Being old and not sleeping as well as I used to, I... (
Kodak folders: No. 2C Autographic Jr, Senior Six-16, Retina IIIc
Kodak box: Brownie Hawkeye (because it's cute)
Here comes the rant...
You are absolutely correct. Most people who capture images no longer make prints.
"Photograph" used to mean something tangible, now it means a bucket of bits.
Thank heaven everyone owns 17" high resolution monitors and the hardware required
to color calibrate them! They do, right? Ut-oh...
Fortunately, you won't have to worry about that laptop for long--it will die and so will
fhe SD cards within a couple of years. And so, probably, will the images.
The first computer I used was a Burroughs 5500 mainframe. I've been using computers
ever since and I've observed this: all digital data eventually goes *Poof!* and disappears.
I have boxes full of media that either is no longer readable, or for which a drive is no
longer made. Repeated migration to new media is fine until something goes wrong.
Backup and restore is fine until something goes wrong.
History shows what is truly permanent. If you want something to last, carve it on the
inside of a pyramid.
The pyramid text of Unas is perfectly readable after
4,300 years. But we also have silver prints from the Civil War that look great (especially
the "sepia" sulfide-toned ones).
Photographs used to look like the attached. Now they're mostly slick things in garish color,
with limited resolution and depth-of-field. But wer're assured that the gadgets that take them
and print them are really high tech. They work so well, we have to keep replacing them
every couple of years. (But hey, that's good for corporate profits and executive bonuses.
And who could fail to love a computer printer. What's not to love about a paper jam?
Or a plugged inkjet head? Of course, everybody here can repair their own ink jet or
laser printer, or even build one. They all undrstand how the firmware works....and all
about page description languages and bit-mapped graphics....
Joe Consumer (and his Uncle Bob) are the kings of photography, these days. They decide
what gets built. . Professional photographers have mostly gone out of business and
so have camera stores and labs. The last fine art photographer has just been stuffed as an
exhibit in the Smithsonian Insitution
Consumers don't produce--they consume. They aren't in control--the marketers are.
Nobody just woke up one morning and said, "I think I'll have a glass of caramel-colored
carbonated sugar water!" You can thank Coca-Cola Company for that wonderful innovation.
(And dang, they took the cocaine out of it!)
Photography is no longer about looking at photographs, it's about the fun of taking them
(preferably with a "selfie stick").
Last year, film director (and Polaroid still photographer) Wim Wenders was looking for a term
for "that activity which looks like photography but isn't." I suggested "fauxtogtraphy".
Welcome, fauxtographers (and you few poor souls who struggle to make decent sized prints
out of these low res, heavily processed image files). Who needs resolution when you can
just run "sharpen"? Increase color saturation and everything looks like a sunset--how wonderful!
Welcome to Oz, Inc.
Eastman Kodak made many poor cameras, but they were inexpensive and reliable. Kodak never
lied or misled anyone. And its lab research and technical documentation were excellent. Besides
which, Geroge Eastman started as a professional photographer.
And I still shoot that Retina IIIc folder fairly often.
Carleton Watkins, "Cape Horn, Columbia River", 1867 (this is just a digital scan -- the original is even better).