by Joe Farace
I was sitting in Brady's bar having a tall cool one after a long, hot day slaving in the darkroom, when Patrick walks through the swinging doors looking like he had just lost his last cigarette. But he hadn't. He dropped his lanky frame onto the stool near me, stuck a Lucky Strike between his teeth, lit it with his Zippo and exhaled.
"Did you see the announcement about the 10 megapixel Foveon chip?"
"Yup," says I. Mom always said I was loquacious
"I'm sick of this megapixel race; how much is enough?"
"Gee I dunno, Patrick. It like Ferraris, you can't drive'em at their top speed but they keep building'em anyway."
"But I just bought my 3MP camera and it's already obsolete."
"You can still use it to take pictures, can't you," I enquire cagily.
"Yeah, but how many pixels are enough; when are they gonna stop?"
It was time to get on my soapbox and tell Patrick one of Farace's immutable laws of the imaging universe. So I stroll over to the jukebox, drop in a quarter and play, B10. To the sounds of Jerry Lee Lewis' "A whole Lotta Shakin;' Goin' On," I explain it to him this way…
"Ya see, Patrick," I begin, "some people think 35mm doesn't give'em enough quality so they'll want to use bigger pieces of film, measured in centimeters. Other folks, think that this centimeter-sized film isn't good enough either so they decide to use sheets of film as big as four by five inches, then some guys they wanna top that and use eight by ten pieces of film."
At this he motioned to the bartender to bring him another O'Doul's and chugged it down in a single gulp, looking at me for more, so I gives it to him.
"Then, Patrick. Some genius is gonna figure out that film ain't flat enough so he'll use pieces of glass but they gotta be bigger that eight by ten, maybe eleven by fourteen inches!"
He crumbles up his pack of Luckies, tosses it into an old Gayety Show Bar ashtray and asks, "What's the point of this story." So I tell him "it's simple, some people are never satisfied."