The More You Learn,

. . . the more you realize how much you don’t know. For example, did you know, most of the “fine art” photography being offered for sale today is not photography? No, it’s laser prints. Okay, I am splitting hairs, but let’s distinguish between photographic prints and digital prints, between fine handmade art and mass produced machine-made products. A photographic print is created in a darkroom using a silver halide, chemical process. Fine art, black & white prints are hand enlarged and tray processed, one by one. The image is literally composed of metallic silver. The beauty and uniqueness of a gelatin silver print is unequaled by any other means and its longevity proven by over 170 years of silver print making history. Digital prints are made from inks and spit out in any number by laser printers.

The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Audiophiles often dive blindly into big brand names and tweaks, following the latest fads (vacuum tubes and LPs for example) and falling into group think. The actual workings and the criteria which really matter are not well understood by them. It can be complicated and so it’s easy to accept simplistic, yet misleading ideas. Actual quality becomes less important than the perceived quality or the name on the label. Unfortunately, there’s a big divide between real performance and perceived performance especially when it’s clouded by superfluous factors such as price, appearance, and popular opinion.

The parallels here are important. It’s no wonder that the value of photography has plummeted as the market has been flooded with cheap laser images and as collectors have lost sight of the goal : buying art you love. Yet the best work, done by the few artists who are still producing silver prints, is becoming rarer and more valuable.

It’s no wonder that, as prices for electronics have dropped (but high-end gear has skyrocketed), audiophiles have lost sight of their goal : reducing distortions below audibility levels. Real high fidelity is becoming rarer and harder to find as priorities gets lost in the noise of marketing hoopla.

Today photography and high fidelity are fairly cheap and easy. Maybe not dirt cheap and maybe not duck soup easy, but not the challenge they used to be before digital. Digital has solved loads of problems for both audio and video. As the world continues to adjust to the changes, it becomes more important than ever to educate yourself about the differences. Trust your eyes; trust your ears, but only after finding the facts and checking the facts. Then you can make real value investments.

The more you learn, the more you realize; you can’t learn too much.

Discover more in the [art]by[odo] galleries and at [ParallelAudio]

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