Thinking Out Loud

I know there has not been to much in the way of signs of life around here as of late and it is simply one of those times when life gets in the way of my personal project a bit. A pretty natural occurrence i’d say. If I had it my way I would be writing every day and taking dozens of beautiful photos to share as desktops but you know, just cant always find the time. So I thought I would jump on and say hello and apologize for being out of touch with my blogging side.

So if I haven’t been writing here then what have I been doing? Well, Ive been working, learning some new gear for audio tech stuff, trying to keep my head together and above water, you know, normal things. I had that burst of inspiration from shooting with my Canonet and it has pushed me to look for something nicer, well, not nicer really, just a little different. Another rangefinder is in my sight and maybe in the coming months I will get my hands on it and talk about it more when the time comes. I thought that I had those lenses sold but it fell through so I am trying to figure out a plan B. I would just post them up here again but I think I will see what I can find as far as trade ins go because I am just using the money to get more photo gear anyway so.

Lately I have come across a number of little mini debates on film vs. digital and its just so weird to me. It seems like not that long ago I was hearing people talk about how film is so superior to digital photography but here comes a new generation of photographers that have somehow found themselves photographers because digital cameras made it so easy to learn. I have noticed more than anything that people have become so impatient with photography. Young photographers I talk to that have gone from digital and tried film get frustrated with having to wait to see the result. Its given this dependency on instant results. Its just beyond me how you could not enjoy the magic feeling you get from taking a photograph and knowing that you captured that light in this special way that is hiding there in the shadows waiting to be brought to life. With digital photography its just… data. A million tiny dots constructed of ones and zeros. But then your battery dies and you have nothing but a useless pile of electronics. Maybe I am just rebelling after years and years of being hooked on gadgets and things. Maybe shooting with film, for me, lets me feel closer to the images I take because they feel so much more unique to me, not just one in a million, not just a click of a button, check the screen, no good, trash, repeat until good image found. Film lets me feel like the image is alive.

I was talking to a friend today about film and digital and she said that she can not get the right exposure with film but she saw it done with digital so surely digital is better. But there are so many things to take into consideration. With cameras everything changes the look of the photo, starting with the camera, film, image sensor, then moving to the lens and how it is made then onto the developing and post manipulation of the photo. Sure with digital you instantly have this infinite set of possibility and damn near ANY image can be salvaged into something half way interesting but then what makes it so special in the world? What good is a photograph if it is simply beautiful for the sake of being beautiful? My thoughts are most certainly running ahead of my fingers as I type and I’m not making any sense… Half thought thoughts and not everything I am saying is in fact what I believe, just thoughts to provoke debate.

I know there are many sides to this argument and I am simply arguing the aesthetic side of it here, this and this sense of urgency I keep seeing within it. I guess I just see it cheapen the whole experience in a way, at least for me. I hate to see the instant result and promise of “oh, ill just fix it in photoshop” of digital photography turn into such a crutch for so many people getting into the medium. I know I’ve said this all before and surely this wont be the last time. I’m still exploring it all myself as well, and to each his own right? Feel free to chime in in the comments. Ive gone on long enough and will leave this post where it is. See you again soon I hope..

Comments

  1. Thinking Out Loud | digital cameras - March 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. Fabian - March 21, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I love digital, I love analog. But I have not enough time and money for analog – sorry analog. Maybe in a few years we’ll meet again.

  3. john Carey - March 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Its a good point really and its another argument I hear against film is the cost of it. It was the original draw to digital for most people, shoot as much as you want, the only cost is storing it on your computer and keeping everything backed up properly.

    It brings up the question that I wonder sometimes and the answer is probably fairly obvious. Now with digital making it so incredibly easy to get into photography are there more photographers than there once was? I also wonder if this sort of thinking that film is so impossible because it costs more is going to lead to film dying off sooner. Interesting thing is that I dont find film to be all that expensive.

    I just buy a few rolls here and there and rather than shoot anything that moves that looks interesting I find that I am a little more controlled and watchful for the right moments to break out the camera and start shooting. So I go through a couple rolls a month of 24 exposures and overall its about 30 dollars to get these into existence. But surely this would not work for everyones shooting style.

