24 October 2020

LensWork: “LW1206 – Video invades Photography”

But in terms of using the medium to create a personally expressive art statement I just don’t see much in common between photography and video, either from the producer’s point of view and particularly from the consumers point of view. So, I guess it kind of feels to me like this convergence in the hybrid world between video and photography is something that’s happening in the history of photography because of the drive of manufacturers to do something, not because of the demand of photographers, not because of the demand of consumers, that there could just as easily be something out there that was a video camera that didn’t do stills, which by the way that exists, there’s a whole world of video cameras that don’t do stills, or if they do stills, it’s a secondary feature that hardly anybody uses.

But video has invaded still photography to the point where it’s almost unavoidable.

Try going to Canon and asking them for the newest latest camera they have that does not have video capabilities. There isn’t one. Same can be said with all the manufacturers. Video has invaded photography.

Brooks Jensen

I rarely write about podcasts on my blog, but in this case I listened to this episode from the LensWork podcast and it reminded me on my own frustration around this topic. Just like Brooks, I have next to no interest for shooting video and I use my camera almost exclusively for (still) photography. The reason may well be that, like Brooks, I picked up photography long ago, in the film era, when cameras were dedicated to this single purpose. But aside from that, photography for me is about the fascination of a moment captured for ever, a fixed reflection of a world in constant motion – you might even say that the camera captures something that does not truly exist, because we experience the world as a never-ending flow, not as a series of snapshots. In contrast, video seems just a reproduction of reality, a repetition that does not add anything of interest, and I would rather experience more of the world than repeat my past memories.

LW1206 – Video invades Photography

In conclusion, for me video features on a camera are completely irrelevant. But I do not think that manufacturers are solely to blame for this trend to merge video and still features in a single body. There are a number of photographers, not sure if a minority, but clearly a vocal group, that keep demanding video capabilities – and this is happening in most reviews as well. This was a constant talking point in past years against Canon cameras – and yet, after the announcement of the new EOS R5, the most common criticism was directed at the supposed overheating caused by the cutting edge video features. Some people like to constantly complain and to demand every feature under the sun, ignoring how people actually use cameras and how many of these features are useful for their line of work – and unfortunately, those who complain the loudest also get the most attention.

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