Editors Notes

Editor's Notes

It's in those tiny, particular pieces of information that come across my desk that I sense the changes going on in photography. True, I can't help but be moved by the major trends such as the wholesale migration of many friends and associates to the digital side. I am also not immune to the numbers coming out of industry associations that point out a true decline in film sales and processing, and the hockey stick lines on the chart that measure digital camera sales. But what really struck me recently was a small press release from Kodak that informed me that the company was no longer going to be making slide projectors and that servicing of same would only be extended for another eight or nine years. That evening I went into my slide room and looked with great nostalgia on the two Carousel projectors that sit atop one of my filing cabinets. They seemed so forlorn there, so of the past. In one fell swoop they had joined the typewriter, the transistor radio, and record player in the museum of obsolete technology. I never thought I'd see the day.

This might seem, and is a bit foolish. Feeling nostalgia for a machine, after all, is a clear case of misplaced emotion. Nevertheless, I feel that we should all observe a very brief moment of silence. I have never mourned the passing of a computer operating system, a past version of software, or even for much of the worthless technology that electronic photography has spawned. After all, much of that left more of a feeling of having been taken than any sense of connectedness. But ever since I have been involved with photography those slide projectors had served me well, albeit with the occasional jam and crushed slide. I have yet to see a digital projection or looked at stills on TV or on a computer monitor that gave the sense of presence to an image that those projectors had provided. Just in terms of years of service they had done yeoman duty, not something that can be said of much of today's digital gear. But so it goes in today's marketplace. I'll just have to toughen it out and move on.

Speaking of moving on, this issue contains what has become our now traditional attempt at prognostication, our crystal ball for 2004. We put out a call late in the year to each of our contributors and asked them for their wisdom on what they see ahead. Just about everyone responded, and everyone had something to say about digital. Some had a wish list to cure what digital lacks while others welcomed, some more grudgingly than others, the digital tide. In terms of photo gear 2003 has to be dubbed the Year of the Digital SLR, or the Year of Transition, or the Year of the Digital Print. Take your pick, as each one points toward a major change in how we now practice our art and craft.

For those of us who actually anticipate the coming of the next photo show more than we do the Olympics, this is an even, thus a photokina year. The world's fair of imaging, held every two years in Germany, is the big circus, the one where every manufacturer tries to outdo the others with new products, technology, and imaging science. It's also the place where we get to see all the prototypes that often don't make it to be real, live products for years ahead, if at all. In short, it's going to be a major year for changes and challenges.

And speaking of photokina, we have decided that it's high time to share our experiences there with you, our readers, with more than our comprehensive reports. We have put together a trip that includes time in Cologne (the home of photokina) at the show as well as an after-photokina excursion to some great scenic areas in Germany, and an exclusive Shutterbug Leica Factory Tour. You'll be joined by other like-minded Shutterbug readers and we can promise you that if you've never been to photokina you're in for an amazing experience. This is a great opportunity to go and a great group to go there with. We'll have more information for you on this in our next issue and on our website at www.shutterbug.net.