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I forgot, IT"S BETTER!

October 19, 2006

After yet another discussion with a non-photographer about the “death of film,” I realized just how absurd the photo-world has become. Not like I didn’t know this before, but now I am convinced beyond the a shadow of a doubt.
I mean let’s face it, film looks too good, archives too well and is far too efficient to be any good. It’s not like the entire foundation of photography is based on film or anything.
And, now, with digital, I can spend much of my day, inside, parked in front of my computer, correcting for things like embalmed skin tones, blown highlights (which I know are now widely accepted as being normal) and corrupted cards, computers, software, etc. And if this isn’t enough fun, why gee whiz, I can take a little more time to upgrade all my addition software, firmware, hard drives and computer systems. I was going to say archive too, but digital doesn’t have a good archive yet, so I can’t spend much more time there. Oops.
Why shoot film and miss all this? Crazy.
Oh, and the good old environmental issue came up again. Wow, all those years of shooting film and destroying the environment. I had no idea how many photographers were environmentalists until digital came along. Funny, while everyone was shooting film, don’t remember one person saying anything about environmental issues. I must not have been listening.
Oh, but just so you know. Digital equipment, cameras, cellphones and computers contain such lovely items as lead, mercury, and a material called gallium arsenide, which can degrade into the poison arsenic. Oops digi guy. Forget about that one? But what about the recycling programs! Ya recycling! Let’s get em!
Well, according to the EPA, 11% of computers end up getting recycled and less than one percent of the cell phones….oops again. And according to EPA, digital cameras and camcorders are even LESS likely to be recycled.
Let’s not forget that each new digital product, which has a far shorter lifespan than their analog version, requires design, promotion, development, manufacturing and marketing. Can you say natural resources??
Whenever I experience the digital shortfalls I remind myself, “Wait, it’s better.” And then, everything is fine.
I do see one GREAT aspect of digital, and that is the employment it is giving to all those unpaid interns who are “getting the experience” of being a photographer by doing other peoples digital grunt work. I keep hearing how “efficient” digital is. I guess this is what they mean?
Do I see a pattern here?
Hey, if you are shooting nothing but produced, controlled work which will be retouched and airbrushed beyond recognition… digital is your service partner. If you are walking the streets of Paris looking to make handmade, black and white fiber prints…..relax and just take the film body.
What is truly sad are the folks like Mann, Salgado, Corbijn, Burtinsky and a WIDE RANGE of others who obviously didn’t get the “digital is better” memo. Bummer.

All kidding aside. I use both, and will continue to use both. No reason not to. Anyone that tells you you have to use one or the other has an agenda. Wants to leave the office at 5pm. Doesnt’ care about quality. Isn’t a photographer. Is misinformed. Likes technology more than photography. Likes post more than pre. Etc.

The digital machine reawakened a sleepy industry, and for that we say, “thank you.” But please, if I see another article about the death of film,” or “digital supremacy,” I’m going to puke.
Now that I mention it. If I see another article on “digital black and white,” “workflow,” or another cover shot of some oddly lit, over retouched woman with her hair blowing I’m going to puke again.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 23, 2006 7:08 pm

    quit being such a contrarian…join the human race…

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