Tag Archives: Digital
Canon AE1 50mm f1.8 lens Agfa APX100
I like Bellamy the Japan camera hunter . He has a lot of interesting things to say on his site about the subject I have more deeply engrossed myself in for most the last umpteen years. Today I noticed his article on ‘why do you shoot film’. Its an interesting read as are the plethora comments that follow, Bellamy has a big following and no mistake.
Its about film, yes, its also about the to often vehement digital protagonists who use terms “like old school” and the too often improperly used word “luddite” if one is going to use a descriptive term like luddite make sure you know the history behind it! Then there is the pure cat call of ” retard” Any one who uses film cannot be retarded in any way shape or form. Shooting film demands much more knowledge and experience than the use of photographic digital technology ever has at this hobby level anyway.
Why has photography within the last seven years taken off as one of the most popular hobbies? Because its easy. One click of a shutter and you have an image good or bad and mostly the latter. Instant gratification. One selection in a menu and the whole world can know about your master work or dirty laundry. Damn it, it just can’t be any easier, can it? Er well yes it could be, google glasses will allow you to pass your gaze over something then with one twitch on your ear lobe (Make my day) and its an indexed google image distributed world wide – and likely property of grandma google with accreditation?
Yer can’t do that with film…. To shoot film and get good results and say what you want to say takes time especially if you process your own. There is no scattergun approach as with digital capture, the costs are to great to make continual mistakes. The easiest film ever got was with the MiniLab that too often produced a mediocre results. Then consider the current and mostly youthful Lomo trend. Lomography uses error and effect with accidents caused by really badly made cameras and then misinterprets it as ‘art’. Don’t get me wrong some of the Lomo effects are visually stunning and could not be duplicated digitally because they are so completely random. Lomography like it or loath it is an expressive tool and yours truly would never want to deprive anyone of that.
Which ever analog film path one walks down film capture is a slow process and eventually at some point it has to be converted into a digital file to be distributed. But this slowness is probably one of its great strengths it gives the human brain time to sort and select the exposed frames and make the best statement that the photographer wants to air. Doubtless many Lomographs along with the countless minilab prints will never see the light of day but in many regards that is a better outcome than what I see on some of the sharing sites that have become the total dumping repository for the total contents of every SD card and iPhone memory…
I still like to make images on film, I have a stack waiting to be deved a winter task in Western Australia when you can hold the dev and fix at 20deg C, its impossible in summer. Some subjects just look better on film, some subjects have an aesthetic character made on film that can’t be duplicated when printed on photographic paper as opposed to the slickness of the expensive ink jet print.
I haven’t done the sums recently but I half suspect that the is not much difference between the cost of wet dark room /minilab and an inkjet print. Certainly there are the glorious Chromogenic Lambda prints which can be produced from any image source film or digital its cheaper than either on a sq M basis or was, but I have not had any made for quite some time.
When it all boils down, to my mind it doesn’t really matter how the image is achieved as long as the image says what the creator intended or does what is required of it. This is not to say that ‘at any cost’ I know I am not really that bothered if I never see the inside of a printing dark room again. The print chemistry is not good for human health or the environment but by the same token I would never deny anyone the wonderful experience of photographic printing. Developing films is a bit easier and good quality scanning can be learned by anyone in a few hours. So that way I honestly feel we have the best of both worlds now. Make your choice film capture digital output or digital capture digital output just enjoy it, life is shorter than you think…