Sunday, 31 January 2010


Yesterday, organizing my stock photos (a subject I will write about in my next article) I found some images that made me think about. I took them in Tunisia, in March 2003, five years ago. I was there shooting a story for El Dominical del Periodico, together with a journalist. I remember a couple of photos: A head in the Bardo’s museum and a vessel in Cartago. There were some technical problems to be solved: poor light, color casts…

The head had two lights, fluorescent that looks green with daylight film, and tungsten that looks reddish. I set my Nikon on a GITZO tripod, and add a little touch of strobe, reducing the power in one stop, to correct the red cast.

The light on the vessel was better, but all from fluorescent lamps. Once again the Nikon on the tripod, but on the 50mm lens a placed a Kodak filter, 30 CC, magenta to correct the green cast. In both case, the journalist travelling with me, took a small digital camera from her handbag wile saying “I have no idea about how to take photographs” and pressed the shutter. Her camera, still of few megapixels, have an automatic program to take pictures inside museums. I have a look at her LCD screen. Her pictures could not to be published double spread but were technically faultless. The automatic white balance has corrected the color cast. The little strobe just the right amount of light and the sensitivity high enough to get a shutter speed to avoid blurred images. I realize it was the very end of an era.

Until this day, we professional photographers got many assignments, simply because the customer didn’t know how to solve technical problems. For instance, I used to shoot for a client who made special lights and lasers to use in discotheques, tried to make the photographs himself and failed. Photographers like Navia, National Geographic photographer Tino Soriano and myself were able to shot Velvia 50 ASA slide film with mechanical cameras as Leica and get sharp, saturated images, technically flawless, in spite of its conceptual value; thanks God there are more things than just technique in this world.

Some other photographers stood up in the sports field, such as Jose María Alguersuari or, from a younger generation, Albert Bertàn and Jordi Cotrina in the staff of EL PERIODICO DE CATALUNYA, for his ability to focus manually their 300 mm, or more, f:2,8 tele lenses. All they have a long and successful carrier, also in much wider fields, behind them. Jordi, for instance, is right now in China photographing the Olympic Games. However, their skill to focus manually these “monsters” is not required. We have autofocus instead. Only the price of these lenses separated, nowadays, professionals from simply amateurs.

The digital impact has been so big-it surprised the whole photo industry-that I confess my lack of future vision in my answers to the interview Nuria Aguade made me in October 2004, only four years ago, for “quesabesde”.

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