Monday, February 27, 2012

iPad 2 photo apps from Adobe

Adobe just released its "Adobe Photoshop Touch" app for iPad 2, and it's making me wonder: Could I possibly leave my laptop at home on my next trip? I'm dubious, but let's take a look. Here are a few lovely screenshots that I took of their screenshots from the app store:

So, it looks like the perfect thing for:
1. fanciful collages of androgynous hat models who like balloons, butterflies, and roses
2. cheesy faux-vacation photos to try to convince your friends that you totally were hanging out in weather-inappropriate garb with that blond girl from English class and No! That's not the photo from the school paper because in this photo you have your eyes opened.
3. psychedelic representations of that time in New Mexico when you were guided through a desert by a talking chameleon.

Sold! Only $9.99 for all that?
But seriously, what does it really mean?
Some of the features are:
  • layers, selections, adjustments, filters—obviously, not in as complete a way as the $699.00 Photoshop CS5, but what do expect for ten bucks?
  • a "camera fill" feature that sounds a bit like the content-aware fill that I love so much.
  • ways to select and extract "even hard-to-select image elements, like hair, with ease" by scribbling. Really? 'cause it's not so easy to do with Photoshop CS5. 
  • the ability to use Google image search and download images
  • sharing and viewing stuff on Facebook with comments from within the app
  • integration with "airprint"to wirelessly print--although I can't seem to find that app
  • integration with Adobe's creative cloud, which should come as no surprise since the $50 a month cloud fee pretty much gets you everything you could ever want.
And finally....the "feature" that has annoyed app store users the most (based on looking at the comments):
  • 1600 x 1600 pixel maximum image resolution.

What does that mean in inches? Well, at 72dpi (i.e. on a typical screen) it's a whopping 22.22 inch square photo. But at a print resolution of 200dpi, that's a modest 5.33 inch print. This leads to comments like "can't consider this a pro app" and "our cameras are 8+ on our iPhones we need full support for that!" In fairness, 1600x1600 pixels makes a 7.32 mb file, so it's pretty darn close. Still...a "pro app?" I don't think Adobe claims that it is. It talks about "pro effects," but no one can reasonably imagine all the features of a $700 program for $10.

We're not to the point where I can leave my laptop at home, not with a Canon 5D Mark II's large files.  Besides, my iPad couldn't even handle an hour's worth of shooting, let alone processing.

However, if you are like most of my students, all of your photos go on Facebook, blogs, etc. And the photos you post are not 22 inches big online. For that, the 1600x1600 pixel limit is more than enough. It wouldn't surprise me if that limit went up in some future version once the iPad 3 has been out for a while. For blog posts, Facebook pics, and so on, Adobe Photoshop Touch is a pretty exciting development and I will probably end up getting it just for fun. It's certainly in a different league than most photo apps for the iPad. Adobe is adding new apps to their "Adobe Touch apps family" faster than my fellow Utahns are having kids. No wonder Adobe is building a new 230,000 square foot facility in Utah.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love/Hate for "Still Searching" blog

The blog of the Fotomuseum Winterthur (in Zurich) was launched in January this year. I'm always looking for new photo blogs to read, so I was happy to see one with the ambition to:
" a continually growing and developing Internet discourse on the medium of photography that features a multitude of participants; it is conceived as an online debate on forms of photographic production, techniques, applications, distribution strategies, contexts, theoretical foundations, ontology and perspectives on the medium."
The blog will apparently feature various guest contributors (6 per year), and is meant to engage "anyone interested in photography and visual theory." I've subscribed to their blog, so obviously I find it (potentially) interesting. Does this mean I would recommend it to my students? Probably not, due to the off-putting language. No, not f-bombs. Worse. Puffed-up academic speech. Why, pray-tell, say "the ontological status of photography" or "epistemic fields of reference" (from Feb 5 post on "Practice") when you don't have to? Can't you just say "what photography is" and "how/what it means"?

Have you ever heard someone say that swearing demonstrates a lack of intelligence? I actually disagree. To curse or not to curse is not so much a question of intelligence as it is one of cultural awareness and choice of register. Same goes for talking about "ontological status." If you're a first-year grad student, you might speak like that to impress your professors or insecure peers. If you're a seasoned academic, you probably speak like that out of habit, much in the same way that frat brothers might constantly swear. But personally, I like a more moderate approach to both swearing and academic jargon: they should be used sparingly and in the right context.

I have nothing against academics (I teach graduate critical theory, after all), but I just have a hard time with that kind of language on a blog. Then again, maybe my idea of the ontological status of the blog, its discursive practices, and epistemic fields of reference (sorry, couldn't resist) is just misguided or overly restrictive. In any case, "Still Searching" is worth a read and I admire its ambition. Check it out and see what you think.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Someone else's Epic Fail post

Blake Andrews recently did his own sort of "epic fail" post. It's worth reading if you get a chance. Here's a quote:
"OK, so I sabotaged my submission and I have no one to blame but myself. Although I'm still sorting out my exact motivations, I think part of me didn't really want a show. All that time and money that I would've spent printing and spotting and matting and framing is now freed up. I can get back to sipping daiquiris by the pool. So in one sense it's a bit of a relief, one less thing to worry about."
Meanwhile, if you regularly read my blog you know that my own "epic fail" project has come to an end. This year is all about epic success. I'm embracing my marketable side: my goal is to see my own photos not in a gallery but in a store somewhere. The year is off to a good start. A nice little royalty check arrived this week for the 10,000 photos of mine that Wild Apple Graphics recently sold. I have no idea what stores bought them because that info doesn't appear on my royalties report. My dream is to simply stumble upon them somewhere.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


"Price of Fashion" Marc Olivier, Paris, 2011
Just felt like posting a photo. I've been busy with the Sundance Film Festival and then with catching up at work. Hopefully, I'll get back in a routine soon and do some real posts.