Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dead photographer


Teenage corn. I'll probably miss the flowering of these three. Sixteen days later, no longer cute

What is up with all the color? Digital color is quick, digital black and white takes time, at the very least pressing the desaturate button in Photoshop.

B&W from film is a comparatively labor intensive process: load film, unload film, develop film, cut film, scan film. To date, I am happier with the end product from film. In my case that is partially due to having good film tools and a limited digital toolkit.

Dead photographer. Ansel Adams, said something to the effect of
if photography was harder the images produced by photographers would be improved.
His thinking was that if a fair amount of effort was required to make an exposure, the photographer would think more about what was photographed.

What kind of digital camera would Ansel buy?



Anonymous Barrett said...

Oh, Ansel might have gotten himself a digital to toy with (he did the same with Polaroids, after all), but he likely wouldn't have been all that impressed, other than the obvious instant gratification factor. He wasn't exactly a Luddite, either - he just knew what he wanted in his images, and which tool would get him the desired results.

The computer monitor is the Great Equalizer in terms of images: it can make an image from an old, clapped-out 2mp digicam look acceptable, as well as take the wind out of a much-higher-resolution film scan. It's only when you print them to 5x7" and (preferably) larger where differences start to take hold of the eye. And yet, so many people don't bother printing up their digi snaps - they just attach them to e-mail posts and shoot them across the 'Net. And they won't bother to back their images up, either.

But Ansel was right - the harder it is to create an image, the more thought the person taking the picture will (usually) put into the process. Of course, running around with my little rangefinders like I do, often with a 28mm lens I set up for hyperfocal, ISO 400 film loaded and rated at 320, the actual taking of the picture is dreadfully easy. It's the bit of planning ahead, then the post-shoot stuff (scan/print, or maybe wet-print in a darkroom someplace when I'm in the mood), that's time-consuming. If I'm scanning, I usually want to figure out in advance how much scanning I'll do in a single session, and whether I'll have time afterward for a bit of test printing. Then I figure out how many CDs/DVDs I'll need to back up/archive the new scans, then set a day and time for seriously making prints. In some ways it's more of an ordeal than being in the darkroom (but less messy, to be sure). But the results are worth it, much more often than not.

And now I have to work out my moving plans, including what I'm taking and what I'm letting go of. Wanna buy an Epson printer? :-)


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