    Then there are photographers like yourself, Fabian, that use post editing on the computer often to achieve that aesthetic that you are looking for. Shooting with film the sorts of colors and contrast you get is a combination of the camera, lens, film, and developing.

    Speaking of which, have you checked out the new Aperture? Ive been running it and its much faster, cheaper to buy and overall just easier to use.

  4. Fabian - March 22, 2008 at 2:07 am

    “…I wonder sometimes and the answer is probably fairly obvious. Now with digital making it so incredibly easy to get into photography are there more photographers than there once was?”

    -> Yes, absolutely !

    “…I also wonder if this sort of thinking that film is so impossible because it costs more is going to lead to film dying off sooner. Interesting thing is that I dont find film to be all that expensive.”

    -> IMHO, it’s just the change of things. Do you remember Floppy disks? Now we have CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray etc.

    It’s not the film, the cost of the film developing is too expensive. Particularly if you a person who loves to shoot a lot.

    “…I just buy a few rolls here and there and rather than shoot anything that moves that looks interesting I find that I am a little more controlled and watchful for the right moments to break out the camera and start shooting. So I go through a couple rolls a month of 24 exposures and overall its about 30 dollars to get these into existence. But surely this would not work for everyones shooting style.”

    -> I agree with you John. But as you mentioned here, it’s not everyones shooting style.

    “Then there are photographers like yourself, Fabian, that use post editing on the computer often to achieve that aesthetic that you are looking for. Shooting with film the sorts of colors and contrast you get is a combination of the camera, lens, film, and developing.”

    -> See? Actually I’m drawn to analog. :)

    “Speaking of which, have you checked out the new Aperture? Ive been running it and its much faster, cheaper to buy and overall just easier to use.”

    -> I finally bought “LightZone” and upgraded my RAM to 2GB for a smoother working process… :)

  5. Neil Woodman - March 22, 2008 at 11:11 am

    It’s a long and well debated argument, the old analog vs digital thing, how in some way analog stuff is more real and has more soul. I think there are certain advantages to both methods, film I think makes you become more discerning, whereas digital you can just shoot a lot of different things and edit out what you don’t want. The naturally gifted photographers among us (like yourself) I think can work well with film and achieve great results. For people like me digital is great because it’s so forgiving. I’ve been playing around with film stuff a bit (I first started using an OM10 years ago) but this is more of the lomo type of thing. I must admit though there is a certain magic to film which I can’t put my finger on, it’s the same as vinyl for me, like I have all of Elliott Smiths records on CD, but I also felt the need to buy them on vinyl too (apart from Roman Candle of course), I mean I NEVER listen to the vinyl versions but I love the medium for different reasons.

    Put simply John no matter what method you use you’re always going to come up with something great, the eventual result is not so dependent on the method.

  6. john Carey - March 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Yes, I think I have come to realize to be completely honest with myself about all of this I have to be aware of a couple of things. I feel in some sort of selfish way that the world of photography has lost some of its magic because of how easy it is and how trendy its become with digital cameras and while its true that that end result is what matters I still cant help but feel like everyone is suddenly the field is so much more crowded. But in that same breath I should mention that I certainly do enjoy the mass evolution of creativity that is happening, its just I see trends come and go so quickly with little content, depth, or lasting impression that a select few photographs posses. And I am by no means saying that my images are more or less exciting than anyone else’s, I simply have more internal conflict as far as my own worth in the field after seeing such great work day in and day out.

    Then there is the fact that while I argue on the side of film I do have to understand that it is not for everyone and some photographers benefit from shooting until one comes out with a golden ticket attached. Hmm.. not the point I wanted to make. What I wanted to say is that I have a very personal connection with my film work that I cant find in my digital work. The aesthetics within using a camera that is all mechanical and the idea that its not dependent on technology is important to me and as I mentioned in what I originally wrote, it allows me to feel much more connected to the images in their uniqueness.

    Anyways.. :)

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