a symptom of my curiosity; they are not my muse.

Not impressed

I’m bored with cameras too. Yes, it has been fun to play with different types, but all I really wanted was pictures. Really, once a camera can deliver the minimum viable requirement of holding a sensor up to the light, it’s done its job. People who form tribes around brands seem strange, although it is preferable to actual witch-hunting. The best antidote is something I heard from Shit my Dad says – “you bought it, you didn’t invent it”.

So what am I to do? I’m definitely not bored with underwater photography, so perhaps that tells me something? We’ve had a couple of years of the Covid blues (with a ‘reform the band’ world tour always a future option). I’ve been pretty busy with a crumbly new (to me) house this last year so it feels like my photographic opportunities have been limited to when I’m walking the dog. This is about as boring as it gets, as I’m taking a camera for a walk and taking pictures of dull and empty scenes to justify carrying it. One real highlight was a challenge set by Bill Ward on the Photowalk podcast: to use intentional camera movement. I enjoyed that – it was adding a bit of thought and creativity to walking the dog. I also enjoyed seeing some drag racing. What I want is more of the fun I get from those and from underwater photography – I like action and people in action. So I don’t necessarily need to get out more, just go to places where things are happening. I’m sure I’ll get out more as the days lengthen.

Looking forward to Summer

What will be interesting is how my feelings change between writing and posting this article. I started writing this around the winter solstice when northern England barely gets light. By the time I post this whinge the days will be getting longer, I may not be towing a cloud on a leash and I’ll be a happy snapper once more. But, SAD aside, I really am bored with some aspects of photography. Am I using film cameras because of a specific quality they have, because I’m unwilling to move on, or because I want to play with them like toys? I’d like to think it was a unique quality but I fear that I’m just a fiddler.

So perhaps I need to introduce some constraints? Use just one camera. Make that two: one compact that also does my underwater stuff and one ‘better’ camera that can use my collection of odd lenses. No more playing with stuff that I then leave in the cupboard with part-used film loaded. Maybe sell off a few more of the remaining relics? I did an exercise before where I looked at what each camera or lens did and where I had overlaps or duplicates. Perhaps it’s time to be even more specific. Do I really need four screw-mount 35mm cameras? Or four 35mm rangefinders? If I don’t have a thing then I can’t fret about not using it. I also really don’t want to be a collector. The kit I do have is absolutely not out on display. I can appreciate a shelf-full of exotica just as much as the next nerd, but the things I own are (as far as I can) things I use. That’s why I sold a load of stuff in the first place. It’s also how I came to recognise what drove my acquisitions: a mixture of curiosity and wanting to have a capability on the off-chance that I needed it.

So what does a photographer who is bored with photography do? I think I need to stop playing with cameras, stop taking pictures of things that bore me, and concentrate on going to interesting events or doing interesting things. I know there’s a group organising a trip to do a bit of bird photography soon. Previously I would have declined, but I’ve never done this before so why not? It might also get some use out of my long lenses. And if it helps me get over myself, let’s give it a go.

It’s always better after you’ve had your coffee. Not too much, though.

Praktica LTL

The first thing you notice about this and most Prakticas is the design, or ergonomics. The camera has a square-edged body and the shutter button is on the front rather than the top. Many cameras look like the outside shape is moulded around the internal components. This Praktica looks like a box that was made to hold the working parts. It’s at the brutalist architecture end of camera design. It’s reminiscent of the Argus rangefinder, although the Argus was probably made that way for ease of assembly.

This, and many of the other Praktica models, use a vertically-run, metal-bladed shutter that seems to be reliable and long-lasting. It has the usual suspects of speeds, spanning 1s to 1/1000. Unlike its Russian cousins you can safely change the speed without winding-on first

This was very much the thinking person’s cheap camera. There were lots of different models, so pay attention. Be aware too that Praktica used electrical contacts between the lens and body before they moved to a bayonet fitting. If you have an electric-type camera I believe you will need an electric lens to be able to take advantage of open-aperture metering. My version, the LTL, uses plain and simple stop-down metering and has no electrical contacts.

The bonus features in this model were a visible indicator in the viewfinder that the shutter is not cocked, plus a lock for the shutter button. Heady stuff, but mine lacks the shutter lock.

The meter takes a mercury battery, but you can also use an air-zinc one. Or you can just treat it as a meterless camera and forget the battery.

The other thing you will notice using the camera is the way it winds on. What I’m used to with other screw-mount cameras is the feeling of gears moving. They feel like you are winding-up a clock. The Praktica has a sort of clunk to the action – like a switch is being set. It’s hard to describe, but you will know it if you try say a Pentax and a Praktica. It may be down to Praktica’s method of holding the end of the film (see peeve below).

