“All this digital isn’t real photography”        

I talked to a confused young photographer that wondered if he should do as a friend that was using a 1970’s film camera and discard his DSLR for a film camera. His friend told him, “all this digital isn’t real photography”,

I doubt his opinionated pal even thought about or was aware that it has only been a bit over a century ago that photographers needed large glass plates, hazardous chemicals, bulky cameras and wagons to carry everything. And I wonder if there were some photographers that, when roll film first became available, said about the same thing when they saw people hand-holding their little box cameras.

The medium of photography has become very accessible for everyone. The days when a photographer had to be an engineer and chemist are long gone. With modern technology, today’s supercharged cameras with their machine-gun-like shutters and seemingly speed of light focusing allow many photographers to get great pictures on their first try. Photographers once had to understand the combinations of shutter and aperture for a properly exposed image, and worried about camera shake and film choice. Gosh, it’s only around 20 years ago that photographers carried more than one camera if they wanted black & white as well as colour prints of some subject.

I am not sure that the photographers of the late 1800’s or early 1900’s were really interested in photography as a creative medium as much as they were striving to document reality. No doubt they struggled to convince their subjects to sit as still as possible for long time periods while they set up unwieldy photographic equipment. And I am convinced that many people that tried photography “pre-digital” would not be shooting if it had remained like that.

There are those that are intent on complaining that with the end of film came the end of photography. Personally, I don’t think film is going away any time soon. I expect most outlets may not carry film or offer processing much longer, but there are lots of distributers that still supply film. I’d like to see the return of film to larger camera shops, along with people capable of giving the correct advice to users.

I rarely shoot with film these days, but I still have a film camera and I did put a roll thru it this past year and had fun. Nevertheless, I will admit to being frustrated at all the work it took to get to the final images. Digital is easier.

I am afraid I couldn’t give that photographer any advice. Although I disagreed with his friend’s comment, I told him I’d look forward to seeing his photographs and be there to help what ever his choice.

Photography has always been about technology. I hope that photographer works at producing images (digital or film) that are good visual statements about what he feels or wants to say. Most people viewing his photography will only be interested in the resulting photos and won’t really care how his images were produced as long as the final photograph has something to say, shows control over the technology used, and is visually exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

22 responses to ““All this digital isn’t real photography”        

  1. Digital is still photography of course. It’s just a different approach.

    It’s faster and easier like so many things in our modern world. But in the end I prefer things to be slow, measured and not always perfect.

    The only thing that annoys me to no end with digital is that all those ‘phonographers’ don’t even look at the things they photograph any more. They turn their backs to the view and take bloody selfies… aaaarrrghhh

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s obvious that if you are serious about photography, you should have the best quality you can possibly get. That requires a railway carriage with a huge glass plate process camera in one end and a processing laboratory in the other. There used to be such a camera in the nineteenth century but since I would think it no longer exists, you’ll have to make your own. You can’t possibly be a serious photographer if you don’t have one.

    Like

  3. I agree! I also shoot film and digital. With so many people having digital cameras now, and just taking photos on auto, it saddens me that people never take to time to learn the history of photography and how to actually use a camera, rather than pointing and shooting.

    Like

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