Re: digital and analogue photography -the essay
I still think that the people who learned how to print in the darkroom, who have had that background, seem to produce far superior digital prints than those without that darkroom training.
Chris, your comment that "the students producing good work continued to do so . . . the students who didn't much care continued to not much care" has been, and will always be, true-- regardless of the discipline. I find that while digital technology has allowed us to work faster (sometimes), I don't know that the general work I see out there is any better. I personally think a lot of it is really, really bad and not very original (badly printed, with overly saturated colors, and not much vision). I'm sure that's overly judgmental, but I honestly don't remember seeing such a proliferation of bad (and repetitive) work before the digital craze.
While I don't think we can blame lack of vision on computers, I do think we can blame lack of originality. The ease with which people can churn out their own prints possibly makes people less discriminating. They seem to have forgotten how to edit. And, lately, I just see so much work that's repetitive-- a copycat version of what someone else (usually more famous) has already done, and done really well. And because most everybody seems to be churning out digital prints, the work is almost eerily similar in style and appearance.
I also find photography far more expensive than it used to be. Let's face it, an excellent film camera (if you take good care of it) can serve you for several lifetimes, as long as film continues to be produced. As great as digital technology is-- computers, scanners, cameras-- they're kind of like cars. They start to depreciate and are obsolescent almost as soon as they're bought.
I agree, though, that digital technology is, in many ways, a dream, (specifically, from my viewpoint, in making digital negatives and having the ability to clean up negatives-- mine always seem to have an inordinate amount of scratches).
With regard to Catherine's essay, I have a lot I would love to say about this topic and the points made in the essay. which I enjoyed reading. Based on some recent experiences I have had, too, it really hit home. Too long and drawn out to go into detail, but I could add a lot.
And Judy's comments were, as usual, right on the mark. I recently had to have a large color print made (larger than my 3800 printer, or my darkroom enlarger) will allow, and I know an incredible color printer (a woman who is also a photographer), but I just couldn't reach her to do this for me-- so I contacted someone down here who had been referred to me. What a disaster. I was working from a negative, and not only did this guy ruin the negative, he was a complete idiot. I honestly cannot believe he's in business, though I don't know why anything should surprise me anymore. Interestingly, he actually sent me an email (a final one in a long diatribe of emails) that said, "We have a name for people like you-- it rhymes with bitch." I'm not sure who "we" is -- but I when I got that, I nearly fell off my chair laughing. I have a refrigerator magnet that shows a woman dressed sort of like June Cleaver (1950's flowered dress, popped collar, pearls, heels), and standing there in the kitchen, with her hands on her hips, she's leaning over someone and saying, very sweetly, I imagine, "Why-- when you call me a bitch, you say it like it's a bad thing." I love it. So-- I figure if some utterly incompetent, untalented, and overweight toad (sorry if that offends anyone) resorts to calling me a "bitch" (and that's the best he can come up with-- which is to say, not very clever or original), then I figure my work is done. ;)
I do find amusing and odd, though, that to question a man's computer technology savvyness/expertise (sp?), or even make disparaging remarks about digital technology or cameras or whatever-- many men get awfully riled up. I have no idea why.
Needless to say, this recent experience I had only reinforced my own interest in, and commitment to, alt processes-- I can't imagine anything better-- in the photographic world-- than having the ability to create my own images, from start to finish, without ever having to-- consistently-- rely on others-- whose vision, I can pretty much guarantee, is never my own.
My 2 cents.
On Jun 3, 2008, at 12:06 PM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote: