About this Blog

Photo Writing is the web version of the Photo Writing mini-magazine produced by Limephoto and Emil von Maltitz since 2010. As of 2015 it is now completely online. Feel free to browse through the articles and please leave comments in the comments section if you would like to engage with us.

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Catharsis of Photography

Maletsunyane Falls in Lesotho

Certain types of photography offer the practitioner something more than the act of creating an aesthetic image. Reading Susan Sontag’s “On Photography”, it is interesting to note that she sees the act of photography as something possessive, sometimes distancing, the result aesthetic or instrumental. The view is particularly cynical at times where she paints a dystopia-like world where the camera is a controlling force on people. Apart from the alarming levels of surveillance that she considers and which have become very much a fact of life post 9/11, there is the mind numbing mundanity that the all pervasive camera-phone has created. There isn’t a single thing or object that is not photographed now. It tends to be done without thought apart from the simple purpose to record and disseminate. But the photography created by this snap-shot culture is all about the product or result of the camera, and very little critical thought goes into the action. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A Question of Ownership - copyrighting of ideas in photography

My version of the controversial 'red bus'...hopefully I won't be sued over it ;)

Owning property is a relatively simple thing. If I buy a camera it belongs to me. Proof of my ownership is exhibited in the form of a receipt from the company or person that I bought it from. Admittedly as the ‘thing’ becomes older the receipt as proof becomes less and less important and it’s simply taken as a given that this property belongs to me. If someone takes that camera from me without my consent, the law in just about every part of the world is fairly clear in that the person is a thief and has stolen the camera from me. For some types of property we continuously pay dues that confirm our ownership of that property (think of rates and taxes on our homes). Either way, the physical object has a definite owner.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Stretching Essential…Apparently

Dead Vlei atv Dawn

Photographic salons and competitions are not new to controversy. The World Press Awards, Veolia Wildlife, The British Landscape Photographer of the Year and now the International Landscape Photographer of the Year have drawn public, or at least photographers’ ire over the selected winning images and photographers. Less serious than the issues plaguing the World Press Awards over journalistic authenticity, the ILPOTY Awards this year did raise consternation in various quarters over the amount of digital manipulation inherent in a large number of the selected 101 top images, as well as the winning portfolios. The result is that we once again find ourselves with the that old question regarding PhotoShop; at what point is it no longer a photograph? 

Monday, November 1, 2021

DSLR or Mirrorless

DLSR or Mirrorless

Two conversations within two days of each other with two photographers on either side of the country made me realise the amount of angst dedicated photographers are feeling as to their equipment choices and the future of their gear. I am talking about mirrorless and the apparent death of the DSLR of course. It’s a trending topic on camera forums, clubs and amongst enthusiasts the world over. Should you move to mirrorless, or stick with your DSLR?

The conversation usually revolves around a concern for the longevity and value of the system that you have opted to use for your own personal photography. In reality though there are more complex emotions at play, often with unconscious brand bias, and a fear of being left out. Regardless of the motivations, photographers are questioning the equipment they have, and the brands they have chosen in the past.