Highlight Extract:
The Canon EOS 300C
And It’s Place
In Image Making History

The recent release of the Canon EOS C300; the announcement that Canon is due to launch a DSLR with 4K video capability; and reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. These three things led Hungry Eye Editor Grant Scott to ponder the impact that technology has had on the world of lens-based image making over the last three years.

It has taken two issues of Hungry Eye for us to talk about cameras; now we have broken our duck. As such, this article represents a significant landmark in our short history. The reason why you don’t see pictures of cameras and associated kit within this magazine is simple: we do not come to what we do because of equipment; we come to it through the desire to be creative. The equipment provides the tools for this creativity; it’s important but it’s not everything. I am going to talk about cameras, but have no fear; this is not a review. I am not going to enter the world of complicated insider jargon, from either a photographic or filmmaking perspective. Instead, I want to talk about impact; the impact technology has had on what we do, what we are able to do and why we do what we do.

When reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I was taken by the pioneer’s driven belief that people do not know what they want until they get it (thus rendering market research pointless), as well as his desire to use technology to aid creativity. He saw his engineers at Apple as artists, and the pursuit of aesthetic perfection as an intrinsic component of all technological development. This and his devotion to Bob Dylan made me warm to this man who, by all accounts, was not always easy to work with.

He was driven, but his end goal was based on what I see as being commendable beliefs. Reading about the development and launch of the first Apple Mac took me back to 1991; the year in which I was first asked to put down the knives and glue with which I created magazines, to go on a nine-day training course to learn how to use a Mac and Quark Express. Magazine design, graphic design and my career suddenly changed overnight. No longer did I have to wait for typesetters, page make-up and photo prints to compile a page. Now I could do it all myself; and so could anybody else who wanted to create what was known as DTP [desktop publishing].

Some saw it as a democratisation of design; others as the end of the importance of design and design training. Whatever your standpoint, one piece of technology changed the world of design. If I now jump forward in time to 2006, a similar change in my career occurred, thanks to another piece of technology. By this time I was enjoying a career as a photographer, working happily with a Hasselblad. I’d settled into the rhythm of being commissioned, shooting film, visiting the darkroom, editing contacts and delivering prints. It was a process I enjoyed and that worked for my clients. Then Canon launched the EOS 5D.

Suddenly the world of digital photography was in my financial grasp and my clients were asking if I shot digitally. The answer had to be yes, and the investment in two 5Ds and a number of lenses had to be made. The Canon EOS 5D was the Power Mac G3 of its time. It changed the world of professional photography in exactly the same way the G3 changed the world of professional design. You had to own one and you had to adapt your creativity to work with it. Budgets were reduced as clients realised they no longer needed to pay for film and processing. It also meant that you could shoot personal projects without those same limitations. The digital revolution brought a democratisation to photography, in the same way the computer revolution brought a similar openness to design.

You can find the full article in issue 3 of Hungry Eye Magazine available direct from us