Saturday, August 16, 2008

How 'bout a brief return to things digital?

Topics: Darkroom vs. Digital prints...
& Photography as a weapon.

I certainly follow any and all articles in the media that catch my eye on the first topic...
which seems to have been beaten to death, but continues on just the same.
I guess we all like to 'beat a dead horse' as the saying goes... it's easy.

Check this out:
'Would You Pay $1,700 For a Digital Print of Dylan?'

WIRED-COM - By Scott Thill - August 02, 2008 | 11:57:05 AM
My attention was drawn to the comments about the prints offered.
(the bold-face emphasis is mine, not the original writer's.)

"Digital prints? No way. If they were done in the traditional darkroom/wet lab process, using film negatives, I would. Digital photography and digital printing is artificial and is not art. What would Ansel Adams have to say? Digital photography makes it entirely too easy to manipulate the image. I feel sorry for all these younger people who have never experienced the magic of the darkroom. I'm an experienced technologist having been in the software field for twenty five years and you would think that I'd be the first person to embrace digital photography, but I feel that the world of art photography has lost it's soul by so completely embracing digital photography. It's great for commercial photographers but has absolutely no place in art photography."

There's definitely a lot to think about, above, and the comments continue for while.
I suspected that Wired readers might be decidedly pro-digital - I guess not, judging from the above comment.
Personally?.... I hope the world is... 'perceptive, benevolent, and wise enough' to accept and appreciate both traditional and digital.
I hope I am not asking or expecting too much - if you think I am? I suggest you think again.

You traditionalists? ...hey, digital is here to stay.
You digital types? ...hey, traditional ain't goin' away.

Personally, I think there is plenty of room for both technologies.

You'll have to wrestle my Beseler 45MX enlarger (w/ a great cold light head, purchased from Zone 6, in 1982)
"out of my cold dead hands" ( to steal a phrase from Charlton Heston, sticking up for the NRA),
but let's face it, digital offers possibilities that are marvelous, and can't be done in the traditional darkroom.
I appreciate & work with both, and actually 'digital' has made me appreciate the particular qualities of darkroom all the more.
But I also love being able to spend a day walking & shooting somewhere nice here in Northern California, and then being able to check out the pix immediately, while I make dinner!
No processing! No waiting! (No having to hope the lab doesn't screw up, either.)

I know of several friends for whom the chemical-free environment of digital is the only way they can still work - decades of exposure to darkroom chemicals have taken their toll.

As for the person who wrote:
"I feel sorry for all these younger people who have never experienced the magic of the darkroom"
... well, yeah, I feel that way too...but I also realize that this generation of 'younger people' has grown up in a different world than we did, and that's all there is to it.
( I'll take a wild guess the writer is, like myself, age 50+?)
Yo, people! "The times they are a changin' " - get used to it -
when I was 20 or so, I was oblivious to much of what my dad considered important, and today's kids are the same.
In 20 years, maybe they will be sayin'
"Holy Shit! Those people were onto something after all!"
Your best hope & wish?
to still be around, when they 'wake up'.

Photography as a weapon.... & 'Fauxtography'

A conversation between Errol Morris and Hany Farid -
(the starting point being recent photos of Iranian rockets - was that 3?... or 4? of them..?)

Errol Morris is a documentary filmmaker whose movie The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2004. He also directed Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line, Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control and A Brief History of Time, among other films.
Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and an expert on digital photography, has published a number of journal articles and a recent Scientific American article on digital photographic fraud.

An excellent discussion, indeed - just click on the link, I think you'll be glad you did.

If you think the above 'photo' is a hoot, wait 'til you see the one with Wile E. Coyote!
((Spoiler alert! ;-) ...this poor critter gets hammered, once again!))