Mine came with a typical Praktica lens, the Domiplan 50mm f2.8. This is a basic triplet design with a reputation of being soft wide open but sharpening up a bit when stopped down. The Tessars are better lenses if you find a camera with one on. Or fit any number of sharp M42 lenses. I’m using a Yashinon on mine, with Pentax 35mm and 85mm lenses rattling in the bag.

But it’s a standard screw-mount camera. Get one of the models that does not use the electrical contacts and it will take a huge range of lenses. I’m pretty sure the electric ones will work too, but the meter probably won’t work without the matching lens.

The one feature I really don’t like though is their design of film take-up spool. Praktica switched from the usual slot in a tube to a clever piece of wire. I struggle to get the wire type to engage the film. I can do it, but it’s a slow film load as I wind-on the first blank bit of the film while watching for the rewind crank to revolve. I’m sure there is a knack to it, that I lack.

The shiny wires either side of the take-up spool are my nemesis

In use, the camera works as you’d expect. The shutter speeds seem accurate, which is a tribute to their design. The meter works if you get the battery voltage right. The negative frames are evenly spaced, so the mechanical bits are working ok. The rest is down to the lens, so the pictures are as sharp as the lens I fit.

Respect is due though. They made a lot of cameras and seem to have built them well. Mine must be at least 47 years old and still works reliably. I’d much rather use a Praktica than a Zenit.


If you become good at something, or well-known for something, what should you do next?

In writing or music the answer might be ‘do more of it’. This is the curse of the three-book or four-album deal. You become indentured to the publisher to make more copies of the same thing. But you can also become your own victim by repeating a successful formula, even despite the likelihood of diminishing returns.

As a photographer you might develop a particular look or style. If it gains approval, the temptation is to prolong that style to maintain the approval. If you were a professional the drive might be stronger, as that style might be what you are hired for. But tastes change – what about informal family group portraits shot against plain white backgrounds, for example? And what about your own creative growth? Do you want to be limited to wide-angle landscapes with a rock in the foreground?

There are artists who are recognised as having changed their work over time. Think of David Bowie as an obvious example, but you could also look at Sparks, Neil Young, Tom Waits or Alan Moore. Indeed, Alan Moore is explicit in his descriptions of the writing process, that as soon as you recognise yourself repeating a style you should stop using it and develop something else. His advice is to pick something you find difficult and try that. This is the way to grow, not from comfort and safety but from restraint and risk. If you don’t make yourself do something different, when are you likely to do anything different? Or as Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstei said, “We do not go through life imagining alternative ways of seeing what we see”. You could rephrase this as “nobody ever set out to prove themselves wrong”.

This is different to being in a creative hole. In a hole you are stuck and don’t know what to do next. Instead, here you are riding high, master of your craft and technique, but taking the conscious decision to break away and do something else. This is getting out at the top of your game, before your style becomes your handcuffs. It also hopefully avoids the diminishing returns of repeating what was a successful formula.

Bored already

I did write previously on developing a style, where I wondered if I had one. There must be something, as I’ve had one of my pictures identified as mine even though it was anonymous. So perhaps I now need to break away from what was recognisable and try something else?

I’ve mentioned Alan Moore above, and he has something to say about having a recognisable style. If I may steal quote from his book Writing for comics: “if your ambition is to be a creator, then know that creativity is an ongoing and progressive phenomenon and that stasis and stagnation is sure death to it”.

Taking that as the aim, what could I do with my own cliches?

  • Simplicity – try more complex pictures or containing more elements
  • Block or simple shapes – work through the full list of compositional elements
  • Black and white – shoot colour instead
  • Shoot some landscapes (which I currently avoid)
  • Shoot some street photography
  • Try shooting video rather than stills

I’ve had some words to say on most of these: I like simplicity; shoot a lot of mono; avoid landscapes and street photography. So now is my opportunity to stop doing what is comfortable and see what I can do in a less familiar genre.

Not that I’m presuming to have anything like a consistent style or to suffer with artistic angst. But it doesn’t harm to challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. I might even (one day) find what it is I’m good at or enjoy more than taking pictures of things that go fast or swim.

PS – I had a go at what I proposed. I went out and wandered around some landscape and did a bit of architectural photography. Not as bad as I’d thought. I may never take either of them up as my default, but having seen my first results I now want to improve. Give me a hand and we’ll shift this paradigm.

Selby riviera


Now, here’s a thing. And I didn’t even know it was a thing. It’s the inability to see pictures in your head. A blind mind’s eye.

