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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

More Thoughts On PDF Distribution

As I have mentioned in prior posts, I am intrigued by the idea of the distribution of photographic images by PDF. I have now finished the instructional DVD by Brooks Jensen, who has really championed this idea. If anyone is considering producing a PDF photography book and does not have experience with digital documents, the DVD is an absolutely essential resource and I highly recommend it! It turns out that for someone that is not well versed in the use of the needed software there is a somewhat steep, but clearly surmountable, learning curve.

While I do think that the digital distribution of images opens a major chapter in the history of photography, I also believe the viewing experience, as it stands today, is lagging behind the production technology. I suspect that this lag has had a significant effect on its adaption.

I myself have purchased several PDF photography books and also downloaded several photography PDFs from various sites. However, I have to say that I have not fully viewed them and certainly not viewed them in the depth that I would read or examine a printed publication. Likewise, I find that I don't look forward to or regularly read on-line magazines the way I read those that I subscribe to and which I can hold.

I am not really sure why, but it is simply a fact that I just don't seem to give such publications the same attention that I do a printed book. I can think of several reasons for this:

1) It is hard to curl up in bed with a computer.

2) It seems harder to 'get into' the mindset of in depth analysis in front of a computer as opposed to a book, at least for me....perhaps this is related to my age of 51.

3) I tend to feel more rushed or in 'working mode' on a computer and tend to feel more relaxed and in 'free time mode' with a book.

Now, before attributing my feelings to being unable to adapt to new technology, realize that you are reading this on my electronic blog. If anything, I tend towards being a somewhat early adapter. For example, as it relates to digital media, I have an Amazon Kindle e-book reader. In fact, I have the most recently released version with enhanced PDF handling. It is magnificent for reading novels. In fact, for the novel reading experience, I prefer it to hard copy books.

But that same preference doesn't carry through for me when it comes to reading PDF photography publications. In fact, while I have the first 40 LensWork issues on my Kindle from a LensWork DVD I bought on e-Bay (great deal...I think it was something like 20 bucks), I don't find reading them this way to be an enjoyable experience and have largely given up doing so. I also subscribe to LensWork Extended and, while it is a marvelous production, I find I don't read/listen to each and every one of them like I do when it comes to reading the hard copy issues.

I suspect a good part of why I don't prefer reading PDF photography publications on the Kindle is that the technology is still not up to snuff for handling such material. It still doesn't display PDFs all that wonderfully and the resolution/tonality is not fully developed. And, of course, there is no color yet (though that is being worked on as well). As I mentioned, I find that reading them on the computer is simply not comfortable or terribly enjoyable.

In essence, I believe that, at this point in time, the technology related to delivery is ahead of the technology related to usage. However, I am heartened by what I read is currently under development......thin sheets of light bendable materials that one can use to 'curl up in bed with' and read digital media and other technologic 'wonders' in development. So, while I currently think that, at least for my usage, the ability to enjoy PDF publications is not quite 'there' yet, I do think that they are coming and will be here fairly soon. I hope that a few years from now I can enjoy digital media in the same way that I can enjoy a book.

I am wondering what others think and have experienced when it comes to interacting with digital photographic publications.