Walker Evans’ famous photo book “American Photographs” was first published in 1938. Since then, the book has been released in new editions every 25 years or so. Although the photos contained within its covers have remained the same, the processes and technologies used to print the photos have evolved over time, causing each edition to be every so slightly different from the others.
We now take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to direct your attention to an interesting study that was published yesterday by Pingdom. The website tracking company decided to analyze the demographics of the world’s top 100 blogs (according to Technorati), sorting them by reader age and gender. It’s findings regarding PetaPixel caught our eye.
Reikan Technology, the company behind the FoCal automatic lens calibration tool, tells us that it has released a new web-based tool for researching the performance of camera and lens combinations.
Respected stock market analysis website Seeking Alpha doesn’t think too highly of the way Kodak CEO Antonio M. Perez is leading the beleaguered photo company:
It would not be the first time that Mr. Perez, who became CEO of Kodak in 2005, has attempted to receive a large payment for his services to the detriment of his company. We had concerns about Kodak’s compensation policies in May 2010, when we noted practices such as Mr. Perez’s having amended (for the fourth time) his initial employment agreement and received an ad hoc award of 500,000 stock options at a low exercise price of $4.54 in October 2009 for “retention purposes.” Although Mr. Perez’s compensation decreased by around 55% year over year to $5.7 million in 2010, it remained grossly disproportionate compared to those of his subordinates, given that the median pay for Kodak’s other named executive officers was only $1.1 million. This suggests that Mr. Perez’s board – which he also chairs – allowed him so much freedom that he was able to prioritize his own interest ahead of his staff, customers and investors.
Earlier this month, Kodak was given permission to stop providing health and welfare benefits to tens of thousands of retirees. The move came just months after the company asked for permission to hand out $13.5 million in bonuses to 300 executives and employees.
Kodak’s CEO Prioritizes His Compensation Even Amid Bankruptcy [Seeking Alpha]
It happens every time you press the shutter. Tiny circuits spring into action and furiously record the information from every sensor pixel onto your memory card. But pixel information is not all that is recorded. With every shutter press, your camera records dozens of interesting details about how the photo was taken. These details are tucked away deep inside the labyrinth of code that comprises your photo file. Photo editing softwares, such as Photoshop or Lightroom, can unlock some of this data for viewing later. But they normally only scratch the surface of the available information by displaying only the most commonly used Exif tags.
To mine the deepest depths of your Exif data, you may want to try a utility called Exiftool. This utility is known for its ability to squeeze every last drop of information from your Exif data. Don’t expect a slick, graphical interface, though. Although there are more user friendly softwares which incorporate the Exiftool engine, we’re going to demonstrate Exiftool where it is at its minimalist best – at the command line.
On Monday Adobe officially announced its upcoming Creative Cloud subscription service, which will allow users to “rent” CS6 for $50 a month or Photoshop by itself for $20 a month. Whitson Gordon over at Lifehacker did some calculations on whether subscribing is actually worth it. Here’s his conclusion:
If you’re upgrading from a previous version of the program, it’s quite a bit cheaper to just grab the upgrade from Adobe instead of subscribing. And, if you can get a student discount (which nearly anyone can do), that’ll be cheaper too—at least in the case of Photoshop, which doesn’t seem to offer a subscription for students. In the case of the Master Collection, the student subscription is cheaper than the regular student version, but still not cheaper than upgrading from a previous version. However, once you get past the two year mark, all bets are off—the subscription is more expensive than buying, even if you plan on upgrading every two years.
[…] our official recommendation is to stick with the retail versions unless you only plan on using your Adobe product for under two years. The subscription is great for the short run […], but it’ll cost you quite a bit more in the long run.
Adobe’s John Nack also writes that one of the huge benefits of the new model is that it drastically reduces the barrier to entry. Previously you had to pay $700 to get started with using Photoshop. Now the cost is $20.
Is Adobe’s Creative Cloud Subscription Cheaper than Buying Photoshop? [Lifehacker]
BBC Research has released a new report stating that the digital photography industry has an annual growth rate of 3.8%. Valued at $68.4 billion last year, the global market will reach an estimated value of $82.5 billion by 2016. The study defined the market as a combination of camera equipment, printing equipment, and complementary products. While the photo printing industry is predicted to struggle and lose $300 million between now and 2016, digital cameras and lenses will reportedly do just fine: they have a healthy annual growth rate of 5.8%.
(via BBC Research via TheDigitalVisual)
When it was announced that Facebook would be acquiring Instagram back on Monday, the web balked at the $1 billion price tag and started shouting “bubble”. Is it really indicative of another tech bubble, or was it a smart move on Zuckerberg’s part? Andy Baio — the founder of Upcoming.org, which was purchased by Yahoo — has written up an interesting article over at Wired that takes a look at the numbers. For a billion bucks, Facebook snagged a startup with a whopping 35 million users and just 13 employees. This means that Instagram had a relatively cheap cost-per-user price and a ridiculously high cost-per-employee price.
Instagram’s Buyout: No Bubble to See Here [Wired]
Wolfram Alpha has added a new in-app purchase option to its knowledge engine app that brings advanced image analysis and manipulation to iOS devices. The $0.99 add-on allows users to use photos taken on the fly or from their Camera Roll as input. They can then use the app to do things such as analysis, sharpening, edge detection, and apply various effects. You can find a list of available commands here.
(via Wolfram Alpha via Engadget)
The Economist has a fascinating piece looking at the similarities and differences between Kodak and Fujifilm, two juggernauts of film photography that took different paths when digital photography came around:
While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak’s desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.
Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak’s $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?
Last Friday, Kodak filed a lawsuit against Fujifilm alleging that the company had infringed on Kodak’s digital photography patents.
The last Kodak moment? [The Economist]
Image credit: Ammo for 合歡&清境 by 今 ゆっくりと 歩いていこう