Wednesday, May 06, 2009

As David Carson Said, Sexism Sucks

I've always thought that there's a built-in sexist side to most of the sources one seeks out to study photography. While some lens tests are done with color charts and little arrangements of objects, just as many include studying the depth of field of a bikini. That's sort of a leftover from when photo magazines were bought mainly by youngish guys.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not opposed to any type of photography. I just think the fake "to test the camera out, we followed Photographer X as he shot the Swimsuit Issue" feature we often see is hypocritical compared to the honesty of not-safe-for-work-viewing blog Pretty Girl Shooter. When Jimmy D talks about lenses and lighting in relation to his typical gig -- shooting the covers for porn video packaging -- there's nothing fake about it. (Oddly enough, he often goes into more specific detail than the photo magazines.)

So here's what I wanted to mention: we're getting near the technical moment when still cameras are capable of shooting moving images, and where moving image cameras have enough quality to shoot stills. Both developments may change the way we make images and will be on the minds of both photographers and documentarians in the near future.

So Filmmaker magazine has, understandably, shown some interest in Esquire using the RedONE camera to photograph Megan Fox.

"For the first time in Esquire's history (and, we imagine, magazine history in general), a cover image was shot as a video. Using the RedONE, a video camera that captures images at four times the resolution of high-definition, photographer-director Greg Williams (see below) recorded ten minutes of loosely scripted footage with Fox — getting out of bed, rolling around on a pool chair, inexplicably lighting a barbecue."
If we skip past the built-in "it's still the 1950s, right?" feel of the whole thing (the title is "Megan Fox-ing") this is a fairly amazing development. In recent years we've seen a few newspapers take to shooting HD video in place of stills and then selecting a still frame for use, and this is the natural next step -- higher resolution and able to match the requirements for a magazine cover.

In the end, though, if we're to judge from the video -- Good Morning, Megan, a purely cheesecake, lingerie / swimsuit session -- there's nothing to be discovered. Except:

1. The RedOne does in fact produce a very film-like look and seems to use fantastic lenses.

2. You really can't shoot for both stills and video at the same time effectively.

Well, lesson learned. I look forward to when they get the new holographic cameras in. I hear they've got a special issue planned for that.

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