The Angry Photographer: aka ‘Old Man Yells at Cloud’

Clouds …”they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way” Joni Mitchell

Adobe announced its Creative Cloud in April 2012 – Five years later and some photographers are still waving their fists angrily at the Cloud – even though it has not directly impacted the individuals who have chosen not to ‘get-on-board’. Photographers who didn’t want to have anything to do with a subscription based service, or use any of the Cloud services, have been able to carry on using Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom during this five year period. Photoshop CS6, however, ceased selling in January 2017 and Lightroom 6 will stop being updated at the end of 2017 (no new updates). These applications will, however, not stop working in 2018 and beyond. They will carry on running as long as the computer’s operating system will support them. Although this software was sold with what some people refer to as a ‘perpetual licence’ there is, of course, no such thing as ‘perpetual software’ as upgrades in computer operating systems eventually renders all old software obsolete. The simple solution for photographers not wanting to purchase or lease new software is not to upgrade to an operating system that will not run the old software.

A lot of photographic social forums have now become platforms for angry photographers to vent their fear of difference, change and their disapproval of companies products that look to the future. I do not like, but have become accustomed to over the years, the loud outbursts of the ‘angry photographer’. As an early adopter of Digital Cameras, Mirrorless Cameras and Cloud-based photographic workflows it appears my choices were never popular in the early developmental stages amongst the broader photographic community. As an educator and an Ambassador for both Adobe and Sony I have been unable to avoid the hostility. My role for these companies is simply to educate and inform – not to sell. The reality is nobody has to change if they don’t want to. There will always be workflows for those who would prefer to stand still rather than move with the times. Just as it is still possible to capture images using film, process the images in a darkroom and hang the images on a wall, it will still be possible to carry on using software that has a perpetual licence. If you decide to purchase a new camera and shoot in the Raw file format you will still have the opportunity to open these files in old software run on old computers by converting the Raw files to a file format that is compatible with the old software. Adobe’s DNG converter is a Free download that allows you to make your Raw files ‘backwards compatible’, i.e convert to a Raw file format that older software will understand. This is available from here:

Note > This is the ‘evil’ money-grabbing Adobe allowing photographers to download free software to allow them to carry on using their old software 😉

I first became aware of Cloud based services when Apple’s iTunes store opened its virtual doors back in 2003. I personally thought this was a good idea (even if Steve Jobs had a hard time convincing the Music industry it was going to be ‘good for business’). Adobe’s move to the Cloud has also been good for business, but conservative photographers are less than impressed with where Adobe is heading with its cloud-based software technologies. Rather than just carry on using what they have (which is not broken), or purchase an alternative product (which are available) many photographers feel compelled to jump online to vent their anger at a difference they don’t fully understand. Unfortunately a lot of these angry photographers feel compelled to comment from a position of ignorance and/or lack of vision. They speculate on marketing strategies they have not been made privy to and share the popular conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’ and apparently must take some kind of strange comfort in their collective anger. Apparently, if you believe popular opinion, Adobe’s release of its new ‘cloud-centric’ version of Lightroom is the beginning of the end (of everything). Maybe, one day, the viability of the version of Lightroom we now call ‘Lightroom Classic’ will come to an end – but today is not the day. There will come a day, when interchangeable lens cameras can upload their Raw images directly to the Internet, Internet speeds will lightening fast, data storage unlimited and cost-effective and the cloud-centric version of Lightroom feature-rich. There will come a day when the Classic software will no longer serve any useful purpose for the mainstream community – but it is not this day.

There was a day when Photoshop cost $1,000, an Apple Quadra with an 80 MB hard drive needed to run it was $5,700 and a 1.3 Megapixel DSLR was $20,000 – this day was in 1991. It was easy for photographers who lacked vision to hate this technology, but nobody was forcing them to change their ways. For new products to become successful they have to offer functionality and good value for money – you have to actually want to buy them. Adobe is not ‘Skynet’ and it will not seek to ‘terminate’ your love of photography any day soon. If Adobe’s products don’t offer value for money – the answer is really simple – don’t buy them. I personally, however, love digital technologies (the hardware and the software) but it is sometimes hard to accept that some people will hate me for loving them.

I feel that all it would take for the angry photographer to be able to ‘chill out’ a little more, is to accept that change is inevitable and unstoppable, but also that freedom to stay the same has always been acceptable and possible. Any individual can choose to drive around in their classic car, play their perpetual licence vinyl records, capture images on film using a classic M6 Leica and hold silver bromide prints in their hands. So sit back, enjoy the best of times and please, please stop venting on the communities where I go to enjoy my craft and my art. My advice for the photographers who can’t stop being angry would be to simply choose a different hobby (one that doesn’t make them angry), because life is short and I fear their anger is making it even shorter.

If you still need to read the news – here it is:

Lightroom CC vs Lightroom CC Classic