October 27, 2005

Film and Digital; Embrace them both....

Although in the last blog I blasted digital media over film, I wish to clarify more meaning of the two. Digital media is a very important part of the photography aspect and is the direction photography needs to go. What I wanted to get out in the last blog is how important this medium is for a learning tool, that learning tool is not being utilized to its fullest degree.

I was taught in the basis of how film works and how film can be manipulated by light and control of the camera. This is a very important concept that new students are being deprived by dropping the costs of dark room equipment, film costs, and time. There is also the aspect that is missing transferring film into a digital format, the ability to convert the old in to the new. PhotoShop has been one of the best digital manipulators whether you use film or digital imaging as the main source of capturing your image.

As I import a strip of film in to the computer and compare it to a digital image I can still see a major difference. I believe it is going to take about ten years before we are able to get film like quality in a digital image, at least one that is generally affordable to the average consumer. I would say that as soon as film hits the 60 mega pixels, we will see a new generation of photograph and photographer.

Digital imaging is a great new medium that does teach a great deal about photography. For about ten years as an amateur photographer, I shot film and had to wait anywhere from an hour to maybe three weeks (depending how lazy I was getting my film developed) to get any kind of feed back. Even in a darkroom setting, it took me at least an hour to get the results of developing my film.

With digital, I was able to get immediate feedback from my manual settings and I was able to correct and understand my lighting conditions with more confidence. Every photo I post has either been shot with film and converted to 0s and 1s or has been shot with a digital camera. The other thing that will be missed if digital buries film is the “old school” manual cameras. Some of the best images I have taken have been with these work horses of the past.

These work horses serve as a symbol to the dying breed of amateur photographers that still have a great love for film. (The difference between an amateur photographer and a professional photographer is that one shoots for love, the other shoots for money.) The amateur photographer is being transformed into a society of hobby photographers. Photographers who want to take as many pictures as they can to impress with the quality of their photographs which are in the most part due to very impressive digital technology. No longer will they understand the true control of a photograph, it will turn in to composition, subject matter, and trial and error to get what is intended on capturing.

The new world of hobby photographers is now going to be bombarded by the average consumer who will now photograph their entire family, friends, and places around. This will create a new generation of document photographers that will be forever imprinted on hard drives, CD-ROMs, and DVD-ROMs that may never see past the technology that holds them together. Let’s face it, now that we are able to take hundreds if not thousands of photographs, when are we going to have time to go back and organize everything.

I am not afraid of the future of photography, I am afraid that the past will be washed away by a sweeping changes in attitudes because of our need for fast results and the need for more information. Our memories will change from solid paper in hand to data that is in the concept of a machine that has no concept of what it holds.

- Shawn Kringstad

Bombs Bursting Mid-Air -sk2004

"Velvet Core" -sk2003

"Shaded Fountain" - sk2002

"Standing Tall" - sk2001

"the portrait" - sk2000

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