on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Cost of Convenience

Can Technology Hinder Creativity?

Chris Murray

Chris Murray is a fine-art landscape photographer from New York State. His work has appeared in several magazines including Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Adirondack Life, Life in the Finger Lakes, and New York State Conservationist, among others. Chris’ interest in photographing landscapes is derived mainly from his love of the natural world, the same love that led him to choose geology as his first profession. In photography his goal is to make images that are not a literal document of the woods, mountains, and rivers of his home state, but rather a creative expression of his relationship with the places that ceaselessly inspire him.

chrismurrayphotography.com



But we err in presuming convenience is always good, for it has a complex relationship with other ideals that we hold dear. Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. ~ Tim Wu

The ferns spread out before me in shades of burnt orange, gold, and brown. Framing the scene through my viewfinder I realised I would not be able to capture the desired depth of field with one exposure; focus stacking would be required. No problem. I shot three exposures, varying only the focus point. Later, I imported the exposures into Lightroom, opened them as layers in Photoshop and completed the focus stack. Easy. Simple. Clean. If I owned one of the new-fangled mirrorless cameras I could have done the focus stacking completely in-camera. Even easier.

Chris Murray - Cost of Convenience 1

While recently reading a monograph on a Harry Callahan exhibit the writer mentioned the process of making an image with an 8 x 10 view camera. I thought of how much photography has changed over the decades and began to wonder how those changes have impacted the photographs we make today, for better or for worse.

While recently reading a monograph on a Harry Callahan exhibit the writer mentioned the process of making an image with an 8 x 10 view camera. I thought of how much photography has changed over the decades and began to wonder how those changes have impacted the photographs we make today, for better or for worse.
On more than one occasion I have read the stated belief that we are in the golden age of photography. From the standpoint of technology that may well be true. The technology available to us today has opened up possibilities that we could barely fathom thirty years ago. Now with a little luck even the most casual photographer can easily capture magnificent scenes. Camera technology has made the process of capturing a photo much easier and convenient while advances in software have allowed for greater freedom of expression. But, like every seemingly good thing in life, that convenience comes with a price. Has the convenience enslaved our creative and expressive abilities?



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