It started when I was reading Imaginable by Jane McGonigal. Highly recommended, by the way. But there was an initial exercise that asked “imagine yourself waking up in ten years’ time. What’s it like”. So in all good faith, I started describing it to myself. Then the book continued to ask me to imagine every detail and colour of the scene as vividly as possible “unless you are one of the 2% of the population who have aphantasia”. Say what? I could describe my future world eloquently in words, but the best picture was a fuzzy version of my existing bedroom. Hang on – do other people see pictures?

Now close your eyes and imagine a horse. But not this one. This is Bob.

Then, as life does, synchronicity slapped me on the head. There was a press headline on a news feed about a study into aphantasia. So I read it. Then took an online test that seemed to have a lot of its results feeding into further research. And you know what, I don’t seem to have much of a mind’s eye. I can’t see a picture in my head of things that I’m not directly remembering. Even then, it’s lacking in detail. Like most things, it’s a spectrum. A fuzzy imagining, rather than a total absence, is called hypophantasia. Nothing to do with the Disney film, by the way.

How about imagining a sheep?

The first question of course is wether this is true, or at least true for me. The online test seemed to confirm it, but I’m sure every hypochondriac says the same. On the other hand it would explain a lot. It may explain what my wife calls my total lack of an aesthetic sense. But if I can’t imagine what something could look like, I’m unlikely to go out and buy paint. It could also explain why, the one time I went off piste and did buy paint, it was so far from the right colour it wasn’t even wrong. My wife is still puzzled why someone who takes photographs could not see it was the wrong colour. Perhaps I now know why. It may also explain my fascination with colour in production design: I can’t really see what a scene could look like, so I think people who can are very clever. It could even explain why I feel I see things as an alien, but that’s probably stretching it. I do think it could explain why I was rubbish at art when I was at school, but much better at writing (and explains this blog).

If this is true, and it’s still an if, it’s not the end of the world. The condition seems to be no hindrance to creativity. In the case of Derek Parfit it was mooted as the reason for his interest in photography. It may even be compensated by better spacial cognition.

So if it is true, it explains a few things. If not, it’s harmless and gets me out of choosing paint. I may be using this as the drunk uses a lamppost – more for support than illumination – but at least I got a drink out of it.

Out of curiosity, how do you get on with this test?

PS – I found a description of it in its extreme form here.

What are the rules?

With full credit to the song from “it’s always sunny in Philadelphia”.

So, what are the rules?

  1. Sharp is better
  2. Boring subjects are made better by good technique (but see rule 6)
  3. Better cameras make better pictures
  4. Wider lens apertures are better
  5. Expensive lenses are best
  6. Bad technique is better (Lomo)
  7. More pixels = more better
  8. You have to really understand 18% grey
  9. Bokeh makes the picture
  10. If you don’t understand, you’re stupid
  11. You need the same camera as them
  12. Old lenses are better
  13. This number is unlucky
  14. You can guess the exposure
  15. You will work for exposure (the other kind)
  16. The past is not relevant
  17. If you had a Leica and a Rolleiflex, you would be perfect
  18. All women naturally stand around in poses like they do in photographs
  19. Shooting film slows me down
  20. Real photographers shoot in manual
  21. Tripods are for HG Wells
  22. I could have taken a better picture than that
  23. I don’t need to ask anyone for permission
  24. You want me to explain that to you
  25. Mirrorless is the best
  26. Film has a special look
  27. Street photography needs a rangefinder
  28. You should start a podcast
  29. Instagram will bring you fame and money
  30. Thirds are the secret of composition
  31. You should learn more about cameras
  32. Taking pictures of graffiti is art
  33. Lenses should be tested
  34. A wedding, or any event, needs thousands of pictures
  35. It’s only serious if it’s in black and white
  36. Make sure the sun is behind you
  37. Everyone loves pictures of wildlife
  38. Almost as much as they love landscapes
  39. Always aim for the highest possible contrast in your picture
  40. “Well seen” is the highest praise possible for your pictures
  41. Everybody wants their picture taken
  42. There is an answer for everything
  43. For more diversity in photography, try a different lens
  44. It’s extra special if you shoot it on an iPhone
  45. Youtube needs you
  46. Expose for the shadows
  47. Petrol stations at night
  48. Taking pictures of poor or homeless people elevates them
  49. The Milky Way and a tent lit from inside
  50. There is only one way to leave your lover

Have I missed any?


And in deference to Poe’s Law, I need to make it clear that this post is ironic.


Oh, and so is Philadelphia. Just in case.

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