Isolation Photo Project, Day 73: SOOC?

On his blog, Andy recently reviewed the Panasonic GM-1, a µ 43 camera. I reviewed the Panasonic GM-1 in 2014, and for the small sensor size, I think it is capable of capturing great images. But I also think the camera is too small. Andy has been walking around his home town of Austin, Texas capturing images and sharing them on his blog. I've enjoyed seeing his photogs and reading his commentary, however, after reading his most recent blog post I paused to think.

As I indicated in my recent GM1 Review, I haven’t been totally sold on the Panasonic color. I’m not impressed with the JPEGs, and I’m in the midst of bending the RAWs to my creative will.

I don't think Andy is suggesting that modern photography should be nothing more than pushing a button and letting the camera's JPEG algorithms work their magic but I don't think a camera should be evaluated solely on the SOOC JPEGs it produces.

The "straight out of the camera" philosophy developed during the digital "point-n-shoot" era. I shot 35mm film in the 80s and 90s, and I don't recall ever hearing the phrase "SOOC". SOOC is a myth.

Suppose you are shooting in JPEG mode – you direct the camera to store JPEG images on the memory card. If we look at one of those photos, is that photo SOOC? Well, strictly speaking, it is literally SOOC. But, does it represent an unaltered, unmanipulated photograph? No. There is no such thing.

Renowned photographers like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson worked in the darkroom, tweaking their negatives and prints to achieve the desired result.

I think the ease of access to inexpensive digital cameras and the rise of the smartphone led to more people having access to cameras than ever before. A "it's good enough straight out of the camera" thinking developed. I think this is fine for the casual photographer.

I agree with photographer Tony Drumm, SOOC has become a “see what I can do without using Photoshop or manipulating the photo” sort of bravado. For some in the SOOC camp, this is a method of self aggrandization, of stating that "my photography skills are so good that I don't need to edit". Some photographers use the SOOC as a badge of honour.

I am friends with many local professional photographers, aka photographers with paying clients, who have 40+ years of experience. They taught me that it's the cameras jobs to capture raw data, but it's the photographer's job to turn the raw data into a photograph.

There are no cogs at Facebook. There are complicit accomplices. The accomplices are not changing Facebook from the inside. If you work at Facebook, stop. If you sell coffee to Facebook employees, stop. If you buy ads on Facebook, stop. If you use Facebook to chat with your family and friends, stop. If you are on the board at Facebook, stop. All of these actions help feed Facebook’s community destroying engine.

I will not stop using Facebook.

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.